Yes! This is one of the most common questions I get. I usually shoot multiple photos (all RAW) at different exposures. However, often times I just use one of the RAWs to do the processing. It’s best in cases with a lot of movement, like today’s shot.
For specifics, it’s on page three of the HDR Tutorial here on the site.
Daily Photo – Information in Tokyo
I was navigating a complex series of catwalks through a beautiful building in downtown Tokyo. I got so busy looking around at all the amazing structures that I almost forgot to look down. Upon doing so, I saw this, or close to this… after a few minutes of walking around, I found a angle that seemed to make special poetic bits of my brain happy.
Can I share a secret with you? Our eBooks have made more money than my major-market Peachpit book. Yes, that’s right! Even though the real book sold out on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, these ebooks have just been amazing.
The best-selling one is “Composing the Photo“, which is one of our 3 ebook offerings. Today’s photo below is shown towards the beginning of the book.
Thank you all for participating! I know that many people are on a budget and want to improve their photography. That’s why we offer a variety of things at many prices… So I hope for the price of a few cappuccinos that we can make your photography world even more wonderful. Even if you are just a beginner, there should be many great nuggets in there for you!
Daily Photo – Man Crossing Street
I spent a lot of time in this dynamic area of Tokyo. It’s sort of the techno-nerd electronic center of the Japanese world. So I felt right at home there with my fellow nerds.
But this guy certainly stood out. He was crossing the street and looking extremely Japo-cool. I pulled up my 50mm and waited for the time to feel right before I snapped the photo. Afterward, of course, it is kind of fun to look at little bits of the photo and find out, compositionally, why the photo did indeed feel “right” to take at that moment.
Mine, in order are: Sunset, sunrise, dusk, night, day… What are yours? Exactly the same or a little different?
Daily Photo – The Allure of Night-Shooting
Of course, taking photos at night in cool cities is awesome. But the bad thing (if there is such a thing) is that there is never really a good time to stop. It could go on all night! It’s not like sunset or dusk that has a fairly limited shooting time…
So, usually I am really awful in these situations and just keep shooting until my body physically gives out. It’s always so easy just to jump in a taxi and head back to the hotel… so it’s hard to come up with a big reason to stop. Everything is so stimulating!
This one was taken very close to my time-lapse sequence that was part of that Japanese video I released. If I found a good place for a photo, then it was also a good spot for a time-lapse. Those are cool and everything, but they do tie up the camera for a long time and inhibit the HDRs!
I’ve been talking about this for a long time, so I wanted to go ahead and give you some free tips for on-the-street people photography.
From various conversations, I think that photographers are REALLY interested in taking photos of people they see on the street. We can’t help it, right? Our eyes are drawn to interesting “things” — not just landscapes. And if we see an interesting person, we really want to take their photo, yes? But then, often times, we don’t even pull the camera up to our eye because we are shy, embarrassed, or think about all the horrible things that could go wrong. So, maybe these tips will help!
Look, honestly, I don’t know if these will do you any good or not. But these are some things that I personally think about. So, insofar as some of my insights are useful to me, maybe they will be useful to you too!
Even though I’m known for “landscape photography”, I actually enjoy all kinds of photography! I take hundreds of people photos, object photos, food photos, model photos, B&W photos, etc. I assume that you take many types of photography too.
1) If you prefer to take photos of people as they are acting naturally, go ahead and take the photo before they notice you. You are a photographer, and this is you. You capture life… if you see something interesting whether it is a landscape, a pile of peaches, or a person that strikes your fancy, go ahead and do it. If you like and it is convenient, you can always go show them the photo after you are done. I do this whenever it makes sense, and I have a nice little interchange with the person.
2) Keep an extra camera ready for people shots. When walking the streets, I normally have my “big” camera ready to go for city landscape shots. My tripod is on. My wide-angle is on. It’s in that “mode.” If I am going to have to switch lenses, it will take forever, and the moment will be lost. So, I carry a second camera on a sling around my shoulder for people shots. On that camera, I have an 85mm or 50mm prime lens. Now, you don’t have to have this exact setup by any means, but having ANY kind of second camera for people shots is recommended.
2b) I find that the 85mm prime keeps me outside something I call the radius of intimacy. That is, when you use a 50mm, you are so close that people often stop acting naturally, unless they are a professional model or a natural thespian.
3) If they ARE likely to notice you, be confident and deliberate, softly asking permission with your eyes. This is a very subtle and hard thing to explain. I usually raise my eyebrows while I raise my camera, clearly indicating, “I’m about to take a photo. Everything is okay.” If they don’t want you to, they will make it clear. Usually, they say it’s just fine. People like to be thought of as interesting.
4) If they are very close, I ask permission out loud. Often times, I don’t want them to pose… so I say something (smiling!) like, “You look very interesting — can I take a photo?” Once they say yes (98% of the time they do), I usually ask them not to pose and carry on about their business. Then I start taking a bunch of photos and enjoy the pressure of capturing the moment.
5) Don’t be shy! If you feel overly shy, it may be a larger indication that you are letting fear motivate you rather than the opportunities that life provides. So, if you feel doubt or fear, just try to channel me and be brave and forthright.
Regarding that last one, seriously, folks, just be cool and confident with it. If you want to do it, and it feels right, just do it. Do not worry so much about rejection. Yes, you WILL get rejected 2-10% of the time depending upon how likable you are. Out of 500 people photos, I’ve been rejected maybe 10-13 times. It doesn’t bother me a bit. So what? People say no… big deal. The fact is that MOST people LOVE to have photos taken of them. To be interesting in a world of same-ness is a tremendous thing. Chances are that no one has ever taken a photo of them before, and they will feel special that you thought they were special.
Most of the time, after I take a photo and people look over at me, wondering, “Why did you just take a photo of me?” I usually say, “You look cool!” Or, “You look awesome!” Or, if they don’t speak English, I give them a thumbs up and a facial indication that I think they look cool. 99% of the time, they smile and carry on.
If you’re taking a photo of a kid, just get a steady nod from the parents before. Bend down to take the photo, look up at the parent, saying, “is it okay?” with your eyes. They’ll say yes or no… There is a significant number of moms out there that watch too much sensational news and assume that 50% of the population are pedophiles… but, maybe you’ll hit that other 50%! Again, we’re all just photographers, and if we see a cute or interesting kid, of course we want to take a photo! It’s what we do! There is no need to apologize for it!
Daily Photo – Salaryman in Tokyo
While I was in the middle of making a time-lapse sequence (see the video below the photo), I was using my D3S on a sling to take quick photos of interesting people. They were everywhere!
Behind me, waiting for the light to change, was this young salaryman. Salaryman is the Japanese word for “businessman”. That word salaryman always cracks me up for some reason. Anyway, he was this young kid, standing there in a most unassuming way in this nice suit. I spun around and grabbed a quick shot.
He looked a little confused at me after I took it. I gave him a nod of thanks, and he smiled in a surprised way then went merrily on his way.
Videos – Life in Japan
While I am busy shooting landscapes and people in Japan, I also take time to make some videos. Below are a few of them from recent past. The music from both is by the great Patrick O’Hearn (buy his stuff!). Enjoy!
The photo below uses Topaz Adjust for a bit of sharpening. I find that my photos can still come out blurry, even though I use a tripod. For more info, be sure to see my Topaz Adjust Review here on the site!
Your thoughts on rain?
How do you feel about shooting in the rain? Too much of a hassle, or worth it? I’m interested in your perspective… you can read more about mine below!
Daily Photo – Ginza, alive at night
Rain is good. Rain is bad. I can’t decide!
You have no idea… (or maybe you do !!) how hard it is to carry around two cameras, a tripod, AND an umbrella. I already have every one of my 10 digits fully employed with handling everything. But… an umbrella! Well that really requires five fingers! I can usually get by with 5 on my tripod/camera too. I walk around with everything hooked together. However, a problem ensues when you have to expand and retract the legs of the tripod. That is really a two-hand operation. So what do you do with the umbrella during this time? The neck/shoulder pinch is right-out… the umbrella gets caught in the wind and it is a recipe for disaster.
And, you have to keep the umbrella over the lens at all times. If you put on the lens cap, it can cause fogging (in most wet-weather conditions). And you can’t let the lens get drops on it, of course. So, I have to keep myself and the lens dry the entire time.
But, once you get everything set up… then… well, nothing beats the effect of wet streets in the night… just wonderful.
I like to collect some of the best TED talks. I’m always adding to the page. If you have suggestions, or things you’ve seen where you think, “Oh – Trey would like this!”, please leave a comment on the “Best TED Talks” page here on the site!
Daily Photo – The Mean Streets of Tokyo
Tokyo has amazing action all the time. There is never a good time to sleep or turn off the camera! Every minute I sleep, I feel like I am missing something!
This was taken close to midnight on another evening when I was just randomly walking around the downtown streets. It’s all a wonderland of lights, colors, people, and sounds. I’ve noticed there are many kinds of “sensory overload” – and they are all on a sliding scale from good to bad. The bad sort is the “Las Vegas” type of sensory overload. That’s the kind where you just simply need quiet in order to collect your thoughts. The kind in Tokyo is completely different. Yes, it is overloading, but it’s also stimulating in a good way… so it continues to feed you until you just absolutely crash. It’s great!
In case you missed this interview with Ron Martinsen, a very nice fellow, you can see it over at RonMartBlog.com. Being a fellow photographer, he asked very good questions and I enjoyed the talk!
Daily Photo – Approaching Roppongi on Foot
On my last night in Japan, I was feeling restless. It sometimes comes at the end of the trip, when I feel like I just haven’t taken enough photos. Of course, that’s never the case, since I usually have thousands in the hopper by that point. But when I know that the city is full of life, I just have to get out there and capture a bit of it.
Roppongi is one of the most happening areas of Tokyo, and the rain makes it all feel even more alive. It’s pretty safe to walk around at night. On the edges, there are some unsavory types about. Typically, they are large Africans who are in the employ of various underground activities. It’s not a good idea to hang around there, so I pass through as quickly as possible, wielding my tripod like a weapon to give them a bit of hesitation.
New Numbered Print, Limited Edition – The Boat in Portofino
This one is definitely a big favorite, and we have gotten many emails asking about when it will become available. Well now it finally is!
Now, let’s be clear. This isn’t really Portofino, but it sure does look like it, eh? We might even make the case that it is more pretty than the real Portofino! This is a beautiful resort in Orlando, over at Universal Studios. The lake is filled with a bunch of little boats, each of which has a different little Italian girl’s name on the back.
Daily Photo – Shopping in the Rain
Today we have another street photography shot from Tokyo. It was quite late at night, quite cold, quite rainy, and quite dark! But, it certainly made for an interesting challenge.
Street life is quite vibrant and pretty in the rain at night. I always struggle with bringing what is so obvious on the scene into the final photo. Getting the feeling right in the final photo without artificial life is tough.
This businessman was strolling down the street, doing some light window shopping. The 50mm 1.4 prime did most of the work here for me, even though it did require manual focus. That bit was hard. Real hard. But, I’ll do my best to put everything together into an upcoming post on the top 10 tips in street photography.
Since I only update the blog daily, if you want the absolute latest on the Iceland trip, along with surprise pics, be sure to follow me on Twitter.
New Print Unleashed!
Recently I mentioned the California PhotoWalk in San Clemente where I met David Arkenstone. I listened to his music all the way up the famous Pacific Coast Highway. Here, in Big Sur, I got up early one morning to grab this amazing scene just as the sun was coming over the mountains to the east.
What happens in hyper-techno places like Japan and Korea seem to be the techno-canaries in the coal mine for the future of technology and behavior in the west. Several years ago, almost everyone walked around their ultra modern-cities with their heads buried in their mobile phones.
I was asked by many English-speaking Japanese there several questions that amounted to, “What do you think of Japanese people?”
I always had a hard time answering that. I love Japan, obviously… I find the people interesting, different, and wonderfully unique. There is one overall thing about the “general” mannerisms of the average person… it would be “robotic”. I don’t know why this is always in my head, but I often get a robotic sense from strangers, as if they are going through the day, devoid of any outward-facing emotion, buried in technology.
Mini Review – If dad has an iPhone, iPad, or Mac laptop, chances are one or all three are always running out of batteries! This is a fantastic extra battery that powers all three. I keep one in my bag all the time. More than handy!
Entry Level Camera – The Cheapest Way Into HDR Shooting
Mini Review – This is the bare minimum camera I can just barely recommend! The only reason I have it in here is because of price — it is arguably half the price of the Nikon D90, which is really the direction you should be going.
A Very Good Camera for HDR Shooting (or any kind of photography, really)
Mini Review – I recommend this wonderful camera because it does auto-bracketing, can hold a variety of lenses, and is an amazing camera now and for the future. You’ll be able to have this be your main body as you slowly build up a collection of lenses in the future, as you get to better know your camera.
The Nikon Lens Coffee Cup - $40 and up, depending on auction price
Mini Review – How could not this be the best thing ever? I can’t think of anything more ridiculous or wonderful!
Daily Photo – My Camera in Tokyo
As you saw in the video a few days ago, I did a lot of night photography in Tokyo. Since I now often carry around two cameras, I sometimes use my second to take a photo of the first! Sometimes, I’m doing timelapse stuff which can take a looooooong time… so I get bored and start taking pictures of taking pictures!
I also included this because it has that green cube thingy mentioned above!
So, I have a dumb question for all you video-smarties out there! I first put this video on Vimeo. By default, it has HD and seems to produce a smooth, HD signal. YouTube, on the other hand, has a more tricky HD Embed option. When I choose it, YouTube tries to force it to 1300 pixels wide, which is wider than this page. I’d be happy with 900 across. Any ideas?
Daily Photo – Traditional Japanese Woman in Tokyo
A few weeks ago I said I was working on some tips and tricks for taking photos of people. I haven’t forgotten about that promise! I’ve just been super-busy. And now I will be in Iceland for about two weeks… but it is still on my to-do list!
Japan is of course a great place to take photos of people… and, if you are like me (I suspect you are, since you are a regular), you like watching people. It’s especially nice to watch people when they look a little different and their mannerisms vary slightly from what we expect. Making that whole experience even more intense is the pure fun of trying to capture a whole person with a single photo.
Tokyo was full of all sorts of pedestrians. Most of them are modern — or, rather, neo-modern. They sport the latest fashions and are as flamboyant as any nation that is comfortable with itself. But, on occasion, you see a traditional Japanese woman gliding through the streets. These sorts of anachronisms are wonderful subjects.
You may also notice her traditional two-toed shoes. I wore these a lot inside ryokan — the big toe goes into the first slot and the rest of your nonsense toes go into the other part. They’re a bit like mittens… strange but quite comfy. How she kept hers dry and clean in the wet streets remains a mystery!
To sign up and see if you are winner, visit Vanelli’s Workshop page! Now, that session will be in St. Augustine, Florida… so I suggest that you only register if you are in that immediate area.
Daily Photo – Mikimoto
It wasn’t until my third trip to Tokyo that I finally got to explore more of Ginza. It’s a pretty high-toned area that is filled with the best of the best. Every elite store you can think of is fully represented, and the designers have pulled out all the stops to make sure they get noticed.
Although not on the main street, this amazing Mikimoto store grabbed my eye. I walked around the building a few times to find an interesting angle and shot away!