Hiking Through 14 Towers along the Great Wall

Various Areas of the Great Wall

I’ve been to the Great Wall about five times now, and I am grateful every time! I’m now learning that there are many many areas of the Great Wall to visit, and they are not all the same. This time, I visited Mutianyu, and it’s a really wonderful section. It’s hard hiking, for sure, as is pretty much every area. But it’s not very crowded, which is important. Never, Never, Never go to “Bataling” — that place is absolutely caked in tourists!

Daily Photo – Hiking Through 14 Towers along the Great Wall

This was a heck of a day! It was a long, arduous walk. But boy, was it beautiful. Towards the end of the day, the light was falling and the rain moved in. I descended in almost perfect black pitch. It was hundreds and hundreds of steps to get down to the little village below… I had the tiniest of flashlights and the tiniest of umbrellas… I was quite ill-prepared for the latter part of the adventure, which is quite unlike me!

Hiking Through 14 Towers along the Great Wall

Hiking Through 14 Towers along the Great Wall

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 2, 2014 at 12:22am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture4
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length46.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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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

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The Other Half

A blog post from Karen Hutton

Ever wonder what it is like to be a Master in The Arcanum? Here’s a great blog post from Karen Hutton that talks about that! :)

Daily Photo – The Other Half

While walking through some tiny roads in a small village near Xingping in Guanxi, I came across this rather surreal scene! I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. They were wondering why I was taking photos, and I just smiled and gave them the thumbs up! I'm sure this just confused them even more…

The Other Half

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 3, 2014 at 1:26pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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The Fisherman and his Mindmelded Cormorant Bird

Leica Lens Buying Guide

I started a Leica Lens Buying Guide here on the site and linked to it from within the Sony A7r Review. It’s kind of version 0.9 — so I look forward to your feedback!

Now, btw, as of the writing of this, comments WORK fine on pages like those two above, but they don’t work here for daily blog posts :( We are working on that now, though!

Daily Photo – The Fisherman and his Mindmelded Cormorant Bird

This was the wildest thing I've ever seen. I got in close to this fisherman on the Li River, and he had his trusty bird-friend right behind him. No matter which way the fisherman turned his head, the bird looked the exact same way. It reminded me of the daemons from His Dark Materials. I have about 6 frames I shot where they are all looking in the same direction as they rotate their heads… I wish I had it on video!

This is a Cormorant Bird, and they have a little ring around their throats so they can't swallow the fish they catch… the fisherman takes the fish out of his mouth and puts it in a straw basket at the back of the bamboo boat. The ring is just wide enough to let little fishes go through…

(this was taken with the Sony A7r and the Leica 24mm at f/1.4 – processed with my Lightroom Presets – “Fire of the Chandrian” I think)

The Fisherman and his Mindmelded Cormorant Bird

The Fisherman and his Mindmelded Cormorant Bird

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 4, 2014 at 12:28am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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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

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Little Girl and Thought

Very nice post about The Arcanum

I know we have more people signing up all the time and we just can’t meet the demand for The Arcanum, but for the few that are in, the experience has been magical I think! Here’s a nice post by Tricia Booker about what it is like to be an Apprentice within the system.

Daily Photo – Little Girl and Thought

I was walking through a little town in Xingping talking to a local man that was making some silver jewelry by hand. While he was working, his daughter was running around across the street while his father sat nearby. I snapped this quick photo while she was running free…

Little Girl and Thought

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 7, 2014 at 2:33pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length48.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Morning Scramble in Queenstown

We’re hiring a Wizard of Web Development for The Arcanum

Come see more at http://thearcanum.com/web-development-wizard/ – maybe it’s a good fit for you? No wizard-robes required, although they are encouraged…

Appreciating Sunsets and Sunrises When I Don’t Have My Camera

Yes, I can still appreciate them, but it is a bittersweet appreciation! It’s a complex series of emotions that are in some kind of a spinning yin-yang in my mind. There’s this Brownian emotional motion that makes things all a bit weird… I don’t know if that makes sense!

Daily Photo – Morning Scramble in Queenstown

I woke up one morning while Curtis was here and there was this crazy sunrise just starting. I was still in bed (one of my favorite places on cold mornings), but I knew I had to get up. I'm usually quite incoherent after I wake up… so there were many different socks and shoes combined to get myself somewhat mobile. I scrambled around and found my tripod and camera and everything. I clumsily put on the right lens and got in position. And then I realized I had no battery. So I had to do a sprint back to my studio to get a fresh battery. That morning sprint will wake you up in a rude way, but you are certainly awake by then. Anyway, after all that mess, I got this shot. Yay! hehe…

Morning Scramble in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 27, 2014 at 8:29am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1.7

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The Blueness of Li

Amazing time in Guilin

Would you be interested in joining me here in Guilin next year? If so, sign up for the newsletter there on the right side of the page! We’re thinking about doing a fun workshop event here! :)

Daily Photo – The Blueness of Li

This is at the top of a rather sweaty and humid climb a few days ago here above Xingping in Guangxi, China. In fact, it may be the absolute sweatiest I have ever been. I remember starting out and going slow thinking… okay… I'm gonna take it easy… gonna take it easy… and then the heat and humidity hit and I was like… awwww no…. it's on now… it's on… so then I just started working it all the way up. Oh man – clothes were flying off left and right by the time I got to the top… but I got there just in time to take this photo!

The Blueness of Li

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 4, 2014 at 11:02am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Looking upwards by the river

New Trick with Cameras

I figured out a new strange way to take photos with my Sony A7r — actually this will work with any camera that has a flip out screen that points at least 90 degrees upwards.

As you may have tried before you know that looking straight up with a wide angle lens often produces really interesting results. The problem is actually the “looking straight up” bit! It always hurts my neck, especially when on a tripod. So now what I do is just aim the camera straight up and walk forward behind it, normally, but I keep the screen flipped up to 90 degrees so it is right in front of my eyes. It makes it super-easy to find the shots you might normally miss!

Daily Photo – Looking upwards by the river

These trees were the first to lose their leaves this season, but I wanted to see if I could still make an interesting photo from them. That trick above helped. The colors maybe came out a bit dull initially, but I do like the way everything turned out when I added some of my Lightroom Presets to them. These are from the latest edition of the package, and I'm secretly working on a few more… will let you know!

Looking upwards by the river

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 30, 2014 at 5:15pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

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