The Galaxy Cafe

New Prints Available

In the fray of the new servers, I missed a week’s announcement of new prints that are now available. They are two of my favorites, of course. As always, each of them is a Limited Edition Numbered Print, so each one is unique and collectible.

The first one, “A Razor to the Sky” nearly killed me to capture… even if I accidentally shattered my camera into a million pieces whilst climbing that icy cliffside in the Andes at 4 AM in the pitch black — I would have been happy just to see the morning sun hit these mountains. It was so lucky to see the mystical peaks of Fitz Roy without them being covered in clouds… but I felt happy enough to survive!

The second one, “The Skeletons at Sunrise“, is a different sort of photo.  These are the old dead trees from the fires of Yellowstone back in 1998, just as the morning fog is beginning to burn off.

HDR-Photo

HDR-Photo

Daily Photo – The Galaxy Cafe

When I was recently at Universal Orlando, Ethan and I made a late night getaway to do some exploration. We were staying at the Portofino, and they have a wonderful boat system that skirts you down to the main park. We jumped on the boat after dark to go down and visit this little area of shops, restaurants, and dozens of other interesting things to see and experience. I’ve gotten him used to the idea of roaming aimlessly, taking photos of this and that, with no real goal other than exploration and noticing little things.

Ethan and I stopped at a tiny trinket store and bought a few necklaces and bracelets for ourselves and the girls. After that, we grabbed a few hot cocoas, got on the boat, and drifted back home. We took our time, drank our hot cocoas, and helped each other put on our bracelets.

Galaxy Cafe

Video – Behind the Scenes in the Shire

Still Migrating Servers

We are still in the midst of a major migration, so stay tuned… more news to come! 🙂

New Video

While I was on the North Island of New Zealand, I was invited by the very kind Ian Brodie (links to his photography website) to visit Hobbiton! He is also an avid HDR Photographer, and extended a wonderful invitation to my family and I to visit The Shire. It’s located on a farm nearby the town of Matamata.

Ian works with Hobbiton Tours, which you should also look up if you want to have a visit yourself!

Under the Docks in California

New Interview with Matt Brandon

Matt is a really nice guy, and I enjoyed our time together for the interview.  He runs a website called The Digital Trekker, and he has just recently posted the interview at that link.  His podcast is called “Depth of Field”, so be sure to check it out!

Want to know something really strange?  We were on the same flight from Tokyo to San Francisco a few weeks ago, and I didn’t even know it! 🙂 I found out about this later via Twitter — he walked by me, and I was deeply engrossed in something on my laptop!

Daily Photo – Under the Docks in California

Some of you remember the great photowalk we had down in San Clemente.  I really had a good time there.  On my photowalks, typically I stop from time to time and tell the assembled crowd what I am doing.  Well, I finally got a chance to process this quintet!

I felt fortunate to have a good friend that had an amazing condo that overlooked this same beach.  Frankly, after a long day and night of shooting, I felt spoiled and happy just taking a few more steps to my pad…  grabbing some cool drinks… opening the patio doors to listen to the surf… good times!

New Behind-The-Scenes Video and Manhattan Living

Behind-the-Scenes in New Zealand

I recently edited together and posted this scene from the south island of NZ, when I was out in this beautiful meadow at sunset. I was using a 70-200mm lens, so I used this to add to my Nikon 70-200 Review.

If you’d also like to see the resulting photo, check out the Video on the Valley of Abundance page.

Daily Photo – Manhattan Living

When I was in New York City, I had the good fortune to spend time with Steve Simon. We had breakfast at this great little French place and then went around to do a bit of shooting. We stopped at his place and went up to the roof. Peering over the side, I saw this and thought it was kinda nice… so I grabbed a quick one.

Be sure to visit Steve’s site on the link above. He has amazing work and I am sure you will get a kick out of it!

The Spray of the Tasman Sea

Art Show in Austin

I arrived a little late to the show, and the girl that clicked us in said there were over 200 people there! Crazy! But it was really awesome to see this World’s Largest High Resolution Tiled Wall display. I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people, seeing other artists, and checking out the whole scene.

A gentleman there named David Ingram (Dingatx on Flickr) grabbed this photo below to give you some idea of the scene.

Daily Photo – The Spray of the Tasman Sea

This was an incredibly difficult photo to achieve!

I did this one live, in front of my HDR Workshop in Tokyo. I like to tackle new photos in front of people so they can see how I struggle through the HDR process. It’s never easy… and I like to talk out loud and let people know my thinking process. I think this is a very interesting way to give a live tutorial, rather than go by some automated and predictable script. The way you think about all the unexpected problems, dodge and roll with the issues, and synthesize various tools to accomplish an end goal is an interesting process.

You’ll also see this on the upcoming HDR DVD. One night after an outing, I came back to process some brand new photos, and they all got to see me struggle through a few pieces to come up a satisfying work.

This was shot very recently when I was down on the extremely frigid coast of the Tasman Sea, on the southwest edge of New Zealand. With a wide-angle lens, you need to get in really close to this icy cold spray to get the splashes just right… I was completely soaked after this, and it felt (and smelled!) like I had just finished a multi-week crab hunt in the arctic!

Flashback Photo – I’ve Reached the End of the World

You can see the edge of this one from the giant wall display above… This one was also taken not too far from Antarctica…but on the opposite side of the globe down near the southern tip of Argentina and Chile. The huge display allowed my son and I to walk up very close to it… there is a little iceberg there, and he saw the two rocks. He asked me what they were, and I told him that I threw them out there while waiting around!

Ancient Nikko

Newsletter Torpedo Away!

The Newsletter has left the building. It should arrive in your Sunday morning email box, shiny and happy. I hope you love it…

Good Night with Jack and Brian

I had a nice evening last night with Jack Hollingsworth and Brian Matiash. We went out to do a bit of HDR shooting, talked for a while at Mozarts, and then had some great BBQ at Rudy’s. After that, I brought them over to my place and showed them a secret new video (which you all will see as soon as it is done!). They are both very nice guys… and I am going to get Brian to do a guest post very soon.

Daily Photo – Ancient Nikko

I have a bunch of these textured shots (See my Textures Tutorial) that I will be posting over the next few weeks. I showed this one to Jack this evening when he came over, and he seems to like the look as much as I do!

This is my first shot from Nikko, Japan. Nikko is famous for all the incredible temples from the Edo period. I woke up early (violently early, let us say) to go out and visit all the sites before the tourists came. You guys know I don’t like tourists in the shots… Actually, to tell the truth, I don’t like them around at all. I like to listen to my strange music and roam around these ancient places by myself, stopping to take photos when I am ready.

Akihabara Street – Geek Heaven

Technical Problems

Some of you have mentioned on Twitter that the site is slow and is having some memory errors. I’ve got a few people looking at it and I hope to get it fixed up soon!

Daily Photo – Akihabara Street

It took me many days in Tokyo before I finally made it over to one of my favorite areas – Ahikabara. This district is famous for its pure technology insanity! If you are a geek, then this is geek heaven!

Every street is filled with huge towers, each one flowing over with all sorts of technology, gadgets, games, robotics, toys, and scantily-clad-women. The streets are filled with girls that dress in… hmmm… how do I explain it? Imagine a grown woman wearing little-girl clothes, with puffy-laced mini-skirts, giant bows, and comely dispositions. They stand around, handing out little flyers, trying to get you to come into a shop, a cafe, or something in between.

There is even a cafe there with monitors built into the table. When you order a drink, your waitress goes over to the soda fountain, where a camera lies in the floor pointing upward. Upon pressing a special button, an extra blast of air is strategically blasted to increase your viewing cone.

The Amazing FAO Schwarz

Shopping in 2010?

Speaking of today’s image, I’ve noticed I have really changed the way I shop!

Now, this doesn’t happen in all shopping situations, but it is happening more and more every month.

On my Trey’s App List, I mention something called RedLaser. When I was in the toy store below, I basically walked around with my iPhone, found cool stuff, scanned in the UPC with RedLaser, chose the best price, and had it sent to my home. Most often, Amazon had the best price. In some ways, this could become the future of retail stores — they become showrooms.

It reminded me a bit of a later trip to B&H Photo. They have an amazingly cool system there where you find the stuff you want on the show floor, and then the boxes are sent to the front from an underground warehouse across a robotic series of conveyor belts overhead. While you shop, the boxes whiz above your head with a gentle buzz… it’s all very cool.

And so, I picture this same sort of thing as I shop in other stores using RedLaser. I imagine the box sliding all around the UPS/Fed-ex World, slowly weaving its way to my home.

Newsletter in next 48 Hours!

At some magical point in the next two days, the Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever will arrive in your email.  You will see how it took a small eternity to put together.

In exchange, I have one simple request.  If you find it pretty, forward to your mom, your kids, or your best friends.  Life is too short for ugly emails.  Besides, you know how everyone else forwards you ugly junk?  Do them a favor and up the ante a little!

Daily Photo – The Amazing FAO Schwarz

While I was in New York City for the big book party, we took some time out for shopping! This is the famous FAO Schwarz, which holds a special place in the hearts of many people. I’m sure at one point, you could call it the greatest toy store in the world. I’m sure other places hold that title now. In fact, I think I heard about FAO going bankrupt or something a few years back? I can’t remember… but, either way, the store was still alive and hopping while we were there!

I figured this is most certainly the kind of place you cannot use a tripod, which made me determined to use a tripod. I quickly set up on the second floor after surveying the whole store for about 30 minutes, looking for the most interesting vantage. I quickly extended the tripod, fired away, and then retracted back into stealth-mode.

The Chemical Pool – the Abandoned Family Inns of America

Golden Ratio Video

Some of you that have heard me speak (or maybe from the Google Speech) know that I rant on and on about Composition, Phi, and the Golden Ratio. One of my New Zealander friends sent me this beautiful video below about numbers, math, Fibonacci, Phi, and all that good stuff.

Daily Photo – The Chemical Pool

I was driving from Tampa, Florida up to Washington, DC. Along the way, about halfway through North Carolina, near a little town called Rowland, I found an abandoned motel. It was called the “Family Inns of America”.

It looked like every roadside hotel you’ve ever seen, except it looked like it had run through about 20 different horror movies. Every room was completely gutted and scary, almost all the windows were broken, and the playground was rusted and creaked. I jumped out of the car with Ethan and we walked around, exploring the place. At one point, we found a bunch of old pink insulation pouring out of a split wall. My son had never seen insulation before and he asked what it was. I said, “I think it’s a pig skin.” That freaked him out big time. Oh yeah.

We stopped momentarily at the central pool, located right in the middle of the dilapidated complex.

The Chemical Pool

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 10:08:26
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The Lamps and the Sakura

Newsletter Goodies – Sign up now

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 Taken2017-11-09 11:36:25
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  • Aperturef/1.4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length50mm (50mm in 35mm)
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