Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The annual Christmas on Las Olas celebration, in downtown Fort Lauderdale, was bigger than ever this year. I say that only because I found the streets more crowded than I can remember. To see a larger version of this photo and a few more crowd shots from tonight, visit design215.com/photos/misc/lasolas2012_9347.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Click images to enlarge!!
On Friday, November 2, 2012, people of all ages painted their faces like skeletons and descended on Fat Village Arts District in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There was a skeleton procession down Andrews Ave., art exhibitions, live music, circus performers, custom cars, food trucks, and more. To see more of my photos, visit my Facebook album, Day of the Dead 2012.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Earlier this afternoon, bulldozers and front end loaders piled up the beach sand that covered A1A, in an attempt to keep the ocean out of the road. By 8:30pm, the ocean was back in the street, with the water level higher than the sidewalks.
For more photos of this event, visit design215.com/photos/a1a_flooding.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/2.8 3s ISO 800
Friday, October 26, 2012
Click Images to Enlarge!!
A combination of weather, tides, and the moon caused major flooding on A1A, along Fort Lauderdale Beach today. Police had to close the road from NE 18th ST to Sunrise Blvd. Some residents were trapped or didn't want to cause damage to their vehicles by trying to drive through the salt water. There had been rain earlier in the day but the skies were clearing by high tide. I've photographed this event in the past but I've never seen it this bad. In 2008, it was an inconvenience but at least the road remained open. Are ocean levels rising? What is this going to look like in 10 years?
I made a gallery for this event, with updated photos: design215.com/photos/a1a_flooding
Friday, June 29, 2012
This is one of the first panoramas I've made with my new Nodal Ninja 3 panoramic head. For this shot, I used the Nodal Ninja to take 8 photos at 45 degree increments. The Nodal Ninja also allows you to position the camera to eliminate parallax.
I used Hugin to stitch the images together on my Macbook Pro. Hugin is free and very powerful but it has a little bit of a learning curve. There are numerous features I haven't even played with yet. After using Hugin, I ended up with a nice, wide, rectangular panorama.
Finally, I brought my "normal" panoramic image into Photoshop and used Polar Coordinates to create the image you see here. There are many tutorials on the web that explain how to do this, although I found some variation between them. At some point, I might do a complete tutorial of my own but I'm still figuring out some details and I don't like to teach something until I've mastered it myself. =)
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/8 8s ISO 400 x 8 images.
Manfrotto tripod. Fanotec Nodal Ninja 3 w/RD16 Rotator.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Today I did an impromptu shoot with my friend Keeley Lynn. The weather wasn't great but we wanted to do something outdoors. I knew of this little old graveyard off of the 17th St Causeway and I think it worked perfectly.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/5.6 1/125 ISO 400.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The two photos above are from one of the first test shoots I did with my new Nikon D800 camera. My friend Tikidoll Sakura modeled one of her latest outfits. The area outlined in the first photo is enlarged in the second photo. Click on the second photo to see a 1:1 view of this area. No additional sharpening was applied to the image. I say "additional" because some sharpening is done in the camera at its default setting.
Before I purchased the D800, I was a little worried about sharpness because 1) many people were talking about it, and 2) Nikon offered a second version of the camera, the D800E. Nevertheless, I bought the regular D800 and I'm glad I did. After examining the images from this shoot, I cannot imagine the need for anything sharper. You can count the individual threads in the straps of the model's garter belt!
All of this extra sharpness actually created more work for me. I found myself retouching tiny little spots and specks that you would never see when the image is resized for the web or even for small print. I could have applied a small amount of blur or one of my noise filters to clean up the image but I wanted to leave the overall image untouched in order to demonstrate the sharpness of this camera.
Although the sharpness of the D800 goes beyond my expectations, some users might have trouble getting super sharp photos. This camera will test the limits of your lenses. If you are not using one of Nikon's sharpest lenses, you will not get the same results shown here. Also, I manually focus all of my shots to get the best results. You might find the camera is a little less forgiving when you are focusing. Because the D800 is a full frame camera, your depth of field will appear shallower than a DX camera, for a given lens.
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/8 1/125 ISO 100.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Tonight, I was wandering around Delray Beach again. I was looking for something unusual to photograph but nothing was really jumping out at me. I've photographed Delray many times before and I have a number of long exposures with trails from car taillights and so on. I just wanted something different. Earlier, I was talking to a woman who was also walking around with her camera, trying to get some interesting shots. One of her shots was a palm tree in Pineapple Grove, that was wrapped with "light rope". While her picture was nice, I wanted something more. I walked over to Pineapple Grove to see if anything there would inspire me. First, I climbed up in one of the planters and literally hugged one of the palm trees, in an effort to get an interesting shot. I was looking straight up the trunk of the tree. Nope, didn't do it. Finally, I reached in my bag and took out my fisheye lens. I lay down in the middle of the courtyard, flat on my back, with my head firmly against the ground, and took this shot. People thought I was nuts. One man came over to me with his wife and said he had to know what I was doing. I showed him the picture in my camera and he said, "Oh wow!! That's amaing!" and showed it to his wife.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/2.8 1/4s ISO 800.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I just received my Nikon D800 a few days ago and I'm still learning all of its nuances. The D800 is a full frame camera, meaning the image sensor is the same size as 35mm film. If you attach a standard 35mm lens, you will get the same coverage that you would get on a 35mm film camera. This is nice. I can finally use my Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens to take wide angle pictures like I used to do with film. When I put my 24mm lens on my Nikon D7000, the image is cropped because the sensor is smaller. On the D7000, my 24mm lens becomes like a 36mm lens. Not so good if you want a wide angle shot. Nikon calls the D7000 a "DX" format camera while the D800 is called an "FX" or "Full Frame" format camera. All of my good old fashioned, 35mm lenses that I used to use on my film camera, are FX lenses. Some of the newer lenses that I bought for cameras like the D70, D90, D200, and D7000, are DX lenses. DX lenses use smaller glass elements because they're made for the smaller sensor cameras. If you put a DX lens on a 35mm film camera or a FX digital camera, the image from the lens won't always fill the whole frame. You'll see black around the edges of the image, known as vignetting.
When you put a DX lens on the Nikon D800, the camera automatically crops the image just like a DX camera. In other words, if you're using a DX lens, you'll see roughly the same thing on a D800 as you would on a D7000. If you take a picture with a DX lens on the D800, you'll get a 16 megapixel image, not a 36 megapixel one! Yes, you read that right. With a DX lens, the D800 might as well be a D7000 with a few extra features. But wait...
I'm pleased to tell you that you can turn off the DX crop feature!! Yes, you can go into the menus of the D800 and set it to take full, 36 megapixel images all the time, no matter what lens you stick on the camera. This is awesome. One of my favorite lenses is my DX 35mm f/1.8 lens. You can buy this lens brand new for less than $200, its super sharp, and its an f/1.8 lens! Ah, but its a DX lens. That's why its so cheap. Anywhere you look for this lens online, it will say something like, "DX lenses are NOT recommended for use with FX or Full Frame Cameras." I'm sorry, but rules in photography are meant to be broken. Don't tell me not to try my DX lenses on my FX camera! Thankfully, someone at Nikon knew there would be people like me out there and included the option to TURN OFF the DX crop!!
I set up a tripod on the Pompano Beach fishing pier and used my DX 35mm f/1.8 lens on both cameras. Both cameras were set to the same exposure and the images are unretouched. The inner image from the D7000 is the same image you get with the D800 and its DX crop feature turned on. When you turn off the DX crop on the D800, look what you get! Yes, there is some vignetting around the edges but is that so bad? Obviously it depends on what you're shooting but its nice to know I have the freedom to choose whether I want my images cropped in the camera or not.
Finally, the D800 gives me a third option, called the "1.2" crop, which is between the DX crop and full frame. I'm not sure where I would use it because I can always shoot full frame and just crop it later in Photoshop. Having options is always nice though. Kudos Nikon!
Nikon D800/D7000 with Nikon DX 35mm f/1.8 lens. Exposure: f/4.0 2.0s ISO 1600.
The Lost and Found Saloon is a neat little place on 36th ST, in the design district, a couple blocks west of the Target shopping center in downtown Miami. It has great food, friendly servers, and an interesting atmosphere. Its also open until 3am, which is perfect for me. Many times I'll be working late in Miami and I'll want some reasonably healthy food. My friend Olivia currently works there so if you see her, tell her I said hello.
In case you're wondering... yes, I've been using my fisheye lens a lot lately. The thing is, I keep finding myself in situations where the fisheye is going to give me the best shot. This restaurant is small but the bar is fairly long and the entire wall behind it is interesting. Even with my 12-24mm lens, I never would have fit the entire bar in a single shot. I used a shutter speed of 2 full seconds so my tripod came in handy.
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/4 2.0s ISO 200.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Here's a little time lapse animation I made when I unpacked my brand new Nikon D800. I used a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 50mm f/2.0 lens. In hindsight, I should have used a little greater depth of field but whatever, I was in a hurry. People keep telling me, "Wow, that must have taken forever!" It actually didn't take that long. I started shooting around midnight and finished at 1:30am. I shot a total of 812 images. There was hardly any editing to do and I just added the music track. Simple.
I have to say that I've seen way too many videos on YouTube where a person is unpacking their new camera and rambling on and on about it. I certainly was very excited when my D800 arrived but I wanted to do something a little more fun. I also didn't want to take forever making the video. I hope you enjoy it.
The music is Fantasie Impromptu by Frédéric Chopin, one of my favorite piano pieces.
Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 50mm f/2.0 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/4.0 1/15 ISO 800.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Tonight I went to Club Cinema in Pompano Beach, FL and filmed DJ Steve Aoki jumping from the second level balcony into an inflatable kiddie pool held up by the crowd!! This was the second time I've done video of Steve Aoki and he always puts on a good show. Last time, I didn't get any good footage of his balcony jump because I was behind the stage. This time I positioned myself on the opposite balcony so I could have a good view of the action. It still wasn't easy. The club was so packed that I sandwiched between people that were constantly jumping up and down and pushing against the railings. I have no idea how I managed to hold the camera as steady as I did.
Nikon D7000 camera with Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G DX lens. ISO 1600. Zoom Digital Recorder.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/4 1/125 ISO 200.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Gelato, made fresh at Pan'e Dolci Italian Bakery 613 E Las Olas Blvd. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I was just having some fun, wandering around with my camera and fisheye lens. There is hardly any grain in this image, even though I was shooting at ISO 1600. I held the camera right up against the glass of the gelato case.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/4 1/500 ISO 1600.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
My friend Ill Nocturnal called me this afternoon and asked if I could meet her at a friend's house to shoot some photos. Here's one of the images from that shoot. It should be obvious but I'm going to say it anyway... don't try this at home!! Ill Nocturnal and Ill Ra are part of the Illuminautians. Check out their web site, www.illuminautians.com.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/5.6 1/15 ISO 400. Remote strobe.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Here's my friend Tikidoll Sakura wearing her custom made, stuffed animal fluffies. She makes all kinds of crazy clothes for gogo dancing and EDM events. We did this shoot in downtown Miami, near Biscayne Boulevard. If you'd like to learn more about Tikidoll and her clothing, check out her page.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/8 1/250 ISO 125. Remote strobe.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Tonight I decided to make a music video. I was inspired by Ajapai's track, Incoming (Taku Remix) and thought it would be perfect for time lapse. You can purchase the music track here.
I shot the "intro" part of the video with a Nikon D7000 and several manual focus lenses. I shot it all at f/2.8, ISO 1600. If you look closely and pause the video in the right spot, you can see my custom camera mount I installed in my 2012 Scion xD. Yes, its a slightly modified tripod. I tried a number of different ways to mount a camera but mounting a DSLR and having it remain in position while driving around, over speed bumbs, etc., was a bit of a challenge. Filming the intro was fairly straightforward. I already had a list of shots that I wanted. I waited until the parking lot was empty, and I positioned the car exactly where I wanted it. I shot 3 times as much footage as I needed and I must have at least a dozen clips of myself getting into my car. In the end, I didn't use all of the shots from my original list. They just didn't fit with the flow of the music. Maybe I'll include these "deleted scenes" on the special edition DVD, lol.
I used a Nikon D90 for the time lapse. The moon was out and there were just enough clouds in the sky to make it interesting. I also thought Saturday night would be the best time to drive around South Beach. I connected the D90, filled up at a gas station, and started the time lapse controller. I had already figured out my route and for the next couple of hours, I just drove around and listened to my camera click every few seconds. My camera took more than 4700 pictures before I ended up back at my house. The video ends just as I'm getting back on I-95 to return home but I wanted more footage than I needed so I could play around with stretching parts of the time lapse to match some of the breaks in the track.
If you like this video, please share it on your page and consider buying the track from Ajapai. Do you need a time lapse film? Contact me at www.Design215.com.
Equipment used for the video:
- Nikon D7000 camera
- Nikon D90 camera
- Nikon AF DX 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens
- Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 manual focus lens
- Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 lens
- Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens
- Manfrotto 3021BN tripod
- custom Manfrotto camera mount for 2012 Scion xD
- custom time lapse controller
- modified Nikon EH-5a power supply
- 2012 Scion xD, 5 speed manual, TRD suspension
1. I-95 South to Miami / 395 East.
2. Right on Alton Road.
3. Left on S Point Drive.
4. Left on Ocean Drive.
5. Left on 5th Street.
6. Right on Collins Ave.
7. Left on Lincoln Road.
8. Left on Washington Ave.
9. Right on 2nd St.
10. Right on Alton Rd.
11. Exit to I-195 West.
12. Left on Biscayne Blvd.
13. Right on SE 2nd St.
14. Left on Brickell Ave.
15. U-Turn on Brickell Ave at 14th Terr.
16. Right on Biscayne Blvd.
17. Left on 82nd St.
18. Right on I-95 North ramp
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Wandering around downtown Fort Lauderdale, I ended up at Revolution Live for the 12th Planet show. I took this shot with my Nikon D7000 and 10.5mm fisheye lens. This fisheye is becoming one of my favorite lenses. It has a much wider field of view than my 12-24mm f/4.0 and I have several aftermarket plugins for Photoshop that can correct the distortion inherent with fisheye lenses, if I want to do so. The fact that this an f/2.8 lens makes it quite versatile.
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. Exposure: f/2.8 1/4s ISO 800.
Friday, February 3, 2012
This is the fountain in Bubier Park in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It is located on the corner of Las Olas Blvd. and Andrews Ave. I took this shot with my Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye lens. Even though you might think a fisheye lens has limited uses, I've found that you can correct the "fisheye" distortion using Photoshop's native lens correction in CS5 as well as with several aftermarket plugins. This image has not been corrected and I think the effect is quite nice.
I did not use a tripod for this shot. The combination of an f/2.8 lens, and the D7000's excellent low light sensor certainly helped. A general rule of thumb is to always use a shutter speed that is greater than the focal length of your lens. In this case, 1/15 is greater than 10.5mm (15 > 10.5). If you want to look at it another way, wide angle lenses will show less camera shake than telephoto lenses. A steady hand helps too. After a lot of practice, I've found that I can usually hold the camera steady down to 1/4 second. This will depend on how much coffee I've had. =)
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens. Exposure: f/2.8 1/15 ISO 800. Handheld.
Yes, I thought this was amusing, so I photographed it in my studio. The setup I used for this shot is common for products. The background paper is solid gray but the background gradient results from the light falling off as the background paper bends upward and away from the product. I used a 44" soft box, hanging directly over the product, facing down. The large soft box provides even lighting on all sides with no hard shadows. Because it is facing down, there is no direct light on the background paper behind the product. All other lights in the studio were off so there was no other ambient light. No adjustments were made to this image other than adding the text.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 50mm f/2.0 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/8 1/60 ISO 100. Studio strobe with 44" soft box
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
This morning I did a shoot for Johnny Rockets in the Sawgrass Mills Mall. The client wanted overall shots of the restaurant and detail shots of their cool, phonograph record tables. The lighting was a little tricky because of the many existing fixtures in the ceiling of the restaurant. I wanted to combine the ambient light with a light source I could control. I used a Nikon SB-800 strobe on a light stand, with an umbrella. I used a wireless transmitter to trigger the strobe. My goal was to minimize the reflections from the light fixtures in the restaurant, while emphasizing the design of the table. I took pictures of the table from several different angles, with the table empty and as you see it here. I felt the reflections from the items on the table added to the image.
The camera was on a tripod so I could use a small aperture, a slow shutter speed, and a low ISO. The small aperture increased the depth of field so the entire table is in focus. The slow shutter speed let me mix the ambient light in the restaurant with the light from my strobe. A low ISO keeps the details sharp and noise to a minimum. The D7000 is really good when it comes to noise however. I probably could have used ISO 400 or 800 without much of a noticeable difference.
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens. Exposure: f/8 1/2 ISO 200. Nikon SB-800, manual mode.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
My friend Winona came over at 5am because neither of us could sleep. She brought her headphones.
Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 manual focus lens. Exposure: f/11 1/125 ISO 200
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, the same year as Abraham Lincoln. He is best known for his poem, The Raven, and short stories like The Tell Tale Heart. In 2005 I built the educational web site, Poestories.com so anyone could learn about Poe and read his stories and poems. I've always wondered what Edgar would have written, had he lived in the 70's and 80's of the 20th century. Would he have listened to death metal?
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I was working late and all of the regular restaurants were closed. I went to Rocco's Tacos on Las Olas and had some of their amazing guacamole. Its raw, its good for you, and it tastes really good too. When I finished, it was almost 2am and I was the last patron in the restaurant. I've had a lot on my mind lately and I didn't feel like going home just yet so I went for a walk. I love empty city streets in the middle of the night.
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens. Exposure: f/2.8 1/30 ISO 1600, handheld.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Here's my nephew, Eddie, wakeboarding with some friends. Eddie is a Team Rider for Exceed Wetsuits. Although I've done Exceed's catalog photography and magazine ads, this wasn't a commercial shoot. We were just out having fun on a Saturday. Eddie asked me to get a shot where he and his friends were all in the same picture. This is the result. =)
Nikon D7000 with Nikon 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 lens. Exposure: f/8 1/640 ISO 800. Weather: overcast.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
I just finished posting all of my best Official Ultra Music Festival photos from 2010. Over the next few weeks, I'll be uploading my best pictures from previous years, back to 2005. The entire collection will be a visual history of Ultra. I've posted many pictures over the years but they were always in different places- MySpace, Flickr, and so on. This new collection is well organized, uses friendly URLs, and each photo has its own link. If you didn't make it to Ultra last year, you can also view my best Official Ultra Music Festival photos from 2011.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Recently, I switched to Facebook's new Timeline Layout. While I certainly don't like everything about it, I LOVE being able to put a big, panoramic image at the top of my page! What photographer wouldn't like that? I started going through all of my favorite photos and cropping them to 850 x 315, which is the exact size they need to be if you don't want any weird cropping or resizing when you upload them to Facebook.
After I made a bunch of cover photos for myself, some of my Facebook friends asked me if they could use a couple of them on their pages. I said, "Sure! Why not?" All of my cover photos have my credit in the bottom right corner so really, its free advertising for me. A few more people asked me if I had specific images of this or that, and I went back through my archives and made a couple of custom covers for them. Finally, I added a section to my web site where you can download ALL of my Free Facebook Cover Photos that I've made so far. If you have an idea for a Cover Photo you'd like to see, send me a message on Facebook and I'll see what I can do. =)
Sunday, January 1, 2012
For the second year in a row, I was hired to photograph the New Year's Party at Scarlett's Cabaret in Hallandale, Florida. It was a crazy night and I had a lot of fun. Yes, Scarlett's is a strip club, but during their New Year's Party, there are no strippers. Instead, there are go-go dancers, fire dancers, stilt walkers, midgets, and people in crazy costumes mingling with the crowd. The photo above is an example of one of the costumes. Although I did a little post processing to this image, I took the photo at the club, shortly after midnight.
If you want to see more of my photos from this event, try this link to Scarlett's Facebook album. If that link doesn't work, you could visit Scarlett's Facebook page and look for the album.