Riding with L.A. mayor in semi-self-driving car

The assignment – meet L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti in downtown Los Angeles by 6:30 a.m., attend his morning press conference and then drive off in a Volvo XC90 with semi self-driving features, and get video of the ride for USA TODAY Talking Tech.
So Sean Fujiwara and I met up, outfitted the Volvo with 3 GoPros and then awaited the big moment.
About 30 minutes later, Volvo told Sean there was no room for him in the car–ahem, no videographer for a video report? This was followed by some heated arguments about who would get to ride shotgun.
Since I was to do the interview, and needed to photograph the mayor while we were driving, I took a quick seat and attached the seat buckle. The camera for this report was the Sony RX10II, which has terrific image stabilization.

And off we went, to get to the freeway, to see how the Volvo could perform on the highway. The future features are like enhanced cruise control–once the car is on the highway and in traffic, you can click a button on the steering wheel, and go hands free, as the car accelerates and decelerates automatically.
Fun stuff, but not cheap–the car starts at $50,000, and the auto features add on another $1,200.

The drive was from CalTrans headquarters in Los Angeles, through Boyle Heights and then landing at the J.W. Marriott hotel downtown, where the Connected Car Expo kicked off the opening day of the L.A. Auto Show.
When we pulled up, I got a wonderful birds-eye view of what it’s like for a popular elected official when he or she arrives to a location. The cameras rushed right over. I love this shot.
Speaking of photography–the mayor is an avid photographer with a great Instagram account. Check him out.

Night shots in pitch dark with w/Sony A7SII

I took the Sony A7SII out into the New Mexico night skies tonight, to test out how the latest version of the low-light champ could handle hand-held shots of stars and such.
The new camera has some amazing built-in stabilization to play with–but how would it do with really long and previously unheard of exposures– like 1 second or even longer?
The verdict–see for yourself. I’d say amazing–but still, if you’re out doing night photography to shoot the stars–don’t leave the tripod at home kids.
(In my next post, I’ll have examples of 4K videos of the night skies.)
Look for my USA TODAY review of the A7SII soon.

Exposure: 1/3 of a second, 160,000 ISO, 28mm 2.0 lens at 2.0

1 second exposure, 160,000 ISO F. 2

Exposure – 1 second, 160,000 ISO, F2