Tokyo at Dusk – Blade Runner Extreme

This is a beautiful scene from Tokyo at dusk one evening. The city is a crazy Blade-Runneresque techno-fest that is alive, foreign, and crazy-wonderful. I had a great time there and took an absolute swath of photos. I’m so excited to post all of them… but only one photo per day….! You know the rules! Hehe.

I shot this from the top of Bunkyo Towers. I took photos here during sunset before meeting up with Alfie Goodrich. He’s a great guy – an Englishman that lives in Tokyo and gives photography lessons (click on that link to see more info). Tell him I sent you! He knows all the best spots all over Tokyo, so a really recommend that you hook up with him!

Tokyo at Dusk

Fire Lake in Yellowstone

Before I get started, I finally had a chance to comment (#184!) on the “The Moments Between” post from a few days ago. I’m very happy people are actively guessing and experimenting to do the same thing! I think that’s very healthy and much better than just getting an answer (but I will give an answer in the future !! ).

It reminds me of last night. I was in San Francisco with a bunch of very nice people from Peachpit, the company that is publishing the upcoming book. After Indian food, we all went out to walk the streets of San Francisco so I could give them a few tips on HDR shooting. One of the gals, holding her D60 without a tripod, was asking me about “What happens if I set the ISO down to 100?” I said. “Hmm… I wonder what would happen… Why don’t you try?” (of course I knew the answer)… but better that she finds out herself. (she did).

This photo below is from Fire Lake. Yes, I dipped my hand in. I had to! I could not resist. It was really hot. Oh god was it hot. I had to do it twice just because I couldn’t believe how hot it was the first time.

Fire Lake in Yellowstone

Midnight Adventure in the Japanese Cemetery

The night had been dark for many hours by the time I hiked to this point. It was raining and somehow the wetness seemed to make everything even more black. There were old and new crypts, spider webs, lonely rotting wood, creaking trees in the heavy rain, and more strange sounds from the woods. Talk about eerie! Japanese cemeteries are not places that people visit very often. It’s bad luck. Naturally, I don’t believe in any of that, so it was my good luck it was empty for photography!

Of all the spots around Kyoto, this is probably my favorite. There is an area of 1,000 Red Gates that flow up and around a picturesque little mountain. This cemetery is about halfway up the trek and it shoots off to the right. It is both great and annoying to shoot in the rain. I had to carry an umbrella, tripod, bag of camera goodies, and the like, and everything gets all jumbled up when it comes time to set up for a shot. I need an assistant! 🙂

How did I do this one? There were three exposures +1, 0, -1. Normally I do 5 from +2 to -2, but in this case, it was so dark that the shutter speeds were outrageous enough. I kept the ISO at 200. The 14-24 lens was at 15mm (on a D3X). It was aperture priority at f/5.6. The three shutter speeds were 2/4/8 seconds. If you zoom into the Original size on Flickr – you can see all kinds of details.

Here is one special thing I did on the last exposure. It was DARK out there. And I mean DARK. I had my SB-800 in my bag. On the last exposure, I ran over behind the gate to the right like Carl Lewis, and jammed the “Test” button about 5 times in every direction to light up that area. I almost slipped and died… I have no idea what a police investigator might assume if they found me in the morning.

Midnight Adventure in the Japanese Cemetery

Solar Flower – The Giant Robot of Buenos Aires – (and 24 hours until the unveiling of something really cool)

This thing is enormous. In grinds and churns as it follows the sun. The metallic petals flex and bend with the light as the sun sweeps across the sky. I had never seen anything like it in my life.

It sits in a park and public walking area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. I walked around it for a while to get a good angle of the monster. My tripod was stuck in customs, so I had to do this one handheld… and do my best to keep the camera as stead as a T-1000.

In less than 24 hours, I will endeavor to introduce a new type of photography to you guys. I don’t have a name for it. It’s experimental. You’ll have to help me come up with a good name for the technique. People that get the Newsletter (it’s free!) will get a sneak peak tomorrow a little early.

Solar Flower - The Giant Robot of Buenos Aires - (and 24 hours until the unveiling of something really cool)

Ripping through the streets of Tokyo

Before I describe this photo, I would first like to thank RC Conception for the nice evening.  RC is one of the gurus over at Layers Magazine, and he came to Austin to teach a class for the Adobe Creative Suite along with Dave Cross. We met this evening at the Hilton and then we went out to shoot some HDR together before heading to a nice Italian dinner. He’s a great guy… very nice and clever. You guys can follow him on Twitter here.

RC did come over to my home for a bit to see Secret Project #133. It is loosely related to this photo below. Those of you that subscribe to the Newsletter will be the next to see… It should go out in the next few days.

The photo below was taken on my final night in Tokyo. It was rainy, cool, and perfect for street photography. It’s hard to explain HOW clean my sensor was in this photo. I had the privilege of taking it to the Nikon Headquarters in Tokyo and having the sensor cleaned by a real Japanese guy. It was a religious experience — and it only cost $10! What a deal!

Ripping Through the City Streets of Tokyo

The Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku-ji for my new Japanese friends

This is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto, so of course I had to go. It’s sort of like going to the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Rudy’s BBQ in Austin.

It was originally built back in 1397 and has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The building itself is as meticulous as the gardens around it. The Japanese really know how to tend a garden! There was a fleet of workers all over the grounds, sweeping up and rearranging little bits here and there. It was all very quaint and wonderful.

The Golden Pavilion, or Kinkaku-ji for my new Japanese friends

The Treetop Temple Protects Kyoto

I’m just finishing up almost two weeks in Japan, and it has been an amazing trip! Usually I try not to start posting shots until the trip is at its close, and this is the first.

While there, I spent time all over the country. I got a rail pass and just jumped on the bullet train to take me from one remote spot to another. I ended up with a few days in Tokyo to do my best to capture the city. I’ll be posting photos from the trip throughout the next few weeks, months, and years, as usual. I hope this is a new line of photographs that will be interesting to you.

Photographed here is the Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto. The city is known for its traditional Japanese architecture, slower-paced life, natural beauty, graceful geishas, and zen peacefulness. I probably could have stayed in Kyoto capturing scenes the entire trip. I remained here until the sky turned black, and then I headed back down some winding streets to find an old small restaurant where the food was mysterious and every course was served with a gentle bow.

The Treetop Temple Protects Kyoto

Just Another Street in Argentina

While in Argentina, I wish I had more days in Buenos Aires, but I made the most of what i could. This usually involves waking up very early and going to sleep very late. It gets a little hard after a few days, but I get into “content acquisition mode”, and I try not to make excuses for sleep!

Many parts of Buenos Aires are very colorful and fun. I’m not sure how all these individual tenants get together to decide on colors, but they end up looking kinda cool, even with minimal coordination. I guess the guy on the left there just thought, “I’ll paint my wall orange”, and then he did it, and it just looks cool. It kind of reminds me of how rappers can put on the craziest hat in the world and it still looks pretty cool on them. I don’t get it. I only look cool in one kind of hat – a baseball cap (with a mild tone).

Just another street in Buenos Aires

The Safehouse

Sorry about the long gap in posting! You know my promise to you is a photo every day, 365 days a year. This is a promise I break several times a year, so it’s hardly a promise. But, yesterday just happened to be one of those days.

Whenever I don’t post, it usually means I am traveling somewhere EXTREMELY remote that has no hint of internet. Those places are fewer and farther between nowadays! …but at least I’m getting some good stuff for y’all!

Today’s photo is from a forgotten field in the south of Argentina, not too far from Ushuaia. There was a housing community near here that was built then abandoned when the lake level started to rise. It was full of old husks of structures that were still beautiful in their own way (and doubly so at sunset).

The Safehouse

The Continental Club on South Congress in Austin

Here is the next in the series of my collection of the classic spots around Austin. I actually shot this on the same night that I took the Austin Hotel shot. You can probably see a similarity in the deep blue sky that we had just after dusk that evening.

People always look at me suspiciously when I set up the tripod for a major shooting event. I’m sure that if you use a tripod that you end up with the same reaction. It’s typically 90% confusion and 10% wonder. Either way, I tend to just ignore everyone, like I’m playing a game and they are NPCs milling around.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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