Little Girl in the Streets of Morocco

Bokeh Processing Tip

When processing photos in lightroom that have a bokeh (or out-of-focus) area, don’t use the “Clarity” slider in Lightroom. Many times, when everything is in focus, this is my favorite slider. But watch out because it will make those softer areas less soft… and that’s the whole purpose of bokeh! Anyway, a quick tip there that is not immediately obvious because you can tend just to look how much better the “sharp” bits look when playing with the clarity slider, but be sure to look at the other bits too!

Daily Photo – Little Girl in the Streets of Morocco

While I was walking around this wonderfully blue city, I saw many kids out hanging around the outdoors. They all had on cute outfits that seemed to go so well with the powder blue paint of the city. Here is one of the little girls I saw. No one seemed to mind me taking photos, and that was nice because there were so many cute kids!

Little Girl in the Streets of Morocco

Little Girl in the Streets of Morocco

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 5, 2014 at 6:33am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Amazing Castle on the edge of the Desert Gorge in Morocco

Comments Fixed!

We fixed all the comments… now no more comments will be lost! Yay team! :)

Renting Castles

I love staying in castles, and I’ve heard there are some where you can rent the whole castle for quite inexpensive. Apparently there are many castles all over the world that are mostly abandoned but can be rented for a shockingly small number. I need to look into these more, so if you have any hot connections, let me know!

Daily Photo – Amazing Castle on the edge of the Desert Gorge in Morocco

This is the amazing Auberge le Festival in the gorge just on the edge of the Sahara desert. After spending several nights out in the arid desert situations, I started to work my way back towards the Atlas mountains. This area is very near a fantasy (but real!) oasis, and it was absolutely perfect in every way. If you ever go to Morocco, be sure you look up this unbelievable place!

Amazing Castle on the edge of the Desert Gorge in Morocco

Amazing Castle on the edge of the Desert Gorge in Morocco

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 9, 2014 at 8:04am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time25
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

In the Blue Streets at Night

Watching People at Night

Sometimes at night I sit in places like this and just watch people… see what they do… where they walk… I suppose it might come off as a bit creepy! But as long as I have my camera with me, at least I have an excuse. I like watching people any way, and I don’t think I could get away with it if I just stood here and watched people. I guess that’s why outdoor seating at cafes in pedestrian areas is so popular… it gives you a reason to sit there and watch people! :)

Daily Photo – In the Blue Streets at Night

I spent most of my time in Chefchaouen in the night, walking around like crazy man taking photos. The colors and shadows came out looking so mysterious and cool. The blue paint looked so different in the night lights. I was happy they mostly used white lights around the town. Wherever the yellow lights were, the colors came off a bit green and sickly.

I took this photo with a 50mm prime all the way wide open. I like how the foreground is a bit out of focus…

In the Blue Streets at Night

In the Blue Streets at Night

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 17, 2014 at 8:00am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO5000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Lamp Shopping in Fes

Your Favorite Travel Collection?

I’ve started bringing back little goodies with me when I travel to places… and I wish I had started a long time ago. But anyway, better late than never… what’s your favorite “goodie” you collected on some travels then brought home?

Daily Photo – Lamp Shopping in Fes

I love Moroccan lamps! I love them so much that I bought nine of them while I was in Fes and had them shipped back here. Now that was a real fiasco because of customs. I think I paid about $500 for the lamps and $600 just to get them in the country! It's so maddening… I know that the name of this blog is Stuck In Customs, but that was meant to be a bit playful… now all that seems to be Stuck In Customs is my lamps and my money! :(

Lamp Shopping in Fes

Lamp Shopping in Fes

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 4, 2014 at 6:03am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.7
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Hay!

Third-World Crazy Vehicle Situations

Whenever I am in places that are far away and I see people doing insane things with vehicles, it never ceases to amaze. And most things I see seem to appear totally unsafe, and more or less like fraternity pranks! What’s the craziest thing you have seen?

Daily Photo – Hay!

I can't believe this thing has somehow evaded the principals of Newtonian physics! When I pulled into a small kasbah called Aït Benhaddou in the desert to take some photos, I saw this huge truck full of hay rumbling past. I barely kept my wits about me to take a photo just after it passed.

On the plus side, it must be very easy to get the hay off the truck!

Hay!

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 10, 2014 at 11:42pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture9
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Chefchaouen from Above

SmugMug Review

Below on today’s photo, I talk about our Quadcopter getting temporarily shut down by the military police in Morocco — but when the final video comes out, it will replace my current “promo” video for SmugMug, which is at the bottom of the SmugMug Review page!

Quadcopter filming a Bungy Swing in New Zealand

I wanted to post this video first here on the blog! Pretty much 100% of what you are about to see is ill-advised, but the swing bit, and the quadcopter filming bit. It all worked out fine, but this will only encourage more bad decisions by us in the future! :) We used a DJI Phantom Vision over a crazy gorge in Skipper’s Canyon to get this footage… this is the long version of the behind-the-scenes from http://www.StuckInCustoms.com ! :)

Daily Photo – Chefchaouen from Above

Now, here is a place where the military police shut us down with our quadcopter! I came into town with Anton and Ana from SmugMug to work on this cool new promo piece. We had been already using Anton's quadcopter all over Morocco, but when we got here, the taxi driver alerted the local military police that we had some sort of a “plane”! This caused a lot of worry and consternation (and, I should add, a Significant amount of confusion). After we were there for half an hour, the military police descended on our hotel with a rather sour attitude. I've never had any success negotiating with the Moroccan military, and I had no success here either. I did put up a good intellectual fight, but I eventually acquiesced, mostly because of the size of their guns. Well, there was no gunplay… but I did see a lot of guns… which always helps one side win an argument.

Chefchaouen from Above

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 5, 2014 at 6:59am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture16
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Fes in the Night

Recommendations

Thanks again to everyone that recommended that I go to Fes for exploration! You were right on. I loved so many cities in Morocco, but this was the biggest one I went to where I didn’t see a bunch of tourists. Marrakech seemed to have about 10x or 20x more tourists! It’s not that tourists are necessarily bad, but it does kind of take me out of the scene a bit, you know?

Daily Photo – Fes in the Night

I arrived here late at night, so this was the first thing I saw. The train ride took way longer than expected, and it is often a strange feeling to arrive at a foreign place at night. Everything has a patina of mystery and you really feel like you're on another planet. I was happy to be up high to get a view of everything… the clouds were very low, and the pink & orange lights from the city gave everything an odd but magical glow.

Fes in the Night

Fes in the Night

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 3, 2014 at 12:33pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Man Walking in Marrakech at the Koutoubia Mosque

Silver Efex Pro 2

If you’re B&W-curious, I recommend this software from Nik. It can do some amazing things to photos to give them a special kind of pop. I tend to like some of this high-key stuff, but my tastes are also changing a bit… maybe not changing… evolving? Is that the right word? I don’t know… maybe I am just moody and my tastes pop around randomly with little rhyme or reason!

Daily Photo – Man Walking in Marrakech at the Koutoubia Mosque

This is one of most scenic mosques in this area. They would not let me inside, me being a non-muslim and this sort of thing. So I would just stay outside and take photos of interesting people as they passed by. I got many photos of the mosque by itself, but it seems more interesting with people.

I hung out around mosques quite a bit in Morocco and would see men come in multiple times throughout the day for the call to prayer. One thing I noticed that I thought was a bit odd — is that everyone came out looking quite serious and dour.

Man Walking in Marrakech at the Koutoubia Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 13, 2014 at 11:15pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Boats in repose in Essaouira

The Fish Market

Right by this place below was a fish market. Fisherman had been out since the morning, and now their partners were out selling fish on the docks. There were the craziest looking fish! I mean, there were some normal looking fish, but there were a few I have never seen before. I’d like to think I can identify a fair number of fish, but whenever I visit foreign fish markets, I see the craziest-looking sea creatures. It’s just amazing — I would have no idea how to prepare them or cook them… in fact, they often look way too scary, and I just kind of avert my eyes.

Daily Photo – Boats in repose in Essaouira

What a beautiful and amazing little seaside town this is! Who knew that Morocco had such charming places on the ocean? Well, I'm sure Moroccans know… but I sure didn't. This is definitely a fishing town and everything is boat-centric. I spent countless hours on the shore and on the docks exploring all the mythical boats. Here are a few of them for you.

Boats in repose in Essaouira

Boats in repose in Essaouira

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 14, 2014 at 7:07am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture10
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Lamps in Marrakech

What is a critique like in The Arcanum?

As you may know, we are currently in an early testing phase of The Arcanum, but one question we often get is “How do critiques work?” Well here is a how-to video of everything that happens up to and including the critique. Another cool thing about these is that every single critique is saved on YouTube and submitted to the Grand Library inside… so you can just sit there and watch critiques all day if you like!

This video comes from the Arcanum Leveling Guide for levels 1-10.

Daily Photo – Lamps in Marrakech

This is a good example of why it's nice to have a fast, prime lens at dark situations! Many experienced people will already know this, but I'll explain it for those that don't! When you shoot at night, it's hard to get a lot of light into the camera quickly to make a good photo. But if you have a wide open aperture, in this case, f/1.4, you can take very fast shots that are not blurry without too much noise. The other nice side-effect (or maybe even, the main-effect) is that you get this nice depth-of-field effect where only one bit is in focus as the foreground and background fade away into bokeh.

Lamps in Marrakech

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 13, 2014 at 8:26am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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