Looking upwards by the river

New Trick with Cameras

I figured out a new strange way to take photos with my Sony A7r — actually this will work with any camera that has a flip out screen that points at least 90 degrees upwards.

As you may have tried before you know that looking straight up with a wide angle lens often produces really interesting results. The problem is actually the “looking straight up” bit! It always hurts my neck, especially when on a tripod. So now what I do is just aim the camera straight up and walk forward behind it, normally, but I keep the screen flipped up to 90 degrees so it is right in front of my eyes. It makes it super-easy to find the shots you might normally miss!

Daily Photo – Looking upwards by the river

These trees were the first to lose their leaves this season, but I wanted to see if I could still make an interesting photo from them. That trick above helped. The colors maybe came out a bit dull initially, but I do like the way everything turned out when I added some of my Lightroom Presets to them. These are from the latest edition of the package, and I'm secretly working on a few more… will let you know!

Looking upwards by the river

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Setting up my new Mac Pro

I’m super excited about my new Mac, but I had kind of a tough time setting it up! I’ve set up lots of Macs and they are usually super-easy, but I could not get it to recognize my bluetooth trackpad and keyboard! It was so confusing… I finally had to go inside and get my other USB ones to plug them in the get the dang thing set up. I had to turn on and off the bluetooth system a few times in order to get it to recognize my devices. I felt so clueless — although this is a feeling I have quite a bit, so I’m used to it! :)

Daily Photo – Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

This photo is one of my favorites from my street-series in Tokyo. It's so delightfully strange, I think! I felt lucky to get the focus right at f/1.4 with the 50mm when I took it. I had a general idea of exactly how far people need to be when I take these sorts of photos. It's all manual focus — and I generally find that I get much better street photography photos when I am in the manual focus mode.

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

High Above the Southern Alps and Tips for shooting from fast-moving vehicles

How to take photos from high-speed vehicles in the daytime

The photo below is a good example of this, seeing as it is from a helicopter! It’s best get out of Aperture Priority mode (which I contend is just fine when walkin’ around) and jump into Manual Mode. I amp up the shutter speed to at least 1/250s if not faster. This ensures there will a sharp photo, which is most important. I also drop down the F stop very low. This allows a lot of light in quickly and can get you through any dirt or spots on the window. You don’t have to worry about distant things being in-or-out of focus as long as you don’t have on some kind of a crazy 200mm+ lens.

Last, I let my ISO float (with Auto-ISO), so that I don’t have to constantly be adjusting it as the vehicle turns and there are bright bits and shadowy bits — I think it is smartest to let the computer inside the camera figure out the ISO!

Daily Photo – High Above the Southern Alps

We recently had Choppy fly us over to an amazing campsite near the Greenstone river. Along the way, we flew over these breathtaking mountains. I was taking photos like a man possessed. In addition to the tips above, I also did one other thing. I set up auto-bracketing and had it step by 1 (so it was -1, 0, and +1). I didn't do this for HDR, but just so that I would have a bit of variety in the light levels in my shots. I'm glad I did it, because sometimes the darker one is better than the 0 exposure! For this one, I set the exposure compensation down a bit, so this is actually shot at EV -0.7. It was also SUPER bright outside, so I the aperture was F/10.

High Above the Southern Alps

High Above the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture10
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Backlit Trees

When shooting in the Autumn, be sure to get lots of photos of the sun behind the trees. And if you end up doing HDR (you don’t have to), then you can even show the sun itself without things blowing out too much. Backlit leaves that are going through color changes really adds a nice X-factor I think!

Daily Photo – Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

I should get over to Queenstown Gardens more! I don't know why I don't visit more often… it's really kind of a shame! I guess, honestly, I spend so much time in front of the computer that it limits how much I am out shooting. But I also love the post-processing… ahh… well… no regrets, right? I like doing both, and I'm only one person! I do all the post-processing myself. I know some other people farm it out to others, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Anyway, when I see how pretty these gardens are in the Autumn, maybe I'll shift around some things to make it here more often!

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Lamps in Marrakech

What is a critique like in The Arcanum?

As you may know, we are currently in an early testing phase of The Arcanum, but one question we often get is “How do critiques work?” Well here is a how-to video of everything that happens up to and including the critique. Another cool thing about these is that every single critique is saved on YouTube and submitted to the Grand Library inside… so you can just sit there and watch critiques all day if you like!

This video comes from the Arcanum Leveling Guide for levels 1-10.

Daily Photo – Lamps in Marrakech

This is a good example of why it's nice to have a fast, prime lens at dark situations! Many experienced people will already know this, but I'll explain it for those that don't! When you shoot at night, it's hard to get a lot of light into the camera quickly to make a good photo. But if you have a wide open aperture, in this case, f/1.4, you can take very fast shots that are not blurry without too much noise. The other nice side-effect (or maybe even, the main-effect) is that you get this nice depth-of-field effect where only one bit is in focus as the foreground and background fade away into bokeh.

Lamps in Marrakech

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Berber Man in Morocco

Getting No for an answer in travel photography

Morocco is one of the hardest places to take photos of people. I got a lot of mean looks and countless outright No’s! But I didn’t let it slow me down. I didn’t let the rejections add up… and kept at it… and glad I did, otherwise I never would have gotten this photo below. He was so happy and interested in getting his photo taken!

Worth the full rez

This one is worth seeing the full-rez version! Don’t forget you can zoom into them on SmugMug and even download the full-rez version yourself. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Berber Man in Morocco

I spent many great hours with this gentleman. He was very nice and spoke perfect English. You may remember another photo I published a month ago when he was wearing Google Glass! :) I took this photo outside in the streets of Chefchaouen, and I used a Leica 50mm prime at f/1.4 on the Sony A7r.

Berber Man in Morocco

Berber Man in Morocco

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

KLIA Airport, a few minutes ago.

Happy Birthday Bianca!

Happy birthday to my awesome sister Bianca!

Comments Fixed!

Errrrrrr I think! Email me if it is not the case!

A few minutes ago in Kuala Lumpur

Here’s a video and a photo I literally made less than 30 minutes ago… I wanted to put it here on the blog first. Enjoy! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel Here.

Daily Photo – KLIA Airport

I love Kuala Lumpur! I don't know if you care for the sorts of videos above where I just kind of ramble… stream of consciousness… I wonder if you find it boring or just-above-mildly-entertaining! Let me know! That is, if the commenting is working again on the blog… Curtis will let me know when it is working, and I'll let you know ASAP! Sorry about the tech difficulties! :)

KLIA Airport

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO4000
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Back in Hobbiton to make some more videos

New Stuff in the Works!

We just finished spending time on the Hobbiton movie set where we made a lot more videos a few days ago! They’ll take a while to edit of course, but at least the sausage is in the factory! Would you all be interested in a) A Lightroom Tutorial and a b) Night Photography tutorial? Let me know! :)

24-70mm Lens

I’ve been enjoying my new Sony FE 24-70mm lens on my Sony A7r (see my Sony A7r review if you missed it). I find it gives me that middle range I have been missing. In the meantime, I’m working (SLOWLY) on the Leica lens buying guide… trying to find some good affordable options that can unlock this really cool power of the new Sony bodies… I’m trying my best to understand it all myself, and then make it understandable to you! :)

Daily Photo – The Water Mill in Repose

This might just be a perfect water mill! I actually asked them to turn off the wheel (it works and everything), because it was messing up the reflection a bit. I mean, there was still some reflection, but not nearly as clean and lovely as this. It was a bit of a hard decision to focus on just this mill, since there was this really amazing stone arched bridge right beside it. Well, in honestly, I did not decide, because I got both photos! I just happened to process this one first :)

The Water Mill in Repose

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

From Queenstown to Glenorchy

A behind-the-scenes video — first here on the blog

Hey everyone — I thought it would be fun to put this here first. Two days ago, I was driving back to Queenstown from Glenorchy (which is about 50 mins down the road), and the water was so smooth, I just had to jump out of my truck to take this photo! Anyway, here’s a little about the need to get down low… I make a lot of these videos for The Arcanum, but wanted to release this one here for y’all! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Crystal Lake

Those islands you see in the middle of the lake there are Pig Island and Pigeon Island. You can actually take a little kayak over there and there are huts where you can sleep for the night. No one lives there, and they just sit there empty almost all the time… I never see anyone on the lake at all… this is quite a remote area, really, even though it is quite easy to get to. This whole road to get here was only paved about 10 years ago, so it all still feels very fresh and undiscovered!

Lake wakatipu

Across the Crystal Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wolf Howling at the Sky

Lighting Decisions

When I process a photo like this, I usually go through a bit of a decision matrix about lighting. Since I’m combining multiple shots, I can choose to have everything equally lit, or go with a full-on silhouette. Such power! Haha… sometimes all the decisions can make you seize up a little bit, which is not a good thing. I try not to get caught up in the decision and just try different things and let it flow. In this case, I went with mostly a silhouette, but I did a bit of lighting in the foreground. I think it adds a nice layer right there in front of you.

Daily Photo – The Wolf Howling at the Sky

The shapes in Monument Valley are right out of all the westerns you watched when you were a kid. So, when I was there for the first time it was a bit surreal. Now, I know many readers here have been there several times and they are experts at this area… but it was all fresh and new to me! As long as there are good clouds, I think it is relatively easy to get a good shot here! Sort of a lay-up, I think! Some photos you have to work really really hard for… and those are fine… but I also like a few of these that make themselves a bit easier.

Monument Valley

The Wolf Howling at the Sky

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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