Thursday, July 17, 2014

On assignment for Transasia inflight magazine Renaissance

Heres a shot I snagged of the museum in Naha they ended up using as the cover shot. 
I thought I had at least a dozen better shots that would have made for a good cover but its not up to me. 

I was recently asked to shoot an assignment for Transasia's inflight magazine Renaissance in which they wanted some abstract shots of the art museum in Naha city and the city office in Nago which is known for its unique Okinawan architecture. It was quite a tricky assignment as the weather took a turn for the worst on the day I had planned for the shoot and on top of that architecture photography is not one of my stronger points as Im sure most of you know I usually deal with weddings, families, seascapes and water related photos.
The locations ended up taking pretty much all day to cover as one of the points they wanted was an hour drive north and the other an hour drive south so I set out on my mission to try and make some different looking images of these well known buildings and tried to catch something a bit abstract about them.

Apart from the main buildings they also wanted some general shots of Okinawa that I had already shot in the past and so used a couple of my images from the famous Zanpa misaki lighthouse and an underwater shot of some coral I shot with my little Canon s95 compact camera. This is the 2nd time now I've had a photo published from a point and shoot camera. Who would have thought...

Here are my images used in this months issue below.

One of my stock images of Cape Zanpa during one pretty sunset

An abstract shot of one of the art pieces at Naha's art gallery 

Another abstract shot of the museum and a long exposure of Cape Zanpa

Showing the details of the building and an underwater shot with my little Canon s95 
I shot during one dive outing. 

The famous Ufuya soba restaurant in Nago. This was my first time visiting this place and what a great location it is. Very difficult to find but very pretty traditional Okinawa location. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The new Canon 16-35mm f4L IS video review

Finally it has arrived! I'd had the new Canon 16-35mm f4L IS lens on pre order from B&H photo for a couple of months since Id first heard about it and was eager to upgrade my previous wide zoom the Canon 17-40mm f4L which has served me well for a few years even after taking a nasty fall from a tripod. The lens though was quite soft in the corners and image quality was never quite as great as Id hoped. Im very happy to report that the new 16-35mm f4 lens is a big improvement in all aspects. Beating out both the 17-40 f4 and the very popular 16-35mm f2.8L lens in sharpness across the frame plus the added benefit of having image stabilization makes this new lens a clear winner.

Here are the 100% crops used in the video of some sample shots I shot on a recent trip to outer islands Ishigaki island, Iriomote island and Taketomi island. Click the images to see them bigger.


Want to get yourself this lens? You can pick it up from Amazon at this link for about $1200

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Typhoon Neoguri wave shooting

Super typhoon Neoguri has finally passed over us here in Okinawa now. It was an interesting 24 hours or so with crazy amounts of rain and wind causing quite a bit of flooding and damage to buildings and cars. Some of us though do get excited when the typhoons come as they can bring some great photographic opportunities. 

For these top 3 wave shots I used my Canon 1DmkIV and new 24-70mm f4L IS inside of an Outex protection cover. If your not familiar with the Outex cases they are basically a thin moulded soft latex cover with glass that attaches to the front of the lens and rear for the lcd screen and are great for shooting in rain or dirty conditions, snorkeling and they can even take a beating in the surf. Of course its always a little scary taking $7000 or so worth of gear in the water in a thin rubber protective layer but it has worked great for me so far and much cheaper than buying at full blown housing. The Outex's come in at at around $300~$400 while my bigger housings for diving and surf come in at close to $3000 each but all serve different purposes. 

And below are a couple of shots I grabbed the morning after the typhoon as it was morning more north towards mainland Japan. 

Chocolate dirty waves at Kadena where lots of fresh rain water and mud has 
mixed with the ocean water. 

A fishing boat capsized and crashed into the sea wall from the wind and waves along Kadena norths sea wall. 

If you'd like to check out a video I made reviewing the Outex click here to be taken to my Youtube channel.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Beginners photo tip for shooting silky smooth waterfalls

I just returned from a fantastic trip to Ishigaki, Iriomote and Taketomi islands where I did some jungle trekking, diving with giant Manta rays and swam under some beautiful waterfalls. While at one of the waterfalls I thought I would make a quick little video on how to get that silky smooth water effect you've seen in waterfall shots.

It's really quite easy and you just need a few items apart from your camera. Most importantly you need a stable surface or a tripod. If the light is just right and dark enough you might be able to do it just with the tripod but more than likely you'll also need an ND (neutral density) filter which is basically just like sunglasses for your lens. A polarizer filter is also a good idea to cut down on the reflections from the water, rocks and leaves. One other item which is always good to have but not essential for this is a cable release which allows you to trigger the camera without actually touching it.

With an ND filter on the lens you'll be able to set a slower shutter speed which is what gives you that silky look. Basically anything slower than around 10th/second should give you a nice effect but experiment with slower shutters down to 1 second or so for a very nice smooth effect.

Try the Amazon links below to the items needed for long exposure photography. By doing so it also helps me out. 
The the Induro tripod I use

And last but not least a cable release, again heres the one I use