Skip Cohen University Summer Session – Annual Call For Scholarship Applications

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My pal Skip Cohen (you know – the ex President of Hasselblad USA and the guy who grew WPPI/Rangefinder into the big dog in the photo education space) has run a Summer School type program for wedding and portrait photographers for five years now. I’ve been honored to be the only person on the faculty for the first four years. This year I won’t be there because I am in the process (as part of my semi-retirement plan) of moving to Italy. I will only live in Monza a few months a year, but I will be there during Summer Session. I am sad I can’t be in Chicago because it’s easily one of my favorite educational events for photographers.

Skip has assembled an amazing lineup of photo educators. Some of the best in the world will be there to help you advance your photographic career. Even though I won’t be there, I still want to contribute by contining my yearly tradition of awarding scholarships. These go to photographers who would like to attend, but have a genuine financial need and cannot afford to buy the conference ticket.

So here’s the deal. Same as every year. If you can get to Chicago August 11-14, 2013, and take care of your own transportation, room and board, I’ll pay the $549 it takes to get you in.

In order to apply for the scholarship, send me an email to: photofocus@me.com with your name, address and phone number and a 500 word (or less) explanation as to why you would like to attend, what you hope to get out of the program, how you expect to cover costs of getting to Chicago and paying for room and board. Based on your answers, I’ll determine who has the greatest need, and is most likely to gain by attending and award you a scholarship. I have at least five of these to give away. I may buy more if there’s enough need. PLEASE do not apply if you are able to pay your own way. Don’t take a chance from someone who is truly needy. And PLEASE do not apply unless you are absolutely 100% certain that you will be able to get to Chicago and attend. You’re buying some seriously bad karma if you take someone’s seat who would have actually shown up and benefited from the program.

I’ve seen many of the scholarship recipients in the past make life-changing friendships at Skip’s Summer Session. I’ve seen people build and launch careers. It is my honor and privilege to have a small hand in that by offering these scholarships. If you are interested apply before June 17. I will announce the recipients at the skipcohenuniversity.com blog the following week.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program visit SCU.

Good luck.

Enter Our New Camera Contest. Win A Fuji X100s AND A One Year Subscription To 500px Awesome!

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BREAKING NEWS – TWO WINNERS!!!

(Oh yeah – there will be TWO winners! Yes you have TWO chances to win. We’re giving the exact same prize to TWO different people!)

This contest starts June 1, 2013 and ends August 31, 2013. The winner gets the following:

Fuji X100s

One year subscription to 500px (Awesome Level)

There will be two winners. Each winner will win the prizes described above, so your chances are twice as good as they are in our regular Photofocus contests.

(PLEASE READ THIS PAGE CAREFULLY – IT ANSWERS ALL YOUR LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONTEST!)

Here’s how to enter.

- Follow @ScottBourne on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/scottbourne)
– Follow @500px on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/500px)

(If you are already following no need to unfollow and refollow – doing so repeatedly will get you permanently blocked and banned from our contests — we have recently blocked or banned several hundred followers who engaged in this practice after the last contest – if you are amongst those people – sorry – no need to enter because you are not eligible.)

- Tweet the message you see highlighted below once! (There is no advantage to tweeting more than once. There is also no penalty for tweeting more than once, but you won’t have any better chance of winning and you may anger your own Twitter followers if you decide to tweet more than once. Please keep track of your own entry. We posts the winners here – http://photofocus.com/open-contests/. We can’t (and won’t) respond to requests asking about entry status.

Twitter has changed its policy to no longer allow disabling of link shortening – so if you need to use a different link to get to the same exact contest page that’s fine. As long as people end up on this page – that’s all that matters. The rest of the Tweet must be identical to the one below.

Here is the Tweet:

Enter to win 1 of 2 Fuji X100s cameras & Free Yr of Awesome from @500px & @Photofocus. Info http://bit.ly/10Pt7UT – Please RT

Official Rules: All general Photofocus contest rules apply. In addition:

No purchase necessary to enter or win.

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter
2. You must be following Scott Bourne (http://www.twitter.com/scottbourne) and 500px on Twitter – (http://www.twitter.com/500px)
3. You must send out the above tweet EXACTLY as it appears. A failure to do so will disqualify you.
4. The prize will be announced on August 31, 2013 by Scott Bourne via Twitter and on Photofocus.com.
5. US residents responsible for any taxes (if any) incurred as winner. If you live outside the US you are responsible for any taxes, custom duties and shipping in the event you win. We will only ship the prize to a US address. Foreign winners must be able to retrieve the prize from a US address to be eligible to win.
6. If users make lots of Twitter accounts in order to enter a contest more than once, they’re liable to get all of their accounts suspended. Anyone found to use multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be ineligible.
7. Photofocus reserves the right to disqualify ANY entry in violation of these rules.

Scott Bourne will keep a record of each tweet in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner. Due to the volume of requests we receive, we cannot and will not answer ANY questions about the contest on Twitter or via e-mail. The information you need is all right here.

We’re very excited and proud to be working with 500px. Both Rich and I have AWESOME accounts there and love to post our photos to the 500px service. Recent events drew us to 500px and we’re very glad we found them. Their service is (in our opinion) the best in the category. Whether you win or not, you should check out 500px. You can sign up for free to get started with them. Their top tier service is called Awesome and is only $75 per year. It offers:

Unlimited Uploads
Personal Store – Sell your photos in the Market
Unlimited Sets – Create & organize. Protected & private
Advanced Statistics – All the insights to make an informed decision
Personalized Portfolio
Subdomain – Subdomain you.500px.com for your portfolio
Google Analytics

As always, if you are not a fan of these contests, please don’t participate. For the tens of thousands of you who do enjoy the contests, we’ll continue to try to find new contests and new prizes that will make it fun and interesting to be a part of the Photofocus family. Thanks for your support.

And The Winner of Lightroom 4 Is…

Every once in a while I hold a random, unannounced giveaway to thank my followers. These giveaways are in addition to my regular camera contests. You need only be following to be eligible. You don’t need to Tweet anything or DO anything. You just need to be following.

When I do these giveaways, I just select a random follower and they win. Sometimes I do them regularly, sometimes I do them every few months. If I am traveling I do them less often. I am not traveling much in the next two months so stay tuned for more :)

The winner of Lightroom 4 is – Courtney ‏@MissKokamon. Thanks for following. Please email photofocus@me.com with your UPS shipping address and phone number and your prize will be on its way early next week.

New Contest – Win A Canon 5D MK III & Drobo 5D

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Welcome to the next Photofocus contest. This contest starts February 16, 2013 and ends May 15, 2013. The winner gets the following:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera (Body)

and

Drobo 5D 5-bay Storage Array

Approximate prize value: $4000

(PLEASE READ THIS PAGE CAREFULLY – IT ANSWERS ALL YOUR LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONTEST!)

Here’s how to enter.

- Follow @ScottBourne on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/scottbourne)
– Follow @Drobo  on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/drobo )

(If you are already following no need to unfollow and refollow – doing so repeatedly will get you permanently blocked and banned from our contests — we have recently blocked or banned several hundred followers who engaged in this practice after the last contest – if you are amongst those people – sorry – no need to enter because you are not eligible.)

Tweet the message you see highlighted below once! (There is no advantage to tweeting more than once. There is also no penalty for tweeting more than once, but you won’t have any better chance of winning and you may anger your own Twitter followers if you decide to tweet more than once. Please keep track of your own entry here – http://photofocus.com/open-contests/. We can’t (and won’t) respond to requests asking about entry status.)

Twitter has changed its policy to no longer allow disabling of link shortening – so if you need to use a different link to get to the same exact contest page that’s fine. As long as people end up on this page – that’s all that matters. The rest of the Tweet must be identical to the one below.

Do NOT put the @ sign in front of Scott Bourne in the tweet. This is to cut down on noise to people who follow you and me.

Here is the Tweet:

Enter to win chance at a Canon 5D MK III and Drobo 5D from @Drobo & Scott Bourne. Please RT. Info at: http://bit.ly/XaNUTU

Official Rules: All general Bourne Media Group/Photofocus contest rules apply. In addition:

No purchase necessary to enter or win.

1. You must be 18 years or older to enter
2. You must be following Scott Bourne (http://www.twitter.com/scottbourne) and Drobo on Twitter –  (http://www.twitter.com/drobo)
3. You must send out the above tweet EXACTLY as it appears. A failure to do so will disqualify you.
4. The prize will be announced on May 15, 2013 by Scott Bourne via Twitter and on Photofocus.com.
5. US residents responsible for any taxes (if any) incurred as winner. If you live outside the US you are responsible for any taxes, custom duties and shipping in the event you win. We will only ship the prize to a US address. Foreign winners must be able to retrieve the prize from a US address to be eligible to win.
6. If users make lots of Twitter accounts in order to enter a contest more than once, they’re liable to get all of their accounts suspended. Anyone found to use multiple Twitter accounts to enter will be ineligible.

Scott Bourne will keep a record of each tweet in a database and then a random number generator picks the winner. Due to the volume of requests we receive, we cannot and will not answer ANY questions about the contest on Twitter or via e-mail. The information you need is all right here.

We are proud to be working with Drobo. The 5D offers higher performance SSD technology, Thunderbolt connectivity, USB 3.0, battery backup and sophisticated data protection. For more information visit Drobo.com.

As always, if you are not a fan of these contests, please don’t participate. For the tens of thousands of you who do enjoy the contests, we’ll continue to try to find new contests and new prizes that will make it fun and interesting to be a part of the Photofocus family. Thanks for your support.

Learn How To Make Realistic HDR Photographs

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If you’re new to photography and would like to learn more about high dynamic range (HDR) photography, my pal Rich Harrington and I have written a book just for you. It’s called “Secrets of HDR.” It’s only $2.99 and covers all the basics.

We’ve written this book with a simple goal. We want to share our love of “tasteful” HDR photography. While there are fans of extreme HDR, we prefer a more subtle approach. We couldn’t find any books on this more realistic approach to HDR so we wrote one!

The book is only available for iPad owners. This is necessary in order to take advantage of all the interactive features available in iBooks. Our update includes a whole chapter on post-processing with 12 video tutorials. That’s right – this is a book but it contains video training. There are even quizzes so you can make sure you’ve read and understood the material. We’re very excited about this book because it uses all the tools available in Apple’s iBooks Author to create a fully interactive experience. You’ll not only be able to read the text, but you’ll find video, audio, motion graphics and more.

We will continually update the book and the great thing about Apple’s iBooks is that we can push those updates to buyers free of charge. Just keep watch here and/or the iBooks store for new versions, re-download them at no additional cost, and you’ll make sure you have all the pertinent information.

You can get more information about the book and a link to purchase it here on the iTunes store.

Pelican Landing (Micro Four Thirds Capture)

Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

Photographing birds in flight wing the OM-D EM-5 is not easy, but it is possible. This is no doubt the biggest sacrifice someone contemplating the switch from a Canon 5DMKIII or 1DX would make. The autofocus on the Olympus is amazing, but it can’t keep track of moving subjects the way AF on the new Canon bodies does. There’s always a tradeoff in photography.

Yet, as this shot (in not the best light) proves, it is possible to get birds in flight, even coming towards the camera. The keeper rate is 50% of what it would be using the more expensive, more advanced and heavier DSLRs but if you want to go light (and I do) this shot proves you can.

Click on the photo to see a larger version.

You Can’t Photograph Wildlife W/ Micro Four Thirds Cameras – Can YOU?

Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons - Shot on Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, with M.ZUIKO Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 lens mounted on Induro CT 214 tripod w/ Induro BH3 ballhead. Converted from Lightroom RAW to Jpeg, cropped and no post.

Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Shot on Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, with M.ZUIKO Digital ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 lens mounted on Induro CT 214 tripod w/ Induro BH3 ballhead. Converted from Lightroom RAW to Jpeg, cropped and no post.

For the last two weeks I’ve been told I can’t photograph wildlife with a micro four/thirds camera. Most of the experts telling me this have never used a micro four thirds camera or for that matter shot wildlife, but here’s proof they are wrong. Shot this morning at La Jolla Cove near San Diego. California brown pelican in breeding plumage. See meta data below and full zoom at size.

Maybe you CAN photograph wildlife with a micro four thirds camera. Lots more to come. (Note this wasn’t even zoomed all the way out to 300mm (EFL=600mm) but you get the idea.)

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