The Big Fight Continues . . .

No, not the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight,

but David Saffir’s fight to recover fully from a major stroke.

By Cynthia Saffir

David Saffir

As many of David’s friends, colleagues and readers know, David has been fighting the biggest challenge of his life the past 5 months.  David suffered a major stroke at the beginning of last November.  After 3+ months in the hospital and residential rehab, David was able to undertake outpatient rehab. He does 6 hours of therapy 5 days a week — an often grueling, but always exhausting process.  David’s resolve remains strong though.  He is determined to resume a full life — getting back to photography, teaching, consulting, writing and enjoying family, friends and colleagues.

Stroke recovery is a long, difficult road as the brain has to re-learn how to listen and fulfill commands for the proper use of the affected parts of the body.  (Oh what I have learned about the brain, and strokes, and creating new neural pathways . . ..)  Stroke recovery takes a long time.  The best estimate is that the majority of one’s recovery from a stroke takes place in the year following the stroke, but fine-tuning can continue for a long time after that.

We don’t know when David will be able to return to work as a photographer, writer, printer and teacher — for now his only job is to work on his recovery.  Unfortunately, this “job” doesn’t pay.  Instead,  David has to pay to do it.  Many of you, at the beginning of this year,  showed incredible kindness and support for David and his recovery by generously  contributing to a fund to help pay some of David’s and his wife, Susan’s, medical and living expenses.

It is with hat in hand that I find myself writing to you again, seeking help for David and Sue once more.  Sadly, due to their lack of income, but certainly no lack of incoming and ever mounting bills, they have run out of funds.  I hope you will take the time to read David and Sue’s story once again at the link below.   Professional Photographers of California and David’s friends and family have started a new crowd funding campaign to help David keep up the good fight and keep moving toward a full recovery.

Please take a minute to look at the crowd funding link below to read more about David and, if you find yourself in a position to offer some support, we would be so very, very appreciative.

Please click here to go to the crowd funding website

Thank you!

David is planning a jail break . . .

David is planning a jail break . . .

Team Saffir logo

As many of you know, David suffered a major stroke in early November, which left his left side paralyzed. Since spending a month in the hospital, David has been in a residential rehabilitation home where he has been working hard toward recovery. I am thrilled to be able to report that he is regaining more and more movement in his left leg and as of the beginning of the year, has started to regain movement in his left arm.

We expect David to stay in the residential rehab another 1-3 weeks, at which point he will go to inpatient acute (more intensive) rehab for 1-2 weeks. We expect him to orchestrate his jail break by mid-February. He is looking to going home where he will continue physical therapy as an outpatient.

David thoroughly enjoys visits from friends and fellow photographers, all of which help keep him in good spirits. I cannot adequately tell you how much your donations and messages of support have meant to him and his wife, Sue – your donations are helping lessen the burden of David and Sue’s overwhelming medical expenses, as well as pay for a leg brace, a specialized wheelchair and other necessities of life.

Please keep your good thoughts and visits coming. David’s recovery is a long process, made so much easier by your support. If you are able and inclined to make a donation to help with David’s medical bills, you can do so through PayPal to the account or by check made payable to David Saffir and sent to me, his sister, at C. Saffir, 2266 Pelham Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Thank you for your support.

David, Sue and all of Team Saffir wish you a wonderful, and healthy 2015.


Cynthia Saffir

Join Team Saffir — Help Support David’s Recovery


Charter members of Team Saffir


C. David Tobie’s November 18th post told about the stroke my brother and well-known photographer, David Saffir, suffered in early November, and the fundraising drive David Tobie, Ken Sklute and Michael Ritzer started to help David and his wife Sue cover their extraordinary medical and related expenses (his related to the stroke and hers related to brain surgery about 6 weeks earlier.)

The good news is that David and Sue obtained health insurance through Obamacare. The bad news is that between deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance payments, their out of pocket medical expenses for 2014 will total around $20,000 or more.  With 2015 just around the corner, their responsibility for deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance amounts will start anew  and are likely to run into the thousands as well.

We are so very thankful for the donations received so far (totaling around $4,000).  The generosity of David’s friends’ and colleagues’ has helped us bring David’s sons travel here to visit him following the stroke, and are helping David and Sue stay afloat during this turbulent time in their lives.

If you are able to help out David and Sue, donations can be made via PayPal to the account, or by check made payable to David and mailed to David, ℅ Cynthia Saffir, 2266 Pelham Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064.

As a token of our appreciation for any contributions received by December 30th in the amount of $125 or more, we will send you a Team Saffir t-shirt!  Just let us know your address and whether you would like a men’s or women’s shirt (the women’s shirts are fitted) and the size shirt and we will forward it to you mid-January.  We also ask that anyone who receives aTeam Saffir t-shirt take a selfie in it and post the photo on David’s Facebook wall with a message of encouragement we can share with David.

David, Sue and all of Team Saffir appreciate your support and we wish you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Go David!!

Cynthia Saffir



The Tables have Turned, and now David Saffir Needs Your Assistance

We are writing this note for distribution to all the places where David Saffir has generously provided his expertise and wisdom over the years; please distribute as appropriate.

Many of you will recognize David’s name. Some from the excellent book he contributed to our Mastering Digital Series, named Mastering Digital Color. It still sits on my resource volume shelf. Others have heard David speak at venues from Sammy’s in California to B&H Photo in New York. And in recent years you may have had the opportunity to discuss photography, videography, and digital workflow with him in the Datacolor booth at a number of tradeshows. Thousands of you would recognize his voice from the webinars we co-hosted for Datacolor on a wide array of photo and video topics. Finally, there are those who have followed David’s personal blog, as well as his frequent contributions to the SpyderBLOG.

Like many photographers, David is an independent contractor. This means he has to pay for his own health insurance, most recently through the Affordable Care Act. Recently David’s wife underwent major surgery, and the bills, above what insurance covered, had already begun to mount. During her recovery David suffered a major stroke, leaving one side of his body paralyzed. Neither of the Saffirs will be able to return to work any time soon.

An account has been set up on David’s behalf, and any donations to it will be used towards the Saffir’s rapidly growing short-term expenses. Donations can be made payable to David Saffir, and sent to his sister Cynthia Saffir, 2266 Pelham Ave. Los Angeles CA 90064. Alternately, you can donate via PayPal, account name All donations, of any size, will be much appreciated.

We will keep you informed of David’s progress as further information becomes available. Thank you for your assistance.

David Tobie, on behalf of Mike Ritzer, Ken Sklute, and a growing list of other photography friends.

Enhance Your Photography: Look Into the Smaller “Landscapes”


My personal work includes a lot of landscape shooting, and I usually try to take in a large swath of territory. I often like the grand vistas, the sweeping plains and looming mountains. In urban landscapes I might include wide-angle shots of buildings crowded together, along with bustling streets and milling people. But sometimes it’s the things at my feet that intrigue me too. Here’s a few images from a trip to Bodie, California, a 100+ year-old ghost town built around a gold and silver mine.

These were originally shot in digital color and converted to black and white.

These images are all from the machinery used to extract the gold and silver from the rock ore.

_MG_5783 stamps copy


_MG_5773 nuts copy

_MG_5779 detail copy v copy

New Video Workshop/Tour with Shane Hurlbut

The Shane Hurlbut Illumination Experience Video Tour

I’ve spent the last few days supporting the opening sessions of Shane Hurlbut’s Illumination Experience Video Tour. Datacolor is a sponsor of these events, which will take place in 26 cities.

The sessions are “intended for any filmmaker seeking industry insight on cinematic lighting and cinematography” – but they are much more than that. These workshops cover a lot of ground – from lighting basics through full cinematic setups, to camera operation and exposure management, to on-set color controls, plus post-production tips and more – and, Shane is one of the top instructors in the field.

Shane incorporates Datacolor technology into his color workflow, starting with lighting/camera setup through post-production.

shane photo


Quoting from the press release:

“The Illumination Experience is a two-part series; the Illumination Workshop, which will be taught in all 25 cities, and the Experience Masterclass which will be available to students in nine of these cities. (see link at the end of the post)

For the Illumination Workshop, Shane will demonstrate his avant-garde approach to three-point lighting during an interactive live shoot. Divided into three phases: discovery, creation, and execution, Shane’s students will…. design, develop, enhance, and supplement the storytelling process with lighting, script analysis, storyboard preparation, lighting schematics, and shot lists.

The Experience Masterclass is a day-long hands-on intensive consisting of two live shoots. The class will be divided into four teams. The teams will follow Shane’s lighting schematics to re-create film scenes from Crazy/Beautiful (2001) and Swing Vote (2008). With Shane’s guidance, students will learn to integrate methodical lighting with precise camera motion to achieve impactful results. Students will experiment with gear such as the Fisher 10 Dolly, the Movi, and the Kessler Crane in conjunction with various lights, filters, flags and bounces. Shane will critique each scene and provide customized feedback to each team.”

Shane Hurlbut, A.S.C., is a world-renowned cinematographer who has shot multimillion dollar blockbuster films such as Act of Valor, Drumline, Terminator: Salvation, The Rat Pack, We Are Marshall. Shane is a member of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is among a select group of cinematographers recognized by Canon as an “Explorer of Light” and by the Tiffen Company as an “ImageMaker”. “

For more information and registration:

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my blog subscription here.

Review, Adorama Flashpoint 180 – Portable Flash Unit

I have a new portable flash unit in-house for testing. It is the Flashpoint 180 – a highly portable, lightweight unit that produces up to 180 watt/seconds of output. It comes complete with portable battery pack and charger, a diffuser dome, a reflector, a shoot-through white umbrella, a brief instruction manual, and a carrying case.

180 1

According to the manufacturer’s specs, it is capable of up to 700 flashes at full power. Flash duration ranges from 1/400 to 1/1100 of a second, depending on power output selected. Specifications state that color temperature is 5500k +/- 200k, which is reasonable.

The battery pack consists of two Sony rechargeable units housed in a plastic case; these are removed and charged via external charger. The manufacturer provides two charging units. Good news is that 700 shots should get you through a full day’s shooting. If you are shooting consistently outdoors in bright light or direct sun, depending on your needs you may want to get two of these, one of the 180 model, and another of the 400 model, using one for key lighting and the other for fill or add-on.

Overall, this is a lightweight unit, favoring portability over bullet-proof construction. The controls are sturdy and well made, and should hold up over time. Most of the flash body is aluminum, and a diffuser dome does double duty protecting the flash tube and LED-based modeling light. This is definitely not water-proof, so I would take care outdoors in mist or rain.

180 2

Power output is controlled via a stepless rotating knob, providing about 5-stops range. A slave sensor is also provided, along with an on/off switch for a triggering audio signal.

An LED modeling light is provided, but it’s anemic at best. Not too surprising, as many people will leave it turned on throughout a shoot, and that will drain batteries quickly.

Adorama also provides a short padded handle which can be inserted into the mounting socket – it’s easy to carry the unit around in the field – you would just clip the battery pack to your belt or carry it in your off hand.

Like any other studio flash unit, time to recycle depends on power output selected. This ranges from 1-5 seconds; not surprising at all on a battery-powered unit supplied by a lower-voltage power pack.

I also like that the unit is Bowens-compatible. As I own some Bowens gear, that’s a big plus in my book. I can use their light modifiers on this flash unit, for example.

Overall, a good, lightweight unit, highly portable and suited for use in the studio or just about anywhere you want to go.

Link to the Adorama page:

New Webinar – Small Lighting For Big Spaces

New Webinar – sponsored by Datacolor and co-sponsored by Metz

Not too long ago, standard practice for lighting large spaces involved hauling a lot of heavy equipment into a venue, laying out electrical service lines, creating support stands and scaffolding, and so on. Of course there was also tearing it all down, packing it away, and hauling it off again. Things have changed. It’s now possible to carry all or most of the gear you’ll need to light a large space in a duffle bag and camera bag, frequently doing it all without touching an electrical outlet and getting an equivalent or superior result.

Join David Saffir and David Tobie as they explore newer methods for lighting interiors using lighting systems adapted from on-camera flash units, purpose-built remote units and triggers. We think you’ll be surprised by the possibilities and impressed by the results!

An interactive Q&A will take place throughout the webinar to answer any questions you may have.

Webinar attendees will have the chance to win a SpyderCHECKR or Metz 44 Flash as well as receive exclusive discounts!

October 17, 2 PM EDT, 11 AM PDT

Register HERE!

DSLR Dynamics – The Art and Practice of Digital Filmmaking

New Workshops – DSLR Dynamics

Join us and explore the art of digital filmmaking!

The Video Visuals workshops are taught by two award-winning instructors.

Barry Andersson is the author of a top-selling Amazon book for DSLR video/filmmaking, THE DSLR FILMMAKER’S HANDBOOK, speaks at top film schools, & is a regular instructor for many NFL, MLB, NBA & NHL production crews.

planetMitch is the owner of planet5D – a highly ranked website that features blog and video reports on topics vital to the HDSLR community — and he also interviews industry leaders via his popular planet5D podcasts. In addition, planetMitch co-produced the short film “Incident on Marmont Avenue.”

The sessions will cover, among other things, best lighting practices, cameras, lenses, and camera settings, adding movement to video, and effectively capturing sound, editing and post-production.

I’ll be joining them, sponsored by and representing Datacolor, and I’ll be addressing color management issues as they relate to capture and post-production.

Cities coming up on the schedule include Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and more.

For dates (sessions starting this week) and registration go here:

New Workshop/Seminar – “Camera to Output”

Camera to Output – “Begin With the End In Mind”
October 19, 2013 Denver, Colorado

Join us for this comprehensive seminar, and sharpen your skills in image capture, color managed workflow, studio photography, and post-production techniques.

Getting it right in the camera

Begin with the end in mind

Color managed workflow

Introduction: Live Studio Setups and Lighting

Live Image Capture

Macro, Product & Live Model shooting workstations

Effective and efficient post production techniques

Creating Portfolio-Worthy Prints

Attendees receive special discount coupon packs and free sample materials.
Hosted by Digital2You. Sponsors include Datacolor, Epson, Pentax, Eizo, and Photo Imaging Consultants. Fee for attendance. Lunch provided.