Paddleboarding in Aruba

Paddleboarding Story

I had quite a hard time getting a paddleboarding photo while in Grand Cayman Island. I had this idea to do a 360 photo while paddleboarding. Seems like a good idea, eh? Well, it wasn’t. I had to paddleboard into this protected swimming area and get over a rope. But the back of the paddleboard has this inverse shark-fin thing. It because stuck on the rope. So I had to sit down (not easy) and untangle myself, all WHILE holding a very expensive 360 camera! Wow that was tough… not gonna lie.

Daily Photo – Paddleboarding in Aruba

This is just off the beach in front of the Ritz-Carlton there in Aruba. How amazing is that water? It doesn't matter if you are a total beginner in paddleboarding because this is a great place to learn. If you fall, you fall int milky-warm water with snowy-soft sand underneath.

Paddleboarding in Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-20 23:17:49
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Sunset in Aruba

Discover Weekly Algorithm

A lot of you know I am fans of Spotify and the Discover Weekly playlist. It’s pretty good. Maybe a bit hit-or-miss for me, but it does a generally awesome job. I saw this article about the algorithm which was interesting to me. Maybe a bit techy-nerdy, but still good.

Daily Photo – Sunset in Aruba

I never missed a single sunset in Aruba. Maybe I was just lucky during my four days there, but each one was just as perfect as this one. I love this kind of sunset because it's the only time you're allowed to look at the sun. I mean, I suppose it's okay, right? People say not to look right at the sun, but I figure if it doesn't actually HURT your eyes when looking at it, then it won't actually hurt your eyes physically or permanently at all.

Sunset in Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-19 06:32:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

4 Tips for Taking Surprising Mobile Photos

It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone or an Android there are a few things you can do to get your mobile photography to the next level. All of the photos included with the tips were taken with my Google Pixel phone. I normally shoot with a big Hasselblad camera, but sometimes all I have with me is my phone. I’ve come up with some great tricks to make them look as surprising and incredible as possible.

1) Don’t hit that big circle on the screen to take the photo. Use the Vol Up button on the side! One, when you jab the screen with your finger, you’re causing camera-shake and it will make your photo more blurry. Two, using the volume up button allows you to hold the camera much more steady with one or two hands.

Image 1

This was taken an underground Turkish bath in Budapest, Hungary. This is Olya, my crazy Russian videographer, who traveled through Europe with us to make some inspirational and tutorial videos.

2) Experiment with the mobile app Snapseed! It’s free and available for Android and iOS. This is, by far, the best app for editing your photos on your phone. There are many tools in there and many different filters. One great thing about Snapseed is you can layer many different filters together to really give your photo a unique look. People will wonder how you did it!

Image 2

Here’s a fun family photo from a few months ago when we rode camels near the pyramids in Egypt. I used Snapseed filters to give it this “look.”

3) Take some cheeky street photos. If you’re like me, as you walk around the streets, you often see interesting people, crazy outfits, or just kooky things you find interesting. It can sometimes be embarrassing to blatantly aim your phone at these things, so get used to using the Volume Up button to take the photos. On the Pixel phone, for example, I can turn on the camera by double-clicking the power button. Then I move my finger to volume-up to take the photo. Your horizon will probably be off, but you can fix that later.

Image 3

Here’s a cheeky street photo I took in Budapest, Hungary. This is my assistant Tane. He’s not posing; this is literally how he looks all the time.

4) Try combining your phone with an iPad or tablet to edit your photos to the next level. Professional photographers know that a photo reads differently on a larger screen. Next time you’re at a coffee shop, why not zap your photo over to your tablet (via Google Photos or Airdrop), then use Snapseed to edit it there. A good photo always looks better bigger on a tablet, so don’t feel like you’re forced to use that tiny little screen.

Image 4

This a photo I took in Aruba. I was jogging on the beach, and of course I had my mobile phone with me. I was able to cover a lot of ground quickly, and there’s no way I would go on a jog and carry a Hasselblad! But it’s nice to always have the phone with me and take a ton of photos, picking out the best after I sit down to relax.

Image 5

Near my home on the south island of New Zealand, there is this amazing place to watch the sunset called Lake Hayes. I forgot my big Hasselblad camera, so all I had was my phone. There’s a saying that the Best Camera is the one you have with you!

Image 6

Here’s a panorama of three different photos I took while on a walk here near my home in New Zealand. Since I have an Android, I use Google photos. One great thing about Google Photos is there’s a little AI assistant that will “gift” you a panorama if it senses you took a lot of photos close together.

Ship Sailing at Sunset in Aruba

Reminder on the new X1D Review

Don’t forget to pop over to the new Hasselblad X1D Review when you get a chance!

Daily Photo – Ship Sailing at Sunset in Aruba

I came up with a new sub-hobby with my quadcopter – ship-chasing! I was sitting on the beach here in Aruba and watching these beautiful boats at sunset. They were too far away to get a good land-based photo of, so I launched the quad and started chasing them out there as far as I could go. I was a really bad judge of distance… this boat had to have been about 10 miles out at sea, but it only looked like 1 mile!

Ship Sailing at Sunset in Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-19 06:21:35
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length124.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2.3

The Black Pearl Pirate Party Ship!

Tips for Street Fashion Photography from Milan

Milan was stop 3 on our tour of Europe and we had a cool crowd out for the photo walk where we discussed tips on photographing street fashion. What better venue for that than Milan? Maybe Paris? And that is up next!

Daily Photo – The Black Pearl Pirate Party Ship!

I could see this party boat go out every day from my room in Aruba. I never got on the boat, but I thought about it. One evening I decided to ALMOST get on the boat by flying the quadcopter out there. It was muuuuch further than it looked, and I was a little worried about the quad! But, if I'm going to fly so far away, I prefer to do it over the open water like this… it's really hard to get lost and not find it… that is one of my biggest worries!

The Black Pearl Pirate Party Ship!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-20 18:34:13
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Family Chaos

Chaos and Order

I noticed that most kids seem to have no preference of chaos over order, whereas parents almost universally prefer order. Well, at least my kids seem to thrive in chaos, as you can see in today’s photo!

Daily Photo – Family Chaos

Here's a crazy shot from Aruba. We thought it'd be a “great idea” to get the kids out for a little bit of family paddleboard action. Well it was pretty great for about 10 minutes until Ethan started using “ramming speed” and trying to capsize his sisters. They started fighting back (good for them), and then it turned into WWF on paddleboards!

Family Chaos

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:36:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2500
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Milky Waters of Aruba

New Camera Gear Stuff!

I made a few changes to my Camera Gear Recommendations. Here you go… I’ll cut and paste them here for you or follow the link to see more.

Sony a5100 Mirrorless Camera

Good Camera: Sony a5100

This Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you around the $500 level.

If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” or “HARDCORE” recommendations. However, if budget is your principal concern, then no worries; this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used if and when you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony a7Rii model below.

Better Camera: Sony a6300

Starting at below $999 for the body.

The A6300 is the latest evolution of the high end Sony APS-C models. It features, amongst other great features, enhanced autofocus speed and 4K movie recording. You can read my complete Sony a6000 review, it is the model the A6300 replaces and has many of the same specs. The a6000 series has a number of advantages over the lower-priced a5000 models. It has a built-in electronic viewfinder, more focal points, and faster continuous shooting (11 fps vs 6 fps).

Best Camera: Sony a7R II

Starting at just over $3198

A full-on Sony a7R Review is here on the site that is full of a ton of sample photos. The Mark 2 is faster, 42 Megapixel (instead of 36), and, most importantly, it has in-body stabilization. AWESOME. I used this camera ll the time before getting the Hasselblad X1D below. It’s a great camera and much more affordable than the Hasselblad. I absolutely love it even though I’m not using it any more. It has all the power of the giant DSLR systems at a fraction of the price and size. Its Full-Frame goodness combined with a small mirrorless form factor gives you everything you need. Plus, the camera smarts inside are absolutely insane. Check on the review there to see even more!

HARDCORE MODE: Hasselblad X1D

Starting at the low low bargain price of around $9,000.

What a beast! I don’t have a review up yet for this, as I want to use it for a few months. But I’ve used it long enough to know that I like the photo results better than the Sony A7r series of cameras. It’s medium format and mirrorless, which means it’s got a much bigger sensor than the Sony and is not that much bigger in size. 50 megapixels. Beautiful and Sleek. I have the 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses and they are all outstanding! The only downsides I can see so far is it is a bit slow (like 2 frames per second) and the software is a tiny bit buggy. I think the latter will be fixed with firmware.

Link to my Spotify Playlists

If you click on this Spotify Playlist Link, you can see most of the songs I’ve added in the last year. It’s all over the place, really, but mostly Ambient/downtempo/electronica with a few wildcards thrown in. I listen to this stuff when editing photos to help “get me in the mood”!

Daily Photo – Milky Waters of Aruba

We were here in the middle of winter, and the water was still very nice. I can't imagine how nice it is in the summer! It was certainly better than being stuck in a cold place for the winter… don't get me wrong… you know I live in the mountains of New Zealand, so obviously I like wearing layers, a crackling fire, and hot cocoa, but a beach like this is a welcome respite!

Milky Waters of Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:53:12
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length26.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Relaxing in Aruba

Personal Photo Challenges

Hey, check out my new YouTube Playlist from our Family Adventures in Florida and the Caribbean. In each of the six videos I recently posted, I give myself a little personal photo challenge. For this challenge in Aruba, I was practicing reductionism.

Daily Photo – Relaxing in Aruba

I admire people that can just sit in the waves and relax. I find the only time I sit completely still in any situation is when I am reading or meditation. I love both of those things… but I very rarely sit like this in the ocean and do nothing. Whenever I try it, I think, you know, I should really be walking up and down the beach and taking photos!

Relaxing in Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-18 00:53:50
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Horse Play in the Water

Get a Pixel Phone!

These Google Pixel phones are great. Note Google didn’t pay me or anything to say this… I even bought a 2nd one for my wife and she loves it too. I find it superior to the iPhone in almost every way… and since I Switched from Mac to Windows now I am totally Apple-free! And yes, we’re still working on the Aurora HDR version for Windows! 🙂

Daily Photo – Horse Play in the Water

Heck of a nice photo from a mobile phone eh? One of the best advantages of the phone is I was able to go jogs with it up and down the beach here in Aruba. I saw so many interesting things! And it was so easy to quickly grab with by pressing the power button twice on the side then Vol-Up to grab it. I often didn't even have to look at the viewfinder. I would just “guess” and then edit in Snapseed or on my computer later.

Horse Play in the Water

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-17 15:09:38
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/6000
  • Aperture2
  • ISO57
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Paddleboard of my Own!

Here’s a photo of the first time I tried paddleboard yoga. This is extremely difficult, by the way… And when you fall off, there is simply no way to look cool. It reminds me of the other way it is impossible to look cool: When you crawl under a conference table to unplug things.


Yours Truly on a Paddleboard

Daily Photo – Paddleboard Yoga Class

You know what would have been really impressive? If I was doing yoga down there on paddleboard with all those ladies WHILE flying the quadcopter to get this shot. Can you imagine? Well… that's a recipe for disaster I'm sure… I almost fell over while standing over on the nearby beach!

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-19 10:20:39
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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