New Lightroom Presets for the Holidays!

New Bonus Pack for the Holidays!

I just released this new set of Lightroom Presets for the Holidays! This pack has 10 of my new favorites… it’s been about half a year since I have released anything, and this stuff has been building up in my Lightroom, so, anyway, here’s a great pack for you!

Which presets come in this 2014 Holiday Preset pack?

“Abs Underneath”
“Candy-Coloured Fishnets”
“Game of Stones”
“Morning Without Chaos”
“Red Planetlight”
“Samurai Kiss”
“Sandstorm Beyond”
“Something Borrowed”
“Warmer Fruitpop”
“Zenith Noir”

Daily Photo – A Tomb Guard in Rabat

It's hard to believe that this photo was only edited in Lightroom! You should have seen the “Before” version. The entire interior was pretty much black and in shadow. Even though I know the power of Lightroom and RAW files, I'm constantly amazed and surprised with what you can do!

I was actually inside the tomb of Mausoleum of Mohammed V at the time I took this. It was dark inside compared the outside, but I had to expose for the guard himself, otherwise he would be hopelessly (and probably un-recoverably) overexposed!

A Tomb Guard in Rabat

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Tanning Vats and I get Electrocuted

Part 2, now with bonus electrocution!

Here’s Part 2 of the video series from yesterday about 3 tips for getting a good reflection shot! I went on a fun hike here in New Zealand to find some cool “reflictions”… you can come along, see a new on-the-road backup solution I am using, see some nervous sheep, see me get electrocuted by a fence – heck it’s got it all haha! :)

Daily Photo – The Tanning Vats

This is one of my favorite areas in Fes, Morocco. The whole area is known for their various vats for tanning and curing leather. There are several tanneries around the town, some big, some small. This is one of the medium-sized ones that I got into because of a family connection. It was actually a tremendous amount of fun just roaming through this area. I walked all around down inside, stepped over vats, almost fell in a few times, etc.

The smell was supposed to be pretty bad, but it wasn't as bad as I suspected. Just in case, while walking through one of the nearby food markets, I bought a sprig of mint the keep with me just in case I was overpowered!

The Tanning Vats

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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

Conjuring Thoughts Deep in the Desert Berber Camp

Another Book Suggestion

Below I make a reference to The Alchemist, but I recently discovered a new book that I can highly recommend that is vaguely along the same lines. It’s quite different, though! It’s called Journey to Ixlan by Carlos Castaneda

Daily Photo – Conjuring Thoughts Deep in the Desert Berber Camp

I’ve always wanted to sleep deep in the desert after riding a camel. I think this is because I love that book The Alchemist so much.

I was so tired when I took this photo because of a very long day in the Sahara. After arriving at the camp in late afternoon, I decided to climb a huge sand dune by myself. It looked so easy! It was not. Halfway up that son of a gun I was wondering why I did not take that camel!

Conjuring Thoughts Deep in the Desert Berber Camp

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Sun Sets in the Sahara Desert

Hot vs. Cold places later in life

After growing up in Texas, I really love the cool climates of New Zealand. I like dressing in layers and never really getting hot! But I know people that are the opposite. I think it kind of depends on where you grow up and how you might be ready for a change later in life. I don’t know… But I know a lot of people that grew up in cold places that are so happy to be in hot places like Texas. It’s all so relative!

Daily Photo – The Sun Sets in the Sahara Desert

I have a lame confession to make about this photo. I was too tired to get to the top of the sand dune to take this photo from the top. I mean, it was absolutely huge. I set out with the best of intentions. It must have been 400 feet high. That may not sound high, but it is effectively almost 1000 feet because every step up makes your feet slide down just about as far as you just ascended! I went right up the spine of the dune so I could put a foot on each side, but the sand was so impossibly soft and fluid that it was almost useless. So I eventually just gave up and thought, “You know what? The sunset will be good enough from right here!”

The Sun Sets in the Sahara Desert

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

The Lines of the Sahara

Using Humans in Landscape Photos

Whenever I put a human or capture a human in a photo, I am reminded of how much it adds to the sense of scale. I’m a bit hard on myself, I suppose, because I lament that I don’t think of it more often. But then I recall that I should stop all that fretting about the past. Maybe I’ll remember to do it more in the future, maybe I won’t! It doesn’t matter.

Daily Photo – The Lines of the Sahara

One of the hardest types of photos I took while in the desert were fully zoomed in at 300mm while on camelback. The motion a camel makes is incongruous with good photo-taking. I would try to time my shutters to the strange apogees of the camel sways. I even thought about riding side-saddle. I think I saw someone do that in Lawrence of Arabia (which I've seen about 10 times), so it seemed like something that could be done. But I quickly analyzed the physics of that in relation to my torso and skeletal-photo-position and thought it would only add to chaos I was trying to abate.

The Lines of the Sahara

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture16
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Four Seasons Marrakech

More from Morocco

Don’t forget you can click on “Morocco” up just above this area to see all the photos from my recent 3-week trip to Morocco. I love that place so much! :)

Daily Photo – Four Seasons Marrakech

Isn't this a civilized place to have a glass of wine at the end of the day in Marrakech, Morocco? I certainly think so! I was still taking photos, processing, and watching the amazing evening. In fact, I was so excited about taking this photo, that I immediately moved it over to my laptop and processed it. What an amazing evening… I think one of the best things about this place is the lighting. It's sort of a little surprise that appears as soon as the sun goes down.

Four Seasons Marrakech

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Mosque in the Atlas Mountains

Up in the air during the daily call to prayer

One of the coolest things about being in Marrakech was being up high when the mosques call their faithful to come pray many times per day. From the top of every mosque you hear all kinds of sounds and songs… I have no idea what they are saying, but it does sound kind of awesome.

Daily Photo – A Mosque in the Atlas Mountains

It was a long and windy drive from Aït Benhaddou to Marrakech, but it was totally stunning. There were about ten other places I wanted to stop in the mountains, but I didn't have the time. But maybe this one mosque was just enough. I was surprised there was still snow on the mountains, and it made for the perfect background.

A Mosque in the Atlas Mountains

A Mosque in the Atlas Mountains

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length85.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Blue Door Number 6

Behind the Scenes at The Arcanum shoot

Here’s a bunch of relatively random clips that shows some behind-the-scenes stuff. We were shooting a new promo for The Arcanum and doing random other things!

Daily Photo – Blue Door Number 6

Every door in this little town is different. I took photos of about 50 different doors and I was thinking about making some kind of mosaic. But that's one of those “little” projects that sounds like it would take quite a bit of time, eh? Well, I should just buckle down and do it… I wish there were two of me! Anyway, this photo is a pretty good example of the kind of variety and uniqueness that comes around every corner in Chefchaouen.

Blue Door Number 6

Blue Door Number 6

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.3
  • Aperture11
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Two Men in Jilabas in Morocco

Sweet Jilabas

I bought one of these Jilabas, and I love it so much! It keeps me super warm and the pointy hood is so quirky! I even had extra pockets sewn in, just like Kvothe. In my case, they hold everything from lenses to camera gadgets to snacks… what else do I need? :)

Daily Photo – Two Men in Jilabas in Morocco

While walking around this wonderful little town of Chefchaouen, I ended up down in the village square where all the restaurants were open and music and wine was flowing. I skirted around the edge and found a little quiet corner. Just after I turned it, I saw these two older men sitting and talking. I nodded a hello, squatted down to one knee, and snapped a quick photo.

Two Men in Jilabas in Morocco

Two Men in Jilabas in Morocco

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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