Driving in Ginza

Low F-Stops in Cities

If you want to get this kind of out-of-focus effect like you see in the photo below, be sure to shoot at a low F-Stop and get a nice close subject. As in the photo below, I took a photo of that car at F/1.4 and everything behind it kind of fell away into the soft bokeh. You’ll get different results based on different lenses. This one was with the 35mm.

Daily Photo – Driving in Ginza

This hyper-clean and hyper-modern area of Tokyo is one of the best for photography I think! It's so wonderful to be able to just coast around the streets, listen to music on my ipod, take photos, and get lost in all the little streets. Actually this area is very hard to get lost in… it's quite grid-like, but you do get the feeling that you are like Pac-Man, just eating up all the little photo dots as you move through the streets!

Driving in Ginza

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Another Beautiful Night under the Quiver Trees in Namibia

Star Shot Pano

This was actually created with 6 different photos. I made a little grid in the sky with 3 boxes across and 2 rows tall. I did this mostly because I was shooting on the resolution A7S and the 35mm F/1.4. I just could not get all of the Milky Way with one shot, so I mapped out the little grid in my mind then made the pano later!

I actually have a how-to-video for this! Sign up for the Newsletter to be sure to find out when it is available! :)

Daily Photo – Another Beautiful Night under the Quiver Trees in Namibia

The Milky Way is a magnificent site anywhere in the world. I never really saw it when I lived in Austin so I kind of lost an appreciation for it over time – that was lame of me! Anyway, I should really take more opportunities for star shots, so I tried to get out almost every night in Namibia to make it happen!

Another Beautiful Night under the Quiver Trees in Namibia

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Stuck In Customs in Botswana

Slight Update to the Sony A7r Review

I added a few thoughts halfway down about the A7r vs. the A7II over on the Sony A7r Review. In short:

This is a tough question! I do have both, and I still use the A7r for most of my landscape shots because of the 36 megapixel to 24 megapixel advantage. If you’re shooting on a tripod, like I often do, then you’re better off with the A7r, I think. The A7ii REALLY shines with handheld shots because of the stabilization, and that is when I often switch to the A7ii.

Having said that, if it is the stark middle of the day and quite bright, I don’t think image stabilization gets you anything because your shutter speed will be so fast anyway. I think the A7ii is best for medium and low-light situations when handheld camera-shake becomes an issue. But then, you see, we have yet another variable in the equation, the A7s, which is undoubtedly better than the A7ii in low-light situations. But that drops us down to 12 megapixels. Anyway, there’s almost too many variables to consider for any waking mind.

Two passports

I’m looking forward to getting my New Zealand passport in a few years! I find that going some places with a US Passport can be a bit problematic. Not everyone seems to be the USA’s #1 fan, so I’ll probably use the NZ passport in those spots!

Daily Photo – Stuck In Customs in Botswana

Yes, I was actually Stuck In Customs once again! I was not allowed to fly from Maun, Botswana to Cape Town, South Africa because they said I needed a full blank page in my passport! What a mess. I did have room for 5 more stamps, but just not on the same page. This woman was a real stickler! It really harshed my mellow.

So that meant I had to fly to Gaborone to go to the US Embassy. While at the Embassy, there was a huge alarm that went off and everything got locked down! I had just gotten my extra pages sewn into my passport, and I was quickly escorted out. My driver was out there, but he was illegally parked by this huge barricade and security was all around him, making things very crazy! I think he could have been the one to set off the alarm! Anyway, I got in the car and told him to get the hell out of there… what a mess. We went straight to the airport, and then I took this photo.

Stuck In Customs in Botswana

Photo Information

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

Little Streets in by the Li River in China

Street Shooting Tip

It’s very hard to shoot on the street when things are moving at f/1.4 if you are doing manual focus. So, one thing I try to do is stay up at f/2 or f/2.8 because you have a bit more margin for error on the focus. But, if you are a fixed distance away from your subject (like when I was following the gentleman below), you can go ahead and open it up as high as it wide as it will go and take your time. Not all street photography has to be rushed.

Daily Photo – Little Streets in by the Li River in China

I was mostly down in this area to try to find good vantage points on the river. But when you go along the river, you pass through tiny town after tiny town. I was on foot most of the time, so I would just try to feel my way from one side of the town over to the other side. I felt like a rat going through a maze trying to find some cheese! Anyway, while getting all turned around and going through the tiny streets, I got behind this old-timer here… I set my focus manually and just walked behind him at f/1.4.

Little Streets in by the Li River in China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramShutter speed priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Exploring Tokyo Tower

City Shooting Tip

The default compositional style when shooting cities from up high is to do the basic wide-angle landscape orientation. But I’ve been trying more and more to remember to go into portrait mode and zoom in a bit. Like this photo below, for example, was taken in this orientation at at 70mm.

Daily Photo – Exploring Tokyo Tower

The first time I saw this tower in Tokyo I did not like it. I thought it felt a little ugly, or maybe like a cheap version of the Eiffel Tower, but it has really grown on me. Especially at night. I really like the look of its starkness and warm shape against the blueness of the rest of the city.

Exploring Tokyo Tower

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Milky Way over Milford Sound

Low F-Stops on Star Shots

Veterans already know this, so you guys can just skip over this part! But if you’re just starting to get into star photography, one of the most important things is having a low f-stop on your lens. This means a LOT of light can get in over the exposure. For example, this was taken at f/1.4. The downside to this is that these lenses often tend to be much more expensive! But, then again, you can end up with shots like this one below! :)

Daily Photo – The Milky Way over Milford Sound

My friend Cliff and I stayed out late one night in Milford Sound to see the Milky Way. We were not disappointed! Sometimes it gets pretty cloudy over here, and there was just one night, so we were hoping that karma paid off, and it did!

The Milky Way over Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time25
  • Aperture
  • ISO16000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Black Friday Sales for Fans and Photographers

Save 35% on all Presets, Tutorials* and eBooks

This Black Friday sales begins NOW and ends on Monday, December 1st

All the cool kids are holding Black Friday sales so we thought we would join the fun! Stop by the Stuck in Customs store and save 35% on all Presets, Tutorials* and eBooks! No coupon code is required. We have a variety of different tools and learning resources perfect for any skill level, from amateurs to professionals. See you there!

Hey what’s up with asterisk on the Tutorials? Well we JUST launched a brand new Textures tutorial a few days ago. We priced the tutorial and the 170 high-res texture pack at a super low rate already so we decided to keep them out of this Black Friday sale.


Use the code BlackFridayPrints to save 40% on all Prints

This Black Friday sales begins NOW and ends on Monday, December 1st

The Prints will make perfect gifts for friends, family or even yourself! You can view my entire portfolio over on SmugMug. Click on an image you like from the Portfolio section and then click on the green BUY PHOTOS button just above the image. The prices displayed will be the standard price. You can enter the Coupon Code “BlackFridayPrints” during the check out process to save 40%! Act now because this special 40% discount ends on December 1, 2014.


You can also save 35% on ALL eBooks over at Flatbooks.com

Head on over to Flatbooks.com for a HUGE collection of amazing eBooks from many different authors. The 35% discount will be applied upon checkout. You gotta hurry though! This sale ends on December 1st.


 

Additional Sales from our Friends

Get 40% off a SmugMug account

I store my entire portfolio on SmugMug. They have amazing tools for customizing your site, showcasing your work and selling prints. You can read all about them over on my SmugMug review. They have a special Black Friday Special that will save you 40% off a new SmugMug account.

Macphun Photo Editing Software

Our friends at Macphun have an awesome Black Friday / Cyber Monday offer this year! Four award-winning photo editing apps, plus a $25 Amazon or iTunes Gift Card for just $129.99, a 40% savings! Check it out at www.macphun.com/blackfriday.

A Quiver Tree Stands Alone

Portrait Orientation and Composition

There is a rule that is sometimes okay to break that you should not put the subject in the middle of your composition. Well, when you switch into Portrait-orientation, all those rules go right out the window! You’re fully allowed to plop things (like the tree below!) right plum in the middle of the frame.

Daily Photo – A Quiver Tree Stands Alone

These trees are unlike any other tree I've ever seen! They are spread all around many desert-y areas of Namibia, and they are often quite spread out from one another. Each one has a totally unique shape, and you'll never see one that will be mistaken for another one. I've never seen individual trees that can look so unalike their neighbors… I'll post more of these in coming weeks and you'll see what I mean!

A Quiver Tree Stands Alone

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length17.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Another Night in Bora Bora

EXIF Info

Remember, there are two ways to see the EXIF info for each of my shots. You can hover the mouse over and see them, or if you click through to SmugMug, you can click on the little “i” and see this information! BTW, I don’t even know what some of that means… like “Brightness -24026/256″??? Maybe one of you smarties can tell me what that means!

Camera SONY ILCE-7R (Sony A7r)
ISO 800
Exposure Time 25s (25/1)
Name The Bungalows at Night.jpg
Size 7837 x 5884
Date Taken 2014-06-29 19:55:35
Date Modified 2014-07-04 08:47:18

File Size 23.88 MB
Flash flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Metering pattern
Exposure Program manual
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Exposure Mode manual
Light Source unknown
White Balance auto
Digital Zoom 1.0x
Contrast 0
Saturation 0
Sharpness 0
Color Space sRGB
Brightness -24026/256

Daily Photo – Another Night in Bora Bora

Was every night in Bora Bora this pretty, or just the ones where I took photos? It was EVERY NIGHT! It was so pretty every night, how could you NOT go out and take photos? With that mountain and the amazing architecture over the water… it was so awesome and a real treat to be here.

Another Night in Bora Bora

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time25
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A Pair of Winter Trees

Five Days of New Tips/Tricks Videos on the Blog! Day Four!

Let me know if you have any questions… happy to answer!

This was shot inside the Beijing Planning Museum. This sounds like a boring place eh? But it’s not! You can see how I chose to compose this shot…

Processing like Cooking

I had a great time processing this photo. I had no idea what I was going to do with it and started with half an idea. I’m not sure I could ever process this photo exactly like this again… I try new stuff all the time. I was thinking that processing photos is a lot like cooking food in that you never get exactly the same dish twice. But maybe my processing is much more extreme than that! I dunno… anyway, perhaps it is an apt analogy.

Daily Photo – A Pair of Winter Trees

I don't know what drew me to these trees! I was driving around with some friends and suddenly I pulled over and jumped over a fence to go to these trees. I'm sure my friends thought I was crazy! Maybe it's because I've been looking for an interesting pair of trees by themselves for so long. Anyhoo, I was obviously super-happy to find these two!

A Pair of Winter Trees

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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