Action Shots at the Black Hills Photo Shootout

It's day two at the Black Hills Photo Shootout. This morning: action photography.

Again, we had great light, a great location and great riders! Thanks Les for setting everything up for the group.

Basically, we had two technical choices: freeze or blur the action. I tried both.

Les and I are doing a private workshop here next year. Shoot me an email to get on the list. I'll show you how to make images like the one below. If you can't wait, check out my post on motocross.

If you like the lighting in these images, I think you'll like my class on Lighting. Same goes for  Composition.

Scroll down for previous posts from the Shootout.

Explore the light,

P.S. All my events - workshops and seminars - are listed on my Facebook Events page.

Cowboy Portraits at the Black Hills Photo Shootout

This morning at the Black Hills Photo Shootout: Cowboy - and cowgirl - portraits.

Les Voorhis took the group to a cool ranch where we encouraged the workshop participants to see the light and to compose carefully. After all, combine a good subject with good composition and a good exposure, and you have the making of good image.

And talk about great subjects, we had the best!

The opening picture for this post is a hand-held Canon 5D Mark III in-camera HDR image. I boosted the ISO to 4000 and still got a clean shot in the dimly-lit barn. That says a lot about the image sensor in the camera.

If you are new to HDR, check out my article, HDR Must Know Info.

We arrived on site early to catch the light, and Les knew exactly where to position the subjects so we had great light. For the shot above, I underexposed the scene a bit for more saturation in the sky. I shot at f/22 to create the starburst effect. Directing the cowboy to interact with the horse helped make the photograph . . . and as those who attend my workshops know, there is a big difference between taking a photo and making a photograph.

In my keynote talk last night, I talked about the importance of seeing the light. The beautiful side-lighting here created a flattering effect on our cowgirl model. I toned my color file with the Paper Toner filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. See all the plug-ins I use, and get a discount, on my Plug-ins page.

Les and I will be doing a workshop here in 2013. Shoot me an email to get on the info list. We hope to see you in the Black Hills, pardner.

Explore the light,

My First Shoot at the Black Hills Photo Shootout

I arrived yesterday here in Spearfish, South Dakota for the Black Hills Photo Shootout, where I am the keynote speaker tonight. 

Early this morning, Les Voorhis and Jason Hahan, organizers of the event and two of the talented instructors on the shootout, took me to Spearfish Canyon for quickie photo shoot. Hey, they don't call me the "shoot and scoot" photographer for nothing!

Les and I are doing a waterfalls, HDR and cowboy photography workshop next year. Shoot me an email for info.

What a location. What light. What wonderful photo ops. What nice guys.

My first thought: I need to come back here and spend some time.

Above is a quick "jump out of the car and shoot" shot.

All the images this post are 5D Mark III in-camera HDR images. The shot above is a hand-held HDR that I grabbed on the way to breakfast.

I need to give Les 75 percent of the credit for the first two photos and the photo below, because he invited me to the Shootout, took me to the locations, and loaned me his tripod. Thanks Les!

I hope to post more pictures here from the Shootout. Stay tuned.

Explore the light,

P.S. Left is the average exposure for the scene and right is the Canon 5D Mark III HDR image. Kinda amazing that technology can do for us! For more on HDR see my iHDR app on my Apps page. I also teach HDR on my photography workshops.

Junkyard Shots From My Canada Workshop

Today was day two of my photo event up here in Canada with The Photographer's Lounge, which is headed up by my friend Kevin Pepper. What fun.

We took our workshop students to a junkyard for an HDR and model shoot. Afterward, we had a quick download and review session. We were assisted throughout the day by our mutual friend Tom Baker, known for his wonderful HDR work.

We focused on making pictures, rather the just on taking pictures.

Here are a few my favorite shots, all of which were processed with a touch of Nik's Snapseed.

We'll be using Snapseed, and other Nik plug-ins, on the images we take on my Coney Island Photo Walk next month.

Morgan Oldershaw was our model for the shoot. Thanks, Morgan, for being such a good model - and sport.

Above is an in-camera HDR image I captured with my Canon 5D Mark III.

Above is another Canon 5D Mark III in-camera HDR image. Both images were hand-held.

For more in HDR, check out my app, Rick Sammon's iHDR.

At the beginning of the workshop I suggested to the workshop participants that they try to "tell the whole story" of the junkyard. Taking close-ups and focusing on details and patterns helps achieve that goal. This photograph illustrates a composition technique: rule of odds. I talk about that and other rules in my latest Kelby Training class: Composition, the strongest way of seeing.

Kevin and I hope to see you on one of our workshop. Good photo ops, good people, good image process . . . and good fun!

All my events are listed on my facebook events page.

If you were on the workshop, please share your photographs on my workshop photos page. In fact, if you have been on any of my workshop, please share your photographs on that page.

Explore the light,

P.S. My next Junkyard shoot is in Atlanta with my friend Glenn Taylor.

I'm Saddling Up for the Black Hills Photo Shootout

I can't wait to start shooting - pictures, that is - at the Black Hills Photo Shootout next week. I'm also looking forward to my keynote presentation.

I have not been to the area, but I have photographed cowboys, which is just one of the workshops at the event.

If you can't make the shootout, here are some tips for photographing cowboys.

When you think you are close, get closer. The closer you are to the subject, the more intimate the portrait becomes.

Take a picture that tells a story, and remember that the background can help to tell the story, and establish a sense of place.

Cowboys often ride off into the sunset. Shoot during sunset and sunrise for dramatic images. Expose for the highlights. Check your Highlight Alert to make sure highlights are not overexposed and washed out.

Use reflectors to fill in shadows, as illustrated in the photograph below. That's me on the right in the photo above.

Yes! These tips works for cowgirls, too!

Make pictures. All these pictures were made on my workshops. They are all set-up shots . . . that took some time to set up.

Explore the light,