Category Archives Misc


When I go on the road for seminars or photo shoots, I generally try to stay at Hilton Garden Inns (which is a less expensive boutique hotel chain run by Hilton). They’re all pretty new, so the hotels are nice and clean (that’s very important to me), and you get free breakfast, and free wireless, and they have a little 24-hour store where you can get toiletries, and snacks and stuff, and for the money, they’re really hard to beat.

At least I thought that until I stayed at a Hyatt Place the night before my Orlando Photoshop Down & Dirty seminar. That’s where I want to stay from now on.

Like the Hilton Garden Inn, the Hyatt Place is Hyatt’s lower priced boutique chain, but where the Garden Inn is kind of simple and homey, the Hyatt Place has a much more creative bent to it (it’s kind of like the “jetBlue” of hotels, and I totally mean that as a compliment).

For example, the layout of the hotel is very hip. It looks like something you’d see in New York or San Francisco costing lots more. They had a small Starbucks attached to the front desk, and it was open 24 hours (since it’s manned by the front desk staff late at night), and when you order a sandwich (even late at night), they serve it on a real plate—-heated if you like—and they served the whole thing up like you were in a restaurant, even though you take it back to your room.

My room was great. It really wasn’t much bigger than a standard sized room (see the image up top—courtesy of Hyatt Place, which totally doesn’t do the room justice), but the layout was really brilliant (it was like a Think Tank Photo bag. The same size, but somehow they made it feel much bigger).

Totally digging my suite-like room
They made the room seem like a suite, with a vertical half-wall separating the bedroom from the rest (but much nicer than an Embassy Suites room) with really cool furniture, which included a wall-mounted 45″ High-Def flat panel television. The TV was set up so you could plug anything (including HDMI) right into it; your iPod, your digital camera, your computer—-you name it. You could do a slide presentation right in your room.

It had a refrigerator, a wet bar, a work desk, a great roomy shower, lots of places to sit (it kind of had a big sectional so you could put your feet up, work, and watch TV). Plus, it was super clean.

It came with free Wireless everywhere, and the whole room was just set up very smartly, and it actually reminded me of a room at the “W” hotel, but it was roomier and at just a fraction of the cost. Also, the staff was really on the ball and went out of their to help me on several occasions.

You get free breakfast. They had a cool-looking restaurant downstairs, where you got your free breakfast, but I skipped it that morning to get over to the convention center early.

Price Matters
I did some checking to compare prices between the Hilton Garden Inn and the Hyatt Place, and they’re priced very comparably (in some cases, one was $10 to $12 bucks higher than the other, but it just depended on the city as to which one was a little higher than the other).

Anyway, I know this isn’t generally the kind of thing I blog about here, but you know when I learn about something really great, I can’t keep it to myself. I know a lot of you travel (and I know a lot of you travel to my seminars), and if you’re going to a city that has a Hyatt Place, you should give it a try—–if you’re a creative type (which if you read this blog, you are), you’ll totally dig it. (Here’s a link to their Website).

By the way, if you come to Tampa for my Lightroom seminar in November, they just opened one right by the airport (about 10 to 12 minutes from the convention center).

I asked my buddy RC Concepcion (photographer and Web guru guy), to do a short video tutorial on how to create a photo Gravatar, so when you post a comment here on my blog, instead of showing the default silhouette of a body, it would automatically display your photo instead.

The reason I thought this might be helpful is because I wanted to add my photo to my comments, but I couldn’t find a way to do it. So I had to ask one of the guys in my Web dept. how to do it, and then eventually I just had him do it for me because I’m lame.

So I figured some other folks might wonder how to do this too, and RC’s tutorial (above) makes the process really easy.

Thanks RC for making that for us, and I encourage everybody who posts here (or elsewhere) to go ahead and create your own photo Gravatar.


Hi everybody. It was a late night at the studio tonight (just getting home at 1:00 am. Ugh!), so I’m gonna make this one short and sweet. Here goes:

  • McNally’s New Site Rocks!
    Joe McNally just intro’d a whole new look for his portfolio site (link) and his very popular blog (link) and I think the site designer did a fantastic job on both (and an especially tidy job in tying all of Joe’s many projects together in one central place). One thing I particuarly like about his new site (besides the amazing images of course), is that his new site doesn’t hijack your screen by expanding to full screen size (resizing my browser window without asking is a pet peeve of mine, which almost bugs me as much as a site that plays music without asking first). Anyway, love the new look of both the blog and his main site (shown above). Big kudos to his design team.
  • Catch my photography interview over at
    I did an in-depth interview about my photography with Scott Bourne over at, and I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable written interviews I’ve done, because he posed some questions that really made me think and reflect on where I’ve been, what I’m doing, and where I’m going with photography, and I’ve gotten a lot of really nice feedback on the interview so far. Here’s the link to check out out.
  • Part 1 of our Special Series on Digital Camera Lenses
    Matt and I launched the first of a four-part series on lenses yesterday on D-Town TV (the weekly show for Nikon DSLR shooters), and we are so psyched about the great feedback we’re getting from our viewers (especially about our explanation of full frame versus cropped frame camera bodies and which lenses work best with which). If you haven’t caught this week’s show yet, here’s the link (you can watch it right online).
  • We Blew Past 12,000 Photo Walkers!
    First, I want to welcome the great folks at LensBaby as official Worldwide Photo Walk sponsors (thanks you guys!). Now the news: back on Wednesday night we blew past 12,000 walkers for my 2nd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. Get on board right here.
  • Great Photo Retouching Before/Afters
    RC Concepcion is running a commentary on photo retouching today over at Layers magazine, so I thought I’d feature the top notch retouching of Richard Ray Ruiz. Very nice stuff, and not overdone. WARNING: Just so ya know, there is some fashion-style nudity in a few of the images. Here’s the link.

That’s it for this Friday folks. I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend, and I hope to see you back here next week—-I’ve got some reviews on some pretty cool new stuff that I want to share. Take care. –Scott


I’ve talked about before (which is basically a site that does a very clever job of gathering blogs about specific topics and it puts them all on one handy page, but that’s just part of the story). They call it, an “online magazine rack” that they update every hour.

Anyway, just recently, they introduced a feature called “MyAlltop” where you can set up your own Alltop page, with your own favorite blogs on it. So, I put one together with blogs about Photoshop, Photography, the Mac, and other stuff I check each day, and of all the things like this I’ve tried (various RSS readers, blog aggregators, Google-this, Yahoo-that, etc.), this is the quickest to use and easiest to set up.

One of my favorite features of Alltop is that you can move your cursor over a headline and it shows you the first paragraph or so from that post, so you can quickly decide if you want to click the link and read more.

It’s free to sign up, and once signed up, you just search by topic (Photoshop for instance), and it shows you a list of the Photoshop blogs they follow. To add one of those, you just check the box, and keep on choosing blogs until you’ve got your own custom page set up. You can also reorder the blogs in the order you want them to appear by just dragging and dropping. Anyway, it’s free, and quick, and definitely worth a try. Here’s the link to set-up your own page.

Let me know what you think after you’ve tried it for a few days. (If you want, you can check out my own page by going to



Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and our offices are closed as we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

This post is dedicated to the memory of David Leimbach, (brother of our own Jeff Leimbach), who last year, on Memorial Day, gave his life for his country during combat in Afghanistan. 


I’ll be back blogging tomorrow, and I hope you’ll join me here then. 



I know it’s kind of late to be getting a Christmas present, but there’s a reason. First, about the present. It was from one of my dearest friends, and renowned tech guru Terry White (of Terry White’s Tech Blog fame). That’s Terry pictured above, in a photo taken with my iPhone.

Terry called me a few days before last Christmas and told me something I already knew—I’m an incredibly hard person to buy a gift for, because I’m such a gear junkie. If my wife or brother hasn’t bought it for me, I probably bought it myself. But he also told me that this year he had the perfect gift for me, and that it was a gift he’d never given anyone else ever, and wouldn’t give anyone else. Of course, now I was dying to know what it was.

He said he was giving me a “Terry White Tech Day.” He would fly to my home in Florida, on his own dime, and spend an entire day hooking up, fixing, extending, and just pimping any technology-related thing in my home. He said he would set up computer networks, enhance my wireless networks, add gadgets to my TV-set—-anything I wanted for an entire day. Well, Saturday was the day, and it was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got, hands down. It was amazing!!!

Now, you might be thinking, “Scott, you’re a technology guy! You write books on this stuff! Don’t you have all this stuff hooked up already?” Sadly, no. Here’s the thing: I don’t write books on networking, or wireless gadgets, or any of that techno-stuff. I call other people for this hard stuff (usually Terry, who knows ALL of this type of stuff inside and out). I’m a creative guy, a Photoshop Guy, a photography guy, an educator guy, a business guy, and a musician guy. Guys like me desperately need really smart people to help us do all the hard stuff that falls outside the fun easy stuff we know how to do. In short; we need a Terry White!

As soon as Terry landed, we headed straight to Best Buy (That’s Terry in the Tampa Best Buy above). I knew I was in trouble when he said, “We’re going to need a shopping cart.” By the time we left the store, I had spent nearly $1,200 on everything from wireless routers, to a wireless Epson printer/copier/fax (for my wife and son), to a half-dozen or so Ethernet cables, wireless telephone repeaters, a wireless keyboard for my Playstation 3, and a bunch of stuff of other stuff that I’m not sure even Terry knows what it does.

However, once we got back to the house, Terry went at it, and by the end of the day, he had added, fixed, extended, reformatted, and he addressed so many things in my house that will make things easier, faster, and less frustrating, that even my wife said, “We have to make this a yearly thing.” It was absolutely awesome!!!!

Now, the reason I just got this present was because the first time Terry was scheduled to come in, I caught a virus the day before and so I had to cancel and this was our first chance to make it happen again. But I’m so glad it happened—-it was amazing to see Terry when he’s “in the zone,” and now I can just about email my coffee maker to have a cup ready when I get up in the morning (OK, not really, but I had to leave something for Terry in case he gives me this again for Christmas this year. Hint, hint!).

Thanks Terry for an amazing day, for fixing all my stuff, for making all my stuff better, and for generally just being a good enough friend that you’d be willing to do something like that. I am lucky to know ya! :)