Friday, September 28, 2007
Today is the last day of my Fall Digital Master Class. We wrap about noon. We had a great group of photographers this week - Thanks guys and girls. Also, thank you to all of our sponsors, including ExpoDisc for their generous support for the class. Everyone headed over to our home last night for a delicious gourmet grill out and the class pic. The nice thing about the party at the house is that the class gets to see, first hand, exactly how we do everything. We went to about 10:30 p. m. last night - with questions and wonderful conversation right up to the end.
My good friend, Mary Mannix, stopped by, after being on the road for a few weeks, and gave the class a very informative update on the new Canon cameras. Rob Kumbler, my buddy for years, and owner of K&R PhotoDigital, our biggest and best Pro dealer here in town, and our local Canon and Nikon dealer covered the Nikon side - equal billing you know.
The Master Class is always fun and each time something really special happens. This time around, Peter, all the way from California, was joined right here in good old Cincy, by his wife, Maria. She flew in so they could celebrate their 10th anniversary together. What a great week for Peter - Digital Master Class, anniversary, Maria - it just doesn't get any better than that. We were all happy to be part of their celebration. Congrats to you both and safe travels back home.
How about a few news items and then I'm off to class.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Most of us always show the bride and groom kissing or looking at each other. I do the same thing. But, when making those images, I also go in really close, just showing lips, hands, eyes, etc. These really closeup images allow us to see beyond the wedding couple into their feelings and emotions they have for each other. Enjoy, --David
Photoshop, LumaPix, Actions and more. We got back to the computers yesterday after two days of on-location shooting. We took some time to review and recap the lighting, posing and composition aspects of the images. A comparison of "Highlight Tone Priority" - On vs. Off amazed most of the class, myself included - more on that next week. Wednesday is computer day where we discuss the best apps for the digital wedding/portrait studio which include Photoshop, Lightroom, and LumaPix. Today, we will continue with Photoshop and get into - my favorite part of the Master Class - sales and marketing. Hey, if we are going to put all the effort into learning this stuff, we better know how to sell it. Again, thanks to our sponsors, Tallyn, Lexjet, Zookbinders, Pictocolor, and Portrait Weavers for their prizes and support. We had five more happy winners yesterday!! How about a little blog news and more ...
Hey gang... got to go, class starts soon, see ya tomorrow, everybody. --David
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This was one of my favorite images from yesterday's shoot. The bride's veil was pulled out on both sides in order to frame and separate her from the background. the off camera lighting was supplied by bouncing the light off the opposite wall giving us that wonderful lighting on her face. I balanced the ambient to about a stop less than the flash in order that the bride would really "pop" from the setting. Enjoy! --David
It was a long, full, informational, picture packed day for everyone yesterday as we finished the second day of our Digital Master Class. One of the highlights of the day was giving away some of the door prizes so generously donated by our sponsors. We have over $1200 worth of wonderful door-prizes we are giving away this week. A great BIG thanks to Colorvision for the Spyder 2 Pro, NIK for their Color FX program and image enhancement books, Neil Enterprises for their peel and stick albums and Scott Tallyn for a lot of the Canon goodies. Instead of hitting news today, I thought I would walk you through some of the images we did yesterday - so here we go.
We spent about 2 hours there discussing my favorite things - lighting and composition. The cathedral has so many cool locations to shoot, we could have stayed there much longer. By the way, this is where I had my wedding this past Saturday. Here are a couple of the images from the morning shoot.
I love this first image of the bride and groom in Black and White. Look how I have the pillars behind them leading the eye right up to them. The off-camera direction of light was created by just bouncing my on camera flash off the nearby light colored marble wall. I think it looks pretty cool.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This is a shot from the past weekend's wedding. It was taken near the end of the evening after most of the guests departed. I wanted to create some long, strong shadows with the last few people on the dance floor. I had my assistant head to the other side of the room and hide behind the revelers. I was firing my remote controlled Quantum T5d at 1/4 power which created the shadows I wanted. I used a Sigma 8mm Fisheye lens to enhance the shadows and unusual room features, raised the ISO to 1600 on my Canon 40D, slowed the exposure to 1/20 second at F4.0 for the final image. Enjoy! --David
Here is what is in the works for upcoming posts. Next week I will be doing an entire review of that little known Canon camera feature called "Highlight Tone Priority" available on Canon's three new cameras. We will take an in-depth look at just how it works, why it works, and why you want to shoot with it "Enabled" regardless of whether you shoot JPEG's or RAW. Also, in development is an article on "Specularity" - when you want it, and when you don't, and how it can be controlled. Other topics include; high ISO shooting and noise reduction, more "flash" techniques, and more Photoshop tutorials. Stay tuned - a lot of "good stuff" is on the way.
We wrapped the first day of my Digital Master Class yesterday and are off to a good start. More on-location shooting today. The only downside is the weather - 95+ degrees here in Cincy, again. August proved to be record setting and it looks like September may also break all high temperature records. Another "hot" 95+ degrees scheduled for today. But heck, no problem - we are starting today's class with a hypnosis session where the suggestion will be that every time we are outside, we are to think Alaska - "...you are getting sleepy..."
How about a little news and then a little technique - "off to the races."
Here is how we did it. I pulled the reflector off of my Quantum T5d showing only the bare bulb. Next, I borrowed some notebook paper from one of the students to wrap around the flash tube as you can see in this first image.
This basically created a new light source with a very narrow beam of light. The "tricky" part was getting the "snoot" light pointed properly to create the "Hollywood" lighting pattern I wanted on my bride's face. My "Hollywood" lighting pattern is simply a variation of the classical "Rembrandt" lighting that artists and photographers have been using for years. Shellee, my assistant on the shot, positioned the flash so she could not see the far side of the bride's nose - so neither could the light she was holding, but she could still see plenty of the far side of the bride's cheek - and so could the light. Check out the second image.
Now if the light was held in the position described above, we should see an image of our bride with the dramatic, hard shadowed, directional light on her face, with the light falling off quickly over the rest of the scene to drive the viewer's attention easily to our bride's face. I think the resulting image does just that. Pretty cool, I think. --Enjoy.
Monday, September 24, 2007
This is one of my favorite images from Saturday's wedding. I envisioned a B&W wide angle shot of the bride against this very large picture window with the highlights "blown out" so that the "viewer's eye" would be brought directly to the bride. The image was made with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III fitted with Sigma's 12-24 mm wide-angle zoom lens at 12mm. Exposure was F5.6 at 1/50 second. ISO was set at 1000 to facilitate the the "high key" effect.
The image was then brought into Photoshop, desaturated with mid tones boosted just a bit with the "levels" adjustment. Next I duplicated the layer, added a 10 pixel Gausian blur and faded the blurred layer back to about 30%, then flattened the file. This gave the final image a slightly ethereal look that further enhanced my final result. Hope you like it. --David
Today we start my Digital Master Class. We have 19 photographers from all around the USA joining us this week for a photography, Photoshop, marketing, and sales "brain fry". It's a great time for all of us because we eat, sleep, and breath photography for the entire week. This afternoon,we head down to the beautiful Netherland Hilton Hotel for our first on-location shoot. This is one of my favorite places to shoot - it's elegant and offers lots of opportunities to make exceptional images. I'll post a few images tomorrow.
Also, check out some of the images from Saturday's wedding. I used Animoto's web site - which I discussed last week - to produce the MTV style show. We all think it is way "cool". Hope you enjoy it. How about a few news items, then I've got to get "scootin'" off to class. --David
For a wedding JPEG shooter, this is a "God-send". It reduced the amount of exposure "fiddling" to almost nothing. Basically what happens at this setting is that the camera keeps the highlights from "blowing out" (within a certain range, of course.) It was a very bright sunny, cloudless day Saturday, but when the bride came out of the house into the direct sun, I was able to just keep on shooting with out any worry of overexposing her gown. The cameras worked perfectly in this regard all day long.
Next week, I plan to run an in-depth article on the little discussed "Highlight Tone Priority" feature of Canon's new cameras, so be sure to check back. I think I'm in love.......again!!
Friday, September 21, 2007
This image has a "French" feel to me - it's the bride's expression, the veil, I'm not sure - but I love it. This photograph was made just as we were going back inside. The wind picked up and stated blowing the veil. I asked my bride to just play with it a bit, and we got this great image. The image was made with the Canon Mark III with 70-200mm lens set to F5.6 at 1/540 second at ISO800. It was brought into Photoshop, desaturated, and then the midtones were increased to produce the final result.
Because of yesterday's big post, I got to let this one be short and sweet. We have my week long Digital Master Class starting Monday and a few more loose ends need to be tied up. Also, I've got another big wedding tomorrow, so it's a busy preparation day. Next week, watch for postings from the class. I'll try to get some images up from the wedding, too. Have a great weekend.
See ya'll (that's KY talk), on Monday. --David
That's it for today gang - see you next week. --David
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This image was taken last year at a wedding we photographed in Chicago. The couple loved the setting on the golf course. We were losing light so I kicked the ISO up to 800. The Canon 5D was fitted with my 24-105mm lens and set to 70mm. Exposure was F5.6 at 1/125 second. The light from behind was the result of my assistant holding my remote controlled flash set to 100 W.S. Enjoy. -David
Lots of good stuff happening here today. As I start to put this posting together each morning, and I think I got things pretty much in order, some new news pops up. It just keeps on coming. So enjoy the posts today.
p.s. Please vote in the Flash Card poll on the right too - Thanks
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
© David A. Ziser Photography
This image was made at Photoshop World in Las Vegas. The lighting was supplied with an off camera flash passing through a "shoot through" umbrella. Shooting through the umbrella allows me to get the light source closer to the subject - hence softer light. I positioned our groom in front of the escalator and photographed him at an angle to the escalator to create the nice diagonal leading lines leading directly to him. Lastly, I slowed down the shutter a bit to pick up the ambient light of the scene and just balance with the exposure on the subject. The image was made with the Canon EOS 1D Mark III with a 24-105mm lens set to F 5.6 at 1/25 second at ISO 800. Enjoy -David
Today, I am changing the look and feel of the DigitalProTalk postings. I've been putting all the day's items under one day's heading, but when I go back to find an earlier post, I just see the day listed, not the post topics or lead lines. I know you could just search on the topic, but I want it to be a bit easier to find. Therefore, starting today, each story, tip, tutorial, et.al. (I love that word) is going to get it's own post. So, off to the races....
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
This is one of the images we made at the workshop yesterday in Columbus. When we pulled into the estate, I loved the trees I saw at the entrance. I knew I wanted to have the model surrounded by the beautiful color of the trees. I positioned her quite a bit down the road with me even further down the road. Using the Canon EOS 1D Mark III fitted the Canon's 70-300 D/O lens set at 165mm, I was able to compress the scene (and trees) to get the look I wanted. The off camera (directional) light was supplied by my Quantum T5d flash being fired remotely by the Quantum Freewire radio control. I balanced the Quantum "keylight" with the ambient to create the beautiful "direction of light" on the bride making her really "project" out of the background. The exposure was made at F6.3 at 1/250 second at ISO 200.
We had a great group of photographers in Columbus, OH yesterday. One of the highlights was that my buddy, Bob Hughes and his wife Elaine were able to set up an on-location shoot for us over at Jefferson Mansion. This is the former home of the governor of Ohio. It has since been donated to the city park board and is a favorite venue for parties and weddings. We weren't able to get inside, but that was fine. The grounds were beautiful. On top of that, we were able to hook up the computer and electronics outside so I was able to shoot wirelessly and the class could see the images instantaneously. This has proven to be a great way to ramp up the learning process at my workshops. After our session at the mansion we headed back to our meeting room and wrapped the program there. We were supposed to end at 6:00 p.m., but the class agreed to stay an extra hour which let me cover some additional material. We wrapped at 7:00 p.m. and were on the road back to Cincy by 8:30 p.m. A very nice day.
It's Technique Tuesday Again so How About Some Techniques
Flash Flavor - Nice Shot:
Matt Adcock over at Flash Flavor has a nice post which shows an easy filtered flash technique that produced a really nice reception shot. I wasn't going to swipe his pic so head over to his site to check it out. He had his assistant place a red gel over the remote flash and pointed it at the floor. He took the shot from over head to get a great perspective and terrific image. Check out Matt's great image and whole story right here.
Variation On a Theme - The "Pole Cam:"
I think Matt used some kind of painter's pole for supporting his camera. I've had my friend Kent Smith tell me about such a painter's pole at Lowe's. I still need to check it out. Anyway, for about three years now, I have been using a mono-pod to get the same result. I call it my "Pole Cam". I attach my Canon 30D with Sigma 8mm Fisheye lens to the monopod, manually focus on the subject, set the self timer to 10 seconds, put the wide angle diffuser over my Canon 580EX flash, and hit the shutter. As the the count gets to about 7 seconds, I lift the "Pole Cam" and hang it over the crowd and let the camera take the shot. It's a great perspective for a great image. By the way, the same technique works just as well if you put the camera on the floor and have the crowd look down at it. Here is a little slide that shows the various room shots and party images I capture with my "Pole Cam."
More on Infrared Photography and More:
I knew I had another lead on Infrared camera conversions around here somewhere. I finally found it. The company is called MadMax.com and they do IR conversions on just about anything - cameras, video recorders, etc. Not only that, but they also do "Image Enhancement" modifications to cameras, too. Their first page shows how they have improved the resolution of a Canon 5D. They have a fascinating site. Check it out right here. While you are there, check out their IR imaging devices - so "James Bond."
Picture Doctor: 3 Ways to Polarize Properly:
Placing a polarizing filter over your lens can really enhance you landscape images. The sky can be made darker and it can reduce or enhance reflections - it all depends on how the filter is oriented on your camera. Here is a nice (and short) article on the topic over at Pop Photo. I also like the nice "kicker" link in the article which discusses "Photographic Filters" vs. Photoshop. A quick read with good info - check it out right here.
Don't forget - check out our Photoshop tutorial "Touch of Color - With a Twist" next.
See everybody tomorrow. --David
This "Technique Tuesday" Photoshop tutorial reviews a technique that some of you may be familiar with. I've added a nice little creative twist at the end. Hope you enjoy it. --David
Monday, September 17, 2007
During a trip to Sedona last year, I made this image while on one of the ever popular "Pink Jeep" tours. It was originally captured as a color JPG with the Canon 5D at ISO 400, F 10 at 1/160sec. I used a Sigma 12-24mm lens at the 12mm setting to really accentuate the agave plant in the foreground. The image was then taken into Photoshop where I used "Channel Mixer" in "Monochrome" mode to get the proper balance of tonality in the image. After removing about about 10 tourists from the ridge, I had my finished image.
I am in Columbus, Ohio today presenting a program for the Professional Photographers of Central Ohio. I'll be seeing a lot of friends today as this is the part of the country where I spent my "formative" years as an aspiring photographer - so many years ago. As a little side bar, LaDawn and I spent Sunday with our good friends Kent and Sarah Smith. They are truly two of the best photographers in the country. Kent and I have "grown up" in this profession together, knowing each other for more than 25 years. Anyway, check out their studio websites. They have two - one for portraits and the other for seniors. Their web sites and photography are inspirational - give them a look right here.
How About Some Quick News
Layers Tennis - Say What?:
You heard it right here. Here is an excerpt from Coudal.com about what is going on...
"Coudal.com that is announcing the return of the very popular and inspiring Photoshop Tennis. We'll be playing matches using lots of different applications, from Adobe Photoshop to Adobe Flash, but the basic idea is the same no matter what tools are in use. Two artists (or two small teams of artists) will swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each artist gets fifteen minutes to complete a "volley" and then we post that to the site. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens. The matches last for ten volleys and when it's complete, everyone visiting the site votes for a winner." You can get the whole story right here.
Sounds kind of interesting - REALITY INTERNET. Sounds like something for Photoshop World to me.
What Flame Brushes - The Devil Made Me Do It:
This very "hot" news item has been on the "back burner" - OK, enough already - Sorry. I found this cool tutorial over at PhotoshopSupport.com. It's called "Flame Brushes". You can download the brushes at no charge and get the tutorial on how to use them right here. The results are very interesting - kind of fun to play with on a rainy day. I know some of you think Ziser is nuts offering these kind of links, but hey, "No Rest for the Wicked" - sorry, just had to get one more in. You better bookmark this one - 8 months from now when it hits you - where did I hear about "Flame Brushes" - you know you got it right here.
Concert Photography Tips:
I just got a nice email from Scott Kelby complimenting me on the Photoshop World "After Party" shots - thanks Scott. The NAPP house band, Big Electric Cat performed at the party and I ran around, like any good (wedding) photographer would, capturing all the band action and dancing. You can actually find the post and the those images right here. I'm not ready to make the career change to concert photographer just yet, but for those of you looking to do a better job at this kind of photography, there is a great article on it over at the RRD PhotoBlog. Ryan Dlugosz, who runs this well done site has done a great job listing and documenting with several images on just how to photograph concert artists/bands with their unique and special lighting effects. Check out the article right here.
A Cup on Inspiration for Monday - Absolutely Beautiful Landscape Photography:
When we got back from our 2 weeks of travels, I needed to hit the computer to see what was happening for next week. As I was doing that I checked out a few of my "bookmarks" I had carried over from my old computer - I just set up a new computer right before we left 2 weeks ago (what a hassle-whew!) and wanted to see if I had missed anything. Anyway, the good news, I had bookmarked this site a while back, but went back to review it again. It all came back to me - Joseph Holmes Photography, Natural Light Photography - what absolutely astonishing work. Just take a few minutes to review his site and his images. Here is the link. You won't be disappointed.
That's it for today, I'm off to my program. Don't forget - tomorrow is "Technique Tuesday". See you then, have a good one. --David
Friday, September 14, 2007
I made this image a few years ago at Cape May, New Jersey. The setting was beautiful. There were just a few hitches - I wanted the sun in the image, so I used my off-camera flash to create a direction of light on the subject. Next I adjusted the flash exposure with the exposure of the setting sun to get the light balance I was looking for. And lastly, I brought the image into Photoshop and removed my assistant and 9 other people who were in the shot. Don't you love digital. --David
LaDawn and I are packing our bags and heading for home. After a nearly a week at Photoshop World, and now another week in New York, I think we are both ready to head back home. We spent our last full day yesterday checking out the sights over at Brooklyn Heights - what a nice area to visit. Bert Monroy gave us the tip a few weeks ago when he came through Cincy on his Photoshop Creativity Tour - he is from New York originally. Brooklyn Heights turns out to be America's first suburb. It's quiet, full of shops and restaurants, and the view from the Promenade is best of NYC and the Brooklyn bridge. You can check out a short slide show of the images over at our sister Blog "Dave and LaDawn on the Road". In fact we have been blogging the whole week over there as well. (Two Blogs a day, not for the "faint of heart.") Take a look.
Before we headed out yesterday, we took a "time-share" tour. If any of our readers have had that experience you know what I'm talking about here. The sales person tries to sell you part of a piece of property that you get to use for a week, once a year. I don't want to spend a lot of time here describing the concept, but, just as a heads up, I'm going to spend some time on "Sales" next week and I will share some of my insights about yesterday's experience. Check back next week for the rest of the story.
Anyway, even though we had a terrific time here in the Big Apple, we are looking forward to heading back. I have the weekend off, but on Sunday we are heading for Columbus to prepare for an "all-day" program for the Professional Photographers of Central Ohio we will present on Monday - hope to see some of you there. Next week I will also be putting finishing touches on my week-long Digital Master Class that kicks off September 24. (Still 1 or 2 seats left - call Susan at 800.292.2994 if interested.) So I will see everyone back in Cincinnati.
How about a little news.
True Digital Infrared:
I have had this saved in my "Favorites" folder. I first saw the story month's ago, and now it's popped up again. Here is the scoop. Back in the film days I remember reading and seeing many articles and images on "Infrared Photography". Photographers were producing B&W infrared images by placing an infrared filter over the camera lens, and after a very long exposure and focus shift, produced very striking images where the sky was black and the greens were almost white. In fact Konica eventually developed a special high speed IR film that would help photographers get the same effect with much faster exposure times. It was kind of a niche product which some wedding guys used occasionally - with great results. So how can we do it digitally? There have been many tutorials on how to do it in Photoshop with "Channel Mixer" and the like, but the results has never been as good as the real thing. Enter Life Pixel, a service that will turn your digital camera into a REAL infrared digital camera for only about $300. I have seen the results of the conversion and they are amazing. I have been planning on making the conversion to one of my older Canon 20D's - I'll keep you posted. The Pop Photo blog just did a story about Life Pixel. You can check it out here. Life Pixel's web site and a short video can be viewed right here.
The Largest Photograph in the World - and it's not Digital:
I thought this was a great story - it's about six photographers who literally created the largest photograph in the world via the "camera obscura" technique. They call it the "Legacy Project" They coated a giant size piece of visquene specially ordered from Germany, with photographic emulsion, exposed it for 35 minutes, and then processed it in 1800 gallons of B&W chemistry. You can get the quick recap right here, but also check out the "Legacy Project" web site right here for all the details about the world's largest photograph - very cool.
Ansel Adams (or maybe his twin bother) Returns:
Wow! check out Clyde Butcher's work over at his web site. It is truly amazing. As I was cruising his site and there are quite a number of similarities between Mr. Butcher and Mr. Adams - large format camera, beards, beautiful B&W images, involved with environmental causes, and making an impact on the world. Mr. Butcher's work is simply outstanding. Please check it out right here. You can even sign up for his newsletter.
Nighttime Digital Photography
We all know 'Nighttime " photography is not the easiest to pull off particularly with the contrast range we are often faced with. The old film guys would over expose then undevelope to try to protect all the details in the shadows. Heck, Ansel Adams wrote a whole book on it. So how do we pull it off digitally? Here is an entire book on the subject. It is written by John Carucci. Read the entire review here. It looked good to me so I headed over to Amazom and just ordred it. I'll do a follow up down the road.
That's it for now, gang. I've got bags to pack and planes to catch. Have a great weekend. See you Monday. --David
Thursday, September 13, 2007
To the readers of Digital ProTalk - have you noticed the news stories on the right side of this page change several times a week. I've been using this blogging resource to get additional interesting items on the front page. So be sure to check out the RED STUFF >>> to the right of this page.
In addition to keeping this page up to date, LaDawn and I have also been tracking our trip to NYC this week. Hey, I know there are so many hours in a day - so who wants to look at travel pics - but, heck, some of them are pretty cool. Think of it as a "Vacation" resource. Anyway if you want to check it out here is the link to Dave and LaDawn On the Road - just click here.
Alrighty then, on with quick news:
The Top 10 Best Places to Take Photographs:
I know this is a combo National Park/Ford Promo, but that's OK with me. I started taking my kids with me to National parks many years ago. My son, loved it nd said, "hey Dad, why don't we do this once a year." We had a pretty good run at it while they were young. That's why I have added these recommendations. So here is what is happening. This year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation teamed with Ford Motor Company for the official “Share the Experience” photo contest. So not only do you get great pics, but might win a car too. Here is the link.
Fireworks Tutorial - Or Where Did the Black Tones Go?
When I first saw this come up, I thought we are way past the 4th of July - what good is this? (kidding) but then I took a closer look. The guys over at Watch and Learn Photoshop have a nice little tutorial here. Look beyond the "fireworks" part - the best part is seeing how certain "Layer Modes" work with blacks in the image. Check it out here.
Hands On With the Canon 40D over at Luminous Landscape.
OK, I admit it - I'm a Canon 20D then 30D, now 40D nut. I can't believe they get so much stuff into that camera - Highlight Tone Priority to save my highlights, full screen "blinkies", fast focus, etc. As a matter of fact, I ordered the new Canon 40D from B&H last week at Photoshop World. It's just a lot of "bang for the buck." So when I caught yet another "hands on" experience, especially from a really well respected source, I wanted to share it with you. If your a Canon shooter or just thinking about becoming one here is the link for some great info.
Finally - Batteries That Hold a Charge
Tired of the constant "drain the recharge" cycle with the AA NiCads, or are you like me and never drain them so six months later after about the zillionth recharge, you end up with no charge. This story came up the other day over at our buddies at 1001 Noisy Cameras. It's talks about this new kind of battery (AA and AAA) that hold their charge for quite a while. Check out the whole story here.
Hey Gang, got to go - I've got an early appointment today - see ya tomorrow. --David