Friday, May 30, 2008

"Garden Mosaic"

"Garden Mosaic"
© David A. Ziser

This image is a variation on a theme. The original image was "mirror imaged" in Photoshop then rotated and "mirror imaged" again. I repeated the process 4 more times to get the final result - 64 repetitions of the original image. The final image appears to me to be a very regimented garden scene shot from above, an aerial view if you will. This method of the presentation and the natural colors combine into a very pleasing and unique final composition. Camera specs for original image; Canon 40D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens also fitted with 1.4x tele-extender all combining for a 125mm focal length, F 4.0 @ 1/3200 second, ISO 400. Enjoy! -David
(For a larger view, just click on the image)

A Fabulous Friday - I Feel So Inspired

It's Friday already and I have to say, "Inspiration Friday" is one of my favorite days to post. It's really the culmination of all the cool stuff . At least I think its cool . It's subjects or photographers that I find on my Internet travels through out the week. As I've said in these posts before, Friday is about creativity. It's about getting those brain juices flowing in ways that let us look at our art from a different perspective. It's from that different perspective, they we conjure up new ideas for our own photography.

I've found a couple of links that really impressed me. I hope you enjoy them too. Also, I've done something a little different this week. Since this is "Inspiration Friday" please read my thoughts and mental preparations on how to stay excited and inspired about your wedding photography -or any kind of photography for that matter. I think you will enjoy it. Anyway, let's get to it, Ive got to get ready for my wedding tomorrow. So off we go...

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein

Got A Wedding Tomorrow, How Do You Feel About It? 10 Ways To Stay Inspired

Are you fired up, ready to go, can't wait to get on site and take the first shot. I hope so. Because if you are not, think about changing jobs - your giving the rest of us a bad name. Too many photographers approach a wedding as just a way to make a little extra money. I call it beer money. It's that extra bit of cash in their pockets from a weekend job. Other photographers may complain, "Oh, I've got another darn wedding to shoot tomorrow." If it's a darn wedding, then why are they shooting it to begin with? Hey, we are back to that beer money mentality again.

Folks, if we are not going to give our clients about 110% of our energies, effort, talent, and creativity all the time, then it is time for us to look for work elsewhere. Sure there are a lot of photographers that love what they do. They are constantly wanting to try different ideas and put a new twist or creativity into their shots. Man, we have to do just that every single wedding if we want to stay fresh for ourselves and give our clients our best result. It's this kind of attitude that keeps us loving our job. If we ever sink to something less than that - we will become frustrated, bored with what we are doing. After a few more years that frustration turns to resentment, and when our attitude is hovering between frustration and resentment, the client sure isn't getting what they are paying for - and we aren't happy campers either.

So how do you keep yourself fired up for yourself and for your clients. It's easier than you think - here goes.

10 Ways To Stay Inspired

1. You have to want it bad. You have to want your wedding photography to be exciting. Only if you want it are you pointed in the right direction to get it. Those not wanting that excitement will never achieve it.

2. You've got to prep yourself. What excites you about wedding photography, what kind of images. Seek those images out on Flickr, other photographers sites. I've certainly covered a lot of that on this blog. Bookmark the sites and images that really fire you up. Refer to them before every wedding. Man, I did that years ago after every wedding seminar I attended. I reviewed those sample seminar images before every wedding. That little exercise gave me image goals to try and produce for my clients on the wedding day.

3. You've got to start therapy. What are you weak points - composition, lighting, exposure? Then it about time you practice those weaknesses on your off time. You just "ain't" going to get better by doing nothing about it.

4. Be a good copier. This was one of Monte Zucker's pieces of advice and I agree wholeheartedly. There are some great cook books out there by some very famous chefs, but following Emeril's recipe perfectly does not make us Emeril. But copying the masters, getting comfortable with producing images like theirs, now you are ready for the next step. Now mix a little of your own creative juices into the mix, and your extra touches of spice to Emeril's recipe may make it even better that the original.

5. Try something different at least four times in a row. Those different things could be composition, lighting, filters, off camera flash for instance. Keep on doing it till you get the result you want. Once you've got, it's time to move on to the next different thing. Now set a new goal. I've practiced at this for a lot of years and I'm already considering the "different thing" for me try tomorrow. I let you see what is and how it worked or didn't work on Monday.

6. Now, Continue looking for different things to try - keep it a moving target always looking for that something new. Folks, that's what keeps it fresh and exciting.

7. Go buy a really wide angle lens, like a 10-12mm lens. The whole world looks different. The images look different and many times exciting. Guess what.... it feels good too when the images fire you up. When I'm excited about an image and the bride knows it, she is excited too. And isn't that the whole point.

8. Start a brain trust with other wedding photographers in your area. Nothing fosters creativity than a group of enthusiastic photographers, telling stories, suggesting ideas to each other, and working in unison on a group shoot. The entire process is a wonderful creativity booster.

9. Save your favorites in a special place that you can revisit over and over. Then change out the old for the new. Celebrate your successes. The self affirmation gives you the juice you need to keep the process going.

10. Never be afraid to share with the "up and coming" photographers. Never hold back. The best way to learn is to teach. And not keeping all those secrets to yourself allows a different kind of chemistry to flow through your veins that will only help you soar higher!!

Way Cool 360 Panoramas - Horizontal and Vertical

Wait till you see this - it blew me away. I can't even remember how I came by this site, but once I got there, I couldn't leave. The result of viewing these 360 degree panoramas left to right and top to bottom are mesmerizing.

You can view one of my favorites right here. Check out the main site for about 50 more 360 degree panos right here. They take a minute or two to load. It's worth it, give them the time to load then hit your mouse and take a magic carpet ride though the image - very cool.

Running The Numbers - Into Pictures

So LaDawn shouts down to me last Monday to turn on Rachel Ray. Hey, I like Rachel - I'm a big cooking fan, but why right now do I want to watch Rachel?? Heck, I was probably blogging;~) LaDawn came in moments later to tell me what I missed. So we hit the Internet so she could show me the interview she found so terrific. I finally found out what all the hubbub was about, and it was amazing!!

Chris Jordan, lawyer turned photographer turned digital artist, has been photographing American consumerism for about 5 years. He combines those images into large photographic mosaics depicting how many of one item we Americans discard or throw away every 30 seconds, every hour, everyday, etc. He then repeats that object that many times in his final collage image which can be typically 60" x 96" and some many times even larger.

Each image is different, each one more intriguing than the next. You can see what I mean in these three examples. Check out many of Chris Jordan's other images from his project "Running the Numbers" at his web site right here. You can also view several interviews with Mr. Jordan in the Related Links listed at the bottom of this article.
All are a fascinating insight into our own consumerism via a very creative artist while at the same time being an evocative work of art. Please check out the videos below for a peek into the creative mind that produces these works of art - thumbs way up!

Hey gang, that's about it for me this week. I'm spending the weekend shooting a wedding and test a few pieces of new software for the studio. I'll fill you in on everything next week. Have a good one everybody. See you on Monday and remember, "Pixels need love too." Adios, -David

Related Links - Chris Jordan Video Interviews:
Rachel Ray Show
Bill Moyers at PBS
The Colbert Report
Greener Gadgets Conference

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Saving Grace"

"Saving Grace"
© David A. Ziser

This is one of my favorite images from a recent outdoor senior portrait session. I love the direct gaze of the young lady right back into the camera. She looks quietly strong and confident as she makes eye contact with the viewer. The style of the clothing, the colors, the white jacket, the soft, out of focus background all enhance the final composition which speaks to that quiet confidence. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens at 110mm, F 5.0 at 1/125 second, ISO 800, JPEG. The remotely fired off camera flash was positioned to the left side of the subject creating the desired direction of light. Enjoy! -David

[B]Business Day Thursday 05.29.08

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Well, I'm getting off to a late start today. I was meeting one of my favorite clients today measuring and photographing several of her walls for a large portrait project she has asked us to produce. It's a cool project - she has requested that we go though every image I have made of her family and include all the images of all the cousins, aunts and uncles families, grandparents..... as well over the last 11 years.

She wants us to create large "through the years" wall collages that incorporate sports, senior portraits, graduations, and other life cycle events. We need to review about 30,000 images, select our favorites, make recommendations as to frames and sizes, produce the final product, and hang the framed images. Yes, it is a big job, but it should be a blast pulling it all together. I'll keep you posted as to out progress.

Anyway, I've got some good news and some great [B]Business Day Thursday tips to share too so lets' get right to it...

[B]Business Day Thursday - Studio Love Lines

Last week in my post, "It's Time To Get Engaged," I discussed how we need to be more proactive in engaging our clients. I want to speak on that same topic a bit more this week. We might be friendly and engaging but does our studio or place of business reflect the same inviting nature?

You need to know that women are making 80% of the buying decisions. Here is a fascinating article entitled, "What women want: the growing economic power of women consumers is transforming today's marketplace." right here at bNet. Every business owner, man or woman, must give it a read.

Everything from its cleanliness to the design of the shopping bag gets a woman's attention as the article points out. We need to sweat the details. We need to have our business space inviting, warm, and friendly. Let me share with you a few ways to do just that. Is your business space clean and uncluttered? Maybe a few scented candles could be lit adding to the soft ambiance of the surrounds. How about "Love Lines" place about the studio. What are "Love Lines"? They are short and sweet thoughts about family, children, life and love. When we visited our friends studio last week, they have several painted slogans on the walls of their studio. It adds a wonderful sense of warmth to their studio space.

You don't want to paint them on your walls, no problem, how about framing the sayings in decorative picture frames at strategic places around your studio. That's sure easy enough to do with your laser printer and any one of the over 7800 free font links I posted last week. These were posted in, "All Font Junkies Unite." There are plenty of places to even buy the frames with the sayings already in them.

We walked into my client's home this morning and she had a perfect example of what I was talking about right in her kitchen. Here is the plaque she had displayed. I loved the feeling it conveyed. That's what we need to be doing in our studios too. Folks, it's all about building a sense a closeness, dare I say intimacy with your clients these days.

So where do you come up with those love lines? Lots of places, a Quotes site on the Internet - here is one of my favorites right here at Brainy Quote. How about hitting your local Hallmark store for some ideas. Just reading the cards will give you a lot of great ideas for your own Love Lines. And finally, look into your own heart, look to your memories, your thoughts, and your feelings - there are usually plenty of wonderful and creative ideas there too.

But wait, there's more. Let me give you a kick start on those ideas. Here are 10 easy Love Lines you can use for starters. Enjoy! -David

Sample Love Lines
1. "The family is one of nature's masterpieces."
2. "Live your life as though everything is a miracle."
3. "We never grow old if we keep a child in our heart."
4. "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."
5. "What sunshine is to flowers, a child's smile is to his parents.
6. "Love is life."
7. "A mother's gentle touch is truly the touch of love."
8. "A whisper, a touch, a smile for my husband."
9. "Dads, mom's, daughters, and sons - a joyful celebration."
10."Yesterday's Memories, Tomorrow's Dreams."

Now For Some Real Good News And It's A Steal Of A Deal!

Every single thing you ever wanted to know about Light, Posing, Weddings, Seniors, Babies, and a ton more - 12 solid hours of solid information for only $35! OK, I know what you are thinking, "What's the catch?" Well, here's what is happening - I mentioned last week in Thursday's post that we attended Ed Pierce's "Captivated By The Light" seminar. Ed always puts on a great program, but here is where the "steal of a deal" comes in. I filled Ed in on DigitalProTalk and asked if I could give our readers the same special he was offering his attendees. We've been good friends for 25 years and he said, "Sure."

Ed has been producing his super informative PhotoVision series for 9 years. I'm even featured in one of the earlier segments. PhotoVision is a 6 2-hour video DVD subscription series. Here is a quick blurb from the web site, "PhotoVision features leading photographers bringing you the latest and greatest things happening in the photographic industry. You'll see photographic styles and techniques, digital workflow, lighting and posing, Photoshop tips and tricks, hear innovative marketing and sales strategies, output alternatives, new hardware and software reviews and much, much more."

PhotoVision is listed on the PhotoVision website at $149/year and is a great value at that price. But, you - lucky readers of DigitalProTalk can get the 2008 subscription for only $35 plus shipping! Now, that's really a steal of a deal! You need to know the secret handshake though. Head over to the PhotoVision link right here, check out the great line up of photogs on the 2008 series. If it looks to good to be true, just say, "What the heck, what's $35 and give it a try." You need to know the "secret hand shake" or special promo code to get the $35 pricing. That code is edpierce . You won't be disappointed. I have all 9 years in my collection - good stuff! I give it DigitalProTalk's highest recommendation.

How Much Do Bloggers Make? - One For The Road Thursday

OK, OK - this was just a matter of curiosity to me so I thought I would check it out. Just how much do bloggers make?? Check out this article over at Paula Neal Mooney's site right here for a fascinating look at blogs in general. Sure, Mike Arlington at Tech Crunch makes big bucks to the tune of 1.8 million in revenues, the Drunge Report pulls in 1.2 million. Heck, a local blogger here in Cincy - Ask The Builder by Tim Carter - pulls in between $500,000 and 1 million dollars!

I love the ones at the bottom of the list. They have titles like Make Money On Line with annual revenues of $522 or Mike's Money Making Mission with annual revenues of $2888. What's wrong with this picture. Hey, in the last 6 month's my Amazon Associates account has netted me $10.78 - look out Tech Crunch.

If you are curious about these kind of things, it's kind of an interesting read. Hey everybody, my late start today means I've got to hit the road and get some real work in before the end of the day. Enjoy the reads today and I'll see you tomorrow for a really interesting Inspiration Friday. See you then, -David

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"A Father's Special Day"

"A Father's Special Day"
© David A. Ziser

I truly believe that a wedding is not just the bride's day. It is a day when families come together and celebrate this wonderful occasion. It is just as much a day for the parents as it is for the bride and groom. And as a father who has watched many other fathers shed a tear or two at their daughter's wedding, it must be a truly special moment to dance with your daughter on her wonderful wedding day. I think that moment is captured in this beautiful image. The spotlight following the bride and her dad created the perfect lighting for this image. The long shadows coming back towards the camera combined with the musicians in the foreground create a wonderful composition capturing that moment. Camera specs; Hasselblad camera fitted with 50mm Distagon lens at F4.0 at 1/30 second, Kodak ISO 800 Vericolor film. Enjoy! -David

It's Quick Hit Wednesday

Good Afternoon Everyone,
Welcome to Quick Hit Wednesday - bits of tips and news from here and there that are bound to make your life richer, more exciting, and rewarding ;~) Check out some very cool portfolios below - heck, you can even submit your own if you would like. And, don't miss the story about the the person who steals the copyrighted picture then eats the evidence. Wait, there's more, so let's hit it with Quick Hit Wednesday...

"When you're finished changing, you're finished.”
- Ben Franklin

Check Out These Fine Art Portfolios

First, let me tell you what's going on over at Fine Art Photo Blog and Epic I have the honor of being involved with 6 other terrific photographers at Fine Art Photo Blog. Each of us post an image a week and tell a little of the background for each of our images.

We've all been involved in this venture for a few months now, so the body of work has grown substantially. Each of us has our own unique style, so you get a pretty good cross section of photographic imagery - here is the link. Don't forget to check out each of the photogs own sites too. They are a real melting pot of creativity and imagery.

Well, there is even more happening over in part of the blogsphere even as I speak. Fine Art Photo Blog is looking to have two more photographers join the team and you have till June 2 to submit your portfolio. Brian Auer has posted the guidelines for submission and participation in his EpicEdit post right here.

Give it a read and if you are interested, submit you best stuff. It's all pretty easy and a lot of fun. There are 17 portfolios already submitted so scroll down to the bottom of the post and check them out. I'm working my way through the list, and I have to say, there are some very exciting and creative images in the mix. Check it out.

Thief Steals Copyrighted Picture Then Eats the Evidence

It was a windy, dreary, rainy day that one cold late afternoon in May. Traffic was light, few birds filled the air on this near winter-like Spring day. She was spotted sneaking past the welcome attendant at the local grocery store - (names withheld pending investigation.) She stealthily made her way past the other shoppers, making her way to the service counter, her hood covering most of her face and head. As she confronted the attendant whose frightened innocence was again evident as this event echoed a similar encounter a year earlier with the same woman.

The woman slowly withdrew her hand from her pocket. It was holding a message, a message with names and dates and directions on what to do next. The attendant took the note and followed the directions. The attendant knew that what she was doing was probably wrong, but her fear instructed her next move. Minutes later, the attendant presented the hooded woman with the package requested and withdrew from the counter.

The woman made her way from the store and into a waiting car. She was gone in just seconds as she disappeared into the soft fog of this drizzling, rainy day. Would she return again? The attendant pondered to herself, probably in another year. But she felt safer now. Then slowly the guilt started welling up within her. She could not stand it. Now she as feeling angry. Yes, almost brave as she picked up the phone and made a call to the John Smith Photography (names withheld pending investigation,) the real victims of this insidious crime.

Yes, the attendant admitted to copying one the the studio's copyrighted images. Let's call her Susan, one of the studio owners could here the remorse and shame in her voice. The caller's tone was begging for forgiveness for what she had done. She had copied a copyrighted image from John Smith Studio. Susan (names withheld pending investigation) assured the caller that all would be fine and eased her as gently as she could, off of the phone.

It was not much later that Susan received yet another call, this time from the cloaked woman herself - the thief, the criminal, the perpetrator of this onerous crime of forcing the store attendant to break federal copyright regulations. Susan was at first surprised, but listened attentively to her story. Yes, she knew this caller - it was one of her best clients!

The caller admitted that she had forced the grocery store attendant into this horrendous crime, but tried to explain that she really meant no real harm. She never thought she was breaking the law. And if she did, the evidence would soon be long since disposed of. Susan (names withheld pending investigation) listened closely to the story. She could also hear an honest sense of asking for forgiveness in the caller's voice. After all, the voice on the other end of the phone was still one of her best clients!

After hearing the entire story, Susan (names withheld pending investigation) assured the caller that no real harm was done, thanked her for the call, and told her to enjoy the birthday cake with the studio's photo image of the caller's son reproduced in the icing. The caller (names withheld pending investigation) thanked Susan (names withheld pending investigation) profusely and had a wonderful birthday party for her son, friends, and rest of the family. After wishes were made and the candles blown out, all the evidence was consumed with out a trace remaining.

This is the end of story. Yes, it was a true story as related to me by our Columbus friends (names withheld pending investigation) we visited last week. The facts may have been massaged just a bit to enhance the flavor of the story, but the bakery attendant did call the studio, put the hooded customer on the phone who explained "that she was doing no wrong as the evidence was going to be eaten anyway". Susan (names withheld pending investigation) gave the OK and with tummy's filled, everyone lived happily ever after.

Pretty Good Day So Far - So How About Checking Out Victor

Hasselblad has just announced a new e-publication, Victor, after the company's founder, Victor Hasselblad. Having been a Hasselblad shooter for many, many years and having met the president of the company and lectured for them at Photokina a number of times thru-out the years, Hasselblad has always been held in high regard in my mind. They even used one of my fisheye images in their Hasselblad manual in the early nineties.

I believe their cameras are the best medium format gear available. The imagery featured in their publication has always been top notch - many times, breathtaking. That's why this opportunity to view their magazine on-line is such a treat. You have a few hoops to jump through to get registered, but its worth the jumping - here is the Victor link.

One For The Road - I'm Here! I'm Here!

OK! OK! I'm coming. I'm coming! Last week I made a small mention about our friends Kent and Sarah Smith have an enunciator in their driveway. What's an enunciator - it's basically a motion detector that triggers an alert when someone activates it. They have one at the entrance of their studio to alert them when a client arrives.

Now this sounds so high-tech to me and quite expensive. That was until I found one on Amazon for - get this $12.00! Pretty darn cheap for any business - main street or at-home. It's called a Driveway Patrol Sensor and Receiver Kit. It was originally seen in one of those TV ads a few years back, but now is available for about half price. Reviews were mostly favorable so, heck for $12 what have you got to lose? Here is the Amazon link. It seems to be an inexpensive way to improve that "greet them at the door" customer service. Anyway, I've ordered mine.

Hey everybody, that's it for today. The real work is calling around here, so I'll see everybody tomorrow for [B]Business Day Thursday. Until then.... have a great one -David

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

© David A. Ziser

This is probably my favorite image from this past Sunday's photo-walk in Ault Park. Ault park is a real favorite here in the Cincy area - big, beautiful, colorful, and relaxed. Although in a bed with several other irises, I wanted to isolate on just one flower. I managed to find my single iris but the image also showed nearby irises as well. The final crop only picks up part of the single iris. The single deep, rich, velvety, purple petal seems to stand guard over the intertwining soft and sharp edges of the leaves and stems of the bed. The image was shot in RAW, enhanced just a bit in Lightroom with Shadow Recovery and just a bit of Vibrance. I love the finished result! Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 70-200mm IS lens and 1.4x tele-extender set to 160mm, F4.0 @ 1/500 second, ISO 400. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday 05.27.08

Good Morning everybody,

Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend - those that had one of course. It was a nice break here at DigitalProTalk. I had the weekend off and got a few things accomplished around the studio. LaDawn and I even managed to fit in a little photo-walk around Ault Park in Cincy on Sunday. Man, we got some pretty images.

Dare I admit it - I did the entire shoot in RAW and Adobe RGB. I only had one problem, as the camera continued to fill up with all those hefty RAW files, it got heavier and heavier. LaDawn had to even help me hold it near the end of the shoot ;~) Heck, you don't want to hear about that because today is Technique Tuesday, and boy, do I have a doosey of a Technique Tuesday post today. So let's hit it...

Lather Up With Some SPF 60 And Let the Sun Shine In

How about checking out the three best ways to create sun rays in a scene. Hey gang, I've been working on this Technique Tuesday segment a good part of the weekend. Every single technique has been researched, tested, and approved for your consumption. Sure, you can do a quick Google search and find some good tutorials out there, but alas, one technique does not work for all images. Today, I'm going to show you which techniques works best for what images. I'll show you how to get the best placement of those rays in your scene. And I'm even going to throw in a little NIK Viveza magic to boot. OK, get your sun screen on and hit "Play" below.

My July Master Class Almost Full!

Because of a waiting list for the Spring Master Class we decided to add a summer session on my pretty darn popular Digital Master Class. We still have a few seats left for anybody that wants to spend a great week of eating, sleeping and breathing digital photography.

The Summer session is truly going to be an international event. We have a photographer from New Zealand who just signed up for the class. We have also have had inquires from as far away as India and South Africa - pretty cool.
For this session, I am also trying something a little different with the class. We will break into smaller groups with everybody getting a chance to shoot. Then we will review the portfolios of each group and see what we've learned and how these can even further be improved - it should be fun. Anyway, you can find all the info on the my July 7-11 Summer Master Class right here.

Dabbling In HDR

High Dynamic Range images have always intrigued me - well as long as I've been in digital anyway. I've even blogged this same subject a few times in the past. Those past posts are easily available, see the related links below. After hitting the net for the last few days, I think I have found about one of the best tutorials on the subject over at right here.

This phenomenal site is run by Trey Ratcliff. Please don't miss Trey's photography site and galleries right here - just hit this link and be prepared to be blown away by some amazing photography. From the looks of all the images, it appears that there is no place in the world Trey has not been. His HDR images are simply gorgeous - definitely worth a look.

Related Links:
Follow Up To HDR Article
HDR Photography - and Moose
HDR Photography - Very Good Tutorial

One For The Road - On Lighting

Just where do you place the lights for a shot - in the one best place, of course. Check out this quick read available at Professional Photography 101 right here for a nice discussion on how to place the light in any given shot - good stuff to know.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Everyone is back in town and back in the studio so the joint is jumping around here. I'll see everybody tomorrow. Adios, David

Monday, May 26, 2008

Honor and Remember

Memorial Day remembers and honors lives - 1,200,000 lives of soldiers, doctors and nurses whom have fallen protecting our country for all of us. Memorial Day honors Courage, Strength, and Bravery. Let's also remember and honor those who are serving today.

I'll see everyone tomorrow. -David

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Deep Blue Sea"

"Deep Blue Sea"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made while walking through a hotel which featured a giant aquarium in part of it's public area. I just grabbed the shot using a high ISO to stop the swimming motion of the fish. I thought nothing more of it till I started playing with it in Photoshop. I increased saturation, contrast, and used Nik's Viveza to tweak the colors locally. A simplistic image that I get to enjoy through the shape of the various swimming fish and steel blue color of the scene. Camera specs; Canon 20D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 24mm, F5.6 @ 1/80, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

An Inspiring Inspirational Friday

Hi Everybody,
We had a great visit with our buds, Kent and Sarah Smith. Every time we visit, I am continually more and more impressed with their studio and it's successful operation. It is beautifully appointed, sleek in it's business function, and stunning in the photography presented. If you ever get a chance to catch one of their programs, it is a "must see."

Anyway, we head back to Cincy today and a little more R&R back on the ranch. So how about we get on with Inspirational Friday today. Lots of good stuff...

Some Of The Most Beautiful Wedding Photography I Have Ever Seen

So I get a call last Friday from Kevin King. Kevin, as many of you know, is the inventor of the extremely popular Radio Popper that David Hobby over at the Strobist has been raving about. I had called Kevin earlier in the week about the possibility of test driving the Radio Poppers as I have been using off-camera flash for almost 30 years. In the old days, we used radio control units by DynaLite, Lindahl, and then finally switching to the Quantum units in the mid eighties. I continue to use the Quantum units today in every photo session or event.

Kevin's Radio Poppers now make it possible to use the new fancy-dancy small flash units from Nikon and Canon remotely while maintaining the full functionality of the flash. You can check them out here.
Anyway, in our very pleasant phone conversation, Kevin mentioned that he was also a wedding photographer working in Phoenix - that is how the Radio Popper idea was born. He suggested I check out his site - which I did. OK folks - hit "pause" on what ever you were about to do after your visit here and go instead to Kevin's photography site right here and soak up some of the most beautiful images you have ever seen. Each of his galleries have images that are more stunning than the next - definitely worth the visit. Don't stop there - also check out his blog right here for even more great images.

But wait, there's more. You know what Kevin likes to do in his spare time when he is not inventing or shooting?? Kevin likes chasing storms. You know, like big storms with lots of lighting and thunder. He was telling me about how several other storm chasers are set up with portable weather stations so everybody knows where the storms are likely to hit. He grabs his camera and hits the road and many times gets the striking images he was looking to create. Check out Kevin's methods for taking lightning pics right here - pretty darn fascinating.

Oh, he did promise to send me a couple of units to test, so I'll keep you posted as soon as I get a chance to check them out. I can hardly wait!!

Forgotten Memories, An Evocative Look At The Past

Jim Talkington, fellow Cincy blogger at ProPhotoLife, introduces his images with the following description, "We all preserve mental snapshots of fleeting moments in our lives, moments of discovery and realization. These quick instances may be impossible to explain or share but they serve to help us remember who we were and who we have become since."

Jim's beautiful images have a wonderful stylized quality to them that seems to invite you to explore them even more. Enter his gallery right here and explore the images presented. As you view them, let them take you back to your own memories of days mostly forgotten. It's a nice visual journey to reflect upon this weekend.

Hold Your Breath And Take A Peek

...At the beautiful peaks of Yosemite right here. Check out the astonishing photography of Charlie Morey available at DigitalPhotographyTv. His collection consists of some of the most stunning landscape photography I have seen. It is truly breathtaking. Each image is accompanied by a short description which adds to the enjoyment of the imagery.

10 Interesting Facts About Ansel

Thomas Hawk, Robert Scoble, Marc Silber, Rocky Barbanica recently spent two days with Michael Adams, Ansel Adams' son. They were interviewing him in conjunction with a project they were all working on. Fellow blogger Thomas Hawk, who runs a terrific blog over at Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection, distilled down the 10 most interesting facts about Ansel based on the those conversations. Here is the link to his post. It is a fascinating peek into the man many of us deeply admire as remembered by his own son. This is a nice read for any Ansel Adam's fan.

Thanks to the ImagingInsider for the heads up on the article.

Well gang, we are getting ready to head back to Cincy and enjoy the long weekend. Have a great one, and I'll see you next week. -David

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Paradise Views"

"Paradise Views"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made on a trip to the Bahamas. The vibrant blue skies and bright Caribbean colors contrast wonderfully throughout the country. This was one of those instances. The rich terracotta color of the hotel against that deep rich sky blue together with the repeat of the shapes made for an interesting and exciting composition. Camera specs; Canon 20D fitted with 17-85mm lens at 72mm, F20 @ 1/800 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

[B]Business Day Thursday 05.22.08

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Well, we made it safe and sound to Columbus yesterday just in time to catch the start of my buddy, Ed Pierce's "Captivated by the Light" tour. Wow! Ed had over 300 attendees in the packed room - it was a great program, pack full of great images and solid info. So Hear ye, Hear ye - the last stop for Ed's tour is tonight in Pittsburgh. If you are in the neighborhood, check it out - worth every penny.

On that same note, I had a nice visit with Ed right before the start of the show. Our conversation resulted into a special surprise for all our DigitalProTalk readers - check back with me next week and I'll fill you in. LaDawn and I are kind of relaxing today and the next few days in Columbus. I'm going to keep it short and sweet today. So, off we go...

It's All In How You Say It - Seven Ways To Say It Best

Polished and professional or clunky and crude?? Vocabulary is so important in how we communicate to our clients. That's the topic on this [B]Business Day Thursday. The right choice of words and phrasing not only reflect on us as professionals but also reflects on how our product is presented to our prospective clients. A good lesson can be learned from reading the menus in fine dining restaurants.

Here is an example: "Fall and winter are reflected in ripe vegetables and mellow spices, summer and spring feature delicate flavors bursting with freshness."
or from Chez Panisse
Green asparagus salad with pancetta and Parmesan tuile. Fava been, spring onion, and black trumpet tartlet. Grilled Wolfe Ranch quail with artichoke and black olive salsa, roasted potatoes with green garlic, and fresh garden salad. Coconut milk rice pudding with a rich mango accent.

My mouth is watering just typing the words - You get the idea. The same needs to be true in any business. Let me give you a few examples on how we might change the phrasing in some common business interchanges to add a sense of smoothness, softness, and inviting tone to the phraseology.

1. It was good talking with you on the phone yesterday. vs "I really enjoyed our phone visit yesterday. Let's visit by phone tomorrow."
Talking becomes visit and a visit is much more inviting term to hear.
2. Let's make an appointment for you to pick out your pictures. vs. "Let's plan on getting together to "fine tune" the selection." Fine tune has a lesser sense of finality to it and implies the studio's assistance in the process.
3. We retouch all of are pictures. vs. "Each image is enhanced for its best presentation in your home." Retouching is a photographer's terminology and makes little sense to the client. Use the words they can relate too.
4. Can I make an appointment for you so we can talk about your wedding? vs. "When can we get together and visit about your wedding plans?" It just sounds a bit smoother.
5. I'm calling because I heard you had some problems with some pictures we delivered. vs. Hello Mrs. Smith, I wanted to visit with you because I understand there may be some issues with your order." I first heard the term issues when I called Microsoft on a tech support question. I had a problem, but they softened it to an issue. I loved the term and have been using it ever since.
6. Our pictures last a long time. vs. "We deliver an archival, museum quality photography." Archival, museum quality says it all.
7. The wall portrait will cost $1000. vs. "The investment for something beautiful for your home will be around $1000." Wall portrait is passe' these days and investment implies long term worth.

Anyway, you get the idea?? Take a peek at the common verbal interchanges that take place in your business everyday. Analyze them for message, polish, effectiveness. Enhance the terminology for the best and most professional communications effect. This can be a subtle yet important differentiators for your business.

It's Time To Get Engaged

.....To the client that is. Engaging the client is quickly becoming one of the lost arts in costumer service these days. Ever walk through a store and wait forever to be asked for help. So many times the service assistants are chatting away among themselves - it seems to have become the customer's responsibility to do the engaging. To my mind this is sort or "bas ackwords" when it comes to true customer service. My friend Kent Smith, has an enunciator in his studio's drive way that alerts the staff that a client is on the way to the front door of the studio. It's their que to get moving, open the door, and welcome the client into the studio. What a polished way to run a business.

Jeff Gitomer publishes an e-newsletter every week. I give is a read every time it arrives in my inbox. He was discussing the very same topic this week listing over 10 elements (no , rules) to enlist the engagement of potential customers. You can give Jeff's newsletter a read right here. Heck, you can even sign up for it yourself - it's always a good read - just do it.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. LaDawn and I are having lunch with friends in just a bit so I've got to scoot. See everybody tomorrow for Inspiration Friday. It's shaping up to be a good one so I'll see you then. Have a great day where ever you are. -David

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Joy In The Morning"

"Joy In The Morning"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image a few years ago on my Hasselblad but it continues to be one of my favorites thru-out the years. We were shooting at one of the local parks. I had been doing some fisheye shots and I had just changed film backs. When I turned back I saw the bride catching the breeze with her veil and grabbed the shot. This was back in the film/early digital days and I was just beginning to work with Photoshop. I had the image scanned, converted it to black and white and added the circular edge. The curvature of the scene, arches, the circular edge, along with the spontaneity combined for a very exciting bridal image. Camera specs; Hasselblad 500C fitted with 30mm Distagon Fisheye lens, F 8.0 @ 1/250 second, Kodak Vericolor 400 film. Enjoy! -David

Wednesday Wonderfulness

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Well, the rain has let up around here a bit and the sun is looking good today. I had the Ark about half built but the weather man said we would be clear of the rising waters for a while - I'm so relieved ;~) This is Open Day Wednesday you know, light reading, cool links, interesting tidbits, and things that didn't get into yesterday's posts. But, dear reader, I promise you you won't be disappointed with today's read. So let's round 'em up and head 'em out...

"It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it."
Arnold Toynbee

Mark's Cool Charlie Maj Blog

Want to see some great ideas for baby photography and a few terrific design ideas for presenting those images, then check out Charlie Maj's blog right here. My buddy, Mark Garber and his wife Jennifer who run a classy studio in Springboro, Ohio just had a baby last November.

Ms. Charlie Maj is cute as can be so they started a blog for family and friends to share Charlie's smiles. What's happened is that the images they post are just beautiful baby images so forget the reason for the blog and just enjoy the images of one of the cutest babies in the world. You can also check out Mark and Jennifer's studio sight right here - great images, enjoy the browse.

Thought You Might Have A Little Time On Your Hands So...

...Check out 24+1 Podcasts. The Master Newshounds over at Imaging Insider recently posted a link to 25 photography podcasts that will inspire you. Here is the podcast link right here. Be forewarned.... this link leads to many more very cool links, which of course lead to even more cool links. Please set an alarm clock so you don't get caught in the Internet Black Hole which could suck up the rest of the day if you are not careful - really good stuff here.

All Font Junkies Unite

7871 fonts right here at I just downloaded about a dozen and they look pretty slick. DaFont has then in about any shape, size, and style that you could imagine. The layout is clean and intuitive. But you want to know the best part - THEY ARE FREE!!! OK, that said, they are free for personal use, some font require a small licensing fee if you plan to use them in your business. This is a great resource, guys and girls, so check it out.

But wait, there's more - head on over to Smashing Magazine for 40 professional fonts for professional design right here and you will find 28 more font links right here. I'm not finished yet, here is a link to 63 must have Grunge fonts right here. The last link also has a bonus - Grunge Photoshop brushes, too. The font support group meets next Monday... I admit I am powerless over fonts and that my fonts have become unmanageable...

Two Tutorials For The Road

Hey gang, I had these on the schedule for yesterday, but ran out of time, so here they are today. First, a clever tutorial on how to restore the hidden highlights in an image right here. It shows the trick combo of compressing the levels in conjunction with the "Apply Image " command in Photoshop - kind of interesting. Second a non-destructive burn/dodge trick that I thought was a clever take on my video post entitled, "Burn and Dodge Cha-Cha ". Here is the burn/dodge link right here.

Well everybody, that wraps it for me today. We are heading to Columbus, Ohio this afternoon to catch up with my buddy, Ed Pierce, who is just completing his "Captivated by the Light" tour. Hope you got a chance to see it when it came to a city near you. We are also stopping by our friends Kent and Sarah Smith for a little visit, a little wine, and a little relaxation. See you tomorrow for [B]Business Day Thursday. Adios, -David

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Magnificent View"

"Magnificent View"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made this past Saturday morning. I was photographing a Bat Mitzvah at one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the country, historic Plum Street Temple in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The interior architecture and design are truly breathtaking to behold. During the service I like to take this front to back image of the interior. The fisheye lens captures the scope and grandeur of the magnificent interior. The image was shot in RAW, adjusted for highlight and shadow recovery in Lightroom, and given a small Vibrance tweak - about 20 seconds in all. The lens, composition, and Lightroom tweaks resulted in a beautiful image of this breathtaking interior. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 8mm Sigma fisheye lens, F5.6 @ 1/40 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

Technique Tuesday 05.20.08

Good Afternoon Everybody,
Who would have thought my post "I Don't Think I'm Dumb, Maybe I'm Just Stupid" would turn out to be my most popular post in months. Hey gang, all kidding aside thanks for all the valuable insights into the color issue. It was all very helpful for me and I hope for our readers too. This is the kind of practical information they don't teach in the books.... anywhere. But, you know what, it sure does make a case for RAW that I and I'm sure many others have overlooked - again, thanks for everybody's input.

As it turns out, this whole series of posts today mostly revolves around the Bat Mitzvah I photographed this past weekend. That's because it presented not just great photographic possibilities, but numerable technical topics that fit perfectly into my Technique Tuesday segment. For instance, check out the post below "Rainy Day Thursday - Perfect For Portraits" and you will get the idea.

Also, check out a new section today, "What They Don't Teach In The Manual." This post is based on information based on experience with software and equipment you just don't get in any of the books or DVD's available. You'll see what I mean when you read the post below. Anyway, good stuff today so let's get to it...
p.s. No, that's not me. -dz

Rainy Day Thursday - Perfect For Portraits

Today's Technique Tuesday is part photography and part Photoshop. It's the result of my experience last Thursday when we were scheduled to photograph an outdoor portrait of this beautiful, young lady. The image was to be used for her sign-in board at her Bat Mitzvah this past weekend. Theme colors green and pink. An indoor portrait was simply not going to work.

Although we had plans to make the portrait in a park in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, the rain started about three hours before the scheduled shoot and continued unabated into the evening. We had to come up with a plan B. This tutorial is more that just extracting the subject from one image and dropping her into another. It's how we got the background image that is so important. Don't forget to see the final touch near the end - very cool. Hit the play button below to see what I mean. Enjoy!

What They Don't Teach You In the Manuals - How About A Confusion Solution!

How many times have you searched the equipment manuals and software guides and never can find the answer you are looking for - mainly because it's not there? I end up doing a gazillion Goggle and Yahoo searches or check a bunch of forums to try to find the info I'm looking for. Most of the time I can get to an answer, but not always. That's why I thought I'd bring this new topic to DigitalProTalk.

The goal is offer insights, answers, and solutions to those naggy little info lapses we all encounter now and then. I hope our readers are inspired to offer their wisdom as well. Heck, who knows, it may result in a DigitalProTalk Forum. I'll keep you posted on that DPT segue as it develops. But enough said, this will be the first of I hope many posts of this kind. And, yes, I am looking to our readers for their input. Just leave a comment when ever the urge strikes you and I will give it premiere, spotlight placement right here on this blog. Let me give you an idea...

JPEGs Not Matching Your RAW Files...
...The Two Images Not Even Looking Like There Were Made With The Same Camera. Ahhh! behold the solution to your confusion.

Craig Lee first responded...
"Every RAW file has an embedded JPEG preview which is used to display on the LCD review after you take the shot. The histograms are based off the JPEG preview as well, I believe. I think IrfanView uses the embedded JPEG preview, instead of displaying the RAW data as it can't actually open the RAW data. Like the Large JPEG you shot, RAW's embedded JPEG is using your camera's built-in settings; saturation, sharpness, stuff like that. Lightroom displays the actual RAW data without the in-camera settings. Which would explain the difference. The advantage to RAW is the greater bit-depth information available for editing."

Jeremy Rowland offered...
"Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw share the same underlying RAW code, so as long as you keep their versions in "sync" (usually the release notes for the software comment on this) you should be able to flip back and forth between them, assuming you save the XMP metadata in Lightroom. Switching to another RAW converter (e.g., Photomatix HDR software) would probably ignore most or all the RAW settings."

This was borne out in a post over at Adobe forums by Tevor Meeks who was not happy with Lightroom but was much happier with Canon's RAW converter software. Here is the link to Trevor's post right here. Check out his image. The Canon conversion looks better. - DAZ

Alessandro Rosa followed up with these remarks...
"I would ask you to check how you have your Picture Styles set. If you have them set to anything other than Neutral or Faithful, then your 40D's DIGIC III processor is applying an adjustment to any number of parameters. This isn't just a White Balance issue, as it may appear just by looking at the previews. While ACR/Lightroom do a really good job, I don't think that they are compatible with proprietary in-camera adjustments like Picture Styles or Dust-Off data.

The test of this would be to run an image through Canon's RAW converter and see what you get. My guess is that it will either automatically apply the Picture Style option set when you took the photo or will give you an option to apply the Picture Style to the RAW conversion. About the only way to get close to this, if you like the results that Picture Styles is giving you is to set up Develop Presets in Lightroom which will mimic those results. At least then you can have a starting point similar to your JPEG with all of the control benefits of RAW."

My personal thanks to all for taking their time to address the issue. All your comments included excellent info not necessarily found in the manual. That's what I mean by a Confusion Solution.

One More Confusion Solution - Nikon Focus Low Light Issues

Ever been shooting the wedding reception with your Nikon D3 with your 70-200mm VR lens attached? You try to take the shot and the camera either locks or continues to search focus. You are mad as heck, and just ain't going to take it anymore. Well, here is your Confusion Solution.

Michael offered...
"Did YOU HAVE IT SET TO dynamic 21 POINTS? This seems to confuse the camera in my experience (in low light, dance scenes at weddings.) I had the same issue with flash in low light... the camera would not lock on fast enough, shutter lag, etc. I switched the setting to 9 Dynamic Points and Focus Lock on set to off. Now it much improved."

Again, a big High Five Thank You to Michael for a Confusion Solution. Some things they just don't teach you in the manuals. Thanks, Michael.

One For The Road - Highlights From The Weekend

Hey everybody, enjoy this short presentation of my shoot from this weekend. This video captures the highlights of Carly's Bat Mitzvah service in the morning and wonderful celebration in the evening. Everybody had a great time and we got some terrific images. Enjoy! -David

Hey gang, that's it for me today. Things to do, places to go, people to see - have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow, -David

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Torah Reading"

"Torah Reading"
© David A. Ziser

This image was made last Thursday during my pre-shoot with my young subject. The wide 10-22mm lens really adds a dramatic perspective to the Torah. The young lady's hair dropped down as she was reading providing a perfect background for the profile shot. The lighting was supplied by my off-camera flash shooting through a translucent umbrella to soften the light. I used a slow shutter speed to pick up the detail in the background of the scene. Camera specs; Canon 40D fitted with 10-22mm lens at 10mm, F 8.0 @ 1/15 second, ISO 800. Enjoy! -David

A Very Almost Marvelous Monday

Good Morning Everybody,
I hope everyone had a good weekend and is revved up for the week. We had a great time at the Bat Mitzvah we shot Saturday. The room looked amazing, the kids had a great time, (and so did the adults) the DJ's played a lot of good tunes, and nobody left the dance floor till closing time. We got some great shots. I've just loaded them up into Lightroom and are giving them a quick glance today. I'll post an Animoto show tomorrow - I think you will enjoy it.

Well, that was the fun part of the weekend. The rest of it, well... My Epson 9600 printer died:~( That printer had become part of the family around here. It's been a super reliable workhorse for 6 years so when we wheeled it out yesterday, LaDawn and I almost shed a tear for it's departure. Our buddy, Rob Kumler of K&R Photographics loaded it up into his Voyager and drove it to greener pastures for our old pal. OK, OK, that was a bit too sentimental, but, hey we had to get back up and running by today. Orders to deliver. No problem. A friend of mine had a Epson 7800 he wanted to sell. After a quick phone call - Russ dropped it off late yesterday afternoon. Drivers are downloaded and we will have that baby on-line by noon. (Hopefully)

Anyway, that wasn't the only surprise over the weekend. At the party Saturday, I shot my trusty Canon's and my loaner Nikon D3. Yes, I got some interesting surprises from both cameras. Read on and I tell you the whole story. I'll wrap the day with a few interesting news tidbits so we better get moving....

I Don't Think I'm Dumb, Maybe I'm Just Stupid

Most of you know me as a big Jpeg fan. My thinking is that RAW is for sushi and oysters only;~) Well, I did the unthinkable, at least for me, these past few days. Dare I even type the words. I..., I..., I shot a few RAW images at my weekend event. I loaded up each of my Canon 40D with 1Tera-Byte, over-clocked, memory-monster flash cards and I was set to go. I figured I'd get about seventeen shots per card - OK, I'm kidding a bit here. But, here is the real deal.

I did set the Canon's to shoot RAW with large JPEG. You know I just wanted to see what the fuss was all about with RAW. But this is where it gets very interesting. I loaded them into Lightroom and was giving them a peek yesterday and was surprised (shocked) by what I saw. Take a look at the two images below. This is how they looked in my favorite image viewing program, Irfanview. They both looked the same - as I would expect.
Now look at the same images after importing into Lightroom. No adjustment of any kind had been made to either image, yet the RAW image is substantially cooler and darker.

I got the same result in each case of my RAW-JPEG combo shots. Why has Lightroom made the change? I also got the same result in Camera Raw - the RAW image was substantially different in color balance from the Jpeg yet camera settings obviously were the same in both shots. Like I said, "I Don't Think I'm Dumb, Maybe I'm Just Stupid!!"

Now, dear readers, on another note - this is where I may repent and change my life. I started playing around with a few more RAW images in Lightroom and Loved! the results I was getting. I could easily save the highlights, recover the shadows, and pop the vibrance. Check out my fisheye image of the temple ceiling from Saturday morning - pretty cool.

I have to say, the extremely positive experience gave me cause to consider shooting my next gig completely in RAW - all 4000 shots! (Did I really type that?) Boy, if I switch to RAW, I'll have to give up all my Jpeg jokes. Anyway, I'll keep you posted as I walk through that valley of Raw ;~)