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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


I just had to share a photo I captured yesterday while teaching a photo workshop on flowers at Calumet and the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco.  Sharing not so much to show the image I captured, yet more so the detail I’ve loving in my new Nikon D800E 36MP DSLR (and no, Nikon doesn’t pay or sponsor me).In a garden of dahlia flowers, I captured this scene with my 70-200mm f/2.8 Tamron lens – not a macro lens.  Take into account this bumblebee was visiting various flowers, buzzing in and out of each one, constantly on the move, so I wasn’t dealing with a still subject, nor was I using a tripod.  Even outside the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, on the edge of the coastal fog rolling in, the flowers were catching some wind and moving themselves.

As far as my DSLR goes, yeah, I love it- it’s the camera I’ve always wanted.  The image sensor ranks even higher than the D4 (in fact DxO Labs rated it the highest DSLR on the market), and that’s a big part of why I bought it.  It’s also about the engine of this beast – 36 megapixels, which for an outdoor/ landscape/commercial photographer provides huge files to blow up nicely, tons of intricate detail, and minimal noise in a top-notch full-frame image sensor.  There’s lots of extra bells and whistles – cool new LiveView functions, an incredibly fast auto-focus (although I still manual focus a ton), and a sturdy well-built frame.

This image was captured at 1/400 sec, using f/2.8 and ISO 100 in manual exposure mode while spot metering.  You can see the detail of the bee here in a close-up.

It’s rare that a piece of equipment gets me excited about photography – usually it’s my subject, the location, the moment, the light.  This Nikon camera has energized me about the images I hope to capture in the near future!


04Aug

The boathouse at dusk, Inverness, California


Last Saturday, I was teaching a photo workshop in Point Reyes National Seashore through the Point Reyes Field Institute. I’ve taught 2-4 workshops a year over the past 13 years, and wrote an article in Outdoor Photographer a couple of years ago about photographers past and present capturing images along this beautiful coastal region north of San Francisco – it’s a joy and a privilege to be part of the group of past and present image-makers.

So on July 28th I headed out from my home in the East Bay and drove an hour and a half to lecture at the Red Barn classroom near the Bear Valley Visitor Center – great place to teach.  We started at 1pm, I lectured about photographic exposure ’til about 5pm, and then after a break we drove up to Pierce Point Ranch, parked at the lower lot and hiked down to McClure Beach.  My hopes for nice sunset were a bit dashed as we drove through the park since waves of fog and wind were battering the coast (it was fairly sunny back at the Red Barn).  After a couple of hours talking shop on the beautiful storm beach we hiked down to, I thanked my students and we all headed on our respective ways.

Driving back to the Red Barn classroom to pick up some of gear, I passed back through Inverness- a small quaint little town along Tomales Bay.  The light dimmed, cabin and restaurant lights began to glow, and my photographic mind began to turn.  I love the time between dusk and dark – twilight – that ethereal deep blue light that casts across the land – add the artificial lights of a cabin, a building, a tent and the combo makes for a nice moody image.  So I parked my car just off the road, grabbed my DSLR, tripod and a 12-24mm f/4 lens and hiked down a few feet into the bushes near the shore.  As I metered, I waited for the artificial light to balance with the ambient light, then shot a number of compositions.  The scene felt mysterious and magical, and after a long day it was like a little gift.  I’ve always wanted a unique shot of this boathouse – now I had one.

Wish the web offered more colors, but it’s limited – especially for tones like this deep blue- so the original looks better (as probably the case with most images on the web).

The caption reads:  USA: California: Marin County: Inverness: Lights shine on a pier,  “Launch for Hire”, Brock Schreiber’s boathouse at dusk along the shores of Tomales Bay, as seen from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard (preserved as prominent local landmark)

Exposed for 30 seconds at f/10 using ISO 200, at 24mm, spot metering with my trusty new Nikon D800E DSLR – my 36MP beast of beauty as I call it.  Processing the RAW in ACR, I recovered very little of the bright lights of the boathouse – that was about it.  You can see a larger copyrighted version here: http://twitpic.com/afi2b5/full

15Nov

Join me on a nature shoot- December in the Sierras

For anyone interested, I’m planning to capture winter scenes in Yosemite National Park, the Alabama Hills (outside of Lone Pine) and in Death Valley sometime in December – creating new images and research for a few upcoming books and workshops.

If you are interested in joining me for three days of shooting, sunrises and sunsets, for a small fee ($250/person – 10 person limit) contact me via email.

This isn’t a planned event or workshop with a specific agenda. I’ll simply share my thoughts on photographing the outdoors 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, and talk all about photography. I’ll also sign my Exposure book (if you bought one of my books, bring it along & I’ll sign it- and I’ll have copies with me).

We’ll have a great time in some beautiful locations.

This is something I did last January. I invited a group to join me in Yosemite to photograph for a day while I captured images for my new book on nature photography. They paid a $100 fee to join me that day, I had eight people, and they all loved the experience (thankfully)- said it was well worth it. I shared a ton on photography, but it’s a bit different since I’m shooting images (instead of a workshop where I would focus more on students and their equipment and needs).


So here’s the plan this time around. I envisioned a 3-day road trip photo shoot – first in Yosemite, then off to Lone Pine (Alabama Hills), then finally in Death Valley – one day in each (and some travel of course between locations). We could all shoot together and learn from me, just as long as the group knows I’ll be shooting as well most of the time (I reiterate this only because some think I’m solely there for them). It’s actually a great way to learn, and a way preferred by many, but again different from my normal workshops.

SCHEDULE (somewhat flexible depending on weather & how tired we all might be)

Day 1: We’d meet in Yosemite on the first day at sunrise, shoot all day ’til sunset, have dinner together & spend the night, then head off to Lone Pine (probably the next morning).

Day 2: Shoot sunrise again, drive to Lone Pine/ Alabama Hills, shoot sunset in Lone Pine/ Alabama Hills, spend the night.

Day 3: Shoot sunrise in Lone Pine/ Alabama Hills, then head off to Death Valley, shoot sunset

Day 4: Shoot sunrise, drive home

COST:
$250 per person (not including travel/ gas/ food/ car, etc) and I’d need a group of at least eight, ideally ten.

DATES:
Haven’t decided on specific dates yet, but thinking sometime around December 15th. I’m flexible – if dates worked for the majority of the group, then I’d try to work around that.

If you’re interested, contact me at:

Thank you and Happy early Thanksgiving!

08May

Books in the works….

The past few months I’ve been working on my second book – due out in the summer/fall of 2011, it will be based on nature photography- one of my first photographic loves. I thoroughly enjoy the process of writing a book because it brings out so much of what you do subconsciously, and reminds you of the many steps you take to capture a great photo.


I’ve also had the chance to capture new images without the limitations of a specific assignment- something I haven’t done much of for years.

Another book is also in the works, completely different from anything I’ve done so far- I’ll share more as it develops.

So over the next month or so, I may be absent on the blogasphere, but check me out on my Facebook fan page, where I try to pop in a number of times a week: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Arbabi-Imagery-Sean-Arbabi-photography/122003760806

I’m a Flickr nut too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arbabi/

During the summer I’ll run a few workshops in the Bay Area and a few online (in between assignments), while planning a very exciting one I hope to make happen during the fall. Then in 2011, I may have an international workshop is an amazing location- more info to come.

Even with all of this activity, I continue to push forth my tv show on photography with my partner – we passionately believe in the project and hope to find a champion for it. More promotion as well as another tv spot also in the works.

Last bit a news- I was stoked to see my first book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Exposure, hit #10 on Amazon’s Photo How-to section today- it continues to sell well, get great reviews, and I have signed copies available for anyone interested- check it out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0817435549

Or on my site (with links to bookstores around the world): http://www.seanarbabi.com/book_exposure.html

Thanks for lettin’ me spread the news & promote- when you put your blood, sweat, and tears into projects, half of the excitement is sharing it with others.

13Mar

BetterPhoto’s worldwide reach

I recently finished my 39th online photo workshop course on BetterPhoto, and currently teaching my 40th – I started teaching with them in late 2006, and mainly teach an exposure course entitled “Better Exposure- How to Meter Light“. BetterPhoto.com a great online photo community, free to the public, with 4-week and 8-week photo courses ranging from $198 to $348, as well as websites you are purchase for your own photography.

But I don’t want this to sound like an ad for the online workshop company or my classes there. I mainly wanted to mention how amazing it’s been teaching people around the world – the wide reach of this online company that started in 1996 in Redmond, Washington.

When I first started with BP, I first wondered if I’d be able to teach as well online compared to what I do in live field courses. If my personality could come through in the four weeks I spent with my students (four lessons, four assignments, four critiques, with a Q&A section in our Campus Square site). And luckily it has. People get that I’m an easy-going guy that likes to make others laugh, as well as pack them with tons of good info. And although we can’t all shoot together in the field, the course offers a chance for people to learn on their own time and schedule, while capturing the subject they’re most interested in.

To date, I’ve taught photo enthusiasts in 43 US States and 37 countries – wild – countries including America Samoa, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, the Netherlands (Holland), Oman, Panama, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Arab Emirates.

I recently had my first student from Paris France, as well as Vietnam, and this month have a gentleman from Istanbul Turkey. All walks of life, from at-home Moms to traveling businessmen, retired grandfathers to college-bound teenagers excited about a new hobby.

It’s wonderful to know so many appreciate the art of photography, and have such a passion and love for it. And I truly enjoy giving these great folks some of the tools to help improve their photographic skills. Of course I’ll always have the passion to produce my own images I found interesting, to capture assignments for publications or produce shoots for ad and corporate clients- but to know I’ve had the chance to connect with so many in this amazing online medium is truly a joy.

Check ’em out if you get a chance- all kinds of courses for beginners to advanced, exposure to photoshop:

25Oct

Discounts on photo gear, free shipping, and more

When you follow my blog, take a workshop, buy my book and write a positive review on Amazon, you get perks- that’s right, I throw DOWN for my students and fans! 🙂


FREE SHIPPING on HOODMAN LOUPES:

Ordering a Hoodman loupe and want free shipping? Go to Hunt’s Photo and Video and when you add the loupe to your cart, at checkout type in “SArbabi” to the coupon field – that equals free shipping!

http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com


FREE GIFT WHEN YOU BUY A CAMERA BAG/ CASE:

Go to Think Tank Photo and use this link below:

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/affiliates.aspx?code=WS-142

When you do, if you buy a camera bag/case over $50, you get a choice of one free item valued around $20-30 (three to choose from). Great cases- I have four of them and love ’em- best camera bags made out there.


$20 OFF OF YOUR NEXT ONLINE WORKSHOP:

I teach online workshops with BetterPhoto.com – the past three years to students in 30 counties and 43 US States – come and take a course online, on exposure (my course) or many others including photoshop, composition, lighting, and more- tell ’em I sent you and you’ll get $20 off of your next course: http://www.betterphoto.com/courseOverview.asp?cspID=144


ALL OTHER CAMERA COMPANIES / STORES / MANUFACTURERS:

If you read about them here, and I recommended them, tell ’em I sent you (Sean Arbabi – The Photoguru) and you just might get free shipping or a discount. More discounts to come in the near future!


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.

17Apr

Want to become a pro photographer?


I want to have a career as a professional photographer.

I hear this from so many people whether through email, at live lectures and events, or from my students at various workshops. But I must admit, in all, it’s a very tough competitive industry where the money is even harder to come by than it was 20 years ago-not to mention the oversaturation of the stock licensing market – can something be oversaturated? Is that an oxymoron? Can’t find it in my dictionary. I digress.


Back to the industry, from 1991 (when I graduated college) to today, the changes have been dramatic, some positive, some negative (I remember when my stock agency contract went from 7 pages to 27 pages in a matter of 6 years). As always, you must have so much more than a good portfolio to make it- and no one or company will do it for you- you have to do it all yourself. It ain’t easy, and sacrifices, luck, hearing “no” over and over, as well as risk are all part of the game. But more importantly, you need to be professional- and that means learning business (more an that later).

In 1995, I used the first digital SLR Nikon put out, the E2s, and could see the changes coming down the pike (there I am at the Eco-Challenge adventure race in ’95 using the camera above the Colorado River). And although some say digital has been a big positive to the industry (exact copies of image files instead of poor-quality dupes, fixing mistakes post-capture, and the famous cloning tool to add that third eye to your friend’s head), I would say that it too has it’s pros and cons – one of which being the fact that you have to buy new gear all the time, new software, and new computers- it’s an expense, not an investment everyone.

Plus, I carry more gear than ever these days in the post 9/11 hell that is airport travel – ugh- someone buy me a new shoulder and a couple of knees please – and a whiffle-ball bat to beat on the seven TSA agents when they decide to test every roll of film – all 150 rolls at midnight (true story in Las Vegas in 2004 after catchin’ six other flights where they didn’t do this).

I was asked recently what it is to be a professional photographer. If it was someone who made over 50% of their income from photography, or just someone who gets published from time to time. As a full-time commercial travel photographer for 19 years, I’d say a pro photographer is someone who not only makes a living from photography, but one who charges appropriate fees, is technically sound with their equipment and craft, respectful and professional with his/her subjects, and one who uses proper business practices. That, to me, is what this job is about.


Another example of this is learning the art of negotiating, and realizing that if you want to do this for a living, you have to go back and forth with clients about contracts, rates, and rights. I recently had a client want to license an image, trying to pay rates half of what we normally charge (rates that really fit into 1989 and not 2009). We respectfully declined when they said they wouldn’t pay higher fees than theirs- the excuse was the economy (as if to say my business is not affected by the economy – I love that new argument – “our tight budget” has always been a staple for low rates). The following day the client came back and licensed rights to the image at our quoted rate. If photographers don’t learn how to value their image and determine specific fees for their services, they won’t survive in the industry.

More to learn more? My Business of Photography workshop isn’t scheduled yet for 2009, but does run from time to time, and we hope to have a date in place soon. I also offer personal consultations where I can focus on your goals and interests, as well as discussing specific industry information. I can discuss some aspects of being a pro at other workshops (such as the one coming up in June in Seattle, or Santa Fe in July), although my time during these courses is usually dedicated to the topic at hand. Here’s our main workshop page for more info.

In all, becoming a pro photographer is possible. Here’s to your dreams and ambitions- make ’em happen, it’s worth it. Enjoy your week everyone!


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!