Category Archives Photography

The shot above was taken inside the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. I had never been, and was really taken with the fact that it’s all stained glass (and tells a story, reading from left to right, bottom to top in each pane of the stained glass). While it’s looks really large here, I’ll bet it’s not 100 feet deep from end to end (but the ceilings are really high). NOTE: make sure you click on these to see a much larger version.

Above: Here’s the view if you turned 180° around from where I took the other shot. Again, the same amazing stained glass, and shot hand-held (it wasn’t as bright as it looks here — I had to brighten it up a bit in post). 

Above: Here’s a different church — this one is the St-Germain-des-Pr©s in Paris, and we filmed a small part of my travel photography glass there. The view here is off the right side of the alter, which is why the chairs all are facing to the left.

Above: here’s a pano of the back of that same church — you can tell from this photo, but that pipe organ is pretty darn huge!

Above: This is the chapel out at the Palace of Versailles, about 30 miles outside of Paris. Again, handheld since tripods were forbidden big time — they literally had flashing signs outside “No Tripods!”

Jay Maisel wanted to take us to Sainte-Chapelle (none of us had ever been), and Jay told me, “You’re going to walk up a small, dark spiral staircase, and when you come out and see the stained glass surrounding you on all sides, and the incredible light in that room, I promise you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.” He was absolutely right. It was truly spectacular.

Of course, we shot a lot more than churches during our week in Paris, but I thought it would be fun to share at least a few of my favorites here (also —- while we did see the outside of Notre Dame, we didn’t have a chance to get inside. We had a busy shooting schedule).

More on Friday. Au revoir!


Because of my own tour schedule, and our events like Photoshop World and the Google+ Conference for Photographers, I don’t often get a chance to speak at other conferences, but when I was asked to speak again at the International Society of Aviation Photography (ISAP) Conference on behalf of Nikon, I jumped at the chance.

This will be the third time I’ve presented at the ISAP Conference, and I have to say of all the conferences out there, this is without a doubt one of the best-run, most-fun, and incredibly value-packed conferences I’ve ever been a part of. The incredible training, and unbelievable shooting access they’re able to arrange for their attendees still amazes me to this day.

I’m speaking on Thursday, but I’m sticking around for their class location shoot on Friday (and catching a night flight home), but if you’re going to be at the conference, make sure you come up and say “hi”!

Here’s a link to their site with more details on the conference. Hope to see you in Norfolk, Virginia this week!

Wow, what a week!
We shot three online classes (including “A Week in Paris with Jay Maisel” plus my on-location class on shooting travel photography, and a class on Lightroom/Photoshop for Travel Photography). We taped starting at 9:00 am each day and went non-stop until after midnight every day. We literally fell into bed each night, but we still had loads of fun (it’s hard not to have fun in Paris, even when you’re working).

Easier HDR
My new Nikon D4 actually makes shooting HDRs a lot easier, because not only can I finally just take three bracketed shots (one two shots under, one two shots over, and the regular exposure), but I can set my Self Timer to take all three shots for me (I know Canon’s have been able to do this for some time, but this is the first Nikon I’ve had that will do it. Not even the new D800 will do it — just the D4). So, I shot more bracketed exposures by far than I normally would.

The “Third Frame” technique
When I was going through my images, I saw that sometimes the third frame (the one over-exposed by two stops) would make part of the sky solid white, and when I saw the 3rd frame of my bracketed shot the Eiffel tower, it reminded me of the London Eye shot I had done with the solid white background, so I took it into Lightroom and pushed the Highlights and Whites until the sky went solid white, then I brought in lots of Clarity and Blacks to make the blacks pop, and it looks pretty cool. Then, I went back and started over from scratch by first doing the full HDR treatment (using Photoshop CS6’s updated HDR feature, and the built-in “Scott5” preset) and then I mixed in the sky technique from Lightroom, and it just came together.

If you look closely, I leave just a little bit of color in all the shots, so they’re not fully black and white. When I showed a few to Jay Maisel on my phone, he really liked them, and said “They kind of look like metal etchings” and I kind of agree. So, after the Eiffel Tower shot, I set out to shoot a few more iconic Parisian places, like Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and The Louvre (below) and did the same thing.

Expanding the idea
Once I showed these to my wife Kalebra (who was along with me on the trip, and really made the trip a blast for me), she said, “Don’t you have other iconic places you could use this technique on?” I realized I had a lot of bracketed shots from previous trips, so I dug up a few and I’m sharing some of those below.

The reality is….
The reality is…. even if you have the properly bracketed shot, not all iconic monuments or buildings work with this look. I like ones where I shot it really wide with my 14mm or so, but even at that, some of them just didn’t look right, but I’m posted the ones I’m OK with so far (but I have more to try out from my archives).

Not for everybody
I know, like HDR in general, this look won’t appeal to everyone, because the only look that appeals to nearly everybody is no “look” at all, so I just think these are for me. In fact, I like it enough that I’m thinking of places I’d like to head back to, and go into them with shooting for this style in mind (which is what I did with the bottom two shots from Venice — taken after I processed the one from the Eiffel Tower).

One for the road…
I figured I’d bring it back around with a final shot from Paris below — this one a side-angle view of the Eiffel Tower with the 14mm (I only took two lenses — my 28-300mm, which was my main lens, and then the 14mm which I used in churches for a super-wide angle look or for this series).

Tomorrow, the Paris back story
I have a lot more to share about Paris, and our experiences there (both good and bad), but I wanted to share these first, so tomorrow I hope you’ll stop in as the story continues. Have a great Monday everybody. :)

Bonjour! Sorry I haven’t been able to post more. We’ve been shooting from morning until late at night, literally non-stop on the go, and by the time we make it back to our rooms we’re just falling down beat.

Here’s a quick shot taken during our shoot out at the palace of Versailles, hand-held with a 14-24mm lens. What an amazing place. Off to start today’s final day of shooting, so I gotta run. More on Monday. Have a great weekend everybody. :)

Bonjour mes amis:

Our crew landed here in Paris yesterday morning for our taping of a new class for Kelby Training Online called, “A Week in Paris with Jay Maisel.” 

Although we hadn’t planned on shooting on our first day, Jay was rev’d up and ready to go so we hit the streets of Paris, and wound up shooting at the church where they filmed parts for the movie “The DaVinci Code” and at the Luxembourg Gardens, and Senate buildings, as well as a little bit along the Seine river.

We’re literally heading out the door to begin another day of shooting today, but I can’t believe some of the eye-opening, thought-provoking moments I’ve already had with Jay. He really makes you think about your photography in new and different ways. Incredibly inspiring being around him.

Lots more to come, but the Pain du chocolats of Paris await! :-)

Ayez un beau jour!

-Mssr. Scott

(Above: iPhone shot before the day got started).

It couldn’t have been a better crowd or location to wrap up my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it” live tour than what we had last week in London, England.

What a great group of photographers — totally engaged, very responsive, lots of great questions, and some of the most kind, genuine folks I’ve had the honor to preset to. Some even brought gifts (I got everything from guitar picks (including some really cool ones), chocolate bars, British Kit Kats, and more.

My guest retoucher Glyn Dewis totally rocked it and gained LOTS of new fans, and it was such a kick sharing the stage with him. He showed loads of cool bonus stuff, and I sat in the crowd taking notes along with everyone else. Really a brilliant job and I learned a lot.

A big thanks to the awesome folks at “The Flash Centre”( who not only helped us with on our stage gear, but even gave away some cool Lastolite gear. Totally great folks (I visited their store in London, and if you haven’t, you definitely should — well stocked and super-helpful staff).

Also thanks to Adobe, who were there with a stand, and were kind enough to give away two copies of Lightroom 4 for our afternoon drawing.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the tour in London, to Flash Centre, to Adobe, to my mate Glyn for an outstanding job, to Dave Clayton for once again leading the charge to get us there in the first place, and to the warm people of England who’s big smiles and kind hearts made this a trip to remember. Can’t wait to come here and teach again soon!