Thursday, July 29, 2010

Intercourse... PA...

Yup, we went to Intercourse PA yesterday, once my girls saw the name of the town there was snickering and laughing all day long. It also didn't help that almost every darn business there named themselves after the town!

And of course at every gift shop we stopped the girls want to buy the "I Love Intercourse" shirt.

I don't think so!

They had a great deal of fun at my expense, it's not very often these teenage daughters get a chance to make their dad blush and they took full advantage of it.


Well, today we had off to Blue Ball and who knows, we may end up in Paradise... Pennsylvania that is.

;)

Sorry, I just could not help myself.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Amish "bike"...

Not quite sure what it really is called, but the kids sure can move on these.

Here are just a few shots from yesterday.





Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Off to Amish Country...


In just a few minutes I will be hitting the road for Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

I tell you this not because you might be all that interested in my day to day activities, but so you'll know why my posting may become less frequent.

;)




Monday, July 26, 2010

Tinker Tubes...

I think the best (and first) thing that comes to mind when I hear the words "DIY Photography" is Tinker Tubes for the late Dean Collins.

With just a few dollars worth of PVC piping Dean shows us how to make light stands, reflectors, scrims, even a diffuser that will fit over your garage door.

You can get the 27 page PDF of Tinker Tubes designs, material list, detailed demonstration images, and everything else you need to know to make some pretty cool gear here for free, but the scan quality is rather poor (to be kind).

Software Cinema is offering the high res version as an instant download for just $19 and they are throwing in a Dean Collins studio sketchbook for free.

If you want to see what other folks have done with Tinker Tubes check out Thomas Evans post here and the "Ghetto Studio" from Just Fab.



Friday, July 23, 2010

12 Free Learning Resources for Photoshop CS5...


Here are an even dozen educational opportunities that will teach you everything you need to know about Adobe Photoshop CS5 and won't cost you a penny.

1. From Adobe you will find getting started and what's new info here.

2. Also from Adobe you will find (about) 25 "learning Photoshop CS5" videos here.

3. You'll find the Adobe Photoshop Learning Center from NAPP (aka The Photoshop Guys) here.

4. There is one boat load of tutorials at CS5.org.

5. If you are looking for Photoshop and Bridge tutorials check out PhotoshopEssentials.com.

6. You can watch 10 content aware fill video tutorials here.

And here are Podcasts that will enrich your Photoshop learning experience:

7. Photoshop Killer Tips

8. Photoshop User TV

9. Adobe Photoshop Quick Tips

10. Photoshop with Matt

11. Photoshop from the Ground Up

12. DekePod

***WARNING***

Consume the resources is small manageable bites or you may end up with a severe popsicle headache (brain freeze).

:)

One of the features that many folks rave about in CS5 is the improved masking ability, below is a video demonstration. It is part one of a two part video, you can watch part two here.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Scott Kelby DVD giveaway...


We are giving away another Scott Kelby DVD, "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes".

It will be like the last few contests, all you need do is leave any comment on any post between today and August 31st and your name will go into a hat with the winner being drawn (randomly) and announced on September 1st.

You can read our review here and you can learn more about "Photo Recipes Live" on the publishers page.

Looking forward to all of your comments, good luck.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review of the ColorChecker from X-Rite...

We recently did a commercial shoot and used the ColorChecker Passport from X-rite for the very first time and I can tell you this, I wish I had started using this a LONG time ago.

It could not have been easier to use or worked better at giving us perfectly matched colors in our images.

We were shooting new products for our clients catalog/website and it involved almost 100 images in a wide variety of colors.

Using the Lightroom "color picker" to color correct an image will allow me to apply the changes to the other LIKE images, but once I try to apply the changes I made to a primarily purple colored product to an image with the primary colors of yellow or red it just doesn't cut it, so Iend up creating and applying color correction based on the primary colors of the photograph.

Labor intensive at the least, with a bunch of frustration stirred in.

With the ColorChecker Passport you correct one image and then simply sync up every other image shot under the same lighting conditions, regardless of the images dominant color.

It was SWEET.

This image is one of the products being shot on white seamless with the ColorChecker Passport in the frame (the black cinefoil was used to block shiny reflections caused by the white paper), all the images were imported into Lightroom, we color corrected this image and because all were shot under the same lighting conditions we simply "synced" all other images with this and we were done (with color management) with everything we shot that day.


This image shows a side by side comparison of a product shot "as is" and color corrected using the ColorChecker Passport, clicking on it will open the image larger (in a new window) so you can better see the comparison.


You have heard me preach in the past about good time management, studio efficiencies, and basically being as smart as you can with the one thing you have the most control over, TIME.

The ColorChecker Passport is now at the top of my list when it comes to efficient workflow.

Just to show you it could not be easier, here are the instructions from the X-Rite website:

* Open the Raw image of the ColorChecker target that you previously shot.
* Do not edit the image. In fact, any edits will be ignored when you begin building the profile.
* Under the File menu, select Export… When the menu appears, select “ColorChecker Passport” from the list.
* Enter a name for the profile and click the Export button.

The new profile will be created automatically and placed in the location where Adobe stores DNG profiles for Camera Raw and Lightroom. You will need to re-launch Lightroom before you can select the new DNG profile. After restarting Lightroom follow the steps below.

* With an image selected, go to the Develop module.
* In the right panel, scroll down to Camera Calibration and select the Profile pull-down. Choose the new DNG profile you created above from this list.
* To apply these settings to an entire series of photos select all the other images you shot in the same lighting conditions and hit "Sync".


When you can give all the instructions a user needs in under 10 lines of text, you have a product that is easy to use.

But it's more than that, it will give you perfect color too. What a great combination.

Purchasing the ColorChecker passport will say many things about you, like getting the color correct is really important... and that you are smart with both your time and your money.

I will leave you with a product demonstration video for Lightroom users, you can find the Photoshop version here. (And as usual subscribers will need to return to the blog to watch the video)



Sunday, July 18, 2010

True Love…


Though the day was just starting it was already getting busy when an elderly gentleman arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had another appointment at 9:00 am.

I took him into the exam room, evaluated his wound, saw that is was well healed, so I remove his sutures and redressed his wound.

While caring for him I asked if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he appeared to be anxious about being late.

He told me no, that he was going to the nursing home to have breakfast with his wife, like he does every morning.

I inquired about her health, wondering why she was in a nursing home.

He told me that she suffered from Alzheimer's disease and needed the kind of care he could no longer provide at home.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was just a bit late.

His voice and head dropped a little as he replied "No", she no longer knew who he was, that she hadn’t recognized him for several years now.

I asked him, “And you still go the same time every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, "She doesn't remember who I am, but I still remember who she is."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Keep 'em coming...

Yesterday our stats showed that we passed one thousand six hundred subscribers.

The number of people who think this blog is a good thing just blows me away.

"They like me, they really like me".

;)

Thank you for your support.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

iPhone fashion shoot with Lee Morris...



Pretty darn good images huh?

Heck, most of us would be thrilled to get these shots with our Nikon D3 or a Canon Marky Mark.

Lee said the purpose of the shoot, making the video was to make the point "that you should not be limited by your camera".

I think he drove that point home with a very large hammer.

You can see Lee's original post with many more images from his iPhone fashion shoot here and be sure to check out his website for more stunning imagery and to be inspired.

One of the hidden gems is what you can learn about lighting... so pay attention and watch every minute!

This is a great video.

(as always subscribers will need to return to Weekly Photo Tips to watch this video as they are not pushed through with your subscription)




Sunday, July 11, 2010

Images from Yesterday...


Here are just a couple images from the meet up yesterday in Portsmouth New Hampshire to see the folks picking up their dogs from Last Chance Highway.

The truck hadn't even come to a complete stop and there was laughter and tears (and that was just from me).


Just after Kyle arrived with the dogs the skies opened up (insert "raining like cats and dogs" joke here) so I did not get too many images.

I intend on going back again (and again.... and...) so you can expect to see more.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Last Chance Highway" assignment...


There is a new show on the Animal Planet that my family has become huge fans of called "Last Chance Highway".

It tracks the efforts of wonderful volunteers who have dedicated themselves (and their own money) to saving the lives of abused and abandoned dogs.

Shelly is the person who rescues the dogs and gets them healthy enough for their new homes, Kyle runs the company that drives thousands of miles every week to deliver them.


They drive as far north as Portsmouth New Hampshire to deliver these pups to their new owners and today is delivery day, so I'll be loading up my camera gear and heading down to photograph it (and to cry like a girly-man).

If you are considering adding a dog to your family might I suggest heading over to PetFinder.com and check out some dogs looking for a loving home (yes they have cats too).

They can also point you in the direction of shelters and resources in your local area.


Maybe you're not looking for a dog right now but want to do something, all of these organizations are looking for support, they can all use your help.

One of the biggest needs at our local shelter are volunteers to come in just to pet and play with the animals.

You can visit Shelly's website here, Kyle's here, PetFinders here, and The Last Chance Highway here.


If you love dogs, if you love happy endings, fire up the popcorn and sit down for Last Chance Highway tonight (Saturdays) at 8.

Below is a 1 minute sample of what you can expect.

(If you are a subscriber you'll need to return to the blog or head directly over to YouTube to watch this video)



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Filming of BP Gulf oil spill banned...

Yup, you just can't make this stuff.

As reported by Anderson Cooper on CNN the Obama administration has placed a ban on filming the gulf oil spill.

If you are a subscriber you will need to come to Weekly Photo Tips or head directly over to YouTube to watch Anderson's (disturbing) report.

As Anderson says in the video, this ban on filming/photography sure "makes it easier to hide failure and hide incompetence".

Oil spill, homeland security, & photography...

It is probably appropriate that the first post we write going into year 4 is breaking the rule of "never talk religion or politics".

We're not taking on both, just politics (kinda).

For those of you who haven't read the story about the photographer who was detained by police you can (and should) read it here.

The gist of the story is photographer Lance Rosenfield was taking pictures of the BP refinery in Texas (from a public vantage point) when he was detained (but not arrested) by a BP security person, local police, and a member of homeland security.

Lance was released only after they took down his personal info (social security number, birth date, etc.) AND looking through all of his images.

My question is, if Lance was shooting from a public road why did/do they have the right to do this?

You can read more about this story here and here, you can see the images that led to Homeland Security "detaining" Lance here.

And this is not the only incident relating to photography and the gulf oil spill, you can read stories of British Petroleum restricting access to the oil spill over at Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post.

Is this still the land of the free?

Troubling, extremely troubling.



Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Weekly Photo Tips!...


Yup, we have just completed our third year of publication (or depending how you look at it, we are now entering our fourth).

What I thought we would be doing as a blog and what we are doing could not be more different. It would be like planning a trip to New York but ending up in the Virgin Islands.

And I could not be happier about it.

I never would have dreamed that we would have thousands of subscribers, a quarter of a million visitors, or have a YouTube channel.

We have had the opportunity to speak to, photograph with, and be part of seminars along with some of the most incredible professional photographers out there.

But what's the most surprising thing? The best part of this blog? You!

Weekly Photo Tips was named one of the ten best photography blogs of 2010 not because I am here, but because you come here.

The people I have met, the friends I have made because they took the time to visit this blog is amazing.

Words are inadequate to express how thankful I am to be here. But know that I am, every day.

Now sit down and have a piece of cake.



Friday, July 2, 2010

The Scott Kelby DVD winner is...

JW Stovall!!!

Jay, if you email me your snail mail address I will get the Scott Kelby DVD right out to you.

For those of you who entered but didn't win don't fret, we'll be giving away another Scott Kelby DVD, "Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes", in August.

Have a great (and safe) 4th of July.