From Queenstown to Glenorchy

A behind-the-scenes video — first here on the blog

Hey everyone — I thought it would be fun to put this here first. Two days ago, I was driving back to Queenstown from Glenorchy (which is about 50 mins down the road), and the water was so smooth, I just had to jump out of my truck to take this photo! Anyway, here’s a little about the need to get down low… I make a lot of these videos for The Arcanum, but wanted to release this one here for y’all! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Crystal Lake

Those islands you see in the middle of the lake there are Pig Island and Pigeon Island. You can actually take a little kayak over there and there are huts where you can sleep for the night. No one lives there, and they just sit there empty almost all the time… I never see anyone on the lake at all… this is quite a remote area, really, even though it is quite easy to get to. This whole road to get here was only paved about 10 years ago, so it all still feels very fresh and undiscovered!

Lake wakatipu

Across the Crystal Lake

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 11, 2014 at 3:17pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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One Surprise Slot for Namibia!

An opening!

We just had my friend Javier (sadly!!) cancel for our upcoming Namibia trip, so here there is one more opening. Find out more about it on the Africa Adventure Page!

Daily Photo – Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there, including my own and Tina below, Happy Mother's Day! I took this photo yesterday when we went out on a little family Mother's Day walk around New Zealand. The youngest one, Scarlett, has run off ahead down the path… if she can't be the center of every photo, she wants no part of it! :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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On Camel, Across the Sahara Desert

Camel-Riding

I’ll tell you what… these camels are not smooth rides. It’s a like you are in a slow moving car and you keep manually readjusting your seat forwards and backwards — like 1,000 times. You know when you get into someone else’s car and you try to adjust the seat? Then you find out the lever is underneath you… then you lift it and rear back and forth violently until you find the spot? That’s exactly what riding a camel is like, except the lever is always being pulled.

Daily Photo – On Camel, Across the Sahara Desert

I absolutely loved my time in the Sahara. I did not expect the dunes to be as overpowering as they were. It was completely overwhelming, in an awesome way. Everything is so minimalist that it makes photography extra-fun and challenging. To move across this endless sea of sand — where do you aim your camera? This one I actually took while I was on a camel. Taking photos while riding a camel Is Not Easy — this I now can say with all certainty! :)

On Camel, Across the Sahara Desert

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 8, 2014 at 5:47am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Worst Thing About Mike’s Bar

More Stu in St. Bathans

I thought I might share a photo of Stu right before we went over to Mike’s Bar.

Walking on Water

Daily Photo – The Worst Thing About Mike's Bar

is Mike.

I mean, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is a great place to eat and get drinks in St. Bathans. Wait let me qualify that. It's the only place. There is a very small town, and Mike has absolutely cornered the market in these two areas, but he has yet to corner the market in grace and civility. He's got a hard edge, that Mike. I went here with Stu and ordered some drinks. This process had all the charm and trappings of trench warfare with mustard gas.

Actually, we did quite like Mike. His unwavering negativity and general disregard for any basic human empathetic standard was worthy of a grisly respect.

The Worst thing about Mike's Bar

The Worst Thing About Mike's Bar

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

The Neighborhoods of Tokyo

Tokyo has many different neighborhoods, and each one is honestly a city in itself. They are all crammed together, and each one is worth a visit. If you ever go to Tokyo, I think it’s worth staying at least a week and then hitting a different sub-city every day. Here’s a good listing of all the various neighborhoods!

Daily Photo – 荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

Here's a fun photo from my recent photowalk in Tokyo. I went there to give a speech at Google for the new “Cool Japan” marketing launch. Just beforehand, we all went on this photowalk in Asakusa.

Asakusa is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, most famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. I want you to know that I copied that previous sentence straight from Wikipedia! Haha I never do that, but I decided to this time because it felt strange just to re-arrange the sentence and pass it off as my own. That's just lazy, you know. I guess what I did was pretty lazy too.

Anyway, Asakusa is a really awesome part of Tokyo, and I had never been there before. I have to go back!

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 20, 2014 at 8:49pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Girl alone in the Tokyo Subway

Black and White Photography

I don’t do it often, but when I do, I use Nik Silver Efex Pro — it’s really a great tool! They have a free demo if you’d like to download it and play with it some…

Daily Photo – Girl alone in the Tokyo Subway

On one of the many subway stops from Tokyo to Yokohama, I saw this young girl standing alone. Some stations are super-busy, and some are like ghost towns. This was a huge station, and it was totally empty except for this little girl, standing alone, playing her gameboy. She was standing so still, she almost looked like a painting on the column. I took this photo just before the doors on my train slid shut.

Girl alone in the Tokyo Subway

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 25, 2014 at 5:03pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Ginza from High Above

Vertical Signs

When you see all these vertical signs stacked up there in the photo below, you might realize something that took me many trips to figure out! Since each of the buildings is quite tall, there are often different retail stores on each floor. So, each little square that is stacked up is actually a different sign for what is on the next subsequent floor.

Daily Photo – Ginza from High Above

This place was a bit tricky to reach!

I love going to Ginza at night (one of those many-neighborhoods in Tokyo I mentioned a few days ago). It's bright, colorful, and extremely clean. Well, all of Tokyo is clean, but especially this part. As I went down one of the little streets, I saw this high bridge up seven or eight stories. I climbed up through one of the nearby stores and tried to work my way back around to the right spot and eventually found it. When I got up there, I noticed the bridge had that diagonal thatchwork of metal wires embedded in the glass. But I opened up this lens all the way to f/1.4 and was able to see right through it!

Ginza from High Above

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 24, 2014 at 11:35pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Little Girl in Tokyo

More about the Sony A7r and the move towards Mirrorless

Here’s a special video I made for Frederick Van Johnson that debuted at one of his live events at a conference. I talk a bit about my switch from the Nikon to the Sony Mirrorless system. I also say a bit about that Leica 50mm that I used to take the photo below.

Daily Photo – Little Girl in Tokyo

This was taken near that giant Gundam robot in Tokyo just a few weeks ago. It's not only a great spot to take photos of the robot, but also a great place to people watch. A lot of cute Japanese kids come here and I enjoy taking photos of them just as much! Some people ask me if it's weird to take photos of the kids or whatever. I don't think so, especially not in Japan. All the parents are totally cool with it, and there is nothing wrong with it. I think there is some kind of a Western fear-based hangup that there must be something inherently strange about it… but I certainly don't feel that way — cute kids are awesome and fun to photograph!

Little Girl in Tokyo

Little Girl in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 21, 2014 at 8:58pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Get The Bamboo Forest print for a great cause!

A special print offering

Get the print here.

100% of the money is going to a special charity set up for Eliza O’Neill. If you’re not familiar with the story about her, check out this link. It’s a great effort by the wonderful photographer Benjamin Von Wong.

Daily Photo – The Bamboo Forest

This is one my favorite photos, still, after all these years. I'm happy to offer this special print for the cause above! If you don't know the story of it, here it is. :)

While exploring Kyoto, I eventually found my way to this fanciful bamboo forest. There had been a light rain most of the morning and everything was quite lovely. The rain does strange things as it moves its way through these sorts of trees. I waited and waited, and that was nice too. In the early afternoon, the rain stopped while the sun peeked through the top. It shone down while the earlier rain misted down from the tops of the trees.

Bamboo Forest in Kyoto Japan

The Bamboo Forest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

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