Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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Midnight in Tokyo

Check out the “Movie Night” Presets!

Today’s photo was edited with the new “Movie Night” Lightroom Presets, These were largely inspired by my time in Tokyo, taking street photos in evenings and throughout the night. Tokyo is one of the more Blade-Runnery cities on the planet, and I’m often inspired by movies… so this was a nice mixing of worlds for me.

Daily Photo – Midnight in Tokyo

Not only does Tokyo contain cities within cities, but also cities within cities within cities. This is the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku area of Tokyo. It's also known as a bit of the red-light district. But everything is so civilized in Tokyo that the “seedy” area is also perfectly safe and walkable. To me, it's one of the best areas to photograph because there are so many lights and a multitude of signage. I found a good spot right in the middle of the median that was a bit elevated by some shrubbery to take this photo. I stood here for about an hour waiting for a good situation.

Midnight in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-30 02:59:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length65.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Chinese Wedding Photographs in Queenstown

Ride with me to Glenorchy (Part 1 of 4)

I released this video over a year ago to Passport Members and I wanted to share it with everyone now. It shows just one of my random days… driving from Queenstown to Glenorchy on a moody, windy day to try to take some photos. There’s a lot of stream of consciousness and that sort of thing. Anyway, jump into my pickup truck with me and we’ll see where we end up!

Daily Photo – Chinese Wedding Photographs in Queenstown

Here's a little of local Queenstown, New Zealand color for you. This area has become Extremely Popular for Chinese tourists. I don't know the exact number, but it's in the hundreds of thousands, which is significant for a country of about four million people. Another thing I happen to notice a lot, perhaps because I'm a photographer, is a gaggle of Chinese wedding photographers with their couples. I don't know if you've been to a Chinese wedding reception, but they often run a slideshow of the lucky couple in love in exotic locations. It's all completely ridiculous, of course, but they've all bought into this silly fiction. Anyway, to scaffold that fiction, they are all over Queenstown and Arrowtown taking these sorts of photos. You can tell he's a real “artsy” photographer because he's wearing a hoodie.

Chinese Wedding Photographs in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-12-30 20:15:25
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture4
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length41.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Financial District of Hong Kong

Wild Wild Country Documentary

I just finished watching this docco on Netflix; wow was it interesting! Even though I was just a kid when this “cult” was in the news, I have no memory of it. Anyway, watching the documentary reminds me of how unorganized hippies can be. I think the original notion of the commune was actually a pretty good idea, especially because it was voluntary and self-contained.

The whole idea seems pretty Burning-Man-ish. At Burning Man, we often sit around the campfire and wonder what it would be like if “this” existed for 52 weeks rather than 1. Well, it does require a bit of organization and governance by clever people. This documentary is a really good example of a good idea with rather bad organization.

Another aspect that occurred to me is the danger of the ego of the leadership. I’ve never listened to any of teachings of their leader, as there was a scant amount in the documentary. But it’s clear that some of the leadership started to take themselves and their identity a bit too seriously and that is when everything started to unravel.

Daily Photo – The Financial District of Hong Kong

I only spent four days in Hong Kong, so I tried to be as photographically productive as possible. Being the quintessential introvert, I have chosen not to live in big cities so it's a treat when I get to visit them. Nothing wrong with living in big cities, of course, as I know extroverts get a lot of energy from cities that never sleep. I enjoy them too, but only for short visits. Hong Kong has all sorts of different districts, and this is the financial hub of it all. I've been working on this new processing technique that you see here. I'll put together a how-to video soon and share it with you.

The Financial District of Hong Kong

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-12 23:57:36
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Abandoned Ships in Sanya, China

Updated Portfolio for Cities

I have four different portfolios over on my Smugmug account. I think you may enjoy my recently updated Cities Portfolio/. I just added about a dozen photos from Asia Pacific into the mix.

Daily Photo – Abandoned Ships in Sanya, China

On our last night in Sanya, we walked a few kilometres from the market area over to the coast to catch the sunset. I spent a few hours walking up and down the beach watching people and taking photos. I'll share some of my favorites here on the blog later, but in the meantime you can maybe catch a few random ones in my “other” Instagram account at @80stays. One thing is for sure… Chinese females love the selfies. It was hard to see a female on the beach NOT taking a selfie. It was something else… anyway, after I got tired of seeing that, I flew the Mavic and went out to explore some of the abandoned ships off the coast.

Abandoned Ships in Sanya, China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-19 18:34:09
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO103
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Dots in Dots

Some Book Suggestions For You

I don’t know if you’re more into Fiction or Non-Fiction. Personally, I alternate between the two. But I’ve recently updated my Book list over on Kit.com. I hope you find something you enjoy there! 🙂 Note that these are the top 10% of my favorite books… I won’t bother listing ones I’ve read that I think would be a waste of your time.

Daily Photo – Dots in Dots

If you are in Singapore, don't miss a visit to the ArtScience Museum. You can't miss it, as it is around that central lagoon. It's very family-friendly and there are very interesting visual displays inside. I have a bit of an “issue” with some of these Instagram-roadside-bingo collection points. Instagrammers love to go here to fuel their egocentric lives, but I decided to go anyway because it looked pretty awesome! As you can tell, I did not do a selfie here. Maybe it's because I can't find an “Influencer Hat” that fits my cabeza in the right proportions… but I was with my new friend @Dotzsoh and she struck a better silhouette than yours truly.

Dots in Dots

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-27 23:13:03
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Kayaking at the Bond Island

A Video Art Tour from Aro-Ha

You all may know that I have been out to the yoga retreat called Aro-Ha here in New Zealand a few times. I love it there! Well, the gentleman that owns it is one of my art collectors and he decided to put a few pieces up there. Enjoy this little tour as I show you around a bit!

Daily Photo – Kayaking at the Bond Island

This isn't actually the famous James Bond island from Thailand, but just another miscellaneous one off the coast of Koh Samui. Can you see a face in it? I definitely saw it in there the whole time. I love seeing these islands with this strange, undercut limestone shape. I wonder what it looks like when an island like this tips over into the ocean. It must make a tremendous crash and set of waves… I'd love to see that some time!

Kayaking at the Bond Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-21 21:04:09
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Abandoned Yacht in the Middle of Government Housing

CNN Article on the Burning Man Exhibit

One of my photos was on the front of CNN.com the other day, linking to this article on the new Burning Man exhibit at the Smithsonian. I have three works hanging there… if you make it over there, be sure to talk a selfie and send it to me! 🙂

Passport Goodie Day!

For Passport Memembers I made a cool 360 video here in the studio showing all the stuff I took on this trip to Hong Kong and across Asia. So much stuff… and believe it or not, I’m cutting down quite a bit!

How did I pack for this trip across seven different locations in Asia Pacific? Here, you can see all the stuff I crammed into my bags in this 360 video. Remember that as you watch this, you can grab the screen and twist it around to look in any direction you desire!

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Daily Photo – The Abandoned Yacht in the Middle of Government Housing

How wild is this scene? This is the kind of thing that gets me so excited about Drone photography! I feel like a little kid, having so much fun seeing these sorts of things like a bird. That reminds me, we are putting our finishing touches on a Beginning Drone Photography and Videography tutorial. It's going to be a great one! The final edits are being made now and we'll try to get it to you as soon as possible!

The Abandoned Yacht in the Middle of Government Housing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-15 13:03:19
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/1800
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.344

Exploring the Guanyin of Nanshan in Sanya, China

For More Photos from the Adventure

I created a second Instagram account at @80Stays where I post a ton of different photos from the trip. A lot of these are just little “studies” or behind-the-scenes shots… little things and scenes I find interesting. If you dig around in there, you may see a few more photos of this place!

Daily Photo – Exploring the Guanyin of Nanshan in Sanya, China

Check out this amazing Buddhist statue that is over 350 feet tall! This is in Sanya, China. Sanya is on Hainan, a little island off the coast of China that I had never even heard of before I visited. I never thought of Hainan as having a tropical, beachy island, but I was wrong. One cool thing about this statue that you can't see from this angle is that it actually has three faces, each facing a different 120 degrees.

Exploring the Guanyin of Nanshan in Sanya, China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-18 16:27:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Tane in the Element at a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Testing the Phantom 4 Pro

Right when I got this machine (see my Phantom 4 Review), I took it around a few favorite spots in New Zealand to check out the quality. I wasn’t disappointed! I made a quickie little highlight video to show off the clarity and color balance. None of this is color-corrected or anything,… straight from the Micro SD card to you!

Daily Photo – Tane in the Element at a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Here's our assistant Tane, fresh after shaving his head on the road. The next day we happened to visit the Federal Mosque and we had to wear robes. I thought the whole thing looked like a bit of a timeless scene. And even though I asked Tane to stand there for a photo, I did not expect our friend Liz (@YoungAdventuress) to come sauntering along from the right side. I thought it all made for a nice photo.

Tane in the Element at a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-31 23:05:52
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Hong Kong Government Housing at Night

Passport Early Look

I made a post-processing video for Aurora HDR users on how I worked on this shot and Passport Members get an early look. It was a lot of fun to work on! I’ve actually been saving this photo until I got back into the studio because I wanted to take my time working on it.

This incredible housing complex in Hong Kong was just asking for a photo! If you want to know where this is, check here on Google Maps. You may notice my final photo looks a bit different than what you see in the video below. I made a few more adjustments after the video ended:

1) I lightened up the upper floors towards the back of the complex. I felt they were a bit dark.

2) I desaturated some of the extreme yellow. After I looked at the shot, I felt it was too yellow and orange in some spots.

3) I made the canvas WIDER and stretched out the side-parts wider so that it seemed a little less narrow.

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Daily Photo – Beautiful Hong Kong Government Housing at Night

Hey, when it comes to government housing, it's hard to get more interesting than this! We had a long day running all around Hong Kong and exploring with my new friend Simon. He was a great local resource to show me some of his favorite spots. I think this was my final shot for the evening before we decided to go off bar hopping together! And for you Passport Members I hope you enjoyed the post-processing on this one.

Beautiful Hong Kong Government Housing at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-15 02:44:23
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture10
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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