A Child in a New Hutong

What does the Fox Say in Google Glass

My daughter Scarlett loves to use glass to watch music videos and sing or dance around… in this case, she did a voice search for “What does the fox say” and this happened. She can hear it fine, btw… the music is playing clearly by vibrating into her skull through her occipital bone.

My sorry golf clubs

I’ve been playing more and more golf lately. I’m not good. That’s not the direction I’m going with this; I’m going in the direction of having a very old and scattered set of clubs. I think I must have irons and woods from at least six different makers, and many of the key ones are missing. 7-iron? Gone. 4-iron? Gone. But I do have all these other strange clubs that I have never even found the occasion to use – even one with a wooden shaft. I have to pilfer my son’s new clubs to fill the gaps… I haven’t taken it upon myself to get a new set yet because I don’t think my game warrants it… but maybe some day! :)

Daily Photo – A Child in a New Hutong

Hutongs are older, family, communal areas in China. There are thousands of them scattered all around Beijing, for example. Most are old and classical, but some of them have gone through modern renovations and are now a mix between the old and the new. This one had some trendy furniture stores, a theater, and a little coffee shop on one half while the other half was still old-school and classical. I saw this child resting on top of a ramp to a theater.

A Child in a New Hutong

A Child in a New Hutong

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 26, 2013 at 8:03am
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Questions Answered Regarding the switch from Nikon to Sony

Questions about switching from Nikon to Sony – Jump to the answer!

I’m not going to embed the video here, because the Q&A Interface won’t work right, so Go Watch The Video Here.

After you press click on the link above and press play, , you can click on the questions on the right to jump forward to the answer! Actually, this is REALLY COOL that you can do this… this Q&A layer on top of YouTube is really slick!

If you want to know more, go ready my Sony NEX-7 Review.

Some of you may have already seen some of this, but if not, once inside, here are some of the questions & answers you can jump to!

- How are you able to get the quality of images you are getting with such a tiny camera?

- What was the impetus behind you deciding to try switching to the NEX?

- Why go with the NEX / APS-C size sensor? Why not go down to the Micro Four Thirds format with a slightly smaller sensor but with a better lens selection?

- What about photographers with clients? Is the perception of carrying a big camera vs small camera an issue?

- Bokeh…Talk about the differences there.

- What are the quality trade-offs?

- Durability…what are some of the differences there?

- I’ve noticed a different look to your edits since you’ve started using the mirrorless system. Is this intended or just the way your photos have come naturally?

- Did you find yourself shooting more with the NEX once the firmware update for auto bracketing was released?

- Trey, in your article, you stated you use the NEX6 for day to day and the NEX7 for your epic landscapes. Do you find the NEX7′s slow focus the cause for that?

- How do you carry your gear?

- Going back to your Nikons, with companies releasing adapters for lenses for other brands, do you see yourself grabbing a Nikon to NEX speedbooster to use your lenses on your NEX system?

- In your article you mentioned apps on the Sony. Do the new Android cameras like the recently announced Samsung NX1000 excite you in that department?

- Parting thoughts. Regarding advanced amateur photographers, what would you advise them if they’ve already spent thousands on DSLR gear or not , should they switch to mirrorless?

and lastly but not leastly:

- What would you rather photograph – Tennis or Water Polo?

Daily Photo – NEX in China

Here’s another photo I took while in China when in the middle of my Sony NEX experimentation. We went to an older area in the middle of Beihei to see this ancient scene, like time had stopped hundreds of years ago…

China Girl

NEX in China

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 27, 2013 at 7:57am
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length65.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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RAW Photos in the Cloud – now on Google+

An interesting development!

I just found out today that Google+ now supports the uploading of RAW files — as far as I know, this is the only social network to allow this – cool! I have tried it now with a few different images, including this one below. They support RAW files from over 70 different cameras, and I can only assume they will add more as time goes on. I have a few thoughts on this. I have a lot of questions too, but sometimes good questions are more interesting! So, when I uploaded some RAW files to G+, they worked perfectly. I was then able to go in and edit the photo using the just-released photo editing tools. These have all come online recently because of Google’s acquisition of Nik. Those guys have not just been sitting around. What started as a little side-project, Snapseed, has now become a new way to edit photos in the cloud. In fact, the Snapseed “meme” is spreading across all the Google products, from the Android to the web.

HDR Photo

An Adobe Disruptor?

I think so! It will be a while, but we can already see the stepping stones for Google stepping on the stones of Adobe. I know I know… you guys think I am crazy, but think long term. To think that you’ll definitely be using Adobe products in five or ten years seems short-sighted. Remember back in 1997 when we thought for sure we’d be using Microsoft Word forever? There has never really been a compelling competitor for Adobe Photoshop. Sure, there’s GIMP, but that is such an edge-case that most professionals don’t take it seriously. But when Google bought Nik, I think they wanted to disrupt the whole way of thinking about photography and workflow. Nik Software is used by professionals, and the whole team is full of serious photographers. Nik Software lacked a lot of the things that Adobe Photoshop provided that most professionals need. All we need is layers and a few more vital tools, and we can all switch to Google’s toolset.

Just in the cloud?

I don’t think so. Personally, I keep all my RAWs in Adobe Lightroom and it is too cumbersome to upload them all and edit online. I just checked my Lightroom, and I have over 260,000 RAW files. I need full-on speed and responsiveness. However, based on the tea leaves I am bullish that my workflow will change in the next few years.

Nik in Android and the Web

I guess we should just calling them “Nik,” yeah? Google, okay… So the Snapseed software is now part of Android, and the editing tools on my Android phone and tablet are at least twice as robust as the web tools. I assume this is because they have only released version 1 of the web tools, and we’ll see all the functionality move over to the web too. But, I hope we end up seeing MORE functionality in the web interface. After all, it’s a full-screen environment that is better for creative professionals.

The Coming Future

I believe we’re headed to a hybrid environment – one in which we slide our SD cards into the side of the computer and we have Chrome-based client software that does all the essential stuff that Photoshop provides (layers, masking, other tools) — all client side! In the meantime, RAW files are being privately backed up to the web as well as all of our levels of undo. We can all look back at how our workflow has changed over the last five years. In fact, it’s probably changed multiple times! To think it won’t change many more times in the next few years is not realistic. Lord knows we’re all dealing with the same post-processing workflow and organizational problems – so I am happy that so many hardcore photographers at Google are also working on this problem. And yes, I think it will all be free.

More stepping stones I’d like to see

The current RAW upload is a little strange. Here are some issues (questions) I have: – After I upload the RAW file, there is no easy way to “edit” the file. I have to scroll to the bottom of the album (which takes a while with hundreds of photos), find it, click it, then click edit. – Albums currently max out at 1,000 – so this will be a problem for anyone that wants to upload a ton of RAW for Google to keep. – Question: When I use the new Edit tool, am I editing a JPG conversion that has already been made, or is it using the RAW? For example, when I pull up the “Shadows” in the “Tune” dialog, is it getting the light data from the RAW or from the flattened JPG (I hope the former!)

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The Mighty Templegate

Khan Academy

Man, Khan Academy just gets better and better. I use it a lot with the kids to help with math, but it also has a lot more now… everything from Computer Science to the History of Art. Even if you’re a grownup, I think you’ll find some cool stuff over there.

Daily Photo – The Mighty Templegate

If I am going to shoot photos in the middle of the day, these are my absolute favorite kinds of clouds. These are usually hot days and the big clouds are angry and want to form a storm, but they just can’t get it done, so they roil about and look dramatic.

This is one of the many temple complexes around the ancient town of Lijiang. There were hundreds of different ways and places to shoot, so I often find the process of choosing just a few to be an interesting challenge.

Temple Gate

The Mighty Templegate

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/180
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+3

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The Giant Buddha

Extra Info!

I don’t usually get all wikipedia-ish on the blog… but I did look up more things about this most fascinating statue.

Maybe the coolest thing is that 8 meters (over 25 feet!) of this statue are underground, buried, and never seen! It was carved out of a single trunk of white sandalwood, and 18 meters of it stick up above ground. It’s from 1744 and it took over three years to ship the trunk to Beijing! There were over 8 million taels of silver spent to build it and 1800 meters of yellow satin to make the kasaya… amazing!

Daily Photo – The Giant Buddha

This thing was a pleasure to photograph! While I was in this temple, monks were taking huge long red sashes and walking around the upper areas and draping them around different parts of the enormous statue. It was all in slow motion and most interesting!

Buddha Lama

The Giant Buddha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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The City Blocks

YouTube Playlists

I was wondering if you use YouTube Playlists in your own life? I mean, even if you don’t make videos yourself, do you use it to keep track of funny or helpful videos? I have a few playlists on YouTube. Some are of my own stuff, but most are things from other people… funny videos and whatnot that you might enjoy. :)

Daily Photo – The City Blocks

While I was up on top of the few buildings in Beijing, I made special care to use my zoom lenses as well. It turned out the be a lot of fun to zoom in and find cool things that were getting lost in the wide angle. This building you see here is part of the strange overhang part — this place is known as the infamous “metal underpants.”

The City Blocks

The City Blocks

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 25, 2013 at 9:04am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length177.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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In the Backstreets

HDR Spotting

I’m glad so many people are enjoying HDR Spotting — it’s been a labor of love for the team, so I am honored you are choosing to share some of your images on there. It’s free to join of course… and if you choose to get the “Pro” option on there, well then you’ll be able to do some other cool things! :)

Daily Photo – In the Backstreets

I like how in the backstreets of Beijing people just kinda hang out and sit around, relaxing and thinking. I guess you don’t see that too much more nowadays. They all make for good photo subjects too. No one seems to mind, even though they may be a bit confused as to why you are taking a photo! I usually resolve the confusion by walking over to them after and showing them the photo… it makes them happy and we have a nice little interchange! :)

In the backstreets

In the Backstreets

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 27, 2013 at 7:14am
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length136.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Down the road

Wide angle tip

Here’s a very simple tip for shooting with a wide angle lens. Advanced people will know this already, so no need to read further! :) But, if you have a wide angle lens, or even a kit lens that you dial back for a wide scene, then you can end up getting crooked or angled lines in your shot. Of course, normally I don’t mind this at all, but sometimes, I do want things to be totally straight, as in this photo below. To keep things totally straight, there is only one simple rule — keep the camera level with the horizon. That keeps all vertical lines perfectly vertical.

Daily Photo – Down the road

While walking around the streets near Tiananmen square, there are many strange and interesting environments… almost like you walk through portals into parallel universes. This is one of them. It’s somewhere between old and modern, and the strangest thing was it was almost totally empty. And, occasionally there would be a single person that would walk down the street, which made it even more zombie-apocalypse and unusual…

Down the road

Down the road

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 28, 2013 at 1:19am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length17.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Temple of Confucius

Texture Tutorial

If you check the store up there on the top red bar, you’ll find the textures tutorial buried in there. It’s one of the first videos I ever made! The tutorial still sells great and people get a lot of fun ideas out of it. We recently also made an option where you can just get the textures if you like, since some people were asking for this…

Daily Photo – Temple of Confucius

Here’s one of the great things about this particular Chinese temple – it was practically empty. Strange, I thought, because every other temple is completely overloaded with people doing this and that. It was very easy to explore around and find many interesting angles and scenes. The other great thing, of course, is that absolutely nobody minded if I used a tripod. I always appreciate pure tripod freedom whenever I occasionally get it!

Temple

Temple of Confucius

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 25, 2013 at 12:41am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Inside the Secret Base

Interview on Chinese TV

Hehe this was a crazy scene… I don’t even really know what happened the entire time… I spoke very slowly, btw, so that they could translate.

Daily Photo – Inside the Secret Base

If I had a team of superheroes, this is where we would meet. I have no immediate plans for this, but I’ve been looking for a good spot just in case this happens. The only problem with this particular spot is that it is owned by a government-owned broadcasting company in China. I don’t know how I could possibly talk them into selling it to me.

On the bottom level, there was a very serious looking military-style guard. I tried to take a photo of him with my Google Glass, but he waved no, so I just winked. :)

Inside the Secert Base

Inside the Secret Base

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 25, 2013 at 10:01am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time10
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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