Category Archives Photography

Hi Gang: I had so many requests yesterday about how I did the frame around my Maine images, I thought I would include it here today.

I originally did this tutorial for NAPP members, and it ran on the NAPP member Website nearly a year ago, but I’m running it here today, because if you’re a NAPP member—well…’ve already seen it. Anyway, there’s an extra technique in here as well (a matting technique), along with the frame technique. Hope you find it helpful. :)

Hi Gang: I took last week off and headed up to Kennebunkport, Maine with my family for a week of just doin’ nuthin’. It’s so hot down in Florida, my wife wanted to spend a week someplace where you didn’t break into a sweat just looking out the window, so off to Maine we went.

Although we were there for a week, I only went “shooting” twice (well, technically two and half times, as you’ll read in a moment). Once when we took a one-day trip up to Bar Harbor (about four hours away), and once with my buddies Scott Eccleston and his photography business partner Mark Hensley (both of whom I met on my first trip up there back in July of 2007). Here are a few shots I got along the way (I haven’t gone through all of them—I had a flight to catch).


Above: So there I was—-it was almost sunset, and I’m all alone, paddling down a creek just outside Old Orchard Beach as a came upon this beautiful area of still water. I tried to keep the boat still as not to disturb the still water, I slowly reached for my D3 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Steadying the canoe with one hand, I did my best to keep my heavy camera still with the other, while a huge snake slithered right along side the canoe, and….aw, who am I kidding—this is a totally set-up shot.

Scott and Mark positioned the rental canoe at the water’s edge for me, while I got down on one knee, with my tripod, in the parking lot and composed the shot so you couldn’t tell I was two feet in front of our minivan. Hey, I had ya going for a minute there, though didn’t I? So, it’s all real, but I wasn’t in the boat, which is a good thing, because I would have capsized it for sure.

Maine 3a

Above: This shot above was taken in Bar Harbor one morning. I missed sunrise (which was at 5:45 am), and instead woke up at 7:05 am, got my self together and was out of the room five minutes later while my family was still asleep. Around 7:50 am I drove past this lake and I headed back, pulled off the side of the road, grabbed my gear and headed down to the lake shore. It was kind of a steep climb down through a bunch of slippery rocks and stuff, and sure enough—I fell and slowly tumbled down to the shore. Hit the ground with a thud. Luckily, I was fine (slightly bruised ego, but thankfully no one was around. My camera wedged in between some fallen tree limbs, so it survived too (just a little banged up—like me). At 7:50 am I had long since missed any great light that morning, but I kinda liked the shot anyway (especially since I had to take a fall to get it, so it probably looks a lot better to me than it does to you).

Maine 5a

Above: The foggy shot above was taken in downtown Bar Harbor. It was incredibly foggy at 1:00 pm in the afternoon (which is really odd to me, but apparently is very common there), and out of the mist the four mast schooner “The Margaret Todd” came in to the dock, and I snapped this foggy shot (though it was much foggier than it looks here). Just kind of a simple shot, but I like that you don’t see anything else.

Maine 6

Above: There’s a little footbridge near a creek about 15 minutes from downtown Bar Harbor, and I got there right after the sun moved out of the nice cloud cover it had been in all morning. I waited for 45 minutes for it to move back into those clouds, but it never happened so I headed back for breakfast. On our way out of town late that afternoon, I came back, and the sun still wasn’t cooperating, but I snagged this one shot while crossing the bridge, which I thought was kind of interesting.

Maine 4

Above: Toward the end of my stay, I hooked up with Scott and Mark, and they had a connection with a guy who owns an huge abandoned six story old factory, that’s about a hundred years old, and creepy as all get out (Well, only parts were creepy—the parts where we went down in the cobweb covered basement with only my iPhone 4’s flashlight to light the way), but outside of that—it was an amazing place, and I got SO many shots to use as backgrounds. The shot above is a five-shot HDR image toned in Photoshop CS5, and I tried to keep more on the photo realistic side (not totally mind you, but more that way). This place had a ton of old rusty machinery, and old pipes, and it was an HDR love fest. I literally shot more HDR that day than I had all year. It was an awesome place.

Maine 7

Above While we were in the creepy factory, I did a video tip on shooting long exposure HDR shots for Scott’s “” blog  (an excellent blog by the way, which I’ve mentioned here previously—here’s the link—it’s a must visit blog), and the shot above is the image I created during the video tip. I’ll let you guys know when Scott puts the video tip up live). Anyway, when you’re shooting this much HDR you have to push one or two over the limit, right? So, that’s what I did above. I couldn’t help myself. ;-)


Above—here’s the 1/2 shoot part: We were leaving at 12:00 noon on Saturday morning to head to the airport, and it was such a pretty morning that once I was up (around 10:00 am), I thought I would walk into town (about a 15 minute walk from our cottage), and take some shots of the homes along the way. I couldn’t decide whether to take my 14-24mm and capture the entire home, or a 70-200mm and get it tight. I wound up taking the 70-200mm, so my idea of shots of quaint Maine homes, became shots of quaint doorways, and I used Lightroom 3 to put quickly put this 24″ x 10″ multi-photo layout together (it took all of three clicks). It’s far from finished, but I thought I’d give you this “in progress” look in the meantime (click on it for a much larger view).

Once I got back from wandering, it was off to the airport, and we got home by midnight (all, the joys of connecting flights). It was great to get away right before Photoshop World Vegas (since I won’t get much sleep while I’m there), and it was fun reconnecting with Scott and Mark, and enjoying such a wonderful place with my family (the kid’s absolutely loved it!).


Hi Gang: Just a quick update from Los Angeles where I just spent an amazing day with entertainment photographer Jeremy Cowart shooting two live on-location classes for

I always feel like, if I take a class and I learn even one new thing, it was totally worth it. We were only about 30 minutes into Jeremy’s first class and I had already learned half a dozen new things. I was blown away! By the time the class was over, my head was swimming with new ideas, and things I just had never thought of. I called my wife at the end the day and here’s exactly what I told her:

“I learned more about photography today than I have in the past year!”

I’m not kidding. We filmed both classes in the same documentary style as our online class “A Day With Jay Maisel” but rather than doing a photo walk, instead we did a series of live location portrait shots in Venice Beach, California with Jeremy doing the shoots live with the cameras rolling, and I’m there asking him the same questions that I’d have if I were watching the class online. I also took your questions live via Twitter while we were shooting, and we had Jeremy answer your questions all day long during the shoots.

Two things I loved about these classes:

(1) Like Jay’s class, it wasn’t as much about the technical stuff (though he did share lots of settings all day long), but instead it was about the creativity, the vision, how to find and work locations, and how to get 10 different looks from one small area. And…

(2) He kept the lighting simple—using either just natural light or one flash with a small softbox, or a reflector. That’s it. What he got out of this simple set-up is just stunning, and you see exactly why he’s in such demand by TV networks, movies, big record companies, and celebrities.

Anyway, I had an amazing, eye-opening, exciting, and totally exhausting day, and now I’m beat, and headed back home with my crew, but man—what a day! One I won’t forget (and I can’t wait to try out all the new stuff I learned).

Thanks Jeremy—I can’t wait until these classes go live!


What a perfect day! I just got back last night, I’m still grinning about the wonderful day I had shooting the Cubbies. Even though I was in/out the same day (flying up from Tampa for the game), it was totally worth it.


Wrigley Field is truly a Magical Place
I had never been to Wrigley field before (one of the last classic iconic ballparks in America), and as much as I love Boston’s Fenway Park, I think Wrigley truly takes the cake. It’s everything from the hand-updated scoreboard, to the ivy in the outfield, to the way the park blends in, lives, and breathes with the surrounding neighborhood. I can’t imagine a better place to take in a game.

Cubs pano 2sm

(Above: An 8-frame pano taken from the 2nd deck, right behind home plate—click on it for a larger view)

Cubs Fans Rule!
The Cubbies are having a really tough year, but despite that, Cubs fans packed every seat and cheered their Cubs on as if they were just 1 game back (even when they were behind by 8 runs). I was really impressed with how the fans carried themselves. Very classy.


Steve Green Rules!
Mike and I spent the day with Cubs Team Photographer Stephen Green (shown above), and he was an incredibly gracious host, and knew every nook and cranny of Wrigley, and how to get there fast. He’s a long time sports shooting pro, and he knew all the angles, all the best spots, and he made the day a lot of fun for us both. Everybody we met from the Cubs organization was just as gracious.


Surprise of the Day
The Cubs were playing the Cincinnati Reds and I’m in tight on one of the Red’s while he’s at bat, and when I zoom out a bit I notice the name on the back of his shirt. Cairo. It was my friend Miguel Cairo (I did a location portrait shoot with Miguel back when he was with the New York Yankees. Here a link to that post from 2007).

Between innings I switched over to the photo pit near the Cincinnati bench, and I yelled over to Miguel. He saw me and came out of the dugout onto the field to give me a hug (I’m glad the folks from the Cubs organization didn’t see that one). I don’t know who was more surprised to see the other—-me or Miguel (he was with the Phillies last year).

I shot his next At Bat from the Reds bench view and sent him the photo you see above. One thing I particularly like about this photo is that you can see his eye looking down the line of his bat, right above his arm. I have two more frames taken a split second after this one with all three of them looking to the sky following the ball, and they all have a clearer view of his face, but they don’t have the drama that this one does seeing just that one eye. Anyway, it was my favorite of the three.


My first real Chicago Style dog
OK, I had two (with all the fixin’s). I know, I know, somehow they’re better if you have them at Wrigley Field, but man, they were off the hook! It challenged my love of New York’s “Dirty Water” Sabrett hot dogs you buy on the street.


(Above: I thought I’d try a fish-eye shot or two. Taken with a 10.5mm lens).

The Weather Man was Half Right
As I sat on the plane in the morning, I checked the Chicago weather. It showed a 0% chance of rain. When I actually landed in Chicago 2+ hours later, it was already raining. Luckily, the rain cleared (after a short 10 minute rain delay), and it was a beautiful day (well, it was if you’re coming from steaming hot, humid Florida).


(Above: Another fisheye shot, but with the circular distortion fixed using Lightroom 3s built-in Lens Correction).

Getting Some Long Glass
I wanted to try out a different lens, so I rented a Nikon 300mm f/2.8 with a 1.4 tele-extender from (I love those guys—-highly recommended),  so it effectively became a 420mm f/4 lens. I also shot with a 200-400mm f/4; a 24-70mm f/2.8 (out wide at 24mm most of the time), or a 10.5mm fisheye. So I was either tight or really wide all day. For all the tight shots, I shot wide-open all day long at f/4 or f/2.8. For the few HDR shots and fisheye shots I took, I went to f/8 or f/11 to keep everything in focus. I included a few shots from the day here. Nothing great, but I still had a ball.


(Above: That’s my buddy, photographer Mike McCaskey in a shot taken right after the game).

Seeing the Ivy up Close
After the game, Steve took Mike (above) and I out to see the famous outfield ivy up close, and to stroll around the park just hanging out and swapping stories. It was a perfect day.


Even perfect days have to end
After the game, my buddy Mike and I headed to Carlucci’s Italian Restaurant in Rosemont for a great dinner, and then it was back to O’Hare for the flight home (I landed around midnight). Again, totally worth it. Luckily, my son waited up for me, and we stayed up late laughing and listening to some new tunes on his iPod until way too late. And I thought the day couldn’t get any better. :)  Thanks Mike, and Steve, for treating me to a day I won’t soon forget.



Hi Gang: Just a quick follow-up on yesterday’s post about the lack of framing and mat sizes for digital photographers.

(1) First, I learned something new about the origin of framing sizes from one of my readers: Paul Brooks, who wrote:

I agree Scott. But, you actually have missed a very important point. 4×5 and 8×10 are aspect ratios of View Cameras, which were translated somewhat with medium format 120 and 220 film sizes, but 35mm frames were approximately 1?x 1 1/2?, the same aspect ratio (1/1.5) that digital cameras have. So, that means that the framing industry was outdated when 35mm was popular. I hated to have to crop or do funny matting to print and frame full frame 35mm when I shot film. It doesn’t look like they will ever learn!

Thanks Paul. Of course, learning this makes the situation even worse than I thought.

(2) I sent emails about the article to the leading photo framing industry magazine, and to a framing industry organization as well. I have no idea if it will help, but I thought it was at least worth a try.

(3) Last night I saw a great comment from Josh Bartell from Craig Frames Inc. He sheds some light on the problem in his comment, which reads:

Hi All, I’m extremely glad that I’ve stumbled on this discussion. It seems that most of you agree that there is major issue in the retail framing industry. I too agree, but from the other side of things; I work for a frame manufacturer.

We have dealt with this issue in the very recent past. Many of our large retail customers seem to be a bit out of touch with the needs of digital photographers and are no longer meeting the needs of the majority of frame customers. So…..we have recently started selling as many sizes as possible online. Although we’re still working on our website, we’ve seen a great response on and

I currently manage our e-commerce division and would love to hear more about what sizes and styles everyone is interested in. We’re offering any size between 3×3 and 24×36. We have 30 sizes that we offer as “stock” sizes, and everything else is considered custom. Again, I would LOVE any input regarding what you need/want for frames and mats. Check out our stuff, give me an idea of what else you need, and I’ll make it happen! The industry might not be listening….but I am.

(4) Also, thanks to my reader Wayne who posted a comment yesterday and suggested we check out He noted that they sell complete framing kits in digital sizes. For example: 13 X 19, premade with glass, foam board and mounting kit for less that $20 (with quantity discounts). It says right on their home page that they offer “Digital Sizes” (of course, we now realize that it’s just “proper” non-cropped sizing, and not related to just digital, but hey—I’m not complaining—at least they offer the right sizes).

Anyway, thanks to everybody who commented, and shared their ideas. Now, if we can just get the rest of the framing industry to listen…..


I don’t usually like to start off Monday with a rant, but…it’s 2010. 10 years into the 21st century. So, why is the framing industry still only making frames and mats in sizes for traditional 35mm film prints? Seriously. Most of the big camera companies stopped making film cameras years ago. Kodak itself has killed off most of their own print film as well because it’s a digital photography world—yet when you go to buy a frame for your photos you are instantly teleported back to the 1990s when it comes to frame and mat sizing.

Who are they making these frame sizes for?

Now, I know there has to be some semi-legitimate reason for this, and I would love it if somebody from the framing industry would share that with all of us, ’cause cropping our images to fit these outdated sizes keeps us all from being able to go into Target or Crate & Barrel (where the iPhone photo above was taken), or Walmart or wherever and buy one of their good looking, inexpensive, off-the-shelf frames.

Photo Labs Get It. Why not Framers?
I’ve talked here before about using as my online lab and I love that they offer print sizes that actually correspond to the sizes of images our digital cameras actually take. For example, I can order prints in 8×12″ format, or a 16×24″ size (rather than 16×20), so it fits the aspect ratio of my digital camera images perfectly without cropping.

But then, if I want to pop that print into a frame from Target, or Walmart, or wherever, I’m out of luck. The frames, and mats don’t fit, so I have to cut it down to size. Ugh! MPIX would frame and mat my 8×12 print as it’s a standard size for them, but that’s not the point. MPIX has caught up, but why hasn’t the rest of the framing industry? I just don’t get it. Why would anyone shooting digital actually want an 8×10 print today?

Maybe It’s Time for some Marketing Spin?
Now, maybe this is a great marketing idea for some frame manufacturer. Maybe they can be “the one” to bring framing into the 21st century, and start marketing a line of “digital ready” frame and mat sizes (by the way; I’m not saying they should stop selling all 8×10 frames, but they should definitely also offer frames that fit digital cameras as well).

Anyway, just seeing that the other day at Crate & Barrel just made me once again scratch my head and wonder why sizes this outdated are still around in such abundance. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas (or conspiracy theories) as to why the framing industry is still in such a fog this far into the game.