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Featured, Nature, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day, Tips, Travel

On Seeing…

June 30, 2018

I started out as a traditional artist, and I mean from the time I had my first vivid artistic memory. My father was drawing a pencil sketch on an entire wall of our home, and I remember watching him (while he whistled) and feeling at peace and thinking how beautiful the drawing was — I felt joy. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s, and questioning my mother about the drawing that I was told, “You can’t remember that you were only six months old!” Hahaha! I was always drawing, painting, singing, feeling and looking for wonder. It’s in my blood. My great-grandmother was among some of the first women to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. It was while she was there, that she met my great-grandfather, who had been invited to this country to perform violin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (He had been brought up in the King’s Court in Austria where he achieved Concertmaster).  There are ballerinas, painters, singers, writers, storytellers, and musicians on both sides of my family, so I don’t think I could have outrun art, even if I’d wanted to. I was lucky enough to know, and be influenced by many of them. However, I never met my great-grandparents — but I feel them all the time.

I told you all of that to tell you this…

I believe that seeing is so much more than seeing. Seeing is also feeling, and making a mental note about how you feel. Take this seagull photo I recently captured in Norway. I was standing hillside and looking onto this beautiful scene when all of a sudden this seagull showed up and flew right next to me, in front of me and soared high above me. I felt joy! As soon as I recognized my joy I went for my camera because I knew that something magical could happen (and so did that seagull). Sure enough, with a little patience, things lined up. Haven’t you ever been driving somewhere and looked out your window and saw a beautiful sky or shoreline, or tree, or haven’t you been present and heard a child giggling and felt joy? Or peace? Or wonder? Whatever the feeling was, you felt something, right? Oh man, when you do, when you feel that something, make sure you stop or go back or do whatever you have to do to see, see what you felt. Once you feel it, you can see it, and once you see it you can capture it.

I wish you joy, peace, wonder, feeling and seeing.

Kalebra

Featured, iPhone, Nature, Things I Hope My Kids Will Read One Day, Tips

On Waiting…

June 25, 2018

My husband and I recently returned from a glorious trip to Norway. It is now one of my most favorite destinations, and if you were considering it, I highly recommend that you go. One of the things I wound up, most unexpectedly, falling in love with were the seagulls. They are very different from their thinner, fry chasing, cousins here in Florida in that they are big—very big—very healthy looking birds. They are also plentiful and seem to love being around people (very close) but not uncomfortably close. Hard to explain but they soar above and around a person with a subtle confidence that makes you feel at ease. I loved them! The photo above is of seagulls that followed our boat out to one of the Fjords. It was exciting because there were so many birds, flying so many patterns, and with so many amazing backdrops, and I knew, if I were patient, paid attention, and fired off enough shots that I would get something I liked. This photo above definitely qualifies as one of my favorites as these precocious birds wound up perfectly framing the landscape. I was lucky enough to get several well-timed images, and I credit them to waiting or actually, how I wait.

Waiting for things to line up the way I want used to be difficult for me until I discovered a secret. One day while I was waiting, I could feel my heart rate increasing as I felt myself getting anxious—and then it hit me…

I realized that, ultimately, what I wanted was to have the image—to have the bird, animal, subject or moment, captured. What I was most fearful about was not getting the image at all. I knew if I didn’t get it at the exact right moment—I might have waited too long and it (or the moment) would be gone. Aha! Figuring that out was key. So, what I’ve started to do is take a few (or more) shots before that all too critical moment so that I know I have it. I have something; even if it’s not perfect, I have it. Once I’ve taken a photo or two, the pressure is off, and I can relax and wait.

When using the iPhone (and it’s time to get a shot like this), it’s probably best to let the camera autofocus (you’ll know if that’s the case because you’ve already taken a few shots, remember?) Also, you’d better be taking advantage of Burst Mode—I use it all the time. Any iPhone above the 5 will take ten shots per second and will continue to fire as long as you press (and hold) the shutter button. Then, all you have to do is go through the images and pick your favorite.

I hope this makes your waiting a little easier and if you use the burst mode, you won’t miss a thing.

Have fun!

Kalebra

Tips

Five Tips To Shoot The Eclipse With Your iPhone.

August 21, 2017

Here are some simple steps to take to shoot the Eclipse with your iPhone. First, to protect your eyes, please wear some approved eclipse glasses before looking at the Eclipse and the sun. Now onto the tips! 🙂

  1. Make sure you’ve cleaned the lens on your phone and turned off your flash. (The first part of this tip will make you happy, and the second part will make you and everyone around you happy.)
  2. If you have one, use a tripod. One that bends, grips and attaches anywhere is a good bet so you can put it on a branch or a truck mirror or wherever you might find yourself in this situation and since it’s low light (and you’ll be excited), a tripod is recommended.
  3. You don’t have to put a filter on your phone lens (especially when aiming at the sun for just a few seconds) but if you’re going to use one anyway or if you’re going to use autofocus (which I don’t recommend because it will probably distort it with too much light) you can simply use the filter from a pair of eclipse glasses. Just remember, if you use the ones from your shiny, happy face, you can’t then look up at the eclipse, have a second pair — please.
  4. If you want to skip autofocus (I will), you can manually focus. To do that just click and hold on the brightest part of the Eclipse for Auto Exposure/Auto Focus Lock. Once you get that you’ll see a little sun looking icon (to the right of the yellow box), that’s to control for exposure. Put your finger right on top of it and move it down a hair to knock down some of the intensity of the light. It will help to keep it from blowing out your photo. And, if you accidentally move your AE/AF because the icon is way too small (I hope they make that bigger in an update), don’t panic, just hold it down in the brightest spot again to refocus — it just takes a second.
  5. Shoot. That’s it. *Option to shoot. Burst mode: Click and hold the shutter button on your phone to get ten shots per second. You can also use your apple earbuds (for less shake) by clicking the volume buttons.

I hope these tips help and even if you don’t get one shot of the Eclipse I hope you watch it and I hope you enjoy it. If you miss your shot I hope you laugh about it and get a shot of that and then get some photos of the people around you — celebrate being there — I like that about you. 🙂

Happy Eclipse Day everyone!

Tips

Baby, you’re a firework! And here’s how I shot you with my iPhone. ;)

July 2, 2017

Above photo updated July 4, 2017

Hey, guys, if, like me, you’re taking your iPhone with you to the fireworks this 4th of July, I thought I’d share how I shot and processed these last year and will be again this year. We’re already traveling light so, until we get to the editing (which will take me 30 seconds in Adobe’s Aviary app) all we need to keep in mind is:

1. Get as close as we can. You’ll probably be trying to do this anyway but the closer you are the more light from the fireworks you’ll have which makes shooting at night with your iPhone even better. Regular Photo Mode is usually best for shooting at night and don’t forget to turn your camera vertical for some of those stratosphere reaching fireworks so that you can get it all in.

2. Use Burst Mode (which is holding the shutter button down so that it will fire 10 images per second.) Fireworks are perfect for this feature on your phone and will allow you to choose a perfectly timed photo for editing later.

3. Because fireworks are all over the place, letting the phone autofocus is probably your best bet, however,  if you don’t think it’s focusing where you want then click and hold until you get the yellow blinking box (which will lock your focus where you want). Keep in mind though, that where ever you see that box, that is where the camera is focused (on all your future photos) until you click off of it.

4. You always want to keep your camera steady when shooting but in low light situations, or at night, it’s even more important, so if you can rest your elbows on someone’s shoulders, or lean on something, or even take an iPhone tripod it can be really helpful. I take a few practice shots in the beginning but tend to wait until the finale for most of my shots. That way I get to enjoy the fireworks, and also it’s when there is the most/best light for my camera. Win, win!

Also, if you use Lightroom Mobile, you can set its built-in camera to Pro Mode and set your shutter speed to 1/4 seconds to capture those long fireworks trails (like you would with a DSLR).

P.S. You’ll be tempted to pinch zoom to get in closer — Ack! Don’t do it. Waving giant, grainy, falling apart, flag here. Hahaha! Just crop it in later — you’ll be glad you did.



Have a safe and fun 4th of July everyone, and I’ll see you back here next week! 😃

How I processed these shots in Aviary.

  1. Shot as verticals and Cropped to 3:4
  2. Under Enhance, Scenery then hit Apply.
  3.  Under Adjust, Shadows -35, hit ✔️ then Vibrance 14, hit ✔️
  4. Under Effects (Here’s where it gets awesome) Fireworks! Choose your favorite or the one that closely matches the shot you took and brings it back to what you saw when you were there. I didn’t usually go more than 21% on any of these images but what you do is up to you.
Tips

It would be silly to have done this and not share it myself so…

June 19, 2017

Today I’m sharing the announcement of my very first Kelbyone.com class on iPhone photography. Had to step out of my comfort zone to do it but I’m glad I did and (now that it’s over and I can breathe again) I’m excited! Hahaha! I owe a huge thank you to Larry Becker for all of his help on set and for making it fun in the process. To our producer Jen Coffin for sitting with me (just a few times) over the outline and for not tearing her phone out of the wall over having to reschedule this thing. 😂  To Meredith Duffin for her patient direction, editing, control room genius, hand holding and encouragement (her smile is a comfort). To Juan Alfonso and Leighton Silvestro for their awesome camera work.  To Steve Nicolai for his subtle but just right and thoughtful input that made the whole thing that much better. And last, but certainly not least, to Scott Kelby, for your encouragement, and for your help — thank goodness you’ve done this before! Hahahaha! 😉

And for all those in the building that encouraged me with a comment or a question like Sally, Dianne and Margie…thank you. I heard you, I felt you, and you all helped me get this done. 🙂

Have a great week everybody!

Tips

Wrote a tip about it. Want to hear it? Here it goes.

May 22, 2017

I had an inspiring (and motivating) conversation about this blog last Thursday, with Margie Rosenstein, one of our amazing graphic designers at the office. She told me that she had encouraged her daughter to come to my blog to find ways (and confidence) to shoot some examples of her work for a client. Wow, I felt so honored and then immediately I felt a little pang in my stomach because I realized that there just isn’t much here to help someone struggling or needing tips or guidance. My heart sank a little. Then on that Friday, Dianne Brisson, our rockin’ member services manager thanked me for sharing “the video tip” (how to shoot still images in video mode) with her because she had gone up in a hot air balloon and loved the results she had gotten with her iPhone. (By the way, her pics were awesome!) Well, the universe doesn’t have to hit me over the head (three times). Hahaha! So, I’ve decided to start posting some tips or background info every so often to be helpful. I’ll put them under a “Tips” category (as soon as I remember how to make a category in WordPress again). Lol! And, really, why not? I’m already going to be diving into the pool by recording a KelbyOne class at the end of this month. What?! Hahaha!

For now, here’s the tip! Well, two tips. Maybe three. Possibly four.

How to shoot with your iPhone, so you get a full screen, wider, with a little zoom shot. Don’t worry; it’s super easy. 😉

Above: When you take a regular photo using your iPhone camera app, the image doesn’t fill the width of the screen. It only takes up about 75% of the screen leaving black bars on either side.

Above: When you want a shot that fills the full screen where the image goes all the way to the edge (leaving no black bars), switch to video mode. When the video is engaged (turned on), a white button will appear right below the red record button, and that’s what you’ll use for taking stills. Because the still image is taken in video mode, the shot zooms to fill the screen and eliminates any bars.

Above: Now you’re shooting at the full width of the screen, but it’s a little zoomed in. If you want the photo to look like it originally did (or wider), you’ll need to step back a few (or more) feet to achieve the best of both worlds — a wider angle shot that also fills the screen, (like you see here). Compare that with the first shot, where the tips of Maggie’s front paws were cut off (that doesn’t sound right), the patterned throw pillow on the left was missing completely, and the red one on the right was mostly cut off.

One last thing, make sure you have your video recording set at the best quality possible. In the iPhone7plus (what I’m currently using) that would be at 4k recording. You choose that by going into your Settings, under Photos & Camera, under Record Video. *(Android note: I understand this technique works with Galaxy phones as well, so give it a try, and please let me know if that’s an accurate statement — it would be great if true). Shooting in video mode is particularly useful for landscapes like this sunset (pictured below), but btw, I shoot 90% of the time in video mode — landscapes or otherwise.

Ninja tip! Don’t forget to delete the space hogging videos you’ll create getting these stills. Ack! Anyway, I hope these types of posts will be helpful.

Have a great week everybody! 🙂

Featured, Tips, Travel

Re-running this post because it’s the absolute, one thing, that will make a difference in your iPhone (or any camera phone) photography — I promise.

April 4, 2017

In the Summer of 2014 my husband and I went on an amazing trip that included Prague and Budapest. My parents went as well and my dad (a man with a great eye and who loves to take photographs) forgot his “real” camera at home, so he says to me…

“Well, you use your iPhone and I love your pictures! I’ll just use your mother’s phone on the trip. Better than nothing right?” (Wink)

Right.

Fast forward to the two of us standing at the front of this beautiful church in Budapest.

Dad: (Whispers) “Okay, I just stood next to you and took the same shot but it doesn’t look like yours. Why?”

Me: (Whispers back) You didn’t take the same shot. You took (a) shot. One that I knew (the second you picked up the camera) wasn’t going to be what you wanted.

Dad: (Not whispering as much and sounding a tad offended says) “What?! How could you know that?!”

Me: (Suppressing a giggle) Because you were missing two things: intention and a tip.

Dad: (Actually, not whispering at all now, says) “I definitely intended to take a good picture! Now, what’s the tip?!”

Me: (Poking the bear) I know you wanted a good picture Dad but did you believe you could get it with that phone?

Dad: (Now squinting) “Little girl.”

Me: (Uh oh!) Okay, okay! All I’m saying is…I can always tell what kind of a shot someone is about to get with their phone by the way they pick it up.

My dad’s trouble started when he said, “Better than nothing right?”

Why intention matters?

I’ve never watched a single photographer that picked up their camera to take a shot (they really, really, wanted) that didn’t pick it up with a swagger of confidence that their tool…ruled!

Wait. What?! Hahaha! (Moving right along).

So Dad, if you’re going to use your phone to take photographs—own it! Once you intend to take a photo with it, it’s no longer your phone, it’s a camera and, by the way, the absolute best camera you have at your disposal so treat it that way. 

Friends have heard me say that it’s important to examine your heart (always) because the spark of your true intentions will still be burning in the flames of your results. Turns out it’s true for taking photographs as well. 😉

And the tip? 

Some people don’t realize that when you take a regular photo with your iPhone the image doesn’t fill the width of the screen. It only fills about 70% of the screen. So when I want a shot that’s wider (where the image goes all the way to the edge of the screen) I first turn on video, focus on the area I want and then take the photo (when video is engaged, a white button will appear below the record button and that’s what you’ll use for taking stills). Because it’s taken in video mode the shot is wider. This is also a good trick for when you want something closer (without having to use the zoom—please, please, don’t ever use the zoom on an iPhone.) LOL!

Dad: (Smiling, whispers) “Now, was that so hard?”

Hahahaha!! Nope. 😉

Matthias Church, Budapest and  Shot with my trusty iPhone.