Milky Waters of Aruba

New Camera Gear Stuff!

I made a few changes to my Camera Gear Recommendations. Here you go… I’ll cut and paste them here for you or follow the link to see more.

Sony a5100 Mirrorless Camera

Good Camera: Sony a5100

This Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you around the $500 level.

If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” or “HARDCORE” recommendations. However, if budget is your principal 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 if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7Rii model below.

Better Camera: Sony a6300

Starting at below $999 for the body.

The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).

Best Camera: Sony a7R II

Starting at just over $3198

A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. The Mark 2 is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. I used this camera ll the time before getting the Hasselblad X1D below. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it even though I’m not using it any more. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!

HARDCORE MODE: Hasselblad X1D

Starting at the low low bargain price of around $9,000.

What a beast! I don’t have a review up yet for this, as I want to use it for a few months. But I’ve used it long enough to know that I like the photo results better than the Sony A7r series of cameras. It’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than the Sony and is not that much bigger in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware.

Link to my Spotify Playlists

If you click on this Spotify Playlist Link, you can see most of the songs I’ve added in the last year. It’s all over the place, really, but mostly Ambient/downtempo/electronica with a few wildcards thrown in. I listen to this stuff when editing photos to help “get me in the mood”!

Daily Photo – Milky Waters of Aruba

We were here in the middle of winter, and the water was still very nice. I can't imagine how nice it is in the summer! It was certainly better than being stuck in a cold place for the winter… don't get me wrong… you know I live in the mountains of New Zealand, so obviously I like wearing layers, a crackling fire, and hot cocoa, but a beach like this is a welcome respite!

Milky Waters of Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:53:12
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length26.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Above Puerto Rico

Pano Tip

This is made from a Phantom 4 Pro and about 5 different photos. I stitched them all together in Lightroom and then ran them through sweet sweet Aurora HDR to give it a little HDR love! 🙂

Daily Photo – Above Puerto Rico

Here's the fortress in San Juan, which I never realized was practically an island. Or actually, it MIGHT be an island where you have to take a bridge. I should know these things. But I seem to remember being on a bridge… wait let me look at a map because now I am very curious. Oh yes, it is an island, as you can plainly see from this map. I took this photo just off the northern edge looking back to the southwest as the sun was setting. So what you're seeing here is the very tip of the island.

Above Puerto Rico

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-25 17:48:58
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale

EXIF Info

Don’t forget you can see the EXIF info by 1) on the web, mouse over the photo or 2) on mobile, you can click through to the Smugmug version and click the “i” to get all the camera/exposure info! 🙂

Daily Photo – Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale

Two Ft. Lauderdale shots in a row! This is one of the amazing sunrises there. I don't like setting alarms (the only time I do is when I plan a wake-up call to catch a flight), so I would sleep with the curtains open so the morning light would wake me up. It works 80% of the time. Anyway, it worked this day, and I was able to zoom in tight and get the sun rising up through stormy clouds.

Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-09 20:26:32
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length115.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1.3

Katie Ann headed to the hot tub

Funny Story

Look, I’m really not the kind of guy that says bad things about other people or teases them, so this is not really a story about that, just noting a WEIRD situation. It’s related to today’s photo. So, across the hall from me was these newlyweds. They saw I had a camera, and they asked if I would take a picture of their beautiful baby. I was like, well, I don’t really do that sort of thing. And then he said, well let me get your email and I’ll keep asking. Every few hours, I got another email, offering me money and everything, telling me how amazing his baby is and how I simply must take pictures of the baby. They would find me in the lobby, restaurant, everywhere, asking me to take photos of their baby and showing me other photos of how amazing this baby was. It looked like a regular wrinkled up baby to me. Anyway, I kept saying no, I don’t really take portraits of people or anything. WELL, fast forward a few days later, and I’m taking photos of my friend Katie Ann at the pool below. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the newlyweds were at the pool. The wife came over to me and said, “I thought you didn’t take photos of people!” I was like….uhhhhhhh….

Daily Photo – Katie Ann headed to the hot tub

When I was in Ft. Lauderdale, I called my friend Pascha (who helped me with the cancer charity event) and his model girlfriend Katie Ann. They came over for a few hours for a fun photo shoot. I wanted to get a little “gal in Ft. Lauderdale” feel for my shots. I don't do a lot of this sort of thing, but it's fun to experiment and try other things. We were shooting this at the Ritz-Carlton pool and everyone was watching us like it was some kind of an official shoot or something… If I explained how casual and organic the shoot was, they probably would have been disappointed.

Katie Ann headed to the hot tub

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-11 02:47:44
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Relaxing in Aruba

Personal Photo Challenges

Hey, check out my new YouTube Playlist from our Family Adventures in Florida and the Caribbean. In each of the six videos I recently posted, I give myself a little personal photo challenge. For this challenge in Aruba, I was practicing reductionism.

Daily Photo – Relaxing in Aruba

I admire people that can just sit in the waves and relax. I find the only time I sit completely still in any situation is when I am reading or meditation. I love both of those things… but I very rarely sit like this in the ocean and do nothing. Whenever I try it, I think, you know, I should really be walking up and down the beach and taking photos!

Relaxing in Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:53:50
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

A Colorful Corner in Old San Juan

Go to Old San Juan!

Even though it’s my 2nd time in Puerto Rico, I never had the chance to go to this great old place in the city. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and an evening… the food and drinks are amazing to grab in between photo shooting sessions!

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Daily Photo – A Colorful Corner in Old San Juan

I kept coming back to this corner again and again… one time I got here and there was this gal crossing the street in a shapely black dress, and I thought it made the scene so much more interesting.

A Colorful Corner in Old San Juan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-25 01:04:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Horse Play in the Water

Get a Pixel Phone!

These Google Pixel phones are great. Note Google didn’t pay me or anything to say this… I even bought a 2nd one for my wife and she loves it too. I find it superior to the iPhone in almost every way… and since I Switched from Mac to Windows now I am totally Apple-free! And yes, we’re still working on the Aurora HDR version for Windows! 🙂

Daily Photo – Horse Play in the Water

Heck of a nice photo from a mobile phone eh? One of the best advantages of the phone is I was able to go jogs with it up and down the beach here in Aruba. I saw so many interesting things! And it was so easy to quickly grab with by pressing the power button twice on the side then Vol-Up to grab it. I often didn't even have to look at the viewfinder. I would just “guess” and then edit in Snapseed or on my computer later.

Horse Play in the Water

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-17 15:09:38
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/6000
  • Aperture2
  • ISO57
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Streaming Light in the Mosque

Local Guides

If you’re a Passport Member and you see the bonus video below, you’ll see the incredible value of having a local guide. In this case, he found a gentleman in the mosque that sings the verses and stories inside of this beautiful old room. You can also see me talking about taking photos in the same mosque as today’s Daily Photo!

Passport Member-Only Content
Click here to learn how to unlock this content plus many other amazing member benefits.

Daily Photo – Streaming Light in the Mosque

How pretty is this place? This is one of the oldest mosques I've ever been inside. It's the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and it began construction in 1356! The back room has this enclosed area where the light goes absolutely crazy when you use a tripod.

Streaming Light in the Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-03 16:14:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

New Plotagraph Pro pricing

See today’s photo ? I also made an animated version that turned out great! You can see it over here on Facebook – it should auto-loop!

And if you go over to the Plotagraph Pro page you’ll see they have new pricing including a monthly plan. Give it a whirl… very fun! If you check my Instagram Feed you’ll see I’ve been posting a lot lately 🙂

Daily Photo – Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

On my last night in San Juan, I went around to do a little exploratory fun walk with my friend Scott Jarvie. After moving around and through the town, we ended out by the docks. How pretty eh? It was a nice and moody night with all the clouds that made it even more romantic. I mean, I love a good romantic night with Jarvie.

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-26 09:02:48
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.4
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Paddleboard of my Own!

Here’s a photo of the first time I tried paddleboard yoga. This is extremely difficult, by the way… And when you fall off, there is simply no way to look cool. It reminds me of the other way it is impossible to look cool: When you crawl under a conference table to unplug things.


Yours Truly on a Paddleboard

Daily Photo – Paddleboard Yoga Class

You know what would have been really impressive? If I was doing yoga down there on paddleboard with all those ladies WHILE flying the quadcopter to get this shot. Can you imagine? Well… that's a recipe for disaster I'm sure… I almost fell over while standing over on the nearby beach!

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-19 10:20:39
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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