Friday, September 30, 2011

"Dancing In The Sunset"

0001 - Dancing In The Sunset-02

"Dancing In The Sunset"
© David A. Ziser

I really enjoy this image.  I made it several years ago in my migration to digital photography.  I had always been a medium format Hasselblad shooter and loved to use wide angle lenses.  After switching to digital shooting, things changed. 

First of all, I was shooting in a rectangular format which was a bit uncomfortable for me since I had been shooting square format for over 20 years.  But, you know, you get used to it.

My biggest problem was finding wide angle and lenses like I had in my Hasselblad gear bag. I eventually purchased my first fisheye lens, a Nikkor 16mm lens – a great piece of glass.  The only problem was that it didn’t work as well on my APS sized Nikon D1x, or so I thought.

The more I played with the lens/camera combo I began to really like the less distorted super wide angle almost fisheye effect.  Now let’s fast forward to June 2010 – Lightroom 3 is released.  I fell in love with this program, especially the lens correction feature.  Now I could take those early fisheye images and transform them into rectilinearly corrected super wide angle images – way cool.

That’s what I did in today’s photograph.  This image was originally taken with a fisheye lens.  But after a little Lightroom 3 magic, I was able to remove the spherical distortion and the converging vertical lines giving me a very cool wide angle bridal image.

Lighting was from camera left, my Quantum on 1/2 power.  I adjusted the shutter speed to under expose the sky slightly for this very dramatic image of my bride.

Camera specs: Nikon D1x fitted with Nikkor 16mm fisheye lens, F5.6 @ 1/500 second, ISO 400.  Enjoy!  -David

p.s. Want to see the original image?  Hit the “Read More…” link below.

0002 - Dancing In The Sunset-02

Here’s what the original image looked like. Pretty cool don’t you think? –David

FREE Webcasts, CBTL Kicks Off, Seats Open For Fall Master Class & More

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Wow!  It seems it’s been quite a whirlwind around my Studio this week.  We got our mini California tour launched late yesterday and seats are beginning to fill. We’re wrapping details on my Fall Master Class and working hard on PhotoPro Expo 2012.  Let me give you the quick updates on everything going on.

FREE Webcast: Photoshop Fashion For The Wedding/Portrait Photographer

DigitalProTalk WebcastsFirst, don’t forget our FREE webcast with Adobe Certified Expert, Suzette Allen next Thursday at 4:00 p.m. EST.  We have nearly 250 signed up already so you will have no problem reserving your space. And, yes, we will be giving away lots of Door Prizes too.


Here is the lowdown of the webcast:

October 6, 2011 4:00 p.m. EST. That’s 1:00 p.m. PST

Suzette is a very talented photographer, studio owner, and she is accredited as an Adobe Certified Expert!  She recently showed me a Photoshop trick or two that easily simplified what I had been doing the hard way for many years. I was blown away!  

Suzette will show you not only what she showed me but lots of her latest Photoshop tips and tricks for the Wedding/Portrait photographer.

I promise you, this is going to be one terrific program!  -David

My Mini Tour Captured By The Light California 2011 Kicked Off This Week

Cbtl priceI’m really stoked about this. Mark your calendars now.Three cities only – San Diego 10/19, LA (Orange County) 10/21, and Napa/Sonoma 10/26.  I’m bring my highly acclaimed Captured By The Light tour to California.  I’m already receiving emails – yes, I would like to get to more cities too but that’s all we can schedule for this year.

I promise you, you will love this program.  Plus you’re going to get the entire recorded seminar to take home with you too!  And that folks, is a first for any seminar!

More program details, door prizes and give-a-way goodies, and registration info right here. Remember to use promo code CBLDPT11 to save the $20!

PhotoPro Expo 2012 – Save $100 & Receive $139 In Great Offeres!

OK, I have to tell you about another great special they’re running at PhotoPro Network.  You can save $100 off the registration price of $279 by using promo code SAVE100.  Here is the link for all the info.

We already have 200 attendees registered for the best photo event in the Midwest for 2012.  We have photographers coming from states around the country - Washington to Florida and have even had inquiries from as far away as Sri Lanka!  Hey, with the talent line up we have scheduled, why wouldn’t they come from around the world ;~)

PPE Logo

Wait, there’s more.  Register at this special price and also receive a $50 Gift Card from Marathon Press, a $50 Gift Card from Nation's Color Lab, and 1 month FREE Animoto Pro ($39 value)!  Wow! that’s like getting PhotoPro Expo 2012 for FREE!

Scott Kelby Photo Walk This Weekend – One Space Left!

Photowalk LogoI can’t believe Scott Kelby’s Photo Walk is this weekend.  The weather is looking great in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and we are looking to have a great time. A few folks had to drop out at the last minute so we still have one space left if you’d like to nab it and join us.  Here is the link to reserve you space right here.

My Fall Master Class – A Few Seats Have Opened Up

DAZ FAll Master Class 2011Hey gang, we’re also getting a lot closer to my Fall Master Class [link] scheduled for October 10 – 14th. It’s only a little over a week away.  We always have a few people that need to change plans at the last minute which opens up a seat or two for someone else. 

Earlier this week we had two photographers who had to reschedule to my Spring 2012 Class so we have 3 seats still open for our Fall class.  You still have time to reserve your space.  Just give Jennifer a call at 800.202.2994 if you would like to nab one of the few remaining spaces.  It’s a great week and  everyone really enjoys the experience.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today. We’ve  got a very busy weekend with Photo Walks, Charity events, family portraits, and more web design.  But who cares, the weather is predicted to be beautiful – blue skies, white puffy clouds, and soft breezes.

I hope things are that good in your part of the world and I wish you a fabulous weekend!  .

I’ll see you on Monday all the pixels willing, David

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photographer #390: Ken Kitano

Ken Kitano, 1968, Japan, is a conceptual photographer who uses long exposures and piles images on top of each other to create a new photograph. He has been working on the series Our Face since 1999. He shoots portraits of various social groups as young girls in Harajuku, office workers, farm village women in Bangladesh and supporters of the English national soccer team. Each time he shoots various dozens of evenly taken portraits which he piles on top of each other. The more faces that are printed, the more the contours of an individual become blurred and the expressions and ages become more ambigious in the final portrait. The project started in Asia, but should cover the American continent, Europe and Africa in the future. In 2005 he released the book Our Face. In his series One Day Kitano captures specifically chosen locations using an exposure time that stretches from sunrise to sunset. The following images come from the series Our Face, One Day and City Flow and Fusion.


"Sunflowers Keep You Smiling"

Sunflowers 10.5x10.5

"Sunflowers Keep You Smiling"
© David A. Ziser

This collage is made up of a number of sunflower images I’ve taken over the years. LaDawn caught the “sunflower” bug and decided to combine six of these images for an upbeat home décor item which is now displayed in our family room.  I think it came out great.

She’s combined close ups, medium shots, and more distant panoramas like the bottom image taken on a trip to France a few years ago to really put together a compelling, colorful presentation.  Add to that the Maori quote and you have a nice photo décor item for any home.

Actually, I think there’s a Business Day Thursday post in here somewhere ;~)

Camera specs: Top 5 images; Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at varying focal lengths and settings, ISO 200.  Bottom panorama; Canon 5D fitted with 70-300mm IS lens at 70mm, F11 @ 1/160 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  -David

Business Day Thursday: Selling The Wendy’s Way

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Success- iStock_000000432883XSmallI have to tell, my doc told me I’m spending too much time behind the computer (blogging) and was totally out of shape and  needed to begin exercising. Well, for the past three weeks I’ve managed to walk at least 5,000 steps a day on purpose! That totals up to about 3 miles a day.  I’m even going to a gym – what can I say, this exercising might just  kill me ;~)

Actually, I feel MUCH better and much more energetic than I have recently so I guess that’s a good thing. The down side, it’s taking about 1 1/2 hours out of my day and cramping my already SUPER-busy schedule.  Anyway, all good, I suppose ;~)

Hey gang, I’ve got something for you to think about in today’s business post – let’s get right to it.

Selling The Wendy’s Way

Wedding photography and photo studios in general have taken quite a hit in recent years.  With the proliferation of digital cameras, camera phones, Facebook and Craig’s list, photographers are coming out of the woodwork.  I just clipped this from Craig’s List Cincy a few minutes ago.

Craig's list wedding photogsAnd many, as you can see, are offering their services for next to nothing to absolutely FREE.

Nobody Is Making Any Money!

What does that mean to the main street studio who has been around for years.  Well, for one thing, they had better get a lot more creative and competitive in their marketing policies and practices.  Some have and some, sadly have not.

But what about all these new photographers entering the marketplace – are they making any money.  I suspect some are but most are not.  Why, because most have no clue how to sell their product and services.

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Here is an ad I clipped again from Craig’s List:

Craigs List“For a limited time, ABC Studio Studio is offering wedding photography for only $400. We also offer video for $400. Do them both and receive $200.00 off.  Photography and Video for only $700
We use professional equipment, and have experienced photographers and videographers.  Don't miss out on this great deal.”

What’s the message? We sell cheap and we use real cameras.  Wow!  Where do I sign up! – NOT!!!

That’s what I mean, the huge influx of new photographers we’ve seen a huge drop in any kind of sales expertise.  BTW, Sales Expertise = Business Success. 

There is way to much money left sitting on the table for lots of wedding shooters out there. And, that being the case, I suspect they will be out of business very shortly.  Weddings are hard work and qualified wedding photographers deserve to make a fair profit. Hey, we have families to support too.

It’s About Time Wedding Shooters Learn To Sell

Focus on Success Magnifying GlassWhen I got started in this business years ago, I learned early that if I was going to survive, no thrive in the field of wedding photography, I better ramp up my business and sales skills.  I featured Blair Phillips and Zach and Jody Gray, three of my favorite rising stars in this profession.  All three of them got it.  I liked what Zack Gray said, “I was advised to read at least one business book a  month.  I figured if one is good, two is better”  They were out of debt and building a new studio in just a few years. 

Being successful is about education.  That’s what I try to bring to Digital ProTalk – education not just in photography but is sales, business, and success strategies too.

It Time To Start Selling Like Wendy’s Hamburgers

I know what you’re thinking, “Ziser’s crazy.  I’m selling wedding photography, not hamburgers.” That’s true but how are you really selling your weddings?  Are you giving your prospect client one choice like the previous mentioned ad above.  Most of what I see is that photographers are only offering a one choice menu for their clients.

Now what’s funny is that they may offer many wedding album styles but still only a limited number of coverage's for their clients.  I learned a long time ago, whether the album was green, red, brown, or hippopotamus hide, none of that made any difference to my bottom line.  It was always about the number of images in those albums that affected my bottom line – the more images, the better the sale.

You’ve Got To Show Big To Sell Big

wendys-tripleThankfully this is another concept I learned years ago.  I learn it from my good buddy, Chuck Lewis.  I attended a seminar way back in the 80’s where Chuck was telling me to show big to sell big.  If I wanted to sell that 24x30 inch portrait I needed to show a 30x40 or 40x60 inch portrait on my studio wall.

I was primarily a wedding photographer so I figured I could make the same concept work in wedding photography.  If I wanted  to sell large albums, maybe even double volume sets I better be showing triple volume sets!  I immediately ordered my first triple volume sample album. 

The rest is history.  I remember when I first showed the triple volume set to a new perspective client – they were shocked that ANYONE would consider buying a three volume wedding album! They asked me how much it was.  I told them and they nearly fell off my sofa.  But you know what, now that BIG, FAT single volume album looks just right to them.

So, you can see, it’s about time we start selling like Wendy’s Hamburger’s. Show the Single, the Double, and the Triple and you’ll sell the Double a lot more often.  In fact in my studio, we sell a double volume set over 50% of the time.  In fact, just last week, I sold a double volume parent’s album.

It’s Time To Show Them Or Fold Them

InnovationFolks, I’m note trying to step on any toes or be braggadocios in any way.  What I’m trying to say is this.  Too many photographers are complaining about today’s wedding averages, final sales, and the customers willingness to bargain. With the kind of things we see on Craig’s list and all the folks offering shoot & burn only wedding photography, it’s no wonder complaints are so rampant in the industry.

It’s about time we took some responsibility for our sales and business success and started making decisions the are success oriented.  It’s like exercise, you are never going to get your business in shape unless you do (practice) the business exercises to make that happen.  And guess what, that takes effort and commitment, and that folks, is the difference between success and failure.

Food for thought-  David


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  It’s getting late in the day and LaDawn and I have “date night” tonight. Everybody have a great rest of the day and I’ll see you tomorrow with a short post.

See ya’ then, David

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Photographer #389: Lin Zhipeng

Lin Zhipeng aka NO.223, 1979, China, is a photographer based in Beijing who works in a very intuitive fashion. His photography shows the Chinese youth of today with sex and chaotic love as recurring themes. The photographs that are made using a very direct and hard flash, showing a youth culture the way he does, are relatively new to come from a country as China. The "snap-shot" images reveal a new Chinese generation, allowing us viewers to see them while they party, shower, hang-out, kiss and smoke. His work has been published in several books as New Photography in China and in numerous magazines as Vice, S Magazine and Dazed and Confused. He has been exhibited mainly in China, but also in Europe and the USA. The following images come from the portfolios Portfolio 09, Portfolio 07 and Polaroid.


"Evening Fantasy"

Fantasy Evening3

"Evening Fantasy"

©David A. Ziser

This image was taken several months ago. We headed to a local park to see if we could capture some great bridal sunset images. We never did get a vey good sunset but we did get some great cloud features throughout the sky.

The secret to a great shot is to get the subject, my beautiful bride, to pop out of the background. I did that with my off-camera flash coming in from camera right just out of camera range at 1/2 power.

The bride's beautiful profile against this magnificent background made for a striking image. Notice how the warm tones lead to her face and how the cooler tones compliment her gown.

OK, I did "goose" the clouds and the sky with the Vibrancy slider in Lightroom and then added the very soft, ethereal effect in Photoshop - just my way of having some fun.

Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 145mm, F5.6 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! -David

Social Media Marketing: Do It Or Die! Re-broadcast

Good Morning Everybody,

We officially announced my Captured By The Light California 2011 tour yesterday [link].  Right away I received emails asking us to bring the tour to other cities as well.  Heck, I wish I could bring the tour to a lot more cities but the way hotel and travel costs have escalated over the last few years, it makes it a little tougher to do.

CBTL Web LogoThis time around we are promoting the CBTL 2011 tour by email notices only.  And, making your registration the "deal of the century" by including a full, extended content DVD of my entire presentation.  Each attendee get the full recorded DVD of my presentation and me for only $59 (with Promo Code CBLDZ11).  That should really cut down the note taking chores at our three California stops.  Again, you can register right here.

If this concept is successful, we just may hit the road and visit several more cities next year, Canada included.  Anyway, help spread the word and let's see if we can get this off to a great start.  I'd love to visit a lot of the cities we missed last year.

Social Media Marketing: Do It Or Die! Re-broadcast

Social Media Marketing TitleEvery time we do a webcast at DPT, I know schedules being what they are, many can't attend at the posted webcast time.  That's why I like to get the re-broadcast online whenever possible.  We are doing just that today with social media guru, A.J. Wood's webcast he did for us last week.  This is a great opportunity for you to tune in, especially if you missed it, and gain the knowledge and reap the benefits of A.J.'s well received program.

Here are just a few comments that came across during the first broadcast:

“Thanks very much for presenting the Social Media Marketing webinar with A. J. Wood.  … lots of great ideas!”  Bruce G.

“This was one of the most useful webinars I have attended. Thank you very much for sponsoring it.”  Mary W.

“Great Info. I spent almost 6 hours reviewing the sites mentioned in the Webinar. Keep up the great Work.”  Tom W

“Just wanted to say Thank you so much for this very informative webinar . It was wonderful , and very helpful for a beginner at Networking  and Social Media.”  Patrice K.

My thanks first to A.J. Wood for presenting our webcast and also to everyone who attended the webcast and to those who will watch the re-broadcast.   Hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.

AJ WoodWe were unable to answer all the questions during the presentation so I have forwarded all the inquiries to A.J. where he will answer as many as possible at his site right here.  His website is jammed pack with solid info so you'll want to bookmark it anyway - tons of good info available.


PPE ExtendedHey gang, that's it for me today.  I've got to go back to work on PhotoPro Expo 2012 [link].  We're fine tuning the events, speakers, and schedules for what will be the best convention in the Midwest next February.

In fact we have a nice promotion going on right now where you can save $100 off the registration price bringing your cost down to only $179 for the three day event.  The secret code is "Save100".  Be sure to enter it when registering right here . The dates are February 2 - 5 so save yourself $100 and register today..

Have a great rest of the day and I'll plan to see everyone tomorrow for a brand new Business Day Thursday.

See ya' then,  David

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photographer #388: Kim Boske

Kim Boske, 1978, The Netherlands, is an experimental photographer based in Amsterdam. She studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Her photography deals with time, perspectives and space. It is a research in which time and space run together. She focuses on the mutability of things. In her series Mapping she merged different moments in time, investigating how physical movement in time and space change our perspectives. She photographed trees from different angles and when all the images are combined we actually see the tree in its entirety. She created images of flowers that combine several shots of the same object. The changing of light during the day was an important factor. Kim's photographs reveal phenomena that are impossible to see or witness with the naked eye. Her work has been exhibited at several venues in the world and a large number of Dutch exhibition spaces. The following images come from the series Mapping, Collection of Sleepings and Awakanings and I Go Walking In Your Landscape.


"Chairman Of The Board"

0001 - Chairman Of The Board-

"Chairman Of The Board"
© David A. Ziser

This image was captured just a weeks ago in Las Vegas during my Photoshop World wedding shoot out.  That was a challenging session as I have previously described.  We moved outside and luckily it was not too hot, only in the mid 90’s,  and we pulled off  a few images in front of the church where we were working.  This is one of my favorite images from that session.

At first, it appears to be just a simple, straightforward portrait.  But to capture this image, I pulled a lot of lighting tricks out of my bag to make it work. First, I asked Jay to take off his coat and toss it over his shoulder.  This makes for a very relaxed pose, plus it had the added benefit of showing off that great shirt he was wearing.

The light was pretty flat so I asked my assistant to add some light from camera right.  I used just a small shoe mount strobe triggered with a small radio.  That small strobe shooting at 1/4 power gave me just the right amount of light on Jay’s face to give me the dimensional look I wanted.

The problem was that my subject was fading into the background.  I needed to somehow separate him from the dark door behind him.  I still had my Quantum flash available so I asked one of our class members to hide behind Jay and point my Quantum at 1/4 power right at the door just to the right of the door handles.  I needed the strobe to be about two feet away from the surface of the door to get the light spread the way I wanted it.  This light addition really created an interesting effect on the image.

I framed Jay with both the door, the interior frame, and part of the white wall of the church, another interior frame.  This double framing does well to direct the viewer’s eye directly onto the subject.  The rich colors, great lighting, and solid expression help make this a great portrait.

Camera specs: canon 5D Mark II fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 130mm, F9.0 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday: Pipe Dreams: Stretching, Bending, and Pulling The Pixels

Good Afternoon Everybody,

I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel yesterday, but in reality it turned out to be a freight train coming right at me.  I think things are a bit more under control today - but who knows, I don’t even want to look over my shoulder today ;~)

That said, I better get on with today’s post.  A few things first though.  A lot of folks have been asking about a re-broadcast of last week’s webcast, “Social Media Marketing: Do It Or Die”.  I’m hoping to have that on-line for tomorrow’s post so look for it then.

600x170px- Digital ProTalk Webcast Series

Secondly, continuing with our DPT webcast series, we’re planning another new FREE webcast, “Photoshop Fashion for Wedding and Portrait Photographers” next week, Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. EST or 1:00 p.m. PST.  You can get more info on the webcast and register right here.

And lastly, I just want to give you a “heads up” about my upcoming workshop entitled “Make Your Lighting Exciting” in Oldsmar Florida at the Dave Cross Workshops [link].  It’s coming up on October 17, 2011 and limited to only 25 participants. I hope to see you there.

OK, time to get moving with today’s post – here we go.

Pipe Dreams: Stretching, Bending, and Pulling The Pixels

Plum Street Pipe OrganLast week I ran a photograph of a famous pipe organ installed and renovated in Cincinnati, Ohio. [link] I loved the image but I also posted the “before” image too.  The “before” image was a far cry from the final posted image.  That caused a lot of readers to ask me if I could do a quick tutorial on how I arrived at the final result.

Pipe dreams beforeI agreed, I thought it would make a cool Technique Tuesday for us.  On seeing the “before” image, you may just think it’s a quick fix in Lightroom 3, but that is not the case.  You can get a good start in Lightroom 3, but the “finish work” has to be completed in Photoshop.  Why not hit the PLAY button below and see how I got to the final result.  Enjoy!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Enjoy the tutorial and I’ll see you again tomorrow. Oh, and don’t forget to check out my Captured By The Light: California 2011 [link] coming your way in just a few weeks.

See ya’ tomorrow,  David

Monday, September 26, 2011

Photographer #387: Sarah Elliott

Sarah Elliott, 1984, USA, is a young, engaged and very productive photojournalist. She received a BFA in Photography at the Parson's School of Design. She also followed courses at the Rhode Island School of Design and the ICP. She is interested in documenting social issues in Africa and focuses especially on women. Within her large archive are stories that deal with reproductive rights in Kenya, maternal mortality in Ethiopia and fistula repair in Central African Republic. Her series Renewed Fighting DRC shows the tense situation in 2008 in North Kivu, Congo which has led thousands of Congolese civilians to flee the intense fighting. Dandora Dump tells the story of the immense Nairobi waste dump that affects the people surrounding it, but also works as a source of income for people sifting through the waste mountains that include medical waste and poisonous chemicals. She has received several awards for her photography which has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines as The New York Times, Stern and The Guardian. In 2010 she was selected to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. The following images come from the stories Renewed Fighting DRC, Women of the Omo Valley and Dandora Dump.


"Conner Pass - Ireland"

Conner Pass"Conner Pass - Ireland"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image while on a trip to Ireland a number of years ago it was just after I had started shooting digitally. As we were traveling across the nearly one lane rising roadway of Conner Pass on the way to Dingle, this beautiful vista presented itself.

We pulled cautiously off the side of the road so I could take the shot. I love the rich greens of the composition contrasting with the red tones and blue waters of the sweeping landscape.

The wide angle lens gave importance to the old fence which offers it's own visual pathway through the image.

Camera specs; Fuji S-1 fitted with Nikon 18-35mm lens at 23 mm, F5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 320. Enjoy! -David

A Little Reminiscing Today

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Today's post is going to be on a more thoughtful note and not photo-centric but I still hope you enjoy the read.

I hope everybody had a great weekend.  The highlight of my weekend was attending my high school reunion.  I know what you're thinking - like, who cares, right?  But hear me out.  Having attended a few of these in the past, high school reunions have never been one of the high points on my social calendar.  Many of you may have the same feelings about high school reunions. You show up, everybody looks a lot older, and still most people haven't changed much, the same cliques are still hanging together, you make a little small talk, and leave promising yourself that that's the last reunion you'll ever attend.

ReunionsThat's how I felt 10 years ago when I left my reunion.  This time things were different though.  Everyone looked way older than the last time.  In fact when, my friend and fellow graduate, Terry, and I walked into the hospitality room Friday night, I recognized only one person - I had no clue who the other 20 people were!

But this year, like I said, something was different. One of the folks at Friday's get together, who I didn't know, immediately came up and introduced himself.  Then one after the other, everyone else did the same. It was a lot different than 10 years ago when only a few in attendance made the effort. Everyone was warm, hospitable and friendly - no more “cliquish” groups, braggadocios conversations, and very little small talk.  Everyone seemed genuinely interested in each other and what each other had been doing for the last several years.  At the end of the evening you felt you had not renewed friendships, but made new friends, friends you would like to see again in another five years or maybe even sooner ;~)

I think the reason for this change was that his time the entire group seemed "otherated" that is genuinely interested in all the others in the room.  This continued through Saturday's festivities too.  Heck, maybe getting older makes you friendlier and a little wiser. This may have been because of the personal histories of so many of the attendees.  Some were retired, some were busier than ever like yours truly, others were enjoying grand kids, GRAND KIDS, I'm not even close to the grand kid stage. But everyone seemed very content, satisfied and really happy with where they were in their lives.

Now having said that, the fact of the matter was, that many would not have a reason to be happy.  A few had lost their jobs. One of our classmates had gone through a horrible cancer operation that had severely and cruelly altered his face.  He can no longer eat normally, and he is very hard to understand when he speaks.  But you know what, he was there all dressed up shaking hands, slapping everyone on the back, and wishing everyone the best.  Another, the first to say HI to us on Friday, had two shoulders and one knee replaced - must have been after the 17 Boston Marathons he had participated in - but he was getting around fine and was now happily retired.  The going joke was that John has his PhD in Psychology and if you talked with him for more that 30 minutes, he would have to charge you ;~)

Many of the classmates in attendance have really become quite successful.  Terry had finished 7 terms in the state legislature, is president of the Board of Reagents at one of our local universities.  He can't retire he says, because his new business he started a few years ago now has 67 employees and operates in several states around the country. Others were at the top of their professions, another retired early from American airlines and spends a lot of time on the golf course. Another classmate who unfortunately could not attend, and the guy that cheated off of me in high school, went on to be a well respected attorney and author.  Another, the tall, gangling, fun loving classmate from years ago now is extremely successful and runs the advertising campaigns for Toyota.  

The list goes on and on, but what was most important was how everyone wanted to genuinely connect with everyone else.  We can get so wrapped up in our own lives, we sometimes miss how important it is to be connected, concerned, and interested in other people's lives too.


It was an important lesson to see first hand that we are pretty lucky, lucky to be alive, lucky to have friends who care, and lucky to be able to make old acquaintances into new friends who care too.  Like I said, it was a great weekend.


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We'll get back to the regular DigitalProTalk lineup tomorrow with a brand new Technique Tuesday for you and some cool new announcements too. 

Have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photographer #386: Richard Learoyd

Richard Learoyd, 1966, UK, graduated in Fine Art Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. He has a very unique way of working which creates absolutely unique photographs. He build a giant camera that can best be described as a huge camera obscura. The camera is comprised of two rooms. In one room is the model or the object in a light source. In the other room, behind a large lens, is a huge piece of photographic paper. Once exposed, a unique, life-size direct-positive print is created. Unlike the pinhole camera images, Richard's photographs are clear of distortion, sharp and very detailed. Apart from the technical aspects, he manages to create poetically stunning imagery. He places people, clothed and nude, as well as objects in front of his lens. The exposure takes 8 hours, so the models have to sit still while being under hot lights for the same amount of time. The final and approved images, he destroys the one's that are imperfect, have a painter-like quality to them with soft tones and melancholic poses. He considers the method to be a natural step in search of the ultimate image.

For more work visit: &

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Dream Dancer"

Desert DancerIMG_5662

"Dream Dancer"
©David A. Ziser

I love the technique used in this image so I’d thought I’d share it again with you. What makes this image interesting is the fact that it was made on a residential street right outside the church. Yet, it appears to be made at a beautiful park location. This is the kind of situation wedding photographers encounter all the time - no shade, bright afternoon sun, and not much to work with in the background.

I chose a 100mm F2.8 lens for the shot. I figured I could shoot it nearly wide open thus making the background go softly out of focus. The longer focal length lens also served to expand and enlarge the foliage in the background too.

The sun was Las Vegas intense so I had the bride standing facing me with the sun behind her right shoulder. I still needed to get her face illuminated. I chose to use my SUN SPOTZ reflector[link]. It's super silver on one side and black on the other.

My assistant caught the sun's rays and bounced them back onto the bride's face creating the beautiful loop lighting pattern I prefer in my images. You've got to be careful not to blind your subject with the bright sun reflecting back onto your subject. Even looking back into the camera was too bright for my bride to keep her eyes opened without squinting. I opted to have her just look at the ground in a more reflective pose. I love how the image turned out in a very difficult situation.

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 100mm F2.8 IS macro lens, F3.2 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 200. Enjoy! –David

California, Here We Come!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

California - CBTL 2011I’m excited to be announcing a very hot piece of news. I was going to let it wait till next week. OK, I’ll tell ya’.  Yesterday we just finished putting the finishing touches on our upcoming Captured By The Light 2011 California Road TripSunrise in  Coronado

Details & Registration right here.

Save $20 - Use Promo Code CBLDZ11 when registering

That’s right, we’re heading to California for 3 cities only – San Diego, October 19; LA (Orange County) October 21; and Napa/Sonoma/San Francisco area October 26, 2011.  Seating is limited so you’ll want to book early.

And , you want to know the best news, everyone attending will receive our complete Summer Success Collection at NO CHARGE!  That makes it a real “no-brainer” to attend – the entire Summer Success Collection and me for only $59!

Cbtl priceI’ll be honest, this is a test promotion and may be the only time we ever do anything like this. We missed so many cities last year and photographers were requesting that we come to their cities, we thought we would give it a try. Last year we missed San Diego and San Francisco area which is one of the reasons we’re making those locations a must stop.

Anyway, check out all the info right here.  Our trip begins in just a few weeks so don’t delay – I hope to see you there.  -David


Hey gang, I’m bailing on the rest of today’s post. This weekend we have our – ##, no numbers please ;~) - high school year reunion. My good friend Terry, just arrived from Allentown, PA last evening and is staying the weekend with LaDawn and I.

We’re spending a good deal of the weekend catching up with old, but not that old, friends and just hanging out and relaxing.  I hope you get a chance to do the same this weekend.  How about I see everyone next Monday relaxed and rested.

See ya’ then, David

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photographer #385: Chris McCaw

Chris McCaw, 1971, USA, received a BFA in photography at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He works on his photography using a large-format camera and the platinum/palladium process. His current project is called Sunburn. He was making all-night exposures of the stars while on a camping trip in 2003. He woke up late and therefore the shutter was not closed in time. What he found out by mistake was the start of a new project. The rising sun was so focused and powerful that it physically changed the film. The sun burns its path onto the negative creating an effect called solarization, a natural reversal of tonality due to over-exposure. The negative literally has a burnt hole in it with the surrounding landscape in complete reversal. He then started experimenting and perfecting his technique using the sun as an active participant in his images. In 2006 he chose to use vintage fiber based gelatin b&w paper. The gelatin in the paper gets cooked and leaves orange and red colors. In this way he created one of a kind paper negatives. His series The Family Farm and Travelogue were shot using a 7x17" view camera. In this way he was capable to create 7x17" direct contact prints  by hand. Since 1996 he also uses this technique for clients with digital negatives using Dan Burkholder's method. The following images come from Sunburn, The Family Farm, and Travelogue.


"Sounds Of Magnificence"

Plum Street Pipe Organ

"Sounds Of Magnificence"
© David A. Ziser

I just received a call from an old acquaintance, Fritz Noack, a master pipe organ builder and restorer and owner of Noack Organ Company [link].  We worked together about five years ago on the Plum Street Köhnken organ restoration – me doing the photography and Fritz doing the restoration.

Anyway, Fritz asked me if I could go back through my archives and find an image of that magnificent pipe organ.  This is the image I sent to Fritz.  It actually appeared on the cover of the prestigious publication, International Society of Organists Journal in 2007 [link].  It was one of my favorites.

The image is photographed in the natural light of the sanctuary.  There was quite a bit of enhancement and pixel bending done in Photoshop to complete my final result. Everyone loved it.

Camera specs: Canon 5D fitted with 24-105mm IS lens at 28mm, F5.0 @ 1/20 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy! –David

p.s. You can see the original photograph by hitting the “Read More…” link below.  I think you’ll be surprised ;~)

Original un-retouched image – yep, lots of Photoshop going on here.

Original Pipe organ