Tag Archives: nikon

Road Trip Across America – (Part 2: Philly Cheesesteaks and the Blue Ridge Parkway)

Nothing makes you feel more like a journalist, or perhaps a traveling salesperson, than trying to type up your work in a dingy hotel room in the middle of nowhere. Actually, my $55/night Hotwire hotel is pretty nice (it even has a kitchenette and a dining table) and I’m in Knoxville, Tennessee which has a population of 182,200 so it isn’t exactly “nowhere.” But you get the point.

So all is well, I’m alive (first question a few friends seems to always ask), but it hasn’t been without its unexpected adventures.  A bear attack, biblical rain, a really good cheesesteak sandwich later I’ve somewhat deviated from my original route (Part 1). Nonetheless good times and good photography were had.

2014-09-03 11.36.30 pm
Knoxville is just “slightly” south of where I was supposed to go. Didn’t expect to have zero phone or 4G reception in the Appalachians. I heard there is wifi on the Himalayas.

Continue reading Road Trip Across America – (Part 2: Philly Cheesesteaks and the Blue Ridge Parkway)

Road Trip Across America – (Part 1: The Plan)

iLHP is doing a photography road trip across America. The plan is to drive from Boston to Los Angeles via a southerly route,  across 15 states, two mountain ranges, three time zones, 3790 miles (6100KM), and about $500 in gas (if I’m lucky). Since it’s such a rare opportunity to do a massive drive like this, I want to make the most of it. So, my time table is pretty loose and I’m planning for making the journey in two weeks.

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Ideally, I’d like to say this trip has been in the works for some time, and that I’ve gone through painstaking planning. Honestly, I planned this trip in one night, first by researching what I wanted to explore in America and then working out the route itself on www.roadtrippers.com. Let’s see how I did.

Continue reading Road Trip Across America – (Part 1: The Plan)

Shooting in Groups | A New Experience

When I first starting shooting on somewhat of a regular basis, it was all done with my iPhone 4s and alone.  I was living in Paris at the time and would be walking around and see something that would catch my eye and I would quickly capture the moment.  The more I would photograph, the more I was determined to improve my skills and learn how to properly use a camera.

I did some research and decided to purchase a Canon 70D just last September.  I have used a Canon many years before but only used it in fully automatic mode. I had no real technical background or an understanding of photography whatsoever!  I would encounter difficult situations that I didn’t know how to perform and decided it was time to get a better grasp on the basics of photography.  I enrolled in few beginner courses to educate myself enough to become familiar with my camera and the basic tools necessary to achieve my desired vision.

Glasgow, Scotland | Shot with iPhone 4s | October 2012 | Taken by Alyssa Black |

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What’s in my Camera Bag?

When I used to shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II, I had a whole system based on the Kata 3n1-20. That thing was superbly designed. It was a backpack that could be used as a sling for lefties and righties. It had a trolley system so you can use it as a roll-on bag. It even had a tripod/monopod holder that I regularly used. It was great. It was always ready. I could pick up and travel with me anywhere in a moment’s notice. It could carry the pro body, 5 lenses, all the chargers, miscellaneous gadgets, and even an iPad. But, fully laden, it weighed up to 40lbs.

The switch to the FF mirrorless Sony A7 has been a joy. Superior image quality at half the size and weight. With the smaller camera, I was also able to significantly lighten my gear. To quote Lotus cars founder Collin Chapman:

“Simplify, then add lightness”

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Portrait Photography with MK Tran

It seems like everybody is a professional photographer nowadays. While film was a high barrier to entry both in terms of cost and skill, the digital revolution has since democratized the photography industry. With that, the term “professional” seems to weigh less now than it used to.

Then you come across somebody like MKTran. A Boston native with a spectacular eye for beauty. He is not your Ken Rockwell types obsessed over gear and begging for donations. He is not your Steve Huff or Matt Granger types, better known for their opinions on photography than for their actual work. No. MKTran is a professional photographer in the purist sense of the words. He creates beautiful images that leave you wondering, yearning, and feeling. His work speaks for itself. Here is the man behind these mesmerizing images.

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iLHP: Hi MKTran, I am a huge fan of your work. When I see most photographs, 90% of the time, I’d tend to think “gosh, I can do that.” But when I look at your work, the emotion you are able to capture, the subtle nuances, I just have no idea how you do it. Please tell us a bit about yourself. We want to know the photographer behind those images. 

MK Tran: Thanks for your compliments Ed. I’d be happy to. I grew up in a tropical beach town in Vietnam. Immigrated here in 1998, and Boston has been my home since. I love music. I own three guitars. I love jazz. I am an audiophile, we can talk hi-fi all day. I started shooting two years ago in 2012. I love single malt Scotch. 

iLHP: Only two years ago, that is very recent. Did you go to art school?
MKTran: No. Art school would be interesting, though I don’t think creativity can be taught. Art is a relationship with yourself, so you’re better off traveling or absorbing life in some other way.

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