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.





First studio portraits using the Westcott Spiderlite TD5 system

7 02 2011

I got to use my new Westcott Spiderlite TD5 2-light kit system for the first time last night when I photographed my friend Karen for her website and business promotion. She owns Karen Wyatt Skin Care in Burke, Virginia. (See how pretty her skin is? You could have skin that nice, too—book an appointment with her now!) Although I usually use strobes or my Nikon Speedlight setups in my studio, I became an instant fan of these “constant” what-you-see-is-what-you-get cool lights. I can’t wait to experiment with them more!

The TD5 system uses five fluorescent bulbs (in each light) to provide daylight balanced light, but without the intense heat that my old Lowell Tota-lights would produce (which reminds me—I should sell those things since I never use them!). My main light had a 24×32 shallow softbox and the other softbox (used as a hair light in most of the shots) was a stripbank measuring 12×36. My only complaint (and it is a small one) was that Westcott didn’t include any instructions on assembly. The one sheet of paper included showed us how to screw in the lightbulbs. Duh. We figured it out despite the lack of direction—smart women that we are!

Scott Kelby, my favorite Photoshop guru and an all around genuinely nice guy, highly recommended them after seeing wedding and portrait photographer Monte Zucker use them at a seminar. (A Washington, D.C. native, Zucker died of pancreatic cancer in 2007 at his home in Florida. He was 77).

I met Scott Kelby way back when he was teaching his wonderful $99 day-long workshops, right before he founded NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Scott is the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, editor-in-chief of Layers Magazine, training director and instructor for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, President National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), CEO of Kelby Media Group, and the author of a slew of bestselling technology books (many of which I own!). I attended the very first Photoshop World Conference & Expo in Orlando with my friends Cammie and Paula (can’t remember the year, though). I’ve been a member of NAPP ever since and try to attend at least one day-long workshop each year. Check out Scott’s website/blog here. I’m a die-hard Scott Kelby fan!

Check out the seminar schedule for the Photoshop CS5 for Photographers Tour with Matt Klowkowski here, the Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour with Dave Cross here, and the Photoshop CS5 From Focused to Finished Tour with Ben Wilmore here. If you have the opportunity to attend any one of these workshops, it will be the best $99 you’ve ever spent! NAPP members pay just $79 for the day-long seminars. If you’re serious about photography and Photoshop, consider joining NAPP. You’ll receive Photoshop User Magazine, which is $9.99 per issue if you buy it at a bookstore—the $99 annual membership includes that subscription and many other discounts—including savings on hardware, software and NAPP’s excellent DVD training series.

In the two videos below, Scott talks about the first time he used the lights, how they work, and he also announces the holiday light kit special from Westcott.

© 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!





Scott Kelby’s first-ever Worldwide Photowalk

24 08 2008

Yesterday Michael and I joined about 50 photographers in Founder’s Park in Alexandria, Virginia for Scott Kelby‘s first-ever “Worldwide Photowalk.” I met Scott over a decade ago when he was just starting the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), and the regular Photoshop (and other Adobe programs) seminars. At the time, he was operating a design studio in Dunedin, Florida. My friend Bret and I attended one of his first one-day seminars in Richmond (his other business is Kelby Training). Cost: $99. We were amazed and thought, “what could you possibly learn for just $99?” Most software seminars are two-day events and run upwards of $800-1200! We figured if we just learned a couple of tips, it would be worth it. We were blown away by Scott’s knowledge, humor, and his all around good-guy-ness. If you get a chance to go to a seminar, you will not be disappointed. Along with fellow instructors Dave Cross, Bert Monroy, and Ben Willmore, he teaches seminars across the U.S. throughout the year.

Membership in NAPP is $99 per year. As a member, you get the Photoshop User Magazine, which without membership is $9.99 an issue on newsstands. That alone is worth the price of membership. Membership also gets you great discounts on Scott Kelby’s numerous books, videos, and great products from other vendors. Members get a discount and pay just $79 for the one-day seminars.

Cammie and Paula and I attended the first-ever Photoshop World Conference and Expo, which was held in Orlando, Florida. This year’s event (now in its tenth year) will be held September 4-6, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sure wish I could go…but work beckons.

Scott is President of NAPP, and editor and publisher of both Photoshop User Magazine and Layers magazine (the how-to magazine for everything Adobe). Layers was formerly Mac Design Magazine. He is also now an accomplished photographer, as evidenced by his portfolio. I just read here that he was named the top-selling computer book author three years in a row. Since 2001, he has sold over 1,000,000 units! Two of my invaluable favorites are The Digital Photography Book and The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2. He dedicates one page per topic and they are great quick reference guides for photographers. I own enough of his books that I can claim that I’ve put at least a couple of meals on his table. 🙂

Is there anything this man cannot do? He does all of this, plus has a wife and two kids. Good on ya, Scott!

Our group was led by Manassas photographer Jeff Revell. Learn more about the Alexandria walk on Jeff’s blog, PhotoWalkPro. We were blessed with beautiful weather, a nice spring-like breeze, blue skies, and puffy white clouds all morning long.

I finally got to meet Maryland photographers Patty Hankins and her husband, Bill Lawrence, of Hankins-Lawrence Images, LLC. Patty and I have been corresponding for a few months and visit each other’s blogs regularly. Visit Patty’s blog to see her latest postings. On her blog, you can subscribe to her “Photo Notes,” where she directs you to new products, reviews, shooting locations, workshops, seminars, articles and more. It’s worth subscribing to because you get some great links such as the ones she found this week.

Bill was the only photographer on the walk not shooting with a 35mm SLR. He was shooting with Polaroid and Fuji Instant Film (color and b&w) on a vintage Graflex RB Series B SLR camera.

Below are some of the images I shot during the walk through Old Towne yesterday. (I think I did more talking than shooting, but wasn’t that the point of gathering anyway?) I talked to a few photographers (names to come later when I remember them!) and picked up some very handy tips on shooting with flash and ways to trigger off-camera flashes. Thanks, guys!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

…and then, halfway through the walk, someone remembered there was a Saturday Farmer’s Market! Jeff remarked that had he known this, we would have started out at the market. I went a little crazy and photographed virtually everything edible!