.

Archive for the 'Camera Stuff' Category

About cameras, equipment, and postprocessing techniques

The Whole Gamut of My Blog In One Spectacular Visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple

I paid a visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple in the mountains of south-west Kyoto today, and the resulting photos pretty much covered all the main things I normally have on my blog. Let's run through some of them....

Above we have a vertical desktop background, which I started doing four years ago. I've now posted 385 of them.

And here's a wigglegram featuring Ai (who appeared with her husband in this photoshoot a year and a half ago)...

I first started making these things that I call "wigglegrams" two years ago, and I still have a lot of work yet [...]


View full post »
Fixing Lightroom Problems Caused by the POODLE Security Vulnerability

A security weakness dubbed "POODLE" has recently been discovered in how internet-connected applications make secure connections, and this is having an increasingly-detrimental impact on Lightroom. Thankfully, it's easy enough to fix for most folks, and this post tells you how.

POODLE manifests itself in that certain kinds of secure connections are no longer quite as secure as they're supposed to be, so until you fix this for your Internet-connected applications, your data may be at risk. But the secondary problem is that, until fixed on your system, your Internet-connected applications like Lightroom may experience seemingly random network errors as more [...]


View full post »
That Imperial Bridge, Funkified in Lightroom

When I visited my photo library to continue where I left off in last week's "An Autumn Visit to the Sento Imperial Palace in Kyoto", I came across a highly-overexposed bridge shot similar to the one that I did post.

Though shooting raw affords me generous latitude to recover from exposure mistakes, overexposure at some point washes out color to pure white, from which there is no recovery. It was severely overexposed (not by mistake, actually, but as part of a bracketed-exposure sequence) so I was about to delete it from my photo archive, but first thought to give it [...]


View full post »
Photo Shoot with Alice Gordenker in Kyoto

I've been a fan of Alice Gordenker's monthly "So What The Heck Is That?" column in the Japan Times for years. I first mentioned her writing on my blog more than seven years go when referring to an article she wrote about Gold Poop. (Yes, Gold Poop. Go ahead and read about gold poop, I'll wait.)

She writes a variety of articles for the Japan Times, and also has a blog where she often goes into more detail on whatever the newspaper article was about.

Somewhere along the lines we became acquainted via email, and a couple of years ago [...]


View full post »
Lightroom Catalog Maintenance: Clearing Out Edit History For Potential Performance Gains

This post is about trimming down the file size of an Adobe Lightroom catalog. In keeping with the off-season them of my previous post (which was filled with fall-foliage photos), this post is sprinkled with a few photos from Kyoto springs past, chosen more for their mentally-calming effect than for photographic quality, which they generally lack. (Sorry)

In a nutshell, if you have a large Lightroom catalog, and if you don't need the detailed editing history for your photos, you might be able to significantly reduce the size of your Lightroom catalog by flushing that edit-history data, which might generally [...]


View full post »
Milestones: Twenty Five Years Since First Coming to Japan, and More

Today is the 25th anniversary of my first arrival in Japan. 来日25周年になりました!

It was June 19th, 1989 that I flew into Tokyo from California after having finished grad school and then lived with my brothers for several months while waiting for my work visa to be approved. I was met at the airport by Krish Kulkarni, whom I had never met, but had no trouble finding because he's the twin brother of my best friend at grad school, Ram Kulkarni (who later went on to be the best man at my wedding, and I at his).

A day or [...]


View full post »
Unearthly Steak in Japan at Awaji Island’s “Beefland Prince”

With Anthony away on a school trip, Fumie and I made a day-trip date to Awaji Island two hours by car south from Kyoto, where our first stop was a late lunch in heaven, A.K.A "Beefland Prince".

息子は修学旅行中なので、妻と一緒に淡路島の日帰りデートをしました。まずは「ビーフランド大公」でめっちゃ美味いステーキを戴きました。

You can't begin to imagine how good this steak was. When I say the steak literally melts in your mouth, I'm literally using the word "literally" for its literal meaning... the fats in the meat just melt away. It's almost unearthly when compared to any other steak I've ever had in this life (including the fantastic teppanyaki steak I wrote about the [...]


View full post »
The Lazy Photographer: Exposing for Single-Shot HDR (Sort Of)

Photos in yesterday's "Heian Shrine Gate From a New Perspective" were taken during an open house at a new wedding-venue business. The fifth-floor terrace from where I took those photos is off a small cafe where wedding guests can wait for the events to begin.

The cafe was richly lit with shade streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling windows that made up two walls, but it was much darker than the outside, so the wide dynamic range (wide range between shadows and brights) made for a fun challenge.

To create the photo above, I overexposed for the outside and then "slightly" [...]


View full post »
In Case You Weren’t Fully Aware of Just How Stupid I Am…

If you don't know me personally you may not have a good grasp of just how stupid I am, but today's story should fill you in plenty.

Online reviews for Sigma's new 50mm f/1.4 "Art" lens have been universal in praise for its quality without respect to price, made all the more amazing that its price is ¼ that of lenses of comparable quality. I've not had good luck with Sigma in years past (as reported here and here), but all the stellar reviews made me give them another try.

Yesterday I ordered it on Amazon Japan, and it arrived [...]


View full post »
Just a Lighting Test Shot, but it Looks like an Advertisement

入学式から帰って来た疲れた晏人をヘルパーに使わせていただきました。

Setting up a bunch of flash units in the living room to take pictures of Fumie in her costume for her recent part in her ballet school's production of The Nutcracker, I asked Anthony to step in so that I could take a test shot to gauge the initial flash settings I'd guessed at. He'd just come home from a short day at school and wanted to relax with his ice-cream snack, so he wasn't really in the mood to be a prop.

I was happy that I'd at least landed in the ballpark for the settings (they were [...]


View full post »
Photoshoot with Ikuko Among the Plum Blossoms, Part 2

This article continues from part 1 about last week's photoshoot with Ikuko-san among the plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine.

先週、育子さんと一緒に撮影しました、北野天満宮の梅林で。 今日の記事は前半の続きです。

This is at the "banana-juice tree".

"Tilt your head down a bit", I instructed, and bam!, such a different look:

And another slight change creates another dramatic difference:

Here's a wigglegram to give a sense of the orchard's feel.

Admission to the plum grove also gets you some tea and sweets.


View full post »
Photoshoot with Ikuko Among the Plum Blossoms, Part 1

The other day I did some photos with Ikuko-san, the friend we saw quite differently last month in "An Apprentice-Geisha Photoshoot Quite Unlike Any Other". This time we could see her normal self.

この間北野天満宮で育子さんという友達と一緒撮影をしました。(先月、このブログでは育子さんの節分の「変身」をみました、本格的な舞妓になる事でした。)

You'll perhaps recognize this scene from last month's "The Many Lanterns and Overwhelming Sumptuousness of the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine". She, too, was drawn to the many lanterns...

Before we got into the photography in earnest, she wanted to pay her respects (as described in the many-lanterns post).

And since we were at one of the best spots in Kyoto for plum blossoms, I felt obliged to snap [...]


View full post »
One From Yesterday’s Portraiture Session

It's been a week since my last post... where does the time go?

Well, yesterday a bit of it went into a photoshoot. This is not really one of my "What am I?" quizzes, but do you recognize her from when she appeared on my blog in the past?

Continued here...


View full post »
“Photographer-World Problems”: Renewing a Passport

Renewing one's American passport by mail isn't too arduous for most folks.... you just need:

old passport filled-out application form photo fee self-addressed stamped envelope

For most folks the photo is probably the biggest hassle because you have to stop by one of those booths in a mall or something, but if you're a photographer, "photo" means you really need (or at least in my case I actually used):

Camera (Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 lens) Tripod (Gitzo and Really Right Stuff) White foamcore board as backdrop SB-900 speedlight as on-camera commander (why can't Nikon's pro body include a [...]
View full post »
It’s All About the Big Lens: Garnering Attention at the Kyoto City Marathon

There's something about the physical size of the Nikkor 300mm f/2 lens (also seen here) that draws smiles and attention wherever it goes. I had it out a couple of years ago for the 2012 Kyoto City Marathon, and with the 2014 race coming up this weekend, I was reminded of a post from 2012 that I've been meaning to write.

Because I've seen many fun reactions to the big lens (such as seen here and here), it didn't surprise me when folks hammed it up a bit for it when I positioned myself at the last turn of the [...]


View full post »
An Apprentice-Geisha Photoshoot Quite Unlike Any Other

And that last picture provides the first real clue that this girl is not the maiko (apprentice geisha) that she otherwise appears to be, because I don't think that a real maiko would flash the peace sign for a passer's-by photo like this.

February 3rd is the cultural holiday setsubun, known for bean throwing, the warding off of evil spirits, and some Shinto rites that involve intense bonfires.

There's also an old tradition, fallen out of popularity in recent decades and now mostly unknown to the younger generations, of transforming your appearance for the day into something you're not... if [...]


View full post »
Not a Good Day for Photography in the Friedl Household

I once complained that I had ruined every photo before I even took it by accidentally leaving the camera in low-quality JPEG mode (instead of raw mode, which gives much latitude in recovering from exposure mistakes).

Today I did myself one better.

After driving 2½ hours last night to a hotel near a particular spot where I wanted to make a sunrise photo with the family, we got up at 5:15 and by 6am we had parked and were ready for the 30-minute hike to the location, when I took my first shot of the day, of a picturesque ridgeline [...]
View full post »

A Temple with Extra Restrictions on Photography is Now My Favorite Kyoto Temple

This is a followup to yesterday's post with photos from the Hokyo-in Temple in Kyoto, a temple with some of the most harsh, restrictive anti-photography policies I've ever encountered.

On one end of the spectrum are places that allow even tripods, such as the Yoshiminedera temple. Moving along toward more restrictions, the Heian Shrine allows tripods, but only if you pay a ¥2,000 (about US$20) fee. Most places don't allow the use of tripods at all, but the Hokyo-in Temple featured yesterday doesn't even allow you to have a tripod in your possession. Even if securely sequestered in your backpack, [...]


View full post »
Why Does Photography with an iPad Look so Silly?

What is it about taking photos with an iPad or other tablet that makes it look so stupid?

My iPad has no camera so I've never been tempted to take a photo with it, but even if I could, I'm not the kind to take advantage of its social-networking benefits (like immediate posting to Facebook or Instagram or whatever the current fad is). So I'd probably not use it for photography any more than I use my iPhone, which is to say, not at all unless it's the only camera around and my quality threshold happens to be low.

But [...]


View full post »
Lr5.3RC Fixes That Ugly Publish Bug (I think)

Today Adobe released a release candidate for Lightroom 5.3, which I believe fixes the nasty Lr5 Publish/Selection bug I've written about. If you give 5.3RC a try, let me know whether it seems to be fixed for you as well...


View full post »