20Jan

Radio interviews, News profiles, and the life of a working photographer

Wanted to update everyone on all the happenings around the release of my new book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure (out in bookstores around the world).


Lots of fun highlights, but anyone who’s a working photographer knows, we love talking a good game, but our job is not nearly glamorous. It’s hard work, frustration, long hours, feast or famine, tons of marketing trying to land new jobs, consistently reinventing yourself, and so on – and that’s after 19 years in the game. Regardless, my book is out, it was many months of work, and I’m gonna take the fact that the light is shining on me just a bit.


Inside Digital Photo Radio: Had an interview with Scott Sheppard last Friday on my book and career- it went great. If you’re not familiar with them, they produce this show (80,000 listeners) along with: Inside Analog Photo Radio, Inside Mac Radio, Inside Mac TV, and more. They have a large audience bringing thoughtful interviews and information on new gear, photographer profiles, and trade show news to the listener. My interview will be out on their site and iTunes Podcast soon.

WKPT ABC Radio (an ABC News affiliate broadcasting to East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, & Western North Carolina via AM 1400, AM1490, AM 1590, FM 94.3, FM 97.7, and FM 97.9) will interview me on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 10am Eastern Standard Time for their popular mid-morning talk show, “AM Tri-Cities“.

Bay Area News Group: The largest media publisher in California (4th in the nation) will be interviewing me for their Career Profile section, an in-depth Q&A feature on a successful professional. The piece will appear Sunday March 1st in all of their publications including The Contra Costa Times, The San Jose Mercury News, The Marin Independent Journal, and The Oakland Tribune.

The View From The Bay: ABC’s San Francisco affiliate station KGO Channel 7 will be interviewing me for their Bay Area tv show Monday February 23rd. Want to come? Need tickets? Visit the event on Facebook with all the info and phone numbers to get tickets and see the live taping: Facebook/ View From the Bay event

The Modesto Bee: One of the bigger newspapers serving California’s Central Valley will feature my book in their book reviews page this Sunday (January 25th)

JainLemos.com: Ran a nice blurb on my work, my book, our recent conversation, and my goals in photography- check it out!

Zoom Street: An online magazine covering the world of digital photography will be profiling my Exposure book in their March issue.

For more info on monthly happenings, go to our This Month page on our site: http://www.seanarbabi.com/thismonth.html or our Lecture & Workshop page: http://www.seanarbabi.com/workshops.html


Enough self promotion! Next blog, back to photo gear, software, tips & tricks, and more!

12Dec

Book Signing Events for my book – The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure


In 2009, I’ll be holding a number of book signing events in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, as well as other possible US locations for my book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure (Random House/ Amphoto/ Watson-Guptill).


I’ll talk a bit about photographic exposure, share some experiences from various assignments around the world, take a few questions, catch everyone off-guard with a pop-quiz (just kidding), and sign books. It’s always a nice intimate settings where people can feel comfortable meeting the author to find out more about a book or a topic.

Bookstore locations will include Clayton Books (Clayton, CA – Feb 15th), Borders Books (Pleasanton CA – Feb 28th, and possibly in NV, NM, or WA), Barnes & Noble (Walnut Creek CA – April 2nd, NV, WA) and possibly at the Book Passage (Mill Valley, CA). I’ll also be in Las Vegas at Casey’s Cameras on March 26th or 27th.

Here’s a link on my main site to all book signing dates, locations, times and venues: http://www.seanarbabi.com/workshops_lecture.html

More dates will be added soon!

I’m very proud of the book, believe it will help many with their image-making skills, and it’s already getting great reviews on Amazon.com.

So mark your calendars, come out and join us, pick up a book to improve your photography (less than $30 – cheap!), and have me sign a copy for you!

03Dec

Photoshop CS4 continued and my book on Amazon.com

Here’s a link to my book on Amazon.com – it’s out January 6th, 2009, and sellin’ like hot cakes.  If you want to learn all about photographic exposure, which includes many aspects of photography that will help you improve your skills, pre-order it today.  It’s less than $20 and with over 225 pages, 200 photos, diagrams, and lessons, it’s worth every dollar!

And if you live outside the United States, there are over 30 sites carrying the book, in places like Canada, Denmark, Finland, ItalyNorway, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.

Moving back to Photoshop CS4, as I began to

 get up-to-speed on the recent release, my new favorite toy is the clone tool with now offers a preview of the clone before you ever click on an area in a photo – it’s fantastic!  Not only does it save you a step of cloning if the clone is wrong (in tone, color, subject matter, etc), but it also helps a ton with lines and patterns of any kind (branches, building, power lines, road markings, and so on).

More to come on all the new Adobe’s Photoshop CS4 features, as well as the rest of Adobe’s Master Collection!

21Nov

Affection for my Master Collection

I finally landed my copy of Adobe’s Master Collection which launched in late September, and I can’t wait to get started! Yahooie.


I’m mainly looking forward to using all the new jammin’ functions in Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2.1 (Lightroom doesn’t come with Master Collection), but Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection comes with a ton of programs:

From video to stills, graphics to design, audio to html, the Master Collection is everything a multi-media person could desire. I use Dreamweaver CS3 since moving over from GoLive CS2, but lookin’ forward to Dreamweaver CS4 for new updated web design. Photoshop CS4 Extended also has a new 3D object painting which sounds like a fantastic feature – who says we need to shoot all product colors from here out?! There’s many new aspects of Bridge and Camera Raw that simplify Photoshop functions, allowing you to get a ton of work done before even opening and processing the file.

There’s a ton to go through, but I hope to add updates over the next few months on all the new cool features. The main programs I’ll start with are Photoshop CS4, Bridge CS4, Dreamweaver CS4, and Indesign CS4.

Stay tuned groovy photo dudes and dudettes.

28Oct

State of the Photo Industry

This is the nature of the photo business (read the link on Corbis stock agency taking more from photographers) – big business folk making money off of their power and off of photographer’s emotions.  


We need to stay strong, run our businesses LIKE a business, and say ‘no’ to bad deals- we preach this over & over for years & years, but it’s the only solution for independent contractors who can’t, by law, collectively bargain (it’s called price fixing)- but who’s really price fixing here?


Great to be a photographer?  Much harder than most think.

10Oct

Self Portrait via Photoshop’s artist tools

I’m rarely pleased with shots of myself these days…who is when you’re 40?!  And although I’m gettin’ back into better shape (that always helps with portraits), I still look at images from my 20s and think that same ol’ thing, “hey, I was thin and wasn’t bad looking back then!”.  


But every so often when I get a nice shot, I like to take it into Photoshop CS3 and trick it out a bit for fun, using Adobe’s artist filter tools like “Cut Out”, “Palette Knife” and “Dry Brush”.  I know what you’re thinkin’, “hey Sean, you should be using the Blur tool with the radius on 100 dude!”

(By the way, Adobe Photoshop CS4 is on the way and I’m sure it’s only going to get better- CS3 advancements with exposure, ACR, and HDR were amazing, so I’m eager to see what they’ve added and improved!).

But when you go into the filters, there’s a variety of options in each giving you tons of different outcomes depending on the shot itself, the lighting, the contrast, the detail and the color.  It’s a blast to mess around with, and the results can be cool lookin’. 
Here’s one to check out – a recent shot of me in Vegas, digitally altered in Photoshop using the Cut Out artistic filter to give me a “Reservoir Dog” feel….I’m Mr. Brown.


03Oct

My Flomax commercial…not really

Okay- here I was, up in the state of Washington heading over the border to British Columbia, shooting a few editorial magazine jobs in both areas- combining it with a sports / road trip, just happy to be with good friends – something I’ve needed for a long time.  


And as we drove from Seattle to Vancouver by way of Snohomish, I sat in the back seat (a place I’m definitely not use to) with a smile on my face and a slow heartbeat.  We joked about someday renting a convertible and being the guys in the flomax commercial.  As we headed up Interstate 5 towards the US/Canada border, we past a beautiful forested area near Bellingham and Mt Baker where I shot this image.

Although it was an impromptu capture of friends on a road trip, and a nice but not once-in-a-lifetime-photo, it still took all of my photographic exposure experience to meter the outdoor light, use my pop-up fill-flash to add detail in the backlit shaded interior (couldn’t use my strobe flash unit since it was just too large in the Acura TL we were riding in), chose a super wide-angle lens to frame the scene, all the while driving 70 MPH in the small sedan with the sun shining straight into my lens (an aspect I desired since I knew it would add an extra spark to the scene).

My exposure was f/5.6 @ 1/200 second in manual mode, spot metering, using ISO 100, fill-flash, and a 12mm lens…not that this would help a ton to reproduce the image – only the specs of what I chose for the particular situation.

Dope road trip – cool assignments – great sporting events and outdoor activities.  Maybe in 20 years I’ll try the same shot in our convertible, as our grey hair flows in the wind.  🙂

23Sep

Google Earth is the best, true that, double true!

Last week, while on my way to a Seattle Mariner game at Safeco Field, I was walking through downtown Seattle with a friend who pointed out the tallest building in Washington.  “It use to be the tallest building west of the Mississippi”, he stated.  Moving close to the front facade, I pointed my wide-angle lens up toward the sky and captured this image- we were trying to make the first pitch of the ball game, so I didn’t spend much time trying to find out more about the location, however I knew I could license the image to a publication or two at a later time, or turn it over to my stock agency to do the same.


Off we went and I didn’t think much about the image until it showed up on my computer in Adobe Bridge (Photoshop’s media manager for imagery and RAW digital files).  Opening the graphic shot, I came to like it more and realized I hadn’t gathered enough information for a solid caption.  Off to Google Earth an jammin’ free Mac/PC application that let’s you go anywhere on Earth- one of those scary I-hope-the-terrorists-don’t-get-into-this programs allowing you to fly over mountains, view any landscape at any angle and elevation, and navigate through cities past three-dimensional buildings.  It’s addicting for sure. 

So I typed in Seattle and in a few seconds found my original location of this photo- through links and information on the building I was able to gather all the facts and figures I needed.  

The Columbia Center, the building on the right (along Fourth & Fifth Avenues and Cherry & Columbia Streets) is the tallest skyscraper in the downtown Seattle skyline at 937 feet.  It is also the 19th tallest in the US- constructed in 1982 and completed in 1985. The building on the left is the Seattle Municipal Tower

, 62 stories high, completed in 1990 (designed by Bassetti Architects).

I hadn’t played around enough with the 3D city views in Google Earth and was so amazed by it, I decided to see if I could recreate the view I captured in this virtual globe platform. Sure enough, after a little finageling, I was able to get it pretty close- I’d say close enough.

Wow.  Our world in real-time, available for so many educational functions including a travel photographer gathering caption info for his commercial business.

19Sep

Seattle at sunrise


Being a night owl, I’m not a big morning person- although as an nature and travel photographer, I’ve had to get up at dawn a ton of times to catch and photograph sunrise.


Sunrise not only has a wonderful quality to it with beautiful light, but air is usually cleaner and clearer.  And although the first 15 minutes waking up is painful, I’m always glad I did so when I get out there.

Last Tuesday before returning to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, I was due to photograph one of Jimmie Hendrix guitars at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington- one he smashed during a performance (for a Via magazine article).  The problem was I needed to reschedule my flight and didn’t want to pay the change fee – so I headed to the airport with a friend at 6am, booked myself on stand-by for a noon flight, and headed back to downtown Seattle with another friend (who works in the financial district).

After catching a cab to the EMP (a wonderful music museum founded by Paul Allen) arriving there at sunrise, I had a few hours to kill so I decided to photograph the the Space Needle which stands right next to EMP.  The light was beautiful and clear, there were few people around, 
and I spent the next two hours playing around documenting some of the amazing architecture with a few of my wide-angle lenses.  

Here are some of the images captured that morning with my Nikon D200 digital SLR camera– images I didn’t plan on taking, but was able to get due to certain circumstances, my experience understanding light, as well as creative play with no particular goal in mind.  “Chance favors the prepared mind” as Ansel Adams once wrote.

Just an update to let you know I have a new workshop/lecture event on my 2008 schedule:

TheBetterPhoto 4th Annual Summit will be taking place in gorgeous Monterey, California the weekend of Oct 25th, 2008.


A one-day seminar (including second day field outings with
BetterPhoto instructors like myself on Sunday) will be packed with lectures, spending time with professional photographers, and just hangin’ out talking about photography and havin’ fun.  The price is fantastic and the company even better.

Here’s the 2008 Summit link (for more info, to sign up, etc):
betterphoto.com/conference.asp

It’s going to be great weekend spent in one of the most beautiful coastal areas in all the world!

(Post-blog note: I now teach online with Perfect Picture School of Photography and love it- come and take a course sometime at PPSOP.com)