Sunday, October 31, 2010
Website: www.thomasrusch.com & www.thomasrusch.org
Friday, October 29, 2010
©David A. Ziser
To become a Bat Mitzvah, one must begin studies about a year ahead of time. That means at 12 years old, this young lady began to learn the Hebrew language so that she can read the Torah and give a lesson on her Torah portion in front of the entire congregation on her selected special Saturday morning.
For this young lady, that happens to be tomorrow morning. As I watched her rehearse with Rabbi yesterday morning, she was definitely ready and her confidence showed.
After the final rehearsal, I like to spend about 30 minutes photographing our soon to be Bat Mitzvah girl throughout the surrounds in which her Saturday service will take place. Plum Street Temple is so gorgeous, almost every angle makes for a breathtaking photograph.
This image was taken in the side aisle of the temple looking back onto the famous Rockwern Organ. The sun was just starting to fill the sanctuary. The sunlight and wonderful warm highlights caressed the beautiful pipe organ.
Illumination was from camera left, my Quantum through my Zumbrella at 1/4 power at about 10 feet away.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with a 24-105mm IS lens at 32mm, F5.6 @ 1/15 second handheld, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
We're getting ready for a big Bat Mitzvah this weekend and need to begin at 7:30 a.m tomorrow morning - a pretty early wake up call for all of us. I photographed Olivia's sister's Bat Mitzvah about two years ago so it will be fun hanging out with the family again this weekend.
I have to say, I still enjoy photographing Bar and Bat Mitzvah's. I enjoy watching these young 13 year olds marking their rite of passage into Jewish adulthood. Their year long preparation really pays off as you see them so poised up on the bimah being "Rabbi for the day" to the entire congregation.
And, in the evening, it's always a hoppin' party of the kids and adults enjoying a really good time. Yep, it will be a long day tomorrow but still a fun one.
I Need To Recharge My Batteries Today and Other Battery Strategies
I decided to write today’s post based on a press release I saw recently about Apple announcing their brand new AA battery recharger [link] which is shipped with 6 Ni-MH batteries. So what’s the big deal about a new battery charger. Apple is positioning this new product as a way to constantly be ready to power up a device like a mouse pad, keyboard, etc. once the batteries die – 2 batteries in the keyboard, 2 in the mouse pad, and 2 in the charger.
Now the nice thing about their charger is that once the batteries are charged, the charger drops to a “trickle” charge thereby saving energy and a few cents off your electric bill. The downside for me is that the charger takes about 6-7 hours to recharge the depleted batteries – way to long for me.
Anyway, that’s what got me thinking about today’s post an the battery strategies we use around my studio. So what kind of batteries do you use in your shoe mount strobes?
I’ve been using good ol’ Energizer rechargeable batteries [link] since I started shooting digital 10 years ago. I usually pick them up at Sam’s Club. I like the fact that the first sets I picked up came with a 15 minute rapid charger.
The downside of the Energizer batteries is that they only last me about two years and then I need to replace them. The other downside is that they are NiCad batteries and will begin losing their charge once they come off the charger. I usually charge them up the day of the event and then pack the charger with me just in case I need it, which, BTW is not too often. One set usually lasts me the entire day of shooting.
Is there a better battery solution available. I think so, I’ve just been kind of lazy to switch. The better battery is the Ni-MH battery. Here is the good news – they hold their charge much, much, much better over the NiCad batteries. Check out the accompanying chart to get an idea how long.
The hot Ni-MH batteries have always been the Sanyo eneloop batteries [link]. And, guess what? They’re even cheaper than the Energizer batteries by about $2 at Amazon. I really do need to make the switch.
IS There A Down Side To The Ni-MH batteries?
The only downside, and I think it is a very slight one is the fact that they don’t come with the rapid charger that I’ve come to prefer. But will they work on my Energizer rapid charger? According to Sanyo, they will but it may reduce the number of charge cycles I could get out of the batteries.
Here is how they answer the question:
Though it is possible to charge an eneloop battery in a "Quick Charger", it is not recommended. We recommend charging eneloop batteries in a NiMh charger that is 2 hours or more. Charging eneloop batteries in a "Quick Charger" can reduce the overall life of the battery. It is strongly recommended to use eneloop, GE/Sanyo or Sanyo NiMh battery chargers. We only warrant eneloop if used with an eneloop, GE/Sanyo or Sanyo NiMh battery charger.”
For $10 bucks, I think I want to give it a try. So, there you have the scoop on battery charging. All in all, I do plan to switch to the eneloop batteries just because I like the fact that hold their charge so long. I hate pulling out a flash that’s been sitting in my gear bag for a few days and then finding that the batteries are discharged. I’m going to give them a try on the quick charger too – just ordered 8 – AA’s Ni-MH from Amazon. I’ll keep you posted ;~)
Hey gang, that’s it for today. I’m cleaning and polishing lenses, charging batteries, and prepping my flash cards. We head off to the great state of California early Sunday morning where we will be wrapping our Captured Bt The Light 2010 tour. We hit Ontario, CA on Monday; Woodland Hills, CA on Tuesday; and then finish in Sacramento, CA on Thursday.
It’s certainly been a kick – I hope to see many of you there. There is still plenty of time to register. Hey, we still have $18,000 worth of door prizes to give away! Here is the link to register right here.
Everybody have a great weekend and I’ll see ya’ on the flip side from the West Coast. -David
Thursday, October 28, 2010
|copyright Hiroshi Clark|
In the meantime, check out the work of one of my Art Center student's Hiroshi Clark. His posts regularly on his blog and produces some very interesting work. Let him know what you think.
"The Colors Of Autumn"
©David A. Ziser
Fall is about the prettiest time of the year for a lot of people. In the Midwest we get to enjoy those Fall colors for approximately a 3 week stretch throughout October. It's a great time to schedule family and high school senior portraits and pictorial bridal pictorials.
This is an image I made at a recent bridal pictorial session. This year our Fall season was a bit short lived because of our very dry summer. Still, as a professional ,that is no excuse for not being able to pull off a nice portrait of our bride.
The challenge is to find that one spot of color that will make a great background for your image. Many of the leaves had already blown off the trees but I found this small patch in the distance I thought would work. I needed a long lens to really stretch out the background behind the subject.
I also wanted to use a large aperture to throw the background well out of focus so that viewers' attention would go right to my subject. Solving the problems were easy. Place the 70-200mm lens on my camera, rack it out to 200mm and walk away till I had the bride framed up in my view finder. Next set the aperture to f4.0.
How to light the bride - how about I use my super reflective SunSpotz reflector [link] to bounce the sun’s rays back into the subject. When used a reasonable distance from the subject, it is less apt to "blind" them. I find that about 15 feet away works pretty well. Remember, I’m not using the SunSpotz as a fill light – it’s my main light.
I had the bride strike a pleasing pose, brought the light in on her face creating a flattering loop lighting pattern and shot away. With the shallow depth of field the background colors just blossomed and looked great softly diffused behind the bride.
The light reflected from my SunSpotz - which again was my main light created a pleasing directional light on my subject and brought out the finer details of her gown. I think I pulled off a pretty nice Fall bridal portrait for my bride.
Camera spec: Canon 7D fitted with 70-200 mm IS lens at 200mm, F4.0 @ 1/400 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
WOW! What a webcast! We had over 700 folks register for the webcast and had people viewing it from more that 25 countries around the world! From Australia to Switzerland, South Africa to Russia, Aruba to Sweden, Great Britain, folks signed in to see the program – thanks to everyone for being there.
It was kind of cool having LaDawn co-present - she is just so good at the finer points of LumaPix:FotoFusion. The webcast showcased about every feature we have fallen in love with since we began using LumaPix almost 7 years. Read the rest of the story below if case you missed it.
LumaPix Rocket Speed Digital Design Webcast Now Live
So many folks think LumaPix is just for collage design only, but in yesterday's webcast I really gave the audience a thorough and detailed peek under the hood of LumaPix showing how you could use it to confer with your clients on your design projects, enhance relationships with your vendor buddies, various ways to output and share your projects and so much more.
LaDawn did a great job showing the finer points of using LumaPix to create some really fabulous designs. I quickly covered how to create “Swirls and Twirls” and LaDawn showed just how well they can enhance any project by showcasing how she puts together her Devine Designs.
The program ran about 2 1/2 hours and everyone hung in there till the end. Once again, we gave away nearly $1,000 in door prizes! I could hear the crowd cheering through my computer ;~)
From the comments and questions Damien was fielding on our answer line, it sure looked liked everyone enjoyed the program.
I know the webcast time was not convenient for everyone. That's why I recorded it in it's entirety and I've reposted in all it’s HD glory just below. I will keep it live till Sunday at midnight. If you missed it, you still have plenty of time to check it out.
During the webcast I showed you how you can pick up LumaPix, normally $299, only $99. Does it work on a MAC, you'll have to watch the webcast for the special announcement;~)
Hey gang, that's it for me today. I've got an early pre-Bat Mitzvah shoot at Plum Street Temple this morning. Plum Street Temple has always been one of my favorite places to take photographs and I'm looking forward to this morning's shoot. Check back tomorrow, I just might have a pretty cool image to post.
Enjoy the rest of the day and keep smiling - it makes the pixels wonder what you are up to ;~)
See ya’ tomorrow everybody, -David
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"The Beauty Of The Classics"
©David A. Ziser
I’m turning back to the classics for our image today. Call it an old Sinatra standard, but it’s still a classic, beautiful image. The bride is arranged comfortably next to the pew in such a way that captures the beauty and elegance of her gown and also really enhances the brides gorgeous shape. Her shoulders are turned away from the light thereby really accentuating the detail in the gown.
Notice too how I brought her face around pointing in the opposite direction of the shoulders and how that arrangement adds a elegant, statuesque look to our bride. Her elbow is popped away from her body defining the bride’s hour-glass figure. She looks like she stepped out of Bride’s Magazine.
The rest of the scene complete with pipe organ and stain glass window complete the composition offering a wonderful visual balance to the image.
I worked the image slightly in Lightroom 3 to balance the tonalities of the bottom part of the image with the brighter stained glass above, but it was not a big issue and resolved easily.
Lighting is from camera right from a Quantum Trio at 1/2 power just out of camera range.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 20mm, F5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Jack Dickman recommends the work of Danny Lyon.
For streaming audio click here or subscribe to the podcast for free via
Good Morning Everybody,
Neither rain, nor sleet,60 mile per hour wind gusts, nor torrential downpours could keep our attendees away last night. And, boy, did the rains come yesterday even knocking out power to our studio for about an hour.
We were originally forecasting around 180 to attend the Columbus presentation but we had over 225 excited photographers turn out for the program last night. As usual, the program went about 15-20 minutes long but most did not seem to care and stayed till the end. Many had even driven more than 3-5 hours to attend the presentation. Once again, my sincere thanks to EVERYONE that attended.
I have one funny story to share with you about last night’s program. You know you have too much going on in your life when you pack your bags and forget a few key essentials. LaDawn and I get the the room to change for the program. I realize I had forgotten a black belt to go with my black and grey pants and slacks.
But then disaster really struck when I hear LaDawn utter a “bowling word” from the hotel bedroom. LaDawn does not use “bowling words” very often. I asked her what was up. She explained to me her frustration and all I could do was smile. In a very loving way, I put my arms around her and assured her all would be OK – nobody would even notice. The BIG catastrophe, she packed one pair of shoes but each shoe was a DIFFERENT style – whoops!
Being the constant optimist, I said look at the bright side, at least they were not for the same foot;~) We had a good laugh and headed to the program. Just a few more truals and adventures of being on-the-road!
The One That Got Away: So, So Close…
One thing I enjoy during my Master Class is reviewing the work submitted by our attendees. Sure, everyone is at different stages in their photographic development and everyone is in the process of developing his/her own style. That’s what makes it so much fun to see their work, because every now and then someone comes pretty close to hitting it out of the park.
That’s what happening in this image. I just love it – why?
1. I love the carefree look of them walking down this cobblestone path.
2. I love how they just seem to be almost bouncing lightly down the path.
3. I love their position within the composition. See how all the lines – the top and bottom of the hedge on the right and the curb on the left all lead your eye to the happy couple.
I love how the maker has their faces positioned at “nodal point #2”.
For me, the image dances off the page.
So, what makes the image just miss for me?
Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.
Really, it’s only one minor item. It’s the fact that the couple is NOT fully engaged with each other. I think the groom looks great smiling at his bride. I just wish the bride was looking at her groom with a more pleasing expression, maybe even a big happy smile.
When you look closely at the image, I see just half an expression in the bride’s face. It’s almost the start of what I want to see. I can almost see her in the next second or two bursting into a smile as she raises her eyes to her groom.
The shutter button was pressed milliseconds too soon. So sometimes it’s important to just keep shooting. Don’t just stop with one or two images, capture a dozen then find the best to present to the client. This image is so close, yet so…. – you know what I mean.
No don’t get me wrong. I think the client might love the photograph – it’s really nice as I pointed out in my opening comments. But, one soft look, one easy smile from the bride would have hit this image out of the park!
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. We head back to Cincy in just a few minutes and should land about noon. That should give me enough time to put the finishing touches on today’s Rocket Speed Digital Design webcast. You still have time to register and can do so by hitting the link right here.
How about I see you on-line later this afternoon, or right here at DPT tomorrow for Business Day Thursday.
Have a great one and I’ll see you soon, -David
©David A. Ziser
Here is another image I made during my Master Class last week. The reason I’m posting this image is because I want you to see it as a lighting lesson. Let me explain. Everyone knows I’m a big fan of directional lighting – using the light’s direction to create a highlight next to a shadow to create detail, depth, and dimension on the subject.
When you go outside into the bright sunlight, that objective just might change. Last week during my class I saw that a lot of the students were just “shooting away” at the bride. I’m thinking, “Why is no one looking for the direction of light?” Heck, it’s the sun, but the sun could be set up to illuminate the bride giving me the flattering loop lighting pattern on her face.
That’s what I set out to do in this image. I simply orientated the bride to the fixed light source, the sun, till I had created the same light direction on her face as I would have with an off camera flash.
Look too at the added detail in the gown. We see that added detail because the light is “crossing” the gown, not “blasting” into it. I think the result is worth it. Sure, it’s fun “running and gunning” when you’re shooting, but a little more lighting sophistication on the image can add a nice polish to the finished image.
I tweaked the color, clarity, and contrasts in Lightroom 3 to enhance the image for this presentation. I think it came out kind of cool.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 180mm, F 5.0 @ 1/3400 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
Well, our best laid plans of yesterday were put on hold and it’s today that we are making the 2 hour drive to Columbus, OH for my CBTL2010 tour this evening. No big deal, we got a few more projects accomplished around the studio before we head to Columbus.
As I said yesterday, we are looking forward to an excited group of over 200 photographers coming by this evening to hear the presentation. We stay over in Columbus tonight and head on back home tomorrow just in time for my Rocket Speed Digital Design Webcast [link] – yes, we’ve been working on that in between everything else. We should be able to “rock and roll” with the program by show time of 3:00 p.m. EDT. Hope a lot of you can stop on by.
Hey gang, I’ve got a brand new Technique Tuesday for you this week. It’s entitled mysteriously enough, “The Photographic Flip side of David Ziser.” OK, what’s all the mystery about? Check out this week’s episode to see what I’m talking about.
Technique Tuesday: The Photographic Flip Side of David Ziser
For just about my entire career, I have been photographing Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, with a few high school senior and family portrait sessions thrown in for good measure. Hey, I’ve always enjoyed being an event photographer, but when we travel, an alternate side of my photographic interests surfaces.
That interest lies in landscape and fine art photography. And, why don’t we throw a little abstract art in for good measure. If you follow the DPT blog you know this because I occasionally post one of those types of images as the daily image post.
You know, it’s just a part of photography that I enjoy exploring. More than that, I enjoy bringing the image into Lightroom and Photoshop to finish the result. I’ll take the finished image and create wall decor or even the occasional poster for display. I find the entire process refreshing and relaxing.
I thought what I would do for today’s post is walk you through, not so much how I create the finished image – I’ve done that several times previously at DPT - check out this Technique Tuesday link right here which will point you to two such posts. Today I thought I would give you a peek as to the creative process I go though to create the image. A peek, as to how I see and then compose the final image. Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.
Hey everybody, that’s it for me today. Off to Columbus we go. Hope to see you there tonight! Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another episode of the one that got away. It’s such a near miss, you don’t want to miss it.
See ya’ then, David
Monday, October 25, 2010
"An Easy Day At The Park"
©David A. Ziser
Here is an image I captured during my Master Class last week. I love those wide angle lenses, and for me the wider the better. This is the widest angle lens you can put on and APS size sensor.
The super wide nature of this wide angle lens really accentuated the convergence of the lines in this image which I like a lot. I would have preferred to see a bit more of the right side of the image, but was hampered by some distracting elements which I decided to crop out – not a big deal though.
Compositionally, I like the sweep of the arbor in the top part of the image repeating the sweep of the stone wall on which she is sitting, and the sweep of her gown.
A tweak or two in Lightroom enhanced the sky a bit adding a little more dramatic color to the scene. I also even like how the cool shadows in the shadows of her gown compliment the sky color.
The lighting is coming in from camera left – Quantum Trio on full power – illuminated the bride nicely and really helped to pick up the detail in the bride’s gown.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm wide angle lens, F 8.0 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Quick Hit Monday: New Ansel Adams Book; Animoto Does Lightroom; 3T Western Digital Drive Announced; Lots of Lightroom Freebies; and More
Good Afternoon Everybody,
I have to tell ya' - having the weekend off after a pretty long haul of working sure was a good way to charge the ol' NiCad's. Heck, LaDawn and I even got a chance to fit a movie in over the weekend.
Fall around the Midwestern parts of the country have been beautiful. It has been just amazing sitting on the deck, breathing the fresh air, and enjoying the fall breezes while sipping on an adult beverage ;~)
Anyway, today is Monday and it's time to get back to work - and a pretty busy week it is. Today we play "catch up" around the studio, pack up and head to Columbus, OH for tomorrow's CBTL2010 tour presentation.
Then it's back to Cincy on Wednesday for my brand new Rocket Speed Digital Design Webcast [link]. LaDawn, who is truly our LumaPix:FotoFusion guru, will be co-presenting with me.
We worked on the program a bit yesterday and it's shaping up to be the best 2 hours ever on the greatest design software on the planet. Like I said Friday, I'm going to show you some money-making things you never even thought you could do with LumaPix during the webcast. Yes, you can still register right here.
The rest of the week is quite busy with a BIG Bat Mitzvah coming up next weekend. Then it's off to California for the wrap up of the tour - I can't believe it's almost over, and just in time for the holiday rush.
Hey gang, that's this week's quick prevue and since it's going to be a busy one, let's get right to today's post. Here we go...
New Ansel Adams Book Hits The Shelves
I've always been a big fan of Ansel Adams and have several of his books. Ansel is the photographer that has inspired me for my scenic's and landscapes. I'll keep trying to aspire to his level of excellence. Anyway, in my leisurely weekend cruise of some of my favorite sites, I saw that blogging buddy, Jim Goldstein, had a book review of the latest Ansel Adams collection of images entitled, "Ansel Adams In The National Parks” [link].
Here is an excerpt:
"Ansel Adams In The National Parks” excels in that Andrea G. Stillman, the books’ editor, has pulled not just amazing photographs from the Adam’s archive, but also his writing & correspondence that breath life into an otherwise historical photo anthology.
I guess what I'm picking up here in his review is that we get a peak at what Mr. Adams was thinking as he created his wonderful images with his own notes accompanying many of the images. I've been an Ansel Adams fans for years, and even talked with him on the phone once - for real. I'm heading to Amazon to order the book. Here is the link to Jim's entire review.
Just When You Thought You Were Running Out Of Storage Space
Western Digital just introduced their brand new 3 terabyte hard drive - cost, only $269! [link] I still remember when I bought my first 1T drive for $700. It sounds like a "ton" of storage, but it also sounds like it takes a lot more time to backup too.
You know, in our digital world, things continue to get cheaper, faster, and better and that's a good thing. I would just hate to face that one mighty crash. What I would like to see is a faster, easier way to back up 50 gigs of raw file image data from a wedding shoot inexpensively on Blu-Ray DVD's.
Delkin offers archival Blu-Ray disks at about $25 a pop or $20 bucks at B&H [link] - to expensive for me. But, I did see that Panasonic just announced archival discs to be shipping by the 3rd quarter of this year [link]. No price announced yet (maybe $10 ea.) - let's wait and see.
One of our DPT readers pointed me to this very thorough discussion of how to best shoot RAW files over at Ron Day’s blog [link]. The discussion on exposure was especially illuminating. It's a "geek" read but well worth the time to get your best results when shooting RAW. Enjoy!
Cool Lightroom Features, Freebies, and More
Don't you just love to take a weekend Internet cruise now and then? I like to think of it as a "Duck Tour" for the brain;~). Anyway, this week's foray into the cyberspace yielded some pretty cool Lightroom finds.
Here is the quick list:
Animoto Now Does Lightroom!
That's right, select your images from within Lightroom 3 and send them on their way to Animoto.com. I'm a BIG fan of Animoto and Lightroom so I'm thrilled to see this new integration. It's just one more easy way to sizzle your client's experience for you and your studio. Here is the link to the announcement and the plug-in.
Adding Edges To Your Images In Lightroom
Here is another little tutorial gem I stumbled on over the weekend. I found it at TipSquirrel.com [link] - a nice little Lightroom/Photoshop resource for digital photographers. Anyway, this tutorial - here is the link - shows a clever way to use the Identity Plate in Lightroom to add edges to an image. Heck, the author even points you the free edges he uses - pretty cool idea.
That's right, more Lightroom freebie presets that you can fit into tour hands! OnOne Software has lots of cool stuff over at their site, but some of the coolest are the links to all the FREE presets they have made available to you and me! [link]
Adobe Guru, Jack Davis, is the brains behind many of the 190 of the Lightroom presets. I have to say, they do look pretty cool. Wait, there's more - explore OnOne's site and you will find 196 more free downloads including edges, Adobe RAW plug-ins, and more. Here is the link again. I think, I've died and gone to Lightroom heaven ;~). Have fun.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. In a few hours, we are packing our bags and heading north to Columbus, OH. We are catching up with our friends, Kent and Sarah Smith, this evening. Then tomorrow it presentation #17 of CBTL2010 tour. We are expecting another large crowd of over 200 strong so I hope to see you there. Please come up and say HI.
Can't make it, then still plan to stop by DPT for a brand new Technique Tuesday: The Other Side Of David Ziser. There, that should keep you guessing a bit ;~) It will fun, I promise.
See ya' then, David
Sunday, October 24, 2010