The Magical Castle at Night

Luminar Quick Tip

If you don’t have this amazing tool, be sure to get Luminar on Skylum’s website. It’s really a great tool! In this video, I show a bit about how to enhance foliage with one of their cool tools. I also briefly mention my new drone tutorial in this video, which is now available in the store.

Daily Photo – The Magical Castle at Night

Many hardcore people get angry when I call this a castle because it's actually more of a monastery on top of a medieval village. But I'm not much for semantics and the form largely ticks the “castle” pattern-recognition part of my brain. This is Mont St. Michel in the Normandy area of France. I still recommend this as an amazing destination, even if you are not into photography. It's kind of touristy in the daytime, but it really clears out in the evening. If you're looking for a “lively” place with lots of cool bars and restaurants, it's definitely not that kind of place. But if you're looking for a place where you can play real-life Assassin's Creed, well it's much more that kinda place.

The Magical Castle at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-13 22:50:04
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length250.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+3

The old dining cottage in Mont St. Michel

Tip for Quadcopter shots

I recommend making your HDR from a single RAW file. I no longer do multiple brackets for quadcopter shots for the simple reason that it adds more noise.

Daily Photo – The old dining cottage in Mont St. Michel

Oh my gosh – how much do you want to go in there and eat some fresh, warm French food and drink wine? I'm sure they were all loving it… I like how the guy on the 2nd floor appears to be taking a photo of my quadcopter! I got quite a cool video (if I do say so myself), doing a vertical rise from here all the way to the spire on top of the monastery. I'll share that soon.

The old dining cottage in Mont St. Michel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-10 21:04:09
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Floating over Mont St. Michel

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Daily Photo – Floating over Mont St. Michel

This was my second time to this amazing place in Normandy, but my first time with the drone. So I decided to make the most of it and was hoping karma would bring me a good sunset, and it did! 🙂 I alternated between taking photos and making videos. This amazing light did not last that long, so I did my best to get as many shots as possible. For a Zen guy, I was in a little bit of a panic mode!

Floating over Mont St. Michel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-10 21:06:29
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Mont Saint Michel in the Dark

Karma Story

I’m a big believer in Karma, and when it doesn’t work out at all, I always find it humorous. Some of you may know I’m a beekeeper… I have about five hives and occasionally there are bees around the house or even in the house. One morning, I was making my coffee in the dark kitchen and I saw a bee slowly crawling across our countertop. Usually bees do this when they are exhausted and about to die. It was a pitiful thing, so I went to go get some honey and I put a bit on the end of a knife, and slid the knife close to the bee’s head. The bee was excited and crawled up to start getting some much-needed calories so it could fly back. I was holding my coffee, watching this whole thing happen, and thinking about what great karma I have, and then I spilled my coffee down my stomach and crotch! haha… just goes to show you to have good karma but not give yourself credit for it! 🙂

Daily Photo – Mont Saint Michel in the Dark

We had an amazing day in Mont Saint Michel. It was much too short, and I want to go back again to explore more… but I was happy to escape with a few shots! Here's one that I took right before I was about to give up and walk back to our bus. I was about to pack up my tripod but then turned around to see a bus coming toward Mont Saint Michel. I quickly set everything up to get a long exposure right as soon as the bus passed, hoping it would give some dreamy light streaks towards the old monastery.

Mont Saint Michel in the Dark

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-10 22:02:27
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time64
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Double-inner Cloister in Mont Saint-Michel

Don’t forget about the freebie version of “Organize Your Photos!”

On the day we announced the new blog, we did a huge giveaway of this video series to local camera clubs! Be sure to pop over there to see all the details. It’s only valid for two more days, so check it out! 🙂

Daily Photo – The Double-inner Cloister

When touring the fortified monastery inside Mont Saint-Michel, one of the final areas after many twists and turns opens into this charming cloister. The arches and craftsmanship is remarkable and makes for at least a few hours worth of photos. It's one of those amazing places where you just take a few steps then resign yourself to taking yet another photo!

Unfortunately, this place is not open at night, which was too bad because I was really looking forward to one of those sorts of shots. I think this place would be so moody in low light!

The Double-inner Cloister

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-13 17:38:41
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Stairs to the Monastery

Scary Cats

Even though there were no tourists around while I was shooting below, there were a bunch of crazy feral cats. They were running around and acting extra-scary. In fact, they kind of freaked me out… I would turn dark corners and loony black cats would jump out or run across the path. If a wild cat bites you, can you catch something? I figure there are cat experts around here that know these things… !!

Daily Photo – Stairs to the Monastery

I went up and down those stairs about six times throughout the night to explore this amazing place. The best part was that it was completely bereft of tourists. Whenever you get to walk around a huge medieval walled town like this in the middle of the night with no one around, you really begin to feel like you’re not supposed to be there, as if you’ve broken into some place secret…

Stairs to the Monastery

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-12 21:21:16
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Mont Saint Michel in Repose

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Be sure to sign up for our free Newsletter. There’s always good stuff in there… and it’s full of photos that are email-to-your-family friendly. I looked at the stats, and our newsletters have over a 100% open rate — which is kind of crazy — this means they get forwarded all over creation… so, anyway, thank you ! 🙂

Daily Photo – Mont Saint Michel in Repose

I can’t wait to go back to this place! I really hope that I do. This amazing island-monastery has various degrees of “islandness” depending upon the time of day. I think next time I go I will plan out the tides even better so I am sure to get more shots from various angles.

I also read on a few sites that there is “quicksand” out there… and if you go the wrong way to take a photo, you can get stuck in the quicksand! I think that sounds like one of the worst possible things in the world… so I was a little scared to go try. There was no one to throw me a vine, like in the cartoons…

Mont Saint Michel in Repose

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-13 21:36:59
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length170.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+3

Exploring the old Village – and new Behind the Scenes Video

Newsletter Special

Those of you that sign up for the free Newsletter not only hear about specials, but you sometimes get to see videos early! Like this one below… Happy subscribers got to see it first! 🙂

Behind the Scenes in the New Zealand Forest (silly video warning)

I ran around in the forest in New Zealand with Curtis, Karen, and Scott. We decided to make a video after we got to a stopping point… Anyway, here’s something fun (and maybe a tad useful) for you 🙂

Daily Photo – Exploring the old Village

If you ever get to Mont Saint Michel, give the whole place a full circle on the curtain wall. It’s easy to get up on the wall (and quite safe to walk on… even though walking on a wall sounds dangerous). There are stairs to get up there and everything. Anyway, the wall circumnavigates about a third of the old village and monastery. There are countless good angles. It’s also worth walking this route at least three times – Sunrise (or sunset), mid day, and night!

Exploring the old Village

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-13 11:18:25
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Mont Saint Michel at Sunset

Downton Abbey

This is a pretty good show. I recommend it! I feel like I’m watching Masterpiece Theater, and that makes it sound rather boring, but it is not. Every one of the actors on here is very good… anyway, give it a chance if you want to watch The Most British Show Ever Made!

Daily Photo – Mont Saint Michel at Sunset

Oh my god getting to this location at the last second was difficult and lucky.

I started the wild car ride about 30 minutes beforehand inside that walled city. I looked on Google Maps to figure out how to get to this exact spot. Now, I had no mobile internet, so I basically had to memorize the way here. It required going through, and I kid you not, about seven different roundabouts, each one exiting in a strange, non obviously spot. Anyway, to my and Tom’s surprise, I exited each one perfectly and made it here with ZERO mistakes. Note that I am not nearly always this flawless, but it worked out and we got here just in time for sunset!

Mont Saint Michel at Sunset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-13 20:12:42
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length250.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

The Towering Medieval Hotel

Fun Show Last Night!

Last night’s show was a lot of fun. Be sure to check out Kate Russell from the BBC, Thomas Hawk, Brian Matiash, Don the Snowflake guy, Ollie Dale, and Gino Barassa… and Dave Veffer as always! We do the show every Monday night at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET !

If you come here to the website just before the show, you’ll see the embedded player up and ready to run… and you can see last night’s show in the post below this one! You’ll even see a sneak preview of a documentary that I am in from Ollie called “Virtually Famous”.

Daily Photo – The Towering Medieval Hotel

I’m sure Europeans find this kind of architecture to be quaint and banal, but I rather like it. In fact, I’d say it’s just about one of my favorites! Whenever I see old buildings in this style, it makes me a little bit happy.

This one was in the village of Mont Saint Michel. It was one of very few hotels that are tightly woven into the old medieval walled complex. I didn’t go inside, but it felt like it was right out of Skyrim!

The Towering Medieval Hotel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-12 20:48:27
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

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