New York New York!

New York has always been an great place for photography.  We originally had a family trip planned in 2011 that fell through so there were a lot of flight credits that we had to used up before it’s one year expiration.  Tough problem to have right?

New York has always been a favorite destination with my wife.  With all the shopping, sight seeing, and exploring all the foodie spots, what’s better way to burn off the airline credit with an extended weekend in New York.  Within one week left to spend the credit, we booked and took flight!

Here is the link to the entire NYC set in Flickr

New York City
Flickr link:
http://flic.kr/s/aHsjC3U7iY

Turbulence

With the new 16mm Sony E-mount lens in-tow, I had to capture something during flight.  I love the ambiance of the Virgin America interior with the glowing comfort color lighting.  Just by slightly twisting of the perspective with the lady peaking back at me gave me a uneasy feeling during flight.  Of course, the flight was fine and very comfortable with the large screen between each seat.

Sony NEX-7 + Sony E-Mount 16mm f/2.8, ISO 1000, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, No Flash
Turbulence

Buildings

New York is filled with contrast.  I also taken a habit of shooting out of my hotel windows.  As soon as I looked out of the window, I knew this would a b/w shot.  The old red brick building contrasting with the modern white apartment/office buildings.  The old twin water towers with the light water stains.  Truly giving me the feeling of New York homology.  As a trend I try to build with my black and white shots, keeping the Yin with the Yen balance.

Sony NEX-7 + Leica 35mm f/1.4, ISO 100, f/8, 1/1600 sec, No Flash
Buildings

NYC Glow

I wouldn’t be doing New York any justice if I didn’t include any landscape city view picture as a top 3 pick.  This one was shot on top of Empire State building.  Originally we took the ride up to the top not expecting to be staying around that long.  Then it dawned (Pun intended) on me.  Wouldn’t it be a great picture to capture the sunset off the Empire State building.  I must give a lot of credit to my lovely wife for hanging out with me for an hour on top the Empire State building waiting for the sun to set.  Also, for her to fend off people trying to squeeze into my perfect spot!  Prior to the count down of sunset, I already scoped out the areas I wanted to shoot and the shot I was looking for.  Figuring out the correct exposure was tough.  With the sun right in your face, trying to capture enough detail of the city as well as the sky.  The make the entire process even more difficult, finding a spot to prop since I didn’t have a monopod or a tripod.  At the same time trying to shoot with people constantly bumping into you.  Atlast, one of the shot came out exactly as I imagined.  The glow from the sunset lighting up the streets while the City lights are slowly getting brighter.  At the same time capturing the blue sky with the white clouds.

Sony NEX-7 + Sony E-Mount 16mm f/2.8, ISO 100, f/8, 1/320 sec, No Flash
NYC Glow

Shortly after the Dubai trip,  work took me to a brand new development in Korea.  It’s an entire city build on reclaimed land.  The city is Songdo, Incheon.  Not too far from the Capital of Korea, Seoul.

The city is still in construction but there were already abundant high rises that tower over the city.  With the jetlag, I was able to wake up early in the morning for a stroll around the Central Park as well as capture some wonderful landscapes from the hotel room’s view.

Here is the link to the entire Korea set in Flickr

Korea
Flickr link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzxFENd

Songdo Sunset

This photo was shot through the glass window from my hotel room.  I was lucky to get a high room that’s facing the Incheon bridge, thus able to capture most of the city.  As every photographer says, timing is everything.  This is especially true if you’re chasing sunrise or sunset.  I saw the sun starting the set as I walked into the hotel room.  It had been a very long day full of meetings and I only had about 10 minutes to change before meeting up for dinner.  With the clear sky and the warm glow from the sun, I had to use the 7 minutes of my changing time to capture the exact moment when the sun meets between the two tower of the bridge.  Since the window was tinted, it was tough to get the exposure that I wanted.  My favorite part about this photo is the color contrast between the sky and the sun being reflected off the river cutting through Central Park.
Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 100, f/8, 1/5 Sec No flash.
Songdo Sunset

Right Side up

This was another image that I had a lot of fun shooting.  It was very early in the morning as the sky started to get bright.  The late was so calm that it provided a perfect mirror image of the landscape.  As I started to edit this picture, I decided to flip the image.  It created a surrealistic effect especially with some of the buildings no being reflected.  It still amazes me how serene the Central Park can be considering it’s very close to the bustling capital.

Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 100, f/8, 1/80 Sec No flash.
right side up

Songdo @ Night

Since there isn’t much to do during night at Songdo, I had many chances to capture the wonderful light scene.  The entire city was well lit with many colors.  Only issue was that the light on the bridge cuts off at 10pm.  IT was good that I kept that in mind and was finally able to capture this with the correct timing.  Another part of interest is that the buildings and the little cross bridge of Central Park was reflected clearly even it was so dark at night.

Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 100, f/8, 30 Sec No flash.
Songdo @ Night

First stop.
Dubai
Flickr link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzqHK1t

Burj Khalifa

With the busy meetings schedule, I finally found some time in the late hours to try to snap some picture of the tallest building in the world. With no clue on my bearing, I just walked aimlessly with this building in my sight. Eventually I stumble upon this spot right across from huge man made lake. I knew capturing this monument would require a very wide lens. The only lens at my disposal was the Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6 M-mount. I guess lenses don’t get wider than this for a Leica M mount. The only issue was that at f/5.6 in such a dark setting means even the most steady hand is not gonna cut it. I need a tripod. Where am I going to find a tripod in the middle of the night in the middle of Dubai when all the stores are closed. I wanted to capture this. Next option, bump up the ISO. The Sony NEX-7 does have somewhat of a usable high iso through not as good as the trusty 5D MKII nor the 1D MK4. Without any choice, I bumped it up to ISO 6400. Even at ISO 6400, I still need to be very steady. I found a spot right next to a light pole on the stairs. Literally contorted my body around the pole and wedged between the stairs and fire off the shot. I think the image of me taking this photo might actually be more interesting than this landmark.

Sony NEX-7 + Voigtlander Heliar Ultra Wide-Angle 12mm f/5.6, ISO 6400, f/5.6, 1/5 Sec No flash.

Burj Khalifa

Caravan

I had the opportunity to head out to the dessert to enjoy a very interesting meal.  It was about an hour and half bus ride to the middle of no where.  All you see is sand.  Since the meal was buffet style ie. there is no requirement for seated course meals, I had a chance to wonder around.  I saw a Camel caravan that was resting near us that’s just begging for a photo to be taken.  It was very dark with only a few fires stakes and lights making the entire caravan barely visible. Taking the picture was pretty much impossible not to mention checking focus.  Once again, no tripod so long exposure requires special talent.  Being in the middle of the dessert, there is no light pole for me to wrap around.  I got on my knees and dig in to the sand.  Bump up the ISO as high as the camera can go, set the aperture as wide as it’ll go.  Frame the picture as good as I can, then guess the distance so I can do the zone focusing the aid of my cellphone’s light on the barrel of the lens.  Hold still then click.

Sony NEX-7 + Leica 35mm Summilux-M FLE, ISO 16000, f/1.4, 1/8 Sec No flash.
caravan

Milk Bar

Dubai is a very interesting place.  For being in the middle east, it’s a very westernized locale.  Getting around speaking English is no problem.  Likewise, besides all the standard chain restaurants/bars you see in the state side, I came upon this bar as I was searching for dinner.  It immediately reminded me of Clock Work Oranges’ milk bar with the middle east twist of Arabic script on the ceiling.  The lighting was perfect.

Sony NEX-7 + Leica 35mm Summilux-M FLE, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/60 Sec No flash.
Milk Bar

It’s been over one year since my last blog post.
2012 was a crazy year for me. New job at work kept me pretty busy. In addition to busy work, I traveled globally quite a bit. Even though I didn’t have time to update the blog with each and every expedition, I still kept close to me my trusty Leica Lenses and Sony NEX-7.   Snapping photos anywhere and everywhere.

All the traveling started with the last Salt Lake post I did. Since then I literally flew around the world. Of course, it’s was span across the entire year. Nevertheless, it was quite an experience.

Instead of recreating each and every destination, I’m going to dedicate the next few post as a look back at 2012 while highlighting each destination and 3 photos from each set. For more photos on dedicated sets, you can click on the links to my Flickr sets. 2012 is also the year that my flickr surpassed 50k views!! thanks for all the support!

2012 Travel Flickr Set

I recent trip took me out to Salt Lake City. It’s freaking cold. Well at least cold for me considering I’m from sunny California. Anyways, during this time of the year, I was expecting lots of snow. To my dismay, the only snow I saw was during the first day I was there. Due to busy schedule, I only had 25 minutes to walk around Temple Square on way back to the airport. Of course the weather was beautiful. Clear blue skies!!

Well, I do wish I had more time to visit more of the buildings and interiors. I’m sure I’ll get another chance.

Title: reflection
reflection

Title: sip
sip

Title: glow
glow

Title: enlightment
enlightment

Title: Almighty
almighty

Title: blessed
blessed

Here is some sweets the lovely wife baked for Valentine’s Day. I know it’s a few days late, but I figure it’s still good to show. I’m always amazed by how well the Leica M9 works as a product shoot camera.

Everything was shot with a Leica M9 with a Leica 50mm Summilux-M. Lit with 2 CFL soft box.

Here is the link to her blog posts for more pictures

http://dreamcakesbymaggie.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/the-art-of-love/

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

It’s been a while since I last updated the post. I been posting pictures mainly on Flickr. I have an entire set of Lake Tahoe South Shore pictures I took over the xmas break. Work have been keeping me pretty busy to allow me to update this blog. Anyways, I’ll just post a few pictures from the set here. You can see the complete set of 22 pictures on my flickr page.

Flickr Set: Lake Tahoe 2011

Title: Rise
Rise

Title: Trek
Trek

Title: Flipped
flipped

Title: Charcoal
Charcoal

Title: Drift
Drift

Title: Shapes
Shapes

Title: Up Skirt
Up Skirt

After my last post with Restaurantography I decided to start a flickr group as well as a facebook group call Restaurantography. I know one of the most posted photograph on the social networking sites are all about food, so I figure why not get them pooled all together?
Anyways, if you’re interested in joining, here are the links.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/restaurantography/

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/restaurantography/

Well, I still had some pictures I took over the holidays with the Sony Nex-5n. These were all the catered food at my holiday friends gathering. It’s fitting for the Restaurantography theme. Just like the other pictures, it was taken with the Sony Nex-5n + Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Lens + the Macro adapter from ebay.

Enjoy the food!!

Title: wichs
wichs

Title: Wings
Wings

Title: Fried
Fried

Title: oodle
oodle

Title: Orange
Orange

As part of last minute planning, I was able to finally get away from the kids and enjoy a New Year Countdown with the wifey. I must say, with all the people at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, it was the most peaceful experience I had alone with the wifey in a long time. Of course, I had my trusty M9 and 35mm Summilux with me so shoot in lower light weren’t much of an issue. Knowing potentially large crowd, I wanted a wider lens and I also didn’t want to risk my Noctilux getting bumped while surfing through the crowd. Well, here are some snap shots I took.

The count down wouldn’t be a count down with out a cont down. No better count down then have the cross walk signs count it down for you.

Title: Count Down
Count Down

Likewise, it wouldn’t be any event in San Francisco without police presence. The next three photos show the full force!! Sucks to be the guy that pulled over right in front of the Ferry Building.

Title: Presence
Presence

Title: Sucks to be you
Sucks to be you

Title: 2
2

It wouldn’t be street photography if I didn’t capture any count downers on the street. Look for the duality of the scene!!

Title: Puff Puff
Puff Puff

Title: Pair
Pair

Last 2 shots should be viewed side by side as a set. I call it a mirror image of the bay bridge.

Title: Look
Look

Title: Paint
Paint

And of course!! Happy New Year to everyone!! Hope everyone has a wonderful 2012 and continue to shoot lots and lots of photographs!!

Here are some other pictures I took while I had the Sony NEX-5n. I must say, it’s a very capable body. I think whenever my NEX-7 arrive, it will fill the gap nicely of where my M9 won’t do. One perfect example would be Macro. I bought this M to NEX Macro adapter from Ebay. You can find the link here

Ebay Link

M to NEX Macro adapter

M to NEX Macro adapter

It’s made by a guy in Taiwan. First impression of the adapter is very good. It’s a solid mount and the macro rotating extension tube section is very smooth. Overall, I think it’s a great adapter to always keep on the NEX. That is, if you’re like me, only have Leica lenses. I don’t plan on buying any E-mount lens anytime soon.

Well, it does get some used to though. Now you almost have 2 focusing ring to play with. I found if you plan on taking close up of something, turn the ring on the adapter first, then fine tune the focus with the lens focusing ring. With the focus peaking, it makes taking sharp images a snap!! I think my manual focusing skills are faster and more consistent that auto focus now!!

Anyways, here are some shots I took at one of the X’Mas banquet at a local Chinese restaurant. All shot with the Sony NEX-5n with Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M

Title: Seafood Platter
Seafood Platter

Title: Dead Fish
Dead Fish

Title: Beak
Beak

Title: Loving Lobsters
Loving Lobsters

Title: Fried Rice
Fried Rice

Title: Shark Fin
Shark Fin