Jeremiah Rogers

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Sun, Dec 1, 2013

In late November 2013 I traveled alone to Thailand. It was the first time I’d been out of the country by myself in years. On that last trip, to Hungary in 2006, I didn’t even bring a camera because I didn’t want it to interfere with my traveling.

This time I brought a Mamiya 6 medium format rangefinder with a 75mm lens (50mm equivalent on 35mm). The camera was made in 1989, and imported by me from Japan. It was my first time using a rangefinder and my first time shooting a vacation on film (Fuji Provia 100F). I’m in love with the colors, and with the super high resolution scans I got of these images (22 megapixels, 13-18 megabytes each).

I also love how deliberate film and slow makes my photography. On a roll of 120 medium format film you only get 12 exposures and you better make them count.

Here are some of the pictures and links to the incredible full resolution scans from North Coast Photographic Services. A few of shots were also taken on my Canon S100 and are marked below.


Wat Pho. Just the very tops of the buildings due to a fairly long lens.

The reclining Buddha. He’s about 100 feet long and covered in gold. Really an amazing sight and it looks phenomenal on slide film.

The feet of the reclining Buddha. Inlaid with incredibly detailed mother of pearl. This is a shot of about 1 square meter of his feet – which were at least 50 square meters in total.

Another shot of Wat Pho. Getting colors like this with no filter and no editing is amazing.

There were hundreds of smaller gold covered Buddhas as well. Each of them is very slightly different from the others.

Palace guard.

Riding in a Tuk Tuk.

Traffic outside my hotel.

Ao Nang

Storm coming in over the Andaman sea. I think the clouds in these shots are phenomenal and show off some of the capabilities of film.

The Thais appear to adore their king. He is everywhere and on every denomination of currency. Supposedly they get upset if you step on bills because you are stepping on the king (I never tried). (Canon S100)

Rainy day in Ao Nang. The leftovers of a typhoon. It rained all night and was very loud even in my windowless room at the guest house.

Motorbike culture (Canon S100).

Scuba Diving at Koh Phi Phi

I really love the look of the long tail boats and took a while shooting them. Since I spent so much time in boats on this trip I didn’t have much else to take pictures of.

Looking out the back of the boat at night (Canon S100).

Scuba Diving at the Similan Islands

My roommate Andi. He’s been on over 450 dives and 500 skydives. He works for an airline and packs light.

Divemaster Kwan (left) and one of the boat crew (right). Kwan has been on over 6,000 dives.

Looking out at the Simlian Islands one morning before a dive.

#Similan Islands

We stopped at the Similan Islands and took a boat ashore.

Bringing divers coming in on a line.

Morning in the Andaman Sea.

Sun, Aug 18, 2013

Star photography is fun and not particularly hard. Here are a few recent pictures from around California.

Taking night photos is easier than it looks. You just find a dark place, point your camera in the right direction, and look up recommended settings on Google or in this very straightforward guide. This is one of the rare cases where shooting in raw will be helpful. Once your picture is taken try these helpful Lightroom presets from David Kingham.

#Gear I’ve had friends get reasonable pictures of the stars with cameras made in the last two or three years 1. Older cameras do not fare as well. Until this year my best camera was a used Nikon D40 – built in 2006 – and pictures like this would have been impossible.

The pictures below were taken on a Canon 6D with either a 28mm f/1.8 or a rented Sigma 15mm f/2.8. A wider lens helps because the maximum exposure without star trails is going to be about 500 divided by your focal length. With a 28mm lens you can take 17-20 second exposures, and with a 15mm lens you can comfortably take 33-40 second exposures without star trails.

My tripod is the Benro Travel Angel which is a little too short when the camera is pointed straight up. If you’re buying a tripod specifically for night photos I would get one that is taller than you are.

#How dark is the night sky? A reasonable exposure taken during daylight exposes for 1200 of a second at ISO 100 and f/8. Comparing a day exposure to a night exposure at f/2 (4x more light), ISO 6400 (64x more light) and a 30 second exposure (6,000x more light) you can figure out that daylight is 1.5 million 2 times as bright as a dark sky.

#The Milky Way #1 This was an accident. We traveled over an hour outside San Francisco to take pictures of the Perseids Meteor Shower. A park ranger kicked us out of public land at 10pm so we had to take pictures from the side of the road. I was so annoyed with all the cars driving by, but capturing the milky way, cars, grass and trees in one picture is phenomenal.

Picture taken in DeValle Regional Park in Livermore California. This was shot with a rented Sigma 15mm f/2.8.

#The Milky Way #2 This was taken during a camping trip on the American River from small field near the campsite. It seems like one side of the milky way is brighter and easier to photograph than the other side. If your shots aren’t coming out well consider pointing the camera in another direction: your eyes are not as sensitive to light as a good camera and can decieve you about different stars being equally bright. You can see the remarkable power of the Canon 6D to expose trees and stars at the same time.

#Shooting star through the trees Also taken on the camping trip on the American River. I was about to go to sleep around two in the morning when I saw that the stars were nicely framed by the trees and surrounding hills. I am really glad I didn’t go to sleep because the camera captured a shooting star.

#Where to sleep

That last picture was taken next to my fantastic Hennessey Hammock tent, recommended to me by Sam Lessin. It is by far the most comfortable way I have ever slept outdoors. If you setup the hammock on a warm night with the tarp a foot or two over the mosquito net, a gentle breeze can blow through and keep you cool all night. This campsite very close to the river and the powerful wind used the tarp as a sail to rock the hammock back and forth.

More: If this article piqued your interest and you want to get into photography check out my other articles on photography or my recommended cameras.

  1. This article could be helpful for picking gear. [return]
  2. 4 * 64 * 6000 = 1,536,000 [return]
Mon, Jul 15, 2013

After the Virginia Tech shootings I bought a few guns. At the time I wasn’t sure why, but having someone use a gun in anger against my classmates was scary and I knew I wanted to understand them better. I bought a Glock 26 9mm and a Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun. I took gun safety classes, learned to fire a gun in self defense, and learned to store one safely in my apartment. I took a concealed carry permit class and learned how to carry a gun safely in public.

I bought guns because I wanted to understand them, because I wanted to protect myself, and because I was afraid of bad things happening.

Part of that worked: I understand guns now as tools. If I see a gun on a table it doesn’t bother me. If I see a person holding a gun my eyes go to the person and not the gun. When I see someone fly across the room in a movie after being shot I know that’s not real, and I know that guns don’t go off by themselves. The mystery left and I became more comfortable with gun culture.

But what owning guns ultimately caused was that I got more afraid. I thought about the gun being stolen, I thought about the gun being used accidentally by a kid or a house guest, and I thought about whether I would be comfortable using a gun to kill someone who was trying to hurt me.

There’s a famous line about theatre by Anton Chekov: “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.”

For me that’s the key: tools want to be used. Having a gun around makes you think about firing it. Every time you see the gun your subconcious moves through disaster scenarios that build a little fear.

So two years after buying my first gun I took a trip back to the gun store – where everyone is always exceedingly polite and straightforward so that everyone understands that no one is going to be shooting anyone today – and I sold the guns back.

The fear left. The guns stopped being around and needing to be tended to and thought about. The idea of using a gun, or thinking about when or why I might use a gun disappeared.

I don’t know anything about George Zimmerman. I don’t know what he was doing on neighborhood watch or what happened between him and Trayvon Martin that night. What I know is that guns are tools and tools want to be used. Without having a gun around you aren’t tempted to use it.

I have heard that the mental anguish of shooting someone, even if justified and in self defense, is unimaginable. It is a feeling that I am really glad that I will never have to go through.

Sat, Jul 13, 2013

AC72 Racing

My friend Will got us amazing seats for one of the first races of the Louis Vuitton cup in San Francisco. I don’t know much about sailing or about the America’s cup, but the AC72 is an amazing piece of engineering. It is equal parts airplane and sailboat and flies through the water.

Warming up.

Passing by the Golden Gate Bridge.

Passing the wave organ.


On August 18th we got to see some OpenBic racing, which is much smaller boats and much younger captains. This was even more interesting than the AC72 racing to watch a bunch of young kids cluster up and try not to crash into each other or wipe out in the bay. I wish I’d done things this cool when I was younger.

Sat, Jul 6, 2013

#Storms on the South Rim One thing I learned on this trip is that the Grand Canyon is so large it’s hard to understand. We actually enjoyed Antelope Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend more because you could easily understand what you were looking at. Here it’s just like looking into space: you’re seeing a lot more but you can’t properly respect it. The south rim is 11 miles away in this shot.

#Grand Canyon Lodge The view here is fantastic. If I’m ever an evil dictator this might be my lair.

#Antelope Canyon #1 Antelope Canyon is absolutely gorgeous. If you go you should know that there is no getting in without a guide, tours are time limited, there are dozens of other photographers, sand will blow in your camera, and it’s darker than it looks so consider bringing a really fast lens. All of these shots are at ISO 12,800 because I brought an f/4 zoom instead of a prime lens. They still came out as decent pictures, but I wish I had known how dark it was ahead of time.

#Antelope Canyon #2

#Photographer mob in Antelope Canyon

#Horse Shoe Bend Horse Shoe Bend is incredibly impressive exactly because it’s easy to understand. The Grand Canyon is so big that you feel as if you are staring into space. But with Horse Shoe Bend you’re very aware of exactly how high you are in the air.