Approaching Aït Benhaddou

Five Days of New Tips/Tricks Videos on the Blog! Day Two!

Let me know if you have any questions… happy to answer!

Here’s a collection of behind-the-scenes videos from Morocco. I started at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat them moved on to Fes when I was at Ryad Alaya (highly recommended – thanks Hassan!)

Using many different cameras!

I’ve been using a bunch of different Sony cameras lately! While in Africa, I used a Sony A7, A7r, A7s, and an A6000 (come see the new Sony A6000 Review!) Whenever I get some time, I’m gonna write up a few more reviews… they are all cool and interesting in their own way! I don’t want to make it over-complex, of course… Naturally, you can always check out the Camera Equipment page where I have recommendations.

Daily Photo – Approaching Aït Benhaddou

What an amazing spot this is! After spending about three weeks in Morocco, I finally approached this incredible fortified city. It is right in the middle of a caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech, which is the same route I was on! This place is mostly abandoned, but there are still eight families that live on the inside…

There have been many famous movies made here including The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun, The Mummy, Gladiator, and The Prince of Persia. There were even a few scenes from Game of Thrones shot here!

Approaching Aït Benhaddou

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Light on the way to Milford Sound and Tiananmen Square Photography

Five Days of New Tips/Tricks Videos! Day One

Each day for the next five days, I’m gonna post a new video here on the blog! :) Let me know if you have any questions… happy to answer!

I’m here with my friend Tom in the middle of Beijing. I decided to go to Tiananmen Square for the day and take photos… here’s a little of what happened. A bunch of people came up to me that had never seen a white person before; I was like a freakshow!

Daily Photo – Light on the way to Milford Sound

One of my favorite drives is from Queenstown to Milford Sound. I've made it about eight times, and I can't wait to make more!

Here's a tip for you as far as light is concerned. Some of the best days for landscape photography are those partially-cloudy days. This is because it makes the light sift in random ways across the landscape, lighting one thing while darkening the next. This can do cool stuff, as you see below, such as light up the trees while darkening the mountain behind… it's the kind of stuff that would take you ages in photoshop (or be nearly impossible!!). So, next time you are in a partially-cloudy situation, be more patient than normal and watch the light as it sways around from one thing to the next…

This photo was taken in Lumsden, btw.

Light on the way to Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3200
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length66.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Long Live the Painted Wolf!

The Wild Dogs of Africa

What an incredible species! It was so fun to track them across Botswana and finally catch up with them in Salinda.

Look, I sound like I know what I’m talking about, doesn’t it? I really don’t. Well, a little bit thanks to my friend Neville Jones who was my gallant trailfinder on this African adventure. He’s quite the African Explorer. He’s been to Botswana 7 times and never seen the Wild Dog before, so I can tell this is Kind Of A Big Deal.

We were staying at the Great Plains in Salinda — wow what a place! This fits perfectly into my wheelhouse because my idea of “roughing it” is slow room service. This amazing place is owned by Dereck & Beverly Joubert, who are now friends after our elongated stay! We had a wonderful dinner where they grilled me on social media! Haha… I had to think fast! I don’t remember what sort of advice I gave them, but it was just the beginning since I have a feeling I will work with them again… maybe on their great White Rhino conservation project.

Well this article is about the also Quite Endangered Wild Dogs, also known as the Painted Wolf. I like Painted Wolf better, don’t you? That’s a straight translation from the Latin Lycaon Pictus; another name that I also like is the Painted Ornate. It sounds like a Magic: The Gathering rare card doesn’t it? Awesome.

Botswana Amaze (310 of 2505)-6

They lie on the ground getting ready for something. These two are alert and smelling a wildness. They are watching something I don’t see.

 

Botswana Amaze (307 of 2505)-7

Holy fuck.

 

What Neville (and most people) find most fascinating about the Painted Wolf is their social structure. They live and hunt fiercely in packs. There’s a dominant male and female. They mate but the whole pack takes care of the young. They nestle the very young inside underground burrows that were made by warthogs or ardwolves (I didn’t think that was a real animal either — I feel like I should not have stayed home sick so much during kindergarten where normal kids Learn Their Animals).

The pack that we saw had eight members, and you could see how social and playful they are. There is also a wildness there. Sometimes, one would get close to me. I saw a regular, wonderful dog there… but sometimes you’d get a glimpse of a crazy-eyed-killer. There was something else feral and inter-dimensional going on in there…

Botswana Amaze (328 of 2505)-5

Here’s what they see across the way. It’s a warthog. At first I thought it was just a warthog head, placed there as some sort of a tribal effigy to warn other warthogs from coming into this den of wild dogs. But it was alive. It was just cold-chillin’ up there. Warthog don’t care. He’s inside an ardwolf mound. Yes, an ardwolf is a real animal.

 

One interesting thing (among MANY) about the Painted Wolves is how intimate they are with loving one another after waking up. They lick and nuzzle each other, a canine bacchanalia. At some point, the Alpha Male decides it’s time to hunt. Most of the pack takes off at 50km/h through the bush. They spread out like ebola and take down prey as they converge, as if they are a US Navy Seal team controlled via infrared by satellite. They quickly eat all they can and sprint back home before they can digest. The younglings chew on the bottom lip of the older dogs who regurgitate the viscera in a waterfall of ambrosial carnivorism.

I’m glad that the amazing Dereck & Beverly Joubert have done so much to influence the policies of Botswana to keep all these awesome animals wild. I felt like I was on a Star Trek away mission, watching an alien species that I didn’t even know existed for the trip. Thank you, Neville.

Botswana Mazy (238 of 1941)-12

These guys love to roll in the grass and play with their fellow painted wolves. Whenever they get up and become alert, they usually have a bit of grass here and there.

 

Botswana Mazy (168 of 1941)-13

Here’s the youngest pup we saw. He’d grab sticks and wander around the periphery, occasionally getting his stick stuck on other sticks.

 

Botswana Mazy (365 of 1941)-10

A wildness in there.

 

Botswana Amaze (389 of 2505)-3

Two of them stretch before going off for a possible 50km/h hunt.

 

Botswana Amaze (230 of 2505)-9

They would roll around in a semi-violent playfullness. See the painted wolf on the right? He was now heading off with the alphas. They went one at a time, in order of age. These two, the youngest, were last to follow.

 

Botswana Amaze (259 of 2505)-8

Downward wild dog.

 

Botswana Amaze (336 of 2505)-4

When he stared at me, there was no doubt that time stood still.

 

Botswana Mazy (302 of 1941)-11

Their coloring was so amazing. I see why they got the pretty name…

 

Botswana Amaze (400 of 2505)-2

Even while they walk together, they playfully attack one another.

 

Botswana Amaze (497 of 2505)-1

Their playfulness gets a bit wild and violent as they establish dominance in the pack.

 

Daily Photo – The Painted Wolf

What an awesome animal… I love the smile, I think, vaingloriously anthropomorphic.

The Painted Wolf

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-6000
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1600
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length200.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Lindy

Fresh Newsletter coming within 24 Hours!

We have something supa-fresh and awesome coming… we only send out about one per month! Actually, we’ve been kind of lame, and it’s been 2 months, so a big train is comin’ down the tracks!


Daily Photo – Lindy

With the greatest of ease…

Lindy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1

Cows under the snowy mountain

Taking Coffee to my Studio

A quick tour of my studio near my home in Queenstown, New Zealand. Sort of a quick and dirty video… nothing too exciting here… move along… :)

Daily Photo – Cows under the snowy mountain

We were over near the Greenstone trail near Glenorchy and there was a big cattle drive going on. I usually don't see this many cows in New Zealand! I'm used to a lot of sheep, but this is the most cattle I had ever seen together. It reminded me of Texas except for the massive snowy mountains behind them. It was kind of surreal and awesome for me!

Cows under the snowy mountain

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length36.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Wide-Angle Tip

If you like these kinds of shots where everything seems to be pointing towards the middle, try a wide-angle lens! I first shot this a bit tighter. It was a cool shot, but then when I put on the wide-angle everything got so much more amazing! I even sometimes forget this effect, and it’s so fun to look through a wide-angle lens and see it happen!

Daily Photo – Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Just before I took this, I was hand-feeding a puffer fish! It was one of the strangest things I had ever done. First I picked up a sea urchin off the bottom and held it loosely in my hand. Then the puffer fish came over and started tearing into it! Puffer fish don't care! It was so awesome to watching him tear it apart. They have big and hard teeth, those guys… kind of freaky really. It's the first time I've ever done anything like that.

Anyway, after feeding the fish, I looked up through the water and saw these crazy clouds. I got out of the water, nabbed my camera, and shot away!

Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Give Sheep a Chance

We don’t all…

Here’s one of my favorite Farside cartoons about sheep!

Daily Photo – Give Sheep a Chance

We took a drive out past Glenorchy towards Paradise the other day. About 30% of the time, I come across a shepherd moving sheep from one farm to the next. They totally clog up the road and it is hilarious. I'll never get tired of seeing thousands of sheep all clogged up in the road like this. I'm sure the shepherds find it all quite banal, but I love it!

Give Sheep a Chance

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Willows and Scarlett

Getting kids to pose

If you have any great tips for getting recalcitrant kids to pose for photos, let me know. Most of the time, my kids are good to go… but sometimes I have to be a bit tricky… always looking for new tricks!

Daily Photo – The Willows and Scarlett

Here is my youngest girl, swinging free under the willow trees in front of our house in New Zealand. I love the colors of these things in the 3 living seasons of the year. They change quite a bit, and I thought they looked good with Scarlett's blonde hair. She never gives up a chance to model for me! :)

This was shot at F/1.4 btw. When you scroll over the photo, if you see no EXIF, chances are it was taken with my manual Leica lens!

The Willows and Scarlett

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

A view from the Pagoda in Yangshuo

Crazy Lightning Photos

I think most awesome lightning photos are fake or very lucky. I guess I don’t know what I mean by fake. I guess if you combine a bunch of lightning over a 30 minute storm into one photo, then that crosses the line a little for me. Trying to get it all at once is a bit more sporting, but, honestly, that’s a bit more lucky too! The best system I have found (and I am not an expert) is to go into manual mode and get your shutter to about 5 seconds. Get all your other settings so the photo looks good! Then just keep taking photos and keep your fingers crossed!

The 5 second span is good because you probably have a half-second gap between photos… it means that if there is lightning, you have about a 94% chance of catching it!

Daily Photo – A view from the Pagoda in Yangshuo

That's Yangshuo splayed out down below under the evening sky. Tom and I went up here to shoot and then a very nice lightning storm rolled in! That was pretty awesome, but a little bit wet and scary. So we got under the pagoda for a while to stay out of the elements… but we kept doing our best to get lightning shots. Taking photos of lightning is always challenging, but I think we got a few!

A view from the Pagoda in Yangshuo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length31.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Across the Water Hazard

The Artist

This artist that made that statue across the water is Max Patte. Be sure to check out some of his other work too! I believe he’s also the guy that designed the new suit for Batman, among other things!

Daily Photo – Across the Water Hazard

The Hills golfcourse near my home has some absolutely beautiful water hazards! How can something be so pretty and scary at the same time? Honestly, I don't play a lot of golf because I kinda suck. So I usually prefer to take my camera around the course rather than my sticks!

Across the Water Hazard

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture4
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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