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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


10Sep

Time flies & love blooms when you haven’t blogged


Seconds turned into days turned into weeks- I haven’t blogged for almost a month- crazy.


The past month I shot a few assignments (built an on-location studio for a company in the North Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, capturing 40 food & wine displays), taught an exposure course with a book signing at Book Passage in Corte Madera (a great bookstore in the Marin/ Mill Valley area), licensed some images to a few magazines and clients (a nice double-page spread of a Half Dome image which you’ll see in a few months), worked on two new books which I’m very excited about (out in 2010-2011), and sold five 30×50 prints to recruiting company. All while my girls started school- a busy August.

But what I wanted to write about was something I found out while lecturing at Book Passage. Two past workshop students came to take the class, told me they met at my weekend workshop two years earlier at Pt Reyes, and ended up falling in love- now married- they said, I could add ‘match-maker’ to my list of accomplishments. I was tickled pink (when was the last time you heard that term?!). Actually, it really was a cool thing to hear. As we all go through our daily grinds, move through our busy lives, setting up events, meetings, goals, we rarely consider how it might affect other lives.

When I plan my workshop presentations, I think of all the experience and knowledge I’ve gained through my 19-year career, and how I can add specific images and information into my lectures and field notes to help photographic enthusiasts improve their skills – to help them learn how to communicate with their cameras better. But I don’t think I ever imagined two people meeting at one of my events and deciding to spend the rest of their lives together. It doesn’t seem far fetched, but I just never thought of it.

So here’s to photography bringing more love to the world – in the day and age of glorifying ridiculous rude behavior on tv, where wars continue to tear lives apart, where corporate greed runs rampant, and where a wealthy country like the US can’t find a way to take care of its own, I seems like we could use a bit more love.

eHarmony, eat your heart out.

07Apr

Point-&-Shoots in the realm of 15 Megapixels


Recently, I wanted to upgrade my 8 megapixel point-&-shoot, a Sony Cybershot which I loved (it had a large touch screen and was very compact, especially amazing since it originally came out in 2005). But as the PhotoGuru, I needed to keep my street cred, so I began the search.


When I saw Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-FX150, 14.7 megapixel compact camera about the same size of my Sony (possibly a tiny bit smaller at 2.12” x 3.8” x .98”) my mind said “dope!” and my late 90s lingo said “no you di-ent!”. It’s almost the size of a business card, just under an inch thick (non-chunky-style), and weighing in just over 5 ounces. Wow.


It wasn’t easy to find one in stock, but after searching the web, and making a few calls (with pain-in-the-rear reps tryin’ to fake the “in-stock” sales pitch), Amazon.com’s third party company provided me with one in stock (even Panasonic currently lists the camera as “backordered”).

I’m still getting to know my new little friend, just having it for less than a month, but I’m diggin’ the RAW capability (that’s right, RAW files, rarely seen in point & shoot cameras today), the massive 14.7 MPs (sure it’s packed into a small 1/1.72″ CCD image sensor, but what would anyone expect for the great price and compact size?), as well as all of the quick menu options (giving me the ability to change flash option, ISO, as well as other features on the fly).


For some reason, the auto rotate function isn’t working, so I have to rotate any vertical shots to review them larger, taking up the entire 2.7″ LCD screen (hope to fix that or figure out why), but in general I’m very pleased with this compact beauty – the sleek black body very stylish and functional (I like to roll GQ style).

I also feel the f/2.8 wide-angle Leica mass-produced lens (28mm to 100mm) is of quality, and I dig the new auto-focus tracking feature (focusing for you without touching the shutter button).

The 8 GB SDHC memory card (I picked up after the fact – made by SanDisk) gives me over 300 images on the highest file size (RAW + JPEG, which is what I use on my 35mm DSLR)- more than enough as long as I download every so often (which is best to do anyway since you never want to trust your memory card to store your memories for too long). Plus, with the Lithium-ion rechargeable battery draining down after 330 snaps, I simply recharge the battery while I download the shots (hoping to pick up an extra battery as a backup). The camera even has 50MB of built in memory if you jam up with an extra card- thanks for caring Panasonic.

The Lumix DMC-FX150 also has a nice ISO range from 100 to 6400, with many exposure functions = Manual, Program AE, Movie/ Motion Picutre, Intelligent Auto mode, along with many Scene modes. I always love the Manual exposure mode option, giving me full control of my camera when the meter is fooled. The metering mode options even include Spot metering. Sure, it doesn’t offer an HD movie mode as other Lumix compact cameras do, but I wasn’t looking for HD in a compact digital camera personally – what am I, movie-boy?

Here are a few shots I captured with the camera this past month:

For more on all the technical specs, click here: Lumix DMC-FX150 tech specs

For more on the camera in general, go here: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150

I highly recommend it to anyone- sure the digital noise increases with a higher ISO over 100 (mainly due to a small image sensor), but you can’t expect everything in such a beautiful small package. All this in a price range around $250. Well played
Panasonic, well played– nice idea for my photo life.

15Mar

Update on my book: The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure


Hello everyone! Just wanted to spread the word about how well my book is doing, and to thank you all for the wonderful support through your purchases, attending a book signing, and the great reviews! Me feel special.


MEDIA COVERAGE & AMAZON: The book was ranked at its highest today on Amazon (#9,068, up from #337,000 when it first came out!), #21 for How-to photo books, and in the top 50 photo books the past 8 weeks. Reviews on Amazon are coming in as well with two wonderful ones from A Obannon in NJ and the Midwest Book Review in WI – big thanks to both of you!). Add your own review when you can – the more reviews we receive, the better the book will do.

I also did a tv segment on The View from the Bay, two radio spots with ABC radio WKPT and Inside Digital Photo Radio, had a feature interview in East Bay newspapers, with many others discussing the book online, from Jain Lemos’ blog to Zoom Street (coming up in April). Popular Photography also ran an online “tip of the day” using an excerpt from the book. Listen to some interviews on our how-to site, PhotoGuru.tv.

BOOK SIGNING EVENTS: We had two great signings, one at Clayton Books and another at Borders Books – both in February. I have three upcoming events between March and June – get my sign on:

One in Las Vegas NV in two weeks (March 26th, Thursday @ 4pm at Casey’s Cameras), one in Walnut Creek CA (April 2nd, Thursday @ 7pm at Barnes & Noble), and another in Seattle WA (June 12th, Friday @ 6:30pm at Third Place Books).

Great locations for some fun signings – I’ll talk a bit about my photo career, how I came to write the book, show some images, discuss the content of the book, and answer some questions (and of course sign many books!). For more info, go to our events page on our site: http://www.seanarbabi.com/workshops_lecture.html

Want to buy a signed copy of my book? That will cost you big time. Actually you can easily by going to our site links (listed below) and click on the “Buy Now” link. If you have a specific request for what you’d like me to write (besides my signature), you can add the message there – such as “To the most amazing photographer who’s work I never reviewed”, or “To the greatest book purchaser in all the land!”.

Signed copy on my main site, SeanArbabi.com: http://www.seanarbabi.com/book_exposure.html
Signed copies through our PhotoGuru.tv site: http://www.photoguru.tv/store.html

PHOTO WORKSHOPS: I’m also teaching courses on Exposure on the web and in the field. If you combine all of the information in my book, with hands-on teaching allowing you to ask questions and interact with me (whether shooting in the field or getting critiques on your images), you’ll be well on your way toward improving your photo skills. People will bow as you walk by, camera in hand, and knowledge in brain.

I teach a 4-week course on Exposure almost every month at BetterPhoto.com (Better Exposure – How to Meter Light), and will teach live at two venues this year – Art Wolfe’s Digital Photography Center in Seattle WA (June 11-14th – Exposure A to Z: The Ins and Outs of Metering Light), and the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in Santa Fe NM (July 27th –August 1st – The Art of Travel Lighting).

The past ten years, I’ve taught students in 25 countries and over 40 states around the US – a wonderful mix of beginners, enthusiastic amateurs, and just plain good ‘ol photo folk – sure, I few pain-in-the-rears in there, but I can handle ’em. For more info and new courses, go to our workshops page: http://www.seanarbabi.com/workshops.html


NEW BOOKS: Besides my tv show we’re working hard to get on air, I’m also working on two new books, hoping both come out in 2010. Yes, they’ll involve photography yet in different ways from my exposure book – no romance novel yet in my future. Keep an eye out!

Look forward to meeting you at one of my book signings or workshops, and thanks again!

13Mar

My images in Via magazine & Nat Geo Traveler this month


Check out some of my photographs in the current issues of a number of publications:


National Geographic Traveler’s March 2009 issue ran one small image on page 88 for an article entitled “Good As Gold”, originally captured in Downieville, California. It’s no cover shot, but it makes my Mom happy.

And in Via magazine’s March/ April 2009 issue published numerous images from Angel Island State Park, Death Valley National Park, and Yellowstone National Park (a full page, a spread, and a few smaller shots inside).

I’ve shot over 100 assignments with Via magazine, a publication for AAA (Automobile Association of America) – great editorial staff and one of the biggest travel magazines in the US (not on newstands, but over 2 million circulation). Support these people – not only will you get a jammin’ travel mag, but they’ll tow you in a pitch.

I’ve also been published in the past numerous times with National Geographic in their books, calendars, and magazines including Traveler and Adventure. I hope to do more for the iconic photo-driven publication in the future, including feature assignments if given the chance. We’ll see- I’ve have to send ’em a nice fruit cake this holiday season.

Also on Sunday, March 1st, most of the San Francisco East Bay newspapers (including the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and Contra Costa Times) ran a feature Q&A piece on my work, career, and new book in their “Career Path” section. Sure my chicken-mcnugget head in the opening spread isn’t pretty to look at, but I’m thankful for the wonderful publicity and hope the article inspires many.

Enjoy Photoguru-heads!


01Mar

My photo segment on "The View From the Bay"


On Monday, February 23rd, had the pleasure of being on The View From the Bay – a wonderful afternoon San Francisco Bay Area show on KGO-TV Channel 7, hosted by Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang.


We did a five-minute segment on taking family photos like a pro – it went very well and was a blast to do!

We talked about taking great photos with any camera, and I showed 10 slides on how to easily improve your picture taking through simple techniques and fun camera functions.

We also discussed how critical backing up your digital images are- so important to do- and to do it with reliable drives like Lacie hard drives (great desktop and rugged mobile hard drives I’ve used for years in my business), as well as Delkin’s archival gold DVDs (for which I burn thousands of images on to for safe keeping – 100 year archival DVD discs).

I also showed how to display your images in fun ways through Apple’s iLife ’09/iPhoto program (showing an album we had printed from a trip to Disneyland), or buying wonderful archival albums with style from Kolo.com. Kolo also added the segment to their blog at Koloist.com – check it out (simply click on the link)!

When I came home and watched it, and I was jazzed- sometimes it’s hard to remember how things like that went (and sure I’d love to be 30 lbs less!) but I was very pleased how it flowed.

Crazy, it felt like it went a minute and a half, but turned out to be exactly 5 minutes long as we planned. I also received a message from another producer of a local CBS show on The CW (Bay Area focus), complimenting my segment. We booked another tv interview for the fall (sometime in November). I’ll add it here once we have firm dates.


The show and hosts of
The View From the Bay were pleased as well and I thank them for the opportunity- a great professional staff of wonderful people putting together a top-notch show. This is what I’m working toward- to be known as that funny guy on tv that teaches people all about photography. The PhotoGuru.


If you’re interested in watching the segment, here’s the link: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

For more on Photoguru with Sean Arbabi, to review our tv show pilot, or read articles on photography, tips and tricks, new gear and software, and more, go to: http://www.photoguru.tv

03Feb

Photo Potpourri

A few fun february facts, images to check out, and items to think about in the photo world. By the way, here’s a fun image of the Na Pali coast in Kauai, I captured from a helicopter a few years ago while on assignment.


A piece of news I got from Calypso Imaging‘s newsletter (a great printer in the San Francisco Bay Area, although I personally use West Coast Imaging– awesome printer)- 18 years ago this month, Adobe shipped Photoshop 1.0. That was the first year of my career, but in February I was a few months away from graduating college at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. So although I had learned a ton about photography in college, by the time I graduated, a whole new world of digital was emerging – an aspect I had to educate myself on to keep up with the times. How Photoshop opened so many doors toward quality imagery. Now in the 11th version of the program (Photoshop 1-7, then the CS series, now at CS4), the software has morphed into something amazing and unreal – congrats Adobe.


Wanna see how unreal digital photography HAS become? Check out this 1,474 Megapixel shot of the
President Obama’s inaugural address, created by David Bregman, combining 220 images together in a process / robotic camera mount called Gigapan. The final image size was 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels. Nice shot David. Wow- I’ve gotta try it soon! (click on David’s name to review the shot)

A hundred and seven year ago this month, Ansel Adams was born (in 1902),

and although he past away 25 years ago, the impact he had on photography is not only beyond measure, but well beyond what any other photographer has done to date. I never had the chance to meet him, but I feel what he feels about image-making. Here’s a wonderful photo of Ansel, taken by an amazing photographer Jim Alinder (with permission – © Jim Alinder) – to see his work and gallery, go to: http://www.alindergallery.com/

Have a wonderful February all – keep an eye out for me on “The View From the Bay” in a week or so, Feb 23rd, at 3pm on ABC’s San Francisco TV station, KGO channel 7. Then my first book signing event in Clayton CA February 15th.

23Jan

Photo of the Week

I’m starting a “Photo of the Week” section of my blog, to display an image, describe how I shot it, and what my thought process start to finish – here’s my first:


USA: Nevada: Clark County: Las Vegas: Visitors watch the amazing Bellagio water show at night along Las Vegas Boulevard

This image was part of a week-long assignment to capture Las Vegas for a photo essay for Endless Vacation magazine.  I prepared the job by contacting dozens of casinos and resorts, acquiring permission to photograph on various properties, submitting my million dollar liability insurance (which is required for many different types of photo shoots, especially resorts, casinos, and large corporations), then driving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Las Vegas (just to lug more gear without the airport hassle since I was on my own for the week).

This evening I went out with my Fuji 680 III camera, a bulky medium format beast that I love, with a large tripod and walked along the Strip.  I shot many angles of the Bellagio water show but this one was one of my favorites.  The first thought I had while finding a spot to shoot was incorporating all the elements of the show- the water, the glow at night, Bellagio Hotel and Casino, and the visitors gathering around to watch it.  I backlit the entire scene using the tree to help frame my composition hoping it would be outlined by some of the high shooting water.  I metered the front facade of the building to get a reference, took other meter readings around the scene, and used my best guestimate for the shot (shooting film, I wouldn’t see my results until a week later). The lights on the tree and the nice spacing of the people was a nice small addition.

Once I received my film and picked the top selects, I scanned them in with my Nikon CoolScan 8000 (not available anymore- today Nikon makes the CoolScan 9000, they turned digital in a 300MB file, and a tiny bit more detail was pulled out to stretch the contrast ratio to fit what I saw – for the most part, 99% of what you see is in the film.

My editors thankfully loved the shots I captured that week.  It ran as a cover story and feature spread, and some of the work now rests in my files as well as my stock agency’s files.  I’ll be back in Vegas in March to capture new images of the ever-changing resort city.

When it comes to digital photography, exposure, technical details, and photographer theories, many feel you simply can’t lose your highlights in the shot – you can’t cut them off on your histogram, have ‘blinkies’ (showing you in your digital image where the detail is lost) etc, etc.  I don’t necessarily believe for all instances.  To me, photography is also about capturing mood, a feel, a glow, a moment, the heart of something – that’s when technical aspects are important but throw out a bit- it’s about the final image.

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!

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!