My Second Canon Speedlite Session at Photo Plus

I'm just back from my second Canon Speedlite session at Photo Plus in NYC. Good fun, as always.

My goal was to illustrate what can be done with just one speedlite. I was using the new Canon 600EX- RT speedlite and new Canon ST-E3 radio transmitter wireless system.

One speedlite was placed in a 28-inch Westcott Apollo soft box to camera left and aimed slightly in front of our handsome model, Lorenzo. My friend Steven Inglima, who heads up the Canon Explorer of Light program, was kind enough to hold a reflector directly opposite the softbox, a technique that adds a little fill light to the shadow side of a subject's face.

Of course, we had a cool model, which always helps. So cool in fact that I think Lorenzo should be on the cover of Cool Dude magazine :-)

Explore the light,
Rick Sammon
Canon Explorer of Light

P.S. Thanks to my fiend Vered Koshlano, a wonderful photographer, for helping out with styling and the models. And of course, thank to Jerry Ward at Canon for all his help in the Canon Speedlite booth.

Peace, Love and HDR

Final HDR Image
Here's one of my favorite HDR images, as well as one of my more peaceful images.

Title: Beautiful Buddha Reflection (We shoot here on my Croton Creative Workshop)

Location, Kent, New York

Exposures: 0, -2, -3, +2 EV


The name of the game is to fill the frame. Notice how every inch of this frame is filled with an interesting subject.

I used my Canon 15mm full-frame fish-eye lens on my Canon 5D for this image. Without HDR, the reflection would have been very dark.

When using a fish-eye lens, make sure your camera is level. A slight tilt to the left or right can mess up your image.

Also: Shoot RAW, but to save HDR processing time, convert your HDR images to JPEGs. One technique is to use Image Processor in Photoshop.

HDR sequence.
You'll find more HDR info in my iHDR iPad app and iHDR for your Mac.

Click here to see the plug-ins I use for HDR.

Explore the light,

Take Control of Color - Your Color or Accurate Color

© Rick Sammon
I receive many emails about how to get good color, so I am reposting this post.

In one of my posts last week I talked about color - creating an image with the colors you like, as opposed to accurate colors.

I took the image above in Death Valley, where I am doing a workshop next year. I hope you can jon the fun.

The colors you see, created in Nik Color Efex Pro, are not the natural colors, they are the painterly colors I wanted in my image. The original image is below.

© Rick Sammon
Of course, getting accurate color is important, too. That's what I was striving for when I was working on my iPad app, Flying Flowers.

© Rick Sammon
For accurate in-camera color, I use the Passport Color Checker. Click here to read about this essential accessory for getting accurate color on site. Check out the sale price and save a few bucks.

Passport Color Checker
For accurate color on my desktop and laptop, and even with my printer and digital projector, I use the ColorMunki. Click here to read about this cool color tool. Check out the sales price for this product, too.

Here's a link to a free webinar that my friend Joe Brady is hosting on color!

Here's a short movie I did on getting accurate color. If you like HDR, you'll like this movie.

Here's a post on changing colors in an image using the Color Replacement tool in Photoshop.

Explore the light,

My Quick Tips on a Cool T-shirt

My workshop and seminar participants are familiar with my one-liners, which some of my photographer friends call "Sammonisms."

These helpful photo phrases sum up some of the basic rules of photography than can help you make better pictures.

For those who want to keep my expressions handy, my photographer friend and workshop participant Spike (Mike) Ince at the Arizona T-Shirt Factory designed a cool "Rick's Tips" t-shirt.

Available in L and XL, the t-shirt are $20 each (includes shipping). Payment is via paypal to

US shipping only.

Questions? Please email me.

My expressions:

The name of the game is to fill the frame.
Dead center is deadly.
When you think you are close, get closer.
The camera looks both ways.
Expose for the highlights.
Use your camera like a spaceship.
Light illuminates, shadows define.
Backlight = shoot tight.
Make pictures, just don't take pictures.
See eye to eye - shoot eye to eye.
Take the darn flash off the camera.

Explore the light,

HDR and Motocross Fun in Florida

Here's a post from awhile ago. I'm reposting because I am doing an Action Photography Workshop (motocross, horses and dancers) in the Tampa area Feb 15 -17 next year. Shoot me an email to get on the info list.

• • • • • 

I had a ton of fun yesterday here in Florida - the day after recording my new class for Kelby Training - Light, the main element in every photograph

The class is a follow up to my class, Composition, the strongest way of seeing.

In the AM, my friend Randy Van Duinen took me to the nearby Air Stream Ranch for some HDR photography. The shot above is an untouched HDR image produced by the in-camera HDR system in the Canon 5D Mark III. Kinda amazing when you think about it.

Above: Randy's HDR pano. Quite cool!

Read about the HDR plug-ins that I use on my Creative Plug-ins page.

Here's a movie with some quick HDR tips.

In the PM, my friend Kathy Porupski set up a motocross shoot for me at Dade City Motocross. Kathy, a few of her Strobist pals and I had a blast shooting for about two hours.

Kathy and I are doing an Action photography workshop in February. Shoot me an email if you are interested. 

I took all the shots with my Canon 5D Mark III. The new AF system is amazing. I used my Canon 24-105mm, Canon 17-40mm lens and Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens. All my gear is listed on my Gear Page.

The shot above is actually a pano, stitched together with Photomerge in Photoshop CS6. I was not sure if the technique would work, but I gave it a try. Try it, you'll like it. I got the idea from my friend Ted Maddux, who successfully used this technique when photographing bald eagles in Alaska.

And here's what the pano looks like with a bit of Photoshop work. I cut and pasted sections of other files into the pano.

Above: a screen grab of my original files for the pano.

Here's a tip: Get up close and personal with your subject . . . but not too close.

Above: My friend Jim Sykes took this shot of me getting down and dirty (very) to get the shot above this one.

Another tip: crop creatively.

Another tip: Subject, background, lighting and position are the keys to a good photograph.

Another tip (for riders): Be careful. PLease!

Above:  Another behind-the-scenes shot by my friend Jim Sykes. Thanks Jim for the fun shots.

As alway, you'll find photo how-to info in my apps.

Explore the light,

P.S. We ended the day with chocolate martinis at City Fish, my favorite restaurant in Oldsmar, FL.