Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Ruined Church in Christchurch

There was a 7-foot fence all around the tower. So, it was kind of fun to take tripod, open it up, and then use IT to straddle the fence rather than myself. Also, thanks to the articulating screen, I was able to aim it downwards so I could actually see what was going on. I think this is the only time I’ve ever aimed that screen downwards!
Walking around the streets of Christchurch at night was so creepy! It was cool, because I felt totally safe, but still…so strange. There are ruined buildings everywhere and hardly anyone is around. You do absolutely feel like you are on the set of a zombie movie! I look forward to going back and getting more photos. There’s still plenty of life in the city — many pockets of lively and interesting activity, made even more lively by the weirdness of the whole scene.

Sandals of the Monks

I walked around the monastery complex for ages, taking photos here and there. When I came around a corner on one of the more remote areas, I saw all these sandals lined up like a swirling cloud outside of one of the meditation rooms.

The Cadillac Bar

I’ve been back into my David Lynch movies lately… what are your favorites? I actually watched all of Twin Peaks too. I wish he would make another TV series… I think the TV world needs him! This was one of the many bars on board the Disney Cruise. While this one was the coolest-looking, it was actually the most boring. I went in there one night to read and relax with Tina and something about the place just sucked all the energy out of us! There as a piano player and stuff… but man, this was the most low-key energy blackhole I’ve ever been in. And then, I thought, well, maybe I was just tired anyway. So I walked in there another night, and once again I felt a huge weight on me… I know that sounds like the strangest thing in the world.

The Bridges of Melbourne

I’m excited about my upcoming Burning Man trip! This time, I’m going to keep it simple and just use all Sony NEX stuff. Last time, I think I used six different cameras! I used everything from a small Pentax to a huge Phase 1 medium format! This time, I’ll just keep it simple… Also, I’ll try not to change lenses too often so the interior chamber doesn’t fill up with too much sand and nonsense.
Melbourne is filled with some of the most inventive bridges I’ve seen in the middle of a city center. If you’re a fan of crazy, funky, modern bridges, then this is a great place for you. Even better, the bridges look totally different at night than during the day… it reminds me a lot of the art that is at Burning Man!

Hiking to the beach in Big Sur

Why is saffron so expensive? And/or do you know an inexpensive place that sells and ships internationally?
I wanted to go down to that beach you see in the distance, so I began the long hike. It wasn’t the length as much as the steepness and confusion involved. Whenever I look at a landscape and try to figure out a way to get from point A to point B, it always looks easier than it actually turns out to be. In this case, all that green seems quite easy to traverse, but it is really hip-hike bushes full of thorns! But, I did eventually navigate all of them and make it down for an amazing time on the beach.

The Eyes of Tokyo

So, how are these kinds of photos made? Well people that have the tutorials above have seen me do it many times, but I can give you a brief high-level description here. Basically, I use the default technique to create the HDR version (assuming you’ve seen the free HDR Tutorial here on the site!). Of course I use Photomatix and all that stuff. But, while I am on the scene I take a bunch more shots to get the traffic streaks. I usually keep it in Aperture priority and I keep adjusting the aperture until I get a good 8 to 15 second exposure, which seems to be just about right for getting good traffic streaks. I then mask that into the final version…
Tokyo is one of the coolest cities to get traffic photos. I must have taken over a thousand, and I look forward to doing a lot more. Of all the thousand I’ve taken, I think I’ve only processed and published about 8 of them, and this is one of my new favorites. I walked up and down this street to try to find lights against the dark in a configuration that felt like a menacing face over the city…

The Blue

I have a pretty good theory about paths in photographs! Here it is. I don’t know if it is right or not… but, well, probably. So, when a human looks at a photo of a landscape, I think part of their brains imagines themselves walking or moving from one part of the landscape to the next. They try to get a sense of the 3D-ness of the photo and wonder how long it will take to walk to some distant object, tree, mountain, etc. The more hints you can give as to the distance of objects, the better. But, one thing that people always seem to enjoy seeing is some kind of a path (or, as in the photo below, a road). This is satisfying to see because their brain likes knowing there is an easy way to get from point A to point B. It’s not something that’s on the surface of the mind, but it is deep down… and I think paths generally make a photo more interesting to the brain. What’s the best thing about the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy in New Zealand? This view! Well, honestly, there are about 1000 places to stop, each of which is idyllic for a wonderful landscape photo, but this ONE spot is a stop I always make. It is right by the road, so it is super-convenient. It’s one of those shots that is a “lay-up” as my friend Tom likes to say!