Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Lap Pool

I am on summer vacation. One of the best things about being a teacher. So, what did I do today? Not much of anything...and that was nice. The freedom to do nothing at all...ah, so nice.

This is my lap pool. It is supposed to be for swimming laps...HA! What have I been doing instead of swimming in that pool? I took photos of it...ha ha..ok, now that I have written that, I am going to jump in that pool right after I finish this is time I swam a few laps....BYE.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HDR With The Leica M9

Since I like HDR (many Leica users don't like HDR, and that's ok), I was anxious to give it a try with my new M9. I must say that it performed brilliantly. I must admit, however, that the Nikon was faster. My old D300 would give me 5 shots per second whereas the Leica only gives me 2 shots per second. If you look at the photo below, you can see where I left the cars on the street unedited...I was going to fix that (will show you how in my upcoming tutorial), but wanted to leave it in to illustrate the slower speed of the can actually see the 5 different exposures I used.

Where the Leica shines in comparison to my old D300 is the quality of each file. I had trouble with my D300, and the 12-24mm lens being sharp from edge to edge. I used the Leica 18mm Super Elmar lens for this shot, hand-held. Each photo was incredibly sharp from edge to edge...working with the files in Photoshop is just pure heaven. I couldn't be happier. The other great thing about the Leica is the lack of mirror. I have found myself on a few occasions hand-holding the camera at 1/8 of a second, and still getting a keeper. No way I could do that with the Nikon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Selling Cotton Candy

I went out yesterday with my Leica to get some photos of Jakarta's Birthday yesterday. There was a parade downtown, and millions of people. It was a gorgeous day though with rare blue are two shots, one in black n white (processed with Nik's Silver Efex Pro), and one of the fountain downtown...check out that blue don't see that very often in is usually a sick white!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Very Cool Bird

I am not a bird expert. I guess I have should have done some research to find out the name of this bird....but wow, is nature amazing or what? I don't think your best designers out there could have come up with something better than this...I wonder if the females of this species judges the guys based on their head feathers...maybe a female bird conversation something like this...

"Hey Alice.....check out the plumage over there....that guy is HOT...sure like to ruffle his feathers..."

"He's HOT, Sue,....great plumage...but I don't like his beak...he probably can't fly either..."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Reef n' Sky

Happy Friday!!

Even though I am on vacation, I still love Fridays...there is a certain feel to this day, and then another feeling to Sunday nights...but the Sunday night feeling doesn't exist when you are on vacation....HA!!

This week's "Sky" photo is from Lombok....hard to beat both the reef and the sky!!

Be sure to check out all the great skies from around the world HERE...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Black Eyes

I was memorized by this kid's eyes...then I realized she had make-up applied. I guess this is a regular thing to do in Nepal as I saw quite a few kids with this kind of make-up applied to their eyes...makes for a nice photo, though.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Prambanan is one of the cool temples to visit in Central Java...along with Borobudur...I took this photo a year ago...I am thinking of going back again this summer as I have heard there have been some renovations since last year...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Street Photography + Art

I was bored today, so picked out a street photo, and added some texture to it...I like the result.

There is a cool tutorial on using textures by Trey Ratcliff...I have a link to the tutorial to the right...he also has 150 textures that are very cool to use in your own photos. Since I got his textures, I have added another 100 or so of my own...I now have a library of over 300 textures to choose from....they are fun to play around with and the different effects and colors you can get are limitless...give it a try...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Have More From My Nikon

Even though I don't have my Nikon any more, I still have many photos that I have yet to work on. Here is another from my Hong Kong trip back in February. I still have a few in that folder that I haven't yet processed. I can still do HDR with the Leica, but it is not as fast as the Nikon....The Nikon would shoot at around 5 fps, whereas the Leica will only do 2 fps...only a big deal if there are people moving in the photo...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My First Shots With The Leica M9

Well, here they are...some of my first shots taken with my new M9. I gotta say, after using my Nikon for so many years, shooting with the Leica has a bit of a learning curve. It is almost like starting over have to consciously think about your f-stop, shutter speed, and focusing. Nothing is automatic, so your true knowledge of photography must be applied when taking photos with the Leica.

Do I like it better? Well, YES!! I have TOTAL control now of my photographs. If they are out of focus, it is my longer can I blame the camera. With the Nikon, I would just compose, and shoot...but the camera would not always get it right in terms of what I wanted, and that was frustrating at times...with the Leica, I can focus where I want to focus, and I can set my f-stop for shallow or deep depth of field. Of course, I could always have had set my Nikon to complete manual, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of having all those bells and whistles that come with the Nikon. The Leica is just plain fun to shoot...I am really liking it, and starting to get the hang of it. I still can't focus very quickly, but I am getting better.

Anyway, below are five photos I took this morning of my two daughters...Kayla and Kelly. Kayla is my older daughter, and Kelly is my younger. I had to be quick with my focus because Kelly would not sit still for very was a good way to practice my focusing skills.

I have only two lenses so far (which I traded most of my Nikon equipment for). I have the Leica 18mm Super Elmar and the Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton. I am loving both lenses, and these two lenses will be the ones I carry to Italy with me next month. All the shots below are taken with the 50mm at f2.0...they all had to be cropped as I am still getting used to composing with the finder (you don't look through the lens with the Leica). The frame lines are actually very accurate, but I still needed to crop for better compositions....I will get better at that as well. They were also treated in Adobe Light Room and a bit of Photoshop work...I have developed a certain style with my photos, and wanted to keep the same style with the Leica files.

The files from the Leica are outstanding...even after cropping, I still had huge files which can be printed is an 18MP camera which has 6 million more pixels than my old D300 had...

Kayla...Leica M9, Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton at f2.0

Kelly...Leica M9, Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton at f2.0

Kayla and Kelly...Leica M9, Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton at f2.0

Kelly...Leica M9, Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton at f2.0

Kayla and Kelly...Leica M9, Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 Nokton at f2.0

Friday, June 18, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Watching The Sunset

Happy Friday!!

I have been absent from Skywatch Friday for a few weeks...good to be back!

I thought this was the perfect "Skywatch" photo as both my wife and daughter are doing exactly THAT...watching the sky!

Be sure to check out all the other skies from around the world HERE...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bilbao Tree

This became my favorite tree in Africa...each one I saw seemed to have it's own personality...I can only imagine how old this one is...I wonder how many leopards have sat in its branches...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Lighthouse Near Belitung

This lighthouse was built by the dutch in the 1870's....and is still in use today...the island it sits on is idyllic...your typical tropical paradise!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Orchids

I don't really consider myself a "flower" kind of guy...but when it comes to orchids, there is something that really catches me...maybe it is the fact that they are so difficult to grow and that there are so many different varieties of them...they are cool flowers even for the non-flower type guys like me...

By the way, on my recent trip to Singapore, I was only armed with my D300 and the 50mm lens. It was somewhat liberating walking around with only one lens, and it forced me to be more creative with what I took photos of...a good preview for shooting with the Leica.

I still don't have a lens for my M9. So, my M9 is just sitting on my desk begging to be used...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Orchid Walk

Those are orchids...yes, unreal. If you go to Singapore, don't miss the Botanical Gardens. Inside the Botanical Gardens you can find the National Orchid Garden, and it is nothing short of spectacular...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My New Leica M9

Well, I did it...I took the plunge...I bought the new Leica M9 in Singapore. It did not come without it's price though. It is an extremely expensive camera, so I had to sell most all of my Nikon equipment in order to afford the camera. I still don't have a lens for the camera either...the Leica lenses are the world's best, but they are also the world's most expensive. I will buy two lenses for the camera this week (If I can sell what remains of my old Nikon stuff). I have yet to decide which lenses to buy, but will let you know later this week. I can't wait to go out and shoot with my new camera...I am sure it will be every good as it is supposed to be. I will be writing my review of the camera as soon as I get out and shoot with it...

So, stay tuned...

By the way, I have kept a few items from my old equipment...I kept my D70 and a couple of lenses as it is the camera I use underwater. If I ever get rich, I will sell the D70, and get the D700 and a new housing for my underwater stuff...but that is down the road...WAY down the road.

It was sad to see my D300, and some choice lenses go, but I am sure they would just sit and collect dust once I start using the M9...and I wouldn't be able to afford the M9 if it weren't for selling my old, so long Nikon...till we meet again...

The Ion Mall

I can't help but take photos of this building on Orchard Road in just screams, "Take my photo" is a VERY cool building, and should be for its price...I think it is the most expensive mall ever built in Singapore...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Another From Nepal

If you enjoy trekking, Nepal is a MUST...the most incredible mountains in the world with some of the most incredible people living in them. In the background is the famous Machapuchhre, known as the "fish tail". This mountain is sacred in Nepal and has never been summited.

I get back from Singapore tomorrow...see you on Sunday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nepal Girl On The Trail

I am in Singapore buying my new camera...this one is from the archives, as will tomorrow's post. The nice thing about Blogger is the ability to make scheduled, if you leave on vacation, you can post photos ahead of time leaving no gaps in your blog.

Ha! I should take my own advice at times...It is too easy to just get lazy, and not post...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Something Different

So here's something a little different. Take a couple of your favorite portraits, add some textures to it, change the blend modes, mask out parts you don't like, and experiment to create a new and different art. Here are a couple I did, and I think the results are kinda cool. I am thinking of making large prints of these (and a couple more), and selling them. They are more "art" than photography, and people like to hang "art" on their walls...

You might not like what I have done with these, but I think they are cool and was sure fun making them!

I am off to Singapore tomorrow to get a new present for myself. I made the decision. I am getting the Leica M9 and a couple of lenses. It was not an easy decision as I had to sell most all of my Nikon equipment in order to afford the purchase. I have done it though, so there is no turning back now...I will let you know how the new system works for me in future posts...and I look forward to posting new photos taken with the Leica!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kathmandu Roof Tops

I was fascinated with all the action happening on the rooftops of Kathmandu, Nepal.

My buddies and I had a nice lunch on top of one of these rooftops, so I had to peer over the railing and see all the action going on...never a dull moment in Kathmandu!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Action On The River

This is a unique place...Yangshuo, China...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Shooting Pigs For a Funeral

First off, I must apologize for not making a post since Wednesday. I try to post a new photo every day except Saturdays, but got wrapped up in work, and my internet was down for two days as well. It is actually pretty tough to post every day...I have a pretty large catalog of photos, but I am in need of some new stuff. Now that summer is here, I plan on making a few trips to fill up my "tank" of photos...

Below is a photo I took of the chief of a small village in Papua shooting a pig for a funeral. An important man in the village had died, and many pigs were killed in his honor. The funeral lasted a few days, and was an incredible event to be invited to witness.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Hong Kong Architecture

Hong Kong is a great place to walk around with your camera...great buildings, and cool people everywhere...