Right before Photoshop World, Adobe invited me to be a keynote speaker at Professional Imaging 2011 in the Netherlands. When my wife heard about the invite, she immediately accepted (She LOVES Europe!). So we decided to make a work/play trip out of it.

I’m Amazed!
First, we stayed in Amsterdam while I spoke at Professional Imaging in the Netherlands. What a cool conference! They had about 7000 people attend in 3 days. It’s mostly geared toward the pro market but I even met some college students as well. I did a live compositing and selections class (and a little Lightroom) for the opening keynote on all 3 days for Adobe. Then later in the day, I did a layers class where I covered all kinds of things for retouching portraits. Scott told me this last year but I didn’t realize how into this stuff the Dutch are. For 3 straight days they made me feel like a total rock star (don’t worry, I didn’t let it go to my head… yet ).

Anyway, they were just so welcoming. and every one I met came up and said they watch every episode of Photoshop User TV, D-Town TV, or the Grid. I got to do some Layers book signings (the publisher had a booth too) and even stopped in to watch some presentations from photography and lighting wizard Frank Doorhof.

A Funny, Yet Slightly Embarrassing Moment
For the most part all of the classes went over great. There was one funny, yet embarrassing moment. See, I did some live shoots during my compositing class so I could show the composite from start to finish. Well, while testing the lighting before the class I put my card into my card reader. Then class started and I did the live shoot. Can you guess what happened from here? Yup, I did the whole shoot with no card in the camera (oops). Luckily, the crowd was very forgiving (they only threw small pieces of fruit at me) and we even got some laughs out of it. Some people said they liked it because they were glad to know it doesn’t just happen to them – I think they were just being nice

Anyway, it ate up some time so I had to quickly composite the image but (again luckily) it turned out great. Here’s the final composite (with original overlayed on top of it). The model in the composite was shot on a white seamless background and I dropped her into the crowd along with some Photoshop special effects and lighting to help pull it off.

Off to Paris (and a new friend)
After Pro Imaging was done, my wife and I headed to Paris. It was forecast to be sunny and not-so-cold. But as the day got closer the weather changed and we basically had 3 days of blah-gray skies and cold windy weather. It made being creative nearly impossible. But a friend-of-the-blog, Serge Ramelli, was kind enough to meet me for sunrise on 2 mornings and show me around. Here’s some photos and info:

WARNING: You’re about to see a lot of HDR photos. I’d love to have had some great weather with some beautiful light so I didn’t have to process the living daylights out of everything I shot, but that just wasn’t in the cards for this trip. So I made the best of it and bracketed most of my photos. I think that dramatic architecture along with some night photos make great candidates for HDR, so that’s most of what I ended up liking from the trip. So if HDR infuriates you or causes you any undue stress I encourage you to stop reading here and go try to view a Flash website on your iPad

OK, my first morning with Serge. He brought me to one of his favorite spots (this was the only time I saw the sun peak through). This is an HDR tonemapped with Photomatix and finished with some vignetting and white balance adjustments (warming) in Lightroom. It’s actually not a pano, just cropped that way.


A couple more from the same bridge. Same process as above.

I tried not to take the typical Eiffel Tower photo. I thought this one turned out pretty cool. Another HDR tonemapped in Photomatix. There was lots of flare too, so I spent a decent amount of time with the Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop.

Here’s a few from the Louvre. You’ll notice most of these are HDR. I just felt that a place like this has a surreal feel to it and HDR was the only way to bring that feeling out.

Another HDR from Notre Dame. I found out afterward that I wasn’t supposed to use a tripod. You can read more about this one here.

Here’s a few from Serge’s secret photo spots in Montmartre. I think the rain really helped here.

Most of my photos were taken with a Nikon D3 and my Nikon 28-300mm lens. The Eiffel Tower and Louvre photos were taken with the Nikon 14-24mm lens. The last two were taken with Serge’s Canon and 24-70mm lens (my battery ran out and I didn’t have an extra with me – and no, my hands did not burn when I touched a Canon). Serge was even kind enough to find a model for me to shoot some lifestyle portraits at the Eiffel Tower which is another post in itself.

All in all, I had a great trip. I expected that teaching in the Netherlands was going to be a blast, but it exceeded my expectations by far. And for all of it’s cold weather, Paris was awesome as well. I’m incredibly grateful for meeting Serge. Not only is he a great photographer but we had a really nice time just hanging out. I’ve been to Paris before (in June) so I know it can be warm too. Now I’ll just have to make another trip there when the weather is a bit nicer