The Charming Streets of Lijiang

New Alexia Sinclair video

Here’s a new video from my friend Alexia. She really hit it out of the park with this one! I’m so glad she’s one of the Masters over at The Arcanum!

Daily Photo – The Charming Streets of Lijiang

All the streets in and around this town in southern China are amazing and full of life right before closing, and then everything goes quiet and dead. It's so strange… it reminds me of those time-lapse photos where you see flowers open up when the sun comes up then close down as the sun sets.

The Charming Streets of Lijiang

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture4.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Ruins of Macetown

Landscapes at f/1.4

I’ve been using these Leica lenses more and more. And, by the way, they don’t have to be very expensive. There are many shades of grey. For example, there is a whole line of Leica M lenses that are very affordable. Anyway, I don’t shoot a lot of landscape type shots at this kind of aperture, but I am experimenting more and more. Like, for example, today’s photo is kind of cool with this situation, and I’m not sure it would be any better another way around…

Daily Photo – The Ruins of Macetown

If you go past Arrowtown down a rather rough dirt road and cross the river about 15 times, you get to an old abandoned mining town called Macetown. The school hikes the kids there every year and it's kind of a destination. I don't know why it is a destination though. On the day we went, it was rainy and cold and I found much of it to be rather dreadful, even though I tried to have a good attitude. Or, at least, an attitude of acceptance, which sometimes helps. Anyway, I did manage to take a few photos while there, and here is one of them near the end of our quarry.

The Ruins of Macetown

The Ruins of Macetown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Facemasks of Tokyo

Why the facemasks?

I think most people assume that the facemasks are because they are afraid of getting sick or SARS or something like this. But it is actually the opposite, I suppose! They wear the masks because they are being considerate and worried about getting their germs on other people. I’d guess that anywhere from 25-50% of the people in subways and public areas of Japan wear these facemasks. I think they are actually kind of cool. It makes people very mysterious and you can just look at the eyes.

By the way, all of these were taken last week with the Sony A7r and the Leica 50mm f/1.4. This is a manual focus lens, so I got a lot of practice with being fast with the manual focus with all these moving subjects! :)

Daily Photo – Girl with Facemask in Shibuya Station

I walked up to her and she could tell I was a photographer. I asked her in my best international-speak if I could take her picture and she said yes. Most people are super-cool with photos in Japan, which is awesome. Anyway, she smiled and was laughing while I took this photo. I thought her eyes had a really pretty color and luminance to them…

Girl with Facemask in Shibuya Station

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 22, 2014 at 1:46am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Beginning another hike

Your Favorite Hiking Trails?

What is the best hike you’ve ever done? I’m not exactly some kind of a super-hiker, but I think now the best one was last week along the Greenstone River near Glenorchy.

Daily Photo – Beginning Another Hike

Yesterday I mentioned one of the long hikes, and here we are starting out on another one. That's Bel and Bas there, leading the group. Every day for a week, we did a 10-16km hike through some of the most beautiful trails in the world. This was part of my week at Aro-Ha, which was absolutely fantastic. I could not recommend it any more!

The whole time I took my Sony A7r with me, and I grabbed a ton of photos. I'm just getting through processing them right now. Here's one of the ones taken with the 55mm F/1.8.

Beginning Another Hike

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 17, 2014 at 8:39am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO80
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Exploring Shibuya Station, from the Subway and Beyond

Goat Simulator on a Mac running Parallels

I spent about two hours with my son getting this Goat Simulator to work. This is not the normal thing I talk about around here, but we figured out some stuff, so some of this may help. First, if you are installing Parallels, be sure to also use the menu and go to “Virtual Machines” and “Install Parallel Tools”, which will get all the drivers running for the video card. I’m all Mac now, but I am reminded of the issues back in the day when I had to deal with drivers! After that, when you are in, make sure you shut everything else down. Also, and this doesn’t make any sense, but if you shut down Adobe Creative Cloud, it seems to make things way faster. Adobe, why do you hate Goat Simulator? Why oh why? Last, you may have to go into the video settings then “Advanced” and turn off things like Light Shafts and this sort of extra stuff. Now we get a decent frame rate. Okay, Goat Simulator update, out.

What is it like?

Warning: This video may be very boring!!

This is what it looks like (wearing Google Glass) when taking the subway to Shibuya, then getting off and exploring the busiest intersection in the world. There’s no commentary or anything… but you’ll actually see me make the photo below. And let me know if you like videos like this… I’m really afraid it’s a bit boring haha! :)

Daily Photo – Bike Crossing at Shibuya

Shibuya is an amazing place, and I go every time I am in Tokyo. The people are really incredible… the energy, the lights, the music, the everything! Maybe I'm even more drawn to it because I live in a small town now, you know? Anyway, maybe the video above will give you a sense of the place. One other thing — this is so safe that it is ridiculous! Maybe it makes you think of New York, which can be a little sketchy… but it is nothing like that. Unbelievable! :)

Shibuya

Bike Crossing at Shibuya

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 22, 2014 at 10:20pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Through the soft roads of Zion

The Team’s in Town!

I’m excited to have at least some of the Stuck in Customs team visiting Queenstown this week! I wish we could get everyone out here. We’re preparing for the workshop this week, which will be absolutely amazing. The weather should be incredible, and we continually get a great group of people that come to these things.

Daily Photo – Through the Soft Roads of Zion

I love the roads in Zion! I know this is a strange thing to say about them, but whenever I see this exact color and texture of roads, they feel so soft and rubbery. Even the way they grip the car feels different. And, naturally, they look so good hyper-colored in the photos!

Through the soft roads of Zion

Through the Soft Roads of Zion

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 19, 2013 at 12:28am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Misty Pond in the Morning

Soggy Feet

I think this last year has been my Soggiest Foot-Year On Record.

I do end up out taking a lot of photos as usual, but there just seems to be a massive amount of soggy ground around this area lately! It has been an extremely rainy summer, which I hear is unusual around here. I’m not enough of a local to know what is normal yet!

I’ve seen some questions too about the weather here in the summer — does it get hot? No! A good summer day is usually somewhere in the 70′s, and it rarely gets above 75. There is a ton of sun, and no one even has air conditioning… whenever it gets above 75 (which is super-rare), everyone just opens their windows!

Daily Photo – Misty Pond in the Morning

Here's another scene from Bendemeer Estates between Queenstown and Arrowtown. There are about half a dozen lakes, and the morning seems to be the best time to shoot them. The air is very very still, and as soon as the sun hits them, a little mist starts to rise then slowly drift across the surface.

Misty Pond in the Morning

Misty Pond in the Morning

Photo Information

  • Date TakenNovember 2, 2013 at 6:13pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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The Goats Who Stare at Men

Has anyone seen “Her”?

What did you think about it?

Daily Photo – The Goats Who Stare at Men

I came to this wonderful, alien hillside one evening to take sunset photos. The lines and the clouds and everything lined up, and I thought it would be a perfect evening.

So after I took the photos, I laid back on this slope to take a little nap and wait for the stars. I took off my glasses and kind of set them behind me. I closed my eyes for a bit, and when I opened them up, there was a GOAT STARING DOWN AT ME. I just about levitated off the ground a few inches in shock while the goat clicked away. I flailed around and my glasses went skidding down the hill, glass side down. It was darker than that goat's eye sockets and I couldn't find them for five minutes. I finally found them, and there are still, to this day, a thousand tiny little scratches on them. It drives me nuts… anyway, I got my camera and got the heck out of there.

The Goats Who Stare at Men

The Goats Who Stare at Men

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 19, 2013 at 2:31am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Wolf Howling at the Sky

Lighting Decisions

When I process a photo like this, I usually go through a bit of a decision matrix about lighting. Since I’m combining multiple shots, I can choose to have everything equally lit, or go with a full-on silhouette. Such power! Haha… sometimes all the decisions can make you seize up a little bit, which is not a good thing. I try not to get caught up in the decision and just try different things and let it flow. In this case, I went with mostly a silhouette, but I did a bit of lighting in the foreground. I think it adds a nice layer right there in front of you.

Daily Photo – The Wolf Howling at the Sky

The shapes in Monument Valley are right out of all the westerns you watched when you were a kid. So, when I was there for the first time it was a bit surreal. Now, I know many readers here have been there several times and they are experts at this area… but it was all fresh and new to me! As long as there are good clouds, I think it is relatively easy to get a good shot here! Sort of a lay-up, I think! Some photos you have to work really really hard for… and those are fine… but I also like a few of these that make themselves a bit easier.

Monument Valley

The Wolf Howling at the Sky

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 22, 2013 at 12:40pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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