Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Maine Photographers Coalition Sept. 7 meeting...



The upcoming Maine Photographers Coalition Meeting is right around the corner, on Wednesday September 7th to be exact.

Not only is it a great opportunity to meet, mingle, and network with other photographers but this meeting will also have two incredible back-to-back programs!

Justin and Mary Marantz AND Khara Plicanic of Kabloom Studios.


Khara Plicanic: Setting Up a Wickedly Fast Workflow

Would you like to edit your weddings (or other events) faster than ever before while totally thrilling and wowing your clients?

Khara will show you how to use a potent combination of efficiency and effectiveness to speed up your workflow, all while keeping your client’s very best interest at heart.

Though Khara created this class with wedding photographers in mind, it is easily adapted to portraits photographers too.

Whether you’re a "new" professional photographer or have years of experience, do yourself a favor and get in on this special learning opportunity. Your family and your clients will thank you!

This is not a software workshop! Great workflow is about so much more than software! In fact, a wickedly fast workflow starts well before you pick up your camera. Feel free to adapt this plan to whatever software you prefer to use.


Justin and Mary Marantz: Creating Loyalty Beyond Reason

This past year Justin & Mary have completed their second national speaking tour teaching their “Loyalty Beyond Reason” approach to photographers. Now they’re back with even more great ideas on how to amp up the wow-factor in everything you do, from the very first meeting with your client to the final images you deliver to them.

Their inspirational talk is packed full of ideas for making your clients and vendors love you and rave about you to everyone they know. And this particular brand of loyalty translates into the kind of “super-referrals” that take much of the work out of future bookings. It’s time to shift the dynamic and actually pick and choose the clients that you want to work with and who are hoping to work with you.

This is a double header event and as such the start time will be 6pm and the attendance fee is only $18. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the event starting (5:30) at the studios of Stacey Kane at 134 Black Point Road in Scarborough, Maine.

You can read more details about the meeting here or head directly over to the the sign up sheet and reserve your seat here.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another reader contest/giveaway!...



We are giving one of our readers a brand new copy of the book we recently reviewed (and loved!) "Food Photography" by Nicole Young.

The contest is open to everyone and the rules for participating are pretty easy and consists of just these two little things:

1. Leave a comment on any blog post or any one of our YouTube videos.

2. Upload an image of food that you shot to our Flickr group.

The winner will be chosen at random from all of the qualifying entries and announced on the blog on Friday September 9th.

You can find more detailed information on how to join our Flickr group here.

Good luck to all and really looking forward to seeing your images!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A (brave) man and his dog...



You know the routine, if it's the weekend I am (most likely) off topic.

Those who have followed this blog for very long have read my posts about the military (like here and here) and dogs (here and here), so this week when I read the story about the loss of Navy Seal Jon Tumilson and saw the images from his funeral of when his dog walked up to his casket and laid down I knew right away I wanted to share it with as many people as I could (though I doubt few have missed it).


I tried to explain to my teenage daughters the bravery it takes to deliberately put yourself in harms way, to run towards danger when every fiber in your being is telling you to run the other way, all the while knowing you may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, to give that last full measure.


It has been my honor to personally know such men.

Sometimes I think it's not that we are a great country, it's that we are a country made up of great people... people like Jon Tumilson.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our "Chasing the Light" book winner is...



Before we announce the winner I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in this contest, a bunch of people left comments, joined our Flickr group, and uploaded some outstanding images. If you haven't checked out the Flickr images you really, really should.

The winner of our "Street" image contest was randomly selected from all who entered using a program called "The Hat", the person who will get a copy of the book "Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light" by Ibarionex Perello is....

Drum roll please... (Flickr name) Hadleygrass!!!!

Here are a few of the images he uploaded for the contest:




(clicking on any image will open it larger and in a new window for better viewing)

Okay Hadleygrass, the ball is in your court now, just drop us an email with your snail mail address and we'll get the book right out to you.

Congratulations!

Be sure to be here on Monday because we will be announcing our very next contest (not wasting any time), we will be giving away the book "Food Photography" by Nicole Young.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review of "Food Photography" by Nicole Young...



Before I jump into the review let me say this "please, please, please don't be turned of by the word food!", because "Food Photography: from Snapshots to Great Shots" is a book that is for anyone who owns a camera.

Even if you don't "shoot food" you should read this review (and more importantly the book).

I love Nicole's writing style, it is both disarming and very engaging. Often I read an educational book with anticipation, waiting for the next factoid, the next "learning moment" to present itself, but because of her writing style I just enjoyed reading and would be surprised when each nugget of knowledge fell upon me.

The first 80 pages of the book covers photography fundamentals, gear, and lighting that is useful and informative to any photographer.

Only after thoroughly covering these topics does Nicole move into food, and she covers it more in-depth than anyone else I have seen and does it with authority (I think) because she does it all, she shops for the right ingredients, she cooks it all, then does her own styling, and only after all this she photographs it. So she understands more than most how the ingredient or cooking impacts the final shot.


My mother has the habit of when she shares her recipes with others of "accidently" leaving out one small key ingredient so their final dish is never quite as good as hers, not so in this book. Nicole has held nothing back.

Wanna know how to take old pieces of fence and turn it into an interesting table top, it's in there. Which is better, real ice or fake? Nicole explains (in both words and pictures).

One of the (many) things I love about this book is "pouring over the picture" a segment where Nicole covers every aspect of a shot, gear, food, framing, color coordination, and camera settings... nothing is left unexamined or unexplained.

Only after covering everything under the sun about food does she move into Photoshop, both in general and specifically as it applies to food. And again, this area is thoroughly explained in both word and photo, each editing step shows both the image being edited accompanied by the Photoshop dialog box so each step is easy to follow and understand.

And did I mention she discusses monitor calibration? I love this woman.

;)

The final chapter "Behind The Scenes" takes you through multiple photo shoots (from start to finish) including 50 images (or more) from the food prep, styling, lighting, shoot, tips, and post processing.

From soup to nuts as they say (sorry, I just could not stop that from coming out).

"Food Photography: from Snapshots to Great Shots" is such a good read, I got from cover to cover in just 2 sittings, which if you know me, is really quite an accomplishment and it's so full of useful information you can barely pick it up.

A GREAT book.

Be sure to check out her blog and her tutorial section, it is chock full of great photography information.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A new, free lighting Magazine from Scott Kelby!...



Today Scott Kelby released a new iPad-only digital magazine called Light It: A How-To Magazine for Studio Lighting and Off-Camera Flash through KelbyTraining.com. The debut issue is free and available now on iTunes in the App Store.

Light It is for photographers of all skill-levels who use lighting or want to explore lighting concepts.

The free debut issue of Light It features contributions from executive editor Scott Kelby, with features from editorial photographer Zack Arias and one of today’s most influential hotographers Joe McNally. Regular contributors include Matt Kloskowski and Rafael "RC" Concepcion from The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP).


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You guys are good!...





I have gone through some of the images you folks have been uploading to our Flickr Group for our latest book giveaway and they are outstanding.

It was hard to whittle it down to just six representative images.

So if you haven't yet, head on over to Flickr and take a look, and there is still time for you to upload your own images as well.

(clicking on any image will open it larger and in a new window)






Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bits and pieces... odds and ends...


First:

There is a new survey question for you (on the upper right of the blog page) asking "what is your primary shooting mode", so please take just a moment to plug in your answer.

And from the last survey, the review of the latest David Hobby/Strobist DVD set "Lighting in Layers" will be posted next week and I promise you, you do not want to miss it.

Second:

The response from our latest contest has been pretty impressive, be sure to head over the our Flickr page and check out some of the submissions.

And lastly:

Crazy, crazy week, a rare Wednesday wedding yesterday, a Friday wedding (tomorrow), and a Saturday wedding to cap off the week! So if it seems you have heard less from me this week than usual, you have and weddingpalooza is why.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Would you like the book "Chasing the Light"?...



We are going to give one of our lucky readers a copy of the book we reviewed last week "Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light" by Ibarionex Perello.

All you have to do is two little things:

1. Leave a comment on any blog post or any one of our YouTube videos.

2. Upload a "street" style (photojournalistic) image (no portraits or studio images) to our Flickr group.

The winner will be announced next week here on the blog (Friday August 26th).

You can find more detailed information on joining our Flickr group here.

Good luck to everyone!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The things we do to our children...


Sometimes I really look forward to the weekends, because it's when I can go (way) off topic on the blog and talk about anything I want.

This past Tuesday I was cleaning up some hard drives and came across several images I had forgotten all about.

When my girls were younger I truly "embraced" the magic of childhood, probably a bit bit more than most. Childhood comes but once and I really wanted them to enjoy it.

Forget the big holidays (like Christmas), I would even run with the "minor" ones as well. Everyone knows that leprechauns are mischievous, so on Saint Patrick's Day the girls would wake up to find pictures turned upside down, cupboard doors left open, and once they even turned our milk green.

As the girls got older they really wanted to catch a leprechaun so we would set traps (using shiny fake gold coins) and one year we even put tape on the floor hoping to stick one of them in place. That was the year I had to get very small socks and shoes to leave stuck to the tape, the girls were so excited thinking they had come soooo close to capturing one.

Here is a picture of one of those traps, notice the "come in free food" sign.


Molly (you can read more about her here and here) was convinced unicorns existed and one year while on vacation she was sure that the woods next to our cottage was a perfect place for unicorns to live so she wanted to stay up and to catch a glimpse of one. I told her to put out some "unicorn mix", I would setup a camera, and we would try to capture one on film.

So Molly made the mix, I set the camera up on the porch, and then I had to get up really early the next morning to do some bad Photoshop work getting the unicorn into the picture.

Now that they are older, they fully realize my culpability in these "magic" events and I am sure there is going to be a price to pay.


(click on either image to view larger and in a new window)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review of "Chasing the Light" by Ibarionex Perello...



One of the fun things about writing this blog is publishers send me books all the time to review, some get reviewed and some don't.

I have been a big fan of Ibarionex Perello for some time, his was one of the first photography podcasts I listened to when I plunged into photography, so I was excited when the UPS truck rolled up and left his book "Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light" on my doorstep.

Excited but nervous to, because what if i didn't like the book of a person/photographer I admired and respected.

It only took the acknowledgement and dedication of his book, you know that part of the very beginning that most people skip right over, to increase my admiration of Mr. Perello. I think that's the part of the book that an author puts more of themselves in than anywhere else and it reveals a glimpse of who they are and what they hold near and dear. So I was far less concerned about what followed because I knew it would be the best a good man had to offer and you just can't ask for more than that.


I can sum up the review pretty simply "Chasing the Light" is a great read. It is the best source for understanding natural light I have read. Period.

Two of the hardest things to do is shoot in harsh mid day sun because, well, it's harsh mid day sun, and "street" photography because things move and change so quickly that you don't have much time to press the shutter button before the opportunity is gone forever.

The two hundred and fifty pages of this book will give you the information to do both very, very well.

There is a bunch to love about this book, including the fact that every time you turn the page there are pictures, lots of pictures, at least one but sometimes as many as three. Each image demonstrates the point Ibarionex is trying to teach us with his words. There are the camera settings and mechanics that went into capturing the image including the thought process (the how and why he took this shot). So you read AND see everything that went into it. To make the learning experience complete Ibarionex includes the why as well.

Just because you can take a good picture doesn't mean you can teach the process to another how, Ibarionex. Throughout the book it feels he is talking to you (not at or down to you) in a way that is easy to understand and follow.

One of the points he strives to get across is the importance of getting things right in camera, because shooting is way more fun than "fiddling around in Photoshop".

And I love when I read a book and learn new things, like the rule of thumb that minimum shutter speed is 1 over the focal length (so minimum shutter speed for a 100mm lens is 1/100, 200mm lens is 1/200, etc.).

There is a cool self assignment in chapter 4 (which is about color), Ibarionex looks at color as an important ingredient in a recipe, so to help develop your eye for color the assignment is to shoot single colors... only red, only yellow, or only blue... a great idea for developing how color impacts an image.

Ibarionex covers color temps and white balance in great detail as well, did you know that open shade has a bluish color cast? Or that setting your cameras white balance preset to "sunny" (instead of auto) will give you richer and more vibrant colors during the "golden hour"?

I could ramble on and on about the great information covered in this book, but you can check it out yourself by reading a full chapter. Find out for yourself just how good a teacher Ibarionex is and how good this book is by following this link... you can read all of chapter 4 online or download it to your computer.

But wait, there's more, you can watch his podcast on metering choices when shooting a scene. The series of podcasts this cam from can be found here.

There are so many things covered in this book that I haven't even touched on, but let me close by saying that if you want to know and understand how natural light impacts photography there is no better book than "Chasing the Light".



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reader images from our Scott Kelby tutorial...


A couple weeks back we had the pleasure of posting the long exposure tutorial video Scott Kelby filmed for us and today we are sharing a couple samples sent to us from our readers.

The first is from Jonathan Brown and the image he shot (and shared) is from the Lantern Festival in Nara Japan.


The second shot is closer to home (for me at least) and is from Mark Hensley. Mark shot this at Fort Popham here in Phippsburg, Maine.


Clicking on either image will open it larger and in a new window for better viewing.

Be sure to checkout Scotts long exposure tutorial and if you give it a try we would love to see the results, you can post them to our Flickr group or email them directly to us. If you do email an image (please) try to keep in the 200k range.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Check out these images from a WPT reader...




The above image, "Little Lady Bug", is from one of our readers (and Flickr group member) Matthew Mendenhall.

I love this shot, how it was setup, the composition, and the processing... so basically, everything about it.

Matt was kind enough to share the details behind how this image came to be, how it was shot and how it was processed.

"I started out photographing some wildflowers in my front yard that I planted earlier in the year, there were some large sunflowers growing among my wildflowers and thought that the bright yellow sunflower would look great on a black background.

I went out and cut one of the sunflowers to photograph and as I was opening the front door I noticed a ladybug crawling up the screen door, so I scooped the ladybug onto my hand and brought it inside with the sunflower.

With the flower in a small glass I put the ladybug on to the flower and hoped it wouldn't fly away. I used a piece of black fabric under the glass holding the sunflower and then raised it up for the background as well. I used this setup so that if I changed angles from a side shot to a top shot the background would remain black.

In an effort to hide from my 2 young daughters who really wanted to hold the ladybug she frantically crawled around the sunflower and ended up hiding on the bottom of the flower. I turned on the television to "distract" the girls and when I came back the flower had drooped over, showing the back of the flower and putting the ladybug in the perfect spot to be photographed.

The shot was taken with a Nikon D300s and a Tamron 90mm macro lens on a tripod. It was lit with a Nikon SB-600 flash with a umiQuest softbox attached to it. The flash was fired in TTL mode and it was handheld to the upper right of the frame.

I shot in Aperture Priority mode at F25 and 1/60 of a second at an ISO 200.

The lady bug was selectively sharpened using a brush in Lightroom, it was then imported it into Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 where I used the vignette blur effect. I adjusted the center point, size, transition amount and the opacity. I knew that I didn't have much at the top of the photo for the blur to effect so I moved the center point so it would take the outer aspect of the flower petals out of focus. I then saved the photo back to Lightroom and gave it a small amount of vignette and some noise removal.

So to say the least, much of this photo was luck! But as they say, being in the right place at the right time is part of getting great shots. In the end I had another fun shot and my girls had some fun with the Ladybug before it flew off. I hope you can get some creative ideas from this picture and workflow."


I also took the liberty of grabbing this shot from Matt titled "Good Boy", which has a very simple setup. It was shot with a Nikon D300s, an SB-600 inside a Westcott 28" Apollo Softbox, and fired via TTL. It's another outstanding shot using my favorite softbox, the Apollo 28" (you can read more about how much I like it including a video review here and here).

A BIG thank you to Mathew for sharing part of his photography world with us, please be sure to check out his website and Flickr stream.

(clicking on either image will open it larger and in a new window)




Monday, August 8, 2011

The rain and macro photography...





The last couple days we have been getting some much needed rain, and one of my favorite things to do is to take my Nikon 60mm f/2.8G AF-S Micro out as soon as the water stops falling and grab a few shots.

I like to get real close, have the depth of field real shallow, and here are the results.

(click on any image to view larger in a new window)




Friday, August 5, 2011

Free and waaaaaay better than good...


There are a bazillion choices when it comes to image editing software and many are free and surprisingly some of those free options do a better job than some of those programs that you shell out your hard earned money for.

One of those that is free and outstanding is Photoscape.

It does just about anything you can imagine when it comes to image editing, you can create an animated GIF, do batch processing, and so much more. Their fake tilt shift feature is pretty cool.


Photoscape is powerful and full featured editing option that you can download for free right here.

Below is a two minute video that demonstrates just how powerful the clone stamp is, watch the part where they use the tool to change the title of a book in a library.

They have put together a large number of tutorial videos that you can watch, simply follow this link.



Monday, August 1, 2011

You are all cordially invited...


The Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk is this October 1 & 2 and yours truly will be leading the walk here in Portland Maine.

This is a great opportunity to meet new (photography) friends, share information, learn new things, and if that isn't enough there will be lots of very cool prizes as well.

Follow this link to see some of the best images from last years walk.

So if you are in the Portland (Maine) area you can sign up right here, if you live elsewhere follow this link to find a walk near you.

Walks are limited to 50 attendees so sign up soon.