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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


Way back in 1990 when I was 22, during my college days at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara CA, I had the chance to photograph Josef Muench at the tender age of 85 – father of David, grandfather to Mark – all great photographers in their own right, David probably being the most famous of the three.  


Josef was a landscape pioneer, many of his images gracing the pages of Arizona Highways for much of the 1940s and 1950s.  To my understanding, he worked for the magazine for roughly 50 years, and his stunning landscape images (shot with his 4×5 camera in 1936) helped place Monument Valley on the map.  He returned hundreds of times and to many, his views are some of the most memorable photographs ever taken of this southwest location.  He went on to capture images around the world, in Africa, Alaska, Asia, Canada, Colorado, Europe, and Hawaii.  Even the unmanned Voyager Expeditions, launched in 1977, included one of his photos (in a group of 117 images of Earth’s landscapes) – a snow-covered Sequoia redwood taken in Kings Canyon National Park.


Born in Germany in 1904, some say Josef once threw a tomato at Adolf Hitler, hitting him in the face.  I couldn’t verify this, but he sounded like my kinda guy.  While writing this post, I was able to find a nice quote online, Josef talking about the deserts of the Southwest: “When I first saw the desert I liked it. It was new and different. It immediately took on a meaning to me. I had heard it was barren. It isn’t. A little cactus–so delicate and beautiful, can hide from you. You have to go slowly, and look carefully.”


I can’t recall how I found his information when I was in college, but when I contacted him to fill one of my school assignments, he was kind enough to schedule a time, welcomed me into his home, sat patiently while I set up my 4×5 view camera, and allowed me to capture this portrait, even giving his suggestions on how he might pose.  

 

Portrait of Josef Muench, Santa Barbara, California – © Sean Arbabi | seanarbabi.com

We talked for a bit about photography, and although I wasn’t old enough to really interview him the way I would today, I knew I was with an old photographic soul, so I attempted to soak up his words of wisdom during our brief time together.  Ironically we shared the same age (11) when we received our first cameras, and now I’ve had the chance to photograph some of the places he visited (although oddly enough, I’ve traveled all through the Southwest but never been to Monument Valley and have had the desire for years).


He past away in 1998 at the age of 94, but his images live on- just Google his name (Josef with an “f”) to review some of his work.  May I be so lucky as to live as long as he did, viewing the world through photographic eyes.


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!



18Mar

Through the Looking Glass…

I recently read this comment online and thought it was hilarious – “As someone who is new to photography, I am amazed at the spectrum of photos todays cameras and software are able to produce”.
This thought from a newbie to photography pushes me to confess something I’ve never told anyone- that’s right, I didn’t take all my photos I sell, share, and teach with – my camera did. That’s right- in fact, with the advent of digital photography, cameras now take all the photos. 🙂
Of course I’m being facetious but it does bring up a good point that so many people feel the improvements in digital technology has made it easier to take better photos. To me, it’s made it easier to make millions feel they could take better photos- for the most part, there’s just millions of more images out there being shared- not necessarily good, sometimes not bad, and on rare occasion amazing.
Since the day the first photos were being taken, painters were criticizing these image-makers as non-artists, doing something they couldn’t do on a canvas.
Unfortunately in this day and age of Photoshop and DSLRs, so many assume these new tools are making photography easier. And as much as I love Photoshop and DSLRs, they simple aren’t.
It’s funny- people throw all kinds of words at your images- “you do some great photoshop work”, “what filter did you use on that” – but most of the time (if not all the time) capturing a great image is a combination of a lot of things including hard work.

20Dec

Join me on a nature shoot- January in Yosemite

For anyone interested, I’m planning to capture winter scenes in Yosemite National Park sometime in January- new images and research for my the book I’m currently writing.


Join me for a day of shooting, sunrise to sunset, for a small fee ($100/person – 10 person limit).

This isn’t a planned event or workshop with a specific agenda. I’ll simply share my thoughts on photographing nature while we shoot, talk about equipment tips, and so on. We’ll capture images together, you can watch how I work if you wish, see the gear I carry, I’ll sign your Exposure book (if you bought one of my books), and we’ll have a blast.

If you’re interested, contact me at:

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

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!


14Aug

My Photo of the Month

Just wanted to share an image I recently shot while on assignment. I was hired to capture an image of Lombard Street in San Francisco – best known for its one-way section on Russian Hill (between Hyde & Leavenworth Streets)- eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned Lombard the distinction of being “the crookedest street in world (part of The Presidio and Cow Hollow neighborhoods).

I traveled to the city one day after scouting some locations on Google Earth (that’s right, sign of the modern age) and spent an afternoon picking the best spot to shoot from. Knowing the light could look nice at sunrise yet most likely devoid of vehicles, I choose to shoot in the late afternoon – not only to catch the hill in shade, slightly backlit, but also hoping the sun would reflect off of the street to help it stand out.

I shot from a few locations, one close to the actual street, others miles away. Using a 300mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter and my digital 35mm SLR, I was able to crop the street nicely from one of my vantage points on Telegraph Hill. Although I mounted my lens on a large Gitzo tripod, I still set the mirror lock feature and shutter timer to keep the camera as steady as possible – afternoon winds blowing atop the hill made me worry about camera shake.

I shot all the way until twilight, finally documenting this scene below – the perfect time to capture a long exposure of the moving cars combined with the waning light of the day – which turned out to be my favorite. No filter was used and the final exposure turned out to be: f/11 @ 30 seconds using ISO 100

The magazine didn’t end up using this image, and picked another I photographed during the afternoon. Although I’m partial to this capture, an old editor of mine sent me an email after seeing my image in the magazine – he wrote: Your picture of Lombard St in VIA is probably the best I’ve seen. It’s so difficult to make a different shot of a famous place, and yours gave a new perspective. I can’t imagine how you got it without cars, and of course a nice touch with the cable car at the top.”

Once again proving photography, as all art, is subjective.


07Jul

My 2nd segment on The View From the Bay coming this July 14th


Next Tuesday I’ll be back on The View From the Bay, a great afternoon lifestyle show on ABC Channel 7 KGO-TV in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m looking forward to seeing Janelle Wang and Spencer Christian again, the two great hosts, as well as the whole production staff.


Continuing my goal to be the Photoguru, a commercial pro and photo expert with my own tv show, I’ll be going on to promote my book and talk about five cool compact cameras to check out for the summer season. No side-by-side comparison deal- just cameras that are different in the features they have, price points, and functionality.

The five point-and-shoots I’m testing out and reviewing are:

GoPro’s Helmet HERO Wide: I’ve had a blast with this 5 mega-pixel “point of view” camera, attaching it to my bicycle helmet, my bike, strapping it around my waist, and even on my car for great shots you couldn’t otherwise get in a system under $200.

If you looking for top quality and price isn’t an issue, this compact comes with the Leica name and quality (their lenses are known as the best in the biz-nas), full control of functions, and made for the serious amateur interested in creating high-quality shots in an easy-to-carry system.


Nikon’s Coolpix S60: A 10 mega-pixel p&s offers a great touch screen, – I went with Arctic White, the color of my old ’86 VW Golf (see it at the start of this blog)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX 150: A great compact has the highest mega-pixels in the group at 14.7 million, with manual functions and a Leica lens packed into a sleek body. I personally own this model.

FujiFilm Z33WP: A great 10 mega-pixel waterproof compact camera with a flash, LCD screen, and a cool strap that floats. I’ve enjoyed using it in the swimming pool with my daughters as well at in a river in the Sierras. Fuji sent me the bright pink model- that’s right, I’m Mr. Fancy Pants.

I’ll also show off Joby’s line of cool bendable tripods- fun, functional, and they come in cool colors like blue, green, and pink! Use it for self-portaits, attach it to a tree branch or a pole, and pack it anywhere in your suitcase.


Canon never sent me a camera to review and I was a bit disappointed since they own the point-and-shoot market and have a great line of small digital cameras. But the ones I have are top-notch and would rate high in any comparison so I’m good to go.

So tune in Tuesday, July 14th, from 3-4pm for my segment- it will be fun, informative, and entertaining! And if you’re not in the area, the segment will post on the web at KGO’s site (as did my February spot on Great Family Vacation Photos): http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

27May

Signed copies of my book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure

For anyone interested in improving their photographic skill and learning more about exposure, you can order a signed copy of my book directly through us by going to this link:


Click on the “Buy Now” link and pay using any credit card through PayPal. We’ll mail out a signed copy, and if you’d like me to sign anything specific besides my name, let us know.

The book remains in the top 50 photo books since January, has received a number of great reviews on Amazon as well as other websites, is packed with solid info, over 250 images, fun assignments, and more.