Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thanks for an Amazing Festival (and dates for next year too!)

Thanks to everyone involved with the 1st annual California Photo Festival.  Attendees, instructors, volunteers, sponsors, and staff were amazing.  We had attendees from around the country and around the world!  There were, of course, some issues and we are still documenting what went right and what went wrong.  Thanks for telling us all of your likes and dislikes.  Overall, the feedback from the attendees has been fantastic.  It was incredible to take what we do at Light (world class instructors, intensive learning, individual attention, small class sizes, and more) and make it happen on a larger scale.

Check out the work from our attendees at the California Photo Fest group page, Cali Photo Fest Flickr!

All of the podcasts we recorded during the week will be up on the Digital Photo Experience soon.  Check it out at DPE.

We are looking forward to next year and will hold the festival from 12-16 October, 2011.  We are incredibly excited to have already started the planning process for the 2nd annual!  We shifted back a few weeks in order to deconflict with Photoshop World and PMA and to coordinate with the Paso Robles Harvest Fest.  We have received firm commitments from most of this year's instructors and sponsors and have requests from new photographers and digital artists who want to be involved!  We fully expect the festival to grow and become a tremendous experience for photographers from around the world.

Thank you again for being a part of the California Photo Fest and joining the Light family.

Moving away from the festival, expect additions to the Light 2010 schedule and the full Light 2011 schedule very soon.

Here is a Morro Bay sunset in reverse order from latest to earliest we shot during our festival afterglow.

About 30 min after sunset.  7 shot stitched pano.

About 15 min after sunset.  7 shot stitched pano.

Sunset.  7 shot stitched pano.

Fiat Lux!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Photo Fest Revving Up

The California Photo Fest is about to shift into high gear.  Fest registrations are open in San Luis Obispo as Instructors, participants, and sponsors are starting to arrive.

We'll kick off tomorrow morning at 0800 with an intro from Hal and his world famous "Lessons from a Fighter Pilot that Will Make You a Better Photographer."  After that the classes and shooting start all over the county.

Should be a great week.

California Photo Fest

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Ultimate Pano - Gimbal Head

The ultimate panorama and gimbal head is shipping very soon.  The PG-02 from Really Right Stuff is awesome.  I had the opportunity to test the PG-02 prototype during my yacht-based photo tour to Alaska this past spring.

The PG-02 prototype with Canon EOS 7D and EF  800mm f/5.6L
In addition there is a RRS long lens stabilization kit attached. 

As many of you know I do not beat around the bush with most of my opinions and recommendations.  So in a quick few sentences here you go.

Image from PG-02 mounted Canon 1D Mk III with EF 400mm f/2.8L

For the long lens action shooters, this is the best gimbal head available.  I compared head to head with the other industry leading options, in the field, with big bodies/long lenses (Canon 1D series and up to the EF 800mm f/5.6L,) shooting high-speed, high track crossing rate action, and from a moving (forward, roll, pitch, and heave) platform.  There is no comparison.  The Really Right Stuff PG-02 is the best.  Well balanced, smooth, and silky the PG-02 was incredible.

For the panorama shooter, the PG-02 is a multi-axis pano head.  Equivalent performance to the Really Right Stuff Omni Pivot Pro Pano Kit.  Shooters can easily locate their no parallax point/entrance pupil and align it with the axes of rotation.  As a pano shooter, this is great gear since it not only performs equal to other RRS pano gear but does triple duty: pano, gimbal, and video.

For the video shooter, the PG-02 is the smoothest, silkiest pan you will experience.  Moreover, the pan glides perfectly regardless of the overall tension on the head.  Whether loose or tight, you will not experience any kind of jerking or sloppy pan.

For audio or additional gear, there is another threaded screw on top of the vertical arm that accepts equipment directly or even another ballhead.  In the field, we mounted another ballhead as well as small, point and shoot cameras to capture action as we worked the main body/lens.

Image from PG-02 with Canon 7D and EF 800mm f/5.6L

As you know, I always give full disclosure.  Really Right Stuff does not pay me to endorse their gear.  I use it because it is the best.

Check out the PG-02 at the following link.


I will demonstrate the PG-02 at the California Photo Festival next week.  There are still spots available so join us California Photo Fest.

Fiat Lux!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Monday Night Light - 13 September

Join Hal again for another episode of Monday Night Light.  This week Hal will demo the v4 beta of Photomatix Pro from HDR Soft.

Follow the link below to register.

MNL Registration

See you online Monday and in two weeks at the California Photo Festival!

Fiat Lux!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Has Hell Frozen Over? Monday Night Light 6 Sep 2010

Light Webinar - Hal's Take on HDR Efex Pro with Demo and Discussion

6 Sep 2010, 6 PM PDT

Click the following link to register.

MNL limited, three week engagement while Hal is in town.

Fiat Lux!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

HDR Efex Pro and Topaz - My HDR "Painting"

I guess the subtitle of this post could be "uses for out of focus images."

Fired off an HDR series while travelling at 25 mph in a fishing boat on the Kenai River a couple weeks ago.  Unfortunately, I couldn't make the images match up perfectly when I merged the three shots to complete the HDR.  So I had a fairly cool, but motion-blurred image.  Sometimes when there is a lot of motion blur it works.  Kind of like the old expression, "Take one shot it's out of focus, take a series and it's a style."  This did not qualify. So what is a photographer to do?

I will often use shots that cannot stand on their own as a photograph and use them as a starting point for a digital painting.  Whether using Topaz, Photoshop, or Corel Painter you can end up with some incredible results.  Let your creativity take over when using the amazing software and create something new, different, and maybe even extraordinary.

For my shot here, I processed the three images with Nik's HDR Efex Pro and then sent the resulting TIF to Topaz detail and tried for the "painted" look. 

If you want amazing instruction on creating digital paintings, check out Jane Conner-Ziser at the Photo Fest later this month.  She has workshops Wednesday and Saturday, Jane's Painting.

OBTW, all I could catch fishing the Kenai were pink salmon (also known as Humpies.)  Fun to catch, not so tasty to eat.  Catch and release all day for me.

See you all later this month.

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Red Fox Series

A series of a red fox from peaceful sleep to awake to stretch to alert to "I think I'll just lick myself. Take that Mr. Photographer."

Fiat Lux!