Young Schoolgirl Returning Home in Tokyo

Trey Ratcliff and the Beyond 6th Crew

Justin Arthur invited me downtown to be on the Beyond 6th podcast

Beyond 6th Podcast

The crew at a local podcast here in Austin called “Beyond 6th” invited me down a few weeks ago to sit in. It was a laid back discussion… cool people — happy to know them! It was strange because they had me read the “intro” — it was unexpected but I did my best! hehe… Click on the link there to have a listen.

Young Schoolgirl Returning Home in Tokyo

One thing I recommend to travelers as they go from point A to point B in an unpredictable manner. Whenever I want to hit an exact location, I tell the taxi to drop me off a few kilometers from the destination. Either that, or I exit the subway early. I then meander my way from street to street and feel my way to the final location. Usually, by taking these unpredictable paths, I end up seeing a lot of things that would have been left unseen.

That is how I found this little schoolgirl in Tokyo. I ended up on a busy street in the late afternoon, just as kids were running back to their homes.

High Dynamic Range Photo

100 Cameras in 1 – New Version!

100 Cameras in 1

New Version in App Store!

The new 100 Cameras in 1 is now available! Here are some of the new features:

? Control each effect with a granular slider! (See Screenshot Right)
? Moving the slider will change the effect of the texture using overlay, hardlight, luminosity, the texture itself, or other methods depending on the nature of each unique effect
? Add and layer multiple effects with new “Add Effect” button!
? Add favorites right from the My Creation screen (see upper right of the My Creation screen)
? Hi-res cropping after you take a photo
? Also hi-res cropping after you select an existing photo from your library
? iOS 4.2 – Now you can Print! Via Share to AirPrint
? Optimizations to share to Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr
? B&W effect moved into first 10 effects
? Re-organized interface so that “Back” is always in the upper left
? Updated scoring feedback indicators
? Added new text to Effect #1 after you begin to “Add Effects” – now it says, “Original image with new effects”
? Removed “extra” pre-populated words when sharing to Facebook, Flickr, or Twitter. Now it just says, “My latest creation”
? Opt out of GameCenter whenever you click “Cancel” three times when it asks you to log in
? Increased rate with which the effect text fades from the My Creation screen
? “Saving” popup has been properly centered on the My Creation screen
? Adjusted GUI on Options screen
? Added user feedback when “Crop Image” is selected on Options screen

New Promo Video

I made a new version of the video that shows off the slider, multiple effects, and more. If you saw the previous video, then it’s not all that different except for those bits!

Daily Photo – The Orsay

One of my favorite museums! I’m a huge fan of Impressionism, and this museum has an amazing collection. It also houses one of the most famous paintings by Manet – Le dejeuner sur l’herbe (Wikipedia). I’ve always heard about and studied this painting, so it was of particular interest to me. When I saw it in person, it was absolutely striking… I did not expect to have a reaction like that.

Well, you aren’t supposed to take photos in here, but I just can’t help it. I think the rule is silly and somewhat insulting to he artist in me. I remember studying the Impressionists… Manet himself would come into museums and paint… so what is the difference? Nothing… I think my Impressionist heroes are looking down on me and smiling for defying such a silly rule. In this case, I did not use a tripod (would have been a bit obvious). So I cranked up the ISO on my camera to keep everything sharp. Also, I set my F stop at 2.8, which keeps a scene like this in focus when you’re using a wide angle lens, since everything is effectively at infinity.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Window of Life

Daily Photo–The Window of Life

The beautiful Bacelona is home for fanciful masterpieces of Antonio Gaudi. I thought I’d had pretty good grasp on the architectures of Gaudi’s but I didn’t anticipate the subtle interior design when I get into some of his buildings.

This is the fanciful Casa Batlló. I was surprised by every turn when I was inside, and it was always inspirational. I wonder whether you have ever played Myst? This place reminded me of Myst–except Gaudi had come up with the ideas so long ago–in 1877! And those designs were not only for beauty but large sums of functionality built-ins too. Simply moving cool air from room to room is stylish and unexpected.

I took lots of other photos in Barcelon that are coming up soon. I tried my best to take good photos at the places where I’d been but caught up by the flu. And that put my productivity into half–so that’s the bummer–yet also another good reason to go back!

High Dynamic Range Photo

On Gossamer Wings

Recap – Five Tips for Photographing People

In case you missed the piece a few months ago, you can always go back to read “Five Tips for Photographing People“.  I hope they help!

Canon Giveaway

You guys know I’m a Nikon man, but I still occasionally will let myself be seen with Canon shooters like Scott Bourne.  But only rarely, and if he buys dinner.  Anyway, Scott is running a contest over at PhotoFocus to win a free Canon 5DMKII.  Look at that picture on the page!  It doesn’t even have a lens… what a cheapskate.

Daily Photo – On Gossamer Wings

I had spent most of the day inside the Forbidden City, trying my best to find little bits here and there. Tiny discoveries, you know. I was pretty tired after a day of searching, but I still had barely enough energy to keep exploring into the night.  At that point, I decided to go to another, older area of the city.

There were hundreds of quaint shops, the smell of fresh food, families walking to and fro… it was all very nice.  I came to cross a little raised bridge, and I saw this woman standing there.  She was dressed in vintage Chinese grab and holding a delicate umbrella.  While talking with her friends, the light caught her umbrella just right, so I snapped a quick photo.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Pretty Girl in Cherry Blossoms

Charity Update

Team Stuck In Customs has put just over $8,000 into Kiva… thanks everyone! To see more and join in the fun, visit our Charity page. Here’s a snippit from the page…. some of the stuff I have personally put money into:

I have lent money to a small potato farm in Peru started by a 25-year-old mom named Elizabeth, a bicycle repair shop in Vietnam managed by a gal named Nguyen Thi Huong, a car mechanic’s shop in Lebanon run by a gentleman named Ali, an 18-year-old girl named Iris in El Salvador that sells pretty flowers, a small livestock operation in Tajikistan run by a 47 year old gentleman named Tochidin, a family of 7 in Cambodia that does wooden house construction, a 39-year-old photographer in Mongolia named Batnairamdal who took a bad photo of himself, a small meat market in Ghana run by a 70 year old woman named Ama, a mom named Essi in Togo who sells dried fish, a 24-year-old gal in Ecuador named Cristina who sells rice, sugar, and tuna, and last, a 41-year-old woman in Nicaragua named Gladis who sells cosmetics and jewelry so her children can have a better quality of life.

Daily Photo – Pretty Girl in Cherry Blossoms

I started riding the wave of the cherry blossom bloom in Osaka before ending up here in Kyoto. All the news stations in Japan have a long nightly report that shows a fluttering line of pink cherry blossoms that flow across the map from the west to the east.

It’s a huge national celebration — and it’s really fun to be part of the sensation. There are hundreds of tiny and large parks all over the country that have cultivated gardens of these special trees. I visited a few dozen, and I enjoyed wandering around taking photos while the blossoms fell down like gentle pink snow. Millions of Japanese people also go out to enjoy the event. This girl was standing alone under a tree, taking photos and just sort of smiling, enjoying everything. I gave her the international sign for “mind if I take a photo???” She gave me a little bow along with a mouth-covering giggle before relaxing into a smile.

Pretty Girl in Cherry Blossoms

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 04:36:09
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/1.4
  • ISO220
  • Focal Length50mm (50mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Horses Aloof

Review in Germany

There’s a nice review of the HDR Video Tutorial on a German site called Fotografr. Of course, it helps if you read German. Danke!

New Video Tomorrow!

I’ll release the next Stuck In Motion video tomorrow… get ready! Tell your friends! 🙂

Daily Photo – Horses Aloof

Speaking of the HDR Workshop, I believe I edited this photo during the London Workshop. There is a portion of time when I select a RAW photo to convert into an HDR image, and this was the one I chose. I had never processed it before, and I really like doing these live in front of people. I talk out loud so that people can hear my thought processes. Inevitably, there are problems, but this is what I like about this format. I know that photography and post-processing is basically just navigating around one problem to the next. Maybe people think I don’t have problems when I work on these… but I do! And it’s good to see, maybe, how I get around them.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Horse in Window

Daily Photo – Horse in Window

I can never decide if I enjoy naming photos or not!

I think I enjoy it when I come up with a good name, and I don’t like when I come up with a boring name. Let’s take this one for example: “Horse in Window.” I mean, how uncreative can I be? What’s wrong with me?

When I am editing photos, and the muse visits, I am like a man possessed. I can rip through a bunch of photos and make some nice little creations. But then I click “Save As…”, and I just blank out on a name. I think the creative part of my brain for making photos is different than the part for naming things.

I do enjoy writing, and I often find that the words flow easily. This bit of me seems disconnected from the photo-editing bit, though.

There is a small slice of solace, I think, in considering the names of some of the great paintings from my impressionist heroes. They have names like “Girl in Field” and “Sun on Water.” Not too exciting, but they do stand the test of time. But “Horse in Window”? I think not!

HDR Photo

Horses at f/1.4

Review Update

House in Queenstown

Click to Zoom

Have you seen the Nikon 50mm Review? It’s been recently updated with a few new photos for you.

Staying in Queenstown

I had a heck of a time finding a house that looks to the west, so I can selfishly take photos every evening at sunset! Here is a quick photo of a place in Queenstown in an area called Kelvin Heights. We found this spot on — which is a great resource for finding rental houses. Thanks for all the suggestions to use that site from visitors here on the site. I appreciate it!

Daily Photo – Horses at f/1.4

Everything looks better at f/1.4! Kids, flowers, horses, and anything else with nice details really look amazing at f/1.4. In fact, this is a tiny little secret in the photography world. Even a rookie can make something look pretty special when using this lens! Sure, it doesn’t always work out, and you still need good composition, but some extremely unique photos pop out from time to time.

By the way, if you get one of these lenses, a simple tip is to focus on the inside part of the closest eye. That usually works out very well.

I saw this guy on a little photowalk in Yellowstone. I gave the photowalk group an assignment — to find interesting stuff and take photos on aperture priority. This is one of the ones I came back with to present on the big screen. It was fun to sit there with everyone after the walk and compare/critique photos. I usually don’t have a chance to do that on photowalks, but the leisurely pace was a welcome change in my too-busy life!

HDR Photo

Horse in Field


Do you enjoy taking photos while making use of compression?  It’s sort of a geeky photography technique that involves zoom levels beyond what the eye can do on its own.  These end up having a bit of an “interesting” look, just because these view cones are impossible to the naked eye.  Personally, I don’t do a lot of it because my wide-angle lens is usually on… but I do enjoy the look.

I have this photo included in the full Nikon 200-400 Review.

Daily Photo – Horse in Field

In the afternoon, the horses at the ranch where I was staying are let out of the corral to graze in the meadow.  The sun gets low, and just before sunset, everything is lit with a very strong light at a low level of incidence.

Man Crossing Street

From the best-selling ebook ever!

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.

HDR Photo -->

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