A view of the city from the Hollywood Hills

The Google Science Fair – Free educational event – The Science of Photography

I know some of you were able to watch the Google Science Fair event a few weeks ago, but be sure to check out that website for some of the other videos. I wish I had all these resources when I was a kid!

Daily Photo – A view of the city from the Hollywood Hills

One night, Tom and I went up to the top of Runyon Canyon to shoot the city. On the walk up, I liked the view of one of the palatial Hollywood Hills homes through the valley. I zoomed in with my 28-300 mm lens to get this shot.

If you’re ever in LA and looking for some new types of city shots, take a hike around Runyon during the sunset. You may find some cool scenes!

Downtown LA

A view of the city from the Hollywood Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture11
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

The Abandoned Boiler Room from the Queen Mary

Abandoned, Grunge HDR

Since you got into HDR photography, do you tend to seek out more abandoned, creepy places like this?

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Boiler Room from the Queen Mary

Here’s the next photo from the amazing ghost ship! Well, I don’t know if that is what it is really called or not, but we did walk into this room during our little ghost tour aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It was very creepy, alright… mostly alone in this huge old ship from the war… and these vast interiors felt very hollow and eerie in their emptiness. I enjoyed taking the photos… and then I enjoyed getting out of there!

The following bit is from Wikipedia: “Anecdotal reports of paranormal activity have included children crying in the nursery room, used as the third-class playroom, and a mysterious splashing noise in the drained first-class swimming pool.”

The Abandoned Boiler Room from the Queen Mary

The Abandoned Boiler Room from the Queen Mary

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Why I stopped using FaceBook Events

Why I stopped using FaceBook Events

Facebook events seem to pale in comparison to Google+ events. I’ve planned countless events in both, and the Google+ events have better results.

For example, if you look at the upcoming Austin SXSW Photowalk event in Google+, we have well over 500 people RSVP’d for the event. Compare this to the PhotoWalk I put as an event in Facebook for Paris (a much bigger city) a few months ago where a very lame 19 people RSVP’d. I mean, the people weren’t lame. The number is.

Now, I have 430,000 subscribers on FB compared to over 4.5 million Google+. So that is could be part of it, but I don’t think so. I know that a bunch of those 430,000 subscribers from Facebook LIVE in New York City (at least more than 19) and would have liked to be informed of the event, but I doubt they even knew it was going on if it wasn’t for Google+.

The only time I got any traction on a Facebook event is when I posted a link to the FB event to my 4.6 million Pinterest followers. As soon as I did that, a bunch of people signed up. I’m sure there is a big overlap in Pinterest and Facebook users, but none of those Facebook people would have found out about it unless I posted it on Pinterest!

There a few other x-factors in Google+. One is that it is integrated with the whole Google email and search world. So, if people use Gmail (who doesn’t???) or do a search in Google (who doesn’t???) then it is easy to find events that are happening near you and get invites from your friends. There is much less friction to sharing an event.

And Facebook search is horrible! It took me forever even to find my previous event. I did a search for “Paris Photowalk” and mine did not appear — another one appeared. Plus, I know there have been many many photowalks in Paris, and only a random one appeared.

The recent PhotoWalk Event in Melbourne is a good example of how vibrant and alive the event system is with Google+. It’s growing and growing as they add more features, and it is certainly the most “fun” place to share photos during and after the event.

Another X-factor in the Google+ events is the live sharing of photos. If you’re at an event with Android and have “Party Mode” toggled on temporarily, then all the photos you take automatically upload to the event page so you can watch it live from many different perspectives. I think this will be a fun way for everyone to interact with our SXSW PhotoWalk in Austin even if they can’t be there with us.

There is one little bug with G+ events. Whenever I +mention people or pages, it loses the hyperlink whenever I have to edit the event. That bit is annoying… so hoping they fix that soon.

Anyway, if you are putting events in both places, what are your thoughts? Or, if you are JUST putting them on Facebook, have you noticed them being less effective? It’s possible that maybe only the Facebook event was being shared with my friends and not subscribers. It’s a black box and I have no idea what is going on… but I do see the results… and event after event gets better response and engagement through Google+.

Another Indoor Situation

Since I’ve run about 25,000 photos through Photomatix, I’ve gotten to know the software pretty well! :) One thing I have noticed for sure is that these kind of situations are where Photomatix really shines. You can take the result of Photomatix from these indoor, shiny situations to the bank. What comes out of photomatix needs very little adjustment.

The Photomatix Review here on the site shows more about this tool in case you’ve never tried it before!

Daily Photo – Across the Floors of Union Station

This room is closed to photography for some reason! Actually, it’s totally closed to all human traffic. I’m not sure if this was a one-time thing, but I got the feeling it was because the ropes and whatnot that told me not to go in here seemed like they had been there for a while. You know the feeling. Perhaps they only open it for the rare events…

But I went through the silly ropes and took a photo anyway. The security guard came to get me, but he was pretty nice about it. I just told him that the ropes confused me and I figured they must surely be a mistake.

Train Station Floor, LA Union Station

Across the Floors of Union Station

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Ghost Ship in Long Beach

Carrying a tripod?

Have you added a tripod to your camera-carrying situation? Once you make the jump… you kind of make the jump and that is it. You kind of just accept that a tripod is part of your gear, and that makes it easier. I wondered if there’s many of you that used to never (or occasionally) carry a tripod — and now you almost always have a tripod?

Daily Photo – The Ghost Ship in Long Beach

The Queen Mary ghost-tour is a must! It’s a great way to see the whole ship while having a cool story wrapped around it. Even better, you can set up for photos and bring a tripod! Some of these places are soooo dark and creepy that there is no way to get a good photo without a tripod.

The old pool still had sort of a blueish glow that fought against the orange glow from the lights above. Both together were quite surreal!

The Ghost Ship in Long Beach queen mary

The Ghost Ship in Long Beach

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.8
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Old Train Station in Los Angeles

Nikon 14-24mm Lens

If you never saw my Nikon 14-24 Review, now is a good time! I try to pop in there from time to time to add new photos. And yes, of course I post-process all my photos… so it’s not exactly lab conditions. But, that’s not how I roll, you know… at least you know what you’re gonna get ahead of time with my reviews! :)

Daily Photo – The Old Train Station in Los Angeles

Here’s another place I found thanks to sweet Stuck On Earth.

I think LA has a bunch of these places that are kinda secret – sort of hidden away and no one would ever find them. For example, I can’t think of a reason I would ever go into the train station in Los Angeles. Maybe if trains were a bit better in the US, then I would have occasioned them… anyway, I’m glad I found out about this place.

Tom and I went in here and had a fun time shooting. We were approached by security because of our tripods. We thought we were in heap-big-trouble, but it turns out they brought a form to sign right there on the spot. How convenient! :)

The Old Train Station in Los Angeles

The Old Train Station in Los Angeles

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Nylon Pink

Lightroom Presets

Today’s picture is from one of my favorite presets in Trey’s Lightroom Presets. I believe it is called “Big Wheel Race” and it tends to make photos more punchy and vibrant.

Asian Girl Bands

Have you ever heard of Nylon Pink? They are one of those all-asian-girl bands… Maybe there is just one of those? I don’t know… but I bet some experts out there in the community know! Anyway, Tom and I took a bunch of photos of them one evening while they were in some Japanese store in LA. Anyway, you can look ‘em up if you are interested in this sort of thing!

Daily Photo – Nylon Pink

This is Jamie Scoles, one of the band members. This little Japanese shop had all sorts of different things that the girls would try on and play with… and no, Tom and I did not try anything on. :)

Nylon Pink Jamie Scoles

Nylon Pink

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperture
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Inside the Google Veniceplex

2nd Talk at Google

I’ve given about six different talks at Google offices around the world, and two of them have been recorded. Here is the second one of them from the Google HQ in Mountain View, CA.

Daily Photo – Inside the Google Veniceplex

Last time I was in Venice, California, I went into the new Google offices there. They recently moved into the Frank Gehry building, and everything is quite stylish, as you would suspect. Just to the left is a conference room that looks like something out of a Bond movie. The furniture is all vintage 1950’s styling from Eames, shag carpeting, the works… BTW, I recommend the Eames documentary, if you are documentary-kind-of-person!

Google Offices Los Angeles

Inside the Google Veniceplex

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Russian Sub and the Queen Mary

Stuck on Earth 3.0

We are working hard on Stuck On Earth 3.0. We’re completely overhauling the “trip” system to make it more social. Not only will it be easier to create and share your trips, but now you can submit them to the community and to the editor to be included as one of the default Top 50 Lists. Before, it was a fairly cumbersome process, but soon, you’ll be able to do it all right from within the app.

Daily Photo – The Russian Sub and the Queen Mary

This was my first time to sneak onto a Russian sub.

These are the kinds of things you probably are not supposed to do, but I figure the risk was about 1000% lower since the sub was no longer in Russian waters. In fact, it’s in friendly Long Beach, docked alongside the Queen Mary.

There was almost no security, and the gate was fairly easy to scale. I was with Tom, and somehow we talked one another into it. When you are with a friend and about to do something risky, either you talk each other into it or you talk each other out of it.

Russian Sub Queen Mary

The Russian Sub and the Queen Mary

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.8
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Red Carpet Event

I think these things are always a bit strange… but my mom really liked these photos from this red carpet event that was hosted by Samsung recently. This one came about through my agent at CAA, but next time I’ll have to tell her not to put me back-to-back walking down with a gay guy because they always outdress everyone else… He’s not in the photo below (lots of ppl there) — but his name was David Bromstad (a designer you may know from HGTV). He’s a super-nice guy and we shared a little dressing room. I knew immediately that he would out-dress everyone!

(Note: those little shopping cart icons below were part of the screenshots that I grabbed from the news agency website)

BBC: The Story of India

Has anyone seen this? It’s pretty good…. watching it now. Besides being full of good content, there is also nice cinematography.

Daily Photo – The Walt Disney Concert Hall

I had a late night taking photos in downtown LA. I parked over near the Walt Disney Concert Hall and this was my final photo of the night as I was walking back to my car.

It was one of those situations where I didn’t feel like unfurling my camera again. You know when you’re really tired and you’re just ready to mail it in? That was me… but I saw this strange green light… and it looked a little like the green reflection off the hall… and then after that, I knew I had to go ahead and take a photo. I was happy to at that point.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.7
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills

And the big announcement is…

not here… but it will be here tomorrow! :) I’m so excited! :) Christmas in July!

Daily Photo – Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills

“The Hollywood Hills” is one of those areas I had always heard about but never visited. I always wanted to get a photo of them, but, how, exactly, does one do that?

Well once I finally found the area and started exploring it, I decided to try to find a unique shot. It snuck up on me one afternoon while jogging through some trails along the top. I saw this scene and decided to return later, when the time was right.

HDR Photo

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