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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


Recently I was editing some of my image files from the Eastern Sierra, a wondrous place east of Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks where trees grow for thousands of years, land erodes abandoning balancing boulders, and alpine snowmelt feeds ancient lakes.

 
While I reprocessed a few shots, taking advantage of new wonderful features in Lightroom 5.2 and Photoshop CS6, I came across this scene (below)- a photo captured years ago just east of Mono Lake.  A sunset road scene on a long desolate stretch of Highway 120 west of the California/ Nevada border, documented during a long February road trip photographing the US West.  As I recalled this wonderful peaceful road that led us to our final destination of Mono Lake, the name David Gaines came to mind.
Highway 120 near the California/Nevada border at sunset © Sean Arbabi

Originally part of the Great Basin, Mono Lake is a one-of-a-kind place.  Home to trillions of brine shrimp and alkali flies, and over 2,000,000 migratory waterbirds, including 35 species of shorebirds, use the ancient lake as a resting, nesting, and feeding place.  When you walk along the lakeshore viewing thousands of flies fan out as they avoid each of your footsteps, touch the salty waters painted red by the abundance of tiny shrimp, and gaze in awe at the monstrous clouds rolling over the Sierra, you feel how special and unique this body of water really is. 

The southern shores of Mono Lake and the Sierra Nevada at sunrise © Sean Arbabi

A lake with no outlets, the alpine streams and annual rainfall that feed it remain in the natural bowl for tens of thousands of years- that is until Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power (the DWP) began searching for new sources of water to supply their ever-growing Southern California metroplex.  From 1941 to 1990, the lake level began dropping as the DWP diverted unrestrained amounts of water from Mono Basin streams.  Mono Lake dropped 45 vertical feet over 50 years, lost half its volume, doubled in salinity, and exposed previously submerged tufa towers (limestone structures that grow exclusively underwater).

Moonrise over the Eastern Sierra, as seen from the southern Tufa-lined shores of Mono Lake © Sean Arbabi

 

Courtesy of NASA

People like David, and those who worked tirelessly at the Mono Lake Committee, fought Los Angeles’ DWP from draining the lake through numerous ecological studies, court cases, and injunctions.  I 1989 I joined the cause, photographing the Mono Lake Bike-A-Thon, capturing over a hundred riders as they peddled 332 miles from the DWP offices to the shores of the lake, raising funds for the fight.  Many of the decisions that came in favor of Mono Lake and the Mono Lake Basin allow us all- humans, birds, and wildlife- to enjoy its wonders.  Sadly, Owens Lake, an ancient body of water covering 108 square miles nestled in southern Owens Valley 10,000 feet below the towering Whitney range, was not able to be saved, drained by the DWP over a span of roughly 40 years.  Full in 1913, desiccated by the mid 1940s.  Much of the Owens River was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and today the mostly dry lake bed is the largest single source of dust pollution in the United States.

Looking west at Highway 136 and Owens Lake below the Whitney Range © Sean Arbabi
David Gaines (courtesy of the Mono Lake Committee)

So why did a photo of a highway remind me of David Gaines, a person I never met?  Well, David was tragically killed in a car accident in the winter of 1988 along Highway 395, south of Mono Lake, on a stretch of road similar to the one I posted above.  I drove along the road he did a few months later and captured that photo above on my first visit to the area.  Someday I will use that road to take my two daughters to the shores of Mono Lake.  I will tell them about the history of this region, about its ancient waters, and how we are still able to share it with future generations thanks to people like David Gaines.  He may have been taken far too early, but he gave far more to the world than most.


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!



29Jan

My Facebook fan page

Hey everyone- after writing 60,000 words for my second book last year (The Complete Guide to Nature Photography – coming out this fall), as well as a few articles (Outdoor Photographer – November 2010 – on Point Reyes), and typing many many paragraphs for online critiques, I haven’t been able to blog much.


But I always add my photos, happenings, fun photo links, etc to my Facebook fan page. Check it out – “like” it – invite your photo friends!


Happy Shooting!

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!

30Oct

A long ride with a small camera

Last week I went for a long ride, from my home in Danville, CA to my brother’s home in Pittsburg, CA – it’s about 25 miles as the crow flies, but I took the undulating route on the back streets, roads and trails, over a number of hills – a tough long ride.

I had my GoPro Helmet Hero Wide with me- a great little 5 megapixel point-of-view camera with an ultra-wide lens and a mix of attachments – to attach to your helmet, around your chest (their chest mount harness), a suction cup mount for moving vehicles or boats- all kinds of ways to attach it to anything you wish. It’s small (probably half the size of a regular point-and-shoot) takes an SDHC memory card, runs on batteries, and fits into a waterproof housing – all with an affordable price tag of $189.

I rode for about an hour in the late afternoon, up a big hill into open space on the flanks of Mount Diablo, entered the trails and turned my camera on (in the auto mode to take a still photo every two seconds). Over the next hour of so, my camera captured approximately 1400 images as I headed off the trails, onto the roads of Walnut Creek, through the city of Concord, before the memory card filled up cutting off the camera at dusk as I approached Pittsburg. I had another 45 minutes left to ride (over the last grueling hill in the dark), but I figured my GoPro captured enough images to check out later that evening.

When I returned home, I loaded the images into my MacBook Pro using iMovie, found the right timing per slide to make it flow well, added some copyright free classical music, and created this fun little movie.

So here’s my ride October 22nd, 2009 – an hour portion of a 2.5 hour ride from Danville to Pittsburg, California – 1462 still images, broken down into a 3:38 minute segment, edited in iMovie (part of Apple’s iLife ’09). Enjoy- I hope to do more- maybe an all-trail version, or attaching it to a boat, kayak, or vehicle.




My segment on The View From the Bay (ABC KGO-TV 7, San Francisco) featuring the GoPro camera: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/consumer_finance&id=6914730

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!


20May

A great deal for Photoshop lite

Love me some Costco – great deals, yummy food, quality products. While shopping there with my daughters last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the great deal Costco has for Adobe’s Photoshop Elements.


Most list the product for $139 (including Adobe), maybe as low as $99, but Costco has it for $79.99.

They only have it for Windows (didn’t see a Mac version there), but so many of you are on PCs, and it’s a great program to own. A must have piece of software for many photo enthusiasts wanting to get into Photoshop, but not interested in shelling out a ton for the full CS4 version -a version where they may only use a small percentage of the amazing functions available.

Click this link to see the software on Costco’s site: Costco-Adobe PS Elements

Enjoy Photogurus and Photoguruesses….

13May

Stick to acting Ashton

Let me start off by saying, I like Ashton Kutcher– enjoy ‘Punked’, like many of the movies he does, and think it’s impressive to have the resumé he does at his age – nothing personal toward him.


And maybe he’s making a lot of money for Nikon, but come on- what’s with all the camera ads done by an actor who knows very little about photography? It would be like a fake doctor telling you what drugs to take. Or a lizard telling you what insurance to order, while tens of thousands of lizards sadly die every year, all without insurance…. a horrible but true fact.

🙂

I mean come on – all the women are following you ’cause you have that cool point-and-shoot? Yeah, right. I wish. If that was the case I would have been beatin’ ’em off with a stick over the years (actually I got a pretty hot one for my wife, holding on to her for 16 years so maybe Ashton has a point). Hotties everywhere would have been chasing my rear all around Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Southeast Asia, or Mexico.

“Hey Sean, whatcha got there? Ouuuu that’s a big lens – do you know how to use it?” Yeah, I know how to use it- thanks for the compliments too- would you like me to teach you how to take great photos? Wait WAIT! What am I doing?! Back off before my wife opens a can of whoop-ass. Sorry, temporary man disease.

When it comes to lookin’ pretty and acting, maybe you’ve got one on me Kutch. But when it comes to apertures and shutter speeds, flash and natural light, and just plain ol’ having a killer eye to capture great shots, Ashton, you are out of your league my friend.

Sound like a jealous photographer? Not at all. He got where he got with hard work, and probably signed a lucrative contract to promote a product. I would have done the same thing. It’s typical of Nikon to do this- to place no trust in their pros being able to sell their product, and instead grab a hip celeb and make some flashy ads. Shoot, I’ve used their gear since I was 11, believe in the product, been on the cover of the calendars, in their product guides (this year again), Nikon World magazine, their trade shows, and so on, but they’ve never been nothing but rude and condescending to me. It’s why I dropped my NPS membership (Nikon Professional Services) after 17 years – nothing but arrogant people who don’t want to help their pros- all of this while Canon pros go on and on about how great Canon treats them and takes care of their needs. Hmmm, I’ve always liked Canon gear.

As I said I would have done the same thing as A.K., but with a small difference. I’ve been published all over the world, captured images for hundreds of clients ranging from National Geographic to Timex, and proud to bring a solid portfolio to the table – a collection of images at 40 years young I challenge any photographer to rival.

So here’s my pitch to all the companies out there directly and indirectly involved in photography. Apple, Canon, Epson, Fuji, Kodak, Nikon, Minolta, Olympus, Promaster, Sigma, Tamron, and many many more – if you want a spokeman to promote your gear, if I were you I’d picked me, the Photoguru- but hell, don’t even pick me – just pick someone with genuine clout in the industry.

Someone the pubic can say “Wow, that photographer knows how a capture amazing images – maybe they DO know something I don’t”. And Ashton, I ain’t got nuthin’ but love for yah baby – and if you need to brush up on your photo-knowledge, I offer workshops every month.

08May

The White Whale


Although I’ve never had the chance to own a German-made rangefinder Leica camera (always wanted to – one of my dream cameras), I just wanted to share this dope Special Edition All-White Leica M8.


Sure it’s around $8500 (ouch), the black and silver versions listing around $6500 (what a deal!) and the Safari camouflage version at ten grand, but at least you can tip your nose up as other peasant photographers capture images around you with their American and Japanese counterparts.

In all seriousness, Leica makes an amazing product, simple, clean, durable, and unassuming (I know, that’s a bit ironic with the price tag, but most who aren’t into photography don’t realize the price or quality of it).


Made famous by photographers such as Henri Cartier Bresson and Diane Arbus, their lenses have been top-notch for years, and past models dating back to the 50s are always in demand (just type in Leica on eBay and see for yourself).


If you just received your bail-out check or play shortstop for the Yankees, you can call Leica at 800-222-0118 in inquire about adding this cool 10.3 megapixel gem for your collection. Don’t forget to go back to Congress when you need to buy a few lenses for it.


And when Leica sends me a free one, I’ll test it out and add more info. 🙂