Perfect Colors in Okinawa

Back to Japan in July?

Maybe so! I might be going back with Ethan to explore some possible places he could get a job after high-school. He’s keen to teach English there, so we need to figure out a way to make that happen. I think it would be an amazing first job. My bestie Rene Smith did this, and I guess he turned out to be okay, He’s like the okayist guy I know.

Daily Photo – Perfect Colors in Okinawa

This is the top level of the Ritz-Carlton there in Okinawa, Japan. What a beautiful spot! The whole property is poised high on a hill so you can see all around the island. The first time we came here with the kids, we spent quite a bit of time down in the beach area. There was this big floating playground out there that the kids loved. Actually, we loved it too. It's hard to explain, but it invited lots of jumping and dangerous moves. I started rough-housing with Ethan and I think we both ended up with a few minor injuries!

Perfect Colors in Okinawa

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-17 01:55:30
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-2

Tane doing his usual thing, being half naked and eating yogurt in traffic

Post-Processing the Pretzel Man

Speaking of men with Pretzel-like-qualities (see today’s photo), here’s video where I show how I edited this photo from Cairo, Egypt. We were right by this lantern shop in some ruins (now a bazaar) and this man walked through with this tremendous stack of pretzels. It proved a little difficult to process.

Daily Photo – Tane doing his usual thing, being half naked and eating yogurt in traffic

When we went back to Okinawa for the second time, we decided this is one photo that we didn't quite have yet. Luckily, Tane is up for this kind of abuse and he seems to welcome it with reckless aplomb. I can only imagine what all those Japanese people were thinking about as they rolled by in their cars.

Tane doing his usual thing, being half naked and eating yogurt in traffic

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-15 20:29:55
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

The Inspiration for the Movie Night Lightroom Presets

Presets for Lightroom

Over in the “Presets” area of the store, you’ll see we all sorts from Lightroom to Aurora to Luminar. The newest ones are the “Movie Night” Presets and here’s a little promo video for them:

Daily Photo – The Inspiration for the Movie Night Lightroom Presets

This is getting me excited about going back to Tokyo! 🙂 I went on a reconnaissance mission there with my son to look into him teaching English for a year after he graduates from high school. I don't know if we made a lot of headway with the research, but we sure had a good time anyway! I spent most of this last trip around Shinjuku, where all the lights are over-the-top amazing and make for great reflections in the rain.

The Inspiration for the Movie Night Lightroom Presets

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-02-02 05:28:07
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length48.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Bridge Crossings in Osaka

Exciting News from Patrick Rothfuss

Okay this is pretty niche stuff… but I am a huge Rick & Morty fan, and it turns out that Patrick Rothfuss (author of The Name of the Wind) is also a huge fan! Well, they are about to make a new series of comic books for Rick & Morty and Rothfuss is going to be writing them… I can’t imagine this mix of two of my favorite things!

Daily Photo – Bridge Crossings in Osaka

This is quite the target-rich area of Osaka! I would just criss-cross the bridges and walk up and down this little river to get as many photos as possible. And, it doesn't seem to matter which one I process, as they all come out looking pretty good! One “slight” problem is they all come out looking quite similar as well. But since they're all pretty good, I just pulled a random one here for you to see.

Bridge Crossings in Osaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-19 11:12:31
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time23
  • Aperture32
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Classic Fuji-san!

Searching on SmugMug

Remember that if you want to see more photos of a particular location, you can always go over to my Portfolio on SmugMug and do a search at the top. For example here is a search for Japan. It returns the photos with some sort of rank that coincides with “most popular,” although I am not sure how that algorithm works!

Daily Photo – Classic Fuji-san!

How amazing is this volcano! It's right out of a storybook. On my most recent trip, I tried out the bus system to get me out here to explore the area, I finally mastered the subway system (which took many failed attempts), but I was always a bit afraid of the bus system. Now, I haven't quite mastered that yet, but I'm on the right path!

Classic Fuji-san!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-04-14 13:21:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wild Shibuya Crossing in a Small World

Daily Photo – The Wild Shibuya Crossing in a Small World

I've been using that Insta 360 camera more and more to get video footage for Passport Members. I don't really take many photos with it. It's a bit clumsy for that. You have to triple-click the button, then hold it over your head and wait for the 10-second countdown. So, there's a lot of luck involved when trying to time a certain kind of shot. Most are total rubbish, but I thought this one turned out kinda cool.

The Wild Shibuya Crossing in a Small World

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-04-17 10:56:58
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Focal Length
  • Flash
  • Exposure Program
  • Exposure Bias

The Mystery Ceiling

Today on Passport

Usually, I give photo tips, but for today’s Passport I give some travel tips. Mostly these are travel tips in Tokyo, but the idea of exploration will work almost anywhere. You’ll also see me use the Explore for Food options using Google Maps. I use that all the time now to find tasty places to eat!

Today are some travel tips from Tokyo! I take you to a few cool places around there, show you how I find good food, show you my favorite crazy store Don Quixote, and more! It’s all in 360, so feel free to spin the camera around to watch whatever you wanna watch! 🙂

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Daily Photo – The Mystery Ceiling

Here's a little trick for taking photos of ornate ceilings like this. It's not actually that difficult once you know the trick. The first thing is to find the very very middle of the room. If you're a little bit off, it's tough to fix. Then, take set up your camera for a longer exposure. If you have a mirrorless camera, you can just look up and see if the exposure looks right. If you have a DSLR, do a few handheld shots and look at the results. Sure, it will be blurry, but you're just making sure the brightness is good. Last, turn on the timer (I do 2 seconds), set it on the ground, take the photo, then jump away so you are not in the shot!

The Mystery Ceiling

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-19 18:28:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Another Rainy Night in Tokyo

Movie Night Presets

Today’s photo is a good example from my new Lightroom Presets! Every night I was there, it was very rainy, so that gave me a good excuse to go out and explore. I spent most of my time in Shinjuku, mostly because of all the ambient light and Blade-Runner like signs.

Daily Photo – Another Rainy Night in Tokyo

One thing, in particular, I've noticed about Tokyo is their penchant for opaque umbrellas. I think this actually makes a lot of sense because the umbrella holder can see where they are going. I, myself, would also use an umbrella of this sort if I was not so busy taking photos of people using these sorts of umbrellas.

Another Rainy Night in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-02-02 05:22:44
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Sake for Ethan

Behind the Scenes in New Zealand

I went out on a moody day to the end of the road past Queenstown to New Zealand. In this video, I talk a little about composition and trying to create an interesting photo in these moody conditions.

Daily Photo – Sake for Ethan

When I was in Okinawa, we visited this cave network that was full of aged sake. You can buy a bottle here and store it for a number of years. I have one waiting down there for me and Ethan for when he turns 21. It seems like the perfect chance for us to make another trip to Japan together!

Sake for Ethan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-14 19:36:41
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time45
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-2/3

The Best Sushi Dinner In Tokyo And The World

I have a friend from Japan named Sony Suzuki. Yes, that’s his real name! And he has no association with either company. Well, I don’t think so. He’s so humble and awesome that he probably started both of them.

Anyway, he invited my son and I to his famous sushi restaurant in Tokyo called Kumagai Kuon. I’ve eaten a lot of amazing sushi in my life, but this was the best, by far! Even my son, Ethan (16), who has quite the hamburger-centric palette was overwhelmed and ate every single bite.

I realized, after I had sat down, that I had been here once before with two gentlemen from Google when I was here years ago to give a speech at their HQ. I didn’t think I’d ever come back to such a place, since I thought this was only frequented by Google executives and royalty. But I was back, and man o man, was I excited.

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The Master Craftsman and my son Ethan

There are no “menus” in these places, you see. It’s called Omakase or “trust the chef”.
Whenever there is a situation where you can trust the chef, I always trust the chef. I eat anything. Anything. I am happy I’ve reached Level 10 of 10 when eating where I can be happy and enthusiastic about any kind of food. I still have ADULT friends who are Level 3, Level 4, etc, and they just don’t eat certain things because of some reason this or that. My wife is vegan; she would not have trusted the chef. It’s fine, you vegans, do whatever you want. It doesn’t bother me. But wow, you are really missing out on indulging in the food chain at this place.

This kitchen and restaurant was built especially for this chef. It only sat eight people. There were six people dining at different times this evening along with me and Ethan. There was some famous television guy beside me with a really beautiful flight attendant and then two other women that were busy chatting to one another about work or something. I don’t know. My son knows some Japanese so he filled me in later on all their office politics. But everyone was nice. And the gentleman beside me bought me his favorite sake drink and presented his card in the most gracious possible manner.

Speaking of sake, Sony-san has this place filled up with some of the best dry sake from all over Japan. Much of it isn’t even sold publicly. They have to drive around and get it from small family distilleries and the like. I thought almost all sake tasted more or less the same until I came here. But I didn’t have too much sake, as I wanted to keep my wits about me to enjoy the 15+ courses of food!

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Dry Sake Tasting

The chef himself was very gracious and a true artist. Before the meal, I pulled Ethan aside and suggested that he might really enjoy watch the elegance with which a true chef moves. When guys go out together, they often don’t talk much. This is a strange thing for women to understand, but it’s true. Sometimes they talk a lot; sometimes almost nothing. But, this gives a great opportunity for guys like me and Ethan just to watch the chef hone his art. Even the way that he moves the knife across a vegetable is like a tiny Cirque de Soliel.

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Real Wasabi Root and Traditional Shark Skin Grater

Below are most of the things that were served to me. I forgot a few. I put a few captions below to explain what they are. Or, at least, in my very bad translation. I’m pretty close in most cases. Anyway, Sony did not ask me to take photos or anything; I just did this because I was so excited by the meal and experience! Some of these photos were taken with the A7r Mark 3 (See the Sony A7r Mark 3 Review here) and the others with the Pixel 2 (read the Google Pixel 2 Review here). I bet you can’t tell the difference!


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Round 1 – Flounder + Wasabi + Rock Salt

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Round 2 – Japanese Flyer Fish + Leeks + Liver

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Round 3 – Seared Yellowtail + Spicy Raddish

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Round 4 – Seared Seabass Nigiri

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Round 5 – Soy Marinated Tuna Nigiri

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Round 6 – Half Beak Nigiri

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Round 7 – Squid sashimi + Horseradish + White Onion

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Round 8 – Octopus Head + Seaweed + Fish Eggs

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Round 9 – Tiger Prawn Nigiri

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Round 10 – Tempura Hokkaido Ice Fish

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Round 11 – Sea Urchin Nigiri

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Round 12 – Gindara Fish

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Round 13 – Fatty Tuna Nigiri

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Round 14 – Seawater Eel Nigiri

Anyway, it’s the best sushi in Tokyo. If you’re there, treat yourself!

KumagaiKumagai

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