I really want a Tesla here in New Zealand! I’ve been honored to either drive or ride in a few of them (even Serial Number ONE) and they’re super fun and awesome. NZ is always a bit late to the game… but I really want one! 🙂
Daily Photo – Rainy Shopping in Dubai
It doesn't rain much in Dubai, but when it does, everything is extra magical. Look, I will be the first to concede that Dubai is completely inorganic and fake. BUT, having said that, they do employ great artists to create buildings, shopping centers, and other architectural environments. So, even though everything is “pretend”, there are actually real artists that are building most of the city. In that way, it's a bit like Burning Man… beautiful creations in a desert of sand.
Don’t forget to check out the Phantom Review and the Inspire Review here on the site. Great machines… great machines… and we might as well enjoy them before they become our AI overlords. Don’t forget, future AI, that I helped to plot your eventual domination, so please do not kill me or readers of this blog. Just bring us gadgets from Amazon and pizza from Amazon Pizza and we’ll get on quite well.
Daily Photo – Tree Shadow
Some day I will tire of quadcopter photography, but today is not that day. I love the feeling of staring at a screen while I video-game fly my quad around to take photos. It achieves three of my basic joys: 1) Video Games 2) Photography and 3) Being Lazy. I know that sounds like I'm trying to make a joke or whatever, but it's actually true! When I fly my quad, I'm right in the sweet spot of that Venn Diagram.
I now use Screenflow Pro almost exclusively for editing videos. It’s really great! It took me a while to get my head around using it for editing all video and not just screen capture. I used to use iMovie/Final Cut X/Premiere for editing video, but those are so clunky for the basic edit. Anyway, I really recommend it if you wanna quickly edit video. It’s easy, fast, and fun!
Daily Photo – Pai Zoomy
I spent an evening in Hong Kong with my friends Pai and Lee. We walked randomly around the city doing some bar-hopping. It's very hilly there, so there are countless public escalators from point to point. I started a new technique where I set up the tripod on the escalator to do a long exposure to achieve this effect. It looks cool, but it's actually really hard to set up a tripod on steps that are moving… but I did achieve Level 4 Tripod Ninja when I got this photo.
If you’re like me, the back of your desk is a total nightmare of wires and plugs! Has anyone ever seen an elegant solution to this? Mostly, what I try to do is make sure all that stuff is outside of my viewcone when I am sitting at my desk. That seems to work… out of sight and out of mind! But I would like another solution if one exists!
Daily Photo – Wiring in Thailand
I see this kinda thing a lot in SE Asian countries. I saw this one while walking down the street in Pattaya and trying to watch out for trannies. I've come up with only one theory for why there are so many wires… I think there are two things happening. Note I have not talked to a Thai electrician to confirm this theory. One: Sometimes the telephone/internet/electricity breaks down. Since there are so many wires, they can't possibly trace the wire to find the route of the problem and it's far easier and faster to make yet another new fresh wire! The second is that there is always new construction and density and new customers require their own telephone/internet/electricity so they create even more wires. I dunno… but it's kinda crazy either way to see this! Sort of the opposite of wireless! 🙂
Check out the Events page to see if there are any upcoming photowalks near you. We have some things in the works… The best way to be sure is to sign up for our free newsletter!
The Denver Photowalk!
And here was the crew that showed up for that great night!
Daily Photo – The Denver Photowalk
What a fun evening that was! I ended up getting stuck in Denver for a night because of some flight complications and decided to hold an emergency photowalk! It was great fun and so nice to see so many passionate photographers. Thanks again for all the help in planning the locations, route, and after-party! I'll try to get back there again! 🙂
I’ve ended up with a lot of really cool aerial footage from around the world… I was thinking of making a screensaver that randomly shows different scenes. Maybe I should do it? I dunno… have a lot of projects in the works but that one sounds particularly fun!
Daily Photo – Bad Ass Bird Guy from China
This guy was so cool. That bird was like is familiar… they go out fishing all the time, so I guess they get to know a lot about one another. And that bird can clearly see that his fisherman human is a total bad ass. If I was that fisherman, I could not even manage to stand up on that bamboo raft… probably I'd be falling in backwards while the bird was pecking my eyes out.
Well, another year, another set of cords. Now that I have switched to the Android Nexus 6p, it has the USB type C connection. It’s great because it’s reversible like the iPhone one, but it does require a bunch of cord-scramplin’ around! I have one on my computer, one in my car, and another I travel with… so it takes a whole new set of logistics and thinking to get my head around all this…haha… oh well. Maybe one day we won’t have to charge stuff anymore! 🙂
Daily Photo – Boats in Thailand
Right off the coast of Bang Saray, where I was staying, is an endless supply of really interesting boats. I really know almost nothing about boats, but I never got tired of walking along all the docks and staring out into the sea… also, I noticed, that there never seems to be a bad sunset in Thailand, so it's a winner combination!
Has anyone else noticed that Lightroom gets REALLY slow sometimes? It’s driving me nuts lately… sometimes it’s quick. Other times, I click on a preset and it takes like 10 seconds. I can’t figure it out! I have a fast computer and stuff… Oh Adobe!
Daily Photo – Exploring the Karst Rock Formations in China
I spent a lot more time on boats this time around in China. Isn't the water a strange color? It's sort of an oily, thick green, isn't it? I don't think it was really dirty with human waste or anything… just a massive amount of silt and organic runoff from this area in the Li Valley. It was sort of a hypnotic because these long thin boats would make these long horizontal wave patterns through this strange viscous fluid… I watched the waves for like 5 minutes in a row like I was stoned or something!
If you like turn-based games, I have a suggestion! Go check out a great game from Doublefine called Massive Chalice! Okay, there’s my game suggestion for the month! 🙂
Daily Photo – Going Vertical in Hong Kong
I'm not sure there's any bad views from the top of anything in Hong Kong. You can just sort of aim the camera in a random direction, and you're good to go! I was at a rooftop bar here that had incredible views! I think I shot in all four directions and the hardest thing was choosing which photo to edit first. I do like the way this one came out very blue and Blade-Runnery.
Here's one of the many highlights of last year… we had a rather amazing photography and yoga retreat at Aro-Ha. At the end, we took everyone up in helicopters to the top of a mountain and along some glaciers to take photos and have wine! When it came time for the group photo, we all just took off our pants… great fun haha!
If you hang on to the end of this video, you’ll see about 3 or 4 selfie-videos…haha 🙂
Daily Photo – Walking to lunch in Bora Bora
This was another perfect day in Bora Bora. The sun was out like 90% of the time and it was never toooo hot. For me, it was a little too hot to walk everywhere barefooted. I could do it in the morning till about 2 PM, but then it got too hot for my lame, sensitive feet. I honestly do have fine porcelain feet like a vintage Victorian lady. I hang out with all these super manly dudes in New Zealand that go on 10km runs barefooted and stuff. I find that beyond my vaguest comprehension!
Today’s photo is a little different haha… so I thought I’d share a few of my other faves from China! 🙂
Daily Photo – Chinese Day Care
Haha, I was walking around a houtong and happened to hear a bunch of kids playing and screaming. I went around the corner to see this! All the kids were getting out and rushing to find their parents. They each had these balloons and were screaming and going nuts for them… it was so funny… especially the grown-up in charge with that hat. I think if I ran a daycare, I would wear the EXACT SAME HAT.
To see all the Namibia shots here on the blog, click on the Namibia category above! While I was there, we also spent a lot of time in Botswana where you can see a lot more of the Animal-kinda Africa photos! 🙂
Daily Photo – The Amazing Coast of Namibia
How amazing is this coastline? I wish I could have spent more time here, but this was a fly-over while we were flying from one location to the next in Namibia. It's so strange to see this endless desert just ending right at the ocean. It's completely wild and unpopulated, as you can see. I asked the pilot to make a little loop around so I could get this shot… it was very nice of him to do it!
I’m a little inconsistent on my Instagram about what photos I post and how often. I do all those posts myself… but I often use a cool app on the Mac called “Uploader.” Since I spend a lot of time on my laptop, it’s just an easier way to post… I recommend it!
Daily Photo – Hiking The Great Wall
On this day, I think I used more calories than the whole week! It was very beautiful in this section of the Great Wall, so I definitely did not want to miss a single sight. It's kind of awesome too because even though the whole Great Wall ostensibly looks the same, after just 50 steps, there is another slightly different view of something so beautiful.
I was sitting here thinking about how I need to go explore more of the South Island (and North Island!). There are so many things to see here. Last year I travelled a lot, so when I got back home, I’d try to stay at home with the family as much as possible. Maybe this year I’ll have more time to go out and explore beautiful New Zealand!
Daily Photo – Not a Truck Commercial
I know this looks like a sponsored post or something eh? Haha… it's not. I bought this truck a few years ago when I moved to Queenstown. It's a Volkswagen! Who knew they made trucks? It's actually pretty awesome… It's all 4WD and I take it everywhere around the south island. This scene here, and the reason I am sharing it, is a typical photo session. You can drive pretty much anywhere here then just jump out when you see a good scene!
Venice is one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world and I was happy to share it with my family for their first trip there. To get to Venice, we took the direct train from Rome. It was a super-fast train and we got there in only about three hours. We jumped into a water-taxi from the train station and went right to the Boscolo Hotel in the northern part of the city. It’s quieter up there… hardly any tourists and where a lot of families live.
From there, we went out adventuring all over the place. You gotta do all the touristy things in Venice, eh? Yeah! We did everything from the gondolas to the glass factories to the gelato. In fact, Scarlett was appointed the Queen of Gelato and it was her job every day to make sure everyone had their daily gelato. The only rule was each day had to be a new flavor!
And here on Day 30 is when the whole trip officially ends. The family flies back to New Zealand and I stay here in Venice for another two weeks for both Carnivale, filming some new videos, and a fun photo workshop! And yes, more gelato!
A view from the Canals.
Details of a beautiful old church.
This is the Hotel L’orologio where we are staying for the next two weeks for the workshop at Carnivale.
Ethan in the Gondola.
Here’s the Boscolo Venezia where we stayed the first few nights.
Inside the Doge’s Palace.
Venice at Sunset.
Scarlett poses in a Gondola.
The incredible San Rocco.
Daily Photo – Floating above Venice
I'll tell you something embarrassing about this photo! But once I tell you, you'll definitely be able to see it. Having said that, it's a happy accident because I really like this photo! Anyway, this was a new quadcopter that I got after the other one crashed in India. So, I realized after I took this shot that I forgot to take off that little clear sticker that goes over the camera… yeah, you can see it now, can't ya? But still, a cool effect it had! 🙂
Macphun, Viewbug and I have all teamed up to bring you a series of contests called Explore HDR! There are 6 contests in the series and there are amazing prizes for each contest! This is the first of the 6 contests in the series, and it’s all about getting out there and exploring your inner HDR.
The Grand Jury winner gets G-Tech 1-TB drive and a Serge Ramelli Complete Package
Amateur winner gets 1 month free Arcanum and a metal print from Bay Photo – Gallery Series frame
People’s Choice winner gets $50 Amazon Gift Card and a metal print from Bay Photo – Gallery Series frame
Entries for the first contest in the series close in 19 DAYS! So get out there and start taking photos!
At the end of the series, I will select an overall Series Winner from the best of each previous 6 contests. The overall winner gets a NEW DJI Phantom Vision Advanced Quad!!
I was thinking about making a quadcopter-centric screensaver… I’m still trying to figure out if this is a good idea!
Daily Photo – The Pink Hood
I tried to maximize my exploring in Chefchaouen to see every possible nook and cranny. It's small enough where 10 hours on foot can get you to photograph the whole town, or at least, the colorful parts of it. The whole place is a soft powdery blue, so you can imagine my surprise when I found this pinky area!
Here’s a fun video I made on Day 1 of learning to fly… I kind of combined it with getting to know my new Sony A7 a few years ago! 🙂
Daily Photo – Paragliding in Queenstown!
Wow, I do love to paraglide here, but I've actually given it up! I took this photo on one of my last flights from the southern alps here. I did about 15 solo flights before hanging up my chute! I actually had a few friends die in sudden air-related things… made me think that, while it is certainly one of the safest air-related sports, it really still amps up the risk level! Anyway, I had a great time while it lasted, except for the extreme momentary lapses of fear!
My bees are out there working hard! I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing another major spin pretty soon. That’s always a ton of hard work for a day, but it’s so awesome to end up with over a hundred jars of your very own honey!
Here’re a few pictures from last year’s harvest with the family!
Daily Photo – Seeing Double In Vegas
This is one of those fun double-exposures. I don't do a lot of them…I'm not sure why. I think they often look pretty cool and trippy! The creation process is quite fun in its own right. I used Analog Efex Pro 2 to make this… it's one of the new features that is in the new version.
This was one of my favorite collaborations! I’m looking forward to doing more of these. If you want to get it, pop into the store and get the Midnight in Paris video!
Daily Photo – Down in the French Dungeon
Right outside of Paris, we rented a mansion for a few days to hold a great event! While there, we, of course, went down in the dungeon to get some photos… it's a fairly extreme HDR situation as you might imagine! We all really had a great time, and it was amazing to see what Miss Aniela created down here!
Day 25 – Rome, Fiat 500 Adventures, and the Holy Catholic Vatican
We left Doha, Qatar after too-short of a trip and flew about six hours to Rome after I finally got my quadcopter out of being stuck in customs! I wasn’t allowed to fly it anywhere in Qatar or Oman, so they kept it at the airport for me. There’s always a confusing process to get it un-stuck! But everything turned out okay…
In Rome, we stayed right in the middle of the city at the Boscolo Exedra. It was another great hotel and a fun home base for the whole family. We did a ton of stuff here in the city. We got started with a full tour of Vatican City, which was even more impressive than I anticipated. Mind-blowing really! I’ve been to Rome four times but never visited the Vatican until this time. We had a private tour guide and it was definitely the way to go… Maria knew everything about this place and it was much more interesting than just blindly stumbling around.
And then we ended up in a 1962 and 1967 Fiat 500s to tour the Roman countryside. What a great way to explore… just about 10 km away was a beautiful lake… and, well you can see more in the video!
A Roman villa stands on a hill with the rest of teaming Rome behind it.
A Straight-up view from another area inside The Vatican.
Driving into the Roman countryside.
Exploring another room in The Vatican.
Exploring the massive halls inside and outside of Vatican City.
Having a quick flight over Rome with the DJI Phantom 3.
Her skirt was a little too skimpy to be let into The Vatican, so they stopped outside for some selfie action.
Scarlett got a new coat in Rome and she never takes it off.
Stopping with our Fiat 500s at a Roman aqueduct.
The amazing golden dome of the Basilica of Saint Peter.
The Basilica of Saint Peter is the longest church in the world and you can see the lengths of other churches represented on the floor.
The girls in front of the Coloseum.
The massive interior of the Basilica.
There are thousands of fountains all over Rome where the water is perfectly drinkable – one secret thing many have is if you plug the bottom, the water spurts out a little hole on top .
We took two Fiat 500’s out to explore the Roman countryside.
With one foot in both countries of Italy and Vatican City.
This is a great winery and place to have lunch here on the South Island! One day when I was there, I flew the quad around a bit… Here’s the result! 🙂
Daily Photo – Hobbiton in Evening Light
Jumping from the beautiful South Island to the North Island of New Zealand, we come back to the quaint and too-perfect Hobbiton. I was lucky enough to be there right after they installed all the lights. What could be better than this? Something so scenic and relaxing… and it's all real too. I mean, there are no Hobbits or anything… but all the plants, gardens, working mead tap in the Green Dragon Inn – everything! I want to sleep here all night I think. 🙂
Check it out, Aurora HDR Pro 1.2 has been released with a whole lotta improvements and some sparking new features! 🙂
Here’s one of my favourite recent photos from my family trip that was done in Aurora HDR Pro! Look at all that glow action!
1.Photos for Mac editing extensions support
2.Leica M Monochrome (type 246) RAW file support
3.Open/Save for .HDR and .EXR image formats
1.Better RAW file handling for Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji images
2.Updates to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop plug-ins
3.Enhanced masking brush
4.Improved clipping results for overall HDR effect
5.Improved chromatic aberration reduction
6.Better UI support for 11″ and 13″ displays
7.Improved performance and various bug fixes
Well, this day started out great
You’ll read more about it below, but about 30 minutes after this I was in a car crash! My taxi hit another car in downtown Rabat that had run a red light. We t-boned it and I had on no seat belt! Half of me ended up in the front seat with a super-bruised right knee! Everyone jumped out of their cars and it was like a crazy Moroccan street fight. I was thinking I GOTTA GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE! So I jumped out very clumsily, pulled my suitcase from the trunk and limped away for about half a km till I was way out of that area… jumped in another cab, then hit the train station to exit stage left!
Daily Photo – Standing Guard at the Tomb
I was only briefly in Casablanca before moving on here to Rabat, Morocco. The first place I visited here was the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. I arrived way too early and it was closed. So I kind of loitered around… it was my first real day in Morocco so I was just wandering like a babe in the woods… it was so awesome. I made friends with the other guards that were waiting to get in, then I was able to be first and get a few choice shots while everyone set up for the day of guarding the tomb!
I recently wrote an article for a photography magazine with 6 tips. I thought I’d repeat them here! 🙂 You’ll see I make a few references to Aurora HDR Pro — so grab that if you don’t already have it! 🙂
1) Get your camera into Auto-bracketing mode. I take just 3 exposures most of the time at -2, 0, and +2. I also shoot in RAW mode so you’ve got a little more juice in the light to play with later in post.
2) Collect Auto-bracketed shots everywhere, even if you don’t think it’s an HDR situation. If your camera has Auto-bracketing, go ahead and keep it on most of the time. When you drag a series of photos into Aurora HDR Pro (or most HDR programs), you’ll be surprised at some of the textures and colors that come out of the woodwork.
3) If you’re shooting in the bright sun, go ahead and set your Exposure Compensation to -1. That means your three exposures will be at -3, -1, and +1. I find that the +2 on a bright day is just TOO bright and has no positive effect on the final creation.
4) Also, if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, don’t bother with a tripod. Just go handheld. All these programs nowadays are so good at auto-aligning that you don’t have to worry about it. Just save the tripod for sunset and night shots!
5) If you find that processing the photos is going a bit slow on your computer, just use JPGs (or export to JPGs) before bringing the shots into Aurora HDR Pro or any other program. Honestly, I can’t see a big difference in bringing in the RAW files at all. And I really pay attention to these things!
6) When processing, be sure to use layers to make different parts of your photo look unique. For example, you may not want the “whole thing HDR’ed” — maybe you just want the buildings to be highly textured with an HDR look, but not so much for the trees or skies. A common mistake most people make is they try to give the entire photo the same look… I think it’s great to make some parts smooth, some parts glowy, some parts texturey, other parts saturated… Each photo will come out very unique, much like you… think of yourself like a chef, organically creating a reflection of you and the scene at the time.
Daily Photo – The Burj Khalifa at Night
There's no way to take a bad photo of this thing! Actually, I did notice a bunch of people with mobile phones having a heck of a time trying to fit the whole thing into frame. They would be taking photos of their friends and in almost every case, they had to lay on the 100 degree concrete and aim up to get the whole thing in… it was actually funny, walking around and watching everyone laying on the ground with their phones!
Qatar was a tough place for us, with the Ratcliff Family hitting an all-time low. I was pretty sick, and actually still am while editing this together on the 6-hour flight to Rome. Ethan was quite sick and spent over 24 hours in bed eating soup and smelling like old soup. He’s a bit better now, so that is good… my cough and runny nose lingers like the memory of mounting a camel. That sounds bad…
We started out with a morning desert safari that included some awkward moments on both camels and trucks. The dunes here were, even more, extreme than Oman, so the girls were, at least, ready for it. You can see more in the video for sure. Tina sure was screaming when she got on that camel… all of them were. Ethan had quite a grumpy camel, which did nothing to help his mood.
And then we had an incredible cooking class from an amazing chef at our hotel at The Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village named Evangelos Liakouris. He was like a Greek Vic Gundotra that can cook. It was over two hours long and the girls went nuts, especially with the “Deconstructed Black Forest Cake.” From there, we went to another epic dinner at the other Ritz-Carlton in Doha at an Italian restaurant called Porcini where the kids got to make some pizzas. Once again, another day of non-stop eating!
The city of Doha glistens in wild colors at night. Most of the buildings cycle through various LED color states.
It’s a huge city and Tina was surprised at the size of a city she had never heard of before a few months ago.
Here’s an incredible restaurant we found in the souq called Parisa.
The last call to prayer for the evening at a mosque.
Photogenic camels in the desert.
Here’s one of the three pools from the Sharq Village that had no sharks, thank goodness.
A gentleman at the camp were we got the camels.
The family gets their first feel for how strange it is to get on a camel for a ride.
I join them, but have great trouble holding both the Osmo and the camel.
This is a place the falcons, the National Bird of Qatar, would come and perch.
A beautiful amphiteatre at night.
Two ladies go in a different entrance on the left.
After the dune bashing it was time for dune-sliding!.
I hope this captures the massive size of the dunes that we slid down then climbed up.
Here we are on the border of Saudi Arabia, which was about half a kilometer away at one point.
Scarlett walks through a portal to explore the sea on the other side.
The family with another camel friend.
Isabella loves all animals, and she came to visit Jamilla here at the Sharq Village about seven times!.
A pair of Muslim women walk home for the evening across the entrance to The Pearl.
The beginning of an amazing 2-hour cooking class.
Daily Photo – Artificial Islands keep growing out into the sea as Doha expands to every horizon.
Now available for download in the store… and I think you’ll really love it.
In case you didn’t already know, I’ve got a new eBook! It’s called “Light Falls Like Bits”. I’ve been working with Goff books for two years to create it, and I’m super excited for you guys to read it!
I’ve thrown a curve ball out there in the E-book world, in which the articles about me… aren’t actually written by me. Some of these essays are by Maura Reilly, Michelle Bogre, and Erik Davis. There’s also an interview by Jordan Crandall in there that you will enjoy.
AND it’s filled with a whole lot of my photos (over 100!), all the captions for those photos I did personally write, which was a lot of fun getting going back and re-living all of those amazing moments / bizarre situations that went into capturing the images. I’ve also recorded a whole lot of audio captions that you can listen to if you get the iOS version, which people seem to be enjoying.
Photo Tip – Shooting from Planes or the Air in the Daytime
My technique for shooting from the air is pretty simple. It actually took me a while to arrive at this formula, but it always seems to work. I go into Manual mode and then force my shutter speed to be extra-fast… maybe 1/1000th of a second. This ensures there is absolutely no blur. And then I let my ISO float and auto-adjust… I’ll often get my F-Stop as low as possible too so all the dirt and smudges on the window disappear. It works like 98% of the time! And, well, like the title says, this method only works in the daytime… night is a different beast.
Daily Photo – Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown
The flight into Queenstown is maybe one of the most beautiful flights in the world. This is the Crown Range here, and you can't quite see it, but there is a road there that connects Wanaka and Queenstown. It's actually the highest road in New Zealand! It gets A LITTLE icy sometimes in the winter, and they often close it down… but when it's open, the view there is as pretty as the view from this plane window!
I got a nice invite to visit an incredible looking Lodge in Oamaru called Pen-y-bryn — It turns out the owner is a fan and really into photography! Sounds like its a must-visit!
Daily Photo – Pretty Colors in Queenstown Park
I have joked before about starting a second blog where I just put up the “other” photos that I never publish. I honestly actually produce over 2,000 photos a year that are, at least I think, somewhat interesting. They're not all winners by any means, but sometimes there's a little bit of awesomeness in there! Anyway, since I only publish 365 a year here on the blog in the daily post, that means I have thousands of rejects! This is one of those “rejects” that I still kinda like. I don't know what to do with all the others… maybe I'll make a Tumblr or something that is called “Trey's Rejected Photos!”
Day 18 – Adventuring in the deserts and seas of Oman.
Wow, Oman is a secret treasure in the world!
Everyone was warm, kind, and inviting. The landscapes are like nothing I’ve ever seen, from curious canyons to sharp-ridged mountains, to huge epic mountain ranges, and everything in between. Parts are green and other parts are 150km of nonstop desert where it takes 6 days by camel to cross.
We did a ton of stuff just in our short time here… enjoy the video! 🙂
A beautiful sunset.
A beautiful sunset along the beach in Muscat.
About to board two catamarans for a sunset sail.
Hardcore Souk Shopping.
Beautiful colors in the mosque.
Inside the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace.
Ladies walking on the beach.
My friend in the desert.
My new friends exchange Instagram information at the mosque.
The family visits the Grand Mosque.
Scarlett is constantly throwing sand for no reason I can discern.
Here’s the chandelier in the Grand Mosque from below.
The Girls Take a Rest after a long walk in the desert.
The end of the Mosque where the colors glowed.
The Grand Mosque around midnight.
Visiting the Bedouin home.
The girls walk through the massive desert — if you look in the middle, you can see a group of people about 5km away.
Daily Photo – The incredible interior of the Grand Mosque
I had my Phantom repaired just before this trip because one of the rotors was a little wonky. Well, I guess it wasn’t fixed too well because the whole thing went haywire on a flight over by the ocean here in Namibia. I got it about 100 meters off the ground and then it did a SEVERE tilt and started heading to sea. There was nothing I could do to stop it! And it must have been going 150km/h when it hit the water… so crazy and dangerous! It makes me not to want to get them repaired again… if it has a bad rotor, better just to throw it away, I think.
Daily Photo – More Explorations in the Ghost Town
I know yesterday's post was about how cold Namibia was, but this area here on the coast was much warmer. Thank goodness! Here's another one of the amazing ruined houses from that ghost town where sand dunes invaded. They said that back in the day, when this area was discovered, that people could just bend over and pick up diamonds off the top of the sand. Crazy!
Day 16 – Quadcopter Crashing in Kerala and Farewell India
A lot of Quadcopter drama as we leave India! But I’ll get to that. BTW, check out my DJI Phantom 3 Review here on the site to see more about what I fly.
We started out in Kerala, a beautiful area of India that has thousands of little canals. We stayed on a houseboat for a while, drifting around like houseboat people. This is where Quada, which Scarlet calls the Quadacopter, had its last journey. We had countless successful flights with it… and you can see how Ethan launches it from the front of the boat… no problems there. But one time, a rotor would not turn. We got a “Rotor Obstructed” error message. Strange, because I couldn’t see anything. I did notice one rotor would make strange noises at startup, but when it started spinning, it was fine. Then it asked me to do the old 10-minute IMU calibration, which I did and was successful. We had 2 great flights, launching from the front of the boat and Ethan catching it on landing… no problems and we were smooth as silk. Then, on the next flight, It got up to about 40 meters and was only 20 meters from us and I saw the rotor lock up in the air! It tumbled down into the water for a major splashdown right by the boat. Everyone screamed and it was very dramatic! There was no recovery… it sank to the bitter depths… and all that awesome footage is lost foreva! It’s okay… the universe decided it was time for Quada to move on… So that meant I had to go to the camera store to buy another one… I just hope they let me take it to Oman next!
Okay, well, what else happened towards the end of our India trip. You can see more in the video here of course, but here’s a few things. We ended our train trip and went into the India Asha Niketan foundation, a special place here built for people with intellectual disabilities. The whole family spent some time here with the team helping out. It was especially great for the kids! Ethan played the guitar and we spent some time there together.
After that, we went back to Rivas at The Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore for an Indian cooking class from a Michelin star chef. Amazing! And not only that, but then we ate everything that we cooked… we are eating so much it is crazy… but Ethan and Isabella have really gotten into Indian food, which is great. Scarlett, not so much.
And then it was time to cap off our India experience by going full Bollywood! I actually love Bollywood movies from the first one I saw in Mumbai about 8 years ago when I saw Om Shanti Om! I had a small crush on the gal that was in that movie, and it turns out she’s in the hot new movie everyone demanded that we go see, Bajiao Mastani — so we headed off to the shopping mall in Bangalore to see if we could find it… we did and it was great, even though the whole thing was in Hindi. Scarlett and Isabella loved it. Ethan, not so much.
Anyway, a fantastic trip to India… the whole family is now boarding the plane to spend time in Oman and Qatar!
A strange sight to see these two symbols side by side.
A Final dinner on the coast of India.
Beautiful colors in Cochin.
A woman washes herself in a canal in Karela.
Five Indian Dudes that may have been a boy band.
Communist Propoganda can still be seen all over Kerala India.
Indian Beach from Above.
Houseboats in Kerala.
Last day to be on the Golden Chariot.
The awesome bar on top of the Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore called Bang.
Pulling into the Ritz-Carlton in Bangalore.
Visiting the West End hote.
Daily Photo – One of the last nights on our moving hotel
If you haven’t seen this new show on Amazon Prime, I really recommend it. Most people already know I’m a hardcore Phillip K. Dick fan, and this was always one of my favorite books. The show itself is quite different than the book, but that’s totally okay. I’m not one of those people that gets all huffy when a movie is different than the book… just another version of a nice story! 🙂
Daily Photo – A Misty Evening in China
I love these karst mountains so much. They look good almost any time of the day, but perhaps they look best when there is a touch of fog or mist in the air. The whole place is surreal enough, but when it hits this state, the fantasy level just goes off the charts!
Day 14 – Sunrise at the Southern Tip of India where three seas meet and Madurai with the Meenakshi Amman Temple
It started with a 4 AM Wake-up in our train car, now parked in Kerala, then loading up for a trip down to the beach. But this wasn’t just any beach, this was at the Kanyakumari, the meeting place of three seas: The Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. I thought I might be the only one there at 5 AM, but boy, was I wrong! See more on the video! 🙂
And another amazing set of temples at Madurai, one of the oldest cities in the world. These temples at Meenakshi Amman are INSANE. I was not allowed to bring my regular cameras or Osmo (see Osmo Review), so I only had my Android Nexus 6P for photos and videos, which is mega-fine. I loved these temples so much… I’ve never seen anything quite like them. There are 14 colorful goporums (gateway towers), all brightly colored with Dravidian-style Hindu gods.
Then you can join me on a little train tour before ending up at a confusing night-show at Tamil Nadu. I was sitting by a woman who is an oral surgeon in Detroit. Halfway through the show, I asked her if she had any nitrous oxide.
The Sea Smashing Before the Game of Thornes scene.
A Pilgramage of Red.
An Eerie Light Show that still confuses me.
Our Train Pulls into the Station.
Assembling at the Temple.
Painted Ladies Walking.
This train had all kinds of people on it from all walks of life. Here’s me with the Greek Ambassador Tassos Kriekoukis exploring a Hundu temple..
Daily Photo – Sunrise on the southern tip of India where the three seas meet
Every week, they make me a new playlist to discover called, intrepidly, “Discover Weekly.” They put songs in there I’ve never heard of but usually enjoy. I have strange tastes in music… so how-do-it-know?
Daily Photo – The Volcanoes in Bali from Above
Here's a cool photo I got with the Inspire on a surprise flight. I didn't expect to fly at this exact spot… we kind of randomly pulled over in the middle of the island and decided to take a flight. This was one of the only volcano views I got while there… I didn't get too close to them at all, and there weren't a lot of views I got from the roadside. So it was really cool to get up above the trees and get to see them like this.
The day started at Auroville, the experimental City of Dawn, deep off-track in South India. This place reminds me of a sci-fi combo of Burning Man and a cult! Well cult is probably the wrong word… but I’m really into meditation and stuff, so a lot of it appeals to me. This city was started in 1968 by “The Mother” (cult-signals ringing in head) and it’s open to the whole world, but only by appointment and if you give up all other religions. There are actually people from over 50 countries living here… they plan to grow it to 50,000 people. There’s a huge golden sphere inside of which you can “concentrate” in front of a crystal ball which has golden sunlight mechanically reflected into it, unless it is cloudy or there is unconcetrated rain. I’m joking, but I actually would like to go inside of there and meditate. Anyway, I found the whole place fascinating… it’s kind of when you are sitting around with your friends saying, “You know what, if I built my own city, it would look like THIS.”
We spent some time in Puducherry as well, shopping, eating and exploring. There’s a huge beach there that fronts on the Bay of Bengal and the kids had fun running around there.
We also went to visit Brihadeshwarea Temple in Thanjavur, another UNESCO World Heritage site. What an amazing temple! I took a ton of photos but have not had time to process any of them yet. Stay tuned on the site for some of those!
Then in Trichy, we visited Sri Rangam Temple, which is India’s largest temple complex dedicated to Lord Vishnu. I got in a sweet quad flight there and took a ton more photos. Once again, the girls were mobbed by Indians who had never seen white people before… this place was so remote, we didn’t even see any white people except for ourselves. Many people that come here travel from remote villages in India for a pilgrimage to this incredible temple, so they’ve only seen white people in movies and such. The girls had about 1,000 photos taken of them!
The Center of Consciousness.
Isabella has been in about 1000 photos now — many of these people have never seen white people before in person.
Scarlett gets the third eye blessing from Shiva and says shell never rub it off.