Sunday, July 31, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
I photographed this image while traveling the Big Island of Hawaii a few years ago. This is one on my drive-by shooting images. LaDawn was driving which means we were flying down the road at a pretty fast clip about 41 miles from Hilo just leaving from Waimea.
The original scene was not much to look at – kind of a weeded lot with some construction going on. Still I liked the cascade of bright red flowers meandering through the scene. Could I grab the shot in time? I raised the camera to my eye while trying to frame up the scene at the same time. Panning to the right with the car moving quickly past the scene, I managed to capture the image.
OK, the image I shot was a far cry from what you see above. The original shot was a good beginning. With some cropping and a little judicious pixel bending I thought the original image held some potential. I headed over to Photoshop, this was a pre-Lightroom image, and worked the colors, contrasts till I had manipulated the image close to what I was looking for.
Still the image was not quite there. I was looking for a more “impressionistic” rendering of the scene. More Monet if you will, like you see in his painting, Woman In A Garden [link]. In that painting the reds just danced through the canvas. I wanted my reds to look the same way.
I added the painterly effect by hitting Filter -> Brush Strokes –> Angled Strokes and finally had the result I wanted. I love it. I plan to eventually print this image on canvass and frame it for a nice wall display.
Camera specs: Canon 5D (Mk I) fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 90mm, F11 @1/160 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! –David
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. This is our first day back and I’ve got to catch up on a few things around the studio. How about I see everybody bright and early on Monday with another scintillating collection of links for your enjoyment.
And remember, in this heat, don’t let your pixels run around outside without at least an SPF 80 sunscreen lathered on them ;~)
See ya’ on Monday everybody,
p.s. Hit the “Read More…” link below to see the “Before” image from today’s post. You might be surprised.
Here is what the original scene looked like as we flew by at about 50 mph – not much before a little Photoshop magic was applied. Don’t you just love our digital world? Heck yeah!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
© David A. Ziser
This was an image I made during my Sedona workshop last month. We were walking through Sedona's popular Tlaquepaque shopping area where I spotted a walkway on the second level. The arch and the scenery were beckoning my camera for a photograph.
I asked our model to get comfortable on the railing under the arch. I knew I had to throw the background as much out of focus as I could with meant opting for a large aperture. The large aperture meant higher shutter speeds in this bright daylight situation and that meant I could use my off camera flash. The flash would only sync up to 1/250 second and here I am sitting at 1/640 second for my exposure.
The easiest solution to this lighting dilemma was to use my super reflective Sunspotz reflector to bounce the sun's rays back onto my subject. It worked like a charm. The reflected light gave me the highlights I wanted while still holding detail in the shadows. Alex's easy expression, long lanky diagonal pose in the center of the arch's opening, and radiant smile finished the portrait.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 120mm, F3.2 @ 1/640 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
We had a wonderful visit to New York City enjoying our stay at one of the cities nicest hotels, seeing three of the best plays on Broadway, sampling the culinary delights of a few excellent restaurants, catching up with my daughter, Elizabeth, and strolling over 25 miles from one end of the city to the other. It was a wonderful visit! But, like they say, there's no place like home. It will be good to return to the wide open spaces of our Midwest backyard.
My Animoto Webcast Was A Hit!
My webcast at Animoto went really well yesterday. Becky, who you see on the right, co-hosted with me and also said it was an Animoto FIRST – the first time they had done a webcast out of their main offices. We had about 350 folks on line watching and listening. I was kind of on a time crunch and was moving through my presentation rather quickly but I don't think anyone minded by all the nice remarks that were coming in through the chat screen. Thank you to all that took the time to listen and to participate with your very kind remarks.
LaDawn suggested I run yesterday's webcast for today's Business Day Thursday post for all those that couldn't work the presentation time into your schedule. I agreed and worked up the video yesterday afternoon. I'll tell ya', you get a special bonus in the video too. Megan, from Animoto, did a 10 minute tutorial on how easy Animoto is to use. So if you are new to Animoto, don't miss Megan's demo. Megan also mentioned a special promo code to get you 3 months free ($100 value) with a 1-year Animoto subscription. You'll have to watch the video to get the code;~)
Creating Customers For Life Video
In preparing for yesterday's webcast, I reviewed years of content I had put together about finding new customers, treating them with the absolute best customer service, building customer relationships into a successful business building strategy. This video is the 45 minute distillation from my notes.
In the video I cover 6 key areas necessary in creating lifelong clients. They can be summarized as follows; Connect, Engage, Sizzle, Innovate, Serve, and Appreciate. Why not hit the PLAY button below and get the rest of the story. I really think you'll enjoy the webcast.
FREE - LIVE Sales Webcast With Charles Lewis Next Week
Mark your calendars and register now [link] - Thursday, August 4, 3:30 p.m. EDT. Next week I’ll be hosting a sales webcast with the pre-eminent sales trainer in the field, Mr. Charles Lewis. And next week, I'm letting the world know about it via my newsletter.
I suspect this webcast will fill up quickly which is why I am giving you an early "heads up." If you want to how to double your sales in only two weeks, you need to hear Chuck's program. Again, here is the link to register for this FREE webcast.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. It will be good to get home even in spite of the high 90's temperatures were having in Northern Kentucky. I hope it's cooler in your neck of the woods. Anyway, plan to stop back tomorrow for a short post. I hope to see you then.
Have a great rest of the day, David
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
© David A. Ziser
Here is another image from Saturday’s photowalk. Don’t worry, next week, I get around to posting a few more wedding and portrait images ;~) This image was taken of a brightly lit shop window which was dressed up with lots of these diagonal ribbons.
I don’t even remember the name of the shop or what they were selling, I just liked the patterns and lines of color I saw in the window.
I framed up the crossing of the ribbons at nodal point #3 – the upper right hand corner. A few color and contrast tweaks in Lightroom finished the presentation. I simply enjoy the colors, the fun abstract feel of the image.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 120mm, F5.6 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
We spent a great day in the city yesterday ending up our walking tour at Bryant Park, one of the nicest parks in the city. We spent a little time watching the lawn bowlers finessing their skills for an upcoming tournament and before long I was asked to join in. The game was Petanque and it was quite fun.
Next it was over to the Bryant Part outdoor reading room to listen to poetry by David Cho. His poems were almost a verbal “Thank You” to his parents and grandparents for his Korean heritage. It was quite pleasant to hear his story and enjoy the artistry of his poetic words. I did a short video during one of his readings which you can watch right here.
No NYC park experience is complete without the chess players challenging themselves to the mental gymnastics of the game. We caught the end of one game that did not end happily for either player. One of the players knocked over a chess piece, delayed the game, and caused the other to lose by 1 second. We wondered off quickly ;~)
My FREE “LIVE” Animoto Webcast Today
Today is the day for my webcast at Animoto [link] - I hope to see you there. In today's photography market, it's not always about finding new clients but more importantly about keeping the ones you have.
I remember years ago reading that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our clients, and most of the 20% client base is our current client base! That's why, when we find and are hired by a new client, we need to know that each and everyone of them are important to our success and we must do our best to keep them in the fold. Please sign in today at 2:00p.m. EDT to hear my key points on how to make that happen. Here is the link to register right here.
Hey gang, today also marks the beginning of a brand new Photography/Lighting series here at DigitalProTalk.com. I'm calling it "No Excuse For Not Getting The Shot" for the next several weeks. I'll be discussing how to always come home with your best wedding photographs in spite of lousy lighting and/or weather conditions. You know, as a wedding photographer there simply are NEVER any excuses for not getting the shot. It's what we're hired to do and as professionals, it’s ALWAYS our job to do it, NO excuses excepted. Let's get to today's post.
No Excuses For Not Getting The Shot: Rainey Day Woes
Probably the weather I dislike photographing in the most is cold, rainy weather. It's not good for the gear, my suit, or me. But that still doesn't change the fact that under those circumstances, there are any excuses and you still need to come home with the photographs for your clients.
A few years ago I was photographing a wedding in Canton, Ohio. The days leading up to the wedding were beautiful sunny summer days but as the big day arrived the clouds gathered in the morning and by the time we arrived at the bride's home the warm drizzle had begun. To the real disappointment of the bride and her mother, that meant no outdoor photographs. The drizzle would not be good for the bridal gown, the girls' hair, or my gear.
The bride was really hoping to get some beautiful outdoor images on her wedding day so what's a wedding photographer to do? My plan was quite simple - I could still give the look and feel of outdoor photographs by somehow working the outdoors into the background.
Brides and grooms love sunny days - as a photographer, I prefer cloudy overcast days. Overcast days really work best for photographs - no harsh shadows, soft light - everything I need to capture great images. A rainy day is nothing more than a wet overcast day. In fact the wetness saturated the green foliage even more. (At this point of writing the post, I' m humming to myself, "Always look on the bright side of life... ;~)
All the photographs shown in this post were taken on rainy days. The first two were taken on the bride’s parents back porch. The last two were taken under the drop off at the entrance to the country club.
I expose the background to give me good balance and color. Since the subject’s are positioned on a porch or drive through, the light is both flat and darker than the background. That means I easily add the light I need by firing my strobe through my Zumbrella to get the beautiful dimensional lighting I strive for as you can see in the images above.
Both clients got exactly what they were expecting in their wedding photography, outdoor photographs, and most importantly they loved the results. At this point, I should mention that it’s up to you to build the expectation that they ARE going to love the photographs in spite of the weather. It’s also up to you to make it happen. Get creative, think outside the box, get the shots – there are no excuses!
Hey gang, that's it for me today. I've got to get across town for my webcast. I’ll see you shortly "on the air". I hope to see you tomorrow for another addition of Business Day Thursday.. Because of our early wake up call, we head back home tomorrow, look for the post sometime in the afternoon after we land back home in Kentucky.
See ya' then, David
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
© David A. Ziser
Here is another image I made during our Photowalk this past Saturday in NYC. As I’ve said earlier, it was quite a colorful walk. This is an image taken of the front door of one of the churches we strolled by. I thought the unique rail leading to the bright red front doors of the church looking like the congregants marching up the Sunday service in single file.
I liked the original image, but decided to give it a different perspective. How about two groups in single file almost soldier-like heading up to the entrance? It was easy to do – head over to Photoshop, crop to the left door section of the image, and then create a mirror image of the crop on the right side. Tweak the colors and contrasts in Lightroom 3 a bit more and I had the result I was looking for.
Now I thought I really had a fairly interesting composition happening. What do you think?
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 80mm, F5.6 @ 1/160 second, ISO 1000. Enjoy! -David
Good Morning Everybody,
We've only got two more days in the city and then we head back home on Thursday morning. Yesterday did not go quite as planned. We worked in our hotel room into the early afternoon and finally left the hotel around 3:00 p.m.
The minute we hit the street we saw that there was a slight drizzle coming down – back to the room to grab an umbrella. I bought one from one the several street vendors that miraculously appear the moment raindrops begin to fall. We joined the NYC umbrella-ed masses.
LaDawn suggested a walk up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – heck, it was only 35 blocks away, it was raining – why not, and off we went. About 45 minutes later and only a block or two away I pulled up the website and saw – Whoops! – the Museum is closed on Monday.
With it still raining, we heading back the 2 miles to the hotel in even heavier falling rain. Oh well, we got our exercise in for the day. We’ve walked about 20 miles through NYC so far. Oh, did I mention that the “cheap” umbrella I purchased 3 hours earlier was falling apart on me as we walked back. What a day – I just began humming that song from Annie, “The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow…” ;~)
Don't Forget! Two FREE Webcasts Coming Your Way!
Tomorrow I'm over at Animoto World Headquarters for my "LIVE" webcast – “Creating Livelong Customers.” I promise you, it's going to be face paced and full of great ideas for you! Sign up right here. You don't want to miss it!
Then next week, August 4, Thursday at 3:30 EDT, we have as my guest right here on DigitalProTalk, my long time friend, Chuck Lewis, a master portrait photographer and master salesman. Chuck has been showing photographers how to be successful for years. I was an early student and have to say Chuck's knowledge and advice have aerated me really well.
This will be a 90 minute "LIVE" webcast entitled "Double Your Sales In Only 17 Days". Don't just read this title, click the image above or this link right here and prepare to be amazed by what Chuck promises to cover. You really don't want to miss this one!
Time to get moving with this week's brand new Technique Tuesday. Here we go.
Amazing Secrets Of Lightroom 3 - Making The Adjustment Brush Auto Mask Actually Work
Lightroom's Auto Mask feature in the Adjustment Brush pallet has been frustrating at best. I just wish it would work as promised. I'm a heavy handed retoucher meaning that I like to get the job done quickly and efficiently but still without compromise. With my heavy handed use, I sometimes tend to leave a halo around some of the edges of buildings against skies in some of my projects. I'm usually able to finesse around the issue but that means using precious extra time.
But in today's tutorial I want to share with you how I got the Adjustment Brush's Auto Mask feature to work beautifully. It's all a matter of thinking in reverse, thinking backwards as it were. I’m hinting at what I recently discovered about the Auto Mask feature. Why not hit the PLAY button below and check out my new Lightroom secret. Prepared to be amazed! OK, maybe that's over the top a bit, but I still think you'll like this short tip. Enjoy!
Hey gang, that's it for me today. Hope you'll join me on tomorrow's webcast. And don't forget to register for the Sales webcast next week with Chuck Lewis. I'm letting the world know via email next week and I suspect the seats will go fast. Our DPT readers have first notice - just remember, if you snooze, you might just lose a space;~)
And, don't forget to check back in tomorrow for the beginning of my brand new Photography/Lighting Series – “It Was The Best Of Days, It Was The Worst Of Days - How To Get Your Best Image Under Any Conditions.”
See ya' then, David
Monday, July 25, 2011
"Things Are Looking Up In NYC"
© David A. Ziser
I made this image as we were strolling NYC over the weekend. And, this image was made in the heat of the day on Friday. We were soaked with sweat on our two hour walk but the sights are always worth in when in New York City.
This image was made at 6th Avenue and 48th in front of the McGraw Hill offices and Del Frisco’s, one of the best steak restaurants in the city. The soaring buildings offered a imposing background to the street light in the foreground. I was careful to position two of the lighting fixtures against the blue of the sky and between the two buildings.
I wanted the red banner to stand out from the scene and that took a little compositional doing. It was slightly overexposed and lacking in detail and saturation but with a little help from Lightroom, I was able to bring the tonalities under control.
Mostly I like the strong lines contrasting with the rich color of the banner – a typical “looking up” NYC urban portrait.
Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with Sigma 8-16mm lens at 8mm, F11 @ 1/250 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David
Good Afternoon Everybody,
This is mostly a work day for me, working and completing a few projects. I'm presenting a FREE webcast live from Animoto's World Headquarters on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. The topic is, "Creating Lifelong Customers". Hey, I've built and maintained my business for more than 25 years on what Ill be discussing on Wednesday. I'm wrapping up the Power Point as we speak - I hope you'll join me. Here is the link to register right here.
Also, I'm announcing today that I'm beginning a brand new photography/lighting series on Wednesday of this week. The series will revolve around getting your best shots in the worse and the best lighting and weather conditions. I hope you'll join me on Wednesday and the next few Wednesdays for this new series of posts.
We Enjoyed A Tony Award Winning Broadway Weekend
I going off on a personal note for starters today. We had quite the weekend in the NYC and I'd like to share a few of the highlights with you. In spite of the record breaking heat wave (heat index 107 - 115 degrees and more at pavement level) that settled down on New York City and many other cities across the USA. We kicked off the weekend by heading down to Times Square and nabbing some tickets to the hit Broadway play, Spiderman. We had great seats and the show was amazing. I've never seen aerial stunts [link] so excitedly pulled off the way they did in this performance. The crowd gave the performance a thematic standing ovation at the end!
Saturday we began the day with my Animoto Charity Photowalk beginning at Washington Square Park Arch and wondering through Soho and other interesting neighborhoods around the area - all very colorful and FUN to say the least.
We had a great walk, made a few new friends, and had some lively conversations as we walked the areas. It is always interesting to see what someone else is pointing their camera towards.
We were able to raise several hundred dollars for the PPA Charities which is always a good thing – thanks to all those who participated. You can check out the images from our photowalk over at the Flickr Group we just set up right here. Here’s a quick Animoto video I put together of LaDawn and my images. Enjoy!
Later in the afternoon we headed over to Katz's Deli, you know, where Harry met Sally, and caught up with Jesica, a good and very insightful friend from B&H. If you ever get to New York, Katz's has the BEST corned beef and pastrami in the world - highly recommended. But even better is a visit to B&H. It’s truly a photographers play land.
On Friday, while walking the Theater district in Times Square, we also nabbed 3 great box seats for the hottest show on Broadway, The Book Of Mormon! It's nearly impossible to get seats for this show because of it's HUGE popularity - we just got lucky being at the right place at the right time - clean living, I guess ;~)
Although after seeing the show, in my opinion it might just lose a few points in popularity rating if you ask us. This is definitely NOT a show to take your kids too. Oh, and I wouldn’t recommend it to your grandmother either.
Call me a little old fashion, but I don't believe one of the best Broadway experiences of the decade (singing and choreography) has to descend quite so far into the raunchy level the Book of Mormon did. If you are a true fan of South Park humor then this show is for you. For the most part, the talent and creativity was outstanding. We just didn’t like the use of so much profane language.
The real treat came Sunday for two reasons. First, We decided to take in historic St. Bart’s for Sunday service - it's right across the street from the Waldorf-Astoria. To our very pleasant surprise, the service was a choral service featuring the works of Joseph Haydn. It was simply a beautiful experience.
An hour later my daughter Elizabeth joined us and we headed over to Lincoln Center to see the absolute most mesmerizing, creative, unbelievably crafted, theater experiences of our lives - we saw War Horse.
Voted Tony award winning best play and for our experience nothing beats it on Broadway. It is, without a doubt, the must see play in NYC - no exceptions! Amazing, breathtaking, awesome, emotional, unbelievable - adding more words would still not complete the description of this one of a kind play.
If you haven't guessed it so far, LaDawn and I love our plays. Every time we hit the city, we try to get caught up on a few of Broadway’s best. I think we hit it out of the park on this visit ;~)
Now back to photography. I've got quite a few interesting things for you to check out for today's Quick Hit Monday post. I hope you enjoy the post. Here we go...
My Favorite Inspirational Photographs This Week
- 90 Inspiring Sunrise & Sunset Photos: Always inspiring – DAZ [link]
- Photos of Clouds and Storms by Sean R. Heavey: He tracks the storms with his iPad – Un- frigging – believable! – DAZ: [link]
- Magnificent Mountain Reflections: Simply gorgeous – DAZ: [link]
- 500 Pixels Review: The hot new photo site – DAZ: [link]
A Few Photography Websites and Blogs To Check Out
- Blog of a Hong Kong Wedding Photographer: Good stuff here –beautiful and amazing images DAZ [link]
- 37 Websites Every Photographer Should be Reading: I missed the cut again ;~) [link]
- 6 Free Websites For Public Domain Images & Free Stock Photos: Need a free image or two, decent sources –DAZ [link]
Being In NYC This Week, I’ve Checked Out These Two Links
- Street Photography Tips and Techniques: [link]
- The 10 Best Street Photography Blogs on the Web (and more) [link]
Photoshop Freebies – Always Fun And Free
- Vintage Photo + High Dynamic Range = Cool Look [link]
- Creating Textures in Photoshop [link]
- 30 Creative Photoshop Text Effects Tutorials [link]
- PSD Files: 60+ Must Have Photoshop Files For Designers (Part2) [link]
- 11 Most Efficient Free Fonts to Create Elegant Designs [link]
For You iPhone/iPad Junkies Like Me
- Essential iPhone and iPad Apps For The Travelling Photographer: [link]
- Free Productivity Enhancement iPad Apps for Professionals: [link]
Hey gang, that's it for me today. Don't miss my FREE webcast live from Animoto's World Headquarters on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Again, the topic is, "Creating Lifelong Customers". Here is the link to register right here. I hope you'll join me.
See ya' tomorrow for a brand new Technique Tuesday: Hidden Gem's in Lightroom 3. I promise, this is something you've never seen before anywhere - don't miss it.