All posts by Mark Wallace

Mark is a traveler, photographer, and writer.

We’re Moving! …and teaching Photoshop!

I can finally spill the beans on something we’ve been working on for quite some time now. After searching high and low we’ve finally found a new location for our studio. We are very excited about the move.

We’ll be in our new location May 1st, just in time for our May 17th Studio Lighting class.  The new studio is about 400 square feet larger than our current space – and all of that new space is going to be dedicated to our workshops.  This means that we’ll have a permanent classroom space!

The new classroom is being custom built for us.  As soon as construction begins I’ll start posting photos.  With the permanent space I’ll be able to offer more workshops.  The first thing we’re adding are classes for post production.  That means Lightroom and Photoshop.  As things come together I’ll be making announcements about the new Photoshop classes.

I’m also going to be offering two free workshops.  Neither workshop has a name (please leave your suggestion in the comments section) but they are going to be terrific. 

The first workshop will be focused on using photography as a means for social change.  I’ll be discussing ways you can use your skills at your local non-profit organization, church, animal shelter, border crossing, or war zone.

The second workshop isn’t really a workshop at all.  It’s a gathering of people that meet to talk about their current photography and learn from each other.  It will be limited to 10 people and won’t be a teacher/student type of environment.  I will be the facilitator but not necessarily the teacher.  Applicants will have to submit a portfolio and artistic statement to be considered.  The group will meet weekly for about 12 weeks.  Look for more details soon.

The new studio is located a few miles west of our current location.  It’s on 40th street just north of Southern Ave.  As soon as we have the lease signed and sealed we’ll be publishing the exact address.

The move keeps us close to the airport for folk flying in for our workshops but moves us out of the flight path so we don’t have to listen to jets flying over all the time.  You can see the studio from the street so people will have a much easier time finding us, and the floors are brand new and beautiful!

So here’s what I need from you:

  • Suggestions for the names of my new free workshops.
  • Any special requests you have for the Photoshop classes.
  • Word of mouth – please tell your friends about us.  Our new location is twice as expensive and we really need to stay busy!

New episode on the way


We just finished shooting the latest episode of Digital Photography 1 on 1.  I’ll be discussing the differences between wide angle and telephoto lenses for portrait photography.  I’m excited about this episode because Luka makes a special appearance!  Yep – Luka will be a guest in his very own Milk Bone inspired segment.

I’ll be editing tomorrow and should be finished by Wednesday at the latest.  I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Fun in New York

We’re already back from our quick trip to New York City.  Diane already mentioned most of the good stuff but I wanted to mention a couple of things.

B&H Photo

One of the first things we did was make a quick trip to B&H to pick up some new gear.  But, as luck would have it, they were all out of stock on the things we wanted.  I ended up ordering the new stuff online and it should be here soon.  What are we doing with all of this new stuff??  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know soon enough.

Hanging out with Shelby Chan was a lot of fun.  He’s a great guy and we were honored that he took time out of his busy schedule to meet us.  If you haven’t seen his work make sure you take a look at his web site.  He has some very cool behind-the-scenes videos too.

The SoHo Photo Gallery

We were also able to spend some time at the SoHo Photo GalleryAnn Marie Rousseau was displaying some of her work and I really loved it.  She was at the gallery when we arrived but was just leaving, so we weren’t able to spend any time with her.  Hopefully next time.

The lower floor of the SoHo Photo Gallery.

The gallery has two floors and is a wonderful space.  Local photographers can become members and display their work.  They also show work from featured photographers throughout the year.  If you’re in New York make sure you stop by and see what’s happening at the gallery.

We are working to bring some workshops to other cities.  New York is on the list and we were able to do some leg work while we were in town to begin to make it a reality.  We’re also looking at bringing workshops to L.A., San Francisco, and Seattle.  For those of you in the middle of the country we’re looking at Denver but are open to additional options.  Please let us know if you’re interested.

Speaking of workshops my next Digital Photography 101 workshop begins tomorrow night.  We have a terrific group of students and I can’t wait to begin.  It’s always a blast.

New York City

© Copyright 2004 Mark Wallace/SnapFactory

We’re leaving early tomorrow morning for New York City.  We’ll be staying at the Westin New York at Times Square.  We plan to have a nice dinner and we have tickets to Wicked Friday night.  We also plan to hang out with Vince Vaughn at the Apple Store in SoHo and of course we’ll be spending some time at B&H Photo.

While we’re in town we’ll be shooting some stock photos and hitting a few galleries as well.  We also plan on having coffee with local NY photographer Shelby Chan.  We’ll also working on some things we can’t tell you about yet.  But stay tuned and we’ll let you know in a few weeks.

We’ll be taking lots of pictures and blogging as we go.  We’ll probably do most of our blogging via our iPhones while we’re on the road and then catch up with better photos and stories once we return.

One of the big goals of the trip is to pick up a few things we need to produce training DVDs that everyone is asking us for.  We’ll be playing with a some new toys at B&H to see what works best for us and then we’ll have those in AZ in a week or so.  If all goes well we should have some terrific training DVDs this fall.

The new video equipment also means faster production times and more Digital Photography 1on1 episodes.  We’re excited to move to the next phase of our video production.

Stay tuned.  I’ll blog from downtown New York tomorrow.

History of Photography Podcasts

I discovered an amazing resource for photographers today.  Jeff Curto from College of DuPage is making his class lectures available via a podcast.  Here’s more info from his site.

The Podcast
This podcast is recorded during class lectures for History of Photography, Photo 1105 at College of DuPage. The podcasts are intended as review for students in the class, but thousands of people around the world have found them useful to their education as photographers. Please be aware that there are many links to relevant class information on the class’ main web page, as well as a course syllabus – use the links to the right to find that information.

Listening, Watching & Subscribing
You can  listen to and watch the podcasts from these pages or you can subscribe to them using a podcast reader. The most popular podcast reader is Apple’s iTunes. If you subscribe using this link, each time there is a new class session posted on the internet, the software will automatically download it to your computer.

Enhanced Podcasts
The podcasts are presented in what’s called the “enhanced” podcast format. This means that they are embedded with still images that change along with the audio, sort of like an old filmstrip or synchronized slide show, but better because they have random access to the entire class. They can be viewed on a computer (using QuickTime or Apple’s iTunes software, both free to download and use) or they can be viewed on any video-capable iPod. The files are .m4a files, so they need QuickTime to view them, or an iPod that can show video.

Camera Bag

Someone recently asked if I could describe the gear that I normally carry in my camera bag.  Here’s a quick look at my normal setup.  I have different setups based on what I’m doing, I would never take this much equipment on a travel assignment, but if I’m shooting locally this is what I carry.

All of my lenses are Canon.  The sensor brush kit isn’t sold anymore but you can get something similar from Visible Dust.  I basically have the old version of the Arctic Butterfly.  The Epson P-2000 has also been upgraded with a new gadget from Epson.

The space under the top strap (between the 16–35mm and the 85mm) is usually filled with my MP3 player of the day.  I forgot to list that at the time I made this diagram.

The bag is a LowePro CompuTrekker AW.  It’s on wheels so that makes carrying so much gear bearable.


Yes, everything is insured.

I’m going to be publishing a new Digital Photography 1on1 video that is all about bags and packing.  I’m going to be out of town a lot in the next month.  I’ll be in Portland and New York City and then back home.  I’ll try to publish it before I head to NY, but if not I’ll just add some NY footage to the episode!

Studio In A Box

I’ve been looking for an inexpensive solution for portable power so I could take my studio strobes on locations with no power.  I looked into buying a gas generator but decided against it because they are just too big and bulky.

Profoto recently announced the AcuteB 600R which is a very nice pack (currently shipping with free head). This is a pack that I was seriously considering. It’s a relatively inexpensive system that delivers high quality output.  The type of location shooting I want to do requires shorter flash durations and a bit more power than the Acute is able to deliver. I also want to the option to use more than one head if needed.

The Pro7b 1200 is really the pack that meets those requirements but it’s beyond our immediate budget.  We have several things on our list to purchase this year and at the top of the list is a new Profoto D4 pack.  A Pro7b just isn’t in the cards for us anytime soon.  But, darn it, I want battery power now!

I’m fortunate to have a great relationship with and a couple of months ago Bill Crawford reminded me of the LightSource Podcast featuring David Bean.  David talked about a very cool battery pack called the Tronix Explorer.  It’s a portable battery pack that’s capable of powering a 1200ws generator for a few hundred flashes. After reading David’s review of the Tronix Explorer I decided to give it a shot.

The Tronix Explorer, a nifty case and shipping was just over $300.  It was less than a week from time of purchase till it showed up on my doorstep.  That’s pretty incredible from a company that’s located in the Philippines.  I’ve had to wait longer for shipments from B&H Photo.

Power Tip: If you’re in the Western US always go to Canoga Camera before B&H.  They have stellar prices and service and the shipping costs and times are always better than B&H.  Customers outside of California don’t even pay sales tax!  That’s big time savings if you’re picking up a new 1Ds Mark III or Profoto D4.

The Tronix Explorer showed up a couple of days ago and I’ve only had a few minutes to play with it.  You’ll have to wait for the full blown review (which will probably be a new YouTube video). I did play with it enough to realize it’s heavy.  It’s about 20 pounds, not something I want to be lugging around.  My first order of business was to put it on wheels.

I recently watched a very cool video that Chase Jarvis put together (click here to download the video). He has a very cool setup for his Pro7B system (yes, I’m jealous).  His entire Pro7B system is contained in a single LowePro bag – on wheels – Bingo!  Good idea Jarvis. This is why I constantly ask myself, “What would Jarvis do?”.  The dude has good ideas. 

I happened to have a Pelican 1610 that we weren’t putting to good use.  After moving some things around I created a one head setup on wheels.  I believe there’s still enough room in the case for my ring flash so I’ll probably throw that in for good measure next time.

Top View

The 1610 hold an Acute2 1200R, D4 head, Tronix Explorer, power cables, sync cable, and a cigarette lighter adapter for charging on the go.  You can see I still have empty space for a ring flash, speed ring and other things as needed.  The case is a bit too small to fit an umbrella or small softbox but I can always throw those in a different bag pretty easily.


Here are the contents out of the box.  The Tronix bag has some nifty flaps that fold down for easy access to the power outlets.

Tronix Explorer 1200Ws

Here’s a shot of the Tronix Explorer without it’s protective case.  The Profoto Acute 2 1200r is in the background.  The Tronix case is so well designed that I don’t see a need to ever take it out of it’s bag.  I just did this to show you what the unit looks like without it.

Tronix in the bag

Here’s a shot of the Tronix with it’s clothes on.  The bag has reinforced edges and is very rugged.  One of the complaints about the Tronix was the wimpy handle that’s built on the top.  I guess they created this bag to fix that and give it an added bit of protection on the road.

Side by side

Here’s a shot of the 1610 (on the right) next to our video case (1510).  The entire system is very compact and will easily fit in the back of an Xterra.  The Pelican cases are also ready to fly if you need to take it out of town.

The only other part of the system that you don’t see is a single Matthews C-stand and sandbag.  If you have an assistant you can get by without a light stand but I like to have one along if possible.

I’ll be taking this out for a test shoot as soon as possible.  I’ll make sure to tape the experience and post it on YouTube.


How odd.  Just a few minutes after I blogged about the release of the new color management training I was sent a link to ColorJack. ColorJack is a site all about color.  If you’re new to Color Theory or just want to learn more you should definitely check it out.  They have articles, a cool blog, and some nifty software all waiting for you.  My favorite is Sphere.

“Our most popular application, in essence, the sphere allows you to visualize color theory :) Sphere supports eighteen formulas and nine color blindness simulations designed to help you choose the right color scheme for your project!”