a photo per day keeps the doctor away

Brave New World

January 9, 2018

Galápagos Islands

A newly-born sea lion pup rests against her mother’s head. Our guide estimated that the pup was just a day old. Indeed, the nearby sand bore some evidence (pup-sized blood stains) of a recent birthing.

The two were very much still working on their relationship. The pup was prone to waddling off towards the ocean. The mother would then grunt loudly and pick up her pup up by the nape of the neck, plopping her safely back on land … prompting the pup to wail loudly in disappointment.

Tea for Two

January 8, 2018

Galápagos Islands

Swallow-tailed gulls preen each other atop the lava rocks of Genovesa Island. During the breeding season, the eye develops a bright red rim.

Red, White, and Blue

January 7, 2018

Galápagos Islands

Boobies are one of the most recognizable and distinctive birds of the Galápagos. On this trip I saw red-footed, blue-footed, and Nazca boobies, and had numerous opportunities to photograph them.

I snapped this “classic” portrait of a red-footed booby late one afternoon. Most of the red-footed boobies in these islands are brown, but this bird had strikingly white plumage with dark flight feathers (known as a “white morph”). This tree was entirely in shade which resulted in uniform lighting. The blue bill, red feet, and high-contrast body naturally stood out from the monochromatic branches. To minimize the visual clutter of the branches, I used the widest aperture on my telephoto lens (f/5.6).

Gentle Giant

January 6, 2018

Galápagos Islands

Among the many fantastic creatures that roam the Galápagos Islands, perhaps none is as iconic or endearing as the giant tortoise. When I visit new places, I try not to have preconceived notions of what or how to photograph … but for this trip I confess I really wanted to come away with a nice portrait of a tortoise. This image from the Floreana highlands was my best attempt.

I snapped this image, and yesterday’s portrait of a marine iguana, with my RX1R II at ground level. I wanted the camera below the eye level of my subjects. A handy feature of this camera (and a reason why I upgraded from the RX1) is the tilt-swivel LCD screen. For these images, I tilted the LCD screen upward to help me refine the composition.


January 4, 2018

Galápagos Islands

I am beginning my journey home after a wonderful adventure to the Galápagos Islands. I’ll be posting images from this trip in the days ahead.

RX1 Retrospective #10

December 25, 2017

Oslo, Norway, July 2014

The small size of the RX1 encourages me to work freehand and try more experimental compositions. This is a snap of the inside of an umbrella found in a shop.

This is my last post of 2017. Happy New Year to you!

RX1 Retrospective #9

December 24, 2017

Santiago, Chile

I seldom use wide angle lenses, so I don’t usually find the RX1′s fixed 35 mm focal length to be limiting. When I need to go wider, I rotate the camera to the opposite orientation, capture three frames, and stitch them into a panorama.

This image is a hand-held HDR panorama. I held the camera in vertical (portrait) orientation and captured a bracket of 3 frames (normal, light, dark) at 3 different angles (left, center, right), for a total of 9 captures. This is the first HDR+panorama set that I tried with Camera Raw’s Merge feature, which was still under development at the time.

RX1 Retrospective #8

December 23, 2017

Oregon Coast, 2014

Another lovely quality of the RX1 lens is its set of 18 diffraction stars. This image was made on a trip up to the Redwoods and southern Oregon with my friends and teammates. We were gathered on the beach near sunset, and I found this composition by playing with the space between two rocks. I had to position and angle the camera quite carefully here to get both the sunstars and “sky opening” in the desired shape.

RX1 Retrospective #7

December 22, 2017

Tokyo, Japan

One of my favorite features of the RX1 is its closeup mode: rotate the ring on the front of the lens, and it can focus down to 0.2 meters (while temporarily losing infinity focus). I use it to take snaps of all sorts of nearby goodies, such as this delicious Shojin “sushi” bite — carrots, cucumbers, and mushrooms wrapped in tofu skin.

RX1 Retrospective #6

December 21, 2017

Tokyo, Japan

One of the my favorite qualities of the RX1′s 35 mm “Sonnar” lens is its rendering of out-of-focus areas, especially highlights. It encourages me to look for compositions where the blurry highlights almost become subjects themselves. Here I mixed the blur of the background with side-to-side motion blur.