Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Printing series coming this summer (UPDATED: July 22, 2010)

I am pleased to announce that I will be taking on the challenge of printing and hopefully answering a lot of questions you’ve had about how to get started, how much it really costs, which printer is right for you, the digital printing workflow and much more.

Team Epson

Thanks to assistance of Photoshop and Photography legend, Vincent Versace, I’ve teamed up with Epson Professional Imaging Division’s Marketing Manager, Dan 'Dano' Steinhardt to discuss how to get started with Epson Professional Imaging products. They have been kind enough to send a Epson 3880 (B&H & Adorama) 17” wide printer as well as a huge assortment papers and extra inks. I’m also very excited to announce that one of New York’s top fashion photographers, and Epson printing guru, Douglas Dubler is on board to help me get the best prints possible in a way that is “so easy even a chimpanzee can do it.” Check out my Nik Summit – Final Day Wrap Up article to learn more about Douglas, and stay tuned to what is sure to be a great discussion about printing on the Epson platform.

UPDATE: The legendary Greg Gorman (from my Top Photographers list) has been gracious enough to share his workflow with me so I’ll have some useful tips from this industry icon in an upcoming article.

Team Canon

I am also very excited to announce that thanks to the help of Canon Professional Imaging's Rich Reamer, Jim Walters and Patrick Owen MacElroy, I’ll be doing the same types of articles for Canon as I will be doing for Epson. Canon has been kind enough to send me the all-new iPF6300 24” wide format printer (B&H and Adorama) for this series as well as an assortment of paper and ink. I’m in the process of getting some great new shots for this series using my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and the all-new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens to show how great your prints can be straight out of the camera, without any post-processing. Of course, I’ll also be showing shots that are post-processed and how to get the right digital workflow for your end-to-end printing workflow with Canon.

UPDATE: Canon Explorer of Light and Photoshop Guru, Eddie Tapp has also shared his printing workflow with me for getting the best results from Canon iPF printers.

Details Coming Soon

It is too early to share all the details, but I can tell you that I will be performing a series of long-term tests this summer using a professional printer from each platform along with OEM papers and ink all provided courtesy of Epson and Canon. XRite, Solux, ColorBurst, ColorByte, Ergosoft and GTI have all joined in sponsoring this series so it is sure to be an exciting series!

For those of you who are wondering, I am not a master printer. In fact, I suck at printing and have always recommended that people outsource their printing. However, printing is a critical part of the end-to-end creative process to realize your true vision, so I’ve decided to tackle the problem head on. I plan to start off with no assistance from either team to make the mistakes we all have made, but from there I plan to utilize the resources of each team to educate on how to get the best results (and how to address a lot of common mistakes). In fact, I hope to even have a checklist for you that will hopefully give you all the info you need to print an image with confidence on the first try without wasting paper and ink doing test prints.

Share your thoughts

While I think I have all of the hot topics on my to-do list, and I plan to take on a series of myths about digital printing, I am happy to hear your thoughts about the topic of printing. Feel free to sound off about your bad experiences, what you’d like to learn, why you aren’t printing yourself now, and more. I may use your feedback to tackle some of YOUR issues head on from my team of experts to help get you out of printing hell and into printing nirvana!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Last days for 20% off onOne Software

My long-running 20% discount for onOne Software is about to expire, so now is your last chance to save big. Beginning July 1st, the discount goes to 15%, so get your orders in today!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Got a new Canon lens? Read this about peripheral illumination correction

Updated: 6/28/10 @ 9:05 AM

EU 2.8 PIC Data Menu

Are you using a newer generation Canon DSLR (i.e., Digic IV processor bodies like the Canon 5D Mark II or newer)? If so, then you have a great feature built into your camera called Peripheral Illumination Correction. What this feature does is take the known characteristics of your lens and automatically makes corrections for it’s natural vignetting. Canon has pre-collected data for many of their lenses, so if you are using Canon lenses (only – another reason to avoid 3rd party lenses) you can take advantage of this great feature. This correction is applied automatically your jpeg’s (and jpeg thumbnails in your raw images) when you enable this feature in your camera for the lenses you tell your camera you will be using.

If you develop your RAW images in Digital Photo Professional (aka DPP) 3.8 (which I HIGHLY recommend with Digic IV based systems as it is MUCH better than Adobe Camera RAW/Lightroom 3/Photoshop CS5), then even your RAW images can optionally take advantage of this feature with a simple click of a checkbox as shown in this article (mentioned earlier). While you are in DPP using this feature, you can also correct optical distortion and/or chromatic aberrations in the same dialog!

A few other points about Peripheral Illumination Correction:

  • When used in-camera, it is effective for both in-camera JPEGs and video clips, at any framing rate.
  • Peripheral Illumination Correction data is written to the file header for .CR2 files, but it does not alter the image data.
  • When correcting Peripheral Illumination Correction for .CR2 files in DPP, there is a slider with 121 increments (i.e., 0 to 120). The camera's Peripheral Illumination Correction is equivalent to a rating of 70 on the DPP Peripheral Illumination Correction slider.

There is insufficient memory in your camera to contain this data for every possible lens Canon has, so it is up to you to go into the EOS utility software and make a selection based on the lenses you will be or expect to be using (i.e., don’t forget rentals or friends lenses you may use).

Hey, I’ve got the new 100mm f/2.8L IS USM and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and I don’t see them listed in the EOS Utility!!!!

Yeah, you and me both buddy! The reason why I am actually writing this article because I have the new 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (first look, special offer) and it wasn’t listed on my version of the EOS utility, and I was noticing some vignetting when shooting at 200mm. Well good news, the solution for this is simple – just go to Canon’s web site and download the latest version of the EOS Utility (2.8. at the time of this writing) and it is updated with Canon’s latest lineup. You are missing out on a great feature if you don’t do this, so make sure you use it for all of your lenses today!

How do I do it?

The image at the top shows the Mac interface, and here’s the instructions how to do it courtesy of Chuck Westfall at Canon:

  1. Install the EOS Utility (EU) update on your computer.
  2. Connect the camera via USB interface.
  3. After EU self-launches, select Remote Shooting/Camera Settings from the main window.
  4. In the Remote Shooting/Camera Settings window, select the white on red camera icon below the shooting data, then select Peripheral Illumination Correction from that submenu.
  5. In the Peripheral Illumination Correction menu, select up to 40 supported lenses including the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, then click OK in the lower right corner of that window.
  6. Quit EU and disconnect the camera from the PC.

While you are there be sure to get the latest updates for DPP and your firmware too! Keeping your camera updated is the best way to get the best possible results, so don’t miss out on this very cool feature!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Favorite Photographers

LAST UPDATED: March 4, 2012

WARNING: Some portfolios will contain shots not suitable for work environments or children. Use caution when viewing.

To me a favorite photographer is someone who has a collection of work that I look at with awe and say "I'll never be that good" or "I would have never thought of that". The photographers in the list below represent that ideal to me as they have pictures that exceed my picky bar of what is good and nothing that I would look at and say "that's crap". I aspire to be this good, so the highest complement I could get is to say I have a shot that looks like it could have been in the portfolio of one of these great photographers.

As of the date shown above, my top 20 favorite photographers are (don’t get hung up on the numbers, it’s not a true stack ranking):

  1. Tim Wallace* (Automotive) - This guy is simply amazing. His Automotive Photography work is what I dream I could do, so simply put I aspire to be this amazing one day. Read my interview for more about Tim as a paragraph simply isn’t enough.
  2. Douglas Dubler* (Fashion & Print) – Douglas is not only an amazing photographer, but in my opinion one of the top print masters in the world. His 60” tall fashion prints can stand up to the scrutiny of examination from inches away under a light box where I dare you to find a flaw. His work is simply breath taking and for Douglas, it’s go large or go home so his bigger than life prints will wow you time and time again. His attention to detail is second to none.  
  3. Michel Tcherevkoff* (Digital Art) - A creative master who goes beyond just taking photos, but using those images to create digital art like you’ve never seen. His work is not a drawing, and it’s not painted. Instead, it’s composite of real photos processed brilliantly to create an exciting new style of work that is all his own. Michel is simply the most creative human being I’ve ever met, and given my day job that’s saying a lot! 
  4. Gary Parker (You Name It!) – His Genius Series alone is enough to blow away the best portrait photographers on the planet away, but that’s just the beginning. From his Cat & Dog Photography work to his Little People of America recognized dwarf photography work, a quick glance through his portfolio and you’ll quickly see that there’s nothing that Gary can’t shoot. He has an amazing portfolio of images that are so sharp with such perfect color that you'll dream of having a portfolio like this one day (I know I do). I follow his new work and time and time again I’m just floored with what he comes out. He truly is a Photography Magician!
  5. Tyler Stableford* (Adventure Photographer) - There's a good reason why he's won 6 picture of the year awards - he'll go anywhere to get the great shot! Tyler’s also great instructor who’s on the top of my list of people I’d like to go shoot with.
  6. Clint Clemens* (Commercial) - You've seen this guy's work in car brochures, magazines, and more. Simply amazing stuff and a lot of it!
  7. Nick Brandt (Black & White / Safari) - I hate black and white photography, but this guy's safari work is so amazing that you can't help but be in awe.
  8. George Fulton – George’s composition is amazing. I can look at a picture of his for hours as my eye wanders around the scene seeing how all the parts connect. A true composition master! He also has some pretty amazing medical photography too!
  9. Greg Gorman* (Celebrity) - You name the celebrity and this guy has photographed them – flawlessly! He’s also an amazing print master in my printing series!
  10. Jill Greenberg (Celebrity) - While I hate her on a personal level for some of the stunts she has pulled, her post-processing and award winning shots are indeed noteworthy.
  11. Stephen Eastwood* (Fashion) - His site is slow to load, but worth the wait as his work is pure perfection hundreds of times over.
  12. Trey Ratcliff* (Travel & HDR) – Mr. HDR who is doing great work with both texture overlays and colors that makes you rethink how you process even your most boring photos to make them exciting!
  13. Ryszard Horowitz (Digital Art) - You can't do these shots in camera, but they are amazing indeed.
  14. Steve Liss (Journalism) - Ever heard of Time Magazine? If so, then you've seen this guy's work many times. Amazing stuff.
  15. Gerald Pope (Wedding) - Want to be a great wedding photographer? Then study this guy's work - it simply redefines what great wedding photography should be.
  16. Jim DiVitale (Commercial) - His golf club photos are a perfection in color, composition and sharpness. WOW!
  17. Nick Vedros (Lifestyle) - His work will make you laugh at life, but as a photographer the quality of the work will make you say there's more here than just great composition
  18. Joe McNally (Journalism) - Joe is one National Geographic photographer who has kept up with the times and continues to crank out masterpieces in this day and age. His book is an inspiration for what can be done, and his teachings on flash photography show us all what is possible with those damn things!
  19. Scott Kelby* (General) - Not only is he a good author who has taken the time to read all of the great Photoshop and Photography books and turn them into something you can just pickup and put into practice, he's a pretty darn good photographer in my book. Fantastic color and composition are his trademarks.
  20. Bryan F. Peterson* (Portraits and Industrial) – If this list was written last year, Bryan would have been in the top 5. Compositionally speaking, Bryan is also one of the best in the business. His books are a fantastic must read and his enthusiasm is infectious.

* = Link takes you to the interview on this  blog which has photos and a portfolio link

I admire the sharpness, color (including B&W), clarity, composition, and content of their photos as a collective. While they may have isolated shots that I do not care for, a majority of their online portfolio demonstrates what I consider to be the highest quality photography.

This list isn't about famous names, what magazine covers they've done, their reputation, or popularity. Some of these people are ordinarily people like you and me and others are very famous.

But what about ...

I know that there are some great photographers that I'm probably missing from this list, but I went through some of the best of Nikon and Canon photographers as well as many links I've accumulated over the past couple years and these were the ones that impressed me the most.

I know some people will expect Ansel Adams, William Albert Allard, Sam Abell, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and other legends of photography to be in this list. However, while I appreciate their contribution to Photography, I feel that these modern day photographers are carrying in their footsteps to create works that surpass these masters. Technology and time have given the photographers an advantage to create works that I think these forefathers would be proud of.

I also am primarily sticking to photographers who use Photoshop and shoot digitally, as that is what I do. However, greats like Adams and Jerry N. Uelsmann have been doing great post-processing long before our high tech gadgetry of today existed!

I also know there are great photographers works who I've seen and forgot to create links for, so feel free to add your favorites that are missing from this list in the comments section of this blog article.

Honorable Mention

The following photographers have some outstanding shots, but their portfolio is lacking something to be compared with the top photographers above. However, each of them have select shots are so good that I can't help but mention them:

  • Kim and Adam Bamberg (Wedding) - Based on composition alone they are probably one of the top photographers in the wedding category, but then you add the color and sharpness each and every photo offers and you end up with something truly special. Kim and Adam were on my Top Photographers list for years, but only until mid-2010 did I have to bump them to make room for others. If I had a 21st spot, it would be theirs. For many they’d be in the top 10.
  • Rarindra Prakarsa (People / Landscapes) - An up and comer who is a post-processing guru. The colors and images he produces simply draw you into the photo and keep you locked there.
  • Zhang Jingna (a.k.a., zenmotion) (Fashion) - Her self-portraits are simply amazing, but it is her fashion work that really sets her apart from the average photographer.
  • Marco Grob - (Portraits) – Fantastic stuff and a favorite photographer of my #1, Tim Wallace. I had a hard time not putting him in the top 20, but he’s current my #21 by a mile.
  • Bambi Cantrell* (Portraits) - There are a lot of great portrait photographers, so Bambi's impressive collection just missed the cut.
  • Ari Bixhorn (Landscape) - I'm pleased to say I work at the same  company with Ari in my day job (although I've never met him), but his landscapes are some of the best I've seen. Ari was a top 20 member until 3/30/09.
  • John Shaw (Nature) - This one was tough to not put on the list because he's a photography icon without question.
  • Floris van Breugel (Nature) - There's moments of brilliance and others that make me shake my head
  • David  Hobby - Mr. Strobist.com is a great photographer and a master of the flash for sure. Keeping him out of my top 20 was difficult, but, I felt there shots in his portfolio that I'd probably mark as rejected so that kept him out of the top 20.
  • Art Wolfe (Landscape / Wildlife) - A great photographer from my current hometown (Seattle).
  • Denis Reggie (Weddings) - At one point in time Denis was high on my list, but others have been bumped up on my list.
  • James Neeley (Rural Life / Landscape) - Great stuff for sure but I thought Ari Bixhorn was better.
  • Mary Duprie (Fashion) - Lots of high quality fashion work by someone who shares her knowledge with aspiring photographers.
  • Bob Davis (Wedding / Magazine) - Very good wedding photographer who knows how to put photos together in a fun story.
  • Jairo Marcos (Formula 1 Racing) - The best F1 photographer you've never heard of.
  • Zack Arias (Studio) - Another master of light who has a blog with lots of great stuff for any photographer wishing to master the art of studio photography.

Keep in mind, I'm not worthy of any of these photographers either, so at this point I aspire to be on this list!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

REVIEW: Canon 100mm f/2.8L Hybrid IS USM from LensProToGo.com


Canon 100mm f/2.8L Hybrid IS USM Macro Lens

When Canon announced the release of the new 100mm f/2.8L Hybrid IS USM Macro lens, I was super excited. I always have loved my 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens because it was super sharp with killer bokeh. Now, I’m not really a macro guy as shooting pictures of bugs really doesn’t do it for me. However, my 100mm macro has been my goto lens for portraits for quite some time, so I was excited about L quality glass and IS in this important lens.

Lucky for me my friend Paul Friedman at LensProToGo.com loaned me this awesome lens right after it was released, so I got a chance to check it out before most people even knew it was on the market. Unfortunately for Paul though, my busy schedule has kept me from completing my review of this lens until now, so I apologize to Paul for such a long delay.

Old versus the New

Using a tripod and my 5D Mark II I simply took the same image from the same spot with both lenses. The camera settings were identical – a 2.5 sec exposure at f/5.6 using ISO 100. The image you see below was taken with the new 100mm f/2.8L lens and if you hover over it you’ll see the image taken with the older 100mm f/2.8 lens. To my eyes the image quality was about the same, and that was consistent with what I saw with several other even more boring images I experimented with. The net result is that from a sharpness standpoint they are about the same, but the newer lens seems to be a tad brighter with less distortion.

Mouse over to see the old 100mm mouse out to see the new 100mm

After experimenting with this lens for a week my conclusion that sharpness isn’t the reason to upgrade. The major benefit to upgrading is a seemingly faster AF performance (not by much though), the addition of image stabilization (this is big – especially when paired with a 7D or newer), and the overall improvement on brightness and distortion.

I could never do this review as good as my friends at The Digital Picture, so for a more exhaustive comparison I encourage you to read their review (but please come back).

Sample Shots

All of the following shots were taken handheld on camera bodies not designed to maximize the advantage of the hybrid IS system, so only traditional IS functionality applies. In addition, these are the RAW images that had default processing from Adobe Lightroom 3.0 (Final Release) with no additional post-processing.

You will notice that the Porsche crest below is very sharp despite being handheld at 1/30 sec at a very awkward angle. Click any image to view a larger version.

5D Mark II – f/2.8 1/100 sec @ ISO 100

1D Mark III – f/5.6 1/300 sec @ ISO 100

5D Mark II – f/2.8 1/200 sec @ ISO 400

5D Mark II – f/4 1/160 @ ISO 800

5D Mark II – f/2.8 1/200 sec @ ISO 400

5D Mark II – f/2.8 1/100 sec @ ISO 3200

5D Mark II – f/2.8 1/30 sec @ ISO 800

As you can see from the images here, this is a VERY sharp lens with a great image stabilization and auto focus system. While my composition may leave a lot to be desired, the quality of images you get from this glass worth every penny!


This was a great rental experience from end to end. The lens that arrived was brand new in a new Pelican case. The service from LensProToGo.com was excellent, and despite my losing the return packing slip – a new one was issued quickly (and I even got to keep the lens for an extra free day while I waited!). In short, this was a much better rental experience than I had the first time and I’m told by my readers more closely represents what they have experienced from them in the past. I strongly encourage you to give LensProToGo.com a try the next time you are renting a lens.

Special Offer


LensProToGo.com has been gracious enough to offer you a 5% discount off any order when you enter the coupon code MART5 as shown above in yellow.

Save $65 off the MSRP of this lens from Adorama

Adorama is currently offering the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Hybrid IS USM Macro lens at $65 off its normal retail price (this offer will expire) as well as 6 months same as cash financing. If you are like me and already own the 100mm macro then now is the time to buy it while it is on sale with the great finance offer and then sell your old lens to pay off half of the cost of this new one.


LensProToGo.com loaned this lens to me at no charge under no obligation. If you enjoyed this article, I encourage you to do business with them using the code shown as a token of appreciation.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

HDRSoft Photomatix 15% Discount Returns

My apologies to my readers over the last month who tried to use the Photomatix discount only to discover it had expired. I did not realize that this offer had expired, and even HDRSoft hadn’t realized it had lapsed until today. This offer is back in place for you to enjoy once again.

Please feel free to enjoy my full review of Photomatix or simply take advantage of the discounts this site offers.


HDRSoft, the makers of Photomatix HDR tone mapping software have extended an offer to readers of this blog for a 15% discount when you use the coupon code RonMartBlog when you checkout on their web site (see picture above). Don’t forget to click the recalculate button after you enter the code to get the discount.


Use one of these links to add the product of your choice to your cart or to sample a free trial version:

Buy Now Links Trial Versions Product Information
Photomatix Plug-in for Aperture (download delivery) Trial Version More Info
Photomatix Light for Windows (download delivery)
Photomatix Light for Mac OS X (download delivery)
Photomatix Pro Plus for Mac OS X (download delivery) Trial Version More Info
Photomatix Pro Plus for Windows (download delivery) Trial Version More Info
Photomatix Pro for Mac OS X (Italian) Trial Version More Info
Photomatix Pro for Mac OS X (download delivery) Trial Version More Info
Photomatix Pro for Windows (Italian) Trial Version More Info
Photomatix Pro for Windows (download delivery) Trial Version More Info
Tone Mapping Plug-In for Mac OS X Trial Version More Info
Tone Mapping Plug-In for Windows Trial Version More Info

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 now released – get 30% off!!!


Adobe has released the latest version of my favorite photo management software and is offering a special sale where you can get up to 30% off. Click here for details!

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

onOne Software Releases Free Compatibility Update for Adobe® Photoshop® CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended Software

Digital photography software developer supports Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended Software and Mac 64-bit with free update

Portland, OR– June 2, 2010
onOne Software, Inc., a leading developer of innovative, timesaving solutions for professional and advanced amateur photographers, today announced that all of their commercially available Photoshop software plug-ins are compatible with the new Adobe® Photoshop® CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended software. Specifically, the following Photoshop plugins from onOne Software are now compatible with Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended.
  • Plug-In Suite 5.1
  • Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition 6.0.6
  • Genuine Fractals 6.0.6
  • PhotoTools 2.5.3 Professional Edition
  • PhotoTools 2.5.3 Standard Edition
  • PhotoFrame 4.5.1 Professional Edition
  • PhotoFrame 4.5.1 Standard Edition
  • Mask Pro 4.1.8
  • PhotoTune 3.0.2
  • FocalPoint 2.0.1
"Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended are generating tremendous excitement among users so delivering compatibility updates quickly is imperative for our customers who rely on onOne Software in their day to day workflow," said Craig Keudell, president of onOne Software. "We're extremely pleased to announce that our Photoshop plug-ins now fully support both Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended."
"We’re happy to see that onOne Software has moved quickly to support the newly released Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended with a free update," said Kevin Connor, vice president of product management for professional digital imaging at Adobe. "onOne’s plug-in support for Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended will ensure that photographers and designers can smoothly transition to this landmark, 20th anniversary release. Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended are designed to be open applications, so our partners can easily extend the value of the software and provide more creative and innovative options to the customers we jointly serve."


onOne Software’s compatibility updates for Photoshop CS5 are available now and are free of charge to registered owners of the current product titles listed above. These free software updates are available from within each application and as a download from the onOne Software web site and can be found at http://www.ononesoftware.com/downloads/.

Upgrade Information

Registered owners of previous versions of the onOne Software plug-ins for Photoshop listed above can upgrade to the current version of each plug-in for only $99.95 plus shipping if applicable. Alternately,these users may also upgrade directly to the Plug-In Suite 5 for $399.95, plus shipping if applicable (electronic versions are available for download as well). The Plug-in Suite 5 includes the most recent versions of all onOne Software plug-ins. Upgrades from Plug-In Suite 1, 2, 3 or 4 to the Plug-In Suite 5 are available for $199.95 plus shipping if applicable. More information about onOne Software's upgrade program can be found at http://www.ononesoftware.com/upgrade.

About onOne Software

onOne Software, Inc. a leading developer of innovative software tools for photographers, develops time-saving and creative software solutions for professional and advanced amateur photographers. onOne Software’s simple yet powerful solutions have been created to help photographers spend more of their time behind the camera taking pictures instead of frustrated behind the computer. Solutions include a wide range of easy-to-use plug-in enhancements for Adobe® Photoshop®, Photoshop Elements, and Photoshop Lightroom. Founded in 2005, onOne Software is a privately held company located in Portland, Oregon. For additional information, visit http://www.ononesoftware.com/ or call 1-888-968-1468.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by donating a dollar or saving several dollars by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nik Summit – Final Day Wrap Up


We’ll the Nik Summit is in the books, and overall I’d say it was a great success. My first two reports can be found here:

This report picks up from the next morning, Day 2, of the trip. Those who were able to catch a late flight on the following day were able to go on an additional photo walk that I was unable to attend. In addition, this trip report only covers the events that I attended and had feedback on. There were additional events not mentioned in this report, so my apologies to those speakers who are not featured here.

Balboa Park with Rick Sammon

Despite exhaustion, our group showed up in force for our 2nd full day of shooting

We all gathered at Balboa Park early in the morning to begin the walk for the next action packed day. I had never been to this park before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. It turned out to be a photographers delight which was immediately apparent as we drove up in the busses, and it did not disappoint.

Rick Sammon was a great fatherly figure to these girls who had a blast learning the Sammon Swirl and more
Rick Sammon – it’s like having a loving father with you to teach you how to improve your skills

During the previous day I had noticed that one instructor stood out from the others as being very proactive in educating the attendees in his group, and that was Rick Sammon. Now I’ll make the disclaimer that I never had the chance to follow Laurie Shuppp or Tony Corbell over the weekend, and this isn’t a knock on the other pros on the photo walk. Instead, it is a statement that will help you to understand why Rick Sammon has published so many successful photography books -- it’s clearly because this guy really enjoys sharing his knowledge of photography with others. I share that passion, so we had a great time helping everyone and each other throughout the final day’s events.

I failed at the Sammon Swirl, but I thought this zoom turned out to be a visual treat

The great thing about Rick Sammon during his photo walks is that he isn’t merely there to answer questions or chat with the brown-nosers trying to monopolize his time. Instead he actually makes sure that everyone gets some of his time and teaches them some new technique that puts a smile on their face. One great example of that is his teaching people how to do the Sammon Swirl, which you can see the girls in the picture with Rick earlier always brings lot of smiles, oohs and ahhs. Another fun thing he did was to have one of the girls in our group toss her hair so that everyone could get a chance at getting a shot like this:

Despite the pictures in this article, most attendees were actually well over 30

Everyone left the park laughing, smiling, and sharing their photos with each other as we assembled to go into the San Diego zoo, so I think it i safe to say that Rick Sammon’s morning group was very satisfied.

San Diego Zoo

This big guy didn’t want to come out and pose for us

At the Zoo part of our group (myself included) managed to lose Rick Sammon for a while, so I lead up a subset of our group for a photo walk by the Tigers and other small animals. We had a great time, and I took Rick’s lead and tried to look at the photos that people were taking and help them to improve upon them.

The net result that was by the time we got caught back up with Rick at the pandas, we had a group of people who felt comfortable coming to us both for questions and answers. It also taught me just how much I enjoy teaching aspiring photographers (which is the primary target of this blog), so I hope to get more chances to do that again in the future. Rick and I also got along very well so you may see more collaborations between us in the future. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you ever get a chance to go on a photo walk with Rick Sammon, I highly recommend it!

I have better panda photos, but I enjoyed this one of this baby sleeping in the tree

Our time at the zoo was too short, so I didn’t get a chance to see the gorilla’s or many other animals I would have enjoyed photographing. However, I was dead tired by the time we had to call it a day, so I was happy to hop on the bus and go back to the hotel. However, in the future I would love to have more time at the zoo (especially on the private back lot tour) and more sunscreen (ouch).

Don’t let those zoo fences spoil your day

In the shot below, do you see that black chain link fence in the back? That nasty fence surrounded the entire cage, yet I just set my lens to f/2.8 and shot through it. The same is true of the Tiger shot earlier, and I mention this because some of the attendees were disappointed with the fence and upset that they “couldn’t get a shot”. I think I got a few shots, and taught them how to do the same, so I remind you to do what you can with what you have rather than give up. I hope you think these examples show that a little fence shouldn’t get in the way and ruin your fun:

After a great day at the zoo it was time to go back to the hotel to enjoy more presentations. The cool air and beverages were a welcome relief after the zoo, but the speakers on the second day were even more exciting than those on the first.

"Concept to Completion" digital workflow – Douglas Dubler

Douglas Dubler 3
Photo by Douglas Dubler
All Rights Reserved

While the photo shoots earlier in the day were certainly a thrill, the highlight of my day was listening to Douglas Dubler discuss his workflow and the display of his amazing huge prints. His “Avatar Beauty” print was a 60” x 44” head shot with amazing color and detail that you could stare at all day long. The fact that he displays his prints on a GTI VPI 52 print inspection station made every detail pop even more, but even being inches away I couldn’t find a flaw. 

During his presentation, Douglas discussed his “nothing but the best” philosophy to capturing photos using the best camera and lighting equipment, the best color space (ProPhoto RGB), his favorite resizing tool (onOne Software’s Genuine Fractals), and his favorite sharpening product (Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro) to create a final image for output on Epson printers.

It was clear that Douglas is a perfectionist that settles for nothing less than the best, and his work shows the fruits of his labor. Each photo displayed was simply breath-taking. As someone who aspires to become a great fashion photographer one day, I have found the new standard to which I will judge my photos. If you share my love of fashion or people photography, then I encourage you to check out his web site at http://www.douglasdubler3.com/ as it is a visual treat. You can also see Douglas’ work on the sample photos page for the Nikon D3x, and Broncolor’s portrait gallery.

I had the pleasure of spending time with Douglas later in the evening to view his private collection on his iPad and I can tell you that his web site only touches the surface of some of the amazing work that he does. For fashion photographers, Douglas’ appearance was worth the price of admission to this great photographic experience. Stay tuned for more about Douglas Dubler 3 on this blog, as I have made arrangements to interview him to learn more about this master photographer.

Joe McNally Keynote

Apologies to Joe for the poor image color and quality here that ruin his brilliant image

For most people attending the NIk Summit, one of the things they were most excited about was listening to photography legend Joe McNally (author of The Moment it Clicks and Hot Shoe Diaries) give a keynote, and he didn’t disappoint. Joe showed off his amazing collection of photos and shared some great stories that both made you laugh and also understand how difficult his career has been. Perhaps the most shocking detail to come out of the presentation is just how poorly National Geographic pays legends like Joe. Go to Joe’s Corporate portfolio at http://portfolio.joemcnally.com/ and take a look at slide 3. To do this amazing shoot Joe shocked the crowed that he was paid only $650, which made every well paid person in the audience wishing to become a photographer swallow a big dose of reality.

Overall Joe’s presentation was everything you’d hope for in a keynote of this type, and he was enough to take photos with everyone despite feeling under the weather. Here’s a shot of him with Vincent Versace (left) and most of the Nik Software team on hand at the Nik Summit:


I’d like to start by disclosing that Nik Software paid for my airline ticket and admission to this event as I’ve been a big fan of their products and my blog has helped to bring them new business. This gave me the opportunity to attend this event in San Diego when I probably wouldn’t have made it. The team at Nik Software let me blend in with the crowd and attend this event the same way you would, and I can say with all honesty that it was very well done.

There was surprisingly little attention placed on Nik Software products in their attempt to avoid making this seem like a big marketing event, but honestly I think they went too far in that extreme. I think some hands on workshops and more time from the wonderful Janice Wendt showing the amazing things you can do with Nik Software products would have been a welcome addition, to her conflicting mini-sessions. In addition, everyone in attendance – including the Nik staff, quickly realized that they tried to do too much in too little time in the attempt to create value. Instead, it just wore everyone out making people so tired in the evenings that it was very hard to enjoy the one on one time with the pros at the fireside chats.


I’ve spoken with the leaders of Nik Software and they are well aware of the concerns I have, and that my concerns are not unique. They share those concerns, and this was their first attempt where they learned a lot. However, I think everyone who attended enjoyed themselves and thought it was a great value.

Another summit is already in the works

I don’t expect the next event to be without its own unique growing pains either, but I am confident from what I saw here that it will be a great success. If you are within driving distance (or a cheap flight) from wherever that next Nik Summit occurs, I’d say it should be a no brainer on your things to do list. If the travel expenses will be significant, then you might want to hold off as I suspect that another event near you will happen at some point in the future.

Kudos to Team Nik for putting Photography First

I’d like to thank team at Nik Software, Tony Sweet, Vincent Versace, Douglas Dubler, and especially Rick Sammon for their time and knowledge that they shared with me at this event. I was pleased to see that every attendee had such great access to these big name pros. It was a great event and one that I would have felt was worth it had I paid my own money for it, so I encourage you to consider doing the same in the future.

About the photos in this article

All of the photos in this article were snapshots (none were staged) taken during the second full day of the Nik Summit using a Canon 1D Mark IV and all but the group shots were taken with the new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The photos were all processed using the Nik Software Complete Collection Ultimate Edition in Adobe Photoshop CS4 on a Lenovo Thinkpad W701ds laptop (W700ds article here) in less than 10 minutes each.

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