Benjamin Von Wong for the Arcanum?

Should we fast-track him in? Leave a comment!

So we were looking through the applications for The Arcanum, and we saw Benjamin Von Wong signed up to be a Master. I thought, wait, this must be a mistake! That can’t be The Same BVW that is like that super-awesome-talented-crazy-photographer-dude, is it? It is! We’ve had hundreds of applications in there where people sign up to be Masters, and there is some really incredible talent in there. I hate to pull him out as an example, but with this new video below, I thought it was apropos.

If you want us to Fast-Track him into a special list as the next beta-list of Masters, let me know in the comments! If there is enough public outcry, well then I know a guy that can make it happen!

We’re currently in a beta phase with the first group of Masters, and it’s going well. We’re learning a lot, doing a few iterations, and having a lot of fun! Our plan is to launch with a very small group of Masters, each of whom will select 20 Apprentices to guide through their the first two spheres of Levels. I know it’s all enshrouded in a wonderful mystery, but all will be revealed as soon as a Master selects you. Even spinning up the next set of Masters will take a while, so don’t get too excited just yet!

And so here you can see this amazing video Benjamin Von Wong did with SmugMug. If you don’t know what that is, see my shiny SmugMug Review!

Daily Photo – Looking forward to more Tokyo photography

Last trip to Tokyo, I finally hit this neighborhood below. I'm looking forward to going back here and taking more photos! Mostly I think I am excited just because I have a new camera, and I know things are gonna be even crazier. This time, I'm gonna spend a bit more time doing street photography with the A7r and some Leica lenses. It's a great place to practice because most people there don't seem to mind when you take their photo!

Looking forward to more Tokyo photography

Looking forward to more Tokyo photography

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

Heading back to Tokyo

Strange worlds!

This will be a strange turn-around for me. I’ll be spending a lot of time in the deserts of Morocco, away from civilization, and then I’ll be going straight into Tokyo here. I’m super-excited about the transition, actually. To me, Morocco and Japan are two true parallel universes that have not become generic in any way yet… so it will be a bit of a portal-between-worlds.

Daily Photo – Heading back to Tokyo

Here's a scene from the fun photowalk we did in Tokyo last time I was there. A bunch of girls in costume showed up and started playing with my Google Glass. They made the funniest faces of shock and surprise when they put them on. In this shot, you can see Vic Gundotra in the background taking his own photos of the festivities!

Heading back to Tokyo

Heading back to Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length56.0 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

From the Old to the New

Not having a commute

I really appreciate not having a commute to work (was thinking about this when processing today’s photo)! And I have YOU to thank for that. All of you who pop into the store to buy a little something… that all adds up, and I don’t take it for granted! I get to walk over to my little studio every day to try to make more pretty things and come up with artistic ideas. It’s nice not having to drive into the studio, I think! It’s also good to get a little bit out of the house… for whatever reason, you can go a little mad in there sometimes if you know what I mean! :)

Daily Photo – From the Old to the New

A little downtown action for you today… :)

From the Old to the New

From the Old to the New

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length170.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

The Great Tea Shoppe

Your Favorite Tea?

I ended up buying a few different kinds of teas from all over Japan at this rather exotic tea shoppe below. Do you have a favorite kind of a tea or a favorite way to have it prepared? I’m curious! I used to think I liked Earl Grey Tea a lot because Captain Picard liked it, but now I’ve decided I actually really don’t like it (but I still like Captain Picard.)

Daily Photo – The Great Tea Shoppe

This was a magical little find off on one of the side streets in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan. From the road, I saw a bunch of patterned tea holders inside of a quaint shop, so I just went inside. For whatever reason, I am less shy about going into random stores in Japan. Even if I end up in a really strange store (which is mostly the case!), then people are so polite there that they never make me feel bad about it! Speaking of that, I should get some more photos of the rather strange stores into which I pop into!

The Great Tea Shoppe Japan

The Great Tea Shoppe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

Inside the Tokyo Prism

XBox One or the PS4

Which one should I get? I’m so confused… I think I want both! The problem with both, according to my new favorite site, Polygon, is that there are no killer games for either one. That worries me… sure, they will come soon, but this does not make me immediately excited, naturally.

I understand the XBox One is really good at kind of running a home-entertainment system with a lot of services that make sense in the US, but not here in NZ. Stuff like Netflix, for example. So I wonder if the home-entertainment-angle is a moot point here. I do like the look of Dead Rising, but I understand the controls are a bit sluggish. The last thing I’d want to be in a zombie apocalypse is sluggish, so this worries me.

Daily Photo – Inside the Tokyo Prism

Towards the end of the Tokyo PhotoWalk, we ended up at this amazing entrance to this shopping area in Harajuku. I could have just set up here all night to shoot. It was just incredible. In fact, next time I go back, I’m gonna spend a lot of time in this area!

Thanks again to everyone that came out to the great event. The after party was great too; we need to do more PhotoWalks with afterparties! :)

Inside the Tokyo Prism

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

The Old Ship Passes

The new Mac Pro

Man, I’m so excited about getting the new Mac Pro when it is available. Am I alone in this? I love my Macbook Pro retina screen, but I also like having a big workhorse in my studio for the heavy lifting. The only thing I was wondering about is its ability to power several 4K displays — and Apple does not make a 4K display. Any recommendations in this area would be appreciated! :)

Daily Photo – The Old Ship Passes

I was walking under this enormous modern bridge in Tokyo when this old ship started slowly floating by. I don’t know if this is a common site or not, but it was such a cool scene! Everything was coming together, as you know this is my favorite time of the dusk to shoot.

The boat was so awesome — I really wanted to get on it for a closer look. I wonder where it docks… I need to find out so I can visit it when I get back!

The Old Ship Passes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Crossing the road in Roppongi

How I get light trails

I’ve taken to putting my NEX-7 into Manual mode AFTER I get my HDR sequence. Manual mode is pretty easy to get into on the NEX. After I’m in there, I just keep playing with the Aperture and the Shutter Speed until I get the length of the light trail exactly how I want it. I keep the ISO down at 100 (unless there is strange lighting) — so that keeps the noise down. It all depends on the speed of the traffic, so there is no rule of thumb. The best rule of thumb is just a lot of experimentation and then looking at the results!

If you want the light trail to be longer, just make your f-Stop a bigger number, which will allow you to increase your shutter speed without the rest of the photo getting too bright.

Daily Photo – Crossing the road in Roppongi

This area of Tokyo is great for photography, but it can be a little scary. I’ve been here about five times over five different years, and the kind of people that hang out there keep changing. There are a lot of international people, which makes it interesting… but there is always a bit of a dangerous edge there. Several years ago, every corner had these scary Nigerians who looked mega bad-ass and they would just kind of glare at you… they were involved with some sketchy clubs and whatnot… It always made me mega uncomfortable. Generally, I don’t like people glaring at me, especially when they are huge Nigerians. Call me crazy.

Crossing the road in Roppongi

Crossing the road in Roppongi

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.8
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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

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