Many of you know Blake Rudis from f64academy.com. Well, I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Blake (who I consider one of my best friends) on a really special moment in his life.
Blake, who lives in Missouri, just retired from the Air Force and I was lucky enough to be there for the retirement ceremony. I could write a small book about Blake but I thought I’d record a quick video about how my business got started because Blake played such a key role in this.
NOTE: This is a 9 minute video and I speak as fast as I can normally speak. However, if you click the Gear icon in the playbar you can speed it up 🙂
Great tribute to someone who is obviously a great person Matt. I just saw this video – a little late but I enjoyed it. I also retired from the Air Force but long ago in 1989. I bought my first camera at the BX while stationed in Vietnam in 1966-67. I have followed Blake off and on but will now make it more on. I know how being told by folks that they appreciate my service is a bit humbling and embarrassing. Most of us who career the military don’t expect thanks.
What a lovely tribute to Blake on his retirement. I ‘met’ Blake at Dave Cross’ most recent PS Summit last Fall and liked his style. He also reminds me so much of a friend that we call him Bruce around our house. I bought one of his programs after the Summit. What a coincidence, or not, that the two people I follow are you and Blake.
Matt: thank you for taking the time to acknowledge Blake’s contributions to our country as well as photography. I have been blessed to benefit from the education provided by Blake and congratulate him on a successful military career.
Congratulations on a great career Blake. I have followed you for some time now online. You are a incredible teacher and a role model for the generation out there looking to for a career. Thank you for everything you did while in the Air Force to keep us safe. It doesnt go unnoticed.
Great story. Inspirational – and interesting as well.
And a wonderful tribute to Blake.
Lots of greetings from one of your many supporter (not to say fans).
Best regards from a far away place called Denmark…
And from an “All 50 States-visitor” as well 🙂
Merry X-mas and a Happy New Year to both of you!
What a beautiful tribute to Blake, I’ve been following him for a couple of years, just recently started following you, Matt (for the birds). Both of you are phenomenal photographers, and Blake, thank you for your service, coming for a family with a Vietnam veteran, I understand the sacrifices you have made. Here’s to a new future.
Matt, a wonderful tribute to Blake. To see a successful person take the time to recognize another as helping in his career is a statement within itself. You and Blake are the only two I consistently watch, order from and subscribe to. I was not in the military but many of my friends and family were … I appreciate the service of Blake and all the others in our military and thank you!
Blake, thank you for your service and sacrifice for this country. I have been honored to be a volunteer photographer for Puget Sound Honor Flight. There is a hub in most States and we take Service Men and Women from WWII, Korea and Vietnam Wars to WA DC to honor their service and View the Monuments and Memorials built in their honor. It has been and will continue to be the focus of my photography. You can view my and other photographers photos at pugetsoundhonorflight.smugmug.com I am glad you have remained safe and found your next passion in photography and sharing with others. ****For fellow photographers looking to team up with teams of folks that have no agenda except to support our Men and Women that have helped keep our country free Volunteer at HonorFlight.org. Thank you
Great little chat! Thank You! Wow! I think both Blake and you are awesome! I agree about the venting thing, although with the things happening, it is hard not to get ugly sometimes! One day after a conversation with some folks, I thanked God for letting me not get ugly and he blessed me with an acronym that I thought you may like.
UGLY= Unlike God Loving You
We met at Creative Live, I was the guy that did the wave thing with my hands.
What a wonderful post about the history of your business and to Blake for his special part. AND Blake thank you for your service, happy retirement, and thank you for all the work you do to help photographers like myself in our growth!
Matt — Thank you for alerting me to Blake and f64. I’ve been looking for someone who can explain color theory, and Blake does it wonderfully. I’m busy watching his videos instead of yours 🙂
Blake — Thank you for your service to our country! It is very much appreciated. Not to diminish that, but thank you for your incredible expertise in color theory. I’ve been a photographer for 60 years, and I’ve been looking for this knowledge since the Nikon D1, which forced us film guys into the digital age and Photoshop. Your videos are incredible, and your enthusiasm is contagious.
Being a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Army, it was great to see your involvement with Blake’s military retirement.
I have been interested in photography for many years. Starting with Lightroom around 2007-2008 your many publications and programs have been very helpful. Your introduction to Blake has also been very beneficial.
Since my retirement in 2012, this prior photography avocation has turned into a passion. Although having an interest in all types of outdoor subjects, my primary focus is bird and landscape/scenic photography.
Your on-line education programs have been a godsend by offering an opportunity to learn new and improve Lightroom and Photoshop skills during my time of Agent Orange related cancer treatments and the Covid pandemic isolation.
I look forward to learning new techniques from both you and Blake.
Matt and Blake – you two are my favorite tutorial instructors because of your breadth of knowledge and down to Earth demeanor. This story is a great reminder in that you never know when or how people will touch your lives. Thank you both for sharing your photography knowledge – often freely – with others, and for being great humans.
Whilst reading through the comments I’ve been able to think back to the ON1 days. First of all, Matt started a 12/12 group on Flickr and that was where I met one of my best photography friends I’ve yet to meet in person. Austria is a long way from Australia and we came ever so close to meeting up… Your followers have seen boys from both families growing up. It’s not only been the happy times but shared sadness as well. Now of course you’re sharing a special part of your shared journeys. Blake, thank you for your dedication to the military. Locally, it’s been the navy for our family. However, when I was very young I was out shopping with my mother one day and a toy piano caught my attention. Not long after, I was hauled into that toy shop by an American serviceman and I came out with a tea set. I later found out that his friend had asked my mother if it would be okay for the gift giver to buy me a present. The reason for this was because my gift giver just had word that he’d become a father to a little girl and the pair of airmen had been out celebrating. Apparently I was symbolic in this instance. The gift giver had imbibed quite a lot and his friend wanted him to spend some money so he wouldn’t have any more to spend on drink! I have never forgotten the two Americans stationed in Australia. Of course I know that neither of you would have been in that scenario as it was years ago and neither of you have daughters, but it’s a memory that’s stayed with me whenever I think about what our countries share. What a pity I can’t give you a photograph. I suppose I should end by telling both of you to soar on now that you’ve taken up bird photography which isn’t always ‘plane’ sailing.
Hi Matt, what a great story! I wondered how you had made your transition. I too am a Veteran, a Navy Gunner’s Mate First Class. I retired in 2000 and am currently still serving as a Civil Servant for the Navy. I am a very enthusiastic photographer and am trying to learn/catch up with all of the latest stuff in Lightroom and Photoshop. I have gotten several of your courses and absorb each one.
Blake, thank you for your service to our Country!
I knew you and Blake were friends, thanks to both of you for filling in the details on how that came to be. I have purchased offerings from both of you, and I have found that they are very complimentary, not competitive. Both of you, keep up the great work.
You both are wonderful! I am an Air Force vet, I treasure my memories and yes I can see what it has meant to you. Best of everything, for both of you. Thanks Matt for a great example of true friendship. Jerry
Great tribute to a great partnership and friendship. Having never served in the military, and have few friends of my generation who served either, I appreciate even more those who have or did.
Matt, I met you several years back on one of your west coast Kelby tours and found you so approachable and sincere in your purpose. While I have less and less need for photography education, I continue to recommend your courses to newbie photographers in my area who are looking for a jump-start to their new-found photography passion. Can never go wrong with MattK.
Lastly, I think it’s great that you’ve found a new passion with wildlife photography. Your journey mimics that of so many of my friends and I, and I’m sure it can only be good for our country as the beauty and importance of nature is being to the forefront.
Great tribute to your friend Blake. I follow you both and you both have such a unique approach to teaching.
Coming from a military family (Air Force and Army) I appreciate the service you have provided to our country. Thank you so much for your service.
Congratulations Blake and thank you for your service. My husband and I both retired this year from a global engine manufacturer who manufactures sevreal engines to support our military aircraft. I never knew of the friendship between you two. Ironic though because you are my two favorite educators. I have purchased many classes from both of you. I am still working to learn Photoshop at a level I am satisfied with but apparently it’s my 2022 goal. You are both excellent educators and have challenged me and helped me. Hope to meet you both in person one day.
So, there’s a lot of well-deserved praise among all the nearly 75 comments. I’ve already thanked and congratulated Blake on his service on HIS most recent video on correcting a common color issue. Both you, Matt, and Blake compliment each other. I do not see you as competitors. I have been following both of you for years, and find that among ALL the photography / post processing instruction and encouragement out there, I need no one else but the two of you. Your expertise and way of teaching reaches me. And, yes, Matt – I’ve enjoyed your NAPP / Kelby all day seminars. Wonderful that you are friends and encourage each other. Blake is marvelous and so are you. I am grateful for both of you. You both have have made me a better photographer and digital artist. Thank you!
Congratulations Blake! When I retired I decided to reunite with photography as a hobby. I started watching as many photography YouTube videos as I could and that’s where I found Blake. I joined f-64 Elite and over the year or more that I was a member, I watched every teaching video on his site and purchased most of his software. Needless to say, Blake has been my mentor now for almost 2 years, but it doesn’t stop there. Blake turned me on to Matt and now I have the best of both worlds. I’m loving bird photography now because of Matt. Thank you both for being such inspiring teachers!
As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I want to thank Blake for his selfless service to our country and to all who value the photographic arts as much as you and Matt clearly do. Gratitude to you also, Matt. In my view, with Blake, you represent the best in the business, and are both a sterling example of cooperation, friendship, and competence.
Thank you for your Service Blake, You both are examples of what this world could use so much more of. Thank you both for all you do!!!
Matt – I am one of those who follow both you and Blake and have purchased courses, presets, panels, etc from both of you over the years. I never knew about the relationship between you guys except for a short time I know you both did tutorials for On1. So thanks for making this video – while I knew some of your background – I did not know Blake’s.
Blake – what can I say – and it may be a cliche – but “thanks for your service.” Hard to imagine how you had time to be on active duty, raise a family and run your photo business – not to mention helping Matt get started. So congrats! And keep up the great work you are doing in helping us all become better photographers.
Quite a tribute to Blake.
Thank you for your service, Blake. It is rare to have such a good friendship both in business and private life.
I really like both of you, great job.
Matt, what a beautiful, thoughtful and heartfelt tribute to Blake. He is an amazing man, father. friend and mentor. I have learned so very much from him. He has been a tremendous resource for my development as an artist in this stage of my life.
As a veteran, I can humbly thank you for your years of service. You have made a difference.
And, Blake, you continue to make a difference in the lives of many.
Lovely tribute to Blake!
As a Navy vet, I know somewhat Blake has gone through and done. I admire you.
Matt, a wonderful story. I am so impressed that you give Blake so much credit. You both can expound on many photography issues in a clear and easy-to-understand way, thanks so much.
Thanks, James! I would do it all over again if I could. Next chapter 🙂
Thank you for honoring Blake. I love his courses, the Photoshop zone panel, actions, etc., and I use them almosrt every day. Blake deserves maximum credit for his creations.
I recall those days of the one-day seminars as I learned from most of the NAPP group (including you Matt) during those meetings when you came to the Sacramento Convention Center. Of course I always left with new books for my learning library.
Congratulations Blake on your retirement from the USAF! thanl you fro your service from a Navy veteran (Vietnam).
Even without knowing your backgrounds, I knew you were both extraordinary people. Your goodness, sincerity and enthusiasm for sharing always comes through. Congratulations and a special thank you to Blake for all you have done for our country, for your friend, for all of us. Thank you to both Blake and Matt for being who you are.
Two classy guys…
Guys whens the book coming out “The Blueprint” – I want to sign up first!
Oooh! That’s good!
Matt, what a great story. I had the pleasure of attending one of your Lightroom seminars in Sacramento many moons ago. I took a lot away from it. I followed you to On1 and on to your own site. I always take a lot away from every class you teach.
Blake, happy retirement and thank you for your service! As a Vietnam vet, I have so much respect for the men and women who wear the uniform today. It is not always easy. As an f64academy member your knowledge and your ability to put in to a video I can understand impresses me with every course. Now I know how Matt got all his smarts!
It is pretty bad when you cannot even spell your own name! That should be Doug Wright
Thank you Matt for sharing the story of how your friendship with Blake started and grew. It’s not often people go out of their way to acknowledge & thank those that provide helping and guiding hands along the way, so it’s refreshing to hear the stories when they do. That you remain such great friends today is heartwarming especially in light of the times we have all lived through in the past couple of years, so important to maintain those connections.
I attribute much of my competency in Lr & Ps and my continued love of photography to the two of you. As a f64Elite member I did know Blake was retiring… must send him a note of congratulations 🙂
I wish you both a very Merry Christmas and here’s hoping 2022 sheds some sunshine on us all!
Matt, thank you so much for sharing this story about Blake. I’m an F.64 member and did know Blake was retiring this week. I also knew you were friends but did not know about how much he helped you. That’s beautiful. I wish Blake and his family the very best, as he makes this transition.
Matt, you and Blake have been instrumental to my artistic growth through this last difficult period of isolation and no travel (Old Lady here). At least one of you has graced my monitor every day. Your apparent ease with the camera and the material has, in an odd way, helped me feel less alone — that someone cared even more than me about things photographic. My first contact with Blake was a joint seminar where you showed patience and respect for each other’s sometimes conflicting opinions — great teaching and fun to watch. Hope to see more of these!
Congratulations, Blake, on your retirement! Thank you both for your contributions to this perpetual student’s life.
Thank you, Matt, for this video. Very meaningful. Very inspiring. Blake Rudis and you are the two foremost Photoshop experts in the country. I have learned so much from both of you.
And it goes without saying, thank you, Blake, for your years of service. Happy well-deserved retirement!
Thank you, Matt!
I love this and it is so nice of you to give this tribute to Blake!
People come into our lives at just the right time, for just the right reason to fulfill a greater purpose. If not immediately, sometime in the future.
I’ve had a backseat view to the development of your friendship over the years. Getting a live front row seat last week, did this Mothers heart good! You are family to the whole family now dude!
Thanks for not celebrity crushing too much Mom 😉 It was so cool to see him fit right into the family! I think Matthew found a new buddy!
Thank you for your service, not only in the military, but also to all of us who struggle to keep up with photography in this rapidly accelerating world! And special thanks that your main focus is usually Photoshop rather Lightroom.
What a wonderful story and tribute to a great friend. Thank you for your service, Blake – and for encouraging Matt to follow in your footsteps to start his own business. You both have meant so much to those of us with a passion for photography and for improving our craft. For that, thank you both! Wishing you and those you love a safe and joyous holiday season.
Blake, Thank you for your service, and the best in retirement (from the military).
Thank you, Howard!
I am so glad you two are such good friends. I respect both of you so much for what you do for fellow photographers and I can think of no two better people than you both. I am so glad you took the time to tell this story, Matt! I smiled all the way through you video as you described the evolution of your friendship. Keep up the good work, Matt and Blake. I wish you both continued success.
Thanks Matt I follow both you guys it takes a Man to stand up and give that great tribute to friend
thanks for sharing
Matt, thank you for your story about your friendship with Blake, it was very meaningful about the importance of friendships. Blake, thank you for your service! Good luck to both of you on your photographic journey
Great tribute to Blake. You and he have combined to helping me get to a higher level in post processing especially in PS.
That was quite a story Matt especially as I started following this guy named Matt Kloskowski from NAPP a long time ago then I found Everyday HDR which we all know morphed into f64 and f64elite. So thank you to you and Blake for all you do for the rest of us that have some interest in what you and he have spent so much time learning and passing on. As far as Blake is concerned, I have complemented him on his style of instruction which he said he attributes to his many years in the Air Force, having to learn how to make things interesting for the pilots he was instructing or they would just tune him out. Well, the both of you have a vast knowledge of information to put out and it was kind of interesting to hear how everything came full circle for you because of that guy named Blake.
Haha, yep, Pilots are so much harder to teach, especially for mandatory training. No one wants mandatory training, lol! “Death by Powerpoint” is what they cal lit.
Makes it so much more rewarding teaching in this space where people seek out knowledge and put it to practical application.
Great Video! Thanks for your service Blake. Both you and Matt are my two favorite Photoshop educators.
I’ve known for some time that both Matt and Blake are excellent teachers and photographers, and I always intuited that they were really terrific human beings, but now I know they are. Thanks Matt, for a lovely tribute to another of my favorite photography teachers.
What a true friend and a great tribute to your friendship and camaraderie. You two are my PS gurus. If there was a silver lining to the last two years, it has been your virtual workshops and courses and what you both have taught me and others about PS. Blake will occasionally comment on his “ask a friend,” figuring it was you. The one seminar you did together was priceless. Please do more.
It had to be special to attend Blake’s retirement party. Did you have your camera to photograph the war memorial? It has to be one of Blake’s favorite subjects.
THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR EFFORTS, AND, BLAKE, FOR YOUR SERVICE TO AND FOR OUR COUNTRY.
Hi Harold. I didn’t even bring my camera with me, so no photography. But we did manage to fill any possible photography time with some cocktails and good old relaxing with the family 🙂
A very nice tribute to a mentor. I am currently taking Blake’s course on Intro to Photoshop. I just finished his color theory course. He is a great teacher, knows how to cut to the chase, and enthusiastic. Good energy.
Blake, thanks for your service!! I live in Rome NY, former home of Griffiss AFB (B52/KC-135). Current home of EADS and Rome Lab. A very Air Force community still.
As you retire from one path and discover new ones enjoy the wild blue yonder!!
A great tribute to your friend. I enjoy all the content from both of you.
Many thank for your kind tribute, Matt. Through it I learned a great deal about both you and Blake. You’re both key people in the realm of enabling interested photographers to improve their craft.
Matt, thank you for your humanity. What a marvelous ode to all that makes the best of mankind … humility, gratitude, giving credit where credit is due, hard work and tenacity … among the many things that undergird the American Experience. Speaking of which, Blake, thank you for protecting that unique and infinitely valuable experience for the rest of us, thank you for your service, sir! You also clearly embody all the attributes I listed above for Matt and then some. I wish you nothing but the best for your future (both of you) and may your endeavors go from strength to strength.
Also Matt, thanx for introducing me to Blake … I’ve fairly recently bought his ZSE7 panel ands become an Elite member … and the utter explosion of opportunity, options and creativity I’ve discovered lurking in my RAW files, even very old ones, has astonished me. I find myself dreaming at night about the edits I can make and i haven’t even scratched the surface.
Thanx you both for helping me and pushing me to raise my game as a photographer. Merry Christmas to all of you and all of yours.
Thanks for sharing a great story about how friendship can be born and grown into something special.
I’ve found and used your instructional material to great benefits since I enrolled in one of your Kellby One courses.
I found Blake’s website forcused on HDR quite a few years ago as well. He to has turned into a reliable tutor.
Both of you represent the pinnacle of photography educators on-line. I’ve often thought, but never acted on doing an in-person workshop.
I don’t think of you as competing. You’re uniques insights, knowledge, experience and approach to sharing are complementary.
Thanks to you both for enriching my experience as a photographer, and with this story enriching my life experience as well.
Blake, thank you for your service and helping keep our country safe.
Best wishes in your retirement. And — keep the great stuff coming on f64 academy.
Thank you for your service Blake!
My pleasure! I would do it all over again if the opportunity were available!
Two remarkable gentlemen that contribute a lot to the photography community. Many thanks to you both.
That’s a great tribute!
In 2018 I was in Moab, UT where I got to see Blake for the first time. His presentation was outstanding, actually the best, and if he said anything about being in the US Air Force, it completely escaped me. Like you said, he’s very humble about it.
“Blake, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!”
And thank you Matt, for all you do!
I remember that talk! That was one of my favorite I have ever done.
I kept my service pretty quiet for the most part. Situational awareness and cyber security were always important for me so I kept my military career off of my YouTube channel.
That is a beautiful tribute to Blake. There are two instructors I follow, you and Blake Rudis. Congratulations Blake on your retirement from the Air Force. You are a beautiful soul.
Matt I found your video refreshing. It is not very often that someone takes the time to publicly thank someone for helping them. I, like many others, follow you both and have learned a great deal from both of you. Also, as a veteran I appreciate what Blake and all other military members sacrifice for our country. I was both of you the best.
Matt is a genuine guy, one of the most genuine, in fact. I appreciate you as well for your service!
Matt, Great video!!! Blake, THANK YOU for your service. My older brother served in the Air Force during Vietnam so its nice to see another Air Force vet. Thank you for your tutorials I watch them a lot and they are very helpful. You are a great guy too !!! Matt, I would like to say thank you to you. I started watching your tutorials when you were with ON1 and you taught me how to edit my images using Lightroom, Photoshop and ON1. I worked really hard applying what i have learned from you and have developed my own style of editing now. I used to send my images to ON1 to have them critiqued and when you saw my images you always complimented me on the editing style. I wonder why? hmmm 🙂 Thank you again, you guys are awesome !!!!
Thanks, Jim! Matt is a good dude and knows his stuff! You are in good hands 🙂
A very interesting story. I have been following both you and Blake for several years.
Thanks for all of your support!
Matt and Blake,
Great story. I attribute much of my interest in photography to you two guys. You make a great team and I can tell how much your friendship means to Matt and, I’m sure to Blake as well. As a former Naval officer I appreciate Blake’s service and also to Matt for acknowledging the importance of our military. Thanks to both of you for contributing to our photographic lives. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to both of you and your families.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well! Thanks for serving also.
I have followed both of you for many years and have so, so much from each of you. Thank you Matt for sharing this message and congratulations to Blake with gratitude for your service to the USA!!
Hi Matt. Thanks for a great and inspirational video… I follow both of you guys and consider you both as my favorite mentors. Blake thanks for all you do for our country and and congratulations on your retirement.
Thanks, Tom and Jack! So cool to see so many people who look at the two of us as mentors.
Matt, this is a wonderful tribute to Blake. Thank you, Blake, for your service, and thanks to both of you for great teaching and dedication to your work.
From a Veteran, I want to thank Blake for his service and dedication! Also, thanks to Matt K for taking time to not only recognize Blake but to express how grateful he is for Blake’s friendship and support! Well done, gentlemen!
Thanks, Ernie! I appreciate you as well!
I have followed both of you guys for a long time. Very interesting story how you both got started in you own business.
Thanks for the video. I can’t see you and Blake as competitors, you both have a field of your own.
Anyway, here’s (a dram) to you, Blake, and photography! May your business flourish also in the future.
Definitely don’t want to compete with Matt, especially in an arm wrestle. That dude works out like EVERY DAY!
Matt: your story is *actually* just as important as all the other vids you post. Break, break…
Chief Rudis: congrats on retirement. You are ever part of the 5% who have ever taken the oath, put yourself out there, and served in war and peace..
Keep on achieving, Chief + Matt!
Vince Alcazar, COL, USAF, ret.
Thanks, Vince! I almost made it to Chief 🙂 Had I stuck around I would have been there. That’s Senior Master Sergeant with a Frist Sergeant Diamond.
Thank you for your service, sir! I appreciate you paving the way for guys like me.
It’s great to see a friend publicly offer a tribute to a friend. Nice job, Matt. Congrats Blake.
Congratulations to Blake on his retirement! Very well done!
Thank you so much 🙂
A great tribute to Blake. It was wonderful that you were able to attend his retirement ceremony.
It was an awesome day, made even better with Matt there to share it with my family 🙂
What a great story! Matt––thank you for your service! I have a son-in-law who retired from the Navy as a helicopter pilot after 25 years. The career military men and women have contributed immensely in making America a great country. Thanks again for publishing this video story.
I 100% agree 🙂