It's very important to have a proper wetsuit in the winter time. It's doubly important for a photographer swimming in the water because you spend a lot of time ducking under wave after wave after wave. I decided to take a chance and invest a substatial sum into a patagonia R3. I wore it today with 1mm hooded vest, 1mm glacier gloves, and 4mm booties. It was very nice. The water temp is 47 and the air was almost 70 and sunny which makes a big difference
A foamy barrel
My new pati!!! Kept me nice and warm.


Burger in frames

So I did a little experiment a while back. I had and still have a decent amount of frame wood and decided I wanted to take a photo from start to finish: An idea for a photo all the way to the final product in a frame and do it all myself. Well, to an extent. It's not like i grew the tree that made the wood and carved it.

I decided on two pieces of wood that were too short to make a frame of any decent size. They were perfect for a little project like this. I used their dimensions to create the maximum size window I could. This involved measuring out the length of each side while accounting for loss of wood in the mitre process. The problem is that each time you mitre the frame wood you have to cut off an additional piece in order to match the angle and the decoration on the wood. Also you have to take into account the small amount of wood lost to the width of the saw blade. The other problem I encountered was not having a proper mitre saw. I was using a back saw and a plastic mitre box. The box was damaged every time I used it by the saw itself taking chunks out of the guides. This eventually produced angles that were not true to 45 degrees. After this project I invested in a powered mitre saw that works about 1000 times better. Properly maintained it will never produce anything but a 45 degree cut. The mitre plastic mitre box it great for a kid or one project, but is almost useless beyond that.

After the frames were made (cut,clamped,glued) I then bought glass at the hardware store along with a glass cutting tool. Glass cutting is not easy. You really need a nice flat surface to work on and extra glass for when a piece does not break right. Even the pieces i ended up with did not fit perfect because of the original flaw with the mitre cuts. the frames are not true rectangles because of this initial mistake. If you don't get true 45 degree cuts, your whole process is going to be very difficult. Try putting a rectangular piece of glass in a non rectangular frame.

With glass finally sized I acquired burger for an early morning photo shoot. he was a great subject to work with. That part of the process done I worked my way through editing the photos and selecting the ones that would best fit the frames. Then using the dimensions of the frames I cropped the images to fit the size and printed them cutting them with a 1/4 inch white border to mount them.

The next problem was the matte. Cutting the shape to fit the frame was not too bad as I used the frame itself for a template and an exacto to cut the line. the hard part of matte cutting is the window for the photo. Using a special tool you are meant to cut out the box and finish the corners with an exacto. It's very hard to get this right. Just getting a straight line is hard let alone not cutting too far. then finishing the corners and matching the angle of the bevel is next to impossible. Mine ended up rounded and a bit wavy. I wasted about 12$ of matte board before I was happy enough to continue.

The next step is much easier. I applied acid free photo corners to the 1/4 border of the photos, positioned the photo on the matte, and stuck it on. With this all in place you can just use glaziers points to secure the matte and photo onto the frame. larger frames would require a backing board but it was not needed in this case. To finish it off apply some backing paper to the frame and hardware for mounting on the wall.

The things I learned:

Mitre cuts are super important. You must have reliable equipment to make them correctly.

Frame wood for photo frames with carvings and such must be cut to align the carvings which means you need more length than just the dimensions of the frame.

Glass cutting is hard but not impossible.

Matte paper sucks. It is very hard to cut and there is a reason people get paid to do this correctly. Professional tools are probably needed to get this right. the beveled matte cutters are not enough.

Without proper tools it is probably best left to professionals to build a frame and matte. The rest is fairly easy but readily available and cheap frames, matte, glass, and other needs make it fun to do it yourself at best, but certainly not affordable.

I still have frame wood and will be working on this process again but for now I'm sticking to the Gallery Wraps since they are a bit easier to build.

Burger got his stick. This frame gave me trouble on the glass and matte but still looks alright. I used a golf leaf pen that I sign my work with to paint the mitre joins to conceal exposed wood.
Happy Burger! I really loved this wood and was a bit sad I only had this little bit of it. If you click the image you will notice the mitres are very bad. The matte is not great either. I used my gold leaf pen on the matte to create a gold border for the photo on this one and it really made it look nice.