Exploring Shibuya Station, from the Subway and Beyond

Goat Simulator on a Mac running Parallels

I spent about two hours with my son getting this Goat Simulator to work. This is not the normal thing I talk about around here, but we figured out some stuff, so some of this may help. First, if you are installing Parallels, be sure to also use the menu and go to “Virtual Machines” and “Install Parallel Tools”, which will get all the drivers running for the video card. I’m all Mac now, but I am reminded of the issues back in the day when I had to deal with drivers! After that, when you are in, make sure you shut everything else down. Also, and this doesn’t make any sense, but if you shut down Adobe Creative Cloud, it seems to make things way faster. Adobe, why do you hate Goat Simulator? Why oh why? Last, you may have to go into the video settings then “Advanced” and turn off things like Light Shafts and this sort of extra stuff. Now we get a decent frame rate. Okay, Goat Simulator update, out.

What is it like?

Warning: This video may be very boring!!

This is what it looks like (wearing Google Glass) when taking the subway to Shibuya, then getting off and exploring the busiest intersection in the world. There’s no commentary or anything… but you’ll actually see me make the photo below. And let me know if you like videos like this… I’m really afraid it’s a bit boring haha! :)

Daily Photo – Bike Crossing at Shibuya

Shibuya is an amazing place, and I go every time I am in Tokyo. The people are really incredible… the energy, the lights, the music, the everything! Maybe I'm even more drawn to it because I live in a small town now, you know? Anyway, maybe the video above will give you a sense of the place. One other thing — this is so safe that it is ridiculous! Maybe it makes you think of New York, which can be a little sketchy… but it is nothing like that. Unbelievable! :)

Shibuya

Bike Crossing at Shibuya

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Docks at Glenorchy

Trying the 70-400mm Alpha Lens

Here I tried using the Sony Alpha Adapter on the A7r with the 70-400mm lens. I backed up quite a bit away because I wanted to get the compression thing working. It worked pretty well, but I was kind of ridin’ dirty with the way I attached it to my tripod. If you don’t know, these big lenses have their own little tripod attachment because they become the new center of gravity. But the foot of the tripod attachment is approximately the exact same width as the standard shoe-size that attaches to most tripod heads. But it doesn’t have those little ridges that secure it inside, so actually attaching it to your tripod head is a mistake! I don’t know why they made it so similar… I imagine that a lot of people have broken lenses because of this! Anyway, for this shot, I didn’t have another little shoe to attach, but I decided to go for it anyway. I KNEW that it wasn’t really attached, but I still put it in the tripod head just to keep it balanced. This worked out pretty well while I was taking the photos, but then I jerked it a little bit and it fell right off! Luckily I had the strap around the back of my neck, so the only thing that got hurt was my pride and my stomach when the lens swung down with full force!

Daily Photo – The Docks at Glenorchy

This is one of the most famous little landmarks in the small town of Glenorchy. There is a dock here that juts out into Lake Wakatipu, and it ends up being a little destination for most people who first visit the area. In a way, I suppose, it's kind of the “end of the road” because there are not really many paved roads that continue on past Glenorchy. Whenever you have these old fjord-based road/lake/river networks, you end up with these sorts of towns that are formed at a terminus. It is a strange feeling, and I know I've commented on it before — but this idea that there is a town with only one road into it. It's kind of a comforting, albeit discomforting, sensation.

The Docks at Glenorchy

The Docks at Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length150.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Friendly Horses in the Field

Composition Challenge

Whenever I take photos of objects that are defined by their shapes, I do my best to position my body (head) so that the objects do not overlap one another. I want each to have its own space. So, here in today’s photo, you can see the two horses with a nice separation between their heads. But you can also imagine that if I had been about 10 steps to the right or left, the heads might have overlapped one another. It’s a little thing to notice, but one of those little things that makes for a better photo.

Daily Photo – Friendly Horses in the Field

We walked through The Hills near Arrowtown one morning and went all the way down to where Max Patte's huge horses dominate one of the fields. I like how these look wooden, but they are actually made out of iron. There was a small group of us taking photos here, and we talked a little about the composition notes above, and this is what I came up with!

Friendly Horses in the Field

Friendly Horses in the Field

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/90
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length100.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Grasses along the Trails

Amazing Intro Video from Varina Patel!

Many of the Masters in The Arcanum made little intro videos to introduce themselves to others. I love watching these, and hers is particularly fantastic! You can see even more of her on her website at PhotographyByVarina.com. We’re so honored to have her around for the big show!

Daily Photo – The Grasses along the Trails

I've gotten really into all the different grasses that grow around here. I do a lot of hiking and sometimes some trail running. All the little grasses that rub up against my legs are like cats rubbing up against you under the table. It's a very nice feeling! Even better, you don't have to worry about snakes or anything here that might jump out and zap you… that means that you can just kind of pounce through the grasses without a worry in the world!

The Grasses along the Trails

The Grasses along the Trails

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Utah Summerstorm

Non-Texas Storms

I never get those big scary Texas late summer storms any more. The huge mountains here all around me break up the clouds a bit so they never have a chance to get too crazy. There is all kinds of fast-changing weather here though… cold storms in the morning that open up to 75 degree days in the afternoon. Bright blue sunny mornings that turn into bitter icy evenings… it all happens here!

Daily Photo – Utah Summerstorm

There are many wide-open areas across Utah after you emerge from tight canyons. It changes very quickly, and then it also reminds you how quick the weather can change. Whenever you can see a huge storm in the distance moving this way and that, everything feels a bit surreal. It's not clear if the storm coming your way or not, although, secretly, I think everyone wishes it really is. A big storm is kinda fun, eh? :)

Summerstorm in Utah

Utah Summerstorm

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Red Dress in the Sun

Doctors in Queenstown

So as a result of over-doing it for a ten days in a row, I got my first taste of nationalized healthcare. I know it’s a hot topic to bring up! Haha… well, since New Zealand has everything nationalized, I had no idea what to expect. I woke up feeling terrible and called in. They made an appointment for me in 20 mins and I drove right in. I saw the doctor within 2 minutes of being there, and she got me my diagnosis and two prescriptions in a very speedy way. I popped downstairs and got everything at the pharmacy – I think it was like $20 or something. Then I was off, back home for recovery. Now, this is just one story… but I’m happy it turned out well.

Daily Photo – Red Dress in the Sun

We took a group of photographers out to the Queenstown Gardens to get some photos as the sun was setting. It was a sunny day, and I started to notice some of the nice sun flares that come through this Leica 50mm f/1.4. I was so transfixed by them that I started looking for nice colors and shapes to pair with the lens flare. I really like the way the sun was coming through the red bits of Maria's outfit, so I kind of lurked behind her a bit while she was taking photos of something else!

Red Dress in the Sun

Red Dress in the Sun

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wolves at The Hills

Another funny moment there at The Hills

A few days before, Curtis Simmons, Peter Giordano, and I went over to spend the evening with Sir Michael Hill at his new house. Here’s a quick photo of us playing with his crazy new stereo!

Daily Photo – The Wolves at The Hills

It was a good morning to be out shooting wolves!

This is one of the many sculptures around The Hills golf course in Arrowtown (near Queenstown). I actually managed to get to take a bunch of people with me this time, and the whole crowd followed me up the stairs, greeted by Sir Michael Hill himself! I told him I had absolutely no time to chat since this light was fading fast and we had to get it — he understood and ushered us forward! Haha it was so funny… anyway, we had a great morning out shooting around this area.

The Wolves at The Hills

The Wolves at The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/45
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

On the way to Skipper’s Canyon

Pre-Leica Lens Buying Guide

I have this idea in my head that I need to put into action. I’m starting to learn a lot about Leica lenses, and I think I am close to recommending some. But, I think a good thing to know is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars. The Leica M-Lenses can be quite expensive, from $1,000 to $15,000 and well beyond! But the Leica R-Lenses are much more affordable. You can get some amazing deals with them, and they also work great on all camera systems. I know it can get confusing, so that is why I wanted to put together a little practical buying guide for people that want to experiment… I figure I could put something up, and then look at what advice and feedback you have, and then iterate.

Most likely, it would not be overkill and show all possible Leica combinations, but I would just hit on maybe 3-8 of my favorite lenses and give a few price points and options for all levels.

Daily Photo – On the way to Skipper's Canyon

We took a few people up Coronet Peak then around the bend towards the beginning of Skipper's Canyon. We didn't go all the way in, but we took a bit of time up top to explore just a little bit. These long grasses that come up here and there and tend to cluster around these old fences are usually good photo subjects. I shot this one wide open at f/1.4 on the Sony A7r with the 50mm Leica.

On the way to Skipper's Canyon

On the way to Skipper's Canyon

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Speaking of Paragliding….

Yesterday I posted a photo from a glider, so today is loosely related. I actually joined the paragliding school by mistake! My neighbor Chris walked over and said we should go do a tandem flight with a professional. Next thing I knew, we were suited up in paragliding school! He was as shocked as I was, but everything worked out in a surprisingly awesome way!

Daily Photo – Chris Madison in Queenstown

Here's my friend Chris right before take off on another paraglider flight across Queenstown. You can see the windsock behind him, fully erect, so to speak. Speaking of erections, I should tell you more about Swanny's Paragliding School! If you're ever in Queenstown, and looking for a good time, be sure to contact Swanny. The name of it is Infinity Paragliding — and on day 2, you'll actually be doing a solo flight over Queenstown. Unbelievable!

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Central Otago from the Air

Paragliding versus Gliders

Currently, I think I prefer paragliding to gliders. Both are awesome, of course, but I kind of like the slower speed and the openness of a paraglider. I know that people that prefer gliders like them for the opposite reason — the speed! I’ve also heard a lot of paragliders get into gliders later in their life after their knees are shot from landings! So far my knees are good… so far so good!

Daily Photo – Central Otago

What a view from the glider! I have never taken photos from a glider before, so I was very happy to see they all turned out so nice. They were all taken with the Sony A7r and the 10-18mm NEX Lens.

It's hard to believe that the landscape below just goes on and on and on for hours and hours and hours. New Zealand looks so small on the map, but when you are here, it's like a Tardis-country!

Central Otago

Central Otago

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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