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May 7, 2010

Digital Photography Adventures has moved to our permanent home at We have outgrown our free home at, and moved on to bigger and better things (or themes, anyway). We moved all of the articles and reviews from this site over to the new digs, and we have added more content and a new “On Location” directory that you will hopefully help us build.
Thanks to the Theme Foundry for the new theme. It was easy to work with and we were up and running in a week.

Thanks for stopping by, see you at!


Think Tank Photo Contest

April 22, 2010

Our friends at Think Tank Photo are having a contest… and they’re NOT messing around. If your entry is chosen you will win as many Think Tank bags as you can fit in their new (HUGE) Logistics Manager rolling case. I don’t know about you, but I bet I can cram a LOT of bags in there.
All you have to do to enter is Like, Follow or Join Think Tank Photo. The winners will be selected at random and you have to be signed up by May 30, 2010 at 10:00 am. Click HERE to get yourself entered.

While you’re at it, read our Think Tank Photo bag reviews…
Think Tank Photo Airport TakeOff
Think Tank Photo StreetWalker HardDrive
Think Tank Photo Rotation 360º
Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 30

First Impressions: Elinchrom Ranger Quadras

April 16, 2010

2 Quadras. high main, low fill. shoot-through umbrellas

I have been looking at the relatively new Elinchrom Ranger Quadras for a while now. I have read several reviews, and I have been eager to try them out. I had the chance to use a set today (thanks to Bob Fitzgibbons at Showcase here in Atlanta) for a family portrait of my friends Lew and Gregoria, and their beautiful daughters Sophia and Estella. I figured that shooting outside at high noon would be a pretty good test of these little lights. You can find out all of the specs at Here are some of my thoughts…

We used them in a couple of different situations today and they did a great job. I ended up using one light for most of the setups. I was able to shoot at 1/160-1/250 of a sec at f/16 and handle the afternoon sun fairly easily. If I had the slightest bit of shade I was able to work below maximum power. We added a hand-held diffuser to knock down the overhead sun on a couple of setups to knock down some harsh shadows. If you were using these little guys inside I don’t think you would have any trouble at all. The ratio between heads when you use both heads from one pack makes it REALLY easy to set up a basic main-and-fill portrait.

1 Quadra w/ shoot-through umbrella

I used a shoot-through umbrella for a few shots, but the light with the little stock reflector is surprisingly nice! A lot of folks complain that you have to use Elinchrom umbrellas because of the smaller umbrella mount that’s built in to these. I simply mounted the Quadras on a regular umbrella bracket and didn’t have a problem.

I didn’t notice the recycle time very often, and I think that says a lot. There were only about three frames that didn’t get lit because I keep my D700 on ‘continuous high’. Other than that I didn’t catch up to the pack very often between shots. There is a fast recycle setting, but I don’t think you would need that for your average portraits.

Have you noticed that I had fun with these lights? Great light that’s as easy to setup and move around as hot-shoe strobes. I will most likely purchase the 2-head Quadra A kit. I’m definitely planning to bring this setup with me to Costa Rica in September. These will be great for teaching our students learn about lighting on location.

Arenal Volcano Photo Workshop Extended!

April 12, 2010

Monterrey, Costa Rica

I’m pleased to announce an extension of our Arenal Volcano Eco Adventure Photo Workshop in Monterrey, Costa Rica this September. We have decided to add an additional night at the Leaves & Lizards Volcano Cabin Retreat. Students will check in on Sunday, September 12 and check out Friday, September 18. This will give students a full five days and six nights in this beautiful area of Costa Rica.

Stay tuned for more details about this amazing trip. Register online now at

Workshop Preview: Tico Farm Tour. Monterrey, Costa Rica

April 9, 2010

Enrique, Margaret, Eric, and Jesse. Monterrey, Costa Rica

When I was putting together the schedule for our September photography tour in Costa Rica, I looked for excursions that would give our students a real feel for this beautiful country. That’s why I am so excited to take our students on the Tico Farm tour.

Jesse riding a bull. Not exactly rodeo, is it? Monterrey, Costa Rica

We will be traveling with our guide, Enrique, to a local farm that belongs to his nephew Eric. As guests on this beautiful farm in Monterrey, Costa Rica, the students will help feed the animals and learn how the dairy farm works. We will head down to the pond and catch tilapia for our lunch. Jesse and I learned how to make homemade corn tortillas during our last visit to the farm. Our students will also have the opportunity to learn how to make cheese while we’re there.

Enrique and Jesse with a tilapia too small to eat. Monterrey, Costa Rica

A beautiful table for lunch

I’m proud to be able to introduce our photography students to these gracious people and give them a taste of what life is like in Monterrey. There will be lots of opportunities for environmental portraits of Eric and his family, as well as lots of animals to photograph. This will be a great chance to practice your visual story telling.

For more information and online registration visit



I had to throw in this shot of our buddy Don building trust with the goats! Monterrey, Costa Rica

All photos by Rob Knight with Nikon cameras on Hoodman cards.

Workshop Notes: Montezuma Costa Rica Canopy Zip-Line Tour

April 1, 2010

Pura Vida! panorama by Rob Knight

The question everyone asks when you return from Costa Rica is “did you do the zip-line?”.

In case you haven’t been to Costa Rica, there are zip-line facilities EVERYWHERE. I have done the Sky-Trek near Arenal a couple of times, and it is always a great time. We wanted to take the students at our spring workshop in Mal Pais to have this exhilarating experience, so we took the whole gang over to Montezuma Sun Trails canopy tour.

The facility and the guides were top notch. It takes a while to get 15-20 tourists strapped into harnesses and helmets, but a couple of white-faced monkeys entertained us while we waited for the group to suit up. There are 9 cables between 11 platforms on the tour. We were treated to incredible panoramic views along the way, and even had a break to swim in the Montezuma River. Don Zwicker jumped off of the small waterfall AND the bigger waterfall below. We heard the bigger falls were 50 feet high, but I cannot confirm that 😉

Jesse gets strapped in While Don looks on

After the zip-line tour we went into Montezuma for lunch and some street photography. Montezuma offers opportunities for everything from architecture to portrait photography. There is a beautiful wooden church that was a great subject for some HDR shots. We spoke briefly to the music director for the church, who was extremely friendly and very excited about his work with the children at the church.

If you’re in the Montezuma area I can highly recommend the Montezuma Canopy zip-line tour. I would advise you to wear sandals (not flip-flops) if you have them, and definitely wear your swim suit. Bring a compact camera if you have one because it is almost impossible to bring a DSLR on the tour. We will definitely keep this trip as part of the itinerary for our spring photo workshop in Mal Pais. Hopefully you can join us next time, or come to Arenal with us this September.

Check out this post about the canopy tour by one of our attendees, Kyle Hudson.

Montezuma Church. 3-shot HDR. photo ©Rob Knight

Kyle Hudson

Shani Lewis

Don Zwicker

Jesse Brown

Rob Knight

Shani Lewis

Rob & Jesse. Hard at Work

Photos and video courtesy of Sun Trails except where noted.

Photoshop World: Orlando, FL 2010

March 29, 2010

I spent last week in Orlando, FL for the Photoshop World conference at the Orange County Convention Center. This was my fourth Photoshop World and they just keep getting better. The only difficult thing about attending Photoshop World is deciding which classes to take. I tend to focus on Lightroom and photography classes, and this time was no exception. I enjoyed Katrin Eismann’s creative Lightroom class, and I picked up some good tips in Scott Kelby’s Lightroom Killer tips class. I was stoked to win a signed print from Jeff Schewe at his Printing from Lightroom class. I have seen Jay Maisel’s “Light, Gesture & Color” presentation a few times already, but it never ceases to inspire me. Joe Mcnally is always as entertaining as he is informative. Joe forgot more about light yesterday than you will ever know. Zack Arias was a new addition to the Photoshop World instructor lineup, and he really knocked it out of the park! His white seamless class taught everyone in attendance something (if not EVERYTHING) about shooting against a seamless background. I wondered how he was going to fit “Everything you need to know to be a professional photographer” into a 1-hour session, but I’ll be darned if he didn’t do it!

The DPE gang. L-R: me, Jeremy Pollack, Alan Hess, Rick Sammon, Juan Pons ...and a Vanelli photobomb in the background 🙂 Photo by Mike Driscoll

Photoshop World is as much about the people as it is about classes. My buddy Mike Driscoll rode down to Orlando with me for his first Photoshop World, and he was duly impressed with the event. We spent a lot of time with my friend and fellow DPE contributor Jeremy Pollack, as well as DPE founders Juan Pons and Rick Sammon. I was glad to finally meet Alan Hess in person after being Twitter buddies for a while now. Alan is a great concert shooter and I plan to attend his concert photography pre-con workshop at my next Photoshop World. I met Brad Moore at the House of Blues (don’t try to take your camera in there!) where he and Alan were shooting the Mat Kearney concert. I got to hang out with my buddy Nancy Masse, who you might know as @NAPP_News on twitter. She told us the best midget story any of us have ever heard 🙂 I met Scott Kelby for the first time and he was as nice as you would expect. I gave him a flyer for our September workshop in Costa Rica… maybe he’ll come 😉

Jay Maisel at the Art of Digital Photography

One of my favorite things about attending the Photoshop World conference each year is getting the chance to meet the folks behind some of my favorite products. I was glad to meet Gary Farber with Hunt’s Photo & Video in Massachusetts. Several friends of mine shop at Hunt’s, and after dealing with Gary I can see why. Lew Bedell with Artistic Photo Canvas was great, and I’m sure I’ll be ordering from them soon. They had beautiful canvas prints on display from my buddies Alan Hess and Jeremy Pollack among others.

I’ve been using Hoodman RAW compact flash cards for a few years now. I bought a couple of new cards from Bob Schmidt at the expo. The latest cards are 675x! These cards are 100% reliable, FAST and made in the USA. I also picked up a new HoodLoupe 3.0 at the show. My old hoodLoupe isn’t big enough to see the whole screen on my D700 or D300s. That seems like a small thing, but it’s pretty annoying.

All in all it was another great experience provided by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. If you are trying to decide if it’s worth it to join the NAPP or attend Photoshop World- Join and GO! It’s not just about Photoshop, it’s about all sorts of digital imaging, and it’s about the PEOPLE. See you in Vegas!

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