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

Autumn Awesomeness in Queenstown

Sony A6000 Review!

Come see the new Sony A6000 Review! I’ll keep adding to it as the weeks and months go on, but I thought you might enjoy an early look! :)

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

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

Here’s some behind-the-scenes from our recent autumn workshop! Don’t forget to check out the New Zealand Photo Adventure page to find out more about that upcoming event! It’s the only thing planned now for 2015… it’s gonna be another great one! :)

Daily Photo – Autumn Awesomeness in Queenstown

Even though I've been here three years now, I have only experienced one proper autumn! I travelled too much in previous years, so now I'm going to make a point to stay home more to be sure to get all these amazing colors. Amaze-maze I say! There is so much to explore and see and do around here in the Autumn. It's just Spring now here, so I've got another five months or so to wait! But Spring and Summer ain't so bad either!

Autumn Awesomeness in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Approaching Aït Benhaddou

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

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

Here’s a collection of behind-the-scenes videos from Morocco. I started at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat them moved on to Fes when I was at Ryad Alaya (highly recommended – thanks Hassan!)

Using many different cameras!

I’ve been using a bunch of different Sony cameras lately! While in Africa, I used a Sony A7, A7r, A7s, and an A6000 (come see the new Sony A6000 Review!) Whenever I get some time, I’m gonna write up a few more reviews… they are all cool and interesting in their own way! I don’t want to make it over-complex, of course… Naturally, you can always check out the Camera Equipment page where I have recommendations.

Daily Photo – Approaching Aït Benhaddou

What an amazing spot this is! After spending about three weeks in Morocco, I finally approached this incredible fortified city. It is right in the middle of a caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech, which is the same route I was on! This place is mostly abandoned, but there are still eight families that live on the inside…

There have been many famous movies made here including The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun, The Mummy, Gladiator, and The Prince of Persia. There were even a few scenes from Game of Thrones shot here!

Approaching Aït Benhaddou

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Light on the way to Milford Sound and Tiananmen Square Photography

Five Days of New Tips/Tricks Videos! Day One

Each day for the next five days, I’m gonna post a new video here on the blog! :) Let me know if you have any questions… happy to answer!

I’m here with my friend Tom in the middle of Beijing. I decided to go to Tiananmen Square for the day and take photos… here’s a little of what happened. A bunch of people came up to me that had never seen a white person before; I was like a freakshow!

Daily Photo – Light on the way to Milford Sound

One of my favorite drives is from Queenstown to Milford Sound. I've made it about eight times, and I can't wait to make more!

Here's a tip for you as far as light is concerned. Some of the best days for landscape photography are those partially-cloudy days. This is because it makes the light sift in random ways across the landscape, lighting one thing while darkening the next. This can do cool stuff, as you see below, such as light up the trees while darkening the mountain behind… it's the kind of stuff that would take you ages in photoshop (or be nearly impossible!!). So, next time you are in a partially-cloudy situation, be more patient than normal and watch the light as it sways around from one thing to the next…

This photo was taken in Lumsden, btw.

Light on the way to Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3200
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length66.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Wide-Angle Tip

If you like these kinds of shots where everything seems to be pointing towards the middle, try a wide-angle lens! I first shot this a bit tighter. It was a cool shot, but then when I put on the wide-angle everything got so much more amazing! I even sometimes forget this effect, and it’s so fun to look through a wide-angle lens and see it happen!

Daily Photo – Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Just before I took this, I was hand-feeding a puffer fish! It was one of the strangest things I had ever done. First I picked up a sea urchin off the bottom and held it loosely in my hand. Then the puffer fish came over and started tearing into it! Puffer fish don't care! It was so awesome to watching him tear it apart. They have big and hard teeth, those guys… kind of freaky really. It's the first time I've ever done anything like that.

Anyway, after feeding the fish, I looked up through the water and saw these crazy clouds. I got out of the water, nabbed my camera, and shot away!

Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Bend at The Hills

Getting that “Sunburst”

Don’t forget that you can get this kind of a sunburst if you set your camera to f/16 or higher. I find f/16 is usually good enough. You can go higher, but then you risk seeing more of the dust and junk on your sensor, which I always find annoying to fix in post.

Daily Photo – The Bend at The Hills

The Hills golf course near Arrowtown has a bunch of these quaint irrigation streams that flow around the golf course. I've never seen any other golf course with this kind of situation. The way they all bend and weave around the course are quite picturesque! It's also super-easy to take photos there too. I pretty much just walked along this thing for an hour getting a ton of different interesting photos.

The Bend at The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

The Lines of the Sahara

Using Humans in Landscape Photos

Whenever I put a human or capture a human in a photo, I am reminded of how much it adds to the sense of scale. I’m a bit hard on myself, I suppose, because I lament that I don’t think of it more often. But then I recall that I should stop all that fretting about the past. Maybe I’ll remember to do it more in the future, maybe I won’t! It doesn’t matter.

Daily Photo – The Lines of the Sahara

One of the hardest types of photos I took while in the desert were fully zoomed in at 300mm while on camelback. The motion a camel makes is incongruous with good photo-taking. I would try to time my shutters to the strange apogees of the camel sways. I even thought about riding side-saddle. I think I saw someone do that in Lawrence of Arabia (which I've seen about 10 times), so it seemed like something that could be done. But I quickly analyzed the physics of that in relation to my torso and skeletal-photo-position and thought it would only add to chaos I was trying to abate.

The Lines of the Sahara

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture16
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Isabella on a walk

Quick Shooting Tip

See this photo below? I can’t claim credit for this idea! It came from my friend Cliff Baise. But if you get down in some grasses or thin plants and shoot with a shallow DOF (low Aperture number), then you can end up with this nice-looking effect!

The Myth of Talent

Here’s a great video by Robin Griggs Wood! She made this as her intro video for www.TheArcanum.com — it’s so awesome. I hope you like it as much as I do! 

Daily Photo – Isabella on a walk

One day we went over to Jack's Point, which is just on the other side of the lake from Queenstown. It was a cool winter morning, but the grasses were blowing in the wind like Isabella's hair. She's a very sweet girl! :)

Isabella on a walk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Arrowtown in the Autumn

Composition Tricks

Here’s a little trick with composing photos. As you know, it’s usually bad form to put major things (like the sun) in the middle of the photograph. But, if you turn the camera sideways (said in a Raising Arizona voice) into portrait mode, you can suddenly center anything and it looks good! You can imagine the photo below in landscape orientation — it would not be as compelling.

Daily Photo – Arrowtown in the Autumn

Arrowtown is so lovely! There is a huge park right by the main street and the trees go crazy in the Autumn. I kind of think this photo is cheating, because you can kind of aim your camera in any direction and just take a photo!

Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Riding to the Ranch

Tip: Shooting at a low f-stop in the middle of the day

I shot this photo below with the Sony A7r and the Leica 35mm all the way at f/1.4. Whenever you shoot wide-open in the daytime, often there is too much light that gets let in. I usually go into manual mode and make the shutter speed uber-fast, like 1/8000. I let the ISO float with Auto-ISO. This way, the light level is always right and the quick shutter speed ensures a sharp photo!

Daily Photo – Riding to the Ranch

Here's a photo from my recent trip to Yellowstone. I stayed at an amazing ranch there. But, in order to get to the ranch, you either have to hike for 5 hours, ride a horse for 3 hours, or take a wagon for 1.5 hours. I chose the hiking and got an early start. While walking, some of my other friends came rumbling by on the wagon, and that's when I got this photo.

Riding to the Ranch

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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