Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Remembrance, In Pictures

6 09 2011

Joe McNally is one of my very favorite photographers. He has been shooting for more than 30 years and was LIFE magazine’s staff photographer from 1994-1998. He has contributed to National Geographic magazine for 20 years and is the author of The Moment It Clicks and The Hotshoe Diaries (which I highly recommend adding to your library!). Wikipedia reports, “McNally has been described by American Photo magazine as perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today and was listed as one of the hundred most important people in photography.” Check out McNally’s website and blog here.

I attended one of his Flash Bus Tour workshops in Austin this past spring. He paired up with local photographer and flash guru, David Hobby of Strobist.com fame, for the entire tour. Dave lives in nearby Maryland and his website is a great resource for lighting tips. (I intend to blog about that fantastic workshop and share photos soon. I shot this photo of Joe during the workshop).

McNally recently guest blogged on Scott Kelby‘s Photoshop Insider blog. Scott, another of my favorite teachers, is a graphic designer, photographer, the editor-in-chief of Photoshop User magazine and the founder of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Scott is a best-selling author as well, having penned more than 40 books. He is also president of Kelby Media Group, an Oldsmar, Florida-based software training, education, and publishing firm. He is most definitely a Renaissance man—there’s not much he can’t (or doesn’t already) do!

In his guest spot, McNally writes about shooting 246 portraits of NYC firemen with the Giant Polaroid camera in the aftermath of 9/11 in Joe McNally Presents: A 9/11 Remembrance, In Pictures. It is an inspiring read with amazing photos accompanying it. Head over to it here.





Isabel & Holly

3 03 2011

I had a fantastic mini-vacation with my friend Gina this past weekend. We flew to Dallas early Sunday morning, then drove to Bossier City, Louisiana to surprise her mother for her 69th birthday. It was a whirlwind, spontaneous three days and I shot lots of photos of people, places and things. This photo below was from a quick session on Monday evening. I photographed her cousin Greg and his family at their home—below is his wife Holly and daughter Isabel. It was an impromptu shoot with just my D300, Nikkor 18-70 lens, a Nikon Speedlight attached to a RayFlash ringlight and a bare office wall serving as a background—but with lovely models like these two, I couldn’t help but get a few good images. In many of the photos Isabel is a deadringer for a young Reese Witherspoon! More photos from their session to come…

In upcoming posts, I’ll have some photos and stories gathered on our road trip. Our three-day adventure concluded with an awe-inspiring tour in Shreveport of CRM Studios, a video and audio production company where Greg is the Director of Broadcast Production, as well as Moonbot Studios, the home of Bill Joyce, whose latest project is the short film, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (which, as a self-admitted biblioholic, I cannot wait to see—the short will be available as an iPad download next month!). Joyce is an author, illustrator and leader in the digital animation industry and was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the 100 people to watch. Projects based on his works have been translated into feature films and television shows, including Robots and Meet the Robinsons, and the Emmy-winning series Rolie Polie Olie and George Shrinks. Wish we could have met Joyce during our tour, but we did get a brief glimpse of the studio where all the animation magic happens! (Thanks so much for the special tour, Greg!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Baker’s Dozen Link Love

3 11 2010

1. Joe McNally: Common Mistakes by Photographers
One of my favorite photographers, Joe McNally, created a list of common mistakes people make when starting out in photography. Go check out this great post here:
http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/2010/11/02/mistakes-2/

2. Larry Becker’s Cheap Shots
Through Scott Kelby’s blog (love him, too!), I learned about Larry Becker and his new DIY blog, Larry’s Cheap Shots. This blog resulted from his regular segment on the photography web-based tv show, DTownTV. He offers great DIY projects and inexpensive solutions to your photographic needs. Visit his regular blog, also a great site, here: http://lbecker.com/blog/

3. Dan Williams, Bird Photographer
I met Dan Williams, bird photographer extraordinaire, when he was exhibiting during a Craftsmen’s Classic Art & Craft Show at the Dulles Expo in Chantilly, Virginia last year. I had the chance to talk with him at length about his photography career, including his choice of equipment—the full frame 24.9mp Sony A900. After seeing his work, I have concluded that there is no one better at this genre—so I’m leaving avian photography to him! His work is clean, graphic and filled with color. He describes his approach to composition in his blog post, Keeping It Simple Can Produce the Best Results, here. Another insightful post, Breaking the Laws of Nature Photography, can be found here. Check out his website here and his blog here.

4. Bob Krist’s Compact Location Lighting Kit
After seeing freelance photographer Bob Krist on the Nikon Creative Lighting System video, I decided I had to put together a compact lighting kit like his. My only change was a cheaper travel case—although now that I see his Stormcase has wheels, I’ve got that on my wishlist again. I already had many of the items; I just needed to add some of the accessories—such as the smaller collapsible light stands and shorter umbrellas. (The video is well worth the price—lighting guru Joe McNally and Bob Krist show the amazing results you can accomplish using Nikon Speedlight flashes on location. Check out the DVD here). Krist works on assignment with magazines such as National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian and Islands. His website is beautiful—check it out here. I traveled with my newly-assembled kit for the first time when I photographed musician Richard Reed in Providence, RI, earlier this fall. I was on assignment for Cochlear Americas and posted the results of our two photo sessions here. Richard wrote an article for the November/December 2010 issue of the Hearing Loss Magazine, which went to print last month. I’ll be posting a recap on that issue shortly.

5. Erik Gauger’s Notes from the Road
I discovered travel writer and photographer Erik Gauger’s blog a few years ago and have had the pleasure of corresponding with him via e-mail regularly. I will be interviewing him and profiling his career in a future post on this blog, so stay tuned. His website is not only beautiful, it will make you want to hit the road in search of adventure! His blog has garnered accolades: “Unexpected frontier of the travel blogosphere…” —Boston Globe; “Sumptuous Site” —Time Magazine; and “The best-looking blog we’ve seen” —Forbes Magazine. Erik’s blog is definitely a must-see, must-read virtual trip. Find out why at http://www.notesfromtheroad.com/

6. Kolby Kirk’s Travel Journal
I met webmaster/graphic designer/photographer/traveler Kolby Kirk through my blog. Check out his newest blog—The Journal. He has several other websites that can help you plan your own travel adventures. Click here to peruse that list.

7. It’s (K)not Wood
I have a thing for anything faux bois (fake wood), from vases to dishes to table runners, so I love Emilyn Eto and Jonathan Lo’s It’s (K)not Wood, the blog “dedicated to all things faux bois.” Oh, and did I mention I also love anything emblazoned with leaves, trees, twigs, birds, bird eggs, bird nests, or bird feathers, too?

8. The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies
If you’re an “old school” graphic designer, you’ll appreciate the trip down memory lane in Lou Brooks’ The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies. Click on any item from “the ghosts of graphic arts past” to relive its use.

9. The Pantone Hotel
On my list of places to rest my weary head, I just added The Pantone Hotel in Brussels, Belgium. For those of you who don’t know what the heck Pantone is, click here.

10. On my nightstand: A Homemade Life
A few weeks ago, I read A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg, the creator of the blog, Orangette. I found myself sniffling in the airport during some of the passages she writes about her dying father, an exuberant gastronomic. Food and memories are intertwined in this short, sweet read. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…so good, it even made me want to cook—one thing I just don’t do much of, I must confess. Learn more about the book and Wizenberg in this Amazon.com review here. In honor of your father, Molly, I promise to utilize (soon, I promise, soon) my shiny new white KitchenAid mixer—a well-received birthday present last month from my friends Gina, Karen and Rob. I have always thought that if only I had one of these, then I would be a real cook. Guess now I don’t have any excuses to stay out of the kitchen, do I?

11. Matt Bites Blog
I just love food photographer Matt Armendariz’ blog, http://mattbites.com/. His blog tagline reads, “a man obsessed with food, drink & everything in between.” A former graphic designer and art director in the food industry, he is one of the charter members of Martha’s Circle, a selection of lifestyle blogs selected by the editors of Martha Stewart Living. Check out his food & drink, travel and photography portfolios while you’re there. Just reading his recent recipe for Chicken & Potato Patties makes me hungry—oooh, and they include cilantro, one of my favorite herbs!

12. Mark Berkery’s Macro Photography
This site was featured on the “Freshly Pressed” page in WordPress last week—Mark Berkery’s Being Mark blog. His macro photography is jaw-dropping and if you click here, you’ll learn how he gets these amazing shots (it’s not just equipment—he knows technique, too), as well discover that there’s an inexpensive piece of equipment to add to your arsenal to capture images like his—a Raynox Macroscopic Lens. I’ve never heard of this company until now, but was thrilled to find their inexpensive products at Adorama. I first ordered the DCR-250 ($50 + shipping), which allows really high magnification and includes a snap-on universal mount suitable for lens that range from 52mm to 67mm size (I’ll try it first on my Nikkor 105mm micro, but it can be used on any of my lens, macro or not. They can be used on other cameras, too—not just Nikons). After reading the various entries on this Pentax forum here, I decided I also wanted the option of pulling back from my subject, so I also ordered the DCR-150 ($42.95 + shipping). I’ll do some experimenting shortly and will report my findings.

13. And finally, this one is just plain fun!
I learned about HEMA’s site here a few years ago (via graphic designer Chuck Green’s Design Briefs, if I’m not mistaken) and I still think it’s still one of the coolest retail sites online. HEMA is a Dutch department store chain. Unless you’re from the Netherlands, you probably won’t be able to read any of the product names, but wait a few seconds to see the reason this site is so much fun anyway. Do turn up the sound or you’ll miss some of the action. My flight attendant friend Gina has a penchant for visiting grocery stores in her international travels, so I’m sure when she sees this link, she’ll be making plans to patronize HEMA the next time she’s in Amsterdam!





Design Studio: Postcards

23 09 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





44,587

7 08 2010

WARNING, WILL ROBINSON!
Unless you’re a photographer, computer geek, or having nothing else to do tonight, you have been forewarned that this is a boring post. Continue at your own risk.

As I would advise any photographer out there to do (amateur or professional), I am backing up my photos once again. I currently have three 500gb drives with all my digital images duplicated on them. They are now so full that I can’t add any new collections to them, so I’m transferring them to another drive (1TB), and copying everything from that drive onto a second 1TB drive. My design work is duplicated on four separate 500gb drives. Overkill? Hardly. The price of external hard drives is low enough to justify the excessive duplication. Simply having two backups isn’t enough for my peace of mind.

A few years ago, I thought I had two safe backups for my photo files. Have you ever heard the sickening sound of an external hard drive’s death spin? So, Backup #1 went bad, but I wasn’t worried! After all, I had a backup of the backup! Right? So I plugged in the backup one and clicked open a folder of photos. I was prompted with a message that essentially (in so many words) told me that of course you can see those photos—just show us the master drive! It turns out that despite transferring all those images to a backup drive, it was not an actual copy! I couldn’t access those images without linking to the original drive…which was dead. Yes, I had other partial backups (drives and CDs), but I had no system in place to determine if everything was up to date on all of these storage mediums. I wouldn’t know if something was missing until years down the road when I wanted to find something and couldn’t. I had no way of knowing that the second drive was tied to the first one, like a server of sorts.

So, after shedding a few tears (I’m not ashamed to admit) and wrestling with the decision to trust that I did indeed have everything backed up in other places, I decided to send the original drive off for data recovery in San Francisco. It cost me almost $2,000, but they recovered everything. There I was, thinking I had insurance with two separate backups. For $2,000, I could have bought 20 drives (or a new camera). After that incident, I made sure I had three or four bonafide backups for both my photos and my design files. Better safe than sorry…in this case, I hope history never repeats itself!

I create folders for each category of photograph—such as garden shots, client photos, people, pets, travel, events, and a miscellaneous folder for the stragglers that don’t fit into those categories. I also keep separate folders of all the royalty-free stock photos and vector art that I purchase for various projects. On my duplicate client file drives, I keep folders for each client. I have backups on three separate 500 gb drives, plus all of my design projects are burned individually on CDs when finished.

Michael and I are contemplating setting up a Drobo drive for all of our respective files so we’ll have a networked storage option. That’s in the future—for now, I’m happy my photo and design work are in at least four separate places. It’s a good idea to take one backup drive offsite (in a bank deposit box or even at a friend’s house) so you’ll always have a backup away from your house or office—just in case something should happen!

I just now began the transfer of my “GARDEN SHOTS ARCHIVE” to the new 1TB drive and that folder contains 44,587 images. Yikes! Now, not all of those are winners, mind you. Some are duplicate images that I never worked on. Some are decent record shots that won’t ever get posted, sold, printed, or utilized, but I haven’t culled them out yet based on that fact. Whenever I pop in a new CF card to transfer images, I do a quick culling of the less desirable images, then start working on the images that stand out the most. The rest remain in the folder for a second round of deletions when I have the time to go through them.

The most amazing thing is—-that number only covers images in the garden category. That’s a whole lotta flower pixels in one place!

Oh, and it will take about five hours to transfer just that folder. Yawn…see ya in the morning, folks!





Wow!

22 03 2010

Thanks to Carmen for sending me this link. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they could create something like this? I’d be first in line for one!