The Walt Disney Theater on the Disney Wonder

What this looked like

Here’s what the photo below looked like when I shot it. I take these a lot with the Google Glass — I’ve also been working on a bunch of videos were are going to release for a secret new project! :)

Daily Photo – The Walt Disney Theater on the Disney Wonder

Here’s another new shot from the recent cruise up to Alaska. We went to this theater every night to see something different. The kids always had a good time and they put a ton of work into the shows. Maybe the kids’ favorite part was the snacks… I dunno… but I do know the snacks played no small role!

The Walt Disney Theater on the Disney Wonder

The Walt Disney Theater on the Disney Wonder

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3.2
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Island in the Alaskan Fjord

And on YouKu

Did you know that there is a Chinese knock-off of YouTube called YouKu that is all the rage? I put up my Chinese video there too… you can see the nuttiness to the right. There’s NO TELLING what kind of crazy ads you’ll see before the video! Hehe

Daily Photo – Island in the Alaskan Fjord

When the ship was working its way through the fjords of Alaska, I was amazed at how many twists and turns there were! I was used the the fjords of New Zealand being fairly simple affairs. More or less straight shots. But these in Alaska are twisty beyond compare. Every time the ship made a big turn, I expected to be at the end, but it just opened up onto a new vista.

And even more strange, they had these wonderful islands scattered around the middle. I was not used to that either… but it looked so lovely.

If you look in the back, you can see a glacier… and in the foreground you can see the various bits of ice that have calved off…

Island in the fjord

Island in the Alaskan Fjord

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Boxes Forever

Looking for good internet videos?

Sure… nothing wrong with a little internet-distraction right? Well whenever I need some new sure-thing videos, I go to the “Top for the Month” area of reddit. There’s all kinds of stuff in there too… you can add this to your internet wheelhouse! :)

Daily Photo – Boxes Forever

I see scenes like this and it is both awesome and depressing. Everyone seems so cramped up. Maybe it’s not as bad as it looks… maybe the compression of the lens makes it seem worse than it is… like an ant colony… like bees in a hive.

Vertical City

Boxes Forever

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length122.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A strange night in the Rocks

Africa?

If you were to to Africa, what country would you suggest? What areas? I’m interested in your opinion… I may be planning something for 2014! :)

Daily Photo – A strange night in the Rocks

Curtis and I went around to the other side of Virgin Gorda one night to explore. While there, we found a very cool outcropping of rocks that held some still water inside. It turned out to be a place to get a nice clean reflection of a most unusual dusk set of clouds. How lucky we were! But some people say that luck is the residue of design…

A strange night in the Rocks

A strange night in the Rocks

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Sunset Bathes the Deck of Disney’s Wonder

Auto-Align Update for Photomatix

I have news! Well, news to me. Or, let’s say, news that is ever-evolving.

I used to not like the auto-align feature very much with Photomatix. I thought it didn’t do such a great job, but now it has made great strides and the algorithm continues to improve! This shot, for example, was handheld in pretty low light. Not only did Photomatix do a perfect job of aligning the -2, 0, and +2 exposures, but it also made everything perfectly sharp and lucid.

BTW, in case you are new to the site, here is my Photomatix Review.

I’ve been doing more and more auto-aligning lately with Photomatix, and it really feels like it has come a long way. So now, if I occasionally have to do handheld shots, I feel happy to all my trust in there.

Daily Photo – The Sunset Bathes the Deck of Disney’s Wonder

Right after dinner was the best time to hit the top decks for some photography. Most nights we had amazing sunsets, so I feel lucky for that.

See that little room to the left with the glass? That’s where I spent most of my days, relaxing, reading, drinking coffee, and working on photos!

Disney Wonder Deck

The Sunset Bathes the Deck of Disney’s Wonder

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Into the Night

Anyone listen to Soundcloud?

I’ve been listening quite a bit… if you have any recommendations, let me know! I’ve been listening a lot to a cello player I like named Philip Sheppard — check him out! :)

Daily Photo – Into the Night

The restaurants all closed early in this area of Beijing, but the lights stayed on. So that was the perfect time to get some shots of the scene without a bunch of people in the frame mucking it up.

I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I spend waiting for people to get out of the way. I mean, it’s not a horrible thing… because at least I’m usually in visually interesting people while waiting on people! :)

Beijing Night

Into the Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

More Beijing at Night

Tip for Noise at Night

I’m getting re-used to APS-C sensors! Man, you really gotta keep that ISO at 100 to keep the noise to an absolute minimum. The noise is barely visible at 100, but it is definitely there. A little nudge of the Noise Reduction slider in Lightroom will take care of it though. Easy Peazy!

But, if you crank the ISO up to 400 or higher, there may indeed be too much noise for LR to fix for you. Noiseware can still help you out, but that’s an extra plugin you’ll need… here’s the Noiseware Review on the site for you.

Daily Photo – More Beijing at Night

I usually don’t do this – post photos of a similar subject matter within the same week, but I thought I would show you another angle of the same place at night. Remember that “bakery” shot from a few days ago? This is basically the same spot (you’ll recognize it) much later at night.

This was another one of those cases where I was not quite used to the 10-18mm lens. I normally walk RIGHT to the spot I want to be in then pop the 14-24 on my Nikon and fire away. But now, I’m always off by a few steps with the NEX-7! But, I quickly re-adjust then shoot. If you have shot with a wide angle lens, then you may know about this concept of picturing things from that vantage before you even do it!

Beijing Street

More Beijing at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Sprawling City

Astronaut Ron Garan

Ron Garan talks with kids at Queenstown Primary School in New Zealand about space travel. He takes all kinds of questions from the kids about what it is like to live and work in space.

P.S. If you look close, you can see my son there in Google Glass :)

I broke a promise.

I made a promise to myself that I would never watch a time travel movie with Jason Priestley, and I broke it. I felt like I needed to tell someone… Man, am I ever sorry I broke that promise.

Daily Photo – The Sprawling City

I’m experimenting with this style of city photography. I like this idea of reflection that is imperfect. I shot this from the top of one of the only television stations in Beijing. It was a perfect night without any wind. There was a lot of pollution, so the warm city lights cast a red glow into the ether…

The Sprawling City

The Sprawling City

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Golden Tree Path

Google Science Fair

Here’s the Google Science Fair video – The Science of Photography – in case you missed it. This is very introductory… and best positioned for kids, so you may find it a bit elementary if you are more advanced! But, if you have kids that are interested in how cameras work, then this will be a good primer! :)

Daily Photo – Golden Tree Path

When I took this photo, I was very happy!

In many ways, it’s the kind of place you can easily walk through and not notice because it was on the way to somewhere else. I was trying to walk down to Lake Hayes via a new route form my house, and I saw this on the way. I feel like I’m always alert, but then sometimes I’m looking at a scene like this and I think, “Hey, I should take a photo!” Anyway, I need to get better at this sort of thing… and take more photos on the way to the place rather than the place itself.

Golden Tree

Golden Tree Path

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Updated Camera Recommendations!

Updated Camera Recommendations

Since my recent switch, I thought I should keep the whole site as consistant as possible (it’s hard with so many moving parts!) and update the camera recommendations in the Reviews section. Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.

Sony NEX-3N

Good Camera: Sony NEX-3N

Priced at about $499, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at around the $500 level.

This camera will get the job done for you, and it is an ideal entry point if you are just getting started and want to minimize the financial impact. If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony NEX-7 below.

Nikon D800

Better Camera: Nikon D800

Starting at $2,800 for the camera body. (don’t worry, the BEST camera, strangely, is HALF the price and six times smaller) :)

Even though I recommend the Sony NEX-7 below and use it as my main camera, I understand that we are currently in a transition period where many people like to use bigger, professional DSLRs. I used to have the Nikon D800 as my main camera, and I shot with it for over a year, so it is a system I know very well. If you are going with a big DSLR, this is the right choice! See my full Nikon D800 Review.

Best Camera: Sony NEX-7

Starting around $1,100 which includes an 18-55mm lens.

See my full Sony NEX-7 Review. I use this camera. It can be used in almost any photographic situation and is one of the best models available in this class. I use it to take photos of everything, from kids to landscapes to architecture to objects. This tiny 24 megapixel beast has a thousand other features that those clever Japanese crammed inside… see the full Sony NEX-7 Review for more information and sample photos.

Daily Photo – The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

Here’s a shot from a really great street in Beijing called “Front Gate” — it’s certainly worth a trip. I was lucky that it rained hard all morning and I really got taking photos after it stopped. When the streets are nice and wet and I am personally not getting wet – that is one of the best times!

The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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