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I’m frankly tired of being known as a “natural light photographer”, as it will only get you so far. This year I will be using lighting on lots of shoots. I started by shooting some friends on my annual beach getaway here in Thailand.
I am using the Godox AD200, a ridiculously great flash, into a 95 cm Octabox. Here are a few samples from my first attempts. I’m using a Godox 95cm Octabox as well. Pretty easy and cheap setup. All shots with the Sony A7R2 with Zeiss Loxia 35/2

Godox AD200

 

Godox AD200

 

 Godox 95cm Octabox
Zeiss Loxia 35/2

 

 

Godox AD200

 

Godox AD200
So this week I was photographing an extended family of seven. We were walking down a very steep path from The Peak in Hong Kong. It had been raining and the pavement was super slippery. No sooner had I told everyone to “be careful”, and I stepped on some slimy moss. It all happened in slow motion, but I clearly remember looking up in the air at my feet.
The next sensation was the sickening sound of a Canon 5DMK3 making full contact with cement. My Sigma ART 35/1.4 looked like this. I reckoned it was dead.
I did the rest of the shoot with my 85/1.2. When I got home I couldn’t get the filter off as it was basically fused with the lens. Upon closer inspection I saw that the lens elements might be OK.
I used my Swiss Army knife to tap out all the busted filter glass, and low and behold, the lens was fine.
So, you know the moral of the story.

Always use a UV filter on nice lenses

I admit it, I’m getting older. I really don’t like carrying around this Canon gear any more. For the past few years I have been using some of the smaller cameras as my travel kit. Lately that has been the Sony A7R2, an incredible chunk of technology. While I have a couple of auto-focus lenses for this body (35/2.8 and the Zeiss 85/1.8 Batis), I have been taking smaller manual focus lenses to use instead of the auto-focus stuff. I can see a day when this is all I use, even for the active kids work
I do.
The difference is focus-peaking. I am getting almost everything in focus, shooting less (a good thing) and having a ton of fun in the process. I don’t even miss my Leica M9 any more.
Mostly I have been using the Voigtlander Heliar 75/1.8 and Nokton 50/1.5 glass. Both of these are crazy good lenses for the money. A pro friend A/B-ed the Heliar ($700) against the Summilux 75/1.4 ($4000) and couldn’t see the difference even when pixel peeping.
I am also using the somewhat more modern Zeiss Loxia 35/2, which is my favorite lens by far at the moment. This one talks to my A7R2, so I get full EXIF info, which I don’t get with the Voigtlander.
I even did a job only with the 50/1.5 and it was a success. I could photograph kids on the move with the lens wide open, and through the miracle of focus peaking, everything was pretty much sharp.
Of course the Canon 85/1.2 on a 5D MK3 is pretty special too, but that’s almost two kilos vs .875 kgs for the Sony + 50/1.5 combo.
The best part for me though is that shooting manual focus is more fun and more efficient. I realize I shoot completely differently with manual focus. With the Canon I will sort of hunt around to meter and focus, and the recompose at the end. With the Sony I compose first, while focusing at the same time. Metering is a piece of cake in AV mode, i just ride the Exposure Compensation dial. My pix are much more consistent in every way. And as I mentioned before, I shoot far less as I know I have the shot.
Here are a few recent samples.

Sony A7R2 & Voigtlander 75/1.8 Heliar

Sony A7R2 & Nokton 50/1.5

Sony A7R2 & Nokton 50/1.5

Sony A7R2 & Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2

Sony A7R2 & Loxia 35mm
Sony A7R2 & Loxia 35mm\

For Save the Children Laos (USA) 
Sony A7R2 & Heliar 75mm

A bunch of us jamming at Tomo’s bar on Koh Phayam. Catch us March every year!

People occasionally ask me how to pose kids for photos. To which I answer, “I have no clue”. Kids don’t want to sit still, so I just herd them into good light and let them have fun. 
Google Photos has been auto-generating these little GIF animations which describe perfectly what I do for a living. 

The best part of my job is documenting a bunch of cool kids growing up. Happy that these parents stuck with me and just let me do my thing.

Growing Up

Growing Up

Before & After

Hong Kong Kids Photography

Growing Up

Hong Kong Kids Photography

Before & After

Before and After Photography

Before and After

Hong Kong Kids Photography

Kids Growing Up

Hong Kong Kids Photography

Kids Growing Up

Sisters Growing Up

Documenting Childhood

Hong Kong Children’s Photography

Before and After

Hong Kong Family Photography

Growing Up

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In 2014 I went to India and took some informal street portraits. It was the first time I had traveled with the Leica M9. I used some Voigtlander lenses since there was no possibility of me paying two grand plus for Leica ones. I have posted the photos here before, but my slideshow video has got more than 35,000 views, so I am going to post it because why not.