A Cathedral in the Clouds Surrounded by an Amusement Park

A Tibidabo Double-Play!

Today I’m showing two photos of the same place near Barcelona. It’s a beautiful cathedral called Tibidabo.

Daily Photo – A Cathedral in the Clouds Surrounded by an Amusement Park

So I like this second photo better. I obviously heavily processed it with one of my Lightroom Presets. I believe it was one of my “Sandstorm” ones from Burning Man. I think this place is beautiful, but I can't figure out why they put an amusement park up there. It makes it all a bit garish, I think. Even in this photo, you can see part of a rollercoaster in the lower right. Oh, this second photo was taken with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro.

A Cathedral in the Clouds Surrounded by an Amusement Park

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-04-30 19:59:57
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/240
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Cold War Listening Station Near Berlin

Star Trek Discovery

It’s a pretty good show, I must say. I can say it’s probably the most BEAUTIFUL show on right now for sure. Everything is really interesting to watch, from the special effects to the incredible Klingon vessels and interiors. I’m not sure about all the characters yet. And I usually really question a lot of the decisions the crew makes. But, if I can just let that go, it’s a pretty good show.

Daily Photo – Cold War Listening Station Near Berlin

When I heard about this place near Berlin, I knew we had to go! And yes, it even looks like a giant penis; I wonder if they did that on purpose. Anyway, now it's filled with all kinds of cool graffiti and street art. It's a bit dangerous maybe, with broken staircases, no guard rails, broken windows, and this sort of thing. I believe I had to buy a ticket to get inside, but it was totally worth it.

Cold War Listening Station Near Berlin

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-23 21:05:29
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

High above Budapest

Kobe Japan Video

I made a few special videos for passport members while I was in Kobe, Japan. I’ll put up the first video now and the second one soon, along with the final photo from Kobe!

Here’s part 1 of my settings and some tips while waiting on the sunset in a very cold place! 🙂

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Daily Photo – High above Budapest

On our recent trip to Europe, this was one of my top three cities. I'd love to come back here and explore even more. The sights are beautiful and the food is not only fantastic, but it's incredibly inexpensive. The Ritz-Carlton here was nice enough to let me up on the roof. We did some filming up here and then launched the Phantom 4 quad for a spin. I'm still using the same quad for almost two years now and it's great! I've never had such a long stint without crashing the quad! I hope I didn't jinx it! 🙂

High above Budapest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-30 20:26:08
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO120
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Driving Off Towards Glenorchy

Screenflow Review!

If you’re interested in a quick way to edit videos or do a screen recording, be sure to check out my Screenflow Review I just finished here on the blog. I’ll embed the video from the review right here below to give you a taste!

Oldie But Goodie!

Here’s one of the first videos I made when I moved to this area about six years ago. It’s called 30 Days and 30 Nights in Queenstown. It’s pretty much the only time-lapse I have ever made. It was so time-consuming that I haven’t had time to make another one!

Daily Photo – Driving Off Towards Glenorchy

I should make this drive once a week! I don't know why I don't. It's so beautiful here and the water and sky are different enough each time to make it worth it. Also, when you get to the end of the road about 25 minutes later, there are some great spots for lunch and relaxation.

Driving Off Towards Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-10-08 07:45:04
  • CameraFC300X
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/210
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

The Swimmin’ Hole in Aruba

New “People” Portfolio

One of the new Portfolios I have over on Smugmug is all my favorite people and portrait photos. Jump in there and enjoy!

Daily Photo – The Swimmin' Hole in Aruba

Aruba is one of my favorite islands I've ever visited. It has all these secret little spots like this. Well, it's not that secret, but I guess it's kinda secret because we were pretty much the only ones there! Here is a Map Link to the location in case you go on an Aruban adventure!

The Swimmin' Hole in Aruba

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-20 15:38:32
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Puerto Rico and San Juan

Extended answers from Wired Interview

How do I preface this? Hmmm, well I did a phone interview with Wired magazine, and then they followed up with some more questions, which I answered via email. I’m sure that 90% will be cut, but a friend asked me to share the full answers here! So, here they are…

Each question was related to the photo above it:

Here's another photo from one of the many beautiful thermal Turkish bath houses from Budapest. This one was kept at a balmy 36C - as you walk from bath to bath through this underground labyrinth, you can tell the temperature of the water by seeing the numbers in the tiled mosaics on the wall. We know it was balmy because we made a lot of videos in here... probably one of our corniest videos yet where Rene Smith does a bit of synchronized swimming with us. Of course, he was the star!

Budapest

Question:
“When you’re relaxed and your guard is down, beautiful moments spring upon you.”

We’ve got the story of the Ritz-Carlton concierge who insightfully referred you to the spa, which worked great in the last text. For this, can you tell me a bit — just one paragraph is fine — about the specific incident of being relaxed, your guard down, and a beautiful moment you can recall springs on you, as it relates to the photo?

Answer:

I have a feeling that everyone feels a bit awkward in a bathing suit. I mean, unless you’re one of those Instagram hoochie girls, which 99.9% of us are not. Anyway, once you decide to rock around a Turkish bath with whatever body you happen to inhabit, then an acceptance sets in, and you just kinda let it all hang out, then you are quite vulnerable. But vulnerability is a great chance to really absorb the moment and it forces your guard to be down. Letting go of worry creates a presence. This presence allows you to be alert and see things you might not have seen before, when the mind was clouded by a fiction it created for itself.

Welcome to the biggest Volkswagen robot in the world! Wow, what a cool place. This is in Wolfsburg, Germany. There are countless floors in this cylindrical robot of fresh Volkswagens here waiting to be delivered to their new owners. Cars are always coming in and out of here on an average of every two days. A huge robot slides up and down the center picking up a car here, delivering a car there, all with perfect German precision. I actually drive a Volkswagen pickup truck in New Zealand (an Amarok) - yeah, who knew they made pickups? BTW, Volkswagen is not a sponsor or anything... just think this is a cool idea. I like it when companies do crazy stuff like this!

Wolfsburg

Question:
“If you open yourself up to the universe, cool stuff happens.”
“Comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Can you expand on how those attitudes specifically played out for you in Wolfsburg?

Answer:
Rolling along the train tracks into Wolfsburg, I had no idea what I would find. No matter how old you get, there are always firsts. The notion of “first” indicates a unique experience; there is no way to have an expectation of what will happen. This then leads to the idea that you should have no expectations at all. It doesn’t mean low expectations, but, theoretically, one should have no expectations of what will be a unique experience.

Once you make this intellectual decision to have no expectations, you embrace the universe itself and whatever comes at you. It’s not just that you have no expectations of what will happen with the universe, but you have no expectations about how you will react to it. Together, by releasing expectations of yourself and the universe, you may come to see these two seemingly discrete things as the same. This makes me feel very connected to any place I happen to be, and if you happen to be in a place, it might as well be around Wolfsburg taking photos of the auto mecca, because it’s pretty freaking awesome.

Moscow

Question:
“I used to worry that because I travel so much, I would run out of places to go. But the more I travel, the more I discover.”

We had a section about London, but The Ritz-Carlton asked that we stick to cities where they operate a hotel. For one of the others (my personal pick is Moscow, because the photo itself is surprising when one reads that it’s Moscow, but whatever feels best for you) is it possible that you had been there before, leading to new feelings there compared to a previous visit? The idea that traveling somewhere more than once leads to very different experiences is powerful.

Answer:

I think we all know how imperfect memory is. Even though I am now kind of a travel photographer, my degree is in Computer Science and Math. Our memory doesn’t work like a computer, and it is wonderfully imperfect. There are theories that we “chunk” the big bullet points of memory so that we can use those bits to simulate future scenarios.

So, when I got into Moscow for the first time, it was fun to “predict” what might happen. Whatever happens, happens, right? Well, it’s still fun to simulate a few possible futures. I was able to pull chunks from my first time to “strange” places (strange, meaning foreign/scary/challenging to me at various stages of my life). I thought about my the time I made my first trip to go to the subway in Tokyo, the time when I got stranded on Antarctica during a blizzard, the time I was arrested in Beijing for flying a drone over the Forbidden City, etc. These are all unusual things that happened to me, and everything turned out just fine.

Now, arriving in Moscow, I thought about all these edge-cases, and I simulated a hundred nutty things that might happen. After all, most of what I knew about Russia came from Reddit, so I was open to literally anything happening. And I wasn’t disappointed. Moscow itself is an amazing place, but what makes Russia so interesting to me is the people there, and the interesting Russian minds inside of them.

Project Loon in Puerto Rico

Here’s an interesting article about how Google is using its balloons to restore communications across the island. Pretty cool eh? I spent a few days with them here in New Zealand when they began testing the balloons… really cool tech!

Daily Photo – Beautiful Puerto Rico and San Juan

It's hard to believe I got this photo not too long before that bad hurricane hit. The whole island is so naturally beautiful that I'm sure it'll bounce back pretty fast… I guess the first step is to get their infrastructure back together… they are all so industrious down there that I bet it will be back faster than anyone thinks.

Beautiful Puerto Rico and San Juan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-25 18:05:02
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Water Mill in Hobbiton

More Hobbiton Video Action from Behind the Scenes

Here’s the long version of the video we made with Air New Zealand. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – The Water Mill in Hobbiton

I was lucky to get permission to fly here on the Hobbiton Movie Set. They are pretty strict about drones nowadays, and they get more and more strict each year. It helps if you have a portfolio or a showreel you can share. It also helps if you offer to share the footage with the property.

The Water Mill in Hobbiton

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-05-25 09:19:48
  • CameraFC330
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

High Above the Baths

Snacking Advice

This is horrible advice for grownups themselves, but great advice for the kids! Anyway, whenever we travel with the kids, I just get them as many snacks as possible, whenever they want them. It’s amazing how much food just keeps them happy and cooperative. My wife completely disagrees, of course, and she thinks it will teach them bad habits. I keep telling her that the bad habits are totally the best, and they can change those bad habits later. In the meantime, at least they are happy and cooperative!

Daily Photo – High Above the Baths

After we finished our hike through the Baths, we went up to a little restaurant on the top. And since the kids never turn down the chance to get a snack, they went snacking crazy while I stepped out on the balcony to take this flight. I didn't get too risky… I could have gone a lot farther, but I was very happy with this shot.

High Above the Baths

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-30 12:18:33
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Along Highway 1 in California

New Drone?

I’m expecting to hear some news from DJI any time now… for a while there, they had an announcement about new quads every few months or so… We must be getting close to a new version.

Daily Photo – Along Highway 1 in California

As far as road trips go, I figure this is one of the best in the world. Highway 1 hugs the coast for hundreds of miles and there are not any bad photos, anywhere! In fact, there are so many great places to pull over and take photos, it can be a little overwhelming. I took this one with the quadcopter… just getting up in the air a few hundred feet gives yet another great view.

Along Highway 1 in California

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-17 15:34:47
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Visiting the Summer Palace in China

Summer Palace

You’ll see another view of today’s place in my video below “Life from Above and Beyond.” Right after the scene goes black and Alan says, “very odd…” after the fade from black, you see this amazing palace.

Daily Photo – Visiting the Summer Palace in China

Here are my kids walking down one of the long hallways there. Well, that guy on the left is not my kid. He's one of the military dudes. Come to think of it, I have not seen a lot of difference between the way the police look and the way the military looks. They all seem pretty nice though; even those ones that arrested me a few years ago!

Visiting the Summer Palace in China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-08 13:28:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length44.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

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