Milky Way Video at My Parent’s River House

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I managed to snag a couple of photos of the night sky last week. The photo above is a still from a time lapse video I created.

It’s kind of funny that I bought my camera nearly two years ago, and I’m finally started to get the hang of astrophotography. I guess I finally figured it out after watching a ton of youtube videos and staring at people’s photos on 500px and Flickr.

Creating this actually wasn’t that hard… there was some trial and error over the last few years, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. A DSLR, fast wide angle lens, tripod, and Light Room + Premiere seemed to get the job done.

If you’re curious, the images were shot with the following equipment and settings:
Camera: Nikon D600
Lens: Nikon 24mm f1.4
ISO 2000
Shutter Speed: 15″
Interval shooting: 20″ per photo
Format: RAW

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Again, the photo above was pulled from one of the still photos I shot in a time lapse. It’s pretty amazing what our galaxy looks like. Any problem or issues we have here are so small and irrelevant compared to the vastness of our universe.

I’m really looking forward to shooting some more soon. Until then, enjoy some the test videos below:

I shot this one when the sun was setting. That’s why it was over exposed at the beginning. Also, my ISO was way too high.

And this one was pointed up at the sky. Again, my ISO was too high in this test. I managed to get a small glimpse of the milky way, and that fueled me to try again.

Check out some more milky way photos on Foo’s site.

Interview with Scott Belsky, via Expa

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Last night I attended an Expa event with Scott Belsky. He shared his story and a ton of startup lessons. Scott co-founded Behance and is now a general partner at Benchmark. He also served as a VP of products at adobe when they got acquired. Here are some memorable quotes from the evening.

“Products are like a bonsai—Sometimes you have to cut some of the most beautiful branches to make sure the trunk is healthy.”

“Process is the escriment of misalignment.”

“The easiest decision is not to make a decision.”

“As a leader you have to short circuit your reward system.”

“Acquisitions are like feeding a domesticated lion. You have to aggravate the lion by shaking the meat in front of it, until it finally gets fed up and eats it.”

“Focus on verbs and actions, versus documenting everything.”

And his favorite question to ask people who are raising money, “How do you hire people?”.

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This was definitely illuminating, and the timing is so relevant. As I work on Flare, I really have to think about all these things.

Hiking at Alamere Falls with Patrick

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I went hiking with Patrick this past weekend at Alamere Falls. The hiking was challenging, and we have the blisters, sun burn, mosquito bites and photographs to prove it.

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Nonetheless, it was rewarding, and enabled us to play with our photography gear. Heh.

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Walking along the coastline was breath taking. It just never gets old. I didn’t carry much gear with me—I just brought the 35mm f1.4 and my 55mm f3.5 macro.

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It was nice to reconnect with nature. While San Francisco is cool, it’s hard to get out of the city sometimes. There’s just something about being around nature that feels right.

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These are tiny little flowers growing from green clovers at the base of the tree.

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We accidentally passed the falls as we were hiking… but we managed to make the best of it.

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We passed by a couple of lakes, and the scenery never ceased to amaze us.

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Patrick just got a new camera—it’s one of the new Fuji mirrorless cameras. I had a chance to play with it a little, and it’s impressive. There’s so much technology compressed in a compact lightweight package. I’m actually kind of envious.

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This is a brenizer method photo. We were in a field, and we snapped some pictures of each other taking photos of the wildlife around us.

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Patrick made me a little nervous taking photos near the edge. He’s literally one step away from falling down to a very painful death.

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Here’s a photo of Patrick taking a picture of these little flowers on the side of the trail. I love the way this photo came out. There’s something about how this lens renders these kinds of plants. I got a similar affect with the wisteria flowers in my last blog post.

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I’m not sure what this flower was, but the bokeh looks awesome. This was shot with the 35mm.

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And this one was show with the 55mm 3.5 macro. They’re just gorgeous.

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And there were these little orange wide flowers scattered throughout the hike.

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And yeh, there was this little red one as well.

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We decided to turn around, and we finally found the trail to Alamere Falls. At this point, we were pretty exhausted, but we trekked on.

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When we finally got there, we realized that we would have to rock climb and descend down to see the falls. This was no small task. And of course, once again, Patrick was on the edge taking photos. I’m serious, the drop off that edge is no joke.

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When we got down, it was incredible. We were surrounded by waterfalls, mountains, precipices and ocean. I can’t describe how beautiful it was…

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I think Patrick was pretty tired at this point, but I believe he enjoyed the reward of getting some photos of this gorgeous waterfall.

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This photo was created from several photos stacked on top of each other, with a median filter. Days like this, I wish I had a nice ND filter so I could really make that waterfall look like glass.

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There was something magical about the cool breeze, combined with the waterfall and sunshine.

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Check out the cascading waterfalls.

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Anyway, it was a great hike. I hope that Patrick will be up for another one in the future. Perhaps next time we can do some astrophotography.

Photos of Jack

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Here are some photos of Jack. He’s getting kind of old, so he’s slowed down a bit. He’s still cute though.

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Look at those little puppy eyes.

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This little guy is always looking for food. My parents turned him into a monster.

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He likes to sleep a lot. But I guess, who wouldn’t want to relax.

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And he knows his furniture. He loves sleeping on my designer couch.

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Brenizer Method Photo

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I tried out a brenizer method photo recently. This picture was created from about a dozen photos from a 85mm 1.8 lens. The photos were assembled in photoshop as a panorama. The technique is fairly simple. This was one of my first attempts, and I think it came out pretty well. It kind of looks like a 50mm with a really shallow depth of field (something you might expect from a f.95 lens).

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Anyway, I’ll be experimenting around with some more photos like these soon. Stay tuned.

Mom’s Hands

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These are some pictures of my mom’s hands. She used these hands to take care of me our family. Even to this day, she still works hard, cooks and uses these hands.

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You can really tell a lot about a person by their hands. There are stories, memories and a profound sense of character in all the wrinkles.

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I just want to take a moment to tell everyone how much I love my mom. She loves what she does and is the most generous person I know—and you can see it in her hands. Ps. She also bakes a wicked apple pie.

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Seriously, check out that crust.

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And no apple pie would be complete with some delicious ice cream. I have to say, she has perfected her recipe and execution.