Thursday, June 27, 2013

Join Me For An Amazing Inspirational, Educational, Life Changing Experience In Budapest! Updated!

Budapest2Canon Explorer of Light and legendary wedding/portrait photographer Clay Blackmore and I are teaming up for an amazing photographic educational experience!  We only have 3 seats left for our Budapest Master Class being held in Budapest, Hungary September 9 -16, 2013 [link].  If you hurry, you can still nab one of the last spaces available. This class is hands down, the best priced, best value, best photographic education experience being offered anywhere this year. In theses two photographs you see our Master Class hotel  in the distance!

This is the education bargain of the century and an opportunity not to be missed! In addition to eating, sleeping, and breathing photography, lighting, and composition with Clay and myself for several days your registration also includes:Hotel Gellert

  • 7 full nights  lodging at the famous Hotel Gellért [link] nestled on the beautiful Danube River and home to one of the world's most famous spas.
  • A day trip to the stunning city of Vienna,
  • Most meals,
  • Plenty of fine wine.
  • All for only $2495 ($2195 – NAPP members!) That includes MasterClass, Hotel, Food, and Wine - WOW!
  • And you can even break the cost into 3 payments, too.

There are 3 spaces available as of today so if you are interested in this fantastic trip of a lifetime check out all the details right here or call this number right away 202-448-2895 to make your reservation.

Want a taste of what we'll be covering in our class?  Then check out the four links below to my posts covering last year's fabulous adventure. I think Budapest is going to be even more exciting!!

[link 1]     [link 2]     [link 3]    [link 4]

You can reserve flights for under $999 from several cities around the US on Expedia and Kayak.  Remember, best days to fly are midweek so why not fly in a few days early and stick around for a few days after the class and soak up the culture of this beautiful classic European city. USA Today just named Budapest one of Europe's most affordable cities! [link]

Last year Clay Blackmore and I along with 52 others (24 students, spouses, and friends) had a wonderful week in Tuscany, Italy. Yes, most of us stayed at the castle you see in the background. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response from the class we decided to do it again, but this year we're conducting the class in one of the most exotic locations in Europe - Budapest, Hungry!

Italy Class

I sure hope you can join Clay and myself in Budapest - it will be a BLAST! -


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Look3 – Festival Of The Photograph–What An Experience!

Good Afternoon Everybody,

LaDawn and I are taking a small break from the Studio and visiting in the Williamsburg, VA area. We have been here for about a week refreshing our memories and soaking up all the wonderful history of the area.  In addition to following our history interests, we also made the short trip to Charlottesville, VA this past Saturday to attend Look3 – The Festival of the Photograph [link], a very interesting photography conference featuring photographers many of us in the portrait/wedding realm would not have heard of.

During our visit we had the opportunity to see the photography and hear the presentation and world famous Josef Koudelka. During a visit to the Modern Museum of Art in NYC a few years ago, we had the opportunity to get familiar with Josef’s work – I was blown away by is instinct to capture the perfect moment and stunning composition.  I ended up buying several of his books for my photo library.

Koudelka Image

Josef Koudelka [link] was thirty years old in 1968. He had committed himself to photography as a full-time career only recently, and had been chronicling the theater, and the lives of gypsies, but he had never photographed a news event. That all changed on the night of August 21, when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded the city of Prague, ending the short-lived political freedom in Czechoslovakia that came to be known as the Prague Spring. In the midst of the turmoil of the Soviet-led invasion, Koudelka took to the streets to document this critical moment. Now 75 years old and still full of energy and creativity he finished his presentation to a standing ovation – pretty darn exciting.

Check out his work right here and be prepared to be amazed!!!

We head out on Friday and work our way up to Mount Vernon eventually catching up with our friend Jeff Medford, the producer of Alex Buono’s fabulous new tour traveling the country as we speak.  Alex is an Oscar nominee, film maker, and Director of Photography for Saturday Night Live.

See ya’ soon!


Saturday, June 01, 2013

”The Eyes Of Love"

Eyes of Love 3”The Eyes Of Love"
©David A. Ziser

This is one of my favorite images I captured of Mimi this past weekend. The window light was just gorgeous pouring in from the balcony patio door of their home.  I asked Mimi to get comfortable is a small sofa by the window so that the light would fall softly on her face.

Next I simply turned her face to the light till I had the look I wanted.  Mimi's eyes just came alive in the beautiful soft light.  The bride's soft expression, can’t-take-your-eyes-off eyes, and easy soft light resulted in this amazing portrait.

Converting the image to B&W and adding a few tweaks in Lightroom 5 gave me the image I wanted.

Camera specs; Canon 5D Mark III fitted with Tamron 28-300mm lens at 154mm, F6.3 @ 1/160 second, ISO 1600. Enjoy! -David

What An Amazing Wedding!!!

Good Morning Everybody,

DAZ-LDIt's been quite a while since I found myself at the keyboard.  Sometimes I miss it and I have to admit, sometimes I don't. LaDawn and I have been thoroughly enjoying our travels, like really enjoying our travels, which explains to some extent my absence from the keyboard.

We recently returned from a 14 day Atlantic crossing, stayed on the beautiful Celebrity Eclipse and sailed through the fiords of Norway for 8 more days.  Then it was back to Southampton, England and a short 9 day stay in what we felt to be one of the most beautiful areas of the world, the Cotswolds.  The scenery was beyond luscious and the people were the absolute friendliest we've ever met anywhere in the world.  I promise to share with you some of our stories and a few of the over 8,500 images we captured on our fabulous trip.

Back Home And Back To Work – The Wedding Of The Year!

This past weekend I had the honor of photographing one of the most beautiful and exciting weddings of my career.  I kept joking Mimi, the bride, that I only returned from Europe so I could photograph her wedding ;~)  What an event it was!


Key to the success of the shoot was my team I had on board for the weekend. Nicholas Viltrakis, a great photographer [link] and my Ace #1 assistant and primary second photographer for the event. Nicholas did a fabulous job capturing so many of the details and the fun and many spontaneous photographs of the guests. Anyone who meets Nicholas can't help but be taken by his graciousness and personality.


Eric Cameron, a good friend and excellent photographer [link], made the four hour trip from Dover, Ohio to round out our team.  Eric served as my right hand man, lighting assistant, and additional second shooter.  His presence was invaluable to the success of our wedding coverage.

What struck me as I was going through all the images was the fact that the different perspectives each of us brought to the event resulted in an awesome, beautiful, diversified, exciting collection of images for my clients, Mimi and Stuart.  I can't wait for them to see the finished results!

As when covering any fabulous event it seems to also include a few challenges, but you know, those situations just come with the territory.  One of the major vendors was late in setting up and that delayed the start of the photography just slightly.  But the bottom line is; you still have to come home with the photographs - no excuses EVER!  And boy, did we come home with the photographs!

Mimi and Stuart's wedding was the blending of two families and  I think that's why the day was so special for all involved.  Mimi has three daughters and Stuart has two daughters.  They all have been hanging out with each other for several years and you could see that they looked like 5 sisters interacting with each other throughout the day.


The wedding was attended by well over 300 guests from around the world and was held on the family property which had been transformed into one of the most fabulous settings one could ever imagine.  What a thrill to be the photographer honored with capturing all the memories for the day.


Mimi looked absolutely gorgeous!  I was taken by how beautiful her eyes were and tried to capture that in my photographs.  Stuart was laid back and just took the day in stride being the perfect host to his bride, all the family members, and guests.


The wedding cake was by Sylvia Weinstock, the premiere baker from NYC.  I have to say, the cake was astonishingly beautiful. In all my years As a wedding photographer, I've seen a cake like this only three or four times.  It was just beautiful! BTW… those flowers are all made of icing.

The Technical Details

As three of us were working at near the speed of light to capture all the exciting moments of the day, we needed a plan that would make that happen smoothly and efficiently.  Nicholas and Eric had both been  shooting with their new Canon 6D's which they were thrilled about.  I have to admit, the images from their cameras look great.  I was particularly impressed with the high ISO, low noise characteristics of the camera.  Nicholas made several exposures at ISO 5000 and the noise was nearly non-existent  and mostly disappeared after a little Lightroom 5 treatment.

DAZNOTE: Yes, I has been using Adobe's latest BETA version of Lightroom with great success.  Some of their new features are amazing! Again, I promise to share some of my observations with the new version with you in an upcoming post.

Another aspect of our shooting plan was to use nothing but speed lighting all the time. Between the three us we were carrying 10 Canon SB600 EX-RT's, way more than we needed ;~) For the close up portraits I was easily able to use one speed light shooting through my Zumbrella.


When we got outdoors in the much brighter light we amped up the power by ganging three speed lights together.  When we were working closer to the subjects we would still fire the speed lights through my Zumbrella.  When working with the larger groups we couldn’t afford the light loose through the Zumbrella and just went direct with the strobes.


DAZNOTE: You may think that not using the Zumbrella would result in lighting not quite so soft and you would be correct in that assumption.  In reality though, the head sizes in large groups are so small no one viewing the images would be able to discern the difference. 

Working outdoors and still being able to shoot at wider apertures necessitated that we use high speed flash sync.  The Canon 600 EX-RT strobes were perfect for the job and the built in radio transmitter and receiver made the lighting much more efficient.

For the reception images I set up two Canon 600EX-RT speedlights on each side of the bands stage nestling my light stands in with the band’s speaker stands so no one would trip over them. With Eric running the third light, I had beautiful, dimensional lighting on all my coaxed candids.



One of the highlights of the wedding for the bride and groom was a heartfelt toast given by Tanya, Mimi’s daughter. I captured the touching moment by first getting a great shot of Tanya and then turned my camera to Mimi and Stuart and captured the tender  moment between mother, daughter and groom.

The Job Is Not Over Till It Is All Done

Nicholas, Eric, and I met earlier in the day at two o'clock in the afternoon to review the time-line and game plan for the day.  The wedding was scheduled to wrap ten hours later at midnight.  Hey, just a regular day of wedding photography, right?  I have a policy of never leaving a wedding till the band has finished playing and most of the guests have said goodbye.


Well, as happens so often, the band Simply Irresistible, one of the best bands in the country and hailing from Atlanta, had the crowd calling for an encore performance. 


They ended up playing till 1:15 a.m. We still had a few more photo request after that and didn't leave the party till 1:35a.m. yep, a long day but a great shoot.

I've tried to give you a feel of the event with the images shown throughout this post.  My sincere thanks to Nicholas and Eric for their invaluable assistance and especially our thanks to our wedding couple, Mimi and Stuart, for letting us be part of such a grand and wonderful event - thank you so much!


Hey gang, that's it for me today. Hope you enjoyed the post.  We're in town for a short while so I’ll do my best to get another post or two up soon.  Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon.