Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Winter Wonderland"

Winter Wonderland

"Winter Wonderland"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image I pulled from the early days of the blog before I was supplying all the details of the shot.  This image was made in Sudbury, Ontario - the nickel capital of the world they say. It was pretty darn cold and snow covered everything during my visit. But, as you can see the snow made the shot.  The bride was not standing in snow, but in a cleared area of the parking lot above me.  I was positioned on the lower church parking lot also not in the snow.  My first choice was to grab a wide angle lens for the shot but quickly changed my mind when the bride disappeared in the composition.  I switched to a medium telephoto lens and could see the bride again.  The lighting is supplied by the setting evening sun to my right.  This is still one of my favorite images even though it was made back in the film days.  Camera specs; Hasselblad 500CM fitted with 150mm Sonar lens, F22 @ 1/250 second, Kodak Vericolor film - ISO 400.  Enjoy!  -David

Business Day Thursday; "What Have I Done Right? What Have I done Wrong? Time To Think About It."

Good Afternoon Everybody,

It's New Year's Eve, a time to think about what we've accomplished, what we've experienced, and what we've learned.  It's also a time to think about whether we "stay the course for 2010 or make a few "course corrections."

0-10 Delemma OK, that sounded kind of deep and serious, but my BIG concern for tomorrow is whether we call it 0-10 or just ten?  I'm so confused just like I was for that "00" year ten years ago. I mean, think about it.  For the past nine years, we all got comfortable saying "01, 02, 03...08, and 09" - so, what about next year?  What's more troublesome is that next year is like TOMORROW! 

Is this the kind of stuff they thought about at the turn of the last century? I’m guessing they did.  I've been thinking about it, pondering about it, allmmming about it and have made my decision.  I'm sticking with calling next year "0-10". Think what this decision does for me - now I'm safe till the year 2100.  This decision to stick with the 0's puts my life in harmony for the next 90 years. Once more, I can be one with the "cosmic resonance" as I "transition" from one New Years Day to the next for those next 90 years. 

I hope this solves the dilemma for you too and you too can live in "cosmic peace and harmony" for the next 90 years as well ;~)

OK, time to get on with today's post . I'm so relived, so inspired, so ready for another episode of Business Day Thursday.  Here we go...

"What Have I Done Right? What Have I Done Wrong?  Time To Think About It."

OK, I was having a little fun with our year change so now re-read the first paragraph of today's post because that's where I'm heading with today's post.

Sure, it's New Year's Eve and lot's of people around the world are planning for their grand celebrations. But in the mist of gearing up for those celebrations, how about taking about 30 minutes and spend some time with yourself contemplating the questions raised in the first paragraph.

Note Pat & Pen 1. Seriously, what were your business highlights for 2009? Start making the list right now. It's always fun to think about the good stuff that happened in your business so, really think about it and be sure you don't miss anything. Now, can you repeat all, or at least most of those 2009 highlights again for 2010?

2. Now for the not so fun part . Now make a list of your biggest or most impacting missteps for 2009. What opportunities did you miss?  And, if you missed some BIG ones, I hope you feel awful about missing them.  I'm not trying to be nasty, but "stung once" is the best  medicine for not being "stung" a second time.

3. Now look at both lists.  They both represent a good portion of your business road map for 2010.  The first list represents your expressway travel - cruising in the fast lane of business building and profitability.  The goal for 2010 is to extend those highways and byways to success.

The second list shows the "pot-holes" you want to miss for 2010. Sure, all business hit a pot-hole or two but the goal for 2010 is to hit a lot less pot-holes.  Now you have a map that hopefully will help you miss several for the upcoming year.

To many people, to many businesses, to many photographers - all of the above - are in "I wish.." or "I want..." mode way too  often.  I wish I had a new camera... I wish I had that lens... I want to shoot more weddings this year... I want to grow my business next year...I want the phone to ring…  This list goes on and on.

Wishing and Hoping "Wishing" and "wanting" without action has never really accomplished much of anything for anybody over the years. It's only by "trying" and "doing" that we get anything accomplished. It's only by planning to succeed and then "working" the plan can we ever expect the result we want.

If you took the time to make the two lists I suggested, you have a start on putting together you "2010 Plan."  But this is only the "tip of the iceberg" in planning your New Year's success. At least it's a step in the right direction. Time to “just do it!"

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Give some energy to what I've said today.  It's exactly what I've been working on for the last several days. Yes, days and I still don't have my plan totally nailed down for 2010. But, you know what? I'm a whole lot closer to it than if I’d not started my lists.

On that note, everybody, I'm out of here today.  Everybody have a great, grand, prosperous, safe, and Happy New Year in whatever part of the world you live. I'll be back tomorrow for some thoughts on how you can take 2010 from good to great. 

See you then, -David

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Cabo Colors #7"

Cabo Colors #7

"Cabo Colors #7"
©David A. Ziser

One more colorful contribution from the Cabo trip a few weeks ago. I had several images from that trip that I really enjoyed and this is another.  I was walking back to meet my friends who had walked ahead of me.  I was to meet them shortly.  I was walking back a different street and saw these brightly colored shop windows.  The long lens and oblique angle from which I made the shot compressed the key elements of the scene creating this very colorful composition.  Once again, it's the simplicity of the bright repeating tones that make this image work. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 100mm, F16 @ 1/250 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Photo FAVS Wednesday: Why I Took The Quantum Leap

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Photo Favs wed Yep, it's another afternoon post.  I know posts are coming out a little slower than usual this week, but 'tis the season to be in "low gear". I love the time between Christmas and New Years.  Phones are quieter and we're working with a skeleton crew at the studio so not too much activity.  It's just good to get caught on all the things that have been put on the back burner over the last several months.

From a studio management point of view, it gives all of us, me, LaDawn, and my entire team, a chance re-charge and re-invigorate ourselves for the new year.  It's been a policy that's been in place around here for quite a number of years, and I have to say,  "I love it."  It is certainly the pause that refreshes before starting the race for another exciting year.

Anyway, let's get on with Photo FAVS Wednesday - here we go...

Why I Took The Quantum Leap

Quantum T5DrOK, I know the title of today's post probably gives away what my Photo FAV is today.  If you guessed my Quantum T5d-R strobe, you are correct.  My Quantum flash is probably the single most important piece of equipment in my gear bag, next to my camera, that is.

Everybody knows that "my gig" is lighting, particularly off-camera  flash. So many shooters these days are simply satisfied with the simple lighting of their on-camera flash or no flash at all. I think that's too bad or should I say so sad for the shooter AND the client.

Off-camera flash opens up wonderful new doors of opportunity for photographic creativity, excellence, and imagery. Sorry, I feel myself climbing up on my "soap box" again, so before I get too "revved up" let me get back to telling you why it's one of my Photo FAVS.

Hit the "Read More..." link below to see my top 5 reasons why my Quantum T5d-R strobe is one of my Photo FAVS.

Here is the quick 5 point list:

1. It's got power to spare.

Here is the deal - most on-camera flashes are rated at about 50 watt-seconds.  A watt-second is a measure of the flashes real output.  No smoke and mirrors here, it's an absolute measurable number based on capacitor storage energy and lots of other electronic things that are going on in a flash unit. You can find the "super geek' explanation right here.

That means for the same flash output, I would need 3, count them, three on-camera flashes to get the same light output. Considering the cost of Nikon and Canon's on-camera flashes, that just about covers the cost of the Quantum and a Turbo 2x2 battery.

DAZNOTE: Many times I'm asked about Quantum's Trio.  I love the Trio for an on-camera flash.  It doesn't overheat and you can shoot with it like crazy till the battery dies. But, you've got to remember that's it's only rated at 80 watt seconds - half the power of my     T5d-R. 

 0027-Chapter 9 -0001-IMG_5709-EditDoes it work well as an off-camera flash?  My answer is, "Most of the time. As long as you are not in a "high ambient light" situation like bright sun, it works great."  The Trio is actually my strobe of choice for my Master Classes. 

But if you are in a bright light situation, for example, late afternoon shooting, you need all the "snot" (LaDawn hates it when I use that word) you can get out of that off-camera flash.  That's why I like the Quantum T5d-R for my remote flash.  150 watt seconds - Power to the people, eh ...photographer!

2. I can shoot most of the day on one Turbo battery.

With the new high ISO cameras I'm usually shooting at ISO800 for most of the day.  That means that the flash output is reduced by half had I been shooting at ISO 400.  Read that to mean that I get 2x the flashes per charge because of the higher ISOs at which I like to shoot.

When shooting over 3000 shots at a wedding, I'm more than covered with the Quantum flash powered by my Turbo 2x2 battery.

3. I can dial down the power to 1/128 power.

I know what you're thinking, "Why would anyone shoot at such a low power setting?"  There are times when using wider apertures for a shoot, say when I really want to throw the background out of focus, that I really like dialing down the Quantum's power to still give me the direction of light I'm looking for without over-exposing the subject. A nice benefit.

4. It has a fast recycle time - perfect for wedding candids.

When we're shooting candids at the wedding reception, things are moving fast and the action, at many points of the evening, is non-stop. My off-camera flash is "key" for the look and feel of my images I deliver to my clients. 

When shooting my Quantum at, say 1/8 to 1/2 power, the recycle time is almost instantaneous - plenty fast to capture all the action.  Remember, my higher ISO settings let me get away with those lower power settings.  Hey, all part of my wedding technique.

004-IMG_6715 5. It's a perfectly portable "studio light" when I pair it up with my Zumbrella.

My Quantum T5d-R strobe shooting through my Zumbrella is about the fastest, easiest way to place a great quality of light on nearly any portrait situation.  For me, it's about the quickest and most portable lighting solution possible and I use this combo exclusively for all my on-location portrait situations.  My mantra, "Simple is always better!" Hey, it's light - give it some softness and direction by shooting throw my Zumbrella and you have a "portable portrait studio" always ready to go.

Hey gang, I could think of many more reasons, but these are the main reasons I've been using a Quantum flash for lots of years.  By the way, my original Quantums, over 15 years old, still work "good as new".


Folks, that going to be it for today. I'm out of here. Be sure to stop back tomorrow for another episode of Business Day Thursday entitled, "What Have I Done Right, What Have I Done Wrong - Time To Think About It."  I think you will enjoy the post.

See ya' tomorrow, -David

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Mother and Child"

Mother and Child

"Mother and Child"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another portrait I made during a portrait session I had about 10 days ago.  This is actually the third image I've posted from the session. I've shown a portrait of mom, dad, and baby in the post entitled, "Precious Moments" [link]. Next, I featured dad and baby in my post entitled, Father and Child" [link].  With all three images, I think we've got a great series for my clients.  Anyway, the set-up was super simple. Be sure to watch today's tutorial below for exactly how I did it. What I love about this images is the story being told between the mother and child. The baby, wide-eyed, looks directly at the viewer with it's ever so soft smile. The hint of a twinkle in the eyes implies, for me, that our next generation is ready to embrace it's brand new life.  It's the mom's gentle yet encouraging gaze in the background that completes the diagonal composition of the image.  Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 80mm, F8.0 @ 1/80 second, ISO 800. 

Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: One Light Portraits For Beautiful Results

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I guess we are back in the swing of things around here again - my team is slowly wondering in, we're wrapping a few last minute deliveries, and Technique Tuesdays are up and running. I've just finished today's Technique Tuesday and I think you are really going to like it.  Let's get right to it.

One Light Portraits For Beautiful Results

1024x768 - One Light Portraits In today's tutorial I'm going to walk you through my simple lighting setup I use to obtain some spectacular results for my clients.  Over the last few days I've posted three images - today's included -  from a very special portrait session of mom, dad, and a 2 month old baby.

I think what will be surprising for many of you watching today's tutorial will be the utter simplicity of the set-up.  I'll show you a small shooting space, a simple background, and a very easy one light portrait technique. 

For me, it's never about spending thousands of dollars on lighting gear.  I've always sought out the "easiest to use" cost effective lighting I could find. I've never been impressed with photographers showing a "gazillion" dollars worth of gear to shoot a portrait.  Don't get me wrong - there are some instances that all that gear is needed for maybe a commercial shoot, but for most of us working in this business, simplicity is better - and more economical.

Related Link - Westcott Spider Light and Shallow Soft Box

Anyway, hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.

Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We are on a pretty light schedule this week and are enjoying the slower pace and "recharging the batteries" a bit.  Be sure to stop by tomorrow for another episode of "My Photo FAVS".  See ya' then, -David

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Fresh Greens"

Fresh Greens

"Fresh Greens"
©David A. Ziser

With the Christmas Holidays fading into the past, I thought I would kick off the week with a lot of bright colors.  This image again comes from one of our Cabo photo walks.  The rich colors of Mexico abound everywhere as this bright yellow wall shows.  What caught my eye was the lone agave plant in front of that wall.  The minimalist simplicity of the composition and the bright contrasting colors make this image one of my favorites from the trip. Camera Specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F 3.5 @ 1/8000 second (blame the settings on me being on "Aperture Priority" for some earlier shots. I'm still surprised with the sharpness of this image though), ISO 200.

 Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: Updates, Updates, Updates!

Good Morning Everybody,

I hope Santa was good to everyone over the holidays and you had a chance to just relax the long weekend away. We managed to get the 300 image custom bound album delivered to my client by Christmas Eve - but just barely. I finished it with just 2 hours to spare - whew!  We are now wrapping up the New Year's card they need by Thursday of this week. Sometimes things never end ;~)

Hey gang, today I thought I'd give you a few updates on some good things happening around here for the new year. Here we go...

Santa Brought Me A Canon 100mm F2.8 IS Macro Lens For Christmas!

Canon 100mm ISSanta was pretty good to me this past Christmas - he left me Canon's brand new 100mm F2.8 IS under the tree.  I actually used it for my Christmas Day image right here.

I have to tell you, this is one of Canon's sharpest lenses. At least that is the results I’m finding from the testing I've seen on it [link]. Yes, it is one of their L-series lenses too and we know what "L" stands for, don't we - "Lots of bucks."

I've always thought that the next best place for Image Stabilization should be on a macro lens.  Why, because close up, the "lens jiggle" is similar to the experience on a long telephoto.  I'm glad Canon finally took me up on my suggestion;~)  I can't wait to take it out on a test drive real soon. I'll keep you posted.

Look For DigitalProTalk Plus To Go Live In 2010!

This has been a project I've been working on over the past year.  We're putting a brand new "member only" site together called DigitalProTalk Plus and I can't wait! DigitalProTalk Plus will not change anything that's happening with DigitalProTalk but, instead, will be an extension of the DPT site. 

Digital ProTalk Plus The new site will allow me a means to share with you longer tutorials on lighting and photography.  It also gives me the chance to interact  with the members more easily with free conferences, reduced pricing on webinars, and special training. I’m still working out details.

I also want to include a "Print Critique" section, too. Members will have the opportunity to submit prints and I'll review them anonymously for all members. This too is still in the process of working out the logistics.  

Lots more in the works too.  If you've got some ideas or suggestions in how to bring added value to membership, please let me know in the "Comments” section below – looking forward to hearing from you.

Digital WakeUp Call - A New Dawn Available ON DVD Soon!

DWUC DVDs We received so many great reviews for my DWUC tour that folks have been clamoring for it to be available on DVD.  Here is the really good news.  The DWUC tour was recorded live so you will get a chance to see all the fun and excitement of the tour. 

More than that though, I've added 2 more hours of content to the 3 DVD set.  It should run about 6 hours long making it a great reference for anyone who attended and needs a refresher course. For those of you who were unable to attend - well, now you can. 

I think this is the most exciting DVD series I've ever produced. Look for the release date to be early/mid January 2010.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We're wrapping up the last of the client projects for the year and, who knows, might run out and see Avatar in 3D later today;~)

See everybody tomorrow for another episode of Technique Tuesday. 

See ya' then,  -David

Friday, December 25, 2009

"Christmas Colors"

Merry Christmas

"Christmas Colors"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image this morning with my new “Christmas lens” I received from LaDawn. The image, I believe, captures what many of us reflect upon at Christmastime – soft, warm colors, twinkling lights, and wonderful pine scents of a live Christmas tree. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with Canon 100mm F2.8 IS macro lens, F5.6 @1/30 second (handheld), ISO 1600 (Jpeg). Enjoy!  -David

Merry Christmas Everybody

The Christmas Holidays can be wrought with hustle, hassle, frustrations, and impatience.  Try as we might to enjoy the sights, sounds, and fragrances of Christmas, to often the daily world in which we live gets in the way.

Hopefully today, we will be able to just pause and step aside from our daily lives and remember that first Christmas Day. Hopefully we can enjoy the richness of family and friends. Hopefully we can enjoy the sounds, songs, colors, and smells of this special day. Hopefully we can fill this day with the Peace and Joy of Christmas. 

With fondest wishes to everyone reading these words, Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you on this wonderful Christmas morning.

-David and LaDawn 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Christmas Time At St. Xavier"

Christmas Time At St. Xavier

"Christmas Time At St. Xavier"
©David A. Ziser

I was trying to think what image I wanted to feature in today's Christmas Eve post and then remembered a wedding I had shot right around the Christmas holidays a few years ago.  I remember walking into the church and being struck by the poinsettia display.  I had never seen anything like it in Cincinnati area churches before.  St. Xavier is on of the most popular and most beautiful sanctuaries in the metro Cincinnati, Ohio area. The striking turquoise interior is "one of a kind" in this part of the country. It's the turquoise colors that contrast so well with all the poinsettias.  I thought is was a very appropriate "image of the day " post.  By the way, when you read the specs below, you may be asking yourself how I maintained the depth of field at the wide aperture.  The answer is easy - with a 10mm lens on a Canon 40D, the depth of field is from 3.4 feet to infinity with the lens focused at 10 feet - just thought you would like to know. Camera specs; Canon n40D fitted with 10-22mm wide angle lens, F3.5 @ 1/30 second (hand-held), ISO 1600.  Enjoy!  -David

Business Day Thursday: Still Delivering Family Portraits Right Up To Christmas - Even Though You Haven't Shot Them Yet

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Stocking 2 - iStock_000004531222XSmall I hope you stockings are hung by the chimney with care, for tonight is the night we hope Saint Nick will soon be there. Hey gang, I hope you are finding a little time to relax over this Holiday Season.  For the past several years, once we got our Christmas delivery schedule better organized, we have always closed the studio between Christmas and New Years. 

The staff spends time with family and friends that week and we run a very light schedule around here checking the phone messages twice a day, tidying up after the rush, and just mostly "just "playing with our toys" after Christmas ;~)  Hope you get to do a bit of the same.

I'm wrapping this week with a Business Day Thursday that you might be able to use for next year.  Here we go...

Business Day Thursday: Still Delivering Family Portraits Right Up To Christmas - Even Though You Haven't Shot Them Yet

OK, what am I talking about here?  So many times photogs shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to sales.  Count me in that number years ago.  We know how long it takes to shoot a portrait, have the client see the results and choose a favorite.  Now we have to get it printed, framed, and delivered before Christmas. 

As we get closer to the holidays and maybe a bit more greedy, we continue to book appointments closer and closer to Christmas.  That doesn't seem like much of a problem till it comes times to show, sell, and deliver those images.  That's what can make Christmas rush such a downer.

How about offering your clients an alternative to the actual portrait that still helps you make the portrait sale, but really takes some of the stress out of making those deliveries at the last minute. Don't get me wrong - you are still going to make a holiday delivery to the client, but this time, it's going to be in the form of a "proxy portrait."

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

Now don't get me wrong here, that's just the term I'm using here, not to the client.  For the client, we may call it a "Portrait in a Box."  Lot's of retailers offer the "famous" gift certificates that many of us receive over the holidays and then put them in a drawer sometimes to be long forgotten about.  But this idea is different.

Here is what we do.  We talk with the client about their photographic needs - family portrait, baby portrait parent album from a wedding, whatever, and then introduce them to our "Portrait In A Box" idea.  We ask them to put down a deposit for the family portrait, parent's wedding album, or any other product we offer and then create our "Portrait In A Box."

BAgs and Bows See, here is the deal - delivering a "gift certificate" or "gift card" just doesn't say Merry Christmas like something more substantial at gift giving time. Our "Portrait In A Box" is assembled with a box we get from Bags and Bows [link].

We fill the box with some very nice gold tissue paper and then add a very sophisticated "gift certificate" to the tissued box.  Add the clear cover, rub gently and quickly with a cotton cloth - this will cause enough static electricity on the plastic lid to attract the card certificate inside - yes, it does work.  Add the bow and you have a beautiful gift presentation that you get to deliver to your client that makes a nice statement about your studio and the classy product you will be delivering in the near future after the holiday rush.

I just did the same thing earlier this week for a client, but in this case, it was a two parent's albums for my bride.  Between both of our schedules, we were not able to get together in time for her to select her wedding images for herself or her family.

She really wanted to give family albums to the parents for Christmas though.  I suggested a "Family Album In A Box."  She loved the idea.  I had Jennifer, my studio manager, print up one of my favorite wedding images, add the note that this box represented a beautiful parent's album would be coming after the holidays. 

We packaged it up with a beautiful gold bow and I just delivered it to my client last Friday.  She was thrilled with what we delivered. 

Portrait In A Box The holidays are a time of the year when, so many times, clients can be disappointed because we can't make some kind of Christmas deadline. That's just the nature of the business.  It's always our goal to make ALL those disappointments go away and our "Portrait In A Box" is a perfect idea to do just that.

Think how many other ways you can use this same idea and why not share them with our readers in the comments section below.  Remember, 20 our more suggestions from at least 20 DPT readers and I'll award a $50 B&H gift certificate to the idea my staff and I like the best.

Hey everybody, Merry Christmas Eve. Tomorrow, I'll offer my Holiday wishes to all of our DPT readers but then I'm taking the rest of the day off to be with family and friends.  I hope you get a chance to do the same.   

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!  -David

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Mexican Holiday"

Mexican Holiday

"Mexican Holiday"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image from our Cabo trip a few weeks ago.  We were simply walking around the town of San Jose and LaDawn and I were having a conversation with my friend Sarah.  I spotted the cactus in front of the magenta painted wall but I didn't want to be rude, stop, and take the photograph while Sara was telling here story.  I just let the shot go.  We made it into town and the girls spotted a shop they wanted to stop at.  I invited them to do just that and once they disappeared into the shop, I backtracked our steps about a half a mile to get the shot I knew was waiting for me.  Only two striking colors against the white make up this simple composition. For me it how the green contrasts so effectively against the magenta that I enjoy the most. Simple composition and bright colors all combine for a shot that says "Mexican Holiday." camera specs; Canon 7d fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 80mm, F10 @ 1/500 second, ISO 800. 

Enjoy!  -David

Photo FAVS Wednesday: Highlight Tone Priority - Perfect Exposure Every Time For The Wedding Shooter

Good Morning Everybody,

I've got to make this a quick post today because we've got lot's going on here at the studio with our album project.  Couple that with a large crowd of family showing up later this afternoon and I'd have to say that things are going to be pretty crazy, hectic and fun around here today.

'Nough said - let's get right to today's Photo FAV thing.

Highlight Tone Priority - Perfect Exposure Every Time For The Wedding Shooter

I mentioned last week in my first Photo FAV post that the topics could include cameras, lenses, lighting, gear settings, you name it - it is all fair game for the series.

Highlight Tone Priority2 I covered this over a year ago on my blog but I want to revisit it again today.  During my Digital WakeUp Call tour, I was amazed how many people didn't know about Highlight Tone Priority.  Here is the link to the earlier DPT Highlight Tone Priority article right here.  Give it a read and it will get you up to speed in no time.

This feature alone is what made me switch to the 40D a few years ago and also making it one of my favorite cameras in the Canon lineup up to that time. Nikon has a similar feature called Active D-Lighting. Here is a nice YouTube video right here giving you all the details on setting it up and all the Nikon functionality of the feature. 

I'm told Nikon's functionality works a bit differently than Canon's.  Check with your Nikon rep as to the details of those differences.  You can also find some discussion on Active D-Lighting over at Photo.Net right here.  You may want to read the comments too if you are a Nikon shooter.

One thing I like about the Canon HTP functionality is the fact that it works with the RAW files too.  Highlight Tone Priority basically adds a lot of latitude to the image when it comes to over-exposure – actually about one stop. This is particularly useful for a wedding photographer shooting brides in white dresses, often very shiny, reflective white dresses, at high noon or the late afternoon bright sun. I love the added protection this feature allowed me in my shooting routine.

In the old digital days before Highlight Tone Priority, we had to be exceedingly careful about not over exposing the bride's gown as she made her exit from the interior of the church into the full sunlight of the church steps.

My technique back then was to have my assistant open his jacket revealing his white dress shirt and then setting my exposure so that his white shirt was not overexposed. That way, when the bride made her appearance on the brightly lit church steps, I was assured that the gown would be perfectly exposed.

Highlight TP Comparison - Full Lenght But, what a hassle - and I was still nervous that I might inadvertently over expose the gown even with the precautions I was taking.  Highlight Tone Priority changed all that. 

I can remember the first time I tested it out on the brand new Canon 1D Mark III.  My Canon rep, Mary Mannix, was assisting me on a wedding and let be "borrow" the brand new 1D MK III.  The bride was to come out the front door of her home, into the shade of a tree in front of the house, and then would move directly into the bright afternoon sun as she approached the waiting limousine.

I had tested the feature in my Digital Master Class just a few days before and was "blown away" by how well it worked.  But, this Saturday was the first time I was going to try it on a REAL wedding.  What can I say, HTP worked like a charm, and a charm it truly is for the wedding shooter. 

We wedding guys and girls work under the most varied lighting conditions of any type of photographer out there.  We need to have the confidence in our gear that allows us to produce perfectly exposed images in the myriad lighting conditions in which we find ourselves. Highlight Tone Priority is a GIANT step in that direction for me which is why it's one of my top Photo FAVS.

Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We got appetizers to prep, dinner to cook, presents to wrap so I'm out of here.  See ya' tomorrow for some good ideas in how to still deliver the goods to your clients right down to the last minutes of the holiday rush.  See ya' then,  -David

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Aspen Glen"

Aspen Glen

"Aspen Glen"
©David A. Ziser

This image was made while driving from Vail, Colorado to Aspen in August.  The drive is just beautiful as you make your way through the grand peaks of the Rocky Mountains.  We were about 20-30 miles outside of Aspen when we found ourselves driving through several groves of Aspen trees.  For a Midwestern boy, this was a beautiful "Ansel Adams" moment.  We pulled over and spent about an hour just exploring and photographing the surrounds.  I was recently reviewing the images from the shoot and came across this image.  It turns out it is my favorite from the several hundred images I captured. I love the tonalities, the textures, and rhythm of the scene. Look how the light just "dances" on the bark of the trees.  I brought the image into Lightroom, converted the image to B&W using the Grey-scale tab and then toned down the greens and yellows to pop the contrast of the Aspens tree trunks with the surrounding foliage. Camera specs; Canon 50D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 200. 

Enjoy!  -David

Painting With "God's Light" For Beautiful Portraits

Good Morning Everybody,

Well, the holidays are upon us and I hope y'all ( and us too)don't get buried in the hustle and bustle. The album project I mentioned in last Friday's "Frantic Friday" post [link] is just about complete. We wrapped the edit on Saturday morning.  LaDawn had most of the album design completed on Monday. 

Africa Album

Both of us worked together in putting the final tweaks on the design and  we spent a good bit of yesterday getting it printed and coated.  Today we'll fine tune any pages that need it and reprint them.  The next step is to trim and organize the images in proper sequence. 

Once that step is complete, we can mount the images in the album.  The album, by the way is being shipped later today from Zookbinders.  It should arrive first thing tomorrow at which time we will swing into "high gear" and add the images.  Anyway, looks like we will be delivering it on time Thursday evening for our client. Whew!!!

Hey, time to get on with another Technique Tuesday.  Here we go...

Painting With "God's Light" For Beautiful Portraits

Father And ChildIn yesterday's post, "Father And Child" [link], I alluded to my  Photoshop technique I used in creating the finished portrait.  Today, I thought I would just go through the entire process for you so you can see each step.  This tutorial expands on an earlier version of the technique which is why I'm running the update today.

As I mentioned yesterday, the technique allows me to place the light on the subject exactly where I want it.  I always loved the art of the Renaissance Masters, for example, Botticelli, El Greco, or Caravaggio who had a phenomenal grasp of light and composition. The religious paintings of the day always used "God's Light" in such a compelling and dramatic manner.

Hey, I'm no Renaissance master, but I still like "painting" the light onto the image.  It takes a little time to "finesse" the final result, but I think the time spent is well worth it. Anyway, hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.

Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We've got "Christmas at the Ziser's" tomorrow for LaDawn's family so we are putting the last minute "party prep" on the festivities.

I'll plan to see everyone tomorrow for another episode of Photo FAVS Wednesday.  See ya' then,  -David

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Father And Child"

Father And Child

"Father And Child"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image from my portrait shoot last week. I had posted an image with mom, dad, and baby on Friday [link], but while looking over the shoot found this image I loved too.  Generally when it comes to new born baby shoots, it mostly about the mother and baby. Since mom and dad both came by for the shoot, I wanted to get a few images with dad too.  This tender image is one of my favorites. Although the lighting is quite straight forward - the subject of a post next week - I do most of the "lighting" technique in Photoshop.  I love "painting the light" right where I want it.  Metaphorically, I call this technique "God's Light" because I fell as if He was doing the lighting. I believe God would want the light falling mostly on His new creation.  I thought the slight touch of "noise" on the image worked in this instance giving me a nice stylized result.  Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 20mm, F8.0 @ 1/80 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Quick Hit Monday: Radio Interviews; Mark Your Calendars; Great Reading; and Book Update!

Good  Afternoon Everybody,

We got our first dusting of snow on the ground this past weekend, always a beautiful site - unless of course you were hit by the giant Nor'easter that hit the east coast I understand you received 24 inches in Philadelphia and lots more up the coast.  Hope you guys get dug out soon.

Hey, if you can't get out today, just sit back and enjoy anther episode of Quick Hit Monday. Here we go...

My Interview At New Genesis Productions

WMOH Radio A few months ago, I was invited to be on the radio - WMOH, that's 1450 AM on your radio dial.  It's a local station, but Tony of New Genesis Productions (and fan of, who put the whole thing together, and I finally got together two weeks ago.

The interview covered many topics including wedding stats that were quite interesting. Like in our metro area, the wedding budget is $26,000 per wedding -WOW! The wedding photography budget is only $750 though - WHOA! 

We discussed photography, photographers, brides, and what brides need to know in finding their photographer. Anyway, if you want to take some time to listen to the interview, you can find it right here. Please note: This is not a streaming file - the MP3 file needs to download in it's entirety first, about 3 minutes on a reasonably fast connection, before it will play. Still, I think you will enjoy the "listen."

Wait, there's more.  Tony also did an interview with my buddy, Larry Becker, Executive Director Of The National Association Of Photoshop Professionals.  You can find that interview right here. Poke around the New Genesis blog a while, too. Tony's got a good start on a nice photo resource for blog readers out there.

Mark Your Calendars - Three Great Workshops Coming Up!

A Day With Denis Reggie

Day With Denis First, let me tell you about the Denis Reggie seminar coming up January 18, 2010. Denis photographs the "Who's Who" clients around the world. He is also one of the finest wedding photographers I know. If you haven't seen Denis's program you are missing a great instructor who gives a passionate message about what he believes in most - wedding photojournalism. Head over to Denis' site right here for all the info on enjoying a very personal learning experience with a master.  Register by the end of the year and save yourself $250.

3 Days With Wedding Legends - Denis Reggie and Joe Buissink

Joe2 February 22-24 - a three Day seminar with wedding legends, Denis Reggie and Joe Buissink.  Hey gang, this is your opportunity to hear 2 on the list of American PHOTO's "10 Best Wedding Photographers in the World."  The experience is limited to only 12 attendees and will take place in the intimate surrounds of Denis' personal residence.  This could be one great opportunity and one of the best educational experiences of 2010!  Here is the link for all the info.

Light, Location, Love Workshop

Camera Dojo Workshop Fellow blogging buddy and excellent photographer, Kerry Garrison along with Jules Bianchi, are conducting a one day workshop from noon to 9 p.m. on January 26, 2010.  Their program is primarily about lighting and they are planning plenty of demos during the program. They are also shaking it up a bit with a "live" model shoot including an entire wedding party.  You can get all the info right here.

Good Reading Over The Holiday Break

Syl Arena has just posted a great doubleheader list entitled, "Online Resources For Canon Photographers – Part 1[link]" and  "Online Resources For Canon Photographers – Part 2 [link]"

Canon Syl Arena The fist set are all Canon specific sites coming from Canon themselves.  The links are an invaluable resource for any Canon shooter.  The second is a list of 31 Canon centric links dealing with photography, cameras, gear, and video.  I love it when bloggers put together these lists - it's like a road map to all good information.  

Be sure to bookmark both links and enjoy your "browse" over these next few days.  Thanks a bunch, Syl!!!

Quick "Captured By The Light" Book Update!

Captured By The Light Cover I just talked with the good folks over at Peachpit this past Friday.  As you know, my book "Captured By The Light" landed there last Thursday and is almost on the presses.  Peachpit's final edit is nearly complete and is due on the presses right after Christmas. 

I can't believe it - things are getting very close. Forget what you've seen on Amazon or Barnes and Noble's sites. The release will be much sooner than their sites have posted.  Peachpit promised me an update this week so I'll continue to keep you posted.  From those who have seen the book so far, the "reviews" have been wonderful - I'm stoked!!

Hey gang, I've got to get moving.  The day is getting away from me and we still have a few more projects to get out the door this week.  I'll plan to see everyone tomorrow for Technique Tuesday.  See ya' then,  -David

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Precious Moments"

Precious Moments

"Precious Moments"
©David A. Ziser

I made this image yesterday evening. The baby was only two months old and this was his first official portrait.  Photographing babies at this age is always a process.  The baby can be smiling, crying, fussing and a lot more. We got a great series of images from the shoot.  This image is one of my favorites.  The soft expressions on mom and dad's faces speak to the fragile young babe they hold in their arms.  I like the direct look on the baby's face too.  I thought the composition came together well.  I took the image into Lightroom to control the densities of the image.  My intent was to focus the viewer's attention on the baby by increasing the tonal values on the baby's face and decreasing the values on mom and dad's faces.  I actually discussed this Lightroom technique months ago here at DPT in my Technique Tuesday episode entitled, "Painting With Lightroom 2."  Here is the link. Anyway, the client's loved the finished results, I can't wait for them to see the rest of the images from the shoot.  Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at90mm, F8.0 @1/80 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Frantic Friday: So Can I Pull It Off?

Good Late Afternoon Everybody,

Africa2You know, some days you get the lion an some days the lion gets you.  Today was the latter.  My well laid plans to do a post on fine art photography, canvas wrapping, and certificates of authenticity has completely gone out the window for today.

Here what's going on.  Yesterday things were just "peachy" here at the studio. Nearly everything was delivered to our clients, we had wished our "Merry Christmas's" to the team - yesterday was the last day for most of the staff till after the holidays - and I was ready to settle in on getting my article ready for the upcoming Photoshop World.

Well, then the dam "busted" loose.  I got a call yesterday afternoon from one of our best clients.  Here was the request - if they supply us the images, can we design, print, and have an album custom bound with a custom silver title plate on the cover by next Thursday evening, NEXT Thursday – less than 7 days from now! 

The unedited images were still on the client's computer - we wouldn't receive them till 7:00 p.m. The finished album will contain about 150/200 images from the unedited 1600 images. Hey, don't you love a challenge? Of course, I said yes! Needless to say LaDawn was ready to shoot me.

We did get the images last evening and planned to edit the images this morning so we could get the project underway.  Then another call this morning at about 11 a.m. from my client….could she assist in the edit?  She could get here about 2 p.m. I again said yes and said I would see her around 2 p.m.

Africa1By 4 p.m. we had completed a very rough first edit. Over the weekend, I need to tweak the images in Lightroom and Photoshop.  LaDawn needs to design the album and all the images need to be printed by Monday.

The album company needs to ship the custom album by next Tuesday so we have it by Wednesday.  We will permanently mount all the images on Thursday and deliver the album later that afternoon. Hey, nothing to it, right?  NOT, it's taking a lot of split second timing over the next 5 days from LaDawn and myself, and a couple very dedicated vendors, Zookbinders for one, to pull it off. But we will and their 3 week vacation album will look great.

Album2 You know, it's these kind of projects that are kind of fun to see if you can pull it off, knowing of course that you have to, you will, and the client will know who to call for the next impossible project.  Hey, it's all part of the Holiday rush ;~)

And speaking of the Holiday rush, I'm putting on the breaks right now, and pouring myself an adult beverage.  Everybody have a great weekend and I'll see you on, hopefully a much slower moving Monday. As I wonder off I ponder, “.....uhmmm, what am I going to decorate the tree with this year - the white pixels or the multi-color pixels;~) “

Have a great weekend everybody,  -David

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Red Lining"

Red Lining "Red Lining"
©David A. Ziser

I'm tossing another image up from our visit to Cabo again. This image is of a red fence. Again, during one of our "photowalks" we passed this bright red fence.  It was not in the best part of town which is why its "redness" stood out so vividly to me.  I wanted to only "isolate" on the "red" so I chose a camera position that barely overlapped each of the fence uprights with each other . That enabled me to capture the solid red color with none of the surrounds showing through.  I also like seeing the texture of the fence paint throughout the image. The sunlight highlighted not just the textures of the paint but the fence uprights as well enhancing the repeating elements of the fence's structure.  I "juiced" the color a bit in Lightroom and took the image into Photoshop in order to straighten the lines with the crop tool using the "perspective" feature. Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F16 @ 1/160 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Business Day Thursday: Business Down, Try A Different Approach

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Wow!  I can't believe the week is about over already. We've got things pretty much under control here at the studio THANKS to my great team that makes me look good.  Also, I hoped everyone enjoyed yesterday's post - whew, it just kept getting longer and longer.  I'll try to keep the future posting to a more readable length.

gotomeeting Oh, I forgot to mention that I completed another  "GoToMeeting" appointment with one of my out of town clients Tuesday evening.  Things went great and the client loved it.

Really, it was just like we were in the same room together, just that we couldn’t see each other.  The phone connect was perfect though - we SOUNDED like we were in the same room together.  That's why the meeting went so well.  It was a real wedding presentation to my clients where I could easily add my perspective to the image selection process. 

The bottom line is this - they added 78 additional images to the original 100 image coverage.  The added images really told a complete story and I can't wait to see the finished album designed for them. Don't you love technology:~)

Today I've got planned a short and sweet post (because yesterday's went so long). I need to have completed and ready for print my new lighting program that I’m presenting at Photoshop World in March off to NAPP Headquarters by Friday so let's get right to it.

Business Down, Try A Different Approach

My buddy, Skip Cohen, who started Skip's Summer School this past summer and runs a great marketing blog [link] ask me and several others to comment on business 4th quarter last year versus 4th quarter this year.  He just ran the two part post on Tuesday and Wednesday. My answer appeared in the Wednesday post.

The results of his survey were quite intriguing so be sure to check out the Tuesday post [link] and Wednesday post [link]. As a bonus check out the photographer’s websites, too. It is always good to see what the other guys/girls are doing.

A rock climber is silhouetted against the evening sky as he rappels past an overhang in Joshua Tree National Park. The point that came through for me from so many contributors to the article was clear.  Here is my quick distillation of the most salient points of the discussion:

"... I will say that we worked twice as hard to achieve that goal and proactively approached sales and marketing to get there." Charles Maring

"... It’s not by accident though. We’ve been using creative marketing techniques to bring in kids and families." Joe Dallas

".... Couple that with an additional push towards extreme ‘black belt’ style customer service and it’s keeping us hopping." Kay Eskridge

"... I still believe there’s no substitute for busting your ass. I’m working harder than ever to stay working hard."  Cliff Mautner

“... Too many photographers wait for the phone to ring instead of making the phone ring.”  David Ziser

I think you get the idea.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. I'll plan to see everybody tomorrow for Fine Art Friday - Something New For Your Studio.

Adios,  David

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Shadow Play"

Shades Of Yellow

"Shadow Play"
©David A. Ziser

Here is another image from the Cabo trip last week. The image is of a simple garage gate.  The high afternoon sun cast the shadow of the pointed top part of the gate on the the yellow wall in the distance, hence the fact that the shadow is "out of focus" on the back wall.  I also positioned the camera so that the last left and right vertical shadow elements would eventually be hidden by the fence elements in the foreground.  I also positioned the curved shadow element - the top part of the fence - so that it would fall in the bottom third of the composition.  In essence, the shot was designed pretty much from start to finish - it was not just a grab shot. Color, of course, was enhanced in Lightroom for the finished result. Camera specs Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F10 @ 1/800, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

ALL NEW! Photo FAVS Wednesday: My Canon 18-200mm IS Lens

Good Afternoon Everybody,

WOW! Only 9 more days till Christmas. So are you ready for the holidays ? Heck, if you celebrate Hanukkah, you are in the mist of the celebration. Kwanzaa - you've got 10 days to go.  Boy, it sure gets confusing, especially if you are a photographer with a cross cultural client list. You've got to know all the holidays to be sure you make all the deadlines. Just part of the fun, right.

Photo Favs wed Hey gang, last week I was planning  to start a new series entitled, "My Favorite Things." It sort of had a holiday ring to it, but then I figured we were going to be through the holidays by the end of next week and my "clever" title would not be so "clever."  Anyway, change of plans – I’m moving the series to Wednesdays right in the middle of the week.

Here is the deal.  Each Wednesday I'm planning to share with you some of my favorite "photography" things.  That could include lens, cameras, F-stops, camera settings, flash settings, gear, books  - just about anything.  If you've got some ideas too, I'd like to hear from you in the "Comments" section below.

I think it will be kind of fun over these next several weeks with me discussing what works best for me with my gear, my shooting, and my business and why.  The "Things" will be listed in no order of priority so that means that my first post today does NOT mean that my 18-200mm IS lens is my TOP favorite thing - it's just one of many. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the series - here we go with the first episode.

My Canon 18-200mm IS Lens

18-200mm Canon Yep, this lens has turned out to be one of my BIG Photo FAVS.  It is about the best "walking around" lens you could take with you on a vacation. Heck, it's been my main lens for the last three weeks of our travels through Hawaii and Cabo, Mexico.  If I'm carrying only one camera and lens, this is the lens that's on the camera.

For me, it's the long focal length range that I enjoy the most with this lens.  Sure, I've got a 70-200mm IS lens, a wonderful piece of glass, but for just walking around, it's way too heavy.  The 18-200mm IS lens, as Little Red Riding Hood might say, "’s just right - WIDE enough and LONG enough--- all-in-one lens."

I know what you're thinking, but David, is it sharp enough for you're everyday shooting? 

Hey gang, for the answer to this question and lots more scintillating discussion on why this lens is one my “Photo FAVS,” hit the Read More… link below.

The quick answer is  "THAT IS WHAT IT'S SHARP ENOUGH FOR" - please excuse the dangling principle everyday shooting. 

It's like, how big are we going to make the picture anyway? For most shooters, they never even get around to printing their images.  Those that do never print them much larger than an 8x10.  Me, I've printed a number of images up to 24x36 inches and they look fine at normal viewing distances.  Heck, they look pretty darn good fairly close up, too.

OK, you're going to say that's a "gotcha."  You're think, "So, Ziser, if you look at them up close, you're saying they're not as sharp as they could be - right.?"  Yes, I would agree that the lens is not as sharp as a Canon L-Series lens like the 70-200mm IS lens.  But, is it sharp enough for photowalks, wedding candids, and just shooting around? I say, unequivocally YES - it's now my only choice for those situations.

"Hold on one second! You're saying you are using it for wedding candids too?"  You know, I knew you were going to ask.  You know, for wedding reception dance floor candids, it's my favorite.  I like grabbing a quick wide angle shot and then being able to zoom in close to grandma across the dance floor and grab a quick shot of her "rockin' and rollin'.  It's the most versatile lens Canon makes for that kind of reception coverage.

DAZNOTE: Hey gang, remember, I shooting with my three light reception light set up for these shots.  That's why this lens works so good in these situations.  But, you know, that's my style of shooting - dimensional lighting even on my candids.  The 18-200mm IS lens and the lighting gives me the opportunity to get a great set of exciting, well lit candids for my clients.

MISINFORMATION, MISINFORMATION!!!! So many people make their buying decision based on what they read in the lens tests posted all over the Internet.  You know, not everything you read is TRUE. I know, you're AGHAST at what I just said - "What do you mean that not all facts are "Gospel" if I read them on line?"

Here is a quick "case in point." Read DPReview's test of the 18-200mm lens - here is the link.  Look at the specs over at B&H right here too. What's the closest focusing distance listed - 1.5 feet - WRONG!!! Folks, that's only with the lens at the wide angle setting.  At the 200mm setting, guess what, YOU'VE GOT SOME GREAT MACRO ACTION HAPPENING!  Focus distance at the 200mm setting is MUCH closer.

Check out these two images I just shot.  The first is at the 18mm setting. 18mm grab At 1.5 feet I can read the ruler to 16 inches.   From everything I could find on line that would imply that this shot represents the closest distance that one could shoot with this lens. 

WRONG!  Now look at the next shot at 200mm - lot's closer isn't it? I was about 5 inches away from the ruler for this image.  200mm grab What's that say about this lens - UHHH, maybe decent enough for some quick close ups at the wedding - absolutely.  I stumbled on this feature of the lens when just shooting around one day.  I'm a macro "nut" and generally use my 100mm MACRO lens for the close ups.  I was BLOWN AWAY by how close the 18-200mm lens could get at the 200mm setting.

Wait, there's more.  Lots of folks are into FAST glass, too.  Hey, I got to shoot with Canon's 200mm F2 lens last week in Cabo – very, very cool.  I liked what my buddy, Kent Smith, said about a few of his shots, "Heck, the background was so out of focus, you can't tell where you are."  We both smiled.  We are on the beach and you couldn't tell.  Don't get me wrong.  That lens is a great lens and one of the "sharpest tacks" in Canon line up. At  a retail price of $5,000 it should be. The shallow depth of field Kent eluded to is fun to play with too.

Anyway, I'm mostly a wedding shooter.  Sure fast glass, but the 4 stops of image stabilization on the 18-200mm still let's me get the shots I need at a wedding.  Let's put it in perspective. Even at the smallest aperture at which this lens shoots - F5.6 - I can still get away with 1/20 second in most available light church shooting situations.

DAZNOTE: What makes these low light higher shutter speeds even more possible today is the advent of these wonderful new high ISO cameras that have come to market and continue to become more available. Think about Canon or Nikon's new offerings with 6 figure ISOs - who would have guessed  - even a year ago.

So gang, why is Canon's 18-200mm IS lens one of my favorite things?

  • Wide focal length range - love it for everyday and wedding candid shooting.

  • Almost MACRO capability - closer than you think and plenty close for most shooting.

  • 4 stops image stabilization - let's me pass on the expensive fast glass for most of my shooting situations, especially when coupled with the higher ISO cameras.

You know, it's not always about the highly rated specs that lead me to selecting a favorite optic.  Many times it just how it FITS my shooting situations and what the final output will be that make the lens work for me.

That's the case to the Canon 18-200mm IS lens.  For all around shooting, for candids that are going to no larger than an 8x10 in a wedding album, this lens is a perfect fit for how I like to shoot. It let's me get a RANGE of images in the quickest manner possible when photographing a wedding.

Hey everybody, that's it for me today.  I got a little carried away with this post, but I hope you found it informative and helpful.  How about I plan to see everyone again tomorrow for another Business Day Thursday episode. 

See ya' then, -David

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"House Tops"

House Tops "House Tops"
©David A. Ziser

This is one of the images in today's Technique Tuesday episode below. For me, the attraction to this subject matter were the three dimensional rectangular and triangular shapes of this building.  The final crop isolated on those shapes and forms very effectively.  Also, notice how the entire image is a fun play of three simple colors. The primary white against the dark blue is eye catching in its own right, but the little triangle of red is really where the eye stops - the "captured" reed has no place to go and becomes the main focal point of the image.  Camera specs; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 200mm, F3.5 @ 1/8000 second (I missed resetting the aperture here.  I was too wrapped up in the shot. Luckily the working distance kept everything in sharp focus.) ISO 200. 

Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Cabo Colors – A Lightroom/Fine Art Tutorial & Media Update

Good Afternoon Everybody,

CD-Dimension-logo Before we kick things off with today's Technique Tuesday episode, I want to clarify a few things from yesterday's post. Of course, everyone wants to know which brand is best when it comes to blank DVD and CD media. I mentioned that I’ve used Taiyo Yuden for the last several years based on advice I got from our supplier, CD Dimensions.

The discs we purchase are rated for 100 years according to our tech rep. As mentioned yesterday, Taiyo Yuden and JVC have created a marketing partnership that will now sell the Taiyo Yuden brand under the JVC name [link].

TY-LOGO1Want to know which blank we purchase - here is the link showing the Taiyo Yuden/JVC blank DVDs over at CD Dimensions. CD Dimensions  shows they are out of stock at this time, but that should only be temporary until the company's complete the brand transition and sell out of their current supply of Taiyo Yuden stock, which you can easily find right here.

Not on a budget and want the best, most long lived DVD and CD media available? Here is the link to the MAM-A Gold DVDs at $2.35 ea.

What about other brands out there? Here is a listing of brands from the best to not so good over at right here. Hey gang, that should give you a good place to start.  As for me, I'm sticking with my trusted Taiyo Yuden brand, not JVC Professional.

And now on with Technique Tuesday.

Cabo Colors - Before and After

Last week I did a post entitled, "Cabo Colors Wednesday."  The images were posted from our "photo walks" taken right in the neighborhood where we stayed. The subject matter of my images were from very simple surrounds.

In today's tutorial, I thought I'd walk you through my Lightroom process of creating excitingly colorful final images from rather mundane subject matter like a home, car port, and veranda. For me, it's all about color and Lightroom sure makes it easy for us to manipulate and enhance those colors.  So today, let's take a walk through my Technicolor world of Cabo abstracts.  Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.


Hey everybody, that's it for me today.  The day almost got away from me and I've got to get back to my real job.  Have a good one and I'll see everybody tomorrow.

See ya' then,  -David