"What's going on in my mind"
Sony a-1 (Top) Sony a-7RIV (Bottom)
"A Tale of Two Camera Brothers"
Hello Friends! Today I wanted to talk about two cameras, both from the same great family, but two totally different siblings. One brother took up a trade (a7riv) and the other brother went to grad school and earned a degree (a-1).
When Sony teased at the imminent release of a new camera last month, many people thought it would be an upgrade to its then flagship camera, the a-9ll. Much to most everyone's surprise,they released a totally different camera by the name of The a-1or "The One". It looks like it's going be their new flagship camera with some really impressive and exciting improvements over its predecessor the a9ll. Most notably, its ability to record an 8k video virtually without overheating. This, in my opinion, is a feat in itself. With all the major camera manufacturers being limited to around 30 minutes of 8k recording, Sony claims, according to them, a very conservative time of around 30 minutes of overheat free recording. But many early testers of the camera are reporting record times of over one hour... But, this isn't the only thing what this camera is all about. There is a new 50Mp stacked sensor that can shoot 30 frames per second compressed RAW, the ability to use UHS-ll SD cards as well as ultra fast CF Express A-Type cards, a 9.44 million dot EVF, higher flash sync speeds and so many other innovative features. I had seriously thought about the possibility of acquiring this new camera, but would it really be the right choice for a humble Seascape photographer as myself? Will I make the most of all of the features that it offers? Will I shoot 8k video? I wouldn't mind the 50Mp stacked sensor, the 9.44 million dot EVF and the ability to use the CF Express cards, etc. But with a price tag of $6500, I can't honestly say I would make use of all of the features, or at least most of what it will offer. But don't get me wrong, if you are getting one, you'll definitely be paying for some awesome features. Unfortunately, in reality most photographers, even some pros, won't make use of all of them. So for now, I think I'll stick with my a7RIV and my a7Rlll. I'll be on the lookout for more interesting glass from Sony- this is a long shot, but I've been praying for a long time to the Sony gods for a wide angle tilt-shift lens...wishful thinking? Well, with Sony, you never know. But I am still very happy and proud to be a part of the very innovative Sony family. For all of you who will be moving over to the a-1, good luck and happy shooting! I can't wait to hear from you and to see your work! Stay safe and well, my friends!!!
A Hui Hou
Hello Friends! Wow, where did the time go?? We're staring at 2021 and as we all know, 2020 will certainly go down as a year we could have done without. 2021 will for sure be one of challenges and a world in which we do things differently and certain things we have to abide by will surely become the new norm. We all have to do our little part to make it all work.
I've been getting a few questions about my images and people who considered ordering an image wanted to know which media it should be printed on, how big and what will it look like in their home. I've been experimenting with adding images into virtual rooms and trying to give folks an idea what they would "look like" in a room. They are just interpretations as each home or room would look different, but it's mainly to give an idea.Please take a look at what I've presented and I hope it will give you an idea of something for your own room or home! Stay safe everyone and a Happy New Year to all of you!!!
"Backup, a Necessary Evil"
Have you ever accidentally or even deleted photos or files on your phone or computer? Have you wished later that you didn't? Or have you ever had your phone or computer crash and lose files and photos? Well, I learned the hard way that as a photographer, you can never take anything for granted, I even deleted an SD card with photos I took abroad, ask any of my buddies about that!! One day you may have your prized photos only to have them lost due to a hard drive failure on your computer. I don't take any chances with my photo files. When I get home from a photo outing, I immediately transfer any images from my SD Card into a file on one of my external hard drives. Once they are safely in a file, I transfer that same file onto another external hard drive essentially creating two copies. I can then access those photo files from whatever editing program I may be using. Once I'm done editing, those files are also saved externally. I also have a dedicated cloud storage as a third backup. You can never have too much backup, so if you will lose sleep knowing you might never see your prized images again, make sure you have a back up regimen and stick to it. Even a small portable external drive that you can store your files on is a good investment!
The drives pictured above are: L-R:
OWC Thunderbay 6, 36TB Thunderbolt 3/ OWC Thunderbay 4 12TB Thunderbolt 3/ OWC Mercury Elite Pro 8TB Thunderbolt 2 / On top: G-Technologies 6TB G-Drive Thunderbolt 3, partitioned and dedicated solely for Time Machine Back Up. Stay backed up my friends and don't lose any sleep!!!
Over the years I've met so many wonderful, amazing and talented people. Through all of my years as a young apprentice Heavy Equipment Mechanic through my thirty plus years as a Journeyman in the construction industry and in my later years chasing my love of photography. You just can't forget those folks that make a lasting impression on you, it's like every time you come upon a situation that you've tackled in the past, there's that one person who made an impression that you'll never forget.Through photography, I've made many wonderful friends who've become mentors and confidants, folks you can always fall back on when you're trying to figure something out or when you're in a funk. There's never that competition or "they're better than you" are mentality, just cool, humble, down to earth folks. These guys are accomplished photogs in their own right, put together the years of experience and it'll probably add up to more years than my age...I treasure my friendships with these folks, good friends are hard to find, let alone those who you can trust. After a great sunrise shoot (or not so good in some instances), it's nice to discuss the action and even some lighthearted fun over breakfast and a cup of coffee... Yes, these guys I hold close to my heart and have their backs! I trust them completely! Please stay safe and persevere my friends...
L-R: Yours truly, Reid Fujita, Brandon Kawamura, Eric Malina, Ryan Sakamoto.
“Tools of the Trade”
I’ve been asked many times the question of what kind of equipment do I use? Now that’s a hard question. I believe that equipment is a personal thing. It depends on what we are all comfortable with in terms of ease of use, style of photography, what you intend to create, budget, etc. I use a mirrorless system by Sony. I feel Sony is an innovator when it comes to mirrorless technology, sensor design, etc. I also fell in love with the EVF, which stands for Electronic Viewfinder. With an EVF, someone like myself who is visually challenged, have the option of viewing a scene “electronically”. I have a gorgeous view of my composition looking through my viewfinder and I can also make adjustments and visualize them in realtime and on my light meter. Some photographers, however, choose to use an optical viewfinder. They both have their pros and cons, as with an optical viewfinder you can shoot fast action scenes such as sports without losing sight of what you are shooting. With an EVF, you will experience a “blackout” while you are shooing multiple images in-between frames. You won’t lose any shots, but you won’t be able to see the scene as it moves like in an optical viewfinder. I also like the EVF since I have a difficult time seeing my camera’s LCD screen. As for lenses, being mostly a seascape/landscape photographer, I personally like to shoot wide. Sometimes maybe wider than others. A typical lens for me would be my 16-35mm f/2.8 and at times my 18mm f/2.8 I will almost always carry a short telephoto zoom such as a 24-105mm in my bag just in case. I use filters for my photography 90% of the time. I use a 100mm system by Nisi Filters, that includes several Graduated Neutral Density filters as well as a couple of Neutral Density filters. I have been using Nisi Filters for around 5 years now and I am very happy with the results. If you have any questions, feel free to message me and I will try my best to reach out to you! Have fun and be safe out there!
Photo by Phil H.
"Never turn your back on the Ocean!!!"...
I've preached this many times to others, but sometimes it's yourself that you need to preach to. This photo was taken by my friend, Phil at Lanai Lookout several years ago on a very windy, rough morning. The sea was turbulent and angry, waves were bashing against the steep cliffs and it is hard to gauge from this photo just how high the waves were from my vantage point! Had I seen this myself, maybe I wouldn't have climbed up there. I guess we, as seascape photographers, will have a story or two to tell of close calls or maybe even outright lessons from the ocean. Well, my lesson came a couple of weeks ago. At an East O'ahu spot during a period of moderate size surf and a slowly rising tide, I positioned myself along an outcropping of rocks and watched as waves broke outside the reef and made their way towards the shore, splitting into many small flows. The finished photo can be seen in my "Seascapes" folder titled "Split Shot" As I was composing a shot and not paying attention to my surroundings, a larger set broke and when the high-water reached me, somehow I lost my back footing. As we all who shoot in the surf zone know, once you lose your footing, you're doomed. In an instant I was grabbing onto my tripod when the force of my falling body caused one of the legs to collapse. Next thing I knew, I was on my back, my backpack breaking the fall!! My first reaction was to save the camera and lens, so from a lying position I held the camera by the legs of the tripod with all my might above the rushing water!! I don't know if you could say in this case that all's well that ends well, but I did save the camera and walked away with a very valuable lesson and a few scrapes, plus a newfound respect for the ocean... Stay safe my friends!
Wow! Where has all the time gone??!!
I hope you are all doing well and staying safe during this unprecedented time in the world. I am trying my best to stay safe and to adhere to the stay at home rules the our government has mandated. I haven't, however, been out to shoot in over two months! It's quite challenging to be cooped up at home after not missing a Saturday sunrise shoot in years! During my time at home I have used the time to catch up on some editing as well as cleaning up some of my equipment and to rebuild my tripods. I also have been spending a lot of time tending to my orchid collection. Some of you may know that I am an avid orchid enthusiast. It's been a strange season for orchids too-in my opinion- as far as the time cycle for orchids go. A very wet and rainy late winter/early spring may have caused some species to get their internal time clocks thrown off! Oh well, 2020 will go down as a year we will never soon forget, that's for sure! I hope to be back shooting very soon, I also hope to add some new images on the website, so be looking out for them! Stay safe my friends and God Bless...
Happy New Year everyone!
As we start the new year and decade, I'd like to reflect back on an incident that happened to me recently. As we all know, a little courtesy goes a long way in photography. With the ocean and shoreline as big and vast as it is, it shouldn't be too hard to find a spot to setup and photograph whatever it may be that you want to capture. Well, over the years I've encountered some pretty arrogant, mean spirited and selfish folks. People who will walk right in front of you while you're photographing a sunrise with no regard whatsoever to your presence, people who will blatantly tell you that they hope you are skilled in Photoshop so you can edit them out from your images because they are going to do a photoshoot, etc. Well, I encountered the most rude, unapologetic one of them all while on a wide swath of beach, in my "personal space". Mind you that my shooting partner and I will arrive when it is still dark as to secure a spot to photograph from, these folks simply don't care one bit. Maybe they feel entitled or perhaps they call themselves pros, I don't know. If I'm scouting out a spot and some other photographer is there before me, I will say good morning and move on. My god, it's not that hard to find another composition. But in the rare instance that I may want to shoot something because I probably won't encounter that scene ever again, I will politely ask if I can setup close by out of their shot and out of their "personal space". It's just plain old common sense and courtesy. If everyone practices a little courtesy, there won't be any problems out there. Oh, and one of the photographers who commented about us being proficient at "photoshopping" them out of our images? Well, I saw the person's photos and they were far from professional. Wanna see professional? I have a bunch of fellow photogs who are the most courteous, nicest, coolest people and their images are phenomenal!!! So let's all be nice out there folks! :)