Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Merry Christmas Everybody,

Christmas 2012I’ve said it before - this is my favorite time of the year.  I love the bright twinkling lights, the rich colors of the season, the wonderful carols playing on the home stereo, car radio, Pandora, I-Heart Radio, Spotify, Rdio, et. al. And, I love the wonderful fragrance of pine in the air – yes, we put a REAL tree up every year ;~)  I like looking over the Christmas card list in the mail and reminiscing about the good times, over the years, I've shared with all the special friends and family on that list.  I like reading every holiday card that crosses our inbox or mailbox.  And I love what this season stands for compassion, love, joy, peace and sharing. And we all know the world needs a lot more of that.

That indeed is the most important thought to keep in mind during this wondrous time of the year.  Christmas isn’t made special by shopping till we drop, rushing from one party to the next, or heading to the latest opening movie on Christmas Day.  Christmas is a celebration of life and love.  It’s about touching others lives and hearts in our own thought, word, and deeds. Christmas is made special when we take a pro-active approach in doing just that. 

ChristmasMost of us will be spending time with family and friends enjoying this wonderful (day)season. From kids to grandparents and beyond, families and friends will be enjoying everything this holiday season has to offer - friendship, laughter, good food, and love.  But, take an extra step and reach out and help make Christmas special for everyone you come in contact with these next few days. The easiest way in the world to have a great day is to help someone have a great day first – Christmas season is a good place to start.

I wish each and everyone one of you the most wondrous of holiday seasons and pray that they too find peace, caring, compassion, and love at Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

-David and LaDawn

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Day’s End At Land’s End"

Day's EndIMG_1665"Day’s End At Land’s End"
©David A. Ziser

One thing you have to admit while in Cabo, Mexico is that the sunsets are fabulous just about every evening.  Last evening was no exception. We were visiting new friends up the beach from where we are staying and this was the view of the Sea of Cortez from their back yard property – simply breathtaking!

The challenge for sunset photographs is getting the exposure just right so that you preserve the color and richness of the sunset and still maintain details in the shadows.  Leaving the camera on “P” for program just will not do it. I choose to set the camera to “M” manual, then adjusted the aperture and shutter speed to capture just the result I wanted.

I should probably mention that I used the camera’s viewfinder as my exposure guide.  That seemed to work just fine because the image on the camera looked the same when I imported the image into Lightroom.  I love how the cameras give you decent feedback on your exposures when using their built in viewfinder.

Composition was easy for this image.  I positioned the sun in the bottom right quadrant of the viewfinder.  That opened up the rest of the frame for the beautiful cloud formation filling the sky.  A tweak of the “vibrancy” slider and a slight saturation push for the blue tones gave me the color values I wanted.  I added clarity to the water with the gradient tool to get my final result.

Camera specs:  Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera zoomed to 40mm (35mm equiv) at F8.0 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David


Have Yourself the Photographic Blast of a Lifetime!

Good Morning Everybody,

2013 PhotoPro Expo Header LRSorry for the delay in getting back to DPT.  Even though we’re in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the last few weeks, I’ve been spending many long days wrapping all the FINAL arrangements for our “blow-out” PhotoPro Expo 2013. I can’t wait to tell you the details so today I’m “spilling the beans” and officially announcing one of the BIGGEST and BEST photographic events of the year!

"If you love photography, you've got to be there!"

So, why should you attend?  Easy answer:

  • iPad miniLearn from 26 of the best instructors in the business presenting nearly 40 programs over 5 days!
  • You can bring a friend for only $99!
  • You could win an iPad Mini for registering early.
  • You can visit the largest photographic tradeshow in the Midwest!
  • You may win some of the over $15,000 in prizes given away during the convention!
  • Add to your portfolio at the Westcott Fantasy Model Shoot-out.
  • Hear 14 FREE “LIVE” programs at the Expo Theater from top instructors.
  • Schedule a personal portfolio review with a top photographer – what a great way to learn!
  • You have a chance to enter, sit in and learn during our juried Print Competition.
  • You get a $99 room rate – the best of any convention – at a four star hotel!

Check out all the details below – pretty cool stuff happening, including 1 in 50 chance (great odds) to win an iPad Mini.



"If you love photography, you've got to be there!"

Rarely does a photographic event this big and exciting come to the Midwest.  And I want to tell you about a very special opportunity for all of our DPT readers!

On February 7, 8, 9, 10, & 11, 2013 you have the opportunity to attend the region's most exciting photographic event of the year, save some money by bringing a friend for only $99, and have a great chance to win an iPad Mini if you're one of the first 50 to register with Prize Code PPEDPT13!

Image(5) Learn from the BEST Instructors in the business!

The speaker line up is amazing and is, hands down, one of the best for 2013.  These superstars include National Geographic photographer, Joe McNally; Photoshop guru, Julieanne Kost; the hottest wedding photographers on the planet, Zach and Jody Gray; top shooter, best-selling author, & social media expert, Rick Sammon; Saturday Night "Live" HDSLR legend, Alex Buono; high school senior & marketing geniuses, Kent and Sarah Smith; the legendary Kevin Kubota; fashion photographer, Lou Freeman;  top commercial, digital illustrator, Woody Walters;  and many, many more. A total of - 26 amazing speakers presenting nearly 40 programs! 

The Biggest and Best Photographic Tradeshow Ever!!!

PhotoPro Expo 2013 will also be home to the largest photographic trade show in the region.  With over 100 booths in the tradeshow, you can expect to see some of the top photography vendors from around the country!  

ImageThe Expo trade show will once again be hosting:

  • A two-day, Fantasy Model Shoot-Out  sponsored by Westcott.
  • 14 LIVE programs in our new Expo Theater.
  • A fully juried photographic Print Competition with $5000 in awards.
  • Over $15,000 in prizes and awards when using Prize Code PPEDPT13 upon registering.
  • Personal Portfolio Image Reviews with photo experts.
  • Three great parties. 

PhotoPro Expo 2013 is the NOT TO BE MISSED photographic event of the year!!!


Bring A Friend For Only $99 - Offer good till 12/31/12

Book Early - First 50 Registered Eligible for iPad Mini Drawing!

OK, how much does it cost?  Good question!  A convention like this with a 26 speaker talent line up can run as high as $600.  But the cost of PhotoPro Expo 2013, with our Prize Code PPEDPT13 is only $159 and lets you bring a friend for only $99 more!  Using our code also allows you to be eligible for over $15,000 in prizes!!!  The convention is taking place near downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. 

$99 rooms rates at 4-Star Marriott RiverCenter

$99 room accommodations have been arranged at the 4-Star Marriott RiverCenter hotel, conveniently attached to the convention center.


Only $159 for all three days! Add a second person for only $99 - that's only $129/person and great room rates!  That makes it a "no-brainer" to attend.  PhotoPro Expo 2013 is not only the best education destination for 2013, but also the best place to have yourself the photographic blast of a lifetime!

Check it out at www.photoproexpo.com.  This offer expires December 31, 2012 so register NOW!  Don't forget - make your hotel reservations right away - the hotel will definitely be sold out if you wait.

Remember, use Prize Code PPEDPT13 to register for only $159, bring a guest for only $99 and be eligible for over $15,000 in prizes and awards!  Offer expires 12/31/12! So REGISTER NOW!  You can't afford to miss this event and you may even win an iPad Mini for registering early.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We leave for home on Saturday.  Once the dust settles from all our travels and holiday activities, I’m hoping to get the blog postings back to normal and on a regular schedule.  That said, everybody have a great rest of the day in your part of the world and I’ll see you soon.

Adios till later,  David

Thursday, December 06, 2012

"Morning Magic"

Morning Magic

"Morning Magic"
©David A. Ziser

I captured this image about two days ago while on a sunrise walk with LaDawn  through the estuary in San Jose del Cabo.  The days are kind of short around here so we’re finding ourselves up before the break of dawn.  That has given us a great (photographic) opportunity to explore the surrounds of this beautiful part of Mexico when the sun is just breaking the horizon. The ocean breezes are more intent and the morning sunrise colors are often quite breath-taking.

Compositionally - I placed the sun at “nodal point” #4 – bottom right of the tic-tac-toe grid – for the visual balance I wanted in this image.  After exercising a small amount of patience, the ducks were perfectly positioned in the composition just as I clicked the shutter. I know that I could never be a National Geographic, or such, photographer waiting for hours for the perfect position of the animals in my composition. After 60-90 seconds I’m ready to move-on.

This is how the image looked at the moment of capture.  It’s easy to see why we like visiting San Jose del Cabo so much.

Camera specs:  Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera at F8.0 @ 1/250 second, ISO 500.  Enjoy!  -David

My New Favorite Camera Gets The Shot Other Cameras Miss!

Good Morning Everybody,

CAbo Sunrise2OK, I have to admit it….  The Cabo sunshine, sandy beaches, sound of the waves crashing the shoreline can get you in slow motion pretty quickly. But that said, it’s not all play in sunny Mexico.  We are on the verge of kicking off our PhotoPro Expo 2013 promo blast next week so that has taken up quite a bit of my time while on vacation.  Isn’t technology wonderful – I still get to do the work by the beach ;~)

My New Favorite Camera Gets The Shot Other Cameras Miss!

Let's get on with today's post. On Tuesday I shared with you my fun experience with my brand new Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera. It's been getting great reviews on the Internet but what is most amazing about this camera is the zoom range. It's currently the widest zoom range available of any camera on the market ranging from 24mm all the way out to 1200mm in one small, lightweight, compact package.

You may be asking yourself, "Why in the world would Ziser be using a consumer grade camera?" I alluded to the answer in Tuesday’s post.  Let me spell it out today. As a professional photographer there are some instances when I would really like to get up close and personal to the action going on. A perfect example would be when the bride and groom are exchanging wedding vows. Sure, I've got a 300mm lens that I can use on my 7D which will give me effectively a 480mm telephoto lens.

Canon 1200mm lensBut, what happens if I want to get even closer than that?  You might think I could call my buddies at B&H and order one of Canon’s 1200/5.6L USM  monster lens priced at $125,000!!! Uh… I don’t think so!

So, back to my new favorite fun camera, Canon’s PowerShot SX50 HS  Camera at a whopping $450 US dollars.  I have to say,  from my early tests I am mighty impressed with the photographic capabilities of this small, little consumer camera. Let me review a couple of my test images I've made in the last few days.

Photo One:

This image was taken from the front door of our home in Kentucky looking out across the city and it was taken at the 24mm wide-angle setting. Keep an eye on the water tower in the center of the image.

Water Tower - Far

Photo Two:

This image was taken from the same place, at the full 1200mm zoom, but in this case I targeted closer into the water tower that you can barely see in the distance in the first photograph. Amazing, don't you think?

Water Tower near

Photo Three:

While on a walk around the neighborhood  I continued to experiment with the telephoto capabilities of this little jewel  of a camera. Notice how sharp and crisp the detail is on the pumpkin - and this image was also captured at the 1200mm setting of the camera …amazing!


Photo Four:

Recently I had the occasion to be at an event at one of our local churches and I thought the occasion would offer the perfect opportunity  to experiment with the long lens capabilities during an actual church service. Take a look at the next photograph.

Back of Church

This image was taken with me standing at the very back of the church with the camera in the wide-angle 24mm setting. You can see I get quite a wide view of the church and image sharpness looks just great on my computer.

Photo Five:

Take a look at this next image. It was captured in the exact same location as the image above, but this time I zoomed in just a bit to the 60mm setting of the camera. Again, the image is quite sharp and perfectly acceptable for any 8x10 I might deliver in a clients album.

Church at 60mm

Photo Six:

In the following image I zoomed into the pipe organs in the back of the church.  This image is the zoom equivalent of a 500mm lens on a 35mm camera. Color and definition of detail looks good in the image.

Pipe Organ pipes

Image Seven:

This next image was taken of a church statue so obviously it wasn't moving but what I want you to notice are the camera specs of this image.  This image was taken at 700mm (35 mm equivalent), 1/10 second at F5.6, at ISO1600.  Yes, I said 1/10 second. The SX50 is capable of 4 1/2 stops of image stabilization built-in at all of the focal lengths!


I think it's quite amazing that this is a handheld photograph! It points up one more time some of the amazing possibilities of the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera

Photo Eight:

This image was taken during the actual church service handheld at 1/80th of a second at F5.6 but this time I zoomed into an 800mm setting.  Once again you can see the detail is crisp and sharp throughout the image.

Photo 8

Photo Nine:

Moving onto the next image - this image was taken from the back of the church but in this case I zoomed all the way to the 1000mm setting. This image was also handheld at 1/60th second at F5.6 and shot at ISO 1600. I’m finding it pretty incredible, but wait there’s more!

Photo 9

Photo Ten:

This image was taken from the back of the church at full magnification of the zoom lens.  The camera was racked out to 1200mm and I clicked off the image at 1/60th of a second handheld at F5.6, 1600 ISO. I think it's an amazing and again highlights the capabilities of this little camera.

Photo 10

In Conclusion:

Canon SX50It's just thrilling the technology Canon built into this camera. I’ve printed out 11x14 hard copies of all the images I’ve featured today.  Everyone that looks at them thinks they look great.  The camera also includes the DIGIC 5 processor, a decently sharp lens, a super compact shape, HDR capability, 1080p video, and many other wonderful  features that I haven’t even shown today.

So, is there a place for this little power shot camera in your professional camera bag? There certainly is for me. I really like the idea of being able to zoom in so closely on some key moments of a wedding  and be able to do it without breaking the bank by buying a “monster millimeter” lens. So, tell me, if you are making the choice would it be for the $125,000 lens you can’t even carry or the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS  Camera for $450? For me I think for what I'm looking for I think $450 model fills the bill just perfectly.

Anyway, I'm not promoting the fact that we should purchase amateur equipment for a professional jobs but, what I am suggesting is that there might be other solutions much more reasonably priced for the occasional situation in which we might need a few super close-up images. Anyway, food for thought.


Hey gang that's it for me today. The sea breezes, sandy beaches and snorkel gear are calling – I’ve got to go ;~)  Have a great rest of the day and I’ll see you soon.

– David

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

An Amateur Camera For Pro Use??? Never, Well Maybe

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Canon SX50I have to admit, that while we're in Cabo San Lucas Mexico, I'm having a great time with my new, early Christmas present, a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Digital Camera.

The cool thing about this special, little camera is the fact that it will zoom from 24 mm all the way out to 1200 mm – 35mm equivalent – without changing lenses! If you let that zoom range sink in, just for a second, you understand why it is such a fun camera to use. While in Cabo, I've been photographing everything from sunrises to sunsets, landscapes, cactus flowers and plants, macros of baby sea turtles, goggley eyed crabs, wildlife photos, and even taking close-up photographs of the moon.

0016- HS50-IMG_0874

It's the unbelievable zoom range of this camera that makes it so much fun to use. It produces a 12 mega-pixel RAW file which I can import into the latest Lightroom 4's beta release. Lightroom gives me plenty of control in enhancing the camera's images. The 12 mega-pixel file size is the same as my size as my beloved Canon 40D camera of just a few years ago. So I suspect I'll be able to print an acceptable 24x36 inch print from these files just as I routinely produced and delivered from my 40D.

0006- HS50-IMG_0581

The camera is also responsive enough for me to capture most of the photographs that I want to take. The time it takes to write the file to the card is a little slower than I would like, meaning that I rarely do any burst shooting and that can be a real hindrance for any wedding photographer.  Don' t  get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you trade in your Canon 5D Mark III of Nikon D800.

0033- HS50-IMG_1131

This camera is small, convenient, light weight and what I REALLY love about this camera is the zoom range.  It is that fantastic zoom range that offers not just an amateur photographer some added shooting versatility but the professional photographers as well. I know some of you reading this must think I'm "nuts" about now, but hang in there with me.  I ran a few tests about a week ago just to see what kind of real image quality I could produce out of the camera.  I was really surprised with my first tests!

0031- HS50-IMG_1106

I have several sample images that I quickly printed 11x14 prior to us leaving for Cabo. I plan to share with you these images in a follow-up post this week. So, be sure to tune in, I think you'll be surprised with the results I was able to obtain!

0010- HS50-IMG_0702

0011- HS50-IMG_0710

Hey, for $450 US dollars, this camera is one sweet little gem that I am thoroughly enjoying using while on vacation. Galileo would have loved it ;~)


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Everybody have a great rest of the day in whatever part of the world you're in and I'll plan to see you again later this week.

Adios, David

Friday, November 30, 2012

Special Thoughts, Special Memories! A Special Photo Project.

Calendar 2013Cover

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Today I thought I would share with you a little photo project LaDawn has been working on for a few weeks.  After our extensive Europe travels and a collection of over 18,200 images under our photographic belts, we decided to cull our favorites. From the extensive number of those images, LaDawn set to work designing a calendar for next year.

Not only was she looking for the best images, she also decided to search for special quotes that would add to the meaning of the images.  The above image is the calendar cover from her project.  I think it’s really pretty cool.  I also really like the quote she’s selected for this image.  It really fits how our fantastic trip came about.

Since we were married, just 71/2 years ago, we had always planned to go to Italy for our honeymoon, but never found the time.  We’ve been dreaming of that trip for many years.  All the stars aligned perfectly in 2012 and those dreams and plans became a reality for us this year. And regarding dreams and realities, another quote also comes to mind for me.

“Refuse to accept anything but the very best,

and you very often get it.”

W. Somerset Maugham


Have a great weekend everybody. Keep your cameras ready and pixels smiling, and I’ll see you on the flip side next week.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Into The Sunset"

Into The Sunset 2012

"Into The Sunset"
©David A. Ziser

All the morning sunrises and the even more spectacular sunsets are just beautiful in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We’re here about the same time each year – the weeks after Thanksgiving, when I believe the sunsets are best.

This image was made while on a beach stroll back to our resort just a few evenings ago. The “famous” pirate ship was on it’s daily sunset cruise.  I was using my new Canon PowerShot SX50 HS camera which has the ability to zoom to a full 1200mm (35mm equiv) focal length.  I timed the pirate ships position with the setting sun and fired away.

This is pretty much a straight image – no tweaks in Lightroom. I love the colors, the masts rocking slightly to the left, and the super large setting sun in the background.

Camera specs:  Canon PowerShot SX50 HS zoomed to 615mm (35mm equiv) F8.0 at 1/1250 second, ISO 320.  Enjoy!  David

Business Day Thursday: How NOT To Conduct A Sales Presentation

Good Morning Everybody,

Into The Sea - IMG_0466Hope things are good in your part of the world – life is good at the tip of the Baja. And to celebrate how about I offer up my Business Day Thursday post from the land of sand and sun ;~)   Here we go.

Business Day Thursday:  How NOT To Conduct A Sales Presentation

I mentioned yesterday that we actually enjoy taking the “timeshare” presentations during our travels.  They offer a wealth of knowledge for any student of sales. And, to be successful in any walk of life and especially in running a photography studio, you better be a successful sales person.  Remember one of the most important things about sales:  Sales is not a dirty word! Sales is finding out what the customer wants and helping them get it.  It should be the center of any business.  It’s a customer service centered approach.  Professional sales people are looking for a WIN-WIN situation as should we as studio owners.

That brings us to today’s topic, How NOT To Conduct A Sales Presentation.  A sales presentation should be composed of six sections. 

You’ve Got To….

SalesPerson1. Be inviting, pleasant, congenial, and always hospitable to your prospective customer.

2. Be interested in you client, get to know them.  Any good sales person will tell you that before a customer can be interested in you, you’ve first got to be genuinely interested in them.  The sale should truly not proceed till there is a level of trust between the sales person and the client.

3. Provide a compelling offer to you’re perspective client.  Hey, everyone is looking for a deal these days.  The more compelling the offer, the better chance of closing the sale.

DAZNOTE: It’s equally important that YOU KNOW that your product is the best you have to offer.  It you don’t have confidence in your product, change products or change jobs, or find someone that does believe to conduct your sales for you.

4. Be prepared for the objections, especially the hidden objections.  Objections are part of the sales process and should not deter you from the process.  The best way to handle an objection is to raise that objection before the client raises it.  Good sales people know what the common objections are and simply bring those objections into the conversation or to light early on, and simply answer them for the client. 

Also look for the hidden objections.  Hidden objections are the real reason a client doesn’t purchase.  Once you can discern what that hidden objection is, you can then answer that objection and move on with the sales process.  Remember, we are trying to find out what the client wants and provide a way to help them obtain easily what they want.

5. Make the CLOSE.  If you’ve built client trust, made a compelling offer of your terrific product(s), and answered all the client’s objections, the sale should follow easily with a satisfactory outcome for the salesperson and the client.  Said another way – everybody leaves happy!


Some sales people just don’t get that essential rule.  When objections or concerns are raised they totally lose respect for their customer/client. Too often they don’t listen to the client and have only a “canned” presentation.  They figure that they have nothing to lose so why not go for the jugular to try to make the sale. This is such a “brain dead” sales approach to me.  I’ve said it a million times, NEVER, EVER get into an adversarial relationship with a client!

The NIGHTMARE at the Solmar Resort Presentation

Before I proceed, let me say that the Solmar Resort in just beautiful.  The suites are spacious and well appointed and the facilities are truly first class.  It’s the "timeshare” department I take exception.   Nightmare

Our tour began well enough with a tour of the property and suites – as I said, all very beautiful.  Our host and hostess were pleasant and hospitable.  After the tour we proceeded to the sales room to hear about the offer(s).  Only about 5 minutes into the presentation, we were handed off to the “real” sales rep – let’s call him the “closer”.  After the hand off things started to go south.  The salesperson did not listen to our vacation desires but droned on about golf, which we are not interested, he talked on and on about fishing opportunities in this area, another subject that holds little interest to LaDawn or I.

Unfortunately, the presentation went from bad to worse as we told him his offer was not the least bit compelling – $240,000 for 2 weeks in Cabo – what was that guy “smoking”?  It was just crazy and every time we said we weren’t interested he continued to ramp up the pressure. He had already exceeded his promised 90 minute time-line by 30 minutes and we simply asked that we end the presentation. Instead he continued on and on. 

It ended with him literally insulting us because I called him out on a few of his misinformed facts which I could easily verify. He even threatened us with writing us up to his manager – WHAT???   He’s writing US up?  For what? I don’t think so. 

We were invited guests to this presentation, we certainly didn’t walk up on our own. After I assertively asked a few times to see his manager, Jason, the manager, appeared and I explained what just happened during our presentation in detail.  Professionals just don’t conduct themselves that way. 

We received the obligatory apology and left the build with the worst taste ever of our many timeshare experiences.  Avoid the Solmar Resort “timeshare” presentation at all costs if you are in fact in Cabo – you’ll be put under extreme pressure to buy and it’s a waste of your time.  The entire presentation was a perfect example of how to NOT conduct a sales presentation.  But, please read on…

Doing It Right At Cabo Villas Resort

Yesterday we were invited to another presentation at Cabo Villas Resort. Juanito was congenial when he picked us up from our hotel. During our ride to Cabo Villas I conveyed our earlier experience and he was appalled.  He assured us that we would enjoy our presentation at Cabo Villa Resorts.

Cabo Villas

After arriving at the resort and going through a short meeting with the receptionist, we were introduced to Vince, a really nice guy originally from Toronto.  He met the love of his life in Cabo about 7 years ago and decided to stay.  Over the next hour we took the tour of this beautiful resort.  LaDawn and I were both very impressed with the room décor of this property.

Vince, LaDawn and I enjoyed the our conversations, getting to know each other and we all knew as the clock was ticking away the time to hear the offer.  Vince in the most thorough and professional manner possible laid out how the plan worked. He laid it out simply and clearly and answered all our questions.

Next we moved on to our main objections – the barrage of AMEX bills just coming in from our trip to Europe.  We just were not comfortable at this time to make a further financial commitment for a few more weeks of vacation time.  Vince and his manager, Mitch made one last offer for less money and for less time, and it was much closer to what we might have accepted if the timing was better.

Vince and Mitch knew they made their best offer, they offered a great product, but the timing was not right for us and both of them respected that.  Respect being the operative word when it comes to being a good sales person.

Stop By Cabo Villas and Ask For Vince

That right, I give Cabo Villas a big “thumbs up” for the level of professionalism they exhibited during our presentation.  Their entire team from bottom to top was first class.  It was truly a pleasure to meet all of them. They closed the presentation with several gifts and a FREE return visit to their property for a future 4 day-3 night stay!

There’s a t-shirt you can purchase in Cabo that reads, “I survived the Grand Mayan timeshare presentation.”  It’s sometimes true, but our experience has been mostly positive and we have purchased several timeshares through-out the years.  But in closing, let me say that Cabo Villas gets it right and I invite you to stop on by and visit Vince and his associates.  The fit may be just right for you.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I’ve got a pretty cool post planned for tomorrow, so please plan to stop back.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

Adios everybody,


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Edge Of Tomorrow"

The Edge Of TommorowIMG_0182

"The Edge Of Tomorrow"
©David A. Ziser

I borrowed today’s title from an Isaac Asimov sci-fi book title but I think it fits this image perfectly. We were up really early – 2:00 a.m. – on Saturday for our flight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico that by the time we had boarded the plane 4 hours later in Dayton, Ohio it was still dark outside.  No problem, I was sitting in the window seat, my favorite, and the window was really clean on our Frontier Airlines jet.  That meant that it should be a kick to get some really cool shots at 38,000 feet.  That is, whenever the sun came out.

Also considering the fact that the plane was traveling westward into the darkness, sunrise was going to be later for us than if we had stayed in Dayton.  I still just love gazing out a plane window to see how the sky changes with the clouds, weather, and time of day.  Anyway, about two hours into our flight the rotation of the earth overtook the speed of the plane and I could clearly see the edge of night or edge of the new day – which ever you prefer.  I thought the sight on the 38,000 foot horizon was really interesting – the easy lines, smooth tonalities, and almost monochromatic colors.  You can actually see where the darkness meets the light of the new day right in the center of the image.

I took several images but this one was my favorite.  I like the fact that the plane’s wing and engine are included in the composition.  That gives the image a sense of space without the image coming across as a totally abstract composition.  I also like how you can discern the curvature if the earth in the image as well.  Like I said, a very cool view!

The camera I was using may come as a surprise to you.  I had just picked up Canon’s recently introduced PowerShot SX50 HS camera – a little jewel of a camera, But, more on that in a later post. The articulated viewfinder allowed me to easily frame up the shot from my bulkhead seat.  I adjusted the exposure to under-expose the scene slightly in order to better define the “edge of tomorrow” that you see in the image.

Post production was minimal – a slight tweak of the vibrancy slider, reduction of the noise, and slight edge sharpening gave me the finished result.

Camera specs: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS at 4.3mm (24mm-35equiv.), F3.4, 1/40 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  David.

Technique Tuesday on Wednesday: Shine A Little Light On Me

Good Morning Everybody,

SunsetWe have easily settled into the Cabo lifestyle these last few days with walks on the beach, enjoying the sunrises and sunsets, the waves, a little tequila flavored drinks, the swimming pools and taking “timeshare” tours. It’s true, we have taken two “timeshare tours.”  I’ve mentioned before that I’m a student of sales and I like to see what new “sales” approach will be taken in each presentation.  Some consider these kinds of presentation just a waste of time, but, in reality, I really enjoy seeing the properties and experiencing new insights I can gain from their sales techniques. 

So with that said, let’s get on with today’s post.

Shine A Little Light On Me

As you know, while we were in Spain a few weeks ago, I presented a convention program and then did a day-long workshop on Monday after the convention. In today’s post  I’d like to cover a few of the window lighting techniques I shared with the class.

Today’s video will show you how finding the direction of light is so important to creating a flattering portrait.  I’ll also show you how you can augment the lighting to enhance the finished portrait even more. The lighting was perfect and our model was beautiful so why not hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the presentation.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We’re burning daylight and LaDawn insists we get outside and enjoy it.  How about I see you tomorrow for a brand new Business Day Thursday post:  How NOT to Make The Sale!

See you then,  David

p.s. To get the video up today, I took a short cut on recording the sound and just used the camera’s on board microphone, hence the difference in sound during the video.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I’ve Been MIA For A Few Weeks; Must Be Blogging Doldrums

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I sure hope everyone survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  I’m glad I was nowhere near all that chaos.  Man, did you see some of the YouTube videos – it was craziness. You know for me, life is just too short to make Black Friday part of my holiday experience. Just my personal opinion!

I’ve Been MIA For A Few Weeks

MIAOn to more important things.  As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been MIA for a short while.  I know it’s been troubling to me and maybe even to a few of my DPT readers.  After our two month travels to Europe, including the cruise, my batteries sure did get a tremendous recharge.  Maybe even life took on a different perspective.

Cruise ShipThe fact of the matter is that most of us are running in way to many directions missing special moments in our lives. I know that was true for me.  For most of the fall, LaDawn and I did not miss many of those special travel moments  and perhaps even enjoyed a life time’s worth in that time period. The fact of the matter is that I’m finding it difficult firing up my after-burners and continuing at the breakneck speed I’ve lived most of my life. It seems that I have found myself in the blogging doldrums and I’m having a little difficulty getting back up to speed with my daily posts.

DPT Is Still Important To Me

The blog has always been important to me.  It has always been a way for me to share with you my observations on photography and lighting, Photoshop and Lightroom, insights and experiences with new gear, tips and ideas on how you could enrich your businesses, and hopefully a healthy dose of inspiration along the way.  

There is just so much I want to write about - but the time continues to get away from me as other projects seem to take precedent.  So that has been what’s happening for me these last several weeks – finding the time and motivation to punch out 1,200 words a post at least three times a week knowing I’ve got a book to finish and the PPN Convention marketing campaign to launch.  I promised myself, and now I’m promising you my DPT readers that I will strive to get at least three new posts up this week.

PelicanWe are once again on our annual trip to Cabo San Lucas and are lucky to be here for the next few weeks.  I know, I know life is tough isn’t it.  Nobody gives us any mercy back home either ;~) For the next week I’ll be spending time getting the the marketing kicked off for our exciting PhotoPro Expo 2013 Convention.  Please, if you live anywhere within 600 miles of Cincinnati, Ohio and want to see the largest line-up of tremendous speakers in the industry, you owe it to yourself to check it out right here!

Let’s Get Ready To Roll

That said gang, tomorrow I’ll make it my TOP priority to get things moving again.  I thank everyone for their patience during this blogging doldrums days-of-my-life. – let’s just call it a blogging mid-course correction.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Tomorrow I’ve got a post planned on lighting.  If I can get the internet to cooperate, I just may turn it into a Technique Tuesday on Wednesday.  Anyway, check back – something is sure to pop here at DPT.

Have A Great One Everybody!



Friday, November 16, 2012

"Come Fly With Me"

VAriations W-A-1718_thumb[2]_thumb

"Come Fly With Me"
©David A. Ziser

In this composition, what really appealed to me was the rich stained-glass window colors in the hotel lobby. I also thought that the long diagonal lines of the ceiling lights were quite interesting. So I thought, “If I can arrange her in a diagonal like pose, I could create a fairly dramatic photograph of my bride.” This is a result of my pre-visualization for the photograph. I'm really quite happy with the result.

Notice too how I have her positioned at nodal point #4 in the composition – bottom right part of the frame. The lines in the composition visually seem to want to rush out and meet her. Her lean and the positioning of her arms and hands in this pose further add to the “motion” one feels in this composition.

DAZNOTE: When posing hands and arms, it’s a good idea visually to have the hands at different levels – it just seems to look better balanced that way.

Lighting was easy.  I simply illuminated her with one Canon 600 EX-RT speed-light passing through my Zumbrella about six feet away camera right.  I let the flash and camera do all the exposure calculations and tweak the exposure by reading the histogram as needed. The off-camera flash adds a pleasing dimensional lighting to the portrait.

Camera specs:  Canon 5D Mark III fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 24mm, F5.0 @ 1/125 second, ISO 1600.  Enjoy!  -David

An Image Peek From My Spain Workshop Or Variations On A Wide Angle Lens Theme

Good Morning Everybody,

Things are coming together… slowly but surely around the studio.  In effect, when we returned from our travels, we walked right into the holiday rush. That’s not a bad thing – it just means that we hit the ground running. We should be in pretty good shape by this time next week and we’re keeping all of our clients happy – the most important goal for any business.  Anyway, on with today’s post.

An Image Peek From My Spain Workshop Or Variations On A Wide Angle Lens Theme

I promised you a peek at some of the photographs I captured during my Spain Workshop. Today I’d like to share with you a couple of those images. As I was preparing for today's post, the number of images I was selecting was getting quite large so I decided to break it down into a smaller selection of images for today. I think there just may be a Technique Tuesday or two in the making here ;~)  So that being said let's get on with the image preview.

Photo #1:

VAriations W-A-1665

This is just a simple, traditional portrait of our bride taken in the lobby of the same hotel as the Image of the Day post above.  The camera’s vantage point is slightly higher so we see more of the floor in this image. Lighting was from camera right from my  remotely fired Canon 600 TX – RT strobe.  I used the beer koozie (never leave home without one) to control the cone of light illuminating the subject. It really gave us a nice spot light affect on the bride.

Photo #2:

VAriations W-A-1683

Next we moved to an area of the hotel opposite the registration area. What I loved about this location was the long strong diagonal lines that I saw in the ceiling. To accentuate those lines my camera's position was going be quite low and, as you can see from this photograph, so I positioned the bride a few steps up so that I'm actually below the floor on which the bride is standing.

We brought the light in from camera right to create the loop lighting pattern on her face. I carefully positioned her head within the ceiling’s architectural elements to create this quite dramatic wide-angle portrait of our bride.

Photo #3:

VAriations W-A-1686

From the previous photograph you can see that the window light was coming in quite heavily from the left. I wasn't sure if I liked the bride looking away from that bright light source so, in this image I chose to reposition the bride to face camera left. This was the same direction as the light was coming through the large span of windows and created a much more believable, natural light on the bride. To be consistent with the strong directional room lighting I also brought my off-camera flash, my Canon 600 EX-RT speed light, in from the left as well.

In this image I also wanted to create a much smaller cone of light so that I wouldn’t have any extraneous light hitting the ceiling to draw viewer’s attention away from my main subject. I shared a different lighting technique by just manually zooming the flash to create that smaller cone of light which created for me the nice natural falloff on the bride.  The zoomed speed-light creates sort of that Hollywood lighting effect that I often bring to my portrait sessions. But, when I look at this image I thought it could be enhanced a bit more with a little backlighting.

Photo #4:

VAriations W-A-1700

In this image I simply added another Canon 600 TX-RT speed-light placed on the floor behind the bride. I love how I can control the light output of both flash units –  the one coming from camera left and the one behind the bride separately with my on-camera speed-light. Canon’s new speed-lighting system gives me maximum flexibility when setting up these kinds of lighting situations.

The position of the bride's head against the ceiling was most important to me. I didn't want any of the sharp lines or angles hitting her right in the head so I carefully positioned her head in front of a less busy area of the ceiling.

But, do I have any reservations with this image?  I do in this regard. I'm looking at the shadow being cast on the steps camera right. Sure, I can fix it in Photoshop but, a softer light source coming in from camera left may have solved my problem a bit more easily. The problem with using a softer light like shooting through my Zumbrella would've added a complication to the ceiling by illuminating the ceiling as well. This is one of the situations where we have to make a compromise. I think I prefer the lighting on the bride alone without allowing too much light to reflect on the ceiling. It allows the bride to just “pop” out of the scene - which is really what I wanted.

Photo #5:

VAriations W-A-1703

I solved a little bit of my shadow problem, mentioned above, by using a slightly tighter crop in this image. I still think this is a very nice three-quarter length portrait of our beautiful bride. The backlighting “pops” her very effectively from the background and I really like the beautiful dimensional lighting on her face. I'm pretty happy with how these photographs evolved.

This is important: We have to remember one thing when using small light sources. Be sure that the bride's bouquet is slightly behind her gown. I let the bride's bouquet come a bit too far forward in this image and, as you can see, the light has cast the bride's bouquet shadow across her gown. This is a common and easy mistake that we just need to keep in mind and be aware of whenever taking bridal photographs with smaller light sources. We always have to be aware of just how the shadows are going to fall on the scene to avoid the ugly shadows!

Photo #6:

VAriations W-A-1704

This image is exactly the same lighting set-up as the image we see above. The only difference is I chose a vertical crop. Look how that crop really affects how you perceive the image.  The vertical crop really enhances the strong diagonal lines that we see in the ceiling.  And, I think, adds a stronger element into the composition that renders itself a bit unusual in this dramatic bridal portrait.

In looking back over the previous photographs you may prefer the horizontal image instead but this post is really a visual exercise on how I “see” when composing my images.  That’s particularly true in these last five images.  They are just my variations on a mostly wide angle theme.

When I'm shooting I'm constantly thinking about how I might improve or change the final portrait. I can easily do that with wide angle lenses or by changing the crop from vertical to horizontal. I'm also thinking about how I can best light the subject in the situations and conditions I find myself in on the day of a wedding.  Do I want the subject backlit?  Do I need to keep the light from falling onto the ceiling – or pews – or marble tiled alter…?  How and where will the shadows fall?  These are all important considerations when designing your images. That is – if you want the best result not just for you but your client as well.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. I'm still working hard on trying to get the final details worked out on our PhotoPro Expo for next February. Even though it still three months away we’ve got to get all the marketing pieces ready to go and get the website 100% complete. So, that makes a push time for us around here today. That said, let me wish everyone a great weekend and I'll see you again next week.

Adios, David