Aug 2008

Next Week, Vegas Photoshop World


Next week I am Vegas bound. Yea, baby, can't wait for four days of all out - sitting in a class!

Actually I love Photoshop World. This is my kind of conference - learning new cool stuff. This will be my fifth National Association of Photoshop Professionals Photoshop World conference. After 35 years of photography related conferences, the only ones I found superior was the old National Press Photographers Association Electronic Times workshops in the early 90s. It was at the 1991 Electronic Times workshop I first got my hands on Photoshop - version 1.0.

Yes I belong to both the NPPA and NAPP. Now that's confusing when writing membership checks.

OK - back to Photoshop World. The conference starts next Wednesday and runs through Saturday. You can still sign up at If you are already signed up - check out blog post by Sly Arena called "10 Tips for your first Photoshop World." Sly's blog is perfect advice for both first timers and alumni.

But I disagree with number 5 - taking notes. The Books is great source of material, but Photoshop World instructors love to add additional tips and material l that is not included in the book.

Its a good idea to quickly review the book at the start of each class, and then take notes on the additional stuff. After Photoshop World, I type up the notes to supplement the book - great way to review the material.

So next week its back to school for Scott.

Worldwide Photo Walk Thousand Oaks

Tom Emma, left, and Bryant Swanstrom shoot wood pilings during the Worldwide Photo Walk.

Scott Kelby, head dude for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), is coming out with a new book "The Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers." So earlier this summer he inflated a trial balloon - would anyone be interested is doing a photo walk on August 23?

Well, all I can say is that Public Relations flacks everywhere are dumbfounded, mouths dropped wide open. They would kill for this kind of response: On Saturday, August 23, 2008, photo walks occurred in 236 cities around the world with some eight thousand photographers signed up.

I joined the Thousand Oaks Photo walk - . 10 am at Conejo Creek Park North. Local photographer Steven Ridnor led the group of about 15 as we charged all over the park. Extra summer activities were provided in the park - a local company party provided a rock band and petting zoo. I met up with Bryant Swanstrom, a talented 2nd year Brooks Institute photographer and Tom Emma, a gentleman my age who also has lived in the Conejo Valley since 1982. I guess we made an interesting trio. Besides taking Nature photos, we also proceeded to turn the cameras on each other.

Well Kelby should be very happy with me. I downloaded Lightroom 2 and used it to edit, color correct, crop etc, the 18 images I turned into the group site. Lightroom 2 is a major advance. I am already heavily hooked on the adjustment brush. The new gradient tool was used to darken the bottom of this creek photo.

So Scott - is this a good plug for your new book? See you at Photoshop World.


Goodby Bob Carey

Los Angeles Times photo editor Bob Carey left the paper on Friday. For me, this was a big loss. In 1990 he started hiring me as a freelance photographer with the Ventura Edition. I would work for Carey a day or two a week, then for Perry Riddle, photo editor of the Valley Edition, for another day or two. That's how I got started at the Los Angeles Times.

The LA Now blog did a great goodbye to Bob Carey
- link - . Bob -we will all miss you and I personally want to thank you for opening doors for me. - Literally. On my 2nd day freelancing for the Ventura Edition I was working late in the darkroom. When leaving I found myself locked into the building. Everyone else had left. Bob had a great laugh, then drove 25 miles to the Ventura Office to let me out. And he hired me again!

Thanks Bob!

Georgia on My Mind

Sunday my mom and I visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I had never seen the Air Force One Exhibit. Of course all the Cold War exhibits reminded me of the fighting in Georgia. Some of the reports say the Russians are setting up checkpoints deep inside Georgia. Is this going to be the new Checkpoint Charlie?

Well Air Force One is worth the visit. But while the Presidential Library allows non-flash photography, no photos are allowed inside Air Force One. The only photo I got was of mom and I waving goodbye for our short walkthrough trip on the famous jet. Such is life.

Mom never voted for President Reagan, but after our tour told several library volunteers how impressed she was with the library. She loved seeing history come alive.

Checkpoint Charlie exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Crazy Opening Ceremonies Stories

So far the crazy Olympic Opening Ceremonies stories stand at three:

1 - Windows Blue Screen of death projected on stadium ceiling. Yes that familiar blue screen. Here is the best story with photos:

Blue Screen of Death Strikes Bird's Nest During Opening Ceremonies Torch Lighting

2 - Lin Miaoke lip-synched "Ode to the Motherland" because the real singer, Yang Peiyi, had crooked teeth.

China banned child singer with crooked teeth from singing at opening ceremony

3 - My favorite story - fake fireworks. The opening fireworks sequence of giant footsteps proceeding across Beijing actually happened, but what was shown on worldwide TV was a 55-second computer graphics version that took a year to prepare. It was easier to use fake footage than a fleet of TV camera carrying helicopters.

Opening Ceremony's firework footprints faked

And of course, in working up this blog entry, I found another crazy item: While there was no wind and the air stiffling hot, "the Chinese and Olympic flags blew dramatically." Special devices had been added to the flagpoles.
LA Times Olympics blog.

Oh, the fireworks photo is real, taken by me in 2001 and handheld.

Podcast Favorites

My life is spent in the car going to and fro, fro and to. Its wasted time. Ten minutes of KNX gives me the headlines and traffic, but still have an hour to kill. I tried burning CDs of music, even having the full 17 minutes of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by the Iron Butterfly on disk. My commute to downtown LA would vary from 3 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida plays on a good traffic day to 5 plays on a terrible traffic day.

But after of two years of music, it was time to find better use of driving time. So in 2005 I made the jump to an iPod soon after Apple added podcasts to iTunes.

My two favorite podcasts:

#1 - This Week in Tech (TWIT) with Leo Laporte. From day one in 2005 has been my #1. Leo is my tech hero - he always manages to buy great Apple gear a week before a new model is released. I also relate to TWIT regular John C. Dvorak of "I get no spam" and the Cranky Geeks podcast.

#2 -
The Daily Giz Wiz, with Leo Larporte and MAD Magazine writer Dick DeBartolo. Giz Wiz is a 15-20 minute daily podcast always based on a different Tech item. Its two minutes reviewing a tech product and 13 minutes of banter based on my type of humor - bad puns. How can you go wrong!

Leo Laporte Podcast Network LLPN has about 15 different programs. I also listen to MacBreak Weekly and This Week in Photography (TWIP). Outside of Leo's world I download Photo Talk Radio; Photoshop User TV; and Jim Cramer's Wall Street Confidential.

One podcast I have to mention:
Roz Rows The Pacific. Its a Leo podcast with Roz Savage as she rows across the Pacific Ocean. Its not one of my regulars - time constraints - but illustrates todays technology. Podcasts can be done anywhere and by anyone.

Oh - it took 2 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida plays to write this blog entry.

The Decisive Moment

While scanning old negatives I found a good example of capturing a key moment. An instant earlier of later would have missed the humor of this 1982 photo I shot at a Thousand Oaks elementary school.

First graders react after checking out portable toilet installed at school where water service was cut off for repairs.

I'm Back!

I took off the last week. I had to troubleshoot problems with web hosting, rapidweaver software, and my cable internet connection. All have been buggy and are still not working correctly. Looks like I will have to switch to DSL as the cable internet connection at random drops down to old 56k phone modem speeds. Last monday I was knocked off completely. Stupid part about it is the regular cable for TV works fine.

Here is a photo from a walk yesterday. Newbury Park is a great place to live!

Boney Mountain south of Newbury Park from the old entrance to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.