High Atop Tokyo

Help with Leica Lenses from savvy People out there!

Okay, so I want to start getting some Leica lenses, but I have never felt as clueless as I do when I go Leica lens shopping. I know that there are many very intelligent and practiced Leica experts and collectors out there. I respect you greatly! Maybe I can just have a small iceberg of your knowledge from the wide and deep glacier. I need some advice:

1) What are the first four lenses I should get?
2) There are so many different prices even for the same lens – how do I know if I’m paying for quality or a collector’s item? (I’m more interested in quality of course!)
3) Where is the best place to buy them online?

I think I’d like a good wide-angle lens and then two good ones for portraits/people/things and then maybe a good telephoto lens too. Thank you in advance!

Daily Photo – High Atop Tokyo

After the fun Tokyo photowalk in Harajuku, we had a big dinner for everyone at an Italian restaurant on the top floor of pretty tall building. Somehow, we managed to get ourselves all the way up onto the roof for a bit of night shooting. It was so awesome up there, and I was immediately reminded of the blade-runner-esque feeling of Tokyo.

High Atop Tokyo

High Atop Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3.2
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

New Introduction to HDR eBook!

HDR Tutorial eBook

Grab the Introduction to HDR eBook here! This is a very well put together version of the HDR Tutorial here on the site. It also includes RAW files so you can follow along! Here is a little preview below:

HDR Tutorial eBook

HDR Tutorial eBook

Daily Photo – Dreaming in the streets of Tokyo

This was a wild night in the red light district of Tokyo. It’s actually incredibly safe and interesting, which is cool. Sometimes red light districts get a little scary. But this one is so full of lights and unexpected activity – it’s a great place to take photos all through the night. Like this guy for example. He was kind of just cold-chillin out here… oh yeah!

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/buy/10668747_nxsXfB/2790887856_8SRxkmz/

Dreaming in the streets of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Six amazing stories in a new conversation…

Google+ Conversation

Hear six amazing stories and hang on till the end to hear a possibly less amazing story about new camera bags! Here are links to the gentleman that joined me:

1. Paul Carmona
2. Andrew Gerard
3. Guy Parkes
4. Rick Schwartz
5. Jesse Summers
6. Danny Levin

Camera Bag in Action and a Question

Here’s a bunch of photos people took of me and the bag in action a few days ago in Tokyo during the photowalk I’ll describe below… You can see how tiny it is – barely noticeable !

Question / Mission for you, my brave and resourceful audience:

I want to contact the people that make this bag for Bianchi. I have a feeling they don’t make it themselves… but I love the basic idea, and I think I can improve on it to make something even better for photographers. Here is a link to several of the bags so you can find out more about them. If you find me the contact information, I’ll reward you with the first bag we design together! (btw, I’ve been contacted by at least 6 companies to custom-design bags, but I have never seen a style that I think is worthy… there is something about this Italian design that is vibrating nicely with me and my new smaller-camera habit.

Photo of Trey Ratcliff

Daily Photo – Getting Candy in Tokyo

Here’s another shot from the Google+ PhotoWalk in the streets of Harajuku. We were walking through with a ton of photographers and models — Vic Gundotra, Bradley Horowitz, Holger Feroudj, Hisaya Murata (err, they were not the models) and so many more! The street is packed with all sorts of colorful stores and interesting people, just like Tomomi Terada here :) — she told me that people could visit her blog. To see more photos from the event, click here.

Harajuku Tomomi Terada

Getting Candy in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Photomatix 5 in Open Beta – And Last Night in Tokyo

New Photomatix 5 and Tonemapping!

Now it’s finally available for beta download on this special Photomatix page. There is all new tonemapping algorithm and all kinds of cool stuff a’goin’ on. Also, if you decide to buy the full version (you’ll get the free upgrade), we have a new Photomatix coupon code of TREYRATCLIFF. Or, if you’re completely new to this software, I have a how-to over on the HDR Tutorial.

Last night in Tokyo

Here is some behind the scenes for you that I just got up on my YouTube channel (free subscriptions welcome)! :)

Daily Photo – The Infinity of Tokyo

We also had a huge PhotoWalk ended at this Italian restaurant atop a building in Harajuku. There were over a hundred people inside at the party. I gave a speech about the effects of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints on the Impressionist movement and how this tradition now continues online with Google+.

Right after that, I discovered there was a huge balcony out the side door with an amazing view of the city! I went out there with Vic Gundotra, Bradley Horowitz and a few others to grab a shot of the view.

Here are more photos from the PhotoWalk.

Tokyo Japan

The Infinity of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.7

Join me at the Google HQ in Tokyo! Comment to win!

UPDATE – WINNER SELECTED

Google has contacted the winner – in the event the winner cannot make it, we will choose an alternate. I’ll be sure to get a picture with the winner after the event and post it. Thanks again everyone!

Random Giveaway – Join me at the Google HQ in Tokyo

On October 2nd at 5 PM, I’ll be giving an all-new talk and full tutorial session at Google. Unfortunately, it is a closed session just for Googlers, but I can bring ONE LUCKY WINNER. To enter, just drop a comment that says “I want to come!” or something to that effect. I’ll have the team randomly select a winner and then Google Tokyo will be in touch with you. Good luck! :)

The talk is about the merging of Beauty and Technology into Art. We’ll get into this through telling a wide variety of stories that helped me figure out several circuitous truths about these matters. Not that I have all the answers, but I do see the shape of the truth in a few areas. :)

Daily Photo – A new favorite area of Tokyo

I only discovered this area on my most recent trip. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to get back here or not this time (it’s a quick trip), but I’ll try my best. It’s an amazing place to stay up late into the night and see all the crazy lights in all the tight little streets… so fun and full of interesting life!

A new favorite area of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

So I decided to fight this robot

In Tokyo Again Soon!

I’ll be there for a few days next week — really looking forward to it! :)

Great New eBooks!

 

Mark Johnson
In his 109-page eBook, Luminescent World, Mark S. Johnson shares a delightful medley of creative camera and Photoshop techniques that can’t be found anywhere else. You’ll learn how to craft compelling soft-glow montages, high dynamic range composites, multi-image montages, long-exposure tilts, in-camera multiple-exposure rotate and zoom montages, walks through a forest with an open shutter, mirror montages, long-exposure slap zooms, and many more.

 

 

Justin Balog

The Dawn of America’s Race takes you from the press conference to the finish line of America’s greatest bike race. Photographer Justin Balog and professional cyclist and author Ted King joined forces to share a glimpse into the first two years of USA Pro Challenge. Experience the race with over 100 never seen before images captioned and curated by Ted King himself.

 

 

Ralph Velasco

In Essence of a Place: A Photographer’s Guide to Using a Shot List for Capturing Any Destination travel photographer, author, international photo tour guide and app creator Ralph Velasco outlines the importance of maintaining a shot list in order to create a more complete cultural portrait of a place. You’ll learn to go beyond the more obvious categories of Architecture, People and Landscapes by capturing Color, Details, Night Scenes, Interiors, the Underbelly and so many more.

 

 

Charlie Borland

Charlie Borland’s Outdoor Flash Photography eBook is a practical guide to utilizing flash creatively. Whether you need flash in combination with the natural light or need to create light where there isn’t any, this book covers it all. You will learn how to apply flash for specific results in both intensity and quality. But even more valuable is how to create light that tells stories. Something that is important to outdoor and adventure photographers.

 

 

Wade Simmonds

 

At more and more events, fire performers are popping up at concerts, street fairs, and holiday events. You may have seen photos in other photographer’s portfolios and wondered how they got that shot. Catching the Fire explains the techniques for getting the best photographs out of a fire performance. No matter your skill level, this book will teach you to see the performance in a new way and capture it.

 

Daily Photo – So I decided to fight this robot

I was trying to get out of Tokyo without fighting a robot, but, somehow, I knew that I would never be that lucky.

That would be a good start to a story, eh? I’ll tell you the rest of the story some time… btw, who can tell us which robot this is?

Robot Tokyo

So I decided to fight this robot

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Fishing at Fuji

Happy Birthday to the #1 Commenter: Mom!

Hi Mom! :)

Fuji Question

I have a dumb Mount Fuji question! Does it ALWAYS have snow on the top bit, or are there times when it melts off. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever seen it without snow… but I am not a Fuji-san expert… thus the question! :)

Daily Photo – Fishing at Fuji

What’s more scenic than fishing with that amazing mountain in the background? It’s so cinematic and dramatic all the time. I can just picture these guys pulling fish out of the water and everything is in slow motion and majestic.

Fishing at Fuji

Fishing at Fuji

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length56.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Eyes of Tokyo

Traffic Photos

So, how are these kinds of photos made? Well people that have the tutorials above have seen me do it many times, but I can give you a brief high-level description here. Basically, I use the default technique to create the HDR version (assuming you’ve seen the free HDR Tutorial here on the site!). Of course I use Photomatix and all that stuff. But, while I am on the scene I take a bunch more shots to get the traffic streaks. I usually keep it in Aperture priority and I keep adjusting the aperture until I get a good 8 to 15 second exposure, which seems to be just about right for getting good traffic streaks. I then mask that into the final version…

Daily Photo – The Eyes of Tokyo

Tokyo is one of the coolest cities to get traffic photos. I must have taken over a thousand, and I look forward to doing a lot more. Of all the thousand I’ve taken, I think I’ve only processed and published about 8 of them, and this is one of my new favorites. I walked up and down this street to try to find lights against the dark in a configuration that felt like a menacing face over the city…

The Eyes of Tokyo

The Eyes of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time0.8
  • Aperture9
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Sandals of the Monks

An Old Video

Here’s the very first video I released… many years ago… on an early trip to Japan. You can see a few scenes from the same monastery below from today’s image.

Daily Photo – Sandals of the Monks

I walked around the monastery complex for ages, taking photos here and there. When I came around a corner on one of the more remote areas, I saw all these sandals lined up like a swirling cloud outside of one of the meditation rooms.

Sandals

Sandals of the Monks

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture11
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Upcoming Speaking Engagements, Fujisan, and the spaceship

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I’ll be in Auckland on Sunday to speak at the big NZIPP Event. I’m afraid that one is not open to the public, but maybe you can sneak in! I’ll also be at the event below, the huge Problogger event in Australia by Darren Rowse. I believe that event is Sold Out! But you should check their website and see if any more become available.

HDR Photo

Half of Photography is just showing up

Here is a behind-the-scenes video I made while I was taking the photo below (well the 2nd half of the video!)…

Daily Photo – Fujisan and the spaceship

This was a fun evening exploring some temples around the outskirts of Mount Fuji. I have a feeling there are hundreds more places like this… I want to explore them all! :)

Fujisan

Fujisan and the spaceship

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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