B&H is happy to announce that we will now be increasing our reward program and paying a 4% reward on all purchases of most DSLR & Mirrorless cameras and lenses. With all the ongoing rebates going on this month this is a very exciting additional savings for our customers. We strongly believe that this is the best time to buy photo gear in a long time.
I needed to create some notecards for a client, so off to research I went. Now I needed real notecards, not the kind I make for myself as simple notes, a piece of Enhance Matt folded in half. There is really only one player and when I saw the quality, I can see why. I went with Red River’s 96lbs Pecos Notecard stock and man, does it rock! Red River makes it real simple, providing Photoshop templates, printer tips (they were dead on on how to print with the Epson 4900) and even the envelopes. The final product looked and felt VERY expensive and that’s what I was shooting for. So, wanna do notecards yourself, Red River is top shelf all the way!
On a side note, I wanted the lighting on the product shot to look like it’s window light even though I shot it with the Profoto Acute 2400. I’m very pleased with the results!
Free Shipping! – For the month of May all orders placed on our website or by phone will be shipped for free, with no minimum order amount. We did this in December and sales took off!
2. Free 15” Laptop Bag with every order of our popular Airport Rolling Camera Bags (e.g. Airport International, Airport Security, etc.). In addition, we will give you an extra 5% commission on all sales generated by you of our Airport Rolling Camera Bags. This is similar to the program we ran last May and it was a phenomenal success.
Walking the expo floor at Photoshop World and the first thing I came across is the brand new Wacom Cintiq 13HD. OMG, this thing is great!!!! It plugs into the HDMI port on the computer, plugs into the USB, plugs into the wall and you’re going. Full 1080p viewing, beautiful color and is the same form factor as the Mac Retina but thinner. I AM SO HOT on this new product (just started shipping two days ago)! Why would you want one? Just watch the videos on the site here. The speed these bring to your workflow make them a must!
Bet you were thinking bird nest, weren’t ya? When Nest first came out, a number of my friends jumped on their band wagon and installed them. They said they were neat, cool, invited by the guy who invited the iPod but I didn’t hear much else. Well, I finally heard someone say, “It saved us money” so we finally pulled the trigger and bought one. Why did it take so long? $300 for a thermostat, yikes! I ordered one from Amazon (1st gen, didn’t need 2nd gen that does air conditioning) and when it arrived, it took less than 5min to install. It’s just like anything you might get from Apple, simple, straight forward and works. It saw the home network, it saw when I installed the app on the iPhone and it saves us money! The first month, the bill dropped $274 and the second month, another $62 drop. The key is that it “learns” you habits to minimize energy use. It also has a “Away” feature so when you’re not home, the home is not being heated to the same extreme. In this day and age when saving energy (that environment thing) and saving money (saving for 800f5.6 thing) is a good idea. I can honestly say, Nest works!
The 80-400 is long been a popular lens. The old version while very sharp was, very slow focusing. The new 80-400 promises not only the same amazing sharpness (if not a biut better) but amazing AF performance. I have not shot with one yet but the FX lens might just be the lens for the wildlife, aviation photographer! So, I’ve put in an order for one because even at the price, it just might be the perfect tool especially for the traveling photographer.
Now here’s a P&C that has my attention. While I really like the V2, it’s still to large a package for what I’m looking for in a P&C. The new Coolpix A has a number of big features in a small package. First, is has a AP-C size sensor, it captures Raw, 1080p stereo video, 18f2.8 lens (love that focal length) and a whole bunch more. I have also put my name on one of these, might just be the P&C camera I’ve been looking for the last couple of years.
I am amazed every time I tell someone that the Moose / B&H Hotline will save them money, they say, “Really?” This hotline that connects to 7 great folks at B&H who know Moose, his gear and shooting style and ready to help YOU get YOUR gear fast, safely and saving you some money! I don’t see a penny from this, it is simply a service that B&H & I established to help you with your photography. While most see B&H as just a camera store, I know as you will come to learn, they really are all about photography. Call the 800# you see here and give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!
So, you got some photos for the Share the Season Photo Contest yet? I’ve been working on this for a while, in part taking new images that might give you some ideas. Now a Xmas Tree is a pretty obvious Share the Season theme photo but keep in mind that a big part of the contest is telling the story behind the photo. So, Sharon & I are up in Spokane to celebrate Turkey Day in our son’s Brent’s new home. Not spent any time in Spokane so the four of us went out cruising and of course the D600 and 24f1.4AFS went along. Now as you can see at the Mall, they had a big ass Xmas Tree with a kinda cool view out them big ass windows. So after coffee…the rest went right and I went up. I went to the 4th floor and started to ride the escalator down looking for the right floor/angle. Then once I found the right locale, I started riding the escalator doing handheld HDR of the tree. Ya…I got some funny looks, from two little kids doing the same thing. Riding the escalator not shooting HDR. So, here’s a little idea of what I’m looking for in the contest. Go out and have fun!
I’ve always wanted to do this and now we can. Our digital iBook Taking Flight and iPad version of the BT Journal are on sale now (until the 27th)! Taking flight is $9.99 (regular $14.99) and BT Journal Subscription is $7.99 (regular $11.99) and single issue is $1.99 (regular $2.99). Our success with these iPad publications is due to your support. We want to say thanks by offering this sale for a week.
And as you might have noticed, yesterday a FREE issue, Backyard Studio, was released for those who have subscribed to the iPad BT Journal. So if you take advantage of the sale, you will also get the free issue. Now the timing between when this post appears and the iTune Store shows the sale price might not be exact. So if you head to Taking Flight or BT Journal and it’s not there, give it an hour or two. And know that we are working on other goodies, fun, entertainment and education for you!
Thanks again for your support…there is much more coming!
We had an absolutely marvelous NAPP Safari at Photoshop World last week! The participants were great, kept Joe & I jumping the whole time with good times, photography and laughs. You really can’t ask for a better way to spend the day!
We had a number models with us for the day as well, dressed in the theme of our location, Bonnie Springs. This is Melissa who was a delight to work with, willing to stand and look gorgeous as we used her as a lighting model. It was hot, the flies annoying and her smile just kept on going. Both of the photos above were created with simple Lastolite Gold Trigrip and Lastolite 1 stop Trigrip. One bounced in warm light and the other diffusing the hard light coming down.
Melissa was a good sport. I asked her if she’d mind having her portrait taken with the painting in the background, and hold still in an awkward pose. She said sure, she liked the idea. While Jake held the Lastolite Gold Trigrip, I lined against the bar shooting handheld with the D4 and 24-70, a 5 image HDR. I wanted the detail out the window along with Melissa. I didn’t want to set up flashes (which I should have) and spend a whole bunch of time (which I didn’t have) so just went with HDR to make the image. Want to thank Melissa for being so understanding of us dingy photographers!
Photoshop World is less than a week away and we (the entire Peterson Herd will be at PSW) can’t wait! There are SO many GREAT folks at PSW, there is simply nothin like it! Well…where can you find me during PSW? The PreCon will be a ton of fun, it was sold out the day it was posted but you’ll find me in the hall in front of the room at least an hour early. There is the Art of Digital presentation where eight of us share nothing but our photographic passion with you. There are my classes, information about them is below (they are completely updated from April!). And you’ll find me on the Expo Floor at either the Epson Booth (ya baby, got prints there!), Wacom booth or the Image Wizards booth (got prints there as well! And you’ll want to find me! Why? First, I want to meet you and put a face to the name. Also, I have some give aways! For example, I have DOZEN Copperhill Cleaning kits to give away to folks. Watch for my Twitters for when and where I’ll ne giving stuff away. Can’t wait for the fun! We all look forward to seeing you all in Vegas Baby!
Dang, I want to Get Started in Wildlife Photography!
If you read my book, Captured, you probably got disappointed when you read my statement, “If you want to play with the big boys, you gotta have 600mm!” But I started with a 400mm and that was my longest lens for my first 5 years. That focal length taught me all the main lessons I depend upon today to be successful. You have a basic DSLR and a 70-300 or a 100-400. I’m going to share with you all that my 400mm taught me, permitting me to get where I am today. These are all techniques, tricks and tips you can apply to your photography to get you way beyond “started in wildlife photography.”
The Art of Aviation
There is an art of flying metal. These speed machines that defy gravity bend light just as gracefully. But how do you take these gas fueled machines and make them a piece of art? This is basic photography of light, exposure, focal length, moving the viewer’s eye around the image, manipulating it while you tell the story. The subject might be “just” a plane, but the techniques, tricks and final results must make the heart fly. Don’t let the title fool you. There is a lot more to this than just airplanes, we are talking romance!
B&H has just posted what has to be my longest web article, 3000 words. It’s a topic and format presented to me, I trust it will help you in your landscape photography.
The alarm went off at 02:50 and the TV went on. At 03:01 we saw our dear friend Meb take off in the marathon in London. Meb is not just a runner, an Olympic athlete representing our country, but a 37 year old pursuing his dreams (he ran an Olympic marathon at 37!)! Meb was in the front of the pack at the beginning of the marathon but about 1/3 of the way through the pack started to pull away and he was in a trailing pack around 17-19th position and a few minutes behind the Nigerians. When the final lap was turning the corner, there was Meb with Japan and then shortly passing Brazil and in the end, he finished his last Olympic game career in 4th. 4th in the world, simply, bloody, amazing!
In the post race interviews, it was alluded to how Meb’s story is the American Dream. You really don’t know just how true this is! Spending time with Meb while he trained and to see all the runners of all ages here in the Eastern Sierra training stop to talk to him, inspired by him, I know when they said in the post race that he is an inspiration to this countries runners, he truly is! Meb’s “motto” Run to Overcome comes from his life. His book tells his story and just how with a spirit like Meb’s this country is still an amazing place to call home. Whether you’re a runner, athletic competitor or photographer, this book lifts you up and brightens any day.
Ten hours after the end of his race, an email came in from Meb. I can’t even imagine how jam packed his day must be after that amazing finish so I opened it up instantly. Even with all he has going being on the other side of the pond, he took time to reach out. That’s just the kind of amazing human being he is. We’re very proud of his accomplishments and honored to be able to call him friend! Congrats Meb!
Run Meb! at 3am PST, Meb who is 37 will be running in the marathon at the Olympics. All of here in Mammoth will be up and rooting him to the finish line!
And if you’ve been following the blog this past week, you know part of the story of how this image was created for Meb.
And how did I create this last image? You will never guess what I had to do. The folks at the NAPP Safari at Photoshop World will here the whole story and be amazed! I will tell you this much, is was with a D4, 24f1.4AFS and 2 SB-900s attached to SD-9s!
As photographers, we have to have some loyalties, the first no matter what I firmly believe is to ourselves. That photograph is our expression of so much we know as creatives and humans. Another loyalty is to the subject and lastly to the story. It’s these loyalties that push us each time we click. So after getting some of the ground work images in the can, it was time to focus in on the mission, telling the story of where Meb lives and loves to train.
The Eastern Sierra has many iconic locations known around the globe like Death Valley and Mt Whitney and the ghost town Bodie. It has even more iconic locations known just to Californians and one of those is the Green Church. It’s been around since dirt first fell here and had been the focus of many, many events in history. It’s also where many park before taking off on their workout on the road. Many think it’s still an active church because of all the cars seemingly always parked there. Well we finished our “road” work and drove back to the Green Church to bring the shoot back to its purpose, Meb’s home in Mammoth. Now in this photo, while Meb and we know it’s the Green Church, it looks like just a green wall to anyone else.
To at least tell the story that it’s a church, I needed to include the steeple (open the doors you see the …). So shooting with the D4 and 200-400VR2 zoomed to 400mm (Sharon filling in Meb’s right side with Lastolite TriGrip with softgold), I walked the side of the road where I could get just Meb and the Steeple and not the rest of the “junk” that is around the Green Church. Meb didn’t have to run any great distance because as it turned out, we only had two strides where I had just the right background. Now if I didn’t write all of this story, you wouldn’t understand why the last picture here is the photo we were going for. So one its own, the photo doesn’t tell the story without a caption but thank goodness, that wasn’t why we took this photo. It wasn’t meant to stand alone but be part of a greater story. But what does bring a smile to my heart was Meb’s big smile when he saw the photograph because he’s the client, he was who the photo was being made for. So while being loyal to my concepts and skills as a photographer, I was able to stay loyal to the subject and the story. That’s make the photograph successful. But were these the photographs that really were on my mind for this assignment? mtc.
With the road portraits done, we started to work on some road work. Sharon & I figured pretty quick we weren’t going to run and keep up with Meb so the reflector was out. His first “run” up the center line proved that thought right. Since the sun was going down and the clouds were building, the light had mellowed some so I just went with basic front lighting. I grabbed the D4 and 200-400VR2, sat down on the center line and had Meb Job up to the lens. In the composite of the stills below, you can see how far Meb was from me when he started (shot at 400mm) and in a few strides, he was on top of me. The first time it was so fast I just laughed. What was I thinking, I wasn’t going to have much time to shoot.
The D4 was on CH and it did a killer job! Using my typical center AF sensor technique, I placed it on Meb’s chest, kept the center line dead center and just had Meb run a couple of sets up the road. Neither Meb nor the D4 missed a step and luckily, we had no road traffic to interrupt us. This still you see above, we printed up 50 5×7 copies and sent along with Meb. He has so many fans and Meb is such a nice guy, thought he would enjoy handing them out. When we gave them to him the evening before we left, he gave us that Mab smile and said holding up one of the prints, “Hope this gets me a first class upgrade.” I hope it did, he’s a first class human being!
Meb doesn’t train just on mountain trails. We have a road here in the Eastern Sierra which at times is a highway filled with hundreds training by either running or biking. Meb has been running on the road since his days at UCLA. So it was only natural we continue on with the project by shooting down on the flats.
At Meb’s feet is a mark where he starts his training run. It’s a top a rise in the highway and was a natural place for the portrait. The funny thing, I had scouted it prior to this day and picked this spot without knowing it was his start. Meb does A LOT of road work coming up on so many miles he would have circled the earth four times! I wanted the first shot to look like he owned the road. Wearing what he’ll be running in on the 12th, we placed him on the center line. This puts the light over his left shoulder so to light up his right side, used a simple Lastolite TriGrip with softgold. I shot D4 with 200-400VR2 at about 350mm. Other than dodging cars, we started off with a simple shot.
The road has produced many champions over the decades. One is our son Jake who trained there during the summer for his winter sport cross country skiing. Our oldest son Brent did his dry land training down on the flats as well and one occasion, dad would go down and do his best to stay alive trying to keep up with them for a hundred yards. Just working out on the road doesn’t guarantee results I can report firsthand. mtc.
While the basic portrait was OK, the story is Meb runs these mountain trails to train for the London Olympic Marathon. The photograph has to say this without a caption. Still shooting with SB-900 powered by SD-9, D4, 70-200VR2, we had to put Meb in motion (not hard to do). The SB-900 was on a pole about a foot out of the picture. There was a spot on the ground, a drop of light which was the mark for where I was going to focus and where the light would be at the angle as you see it in the photograph. All we had to do was put Meb in motion and go click. Pretty simple stuff.
I received a lot of emails asking about the exposure, like, “How’d you do that?” I was torn about how to do it and what solved my dilemma was staying true to the client. How did Meb see the forest he trains in daily? It would have been easy to do a more “landscape” type forest scene shooting at a different hour with no light on the forest floor, much more mellow, landscapie look. But that’s not when Meb trains. It might have been more appealing to the masses, but not an accurate telling of the story. So I went with the “nasty” light version here to stay true to the goal, tell the story of Meb’s training on these mountain trails. I dialed in minus 2 in the D4 and with CSe4, simply left the SB-900 at 0. Wide angle dome was attached and a 1/4 CTO used to warm up the light. The D4 AF was set to d21 so all I had to do is keep Meb dead center in the frame, count his pace as he ran, look at the spot on the ground and shoot when both feet were off the ground.
The short answer then is, used technology with the story to be told to make the click. We did the standing portrait first to get him comfortable with me (he is not camera shy) and for me to zero in on the final look I wanted for the exposure. Then a couple runs down the trail and we were out of there. It all took less than 10min. Meb had to get to his ice bath so the clock was ticking. mtc