Monthly Archives: January 2010

Philly Ally HDR

Photograph from an ally in Philadelphia, PA. Such a colorful scene! I didn’t have a tripod with me so I had to handhold this shot, but fortunately I have pretty steady hands when holding a camera. Crazy how some things come naturally, don’t you think? When I hold a pen my hands are not steady. Go figure!

  • Nikon D700
  • Shutter 1/50
  • Aperture f/8.0
  • ISO 400
  • Focal Length 28 mm
  • HDR in Photomatix
  • One Exposure HDR

Building a DIY Photo Booth using Party Booth

John has since renamed the application to Spark Booth

Since I’m working on building a photo booth I have researched long and hard on how to go about the computer part of it. There are many ways to go about it but I found a very affordable way to do it.

While I am not a fan of Adobe AIR because of how slow the apps typically run and how much memory they usually need, Party Booth is the greatest choice.

I don’t want to share too much detail about how I’m building the booth but I can tell you that it will contain an iMac with Party Booth as its focus. Having a built-in webcam the iMac is the perfect choice for the computer part.

So why Party Booth? The developer, John Wu, not only built a great solution to a DIY photobooth but also gives great support. I have had problems which he figured out and helps me resolve within hours. Oddly enough a big problem was with Adobe AIR but John figured it out.

Since John created Party Booth he has made improvements including some of my own suggestions. You can have the software automatically upload your photos to Facebook or a Twitter service. John is also looking into incorporating other services like Zenfolio and SmugMug as automated uploads. The software will save the images and print them if desired.

The best part is that having the photo booth built around an iMac the users really will never know that they are looking at an Apple computer. Party Booth can load full screen to take complete control over the computer.

By using a remote, keyboard or usb button set as the “space” key the booth users can take their own pictures.

Party Booth will also add your custom designs to the photo booth files so you can customize it for different events.

I really do feel John has something great going here so go check out software. There is a limited demo you can try. Until January 31st, 2010 the software is only $28 so hop on it now if you think you may want to build a photo booth in the future.

Party Booth Requires:

  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X, or Linux
  • Webcam
  • Adobe AIR

If John can incorporate the use of a digital SLR as the camera source then the app could capture amazing quality images instead of webcam quality. But like I said, the application is a great start at a low price!

note: I do not make any commission off the sales. I really believe in this app and its future.

Images from

John has since renamed the application to Spark Booth

How photographers can use an Apple iPad

As you may have heard Apple announced the new iPad. It is Apple’s come back to the netbook, a very functional tablet with the iPhone operating system built-in. It is in fact a large iPhone or iPod Touch.

I am not about to run out to get the iPad just yet, not because it’s not on the shelves, because I will wait to see what improvements it will have. When you consider the iPad as an eBook reader it really is nice having a colored screen with multi-touch capabilities. Something that the Amazon Kindle and Nook do not have. However, when you consider it as a computer it is lacking. Because it only has the iPhone OS you can only download and install iPhone applications.

Now that isn’t to say that there won’t be applications made to give it more functionality because there will be, just not yet. We have seen the iPhone grow into the greatest phone and we will most likely see the iPad grow into the greatest tablet. But I could be wrong.

So why would it be great for a photographer. Lets look at it like this. Photographers that travel a lot typically carry a laptop and backup equipment like a MemoryKick. So what if you didn’t need to carry both? What if there was a way to transfer all of your camera RAW/DNG files to the iPad? Well, it looks like Apple has thought about it, but not yet all the way through. Apple also announced a bunch of accessories for the iPad like “iPad Camera Connection Kit” which plugs in to the dock at the bottom of the iPad and you have your choice of either a USB port or an SD card reader. Now you can plug your camera or SD directly into the iPad and most likely the photo application will download the images. But will it work with RAW/DNG files? We don’t know yet. However since the iPad can grow into the greatest tool most likely someone will design an application that will do just that. Also, most likely someone will design accessories to accept UDMA Compact Flash cards. Making more sense now?

Another accessory that Apple introduced is the Keyboard Dock.  This could either travel with you or be left at home but it will keep your iPad charged and also give you a physical keyboard for the times that you will need to write a long blog article or something.  How can that expand?  The iPhone version of Photoshop can now have keyboard shortcuts added to its functionality to give you the ability to edit photos on the fly wherever you are without lugging heavy laptops around.  Can you say iPhone Mobile Lightroom?

Going back to accessories, what if the dock itself had a multi-card reader.  That way you can charge the iPad and import your photos at the same time.  The speed of importing is important but not vital to making it work in the way I explained.

One frustration I have with the iPad is the data plan.  The Amazon Kindle does not have a data plan as it is built in.  I understand that the data usage would be much more with the iPad so no need for justification.  Just one of my dislikes about the device.  Having wifi built in does make up for it for the most part.

Another frustration would be the lack of camera facing the user.  If I am traveling and want to Skype or iChat there should be a way to video chat.  Not having it isn’t very nice!

In Jeff Revell’s new post “Apple iPad – Is It A Game Changer?” he mentions the use of OnOne DSLR Remote on the iPad could be incredible. He also talks about how having an eyeFi card that went straight to an iPad would be really handy. These are so very true!

So with all that said, you get my point.  The options are now there thanks to Apple.  We will see where it goes from here.

How do you feel about the new iPad?  Will you be purchasing it right away?  Waiting?  Please share your thoughts by commenting.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting!


(all images from

Steely Dan

I live close to a marina that can be very calming at times. I decided to take Melissa there one day but it wasn’t the nicest outside. The sky was grey and slightly misty so we didn’t stay long. Heading back home I went a different route and found this under a highway. This wall is very long and the entire thing is covered in graffiti. Along with Steely Dan there are many other bands spray painted on the cement. Seeing how colorful it was I had to take a photo of it. Good thing I leave my tripod in the back of my car all the time.

Camera: Nikon D700
Date: 03/01/2009
Location: Sewaren, New Jersey
HDR: NIne Exposures
Aperture: f/9
ISO: 400

Available for print

Quick Photo Tip: Be Selective

Spend more time on one shot versus spending little time and moving on.  Don’t take 100 photos in 30 minutes when you can take 5 in the same amount of time.  Do this and you will see your results gets better and better!

  • Get Closer
  • Adjust settings
  • Try different exposures
  • Try different focal points
  • Try a new filter
  • Change lenses
  • Try an HDR and if you’re camera doesn’t have auto bracketing, try doing an HDR manually

Have something to add?  Comment below and share your “Be Selective” tip with the readers.

Considering Adobe Lightroom? Now is the time!

If you have been considering getting Adobe Lightroom now is the time.  Amazon has Lightroom on sale for $189.  Why you may ask?  It could be because Lightroom 3 is coming out soon, but we will never know for sure.  Check out amazon’s Lightroom listing and hop on it before it is too late.


Direct link –

Up and at them

Taken outside Penn Station in NYC while waiting to meet up with Andrew to head over to Jack Studios.

Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/8.0
Focal Length: 62 mm
ISO Speed: 200
HDR: Photomatix

This is available for sale at

HDR Workshop Keynote Presentation

I had a great time at my HDR Workshop on January 16th, and I know everyone left with the ability to shoot and generate an HDR image which makes me happy. Below is the Keynote which I presented in the beginning of the workshop. Please also keep in mind that even if you did not attend my HDR Workshop you are entitled to utilize my discount codes!

from HDR Workshop
5 Exposure HDR of the class walking around taking pictures


Photomatix Pro 15% off using the coupon code “ScottWyden15″

Topaz Labs 15% off using the coupon code “scottwyden”

Zenfolio 15% off using the coupon code “SWK-HDR-15″

from HDR Workshop

View the presentation with the fun transitions!

Vintage American Flag Photo Auction for Haiti

auction closed

This photo is also available for sale at

How to photograph an HDR without bracketing

So you purchased a camera that can shoot RAW because you wanted the ability to experiment with HDR. Maybe it’s a Canon G11 or the amazing new S90. Unlike most SLR cameras which have auto exposure bracketing (BKT or AEB) point and shoot cameras typically do not. However these cameras usually have some sort of manual capabilities or a dial that says M P A S or Tv.


To photograph for an HDR image put the camera on aperture priority which is usually symbolized by an A. Take a picture. Now look or the +/- symbol on the back of your camera or in the menu. This symbol stands for exposure compensation. Adjust the exposure compensation up +2 stops and then another photo -2 stops. You have no taken three exposures all at different levels. With that done you can now merge the images into an HDR software like Photomatix to generate the HDR.

Don’t forget to bring it back into Lightroom or Photoshop for some more post production!

Photomatix Pro 15% off using the coupon code “ScottWyden15″

Please feel free to share your tip in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,