Friday, May 22, 2009

Digital WakeUp Call ~ David Ziser

WOW! What a night ~ pure genius!!! I had the opportunity to attend David Ziser's Digital WakeUp Call Seminar last night here in San Diego. Now, having read his blog and trolled his website for hour upon hour, I know David Ziser is a master of flash photography lighting for weddings, parties and portraits....but he doesn't stop there! He is also a fountain of knowledge on the business of photography and with something like 30 years in the industry, he has a ton of info to share. I mean really....for just $59.00 (I had a promo code from B&H for $20 off!!!) I was treated to 4+ hours of continuous David Ziser knowledge!!! My head was spinning with all the sage advice he parted with! I can tell you...this was one of the best investments of the year! The richness and depth of his photos and his carefully crafted lighting technique is accomplished somewhat magically...and I'm talkin' Lord of the Rings Gandalf-style magic making!!! The images that he is able to get on location with his Canon 5D Mark II (oh how I aspire!), a couple of flashes and his ziser umbrella is pure genius! See, I'm a gorilla photographer at heart...on my round-the-world trip in 2005 it was me and my Canon A80 capturing 4 continents. When I got back to the states I purchased my first digital SLR and spent 3 years with it before taking off again last year on a 4 month backpacking trek through Europe and Egypt. I took my Canon 20D, my 70-200 mm Canon lens (oh so heavy!!) my 10-22mm Canon wide angle lens and a tripod. That's pretty gorilla if you ask me...I mean it's not a pinhole camera or anything...but it's a bare set up just the same! Feel free to check out some of my travel pics! David's blog Digital ProTalk is full of information so of course I excitedly signed up for his seminar to hear everything he had to say! Little did I know that he can (and does) say a lot!!! From 6 pm ~ 10:45pm (with a very short break) David spoke on subjects ranging from on and off camera lighting practices, post-production techniques and tools as well as how to build your business! And I can't even begin to tell you how awesome his door prizes were...I kept hoping he was going to say "Andrea Scott" but the closest I came to hearing my name for a door prize was when he said "Andrew." Oh Andrew...what a lucky man you are (sigh)! Andrew received a gift certificate for two free entries to the WPPI Convention in 2010!!! How exciting is that?!!! I also got to meet Brian Auer from Epic Edits!! His is one of the first blogs I found while perusing the web and it's filled with incredibly useful information for a photographer. Did I mention he's also handsome, talented...and kind!?! ~ I mean let's face brain was tired after all the Ziser info and I could barely string a sentence together. Happily Brian was cool with my rambling and didn't seem to mind. I highly suggest attending Digital WakeUp Call when it gets to your town! Here is the link for upcoming dates for Digital WakeUp Call Tour 2009! Thank you again David for a great evening!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Actions! Actions! Read All About Them!!!

I've been working with Photoshop night and day for 6 months straight! At the beginning, helping me tackle the not-so-intuitive program, were Kubota Actions and books by the great Scott Kelby. Can we say..."incredibly helpful!?!" I give you both big kisses!!! I then discovered TRA a couple of months ago and started with their free downloads. Love love love them! I finally bit the bullet and purchased them last week. I can't even begin to tell you the difference in my work! It's amazing! So now, with Kubota Actions and TRA I'm rolling happily along...but (as always) I'm still looking for help along the way. See, I really love the deep colors and personal style of both Jessica Claire and Jasmine Star! They are amazing wedding/lifestyle photographers and I'm hugely impressed by their work! So I keep at it, disregarding both my boyfriend and my dog Pogo, in search of elusive Photoshop perfection! I search blog posts, download youtube video tutorials...I pretty much roam the internet checking every nook and cranny! I've come across a lot of really great stuff and thank you to the bloggers out there that post their's been incredibly helpful!! Now, in my quest to continue working on my post-processing techniques, I've come across some cool sites that have free Photoshop actions that I want to share! I know nothing makes a photo more yours than having the control you need to post-process your own pictures ~ and I know actions should not be your only answer...but let's face the facts...they are a great tool that should be utilized!!! My personal favorite set of free actions are from the Pioneer Woman website. They have a group of actions that I am in love with ~ as well as having a lot of information and examples for photo enthusiasts! "Boost" has been a real keeper and "Soft and Faded" is really great as well ~ so much freedom and creativity within the layers...go check it out! As I mentioned before, I've just started with Totally Rad Actions and am enjoying the ease of use and control. I'm working a lot with "Yin/Yang" and I really enjoy their "Green with Envy" and "Big Blue" and "Snap it" for color saturation. They also have some free downloads like "Superfun Happy" and "Troy" that I suggest you take a look at! Also, a huge SHOUTOUT for the "Pro-retouch" action from TRA (not free but worth the money!)...thank you thank you thank you for bringing into this world a totally outstanding action!!! I've also come across MCP Actions ~ I haven't purchased any actions yet but I'm loving the great high def sharpening action and will continue to play around until I can afford more! Another great website to take a look at for free actions (donations accepted) and great tutorials is Coffee Shop Rita Take a look at her blog and you'll get lost for hours checking out all her info! Above you'll see before and after photos of me (thanks to Dianna Ippolito for the shot!). I ran the TRA pro retouch, then I ran "boost" from the Pioneer Woman free action group twice, as well as the MCP Action "High Definition Sharpening." There was a bit of color correction for my chest (it's always a bit red) but other than that I just made sure to sharpen the eyes separately and touch up my roots! Well ~ back to camera!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Navy's Bay Bridge Run

I've been training since February for the Bay Bridge Run! Now, I've never been the type of girl to run but I've been inspired by the Biggest Loser this season and now I must get out there! It's the Navy's 23rd run and the fantastic part is that they close the Coronado Bay Bridge for the runners/walkers! As I just moved here from Los Angeles in September and have taken up jogging (couch to 5k thank you!) I thought this run would be a perfect start to my running career. It was "May Grey" all day but 8,000 people came out and took part in this fantastic experience! Mark and I walked the beginning of the race as the crowd of people made it a bit difficult to run. It started to open up on the bridge about half way through and I got going! I ran the bridge dodging between strollers and people, blood pumping...big smile on my was really great fun and it felt amazing to actually be running the bridge! I promise to continue my running program and will sign up for a 5k - where I plan to run the whole race! I also quit smoking this week thanks to Debra Vertucci at Fresh Start Laser Therapy in Las Vegas! It's laser acupressure and I love it! It's kind of like acupuncture...but with no needles. Hard for me to explain but it's been working for me and I've gone 5 days without a cigarette so it's worth it! Granted, it's tough sometimes, but worth worth it! My health has become increasingly important and I plan on continuing to conquer my unhealthy habits!!! Thank you to the volunteers at the Navy's Bay Bridge Run/Walk it was a spectacular event!!! Well, back to camera!