Category Archives Photography

Mike Scott & Alex1sm

Solider Field 2sm

Hi Gang: As you re reading this, I m in Philadelphia for my Photoshop Tour for Digital Photographers seminar, but on my way to Philly, I headed up to Chicago for an NFL sideline shoot at the Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Browns game on Sunday, with a couple of my buddies; Mike Olivella, and Alex Walker (That’s us above. L to R: Mike, me, and Alex at Soldier Field during the game).

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It was perfect weather for a football game; around 55 with no wind, and all three of us had an absolute blast! I ve included a few shots from the game (but I got into Philly around 12:30 am so I didn’t have a lot of time to go through all the shots yet), but here s a few quickies and the details on the gear I used, and settings:

I used two bodies: A Nikon D3, and a Nikon D300s. My main camera was the D3, and with it I used a 200-400mm f/4 mounted on a Gitzo carbon fiber monopod. My secondary camera was the D300s, where I switched between a 70-200mm, a 50mm f/1.4 (used mostly when the play moved inside the 10 yard line), and the occasional fish-eye lens for stadium shots (see below). I carried my gear using a Think Tank Photo modular belt system and used a Black Rapid R-Strap on the D300s (since it wasn t mounted on a monopod). I also usually lose my Lens Hood once or twice during a game, so Brad finally got me a screw-on, rubber lens hood which worked great.



Mike and Alex are both Nikon shooters, too, and Alex was shooting a D300 with a 300mm f/2.8 lens that he got from the Paul and great folks over at (here s the link—-I rent lenses from them myself, and I highly recommend them).

Soldier Field


I shot in JPEG mode (to get the most frames per second), and I left the 200-400mm wide open at f/4 all day (to get as shallow a depth of field as possible to help separate the players from the background). I shot in High-Speed shooting mode, and set my focus to Continuous as well. It was a day game, so my white balance was set to Auto most of the day (until the field got in shadows, then I changed the white balance to shade), and I shot between 280 and 400 ISO (a little higher than usual because there was a thick cloud cover most of the day).


Anyway, it was an awful lot of fun spending the day shooting with a couple of buddies, plus I got to try out some of the tips I picked up from Sports Illustrated s Peter Read Miller as well, which were a big help.


My thanks to everybody at the wonderful Bears organization (Go Bears!), and now I ve got to get back to my seminar (the next one s in Tampa, Florida in just over two weeks, on November 16th, so come on down and hang out for the day!).



What do you and more than 500 Philadelphia-based photographers have in common? If you come to my seminar on Monday in Philly, we’ll all have something in common, as I’m teaching my “Photoshop Tour for Digital Photographers” there, and I hope you can make it.

Also, just so you know; there’s no way you can lose if you come, because this day is 100% money-back guaranteed—if it’s not the best Photoshop training seminar you’ve ever been to, at any price, we’ll refund your money on the spot. Really!

Here’s a link with all the details (it’s gonna be fun; you’ll learn a whole bunch, and I promise to make it worth your while). :)


WOW—what a first day up here in New York. My day started at 10:15 am with a presentation in Nikon’s booth about my photography called “The Power of Color.” (photo above by Raphael “RC” Concepcion).

After my presentation for Nikon, I headed over to the Nik Software booth to unveil the brand new version of their award-winning Photoshop plug-in, Viveza 2. I have to say—it is one absolutely amazing plug-in. They really took Viveza to a whole new level with this update, and it was both an honor, and really exciting, to be the first to show off this amazing new technology.

The Show Floor
I got to check out a few booths this morning. Hoodman showed me a new gadget for photographers who wear glasses, and it was very clever. I saw the Think Tank booth but didn’t get by to do any shopping (that’s for tomorrow). Canon and Leica had big booths, and Canon had a special indoor theater for showing their HD video, that was getting some buzz, along with their 1D Mark IV on display.

Nikon’s booth was massive, and packed to the gils the whole day, with the D3s getting lots of love, and I checked out Epson’s booth and as usually, it was hoppin’ and Westcott had James Schmelzer doing live demos and he had them packed in wall to wall.

So, what was the #1 most-asked question I got all day? Where’s Adobe? Everybody I saw asked the same thing, as Lightroom 3 was just announced, but there was  no Adobe booth on the Expo floor (although they did have some sessions on the conference track).

Joe and Me
After a quick look around, I headed back over to Nikon to tape a video interview between myself and Joe McNally. It was basically just a live, free-flowing conversation between Joe and I about the state of photography today, our careers, and where we see things going. It was an awful lot of fun, because it really was totally spontanious, unrehearsed, and sometimes really silly (yes, a lot of it will wind up on the cutting room floor because Joe and I got carried away a few times). I’ll let you guys know when it goes live.

In the afternoon, I did a presentation over at the Bogen Imaging Booth that was a lot of fun, and then I headed down to catch a session by celebrity and portrait photographer Michael Grecco.


A Wild Night in The City
After the show, I went to dinner with my buddies from Louisiana—Matt Lange and Don Page (the guys I shot the Louisiana Tech game last week—-I talked them into coming to New York).

After dinner at Rays Pizza (yum!), a bunch of us went to the wildest show I’ve ever seen—-an off-broadway performance art thingy called “Fuerzabeuta.” RC turned us all onto to this show (it was me, Matt and Don, plus Brad Moore, Joey L, Jeremy Cowart and his buddy Austin, and the whole gang from Peachpit Press. We even ran into Zack Arias at the show), and RC was a hero, because we had an absolute blast—-like nothing I’ve ever seen!


There’s no way I can describe it (it was something like Cirque du soliel would do if one day they said, “OK, now let do something that’s really over the top.”). But it was a blast!!!! Totally weird, but a blast nonetheless (photos by Donald Page).



We ended up at Lindy’s deli, sitting outside on a beautiful night, for their famous cheesecake. What a fun day!

Tomorrow, I’m doing my presentation for Nikon again at 1:15 pm, and then I’m going to catch Sports Illustrated’s Peter Read Miller’s session on sports photography in the afternoon (and during the morning I’m doing a brief stint on a panel as well). I’ll have more details, and more photos tomorrow.

Hope to see you at my Nikon Presentation tomorrow!




LAtech 13sm


LAtech 1sm

Scott & Matt

I hit the road last Thursday, and it’s been a busy weekend. I thought I’d do a quick interview with myself to answer those lingering questions I have about myself. Here goes:

Q. Hey, how’d your Lightroom seminar in Michigan go?
A. It was awesome! We had a huge crowd, but not only that—they were a really a great group to present to. They were totally into it from the get-go, and they really made me feel feel welcome.

Q. How did you handle all their questions?
A. Luckily, Lightroom expert, and Adobe Technical Sales Director Terry White was there with me answering questions from the crowd between each session and at lunch, and that helped a bunch (in that neck of the woods, everybody knows Terry and he was mobbed with questions on every break).

Q. How many of his answers were correct?
A. Very few, but he’s so friendly people didn’t seem to mind.

Q. Really?
A. I’m totally kidding. Terry knows Lightroom inside and out, and he was tremendously helpful (especially when I got stumped a few times—-I just sent the people to Terry).

Q. Judging by the photos above, I guess you didn’t go straight home after the seminar?
A. Nope, I took a detour down to Ruston, Louisiana to shoot the Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico State college football game from the sidelines with one of my frequent commenters here on the blog, pro sports photographer Matt Lange (here’s a link to his blog).

Q. How’d you hook up with Matt?
A. When I was getting shellacked about the whole ‘Shooting from the Sidelines’ contest a few months back, Matt sent me a very kind email of support, and we started talking back and forth, and one thing lead to another and the next thing you know Matt and I and a bunch his friends and family are sitting around tail-gating before the game. Then we headed out to the field to shoot in absolutely perfect football weather. That’s me and Matt in the last photo above, taken right after the game.

Q. Scott, you look like hell in that photo.
A. That’s a statement, not a question.

Q. Sorry. Scott, why do you look like hell in that photo?
A. It’s been a long couple of weeks, brother. ;-)

Q. Louisiana’s a long way to go for a shoot isn’t it?
A. Yup, but it was totally worth it. First, I made some new friends. Besides being a really talented photographer (link), Matt is just a terrific guy all around, and so is his buddy Donald Page (who’s now my buddy, too, despite the fact that he tried to work his way into just about every shot I took all day—that’s his camera in my fisheye shot above), but it’s not just Matt; he’s surrounded by a bunch of great people, from his lovely wife Chelsea, to his his friends, his Mom, his brother, old college roommates and all, and they couldn’t have been more gracious or made me feel more at home as they were plying me with Jambalya and Boudin.

Q. But it was more than just a day of yummy food and fun, eh?
A. You betcha. I got to pick Matt’s brain about how he shoots football, and I picked up some great tips from him (he shoots NFL, college, and other sports, along with sports portraits), and plus; I really needed the practice. Shooting football is a lot harder than it looks, and I hadn’t shot a game since last season, and I was so rusty at first that after the first quarter I felt like re-formatting my memory card and just starting over. Luckily, things got better as the day went on, and I got a little more into the groove, but shooting football is something that just takes a lot of practice, and a lot of hustle to do it right. I wasn’t on assignment covering the game, so I could be pretty leisurely about it this time, and Matt and I talked a lot and had a lot of laughs the whole day, but that’s not the case when shooting a game if you’re on assignment.

Q. How crowded were the sidelines?
A. There were only about 10 photographers covering the game, so it was pretty wide open.

Q. What was the biggest challenge?
A. Getting a decent background. The stands were only about 2/3 full at best, with both end zones open (no seating—just grass) and the bleachers toward the ends of both sides were empty too, which makes for some pretty bad backgrounds. Some of my shots where I had captured the best action had some of the worst backgrounds (from a number of angles it looked like there was no one at the stadium, but actually in the middle of the stands it was packed). So, you had to try and work around that all day, but sometimes, depending on where the play was happening, you just couldn’t avoid it.

Q. Any other challenges?
A. The constantly changing light. It was pretty cloudy the whole day, but then the sun would break through for a few minutes, then back into the clouds, then back out again, so you really had to keep an eye on your exposure. Also, there was a lot of white in their uniforms, so you had to keep an eye out for clipping the highlights, especially when you’re shooting wide open all the time.

Q. How much post processing did you do?
A. Really just two things: (1) I added contrast (2) I sharpened the images. I shot in Auto White Balance and it worked fine for a daylight outdoor game, so I didn’t have to do any color correction or enhancement at all (the field was astroturf, so the colors were already really vibrant). I also had to crop a few shots (for example, I had to crop Don’s face and arm out of the fisheye shot). I also shot in JPEG Fine mode (gasp!), wide open at f/4 all day, trying to keep my shutter speed at 1/1000 of a second or faster. I used a D3 as my main camera, and a D300s as my 2nd body when the action got inside the 20 yard line. I also used the latest RS-4 R-Strap (from Black Rapid)—the one with the new connector, on my second body, and I have to admit; the new connector is a big improvement (though the magnet in the shoulder strap kept getting attached to Matt’s friend’s truck). Can’t live without the R-Strap for shooting sports.

Q. Anything else notable happen?
A. Well, there was thing one thing. It took two flights each way. One on a small Delta commuter jet, and the other on a full-sized Delta 757. The commuter’s overhead and under seat space was so small that I had to gate check my camera bag (a Think Tank Photo’s International Traveler I just bought a few weeks ago—–it’s smaller than the Airport V2 I have, but still can hold two bodies, my 200-400mm lens, two other lenses, and tons of accessories). Anyway, it survived the first flight fine, but on the way home they had to gate check it again. Once we landed in Atlanta, I watched from the jetway as they unloaded the cargo hold. They pulled a conveyor belt right up to the plane, but rather than putting it right up even with the hold; they put it about 3 feet lower, and the Delta baggage handler inside the plane just rolled the bags out of the hold, and they tumbled down about three feet to the conveyor belt below. I watched as bags hit and and rolled over, and watched as my camera bag, marked fragile, hit and rolled as well. I opened the bag and made a visual inspection and so far nothing appears broken, but later today Brad and I will give it all a once over.

Q. The belt is hydraulic, right? Why didn’t they just raise it right up to be level with the hold?
A. I have no earthy idea. After they loaded it, they drove the bags over to the jetway, and raised it all the way to the top of the stairs, so it can go very high. I’m stumped, and disappointed that Delta would let this happen, but I’m also relieved that the Think Tank Photo bag is built like a tank, and I didn’t pick up a bag full of broken glass.

Q. Do you have any more sideline shoots coming up?
A. I’ve got a few lined up already, which is why I was so anxious to get out there and shake some of the rust off. At the end of the day, it all comes down to practice (just like Photoshop, just like guitar, just like anything you want to be good at, really), but luckily I don’t mind practicing any of it. In fact, I love it!

Q. So what’s next for you?
A. Catch my other post for this week’s festivities. I’m not sure I’ll be gettin’ much sleep (between my schedule, and how badly my Tampa Bay Bucs are doing this year). Hey, at least the LA Tech Bulldogs had a great day—they beat New Mexico State Aggies 45 to 7. Thanks Matt for everything—for the food, the fun, the learning, the practice, and some cajun food I’d never tried before. Oh, more more thing….”you had me at ‘I’ve got you a media pass.'” ;-)


I love behind the scenes training videos, and “Session from Joey L” is the brand new DVD from rising star photographer Joey Lawrence (remember his amazing guest blog here earlier this year? Here’s the link), goes beyond that, as he answers some of his most-asked questions about his lighting techniques and his Photoshop pro-processing moves.

I’ve been going through the DVD myself this past week (it’s available as a DVD or direct download), and I have to say—-it’s very cool seeing how he puts these shoots together (he’s got a really cool job, and get some amazing gigs).

He’s got a preview video on his site, and if you’ve got a minute, give it a look (warning: if you watch the preview; you’ll be hooked). Luckily, the disc lives up to the hype. Congrats Joey on being willing to share what you’ve learned. Here’s the link for more info, or to order his disc.