My new iPhone XR

This is very embarrassing but I had a little incident how I had to switch my phone in January.

Okay, I have to admit. I am a phone snob and I wanted to get a different phone. My perfectly working fine Google Pixel 2 XL phone was listed on a local craiglist and I tried to exchange with someone who had an iPhone. Long story short, the person who swapped the phone with me was a person who owned a blacklisted iPhone. Of course, I could not use the phone and I turned into a local authority force.

I went to Best Buy and got myself the newest iPhone. iPhone XR was my choice. You have to guess, I had to pay in full to get the phone. Even though I technically lost my Google phone, I really like this new iPhone. It takes amazing photos and the battery last super long.

If you are looking to get a phone that has features like SLR camera/DSLR, you have to check this phone. It’s amazing!!!

iPad Pro (2018) version.

My family was nice enough to get me a really fancy gift. I got an Ipad-Pro for the Christmas gift. It’s a really nice and very expensive gift. I am not sure what I did to deserve this gift. In 2018, there were many new tech items came out to the public and there were many things I wanted to buy, but I was so thrilled when my family bought me this iPad. Here are top 3 2018 tech gadgets I want to share with you.

Happy New Year!

1. iPad-Pro 11inch and 12 inch. Apple made big changes to the new ipad models. The new models don’t have a home button and it uses a faceID like the new iPhones but you can unlock the device any angle you hold the device. It’s big and bright. The new A12x bionic chip is so powerful. If anyone is buying or upgrading their iPad this year, they won’t regret it because it’s going to last you for a long long time. I personally think it’s future tech proof since it has a new USB-C cable and faceID.

2. Google Home Hub. I recently moved and I thought about getting this for my house. I am not sure how I still feel about Google listening to our day-to-day conversation. So I am holding off on it. It’s a great device. You can set up everything in the house (such as: Nest Thermostat, Arlo Video Camera, Philips Light Bulb, and many more smart home automation devices) and look them in one device – Google Home Hub. It’s priced at $150 but many retailers like: walmart, tartget, and bestbuy have some serious discounts and you can get them for $100. It does not have a front facing camera so if I guess Google, too, thought about the privacy issue.

3. OnePlus 6T. This is a new game-changing smartphone. I say it boldly because the phones in 2018 have gone crazy. Many new flagship phones are costing over $1,000. That’s too crazy. OnePlus 6T cost half of that and still one of the best smartphone of the 2018 year.

It’s crazy fast and it does everything well like the flagship phones from Samsung, Google, and Apple. Did I mention that it takes amazing photos? The camera is so good!

Obviously I couldn’t get all three in my house this year. But my family was gracious enough to get me the biggest and most expensive gadgets of the three products. iPad-Pro is simply amazing and I can do so much more stuff freely without carrying my bulking laptop. I’ve been learning how to edit photos with my new ios software. It’s so amazing what I can do with the device now. Cutting and editing videos have been super easy too. I shared my holiday break recording with the family after I edited them and everyone loved it.

Also, I am thinking about getting an Apple Pencil. This thing is expensive too. But I think it is well worth it. The reason why I say it is worth it because you can keep things so clean and take great notes with it. I am excited to be more creative in 2019 with my iPad-Pro. Thanks family!

Holiday Photography

I love the Holidays. I feel like everyone is nicer during the holidays. Don’t you agree?
Well, it may be true after all. Everyone is reflecting the past year and thinking about how good/bad they were in the past year and perhaps they want to do something better for the new year.

I see many people at the mall giving things to the charitable organization and taking photos with Santa for a good cause. Speaking of taking photos with Santa, this is a big deal for some new (young) family.

Young families love sharing photos with their friends and family. They want to show their baby to the world! I get it. I have done it myself with my wife when our kids were babies. People stand on a long line to take photos with Santa at the malls. It must be very tiring for the Santa.

When you are taking photos with Santa, you have to remember a few rules. Here. Let me share some of my own experience in the past and you can choose to follow them or not.
Rule #1. You can’t wear RED!
Let me explain why. Your center (focal point) is a giant dude wearing an item of red clothing. Santa is a big dude (usually) and he is supposed to be the focal point of the photo. When you wear the same color of clothing, you suddenly become a part of Santa’s clothing. This is not good because your focal point is being distorted by the same color. Trust me. Instead try to wear Green, White, and or any colors that are much lighter than red.

Rule #2. Try to avoid any weekend. This includes Friday afternoon as well. Think about it for a second. Everyone in your neighborhood will be there doing the same thing. When I go to the mall and see the line to take photos with Santa, I want to throw up. It’s darn so long and kids look miserable.
Instead, try to go during the business hour during the week. I understand that parents can’t really take time off during the day to take the photo. However, if you really want the photo with a Santa, it may be worth taking a half day off and spending time with your family. Your kids will have a great time with you and you will cherish the moment without so much stress. (Isn’t that why we work in the first place?) Just saying.

Rule #3. Be polite and considerate. I remember I was waiting behind these two ladies who took 30+ mins looking at three same photos and could not decide which one to pick while the line behind them was forming like crazy! They just didn’t care about other folks and taking advantage of their time. This is not cool at all. You have other kids waiting on the same line so they can have fun with Santa. Why would you take away their joy and you become that annoying person who becomes that Grinch? Please be polite and be reasonable.

Anyway, I hope that everyone is enjoying the holidays and having fun. This year was a great year for me (personally) and I am very thankful for it. I have more time taking photos with my family and using the film camera that I purchased earlier this year. I am super excited to take more photos in 2019 with my camera.

Holiday Shopping! (2018)

“So This Is Christmas, What Have You Done?” These are the first few words of the famous song, Happy Xmas (War is over) by John Lennon. The song always makes me feel like I’m ready for the holidays.

Holidays are special to many people. It’s time to be thankful and be reminded that each and everyone is loved. A lot of non-profit organization and churches around the country are doing good work for those who are unfortunate. The church that I attend does Christmas shoes party. We ask the congregation to buy some toys and school supplies to put them in a shoebox and send the box to the places where homeless and poor kids can get them. We made 500 shoe boxes last year and we are hoping to get at least 700 boxes. Also, we go out to the city on Christmas Eve and sing Christmas Carol and give out hot chocolate to the people out in the city. The holidays are special. There are many things people do during the holidays. Some of the traditions like picking up a Christmas tree after the Thanksgiving Day, Flag football with the friends and family, college football division championship, and of course, Christmas shopping. With the Black Friday & Cyber Monday weekend, many people started shopping for their friends and family. People are excited to see some great deals during the holiday season so they can buy things for the others and for themselves. It’s nice to see people out and spending time and money to have great times.

The big box retailers like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s all spend their effort and money to market the products during this time. I hear that this year’s Thanksgiving (Black Friday) retailers’ revenue increased 28% from the last year. That’s crazy. People definitely love shopping. The deals are pretty amazing too. I’ve seen so many tech gadgets were on sale like Nest 3rd generation thermostat which is around $230 but its price dropped to $170 during the holiday shopping seasons. Who wouldn’t want that kind of savings if you were looking for one for a long time? Not only the newest and the latest technology products are on sale but also the good old reputable cameras are on sale as well. I checked this website and there were so many good deals I find that many photographers will like. It’s hard to find these kinds of deals throughout the year but I am really happy that I found these deals for my friends and family as well. The holidays are special for all. We love the feel of good Christmas spirits to be contagious to those around us.

So what are you waiting for? Make a list of people you want to give gifts to and go out and do some Shopping? I remember my parents always said that giving gifts is always better than receiving the gifts. It’s tempting to just want to receive and receive/get and get what you want and need. We always feel this way. But when we give with the spirit of the holidays, we find that our hearts feel warm and satisfied.

Ghost Photography

I can’t believe it’s already the end of October. It’s that time of the year, Halloween. I think I heard that people spend a lot of money (2nd most after Christmas) during Halloween to decorate and to give out candies. It may be true. I see so many houses decorated with the haunted house themes, zombies, and carved out scary pumpkin heads. Halloween is a special day and the spirit of Ghost is everywhere!

I couldn’t stop thinking about this ghost spirit during this Halloween. How many people actually believe in ghost? How do we really know if they exist or not? There aren’t that many ways we can prove that the ghost exists or not. However, the images in photography cannot be ignored. The photos cannot be captured without the existence of the real thing. If the ghost is captured in the photo, the ghost must be real. As a photo enthusiast, I did a little bit of research in the past and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and opinions based on these photos and stories. I don’t know if these photos are real or edited with scary images, but I am definitely scared now.

This photo is known as the “Brown Lady” of Raynham Hall. It was shot in 1936 by a photographer documenting Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England. The photographer, Captain Hubert Provand, thought his assistant was joking when he said that he saw some object figure when he was taking the photo, but then it became true when the photographer saw the image for himself. There was some story that the person in the image, Lady Dorothy Townshend, was locked in her room by her husband because she committed an adultery. The image was so clear. It’s hard to image that this was edited back in the 1900s.

This is another famous one. It is the famous Tulip Staircase Ghost photo. It was developed by Rev. Ralph Hardy. He was a retired clergyman. In 1966, he visited the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. He took this interesting spiral staircase. When he developed the photo he saw the ghost touching the staircase.

This one is a little bit more controversial than the other ones. Many people think this is a fake image. Tony O’Rahilly shot this image of a girl standing amid the flames as Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England. The place was burned to the ground in 1995. People said that there was no way anyone could have survived this flame. For a long time, many people thought that this was a girl name Jane Churn who accidentally set fire to her home in 1677 and her ghost was shown in the photo. Later on, however, the national museum of the photography examined the photo and said this was edited.

It’s amazing to see some of these old photos and how people have been amused. I, personally, believe there is the good vs evil spirit in this world and that we cannot see with our own eyes. These photos may not be true and may not able to authenticate, but the 35mm slr film cameras captured these images and make us wonder in this Halloween.

Shout out to the link below. The site has other more ghost images and stories. You can check them out!

Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 Photo Features

I love Google phones. I had Google phones for a long time. Back then they were called Nexus phones but Google started to use their own name under Pixel and manufactured their phones starting 2016. I am currently using Pixel 2 XL. It is a great phone. It’s been one year since I had this phone and it still runs like a brand new one. Many people, including myself, like the Google phone because they love how it takes photos. It’s amazing. The phone takes clear and detail shots every time. Many phone companies are using dual (now triple) cameras to bring the camera experience better but Google takes a different approach. Google uses a single lens on the rear side camera and the Google software is doing the most of hard work. In the end, the Google photos come out superior to the other phones, including iPhone.

Google just announced a brand new Pixel phone, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Reading many tech reviewers articles and videos, I am confident to say that the new Pixel 3 is going to have an amazing camera – surpassing its previous model. It still has a single rear camera but it has new features that make this phone better than the other ones. Here are top 3 features.

Top Shot

This is a really cool feature. Google’s AI captures continuous images before and after you take the photo. When you are looking at your photo, you will be able to see the ones that Google took before the shot and afterward. This is pretty amazing because you won’t have a bad photo in the end. How many times did you miss that beautiful smile of your kid because you were trying to take a perfect photo? Now you don’t have to think about the perfect moment anymore. You simply take a photo and the camera will pick the one that has that perfect smile, facing you, and not looking somewhere else.

Motion Auto Focus

A well-known filmmaker, Terrence Malick, made a short video for Google using Pixel 3. It’s amazing. Google really wanted to emphasize the software features of the new phone by showing the photos sharp and detail as possible. In the video, Malick’s video has lots of close-ups and the camera is constantly moving yet the images stay very sharp. The phone’s motion autofocus feature is the reason why the filmmaker was able to take these amazing shots. The camera detects one item in the lens and keeps following the object throughout the shots. It tracks where the object is moving to.

Night Sight

This is my favorite feature. It’s called Night Sight. More than any words, let me share this image with you. Please see below.

Look at that image from Pixel 3! The new iPhone XS has dual cameras and the phone is the latest phone from Apple. Yet Google destroys the competitor’s camera(s). Again the software is so good that a single lens can produce such a bright photo at night without a flash. This feature is going to change the camera taking experience at night.

Google is not a search engine company anymore. I can honestly say that Google is now making more beautiful products than Apple or Samsung. Google Home (Max, Mini, and Hub), Google Pixel Phones, Google Pixelbooks are so much better than the other Apple products because of the Google AI software and features. The new Pixel phone is going to be better than any smartphone cameras out there today and maybe perhaps in 2019. Well, until Google comes out with Pixel 4.

My best cameras

People love taking the photos generally. I personally love taking photos of natures. I take time off from my daily work time to time and go out to the outdoor areas with my camera. I really enjoy this time. Not only this is a good exercise but also, it helps me to keep my stress level down. I enjoy it and I make time to do this very often.

Because I enjoy this time so much, I spend a lot of money on cameras and camera accessories. My Canon EOS series has multiple expensive lenses and this DSLR camera is brought with me to all places. I assure you that this isn’t the only camera I have. I have several “low” digital camera models. Also, I have a few SLR 35mm film cameras as well. Honestly, I do not spend too much time with the film cameras these days because it’s a lot of effort to get the film developed, but I enjoy using them very much.

Please allow me to show you my three best cameras I have in my storage room right now.

1. Canon EOS Rebel T3.
This one I purchase back in 2012. I particularly remember the day I bought this camera because it was the day that I got into a huge fight with my girlfriend (now my wife). She had another Canon camera and I broke the lens. I swear I still don’t think I broke it because it just popped out while I was holding it. Anyway, she was very upset and we ended up going to a local Best Buy to pick this one up. Even though I bought this one for my girlfriend at that time, I’ve been using this everywhere I go. Some of the key features are:

  • Up to 3 frames per second continuous shooting
  • 12MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 9-point AF system
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 720p HD video recording
  • 2.7-inch LCD with 230,000 dots

Over the years, we bought several lenses that are interchangeable with the camera. We can say that we use them very well. I personally like the wide angle lens because I take a lot of nature scenery shots. With all the accessories and the camera, I think I can say I spent good $3,000 in the past 6 years.

2. Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera
As you may have guessed, we love the brand, Canon. There is nothing wrong with Nikon or Sony digital cameras but my wife and I prefer Canon cameras. We think they are more durable than the other manufacturers’ cameras and the images come out more detail than the others. We bought this one a few years ago because we were going to a wedding and we didn’t want to bring our DSLR camera. It was a destination wedding and we needed something we can carry easily without packing too much. This camera was the answer. It was compact enough to fit in our pocket and it was relatively taking great photos during the wedding. We kept the camera. Typically, we keep this one in the car so we can just pick it up and start taking photos. On a side note, I hear that it is a good practice to keep a camera in the car for any accidents. Here are some key features:

  • 8x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer helps you capture images with flexibility and ease
  • 20.0 Megapixel CCD sensor combines with the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to help deliver stunning image quality
  • 720p HD video capabilities.Focusing Range:Normal: 2.0 in. – infinity (W), 4.3 ft. (1.3m) – infinity (T)
  • Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper settings based on predefined shooting situations
  • Digital IS helps reduce the effect of camera shake and subject movement.Operating Temperature:32-104°F / 0-40°C
  • Scene Modes such as Fisheye Effect, Toy Camera Effect and Monochrome provide creative freedom to capture your photos

Finally, my Canon AE-1 film camera.

This one has to be my favorite camera all time. You can’t buy a brand new one these days but you can still find a good used camera on Amazon. The AE-1 camera can be used in full manual mode (obviously) since it is a 35mm film camera, but also it has 3 different automatic exposure modes available that you can choose to take amazing photos. The camera feels sturdy and makes a great shutter sound when you are taking photos. This one is my favorite because I can really appreciate the photos. However, it is very expensive as the film rolls can add up very quickly. Here are some key features:

  • 35mm SLR (Single-Lens-Reflex) camera with electronically controlled AE (Automatic Exposure) and focal plane shutter.
  • Canon FD series interchangeable lenses with full aperture metering and AE coupling. Canon FL series with stopped-down metering.
  • Standard lenses for the Canon AE are Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C, Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 S.C.

Canon makes great cameras. We love them all. When we go out and take photos for the loved ones and outdoor scenery, we have to pick and choose the one that we are going to use for that day. It is a hard decision but the camera makes big difference when you are taking photos. We are so lucky that we have the luxury of choosing the best of the best.

Fujifilm X100F Digital Camera

Last weekend, I had some of my friends come over and watched the first NFL games of the 2018-2019 season. It was nice having people bring their own food: wings, desserts, and drinks and enjoying the company with the games on.

We took a lot of photos together. My wife told me that she uploaded at least 300 images when she was trying to send the photos to the group. I wasn’t surprised because I recently purchased Fujifilm X100F Digital camera at Best Buy. Okay. That’s not true. I bought it but I am not 100% sure if I want to keep it. I want to play around with it at least one more week to make my final decision.

However, I want to share with you some of my thoughts on this camera so far. I am hoping that I will be able to see some of the pros and cons clearly as I write them down. Let me start with the product highlights.

The camera has the followings. You may not find them that great but these are the reasons why I bought it at the Best Buy store.

– 24.3 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor. (images are very detailed)
– Hybrid Optical and Electronic Viewfinder (easy access to the photos I took)
– Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps. (kids videos)

I don’t know much about these features but these are available in the camera as well.

– Parallax-Correct Electronic Rangefinder
– 3.0” 1.04m-Dot LCD Monitor
– X-Processor Pro Image processor
– 91-Point AF with 49 Phase-Detect Points
– Extended ISO 51200, Shooting to 8 fps

Like I mentioned there are many features I like about this camera. But seriously many cameras have same features these days. The main thing for me was the design how Fujifilm implemented in this series. The features are all modern, top-notch, and digital ones. But the design of the camera is very old school. It looks like an analog 35mm film camera. I will discuss about its unique film camera feature (which it has!) I will focus on the design first. The design is pretty remarkable. It feels just right. What I mean is that the camera feels like a sturdy camera. I get that people now these prefer having a compact camera and make things smaller and smaller. But I am not a big fan of it. Camera should feel like camera – sturdy, durable, and little bit ‘heavy’. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a heavy camera. It just feels rugged and feels like it can be dropped anywhere and it should be fine.

This one has a built-in Fujinon 23mm f/2 lens. This lens is a general wide-angle 35mm equivalent focal length. Like I mentioned, the camera takes very similar 35mm film style photos with the details. Thanks to the high-resolution MP, this camera has both of the film & digital features. The auto focus helps the camera to use the best light exposure. The simple point & shoot feature is so easy that anyone can use it without thinking too much about all different features to take great photos. The shutter is super quick. So far I haven’t had any issue of taking photos and none of the photos came out blurry. Going back to the film camera features, this camera specifically has a mode called, Film Simulation Mode(s). This is really cool. It mimic the look and feel of some of that old classic film types. A classic chrome mode delivers a solid soft tone with a deep color reproduction film images. It really looks like the old photos when I took in the 80s. I guess it can be a personal choice, but I like my photos bright and bring out that old traditional yellow, green, red/black, and white contrasts. My wife and I like printing the images that look classic and put them on our wall. This brings the images look more special.

The only down side is the cost. It’s super expensive. My wife’s jaw dropped when I showed her the receipt of this camera. She is not happy – let’s just put it that way. I can’t disagree though. It is very expensive for a camera. I guess I need to consider that as my factor to keep this camera.

Like I said, I want to give it a try one more week and make the decision. Hope I can come up with the decision sooner than later.

[Update will be provided later this month]

Photography Career

Do you enjoy taking photos and sharing them with the people? Would you like to make money by taking photos? Well, you may be the person to look for a career in the photography industry. However, you may need more skills and passion to pursue the career you think it’s the best career for you. I will try to break it down in this article for you.

Let’s first look at the places where you can work as a photographer. You can obviously start your own business and have your own shop. You can work for an agency or an advertising company since they are always looking to take photos of their unique articles. People are visually more intuned with the photos so many agencies love adding photos with their articles. Like this one 🙂
You can only work over the weekend – weddings and other occasional events usually need a photographer as well. The job opportunities are abundant for anyone who is looking to pursue being a photographer.

The real question, however, is should you pursue the career? I heard so many people say “follow your dream and the money will follow”. I think this is the stupidest thing that a person can say to anyone. If anyone follows their dream, they will be homeless. Period! You don’t get paid if you don’t work – work as a definition is not simply just doing what you love doing. If you get good at what you are doing and you feel comfortable, you may love your work but you do not need to love your work. Work simply works. Sorry, I got little carried away. Let’s get back to you.

You are reading this now because you are considering pursuing your career as a photographer. I am here to lay out the facts before you continue your career move. Here are 3 things for you to consider before you jump right in. These may be subjective but I think it’s relevant as you think about the career. Matter fact, it doesn’t have to be a photography career, it can be anything.

#1 Competition.
Okay. Like I mentioned above, if you enjoy taking photos you can find a job that requires the photography skills. The issue is that the photography is not really a skill set you build like studying medicine or law. Okay, I am not trying to burst your bubble but hear me out. A middle school student can take a point & shoot steady images. In high school, you can learn how to shoot a film camera as a hobby. I am trying to say that everyone can take a photo. The problem with the photography career is that there is such big competition when it comes to finding that dream job. You really have to outshine other people to get the job which brings me to the next problem.

#2 Skills
You may be better taking photos than a high school student. I get that but what or how is your skillset determined? By a photo? What if 100 people take the same photo of the same object? What if that was a job interview process? How would you stand out? I am not sure how people can determine your skill set when there are multiple photographers who are taking the same photo. You take all these art classes even on a college level, but would you really learn how to shoot with the camera in an education setting? I doubt it. You need hands-on experience and that will make you a better photographer. The problem is everyone is doing the same thing.

#3 Trend
My last problem is that the camera (hardware) the very thing that you take photos with constantly changing with the new/ better camera features. It’s really hard to keep up with the digital camera industry because there are so many new ones each and every year. You need to buy a different lens and gears so you can do your job – which cost a lot of money. Some photographers spend thousands of dollars so they can make money. Unless you have a lot of money, if you want to make money by taking photos, you’ll need to spend a lot of money to get there.

In conclusion, I think the photography career is a great career because there are needs and people are always looking to capture the special moments. I am not discouraging anyone to move forward with their career, but I hope that you get to know the pros and cons. Hope this article was helpful. Good luck with your career. Remember, don’t simply follow your passion! Be reasonable and practical.