In the Rain in Tokyo & Big Release on May 21

Big Video Event on May 21

I posted a new photo from the streets of Tokyo tonight in celebration of the completion of a new video work (which is Japan-centric).  The video will be released on May 21.  Stay tuned here and we’ll all have a good time together!

Daily Photo – In the Rain in Tokyo

Most of my walks around the city streets had me carrying two cameras.  I keep the D3X on my tripod, and have that ready to go for serious HDR work.  But over my right shoulder, I carry the D3S with a fast lens.  In this case, I was using the 50mm prime (see my Nikon 50mm Review) to capture quick scenes in the streets.

I carry two cameras because it takes much too long to change lenses.  Also, it’s a real pain to do that sort of thing in the rain.

There are often questions about how I go about taking photos of strangers.  I have a post coming up in the future with five great tips for this sort of thing… I’ll try to get everything into one spot for you, since I know we all want to be able to better capture interesting people here and there as they pass through our worlds.


The Lamps and the Sakura

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These newsletters (sign up for free!) take a long time to put together! But, here are some goodies that are coming for you in the next few days… really, we have beautiful newsletters and send them out about every 4-5 weeks or so. You are missing out!

In the next one, some first looks to subscribers:

  • Two New Videos – behind the scenes on the North and South Island of New Zealand
  • Two New Unreleased photos of the Snow Monkeys…. (scroll down in case you missed the first!)
  • A 20% discount on the Textures Tutorial that will only last one week.
  • And the usual other goodies that regular subscribers are used to!

Updated Nikon D3S Review

I’ve updated the Nikon D3S Review with the new video from japan as well as the new photo below. I occasionally pop into previous reviews to update them with new information so they stay fresh. In a way, they are sort of “living documents”, especially as my experience and opinions grow and change over time.

Daily Photo – The Lamps and the Sakura

Sakura is the Japanese word for the Cherry Blossom. I don’t know if I can explain how crazy the Japanese people are about this yearly bloom! For one thing, every local newscast has a big “Cherry Blossom” report that has in-depth descriptions of exactly where the trees are blooming in the country and upcoming predictions. The wave sweeps across the island of Japan and rich graphics cover the screen like a cold front, assaulting the countryside.

I took this photo with the Nikon D3S. I’ve recently taken to carrying two cameras with me. I take the Nikon D3X with me, and it’s usually attached to the tripod. This is the one that I use for 90% of my landscapes. While I carry that, slung around my neck and shoulder, Chewbacca-style, is the Nikon D3S, which I use for people shots, DOF shots, and videos.

This was taken at F/1.4 with a 50mm prime lens. The shutter was 1/8000 and the ISO 200. As always, this “EXIF” information is available on the SmugMug site if you click through and do a tiny bit of investigative clicking!

The Lamps and the Sakura

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 15:15:53
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/1.4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length50mm (50mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Sleeping Snow Monkeys

Another New Video Soon!

I just finished editing together a cool video interview I did with Alfie Goodrich here in Japan a few days ago. He has borrowed an awesome medium-format digital camera, and I asked him a bunch of questions about it. I think you will enjoy learning a little about the camera, about Alfie, and about his photography!

Daily Photo – Sleeping Snow Monkeys

This was not an easy place to find!

I’ve always wanted to come see the wild snow monkeys… and so I just decided to make it happen this trip. Way up in the mountains of Japan, near Nagano, there is a troop of several dozen wild snow monkeys that roam all around a set of mountains. I didn’t know if I’d be lucky enough to catch them or not… some say it is hard, and some people say it is easy. But you never really know! I set out to do my best and see what I could find.

Towards the very top of the cold mountain, there is a hot spring that churns out super-heated water that smells of sulfur. It fills this little pool and the monkeys come down during the day to lounge about, play, rest, eat, and all kinds of other wonderful things.

I spent two days on this mountainside.  In the evening, I slept on the floor of a nearby ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese inn.  There are about 30+ more stories about things that happened here, including eating crunchy crickets, but I will leave those to accompany future photos.

Under the Cherry Blossoms

iPad Wallpapers on MacBreak Weekly

I heard via email and some tweets that Leo Laporte mentioned that my iPad Wallpapers on his show – that is cool! Thanks Leo! The only problem is that every time he does that, my servers crash for a little bit… We are working on a new server setup solution around here that should be a lot reliable (and help the page load faster!).

Daily Photo – Under the Cherry Blossoms

I spent a while one evening in the older Gion district of Kyoto. Everything was in full bloom and there were all kinds of interesting people and things to see. It was a bit like a perfect little Japanese fairy-land. When the breeze came along, the blossoms would fall loose and flutter down like pink soft snow. I saw this couple sitting on a small stone wall beside a little stream under some cherry trees…

I did my best to blend into the background as I slyly slid inwards with my D3S. This was shot at ISO 3200, and you can see how little noise/grain there is in the exposure.

SXSW in Austin

Special Post – SXSW at night in Austin

I’ve been having a great time at SXSW. I decided to walk around one night with my camera to take a few shots of the streets at night… I know most of you are not coming down for the event, so I am doing my best to bring it to you!

This style is a little different, but I hope you like it nonetheless. For some of you, I’ll see you at the Austin American Statesman Social Media Awards ceremony tonight! I’ll be there, with camera in hand… the big question I keep wondering about… 50mm 1.4 or 85mm 1.4? 50 or 85? Hmmm…. hmmm !!! I must decide… the pressure is intense. Anyway, if you are at the event, please feel free to come up and say hello!

Free Photowalk in New Zealand

See you in Auckland and Christchurch!

I have the details up on the “I’m Coming to New Zealand” page.  I hope to meet you all there… we will have a good time.  I’ll encourage everyone to share online after the event and comment on one another’s photos!

What’s in My Bag?

I recently did a little thing with Cali Lewis for Geekbrief TV.  I showed her everything that was in my photo bag when I travel for her show.  I am always surprised that people are interested in what’s in the bag!  Anyway, when it becomes avail, I will be sure to link to it… so if you are curious, you can see the insides! 🙂

New Photos – Nikon 85mm Review

I took some more photos with the 85mm lens.  These are all of my kids… and really a good subject-matter since I think this lens is great for people shots!  To see more, and details, visit my Nikon 85mm Review!

Running right at me full speed!  ISO 200, 85mm,  f/1.7, 1/3000 sec

Scarlett in the snow… ISO 360, 85mm,  f/3.3, 1/90 sec

She’s not a happy princess.  But she was shot at 1600 ISO, 85mm, f/1.4, 1/320 sec.

Nikon D3S Review is up – with sample video

Want to see other popular reviews?

The Reviews section of the site is filling up fast! I only review stuff that I actually use, but I find myself using more and more stuff! Also, I figure that most people don’t have time to wade through a hundred reviews, and you just want the best stuff out there… that’s what I focus on – The Best Stuff!

Some recent popular reviews include the Nik Software Review, the Woopra Review, and the still-growing Nikon 85mm Review.

Nikon D3S

It’s a great camera. It’s so great I bought one to be a backup for my D3X. Truthfully, it’s more than just a backup — well, rather than repeat myself, you can read the full thing on the Nikon D3S Review page.

Here is a sample video taken with the Nikon D3S.

The D3S is very fast with low noise, so it makes for a great hand-held HDR weapon in your arsenal… and, with that, here is a new photo for the day:

Enola Gay

This is a 5-exposure HDR of the Enola Gay at the Air and Space Museum in DC.  It was shot with a 14-24 lens and the Nikon D3S.  The aperture was F/8 and ISO 200.

Last, here is a picture of my daughter Isabella in very very low light, where the D3S really excels

d3s review (4 of 4)

Here is my daughter in downtown Tampa.  How’s that for low-light performance?  Shot with an 85mm 1.4 lens.  This is ISO 1250 on an 85mm lens shot at f/1.4.  1/90th of a second.

The Shuttle in Spacedock

Workshop review from Jim Caldwell

At the Florida workshop, a nice gentleman named Jim Caldwell came up to interview me on camera during the first lunch break.  He was a heck of a nice guy, and today he sent me this HDR workshop review that he just released.  Thanks Jim!

First Nikon D3S Photo

I’m still writing my Nikon D3S Review, so get ready for that.  I think I’ll give the first look to people that subscribe to the newsletter.  So, far, I’m very impressed.  In prepping for the event, below is an HDR photo I took yesterday with the new camera.

Daily Photo – The Shuttle in Spacedock

I finally got to see the Space Shuttle!  It’s one of those things a young boy always dreams of seeing, don’t you know?  I’m still waiting on that phone call from NASA where they invite me to see one blast off.  I’d love to do a creative shot there…

This was shot in the new Air and Space Museum on DC.  Yes, not that old one that I used to think was cool when I was a kid.  This is a new and improved center that is completely unbelievable. I had a small argument with a security guard that would not let me take my tripod.  He said I needed a “blue card”.  I asked how to get that and he said the only person that could possibly give it to me was probably at home.  There were a number of bureaucracies where I could have filed a series of complaints, but only if such complaints were filled out in a way as pre-approved by other bureaucracies.  I did send out a self-serving Tweet to @Smithsonian asking them for special dispensation — I hoped to sway them since, after all, one of my photos did hang in the Smithsonian.  They did indeed respond, but one day late. So, I’ll still keep @Smithsonian on one of my Five Twitter Lists.

So, I was forced to take my HDR shots with a hand-held pose.  How barbaric and depressing.  I would try to wedge myself up against a beam or a foreigner when possible, but that rarely works out as good as a tripod.  Those things are never placed in the right compositional spots, sadly.

But, I did have the Nikon D3S as a backup, and I fired this one off.  It was a 4-exposure HDR from -2 to +1.  ISO 400, 23mm, f/6.7 and 1/6 second shutter speed. The +2 exposure was too blurry, and I got most of the light I needed out of the +1 anyway.

The Shuttle in Spacedock

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