Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Soft Curves of Beauty"

Soft Curves of beauty-3077

"Soft Curves of Beauty"
© David A. Ziser

OK, I agree, the title may not be the best in the world but it’s the first one that popped into my mind when I viewed the image.  It’s like “curves, curves everywhere. And each one of those curves leads the viewer’s eye right back to our lovely bride. Of course, that was the idea when I composed the image.

I did crop the image in from the right just a bit because the flash really lit up the wall to the bride’s right and was quite a distraction within the image.  I also added a slight LR4 gradient from the left and right to tone down those areas of the image to once more bring the viewer’s eye to my subject.

Lighting was very simple.  I positioned my Quantum flash just out of camera range - camera right to give me the perfect loop lighting pattern on my bride’s face. Next I adjusted the power to 1/4 power through my Zumbrella, balanced the flash with the ambient, and shot away.  I think the result is a nice portrait of our beautiful young lady.

Camera specs: canon 5D Mark II fitted with Sigma 12-24mm lens at 12nn, F5.6 @ 1/10 second (handheld), ISO 2500.  Enjoy!  -David

Technique Tuesday On Wednesday: Looking For Lines In All The Right Places: Part 1

Good Afternoon Everybody,

No ExcusesOK, no excuses for not making yesterday’s post on time – ok, one excuse.  I just ran out of time. I was about to sit down and get started at 4:00 p.m. yesterday and then we had an unexpected visitor show up – LaDawn’s son, Joshua.  We both decided the blog could wait until today and instead had a nice visit.

In all honesty, sometimes the blog can be overwhelming and seem to take precedence over everything else in the day, including family.  Yesterday I just decided that it was not going to happen.

The delay let me put even more time into today’s post making it a really strong Technique Tuesday (on Wednesday) and I hope you enjoy it. 

Looking For Lines In All The Right Places: Part 1

Today the topic is one of my favorites, composition.  I don’t care if you’re a wedding, portrait, commercial, or senior photographer – a great photograph always has great composition.

In today’s post I’m going to walk you through one of my favorite places to work in Cincinnati, OH – the Cincinnati Club, a very popular venue for weddings and other social events. You’ll see why in today’s tutorial.

After the video walk through I did a series of images in the same space.  This tutorial will show you what goes on during my creative process when composing images for my clients and how that pre-visualization and some simple creative lighting helps me capture the final result I’m looking for.

Why not hit the PLAY button below and enjoy the show.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  I still have to complete three articles for Photoshop World happening in just a couple of weeks, get a newsletter together, and pack for the North Carolina State Convention.  I hate to say it…. then it gets busier in March – and I thought I was trying to slow things down – maybe next year ;~)

Have a good one everybody and I hope to see you tomorrow,  -David

Monday, February 27, 2012

Photographer #442: Vincent Fournier

Vincent Fournier, 1970, France, is an image-maker who combines documentary and staged photography. He studied photography at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles. His ongoing series entitled Space Project reflects his fascination for the space age. His inspiration stems from various things in his youth and by watching movies as 2001: A Space Odessey and Solaris. His large scale images contain an aspect of humor, mainly due to carefully placing his subjects and objects. For this project, as well as his other personal works, he has traveled around the globe. Tour Operator is a body of work inspired by the book Around the world in 80 days by Jules Vernes. He has documented the transformation of landscapes and the interaction between mankind and the environment. In an intelligent and witty manner he directs our eyes to the bizarre and the usual. In his project The Man Machine he carefully staged robots in urban settings and the spaces where they are being developed. Both his projects Tour Operator and Space Project have been released as books. The following images come from the series Space Project, Tour Operator and The Man Machine.


"Landing Shadows"

Landing Shadows

"Landing Shadows"
© David A. Ziser

This was one of the prettiest views I’ve been lucky enough to witness upon our approach as we make our landing into The Greater Cincinnati/Northern KY Airport on Saturday evening.  It was the perfect time of day with the sun casting the long shadows of the trees across the rolling hills and fields below.  It was hard to believe it was mid February from this image.

I tweaked the Clarity and Sharpness in ACR to compensate for some of the lack of sharpness introduced by the less than optically correct Lexan plane window:~)

The flow of the hills, the long shadows, and the stands of leafless trees still gives a image with wonderful textures throughout.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F6.3 @ 1/125 second, ISO 400.  Enjoy!  -David

Inspiration Sunday and Quick Hit Monday: Music, Weddings, Brushes, Fonts, and Patterns!

Good Morning Everybody,

River CityEven though we had a great time in Las Vegas it still felt good touching down in Northern KY at six o'clock Saturday evening. The sky was blue, the air was brisk, and the sun was setting low in the sky casting long shadows on the landscape below.  It was about the prettiest approach and landing into our river city I can remember making into the Greater Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky Airport. Like they say, "There's no place like home."

Sunday was again a beautiful day which made it perfect for relaxing and taking it easy as we caught our breath from the week-long Las Vegas trip. Before we get into our this Monday's quick hits though, I want to tell you about a very special experience that I had last evening. It has nothing to do with photography but everything to do with inspiration.

Inspiration Sunday - It's All About The Music!

We recently completed a project at our church where we installed video streaming of all the church services. I had to joke our pastor yesterday that was kind of fun to drink a couple coffee during his homily last Sunday while we were in Las Vegas. The deacon also came by in as I was preparing for Sunday's stream and also mentioned that he was enjoying his cup of coffee in Los Angeles. We both smiled and decided that we really liked the technical escalation, be it very basic at this time, of our Sunday services.

LIVE from KYDuring yesterday morning's announcements it was mentioned that there was going to be a free concert a Mother of God Church that evening 7 PM. I'm thinking to myself, "Why not stream this concert "LIVE" as well?" I quickly called my contact at  Brian was a former vice president of Cincinnati Bell – our local phone service provider and head geek at his new venture.  Brian told me that it would be no problem at all to set up the stream. He sent me the link to the on-line form which I quickly filled out and scheduled the seven o'clock concert.

Now, you know me – I'm kind of a geek. I love the new technology and I also love being a guy that gets to fiddle with the technical stuff the most. A few minutes before 7:00 p.m. the scheduled streaming began and I could see the musicians gathering their instruments and the conductor ascending the podium.

The concert began with one of my favorite pieces of organ music - Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The pipe organ at Mother God Church is truly one historic musical instrument  with its sister instrument at Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati (see below).  Both instruments, built in the late 1860's, sound magnificent!

Plum-Street-Pipe-Organ_thumb2If you're into organ music, and I am, Bach's signature piece will raise goose bumps all over your body when you hear it. I sat there mesmerize for 45 min. watching the performances of these young adults, all of them high school kids, who were reaching to the stars for the best performances of their lives. I was so transfixed by their performances I told LaDawn that I was going to drive down the church to hear the performance in person.

10 minutes later I was entering the front door the church and my ears were awash with the inspirational sounds of the hundred piece orchestra and choir of the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. I simply could not believe what I was hearing. More impressive to me was the fact that all these kids were in their mid to late teens and were producing some of the most beautiful and inspirational music that my ears have ever heard!

AmboI moved through the entire church taking as many photographs as I possibly could. LaDawn texted me – "Where are you, I hear the camera clicking." I happened to be near the Ambo (pulpit) microphone which was one of the "live" mics picking up the sounds of this beautiful concert. I smiled to myself and decided I probably needed to back away just a bit. I was also cautioned by the conductor to not be so close to the action. Once again I smiled and decided to take up a more discreet location as I my continued my photography.

Full HouseWhether I'm photographing a wedding or concert I just fall into the "groove of the shoot" and enjoy every moment of the process. Part of that enjoyment, inspiration if you will, may have been the music itself which kept the packed house of over 600 people transfixed for over 90 minutes on this wonderful Sunday evening. I'm taking the liberty in today's post to share the concert's finale with you. The music Finale from St. Paul's Suite by Gustav Holst was amazing. Please sit back, crank up the volume on your speakers, and enjoy this fabulous musical presentation by these gifted young musicians.


DAZNOTE: Many of us find inspiration in many places – beautiful sunsets and sunrises, soft ocean breezes, beautiful vistas, and for me – soaring symphonic music.  Since this blog is just as much about inspiration as it is about photography, I really wanted to share with you last night's experience. I hope you find similar inspiration in your lives too as we begin this new week together. I know my Sunday night experience is certainly getting me off to the right start this week.

Time To Get Back To Work

Hey gang, time to get back to our regular Quick Hit Monday post. I've got lots of goodies for you this week so get ready to dig right in and enjoy every one of the links.

Jerry AlbumMy favorites is from my friend Jerry Ghionis who posted on his blog his experiences at WPPI.  Although I didn't mention it last week mainly because I didn't know he had won, but Jerry also won the top wedding album award of the convention print competition! High-fives to Jerry for winning 8 out 10 years running! In this [link] Jerry shares with all of us all the pages of that outstanding award-winning wedding album. Give it a peek and let that add to your Monday morning inspiration.

In our Photoshop freebies section this week, I got more free goodies than you can possibly explore in one day. I think I would bookmark this post just so you can get back and explore all the goodies that are listed. That said let's get on with it.

All Wedding Photography All Day Long

1. My 2012 Wedding Album of the Year…8 out of 10! My first wedding with the Nikon D3S: A great “READ” – don’t miss it! [link]

2. Wedding Photography Advice: Seek Out Untapped Markets: A good “READ” and some nice images. [link]

Wedding Inspration3. Oh Happy Day! Wedding Inspiration: Shy on bridal photography but some great “scene setters” [link]

4.Wedding Photography: Five Tips For Second Shooters:  I disagree with the dress code suggestion but the other advice is solid. [link]

5.How to Pose for Wedding Pictures - Martha Stewart Weddings Planning & Tools: Now even Martha Stewart is getting into the wedding photo action. I suspect to help her readers look better in their photos when the wedding is not photographed by a Pro. Nevertheless, even the pros could pick up a tip or two here. [link]

Engagement pics6.The Best Engagement Portraits of 2011: Some are cool and some I’d take a pass on – what do you think! [link]

7. Outstanding Wedding Photos from New Junebug Member Photographers [link]

8. Weddingbee’s Inspiration Board, Brought to Life by The Lab Event!: More cool “scene setters”. [link]

9.  Mike’s Muse: Why Is Wedding Photography So Expensive?: The best “READ” of the day – every bride and “cheap charging” photographer should see this. [link]

Photoshop Freebies - Giant Helpings of Fonts, Brushes, and Textures - Dig In!

1.  67 Best Photoshop Brushes Collection – 1000s of Brushes: It’s the mother load of “Brush” downloads! [link]

2. 25 Most Popular Free Photoshop Brushes: and even more here. [link]

3. 29 Useful and Free Thin Fonts To Download: Good looking fonts. [link]

4. A Collection of 100+ Attractive Striped Patterns:  OK, what are some good uses for these patterns? [link]_________________________________________________________

Hey gang, that's it for me today. We've got another gorgeous day and I for one want to enjoy some of the brisk air and beautiful sunshine. As far as the rest of the week goes, look for brand-new Technique Tuesday tomorrow. I'm also prepping my newsletter to go out either Wednesday or Thursday so if you haven't signed up or have recently changed email addresses, you can still do that with the link in the right-hand column of the blog.

DAZ Master Class Spr 2012Also we still have several seats available for my Digital Master Class happening April 16-20,2012. And for the first time ever were offering our attendees a special promotion of $300 off the regular registration price for any friends or family you may wish to invite to come along with you.

PSW12This week I'm also putting finishing touches on my three programs that I’ll be presenting at Photoshop World Washington DC March 23 - 27.

PPNC12And then come Friday, we jump on a plane to Raleigh - Durham where I will be presenting at the North Carolina Professional Photographers “Creativity – Make It Happen” Convention. We'll only be there about four days but it will still be fun to catch up with some old friends in that part of the country. I sure hope you get a chance to come on over and see their great lineup. Want more information? – Here is the link.

Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Adios, David

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Photographer #441: Tereza Vlčková

Tereza Vlčková, 1983, Czech Republic, is a conceptual and fine-art photographer currently studying at the Silesian University in Opava, the Institute of Creative Photography. In 2007 she completed the series A Perfect Day, Elise... showing floating girls with a mountainous background. Since then she has been in numerous exhibitions amongst which are Paris Photo in 2010 and 2011 and the traveling reGeneration2 group show. Throughout her series we find deeper layers dealing with themes as fear, the self and dreams. In her series Two she photographed indentical twins in a scary forest setting. The project deals with the questions of the "I" and the psychology of how we perceive ourselves. She seeks a fine line between fiction and reality. Are all of the twins truly twins or have some been created merely showing an alter-ego of some of the girls? Her work has been featured in a large number of photography / art magazines and catalogs as Exit, Picnic and Photonews. The following images come from the series Mirrors Inside, Two and A Perfect Day, Elise...


The Candid Frame #130 - Vincent Versace

Vincent Versace is a renowned photographer and educator. His work has appeared in countless publications and he is the author of Welcome to OZ 2.0. He is a popular instructor whose expertise using available light and Photoshop has earned him honors and the admiration of photographers from all over the world.

In this revisit with Vincent, we discuss his recent trip to Burma, which included the opportunity to photograph, "The Lady", Aung San Suu Ky and how this has influenced his work and how he sees it.

You can discover more about Vincent and his work by visiting his website and listening to our original interview.

Vincent Versace recommends the work of Jesse Diamond and Chef John Fraser.

For streaming audio click here or subscribe to the podcast for free viaSubscribe via iTunes

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Beach Walk"

Beach Walk3

"Beach Walk"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image after a photo shoot with a client. We were just heading back to the car and the last of the evening glow was just starting to leave the scene. This was one of the last exposures I made of our visit to the beach.

I love the line the rail gives to the composition leading right to the sea. The textures of the weathered walkway against the enhanced evening colors complete the image.

As you view the image, it seems to draw you into the tranquility of the scene where you just want to rest a while and enjoy the last of the evening glow. Take this peaceful thought with you as you enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 22mm, F5.6 @ 1/50 second, ISO 400. Enjoy! -David

Lighting: A Look Back At A Little Industry History

Good Morning Everybody,

Heading HomeToday marks our last day in Las Vegas.  Tomorrow we hop the plane back home to Cincinnati, OH landing in the early evening.  We have had a great time in Las Vegas on this visit.

Yesterday was kind of an “off day” but I never quite figure out what I mean by that.  I was up fairly early, worked on the blog for a couple of hours, checked in with my Executive Director at PhotoPro Network, reviewed a book for Focal Press, caught up on over 500 emails, and was at a stopping point about 4:00 p.m. Yep, that’s how my “day offs” go ;~)  Anyway, I’m not really griping – it really did feel good to have the “day off” and work on the things I really enjoy doing.

A Look Back At A Little Industry History

WestcottLater in the day we caught up with my good friend, Tom Waltz, president and CEO of F.J.Westcott.  I think Tom and I are “cut from the same cloth” as they say because we really enjoy just hanging out, talking about the trends in the industry, and reminiscing about old memories and friends.

In our conversation over dinner at one of my favorite restaurants here in Las Vegas, Piero’s, Tom shared a bit of Westcott’s history with LaDawn and I.  Westcott’s beginning go all the way back to 1899.  Tom’s grandfather was in charge of the company by the early 1900’s.  Westcott, one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of lighting modifiers, began as a manufacture of umbrellas.

Golf Umbrellas and Byron Nelson

Here’s what I didn’t know.  The company eventually segued into the manufacturer of golf umbrellas in the early 1940’s.  It was Tom’s grandfather who asked a young up and coming pro to work as the head golf pro for a golf club he was working with.  That golf pro – Byron Nelson, one of the all time great names in golf!

Haas JordonByron told Tom’s grandfather that he really wanted to be a traveling pro, eventually gave up his club pro position and went on to win 11 consecutive tournaments and 18 total tournaments in 1945! Because of Byron’s success on the golf circuit, Westcott (under the name of Haas Jordon) and the PGA became synonymous names in the sport.  Tom’s brother continues to run that part of the business.

F.J.Westcott Makes The Move Into Photography

Tom was always interested in photography even working in a local camera store in Toledo, Ohio while growing up. He continued that interest in photography and his path eventually crossed with another of the industry icons, John Shirilla, who was president of the Photogenic Machine Company (now shortened to Photogenic), the leading studio lighting manufacturer at the time.

Halo Early designJohn had an idea for a new light modifier and showed it to Tom asking him if his company could manufacture it.  That was back in 1984.  It was kind of a folding umbrella with a special diffusional panel attached to it. Tom thought that he could and worked out the rest of the manufacturing details. The rest is history – the Westcott Halo received it patent, Patent # 4,633, 374, on December 30, 1986 [link] with both Tom and John listed as the inventors on the patent and Westcott as the assignee.

Time To Tell The World About The New Halo

It was shortly before the patent was issued that John and I got together and he asked me to try out his (and Tom’s ) new light modifier. I was teaching one of my first week-long classes at Tri-Angle Institute in Pittsburgh and was glad to give it a try.

The rest is history and I fell in love with the Halo and started using in all my portrait and wedding sessions from that point on – even today. My speaking career was just beginning to take off and I began telling the world, even the photographers in Australia and New Zealand, about this great new light modifier.

That’s also about the time John introduced me to Tom.  We hit it off immediately and have stayed close friends ever since. I still continue to do my booth demos at the Westcott booth every time we are both at the same show which is quite often.

A New Umbrella Is Born

Because of my friendship with Tom I was continuing to “bug” him about a special collapsible umbrella I wanted him to manufacture for me. I wanted a collapsible shoot-through umbrella but I wanted my umbrella to use the special and more translucent Halo fabric instead of the fabric Westcott used in their collapsible umbrella.  I started “bugging” Tom about it in 2006 and continued every year until Tom finally relented in January 2009.

Zumbrella ComboWe ran several prototypes before I approved the final design. That final design became the best selling collapsible umbrella on the market even hailed by Scott Kelby receiving his high praise on his 2009 Holiday Gift Guide that year.  Yes, the Zumbrella [link] was born and 2009 was the year of the Zumbrella!

Why Go To Conventions? – This Is Why

If you’ve been following my blog all week you know I’ve been touting the benefits of being at a convention in person.  LaDawn and my visit with Tom and his wife Judy is another one of the strongest reasons to attend these types of events.

It’s not just about making new friends, which we have really enjoyed this trip.  It’s just as important to hook up with your old friends and acquaintances too. It is the reconnecting with friends that  brings the added richness to the entire convention experience.  Anyone who has been coming to these events as long as Tom and I will tell you the very same thing. That’s why it’s important to be part of the bigger picture. These added benefits, that add a richness to one’s life, you simply can’t enjoy if you only stay in front of a computer! These are truly the unadvertised benefits of attendance!!

LaDawn, Judy, Tom, and I wrapped our evening by seeing the hot show, Beatles LOVE Production at the Mirage last evening.  It was a wonderful evening with friends filled with laughs, a fabulous show, good food and great memories.  THANKS Tom and Judy! I hope your present and future holds the same terrific experiences.


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Hoped you enjoyed a little peek into this great profession’s industry history.  It was fun for me to look back, too.

Now LaDawn and I are taking the rest of the day off – for real!  Have an amazing weekend and I’ll see you back in Cincy on Monday.

See you on the flip side,  -David

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Photographer #440: Claire Martin

Claire Martin, 1980, Australia, is a documentary photographer with a focus on marginalised communities. In 2007 and 2008 she concentrated on Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Even though Vancouver is a city that was twice voted "the worlds most liveable", the residents of this part live below the poverty line. The suburb has an estimated AIDS rate of 30% and the leading cause of death is overdose. In 2009 she visited Slab City where she focused on the permanent residents of this community in the Colorado desert. It "is a place for the broken and desperate and for the fierce defenders of freedom from tyranny." In 2010 and 2011 she went to Haiti to document the aftermath of the earthquake. "Every spare piece of land has turned into a tent city and whole suburbs and major infrastructure lay demolished, essentially turning and entire city into a slum." Claire has exhibited her work in solo shows in Australia and has been in various group exhibitions around the world. In 2010 she won the Magnum Foundation Inge Morath award for female photographers under the age of 30. She is a member of the prestigious Australian photo collective Oculi. The following images come from the series Petionville - Life in Haiti's Tent Cities, Slab City and Downtown East Side.


"Morning Glory"

Morning Glory

"Morning Glory"
© David A. Ziser

I created this image while hiking through the Valley of Fire a few years ago. This State Park, one of our favorites, is a magnificently beautiful locale just 45 minutes outside Las Vegas. LaDawn and I head there every year because of the shear beauty of this geographic wonder in the middle of the desert and are planning another excursion to this amazingly picturesque location again tomorrow.

This is actually a mid afternoon shot of some spring wildflowers taken from an extremely low perspective. My camera was just inches off the ground giving the vantage point of the flowers reaching to the sky. The wide angle lens accentuated the effect.

The contrasting colors of the wildflowers framed by the red sandstone and against the blue sky makes for a very pleasing composition.

Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 10mm, F14 @ 1/500 second, ISO 400. Enjoy! -David

Best Of Show – WPPI 2012

Good Morning Everybody,

I knew it was going to be a late post yesterday but then it turned into a NO post yesterday.  It just wasn't in the stars.  On Tuesday we were out at nine in the morning and finally returned around midnight - a very long day.  Yesterday morning we were out the door early again and been in the trade show day today. In fact I was sitting in the back of Dane Sanders program as I began yesterday's post. With so much going on we never made it back to the hotel till about 9:00 p.m.  By then I was wiped out - no energy for a blog post.

Today is our first day off since we landed in Vegas last Saturday and I mentioned to LaDawn I was going to spend a leisurely day working on the blog and relaxing a bit. That said, let's get right to it.

Most Amazing New Software Demo's At The Show

Here is a quick recap of what’s been happening the last two days. We visited with soooo many vendors over these last 3 days.  I think we must have walked about 20 miles, at least it felt like 25 miles. One of the highlights of the show was catching up with my buddy, Michael Sheasby, the President and CEO of LumaPix, the makers of FotoFusion.  Mike and I first met 8 WPPI's ago just as most of the the world was beginning to embrace the new digital technologies.

Mike and his partner Mike Monroy were demonstrating the first version of LumaPix.  I was blown away and knew they had the winning app for wedding album design.  I made my introduction and we have remained friends ever since with me becoming their biggest evangelist over these many years since.

Lumapix to the cloudAnyway, FotoFusion has evolved into the most robust piece of collaging software on the planet earth.  FotoFusion has been sitting at version 4 for a few years but at the show they were showing the soon to be released version 5.  Both LaDawn and I were blown away by the power of the new version. In addition to some powerful new text features, they are also introducing a brand new "Publish To The Cloud" feature! 

You just had to see this feature in action. After Michael quickly designed an album, one press of the "Publish" button sent it to the Cloud where your clients could easily view it on their computer, iPhone, and iPad and also share the link with friends.  The service is free and allows the album to stay "LIVE" for 30 days.  It was WAY cool new feature.  I'm looking forward to getting the link to the BETA, hopefully later today.  I'll give you the details once I've had a chance so I can give the new FotoFusion a spin. I can't wait!

Most Amazing People We Met

At a convention you always meet so many fascinating people.  For me, that's what’s so cool about coming to a show - IT'S THE PEOPLE!  I've said it before and I'll say it again - too many of today's photographers are locked behind their computer screens Facebooking away and are completely "missing the boat" on meeting like minded photographers, making friends in person, and creating relationships, finding inspration that could take their career to brand new heights.

Peachpit partyLet me give you a good example.  We were invited to the Peachpit cocktail party - Peachpit is about the best known and most active publisher in the photography, Photoshop space. They published my book Captured By The Light in 2010. Anyway, a few of us were introducing ourselves to each other and eventually this great group came together and we all really enjoyed the conversation and insights we were able to share with each other.

Roberto - 2011-09-28_022Above is a photo of our group. From left to right; Roberto Valenzuela, an amazing wedding photographer from Beverly Hills.  Roberto is on the Grace Ormond Platinum list and named one of the top wedding photographers in the world by Junebug Weddings.  Check out his work right here.

Next to Roberto is Suzy Clement who wrote the book, Weddings: From Snapshots to Great Shots.  It’s a great book for anyone aspiring to enter the wedding photography field. In the center of the group is Sarah Jane Todd, from Peachpit and the editor we all work with on our projects. 

Khara Plicanic bikingNext is Khara Plicanic, who wrote Your Camera Loves You: Learn to Love It Back.  Khara and her husband recently completed a cross country bike ride from San Diego to Florida in 65 days, 45 of those days peddling, 3,300 miles and 23 flat tires!  It was an amazing story!  She blogged the entire trip – here is the link right here. What a great experience!

And The Winner Is…

Last night we made it back to join the Awards ceremony in time  to see my buddy, Cliff Mautner win Photographer of The Year.  What a thrill it was for Cliff and all of us that know him.  Hi Fives and Congrats!  Cliff – no one deserves it more!

Cliff Pic

And you know what, everyone attending this year’s WPPI was a winner one way or another.  It was a great convention with great talent, unbelievable programs, and a fabulous trade show.  We all will take home many wonderful memories from this year’s WPPI!  Hope to see you again next year!


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We have most of the day and are planning a little R&R.  How about I see you tomorrow for a short post before the weekend.

Hope to see you then,  David

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Photographer #439: Colin Delfosse

Colin Delfosse, 1981, Belgium, is a documentary photographer who studied Journalism. Together with three other photographers he founded the Out of Focus collective in 2005. As a collective (5 photographers) they focus on social issues. One of his latest projects focuses on Kazakhstan where he concentrates on the Soviet legacy in the country, still visually present. In 2010 he portrayed a large number of Congolese wrestlers and the culture around it. This series won the PDN photo annual award in 2011. Colin has traveled extensively for his strong and intimate projects. He has been to countries as China, Mali and Iraqi Kurdistan where he documented the movement of the Free Women of Kurdistan movement. Colin's work has been featured in The New York Times, Le Monde and The International Herald Tribune to name a few. The following images come from the series Polygon - Soviet Legacy in Kazakhstan, part I, Congolese Wrestlers and The PKK Amazons.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photographer #438: Chen Man

Chen Man, 1980, China, is a commercial photographer who focuses on fashion, beauty and style. In 2005 she received a B.A. in photography and media studio at the central Academy of Fine Arts. It was before she graduated that she had already begun to shoot the covers for the new magazine Vision. The covers she created between 2003 and 2007 were unique within the history of Chinese covers. Her manipulated photography is colorful, lucious, bright and fantastical. The images are often completed in post-production where she goes over the top, creating new dimensions and worlds. Her work has been exhibited throughout the world since 2004. Amongst her commercial clients are companies as Lancôme, Lee and Sisley and her images have appeared in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle. The following images come from the series New China, Environmental Protection and Red Beauty.


"Digital Sunrise"

Digital Fantasy

"Digital Sunrise"
© David A. Ziser

Early this morning I could hear LaDawn up much earlier than I wanted to arise as she went into the adjoining room of our suite.  It was a long day yesterday and I was still snoozing away.  When I joined her a bit later she mentioned that she had grabbed a few shots of the sunrise.  I grabbed the camera to what she had.  Her images were really cool.

With the sun’s reflections playing on the glass surfaces on the back side of the Flamingo Casino, the effect, at least to my eyes, was a cool abstract that implied a digital sound display.  The interplay of large rectangle containing all the various sized smaller rectangles also caught my eye.

Next we have the interplay of warm and cool tones in the scene.Taken by itself without trying to figure out exactly what the scene is leaves one with a cool interplay of colors, textures, and forms. Hope you enjoy your digital sunrises in what ever part of the world you live.

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 50mm, F5.6 @ 1/60 second, ISO 800.  Enjoy!  David

Technique Tuesday: You Light Up My Life; One More Time!

Good Morning Everybody,

Yesterday was the first day of the WPPI trade show and it was humongous! This year's show is covering two large halls and one more room with table top displays from even more vendors.  Even though we spent several hours in the trade show, we still only managed to see about 1/3 of it.

Tradeshow floor

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  These kind of trade shows are a great place to learn. Why? Because of all the booth demos going on at so many booths.  These mini sessions feature photographers that are tops in their field and that are making a difference in the profession.  You could spend an entire day just watching the booth presentations and come away with a wealth of knowledge.

And speaking of booth presentations I did one for my good buddies at Westcott yesterday.  We had a huge crowd blocking the aisles for about 30 minutes and everyone was having an interesting time. Today’s Technique Tuesday speaks to what I showed at the Westcott booth yesterday.  I hope you enjoy it.

You Light Up My Life – One More Time!

In my presentation I demonstrated just how easy it is to control nasty light light on the wedding day.  What kind of light is nasty light? How about the burning, bright, high-in-the-sky sunlight you get on those hot July weddings. How do you work with that kind of light?  For me, it’s all about translucent umbrellas and reflecting panels.

It’s all about playing photon ricochet with the light. For me that means always putting a DIRECTIONAL light of my subject creating a highlight next to a shadow to create the detail, depth, and dimension on the subject.  That is what makes a big difference in wedding and portrait images from everyone else with a camera and that’s what sets you apart from the competition.

Make life easy when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight. Outside I
use a lot of off camera flash, but in a bright light situation,
nothing beats the lighting technique I'll show you in this video.
The results are just beautiful. This video is a bit long but jammed packed with good lighting info so don’t miss a minute of it.  Hit the PLAY button and enjoy the show. –David


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  We’re catching another program or two and walking the show floors again.  Hopefully we’ll get through another 1/3 of it today;~)

Tonight we catch up with our buddies at Peachpit and later in the evening we’re visiting with our friends at Animoto.  The Animoto party is called to be very casual with soft, relaxing music, and get this – masseuses available to massage the stresses and strains of the day away! Who knows what time I’ll see you tomorrow ;~)

Have a great day yourself.

Your soon to be relaxed and stress free blogger, David

Monday, February 20, 2012

Photographer #437: Pierre Crocquet de Rosemond

Pierre Crocquet, 1971, South Africa, started a career in the merchant-banking sector only to find out that his choice of career was flawed. Therefore he studied photography at the London College of Printing. He returned to South Africa and embarked on a photographic career. Since 2002 he released five books of which the latest is entitled Pinky Promise. It is an exploration into the terrain of child sexual abuse. During a period of three years Pierre combined seven stories of abuse, survival and healing in the monograph. The book breaks newground by including the stories of not only the victims, but also the perpetrators of child sexual abuse. In 2008 he released Enter Exit, a book showing the inhabitants of an isolated, small, multi-racial community. "The isolated community became a portal through which to explore facets of the human psyche." It is a very strong collection of black and white portraits. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions throughout the world. The following images come from the series Pinky Promise, Enter Exit and Us.


"Celebration Day"

Celebration Day

"Celebration Day"
© David A. Ziser

I just came across this image and continue to still love how it captures a timeless moment. It was made as part of an ad campaign for Art Leather Manufacturing about 20 years ago. Here was the assignment; photograph the bride and groom in a Spring setting leaving the church showing a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it. Well, we were doing the shoot in Toronto, in March! Nothing looks like Spring that far north in March, but we still had to pull it off.

I scouted the church location and decided to use this walkway. The sun was behind them - totally important when shooting outdoors. And, with the sun coming from behind, it added a certain warmth, at least visually, to the scene. In reality, the temperature on this brisk Toronto morning was more like 40 degrees - that's Fahrenheit, not Celsius.

The next challenge was to pick up the Spring look the art director wanted in the photograph. OK, we had warmth. We had excitement. We had enthusiasm. Where do I find green? My telephoto lens helped me isolate on a piece of hedge here and a pine branch there. It was just enough green, coupled with the warm sunlight to pull off a semi-Spring like look. The light on the couple was supplied by my off-camera Lumedyne flash (at the time) being held by my assistant on the right. Anyway, it all came together and was the cover of the album catalogue for many years.

Camera specs; Hasselblad camera fitted with 150mm Sonar lens, F5.6 @ 1/500 second, Kodak Vericolor 400 film. Enjoy! -David