Now on newsstands – the latest cover of Petersen’s Photographic with my Jenny Lake, Wyoming (Grand Teton National Park) image.  

I also have eight articles and dozens of my photos inside to read and enjoy.  Check it out in stores everywhere!


Last month I had the pleasure of photographing this cool new Argentinian BBQ design for a new client, Gaucho Garcia.  We spent a day capturing studio shots (I set up a portable on-location studio with a backdrop and lighting), and later that afternoon we set up an outdoor BBQ scene.  

 Their new site is up with my all images (including the animation of the grill rolling up), and they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign as well (accessible through GauchoGarcía.com).  
 
Check ’em out- the BBQ is amazing, the design is slick, the fundraising project looks cool, and the people are passionate and dedicated to the project: http://gauchogarcia.com/
 

All images © Sean Arbabi | seanarbabi.com (all rights reserved worldwide)


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Most of my 2014 workshops were updated and listed on our main site, with a few “dates to be determined”.  We offer live and online workshops.  Check out my workshop schedule, sign up, and come join us sometime for great photographic instruction and a day, weekend or week of fun! 

http://seanarbabi.com/workshops/

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You can also find me on Meetup (running two groups there) where we list many of our workshops:

http://www.meetup.com/Sean-Arbabi-photographic-workshops/
http://www.meetup.com/sanfrancisco-bayarea-photography-workshops-tours/

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Thanks and Happy Shooting!
Sean


Just updated my DxO software: DxO Optics Pro 9, DxO Film Pack 4, DxO ViewPoint- great software from a French-based expert photo testing company- you get incredibly accurate results- check ’em out: http://www.dxo.com/intl

DxO Optics Pro 9: Enhance your photos, remove noise, optimize exposure and contrast, magnify colors, and boost details, regardless of shooting conditions: http://www.dxo.com/intl/photography/dxo-optics-pro

DxO Film Pack 4: Reproduces the quality, style, colors, and grain of legendary analog films. In black & white or in color: http://www.dxo.com/intl/photography/dxo-filmpack

DxO ViewPoint 2: Great for your wide-angle lens, fixes perspectives and restores the natural shapes of the subjects located along image edges – a standalone application and a plugin: http://www.dxo.com/intl/correcting-distortion-dxo-viewpoint-2

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Above: Non-corrected HDR capture of the College of San Mateo, San Francisco Bay Area – © Sean Arbabi | seanarbabi.com (all rights reserved worldwide)

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Above: Corrected HDR capture of the College of San Mateo, San Francisco Bay Area (corrected building perspective – I could have corrected it perfectly straight, but went for a real look and didn’t want to lose the edges of the image) – © Sean Arbabi | seanarbabi.com (all rights reserved worldwide)


Last month my older brother and I planned a long overdue backpacking weekend up in Yosemite, to retrace some of the steps we took 19 years ago in Tenaya Canyon.  It was a fun badly-needed three days of nothing but hiking, camping, and photographing amongst granite and pines.We spent the first afternoon in thick fog, backpacking our way up a steep granite dome near Olmsted Point, the second day cross-country backpacking down its wide, long arête then navigating down another steep granite wall into Tenaya Canyon.  We sat and ate lunch on a granite slope dipping our feet in a small pool of rainwater, and as the afternoon light began to fade, we set off searching for a campsite for our second night out.  Working our way through a dense forest and criss-crossing the almost dry Tenaya Creek, we decided to each take a side and see who might find the optimal location to set up camp.  After a few minutes my brother yelled out, “this looks like a nice spot”, and I meandered over to inspect it.  The campsite was perfect – just 25 feet or so from Tenaya Creek, one flat area next to some pines perfect for a tent, a few logs positioned nicely as chairs, and a round glacial erratic granite boulder with a small fire ring built into the side- ironically the only evidence of a past campsite we found in the canyon, yet easy to overlook.

After setting up camp, building a fire, shooting sunset over Half Dome, and cooking dinner, the stars began to appear at twilight.  As we sat cooking apple sausage over the first, I broke out my gear again to see what I might capture that evening.  I soon realized the scene I wanted was to include the campfire, the granite boulder, and the stars, but I wasn’t sure which angle would work best.  After setting up a few shots moving around the erratic, and settled in on a view that would include the campfire.  Understanding exposure well (having written a book on the subject), I knew I’d have to wait for the fire to dwindle down to a small glow in order to have its exposure match the faint glow of ambient light from the stars above.  

When that moment came, I mounted my Nikon D800E DSLR onto my Gitzo carbon fiber tripod and Acratech GP ballhead, attached my 12-24mm lens, framed a vertical composition, and began shooting, alternating between ISO 800 all the way up to ISO 3200.  The campfire was still too bright, so while waiting patiently I thought of another idea – to use the light from my headlamp to illuminate the area surrounding the boulder, to add depth and dimension to the foreground.  Firing my shutter for the long exposure, I would move to the right of the boulder, turn on my headlamp, “paint” the area quickly with light, shut it off, then wait for the exposure to complete.  With each frame, I fine-tuned my light painting to make it look as natural and subtle as possible.  This was the result:

 

The orange glow of a campfire blazing against the granite boulder glacier erratic, below the star-filled night sky including The Milky Way, Pleiades (bottom right- also known as Seven Sisters, Messier object 45 or M45, an open star cluster), Cassiopeia (upper middle left –  a constellation in the northern sky), and the Andromeda Galaxy (upper right – a spiral galaxy approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth, also known as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224).  I exposed this scene with my lens set at 18mm, in manual mode, spot metering, for 15.0 seconds using f/4.0 at ISO 1600.

Granite is my all-time favorite type of rock.  There is an energy it gives off that makes me feel so happy.  If I had a previous life, I must have slept on it staring up at the stars because it always feels like home.  Fittingly, granite is an igneous rock, which means “born from fire”, red hot fluid rock that cooled slowly allowing crystals to form within it. So maybe a mimicked nature’s creation with my own creation.


I call this image my ode to Stephen Lyman.  Stephen was a painter who works I greatly admire.  I recall falling in love with his romantic rugged scenes of the Sierra, small campfires glowing at twilight surrounded by granite landscapes.  Sadly he died what he loved doing, off on another trek to find new inspiration, his body recovered from a rocky ledge near the Cathedral Rocks area of Yosemite National Park in 1996.  An experienced outdoorsman, he was only 38.  If you’d like to view some of his great works of art, visit: http://lymanprints.com/

 
I look forward to making a very large print and matting and framing it for our living room.  Hopefully the photo will sell well in my image library, maybe as a magazine cover someday, definitely as a fine art print.  Regardless, it’s one I’m proud to have captured, and a memory with my brother I’ll never forget.
 
For more on experiences in Tenaya Canyon, check out my September blog post talking about our trip 19 years ago: http://www.the-photoguru.blogspot.com/#!http://the-photoguru.blogspot.com/2012/09/into-tenaya-canyons-abyss.html

31Dec

Engadget Primed Article #2


Just wrote another feature article for Engadget Primed entitled “What is Aperture and How Does it Affect My Photos?“: 


Check it out- lots of solid info, links, diagrams, photos, and more – covers apertures, depth-of-field, hyper focal distance, how it relates to exposure, and so on.  Now I’m working on my third piece for Engadget- one of many to come.

Happy Shooting!

17Dec

My article for Engadget Primed

Check out my 1st feature article on image sensors for Engadget Primed: http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/16/engadget-primed-why-your-cameras-sensor-size-matters/


Tons of info on the history of an image sensor, what it is, how cameras have evolved, and where they are today.  You’ll be an expert by the time you’re done reading the piece.  🙂


I’ll be writing more big pieces for Engadget- it’s a great web magazine/ tech blog that receives anywhere from a million to ten million hits a day.  I’m glad to be a part of their team!



30Mar

Apple’s iPhoto ’09 cool news features

I know it’s 2010, but I started writing this blog about iPhoto ’09 a few months back, never finishing it.


There are a mix of new features in iPhoto (part of Apple’s media program called iLife), and I just wanted to share them (if you weren’t up-to-date). The program offers some great innovative ways to organize your photos, and some of these features have transferred into the latest version of Aperture (Aperture 3.01). And btw, I don’t get paid by Apple (at least not yet) – I just love their products and have used them for over 20 years (including iLife and iPhoto ever since they came out)- I have over 20,500 photos currently in my iPhoto ’09 database.


Check out some of the cool new features:


The Who-When-Where:


WHO: Now with a section called “Faces“, you can find the people you’ve photographed much easier and faster, through facial recognition software. They use “cork board” backgrounds to view snapshots of your friends, and allow you to skim across them polaroid-looking shot to see all of images of them. How to you get iPhoto to recognize a friend or family member? Simply click on the “name” icon, then add a missing face to any particular photo, and the software begins to learn those facial features- and, it gets better as you add more of their photos- it’s pretty cool! You can even confirm or reject photos if they don’t match, and create “Smart Albums” with a group of people (as I did with photos of only my family members).


WHEN: “Events” has been part of iPhoto for a generation or two (I believe it came out in iLife ’08). It basically separates your photos into events- that is when you took your photos (by date or event if you decide to create one). Again, you can skim across the event to see all the shots in that group. You can even merge events by dragging and dropping them into one another (as I did with a Christmas vacation that lasted a few days).


WHERE: With “Places”, you have a Map view and a List view of the locations where your images were captured- you can manually place locations, use reverse GEO Coding (on devices such as the iPhone or any camera with GPS, basically recording the coordinates of where your image was captured on the Earth). You can also create personal locations such as “Our Home” or “At work”.


CALENDARS:

One big aspect of iLife I love is I can utilize my images- and with “Calendars” I can make an album, select all the photos I want to add to it, then click the Calendar icon at the bottom to make a year-long calendar. I created one late last year, showed it on a few tv shows (The View from the Bay on ABC in San Francisco, and on Bay Area Focus on CBS/ CW 12) – then I gave one copy to my parents, one to my Mother-in-law, and kept one which we are using for 2010. I also put photos on specific dates in the year, using photos of family members on their specific birthday dates- each calendar only cost me $19.99 plus shipping- pretty good for a year-long gift.


BOOKS: Similar to calendars (and cards), you can create great books / photo albums using nice new themes. You can add a travel-map page, create a photo wrapped cover that matches the dust jacket, and the printing looks great as well as the professional binding often seen in high-quality books. Then, Apple ships it in a protective sleeve. You can make books in a few sizes, include a small “brag” book, and the prices are great (the small book going for 3 for $12).


SLIDESHOWS: I’ve always used this feature but now you can add Videos and Stills together to create slideshows. I’ve made iPhoto slide shows in my photo workshops for years- simple, easy, can add music, Ken Burns effects, and so on- all creating nice clean presentations.


And BTW, you can share all your images with one click through iPhoto to many social sites including Facebook and Flickr – here are my Facebook and Flickr pages:

Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arbabi-Imagery-Sean-Arbabi-photography/122003760806

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41655671@N00/


Check it all out – Apple’s iLife goes for $79 – that’s right, under $100 bucks- and I didn’t even mention all the other programs included, such as iWeb, iDVD, iMovie, and Garage Band.


16Dec

46 seconds about my book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure

Just a quick video message from about me and my exposure book – if you’re looking for a book to improve your photography, check it out!


To buy the book or get more info, go to: http://www.seanarbabi.com/book_exposure.html


Happy Holidays everyone!


30Jul

Taking a break from photography


As I was on a run this evening listening to John Mayer’s “Into Your Atmosphere”, I thought I’d write to all of you to talk a bit about taking a break from photography. This may mean a few days to some, it may mean a few months to others- it all depends on your personality and what’s going on in your life. Sometimes this simple act can work as a catalyst helping you push forward into projects you’ve been holding off on, or help you create new images you might not have thought of in the past.


As a person who’s captured images since I picked up my first camera at the age of 11 (now 41), I’ve been deeply engulfed in photography in every way possible – from planning and shooting my assignments around the world, to holding gallery shows displaying my fine art prints – writing a 50,000 word book on exposure, to organizing industry events for ASMP – dealing with all that goes into a photo business, to all the self-educating needed to keep up with the latest and greatest in gear and software – and now attempting to create tv show and be the Photoguru to the general public – it’s a lot to do on a regular basis.

And even though I love my career, a few years ago I began to burn out on it a bit. I was always aware of this happening and knew to get away and take breaks from it when I had to, but at that point I realized I needed to slow down on my shooting to find that hunger again. Photography tends to ground me from time to time and has brought a lot of peace to my life, but doing it as a full-time job is whole other ball of wax.

People often think having a career as a photographer is this great job where you travel and get paid for a living – piece of cake right? Far from it. Capturing great shots is a blast, but working on deadline, tight budgets, lots of pressure sometimes, all kinds of weather issues, as well as all the other major and minor details that goes into every shoot is tough. When I get just a one-day assignment, I have to plan that day out, make sure I produce the work needed within the budget allocated, and although some think “hey, if you don’t get the shot, you can always go back the next day”, that just ain’t the case. Your profits drop, expenses increase, and it ends up being an expensive hobby and not your main source of income.


After a few year of shooting less (finding bigger clients, more commercial jobs, and diversifying my business some to maintain the level of income I was earning) my excitement for photography came back 100%. I never stopped shooting, but I definitely cut back on the frequency. I’ve never been one to take a camera everywhere I go, and that too I feel has helped me stay fresh in my outlook of the art, carrying that jubilation of capturing a great shot whenever I do so.


And whether it’s jammin’ to Kanye while ridin’ my mountain bike, or leaving my cameras at home while visiting Lake Tahoe for the weekend, I believe these mental breaks have played just as big of a role in my photography as did the times where I had all my gear- where I may have worked 20 hours in a day to complete a job, or been two weeks away from home on assignment. Photography may be my job, and yes I love making images, but it doesn’t rule my life- the constant search for happiness – contentment – peace – laughter – that does.

So if you take a deep breath or sigh when you pick up your camera, find yourself getting extra frustrated when you miss a shot, or think you’ve reached a plateau in the images you’re creating, consider the option of back burnering your photography. Go for a ride, get back into running, or wait a while until a little dust collects on your camera. You might be thinking “What Sean? Stop shooting photos? Didn’t think that would come from you.” To quote Chris Rock in his last HBO special “That’s right, I SAID it! And I’m looking straight at cha!” 🙂

Remember, you’re not alone in feeling that way, and your passion for the medium will never go away. Happy humpday photo-geeks and geekettes.