Streaming Light in the Mosque

Local Guides

If you’re a Passport Member and you see the bonus video below, you’ll see the incredible value of having a local guide. In this case, he found a gentleman in the mosque that sings the verses and stories inside of this beautiful old room. You can also see me talking about taking photos in the same mosque as today’s Daily photo!

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Daily Photo – Streaming Light in the Mosque

How pretty is this place? This is one of the oldest mosques I've ever been inside. It's the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and it began construction in 1356! The back room has this enclosed area where the light goes absolutely crazy when you use a tripod.

Streaming Light in the Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-03 16:14:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Join me for a week in Lisbon, Portugal for a true Photography Adventure!

Come explore Europe’s second-oldest capital, the City of the Sea

Every year I personally take a small group of people to an exotic location for a Photo Adventure… Venice, Namibia, Paris, Tokyo, London, New Zealand and now Lisbon. This photo adventure will be incredible and FULL of SURPRISES just like all the others!

I custom-design these trips to exceed everyone’s expectations and I believe so far we have! My idea of “roughing it” is slow room service, so we stay in luxurious accommodations, we eat amazing food, we drink fine wine, we gain access to exclusive and secret spots, most of the time while laughing and having the time of our lives!

Not to sound overly new-agey or self-important, but there is another philosophical aspect to these amazing events. I have personally found that being creative and artistic has added a layer of peace and tranquillity to my life, and by working closely together over the week, perhaps some of the techniques I share will rub off a bit. So, it might appear we’re just taking photos together, but really there is a lot more going on. Well, you’ll see. Your only regret will be if you miss out!

Visit the Lisbon Photography Adventure Page to find out more πŸ™‚

The Adventure begins April 15, 2017!

We’re excited for this adventure because not only will we be exploring Lisbon and the coastal areas but we’re staying at the unbelievable Penha Longa Resort in the Sintra Mountains! This amazing Ritz-Carlton property dates back to a 14th century Monastery, it’s truly remarkable. The adventure will be April 15 – 20, 2017 and we’ve worked closely with the resort to design a unique and unforgetable experience. The staff there is extremely nice and accommodating. We’ll make sure that all your needs are met!


Penha Longa Resort – Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

Sounds Exciting! Where do I Sign Up?

Please contact Curtis Simmons ([email protected]) for pricing information and to reserve your spot today! You can also contact Curtis if you have additional questions or would like to enquire about bringing a partner

10 Problems with the New Phantom 4 Pro Plus

Phantom 4 Pro Plus Problems (lots of P’s but even more Probs)

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my Phantom 4 Review here on the blog! πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚ I’ll put the video from the review at the bottom of this post.

So I have both versions of the Phantom 4 Pro. The “Plus” version that includes an integrated screen and the normal one where you just use your phone (iPhone or Android). I went out this weekend with my friend Mark who also has the Plus version, and we noted the EXACT SAME ISSUES. Some are major… others are minor… I’ll list them in the order of the most annoying!

1) At least three times while up in the air and fairly far away, the Plus thought there were obstacles in front of it. There was nothing… it was in the middle of the bright open air. This mostly happened when I was trying to fly it back to me. The two workarounds I found were a) to do a 180 and back it home to trick the sensors and b) switch to ATTI mode to manually fly it back. Of course, ATTI (Manual) mode can be very scary if the quad is a far away dot and you can’t tell what direction you’re going. (It seemed to happen whether or not I calibrated the compass before each flight.)

2) On four occasions the UI disappeared and we were left with a slightly zoomed-in version.

3) On three occasions I would get it up and somewhere between 50 and 100 feet it would say “Maximum Altitude Reached.”

4) After booting up, it took a long time to get a good connection to the controller. The connection was often weak even though there was no EM interference anywhere (we were in the middle of nowhere on the South Island of New Zealand).

5) Every time I fly now after a few minutes it says “Unable to save video – video cache is full.” For a while, this messed with my head because it made me think my SD card was full. That’s what it sounds like, right? So I kept landing and putting in new SD cards. But now I think it means the controllers video cache was full. I don’t know what that means or why it happens. The cache should just be dumping all the time as new stuff comes in, right?

6) The video that appears on the screen is not super-smooth and does a major tear randomly every 5-15 seconds. By “tear” I mean it shows half a second of video from 2-3 seconds previously. It freaks me out because I don’t feel like I’m getting real time video – also it makes me think I’m not getting smooth video.

7) When broadcasting to Facebook Live (See My Facebook Live Videos!), there was no way to upload the HD version or save the video myself. These are both options avail on the non plus version.

8) When going live on Facebook, I cannot choose my “Fan Page” – only my personal page.

9) Last, a minor one… when making the description for FB Live, I only have like 80 characters and there is no way to copy/paste more than a single word.

10) …another minor one… didn’t notice it until the import but the default clock does not update automatically. All my pictures say they were taken in 1951, which is well-known for being one of the worst years for quadcopters.

Anyway, I didn’t have any of those problems with the non-Plus version. The best thing about the Plus version is still the Very Bright Screen (way brighter than a mobile phone) and how quickly I can get it up in the air from the box. I can probably launch it in 45-60 seconds after I open the box and break it down back into the box in 30 seconds.

However, with all the bugs listed above, I’ll still recommend the non-plus version for a while.

Here’s the video from my first review of the Phantom 4! πŸ™‚

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

New Plotagraph Pro pricing

See today’s photo ? I also made an animated version that turned out great! You can see it over here on Facebook – it should auto-loop!

And if you go over to the Plotagraph Pro page you’ll see they have new pricing including a monthly plan. Give it a whirl… very fun! If you check my Instagram Feed you’ll see I’ve been posting a lot lately πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

On my last night in San Juan, I went around to do a little exploratory fun walk with my friend Scott Jarvie. After moving around and through the town, we ended out by the docks. How pretty eh? It was a nice and moody night with all the clouds that made it even more romantic. I mean, I love a good romantic night with Jarvie.

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-26 09:02:48
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.4
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Paddleboard of my Own!

Here’s a photo of the first time I tried paddleboard yoga. This is extremely difficult, by the way… And when you fall off, there is simply no way to look cool. It reminds me of the other way it is impossible to look cool: When you crawl under a conference table to unplug things.


Yours Truly on a Paddleboard

Daily Photo – Paddleboard Yoga Class

You know what would have been really impressive? If I was doing yoga down there on paddleboard with all those ladies WHILE flying the quadcopter to get this shot. Can you imagine? Well… that's a recipe for disaster I'm sure… I almost fell over while standing over on the nearby beach!

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-19 10:20:39
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Anthony Bourdain Made Us All Dinner on the Beach!

Phantom 4 Pro Testing

I’m currently in the middle of a little road trip where I’m trying the other P4 Pro – the one with the built in screen. I tested it a few times at home already and it seems pretty good. I only had one OS crash, which is better than a P4 crash! Check out the Phantom 4 Pro review here on the site for more.

Daily Photo – Anthony Bourdain Made Us All Dinner on the Beach!

Every day at the Cayman Cookout featured different cooking events. This was one of my favorites (and Anthony said it was his favorite too) when the chefs got together to cookout their favorite foods on the beach. How fun! Man, I ate a lot… it was ridiculous! I thought it was quite amazing to watch Anthony up here cooking and helping with his team to make sure everyone got to eat their incredible creations. They were all simple but great! This one in particular, if I recall, was an SE Asian pork belly wrapped in a small pancake. Yummers!

Anthony Bourdain Made Us All Dinner on the Beach!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-14 08:40:44
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

New Highlight Video from San Juan!

We had an awesome time in San Juan. The beaches and hotel, like the rest of the trip, were great but in this location we had the added bonus of some historic architecture and an overall unique character for the whole place. Thank’s again to The Ritz-Carlton for making this all happen!

I’m Over Facebook

FB Photo Walk

We did a private, exclusive photo walk at the top of Facebook with some FB Employees. Here’s a highlight video!

Daily Photo – I'm Over Facebook

Check out this photo! It was very difficult to make. Oh, this is over the Headquarters of Facebook south of San Francisco, where the entire roof is an enormous garden.

First, we had to get permission to even fly the drone here. That wasn't easy. Luckily there is a good “celebrity management” team there at FB that was able to help out. (Note I don't really think of myself as a celeb). Anyway, once I finally got up, I did a vertirama. This was stitched together out of 5 different vertically-oriented shots.

I'm Over Facebook

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-20 16:44:49
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Sunrise in Half Moon Bay

HDR Tip with Quadcopters

I’m using the Phantom 4 Pro now, but I’ve stopped autobracketing. I’ve noticed that whenever I take multiple brackets into Aurora (or Photomatix) that they get very noisy. So now I just bring a single RAW photo in and it seems to work fine.

All I can gather is the small sensor size (Even though the P4 Pro is 4x it’s lesser cousins in size) still has a bit of micro-noise that adds up when you combine multiple photos.

Daily Photo – Sunrise in Half Moon Bay

I had really bad luck weather the whole time I was here at Half Moon Bay. On the final morning before the family flew to Denver, there was finally a good sunrise. I had been planning to get out there with my quadcopter to get this kind of a shot. It was very windy, but it was able to hold steady enough to get a few good shots! By the way, this is the beautiful Ritz-Carlton there. The night before, the bagpipe player came out at sunset while we all at smores over the firepit. How awesome!

Sunrise in Half Moon Bay

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-11 07:33:33
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Blue Cobblestone Streets of Old San Juan

San Juan Fun

The first time I went to San Juan was 20 years ago when we were connecting on the way to our honeymoon. I remember that we went to dinner at a chicken restaurant and it was next door to a cockfighting arena. We had some pockmarked chicken that night, but it sure was inexpensive. San Juan has changed a lot since then! πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – The Blue Cobblestone Streets of Old San Juan

This was my first time to explore the old town part of San Juan and I wasn't disappointed. I also learned a thing or two! When the Spanish came over to start hauling gold away in their ships, then brought these blue cobblestones from Spain as ballast. So, upon arriving at the port of San Juan, they would dump all the blue cobblestone before filling up with gold. The locals would use all the pretty blue stone to pave the streets. Pretty nifty eh?

The Blue Cobblestone Streets of Old San Juan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-25 02:41:31
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/25
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length103.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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