View from the Danube and 24hrs left to order Luminar

From Vienna to Budapest

My friend Nick was going to try this, but it never happened. I thought it sounded like a great idea so I will try it next time… but apparently, you can go from Vienna to Budapest on a fun cruise down the Danube. I don’t know how long it takes or any details, but that sounds like a pretty awesome trip to me. And, it probably doesn’t have the issue I outlined below.

Less than 24hrs of the Luminar Pre-order to go!

Not much time left for the New Luminar preorder! Like, less than 24 hours or so. Grab it here. It’s a fantastic product from our friends at Skylum (the new name of MacPhun – I think it is pronounced Skylooooom, but I am not sure).

Daily Photo – View from the Danube

This is simply a lucky shot! I was on a river cruise down the Danube in Budapest and the moon just happened to be full. I did kind of time it, I suppose, thinking it would be between these two towers. Hey, it worked out. The cruise was recommended to me because there are beautiful views and there was a wine bar on board. It was a great recommendation, but they didn't tell us ahead of time that you only get ONE glass of wine and no more is allowed for the 90-minute sunset cruise. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

View from the Danube

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-08 20:21:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Olya in the Turkish Bathhouse

Taking a JPG into Aurora?

During a recent Q&A, I got a question about Aurora HDR 2018 and bringing in a single JPG rather than a RAW. My short answer is that a RAW is always better, but I still bring in a lot of JPGs from my phone to process with Aurora, like today’s photo!

Daily Photo – Olya in the Turkish Bathhouse

This was taken with a Google Pixel phone, by the way. And no, Google and Pixel are not a sponsor or anything! We actually asked them to help sponsor our European tour, but they never emailed us back. They seemed quite interested, and I asked twice, but I can't send a third email… that's just too embarrassing. Oh well, whether or not they are an official sponsor, I still think it is an amazing phone and camera, as you can see. These were fairly dark conditions… that is Olya there, our videographer, getting some B-Roll for our Budapest videos.

Olya in the Turkish Bathhouse

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-31 12:46:19
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture2
  • ISO127
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramNot Defined
  • Exposure Bias

My Very Serious Team!

A Look Inside my Studio and latest setup

Hey all – what’s the current State of Affairs of my computers and gadgets and goodies? I made a video, but remember you can check out my KIT for a listing of all my goodies!

A Big Thanks

I’ll take this opportunity to send a big thanks to the whole team that helps out around here. There’s a lot of things behind the scenes you don’t see. They all work really hard to make everything happen. Thanks again guys and gals! 🙂

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Daily Photo – My Very Serious Team!

Hehe – they are all great. Here's three of them. That's Tane, my assistant in the front left. Then Olya is on the right, our crazy Russian videographer. They are both kind of like models, so I take a lot of photos of them looking wistfully in various directions. In the back is Seth, our other videographer! I took this in Budapest right before the Hans Zimmer concert.

My Very Serious Team!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-01 19:21:08
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Wave Pool in the Turkish Baths

Mini Baths Guide

There are many in Budapest, and it would probably be fun to try them all. I got many recommendations from the staff at the Ritz-Carlton, and me and the team tried two. Our favorite of the two was Gellert Baths. There were seven baths, indoor+outdoor, and it was extremely beautiful. Also, most importantly for me, it wasn’t that crowded. The other bath, the more famous Szechenyi Baths were extremely crowded, and you’d often bump into people when going through the halls.

The Los Angeles Photo Walk is official now!

It’ll be on September 9th and you can RSVP on the Facebook event here. This is a free event, and all skill levels and cameras (yes even mobile phones) are welcome! It’ll be a beautiful sunset, and a great chance for you to come learn some new photography tips & tricks, and hang out with a bunch of awesome people. Speaking of awesome people, this is sponsored by Air New Zealand. We just selected the winner for the big AirNZ contest to fly out here and spend a week with me at a photo workshop in New Zealand. Thanks again for the thousands of incredible entires – very inspirational! 🙂

Daily Photo – The Wave Pool in the Turkish Baths

All the photos I have on the blog so far are from the Gellert Baths, since that's the only place I took photos! This is the only outdoor pool, and I was surprised to see it was a wave pool – Cool! The baths were built over 100 years ago, and I doubt it was originally a wave pool. It's pretty cool they converted it though… everyone inside was having a blast.

The Wave Pool in the Turkish Baths

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-31 12:11:34
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

4 Tips for Taking Surprising Mobile Photos

It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone or an Android there are a few things you can do to get your mobile photography to the next level. All of the photos included with the tips were taken with my Google Pixel phone. I normally shoot with a big Hasselblad camera, but sometimes all I have with me is my phone. I’ve come up with some great tricks to make them look as surprising and incredible as possible.

1) Don’t hit that big circle on the screen to take the photo. Use the Vol Up button on the side! One, when you jab the screen with your finger, you’re causing camera-shake and it will make your photo more blurry. Two, using the volume up button allows you to hold the camera much more steady with one or two hands.

Image 1

This was taken an underground Turkish bath in Budapest, Hungary. This is Olya, my crazy Russian videographer, who traveled through Europe with us to make some inspirational and tutorial videos.

2) Experiment with the mobile app Snapseed! It’s free and available for Android and iOS. This is, by far, the best app for editing your photos on your phone. There are many tools in there and many different filters. One great thing about Snapseed is you can layer many different filters together to really give your photo a unique look. People will wonder how you did it!

Image 2

Here’s a fun family photo from a few months ago when we rode camels near the pyramids in Egypt. I used Snapseed filters to give it this “look.”

3) Take some cheeky street photos. If you’re like me, as you walk around the streets, you often see interesting people, crazy outfits, or just kooky things you find interesting. It can sometimes be embarrassing to blatantly aim your phone at these things, so get used to using the Volume Up button to take the photos. On the Pixel phone, for example, I can turn on the camera by double-clicking the power button. Then I move my finger to volume-up to take the photo. Your horizon will probably be off, but you can fix that later.

Image 3

Here’s a cheeky street photo I took in Budapest, Hungary. This is my assistant Tane. He’s not posing; this is literally how he looks all the time.

4) Try combining your phone with an iPad or tablet to edit your photos to the next level. Professional photographers know that a photo reads differently on a larger screen. Next time you’re at a coffee shop, why not zap your photo over to your tablet (via Google Photos or Airdrop), then use Snapseed to edit it there. A good photo always looks better bigger on a tablet, so don’t feel like you’re forced to use that tiny little screen.

Image 4

This a photo I took in Aruba. I was jogging on the beach, and of course I had my mobile phone with me. I was able to cover a lot of ground quickly, and there’s no way I would go on a jog and carry a Hasselblad! But it’s nice to always have the phone with me and take a ton of photos, picking out the best after I sit down to relax.

Image 5

Near my home on the south island of New Zealand, there is this amazing place to watch the sunset called Lake Hayes. I forgot my big Hasselblad camera, so all I had was my phone. There’s a saying that the Best Camera is the one you have with you!

Image 6

Here’s a panorama of three different photos I took while on a walk here near my home in New Zealand. Since I have an Android, I use Google photos. One great thing about Google Photos is there’s a little AI assistant that will “gift” you a panorama if it senses you took a lot of photos close together.

Olya in the Turkish Bath

Europe Tour Recap

Speaking of our European Tour, why not pop over to our tour website to check out highlights, see who won the prizes, and more!

Daily Photo – Olya in the Turkish Bath

Here's the awesome and kooky Olya! She's our new Russian videographer and she spent about 50 days with us on the road in Europe. She has a really thick Russian accent, grew up in Soviet Russia, and has all kinds of hilarious stories. We made a ton of videos together, and in this one, it appears that we're filming some kind of a porn scene. Actually, it was me and Rene and Curtis on the other side of the camera in this Turkish bath, so people probably thought we were filming some kind of gay porn.

Olya in the Turkish Bath

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-31 12:54:18
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

There’s Parliament Again

New Luminar Review!

When the new Luminar came out with the cool AI Slider, I decided to update my Luminar Review.

Here’s a little snippit from it

See that slider up in the top right – “Accent – AI Filter”? That’s where all the action is at! The first time you load up a photo, you will not see this slider. You have to first select the Quick and Awesome Workspace just above it. This one slider is so handy; in most cases, it’s all you’ll need!

Photowalk Highlights from Budapest!

This was an especially great photo walk! I was surprised when my friend Hans Zimmer and his band came out to join us for the entire event! He’s also on tour in Europe at Hans Zimmer Live and as you can tell from his schedule, he’s working much harder than I am! Anyway, you’ll see a bit of footage from Hans in these clips below.

Daily Photo – There's Parliament Again

Wow, I'm really loading up the blog with Budapest photos this week. Sorry gang. I don't know why I went so photo-crazy there. Maybe it was because the tour had ended and I had some spare time to wander and be a true flaneur! Who knows… well the case is probably that the city is so beautiful that you just can't go wrong… I can't wait to go back here and have more wanders (and more amazing food that costs 10% what it does anywhere else in the world!).

There's Parliament Again

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-08 21:06:15
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Budapest

Some of Rene’s Behind-the-Scenes photos

My friend Rene Smith joined us on the bus for most of the trip. He put together a little Facebook Album with a few fun photos and some commentary!

Daily Photo – Beautiful Budapest

Okay, I've already repeated Budapest as a location 2 out of the last 3 days. Maybe it's because it was one of my favorite new places! We stayed right here in the middle at the Ritz-Carlton (who partnered with us on the tour), and this is a view from when I flew a quadcopter off the roof. This was shot with the Phantom 4 Pro and is a panorama made from 4 different photos. I'm impressed at the low-light capabilities of this beast!

Beautiful Budapest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-30 20:57:22
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Turkish Baths of Budapest

Good Science video on the effects of LSD on the brain

You guys may know I’m a fan of all kinds of experimentation; especially with mind-altering drugs. There’s a lot of misinformation out there… I’ve never had a bad experience, and it’s always been mind-expanding and very inspirational. It’s good to see there’s some more hard science behind it too. Here’s an article from Reason Magazine where they interview David Nutt.

Daily Photo – The Turkish Baths of Budapest

I'm going to start sharing some of my favorite photos from this mammoth 55 day tour across Europe! I hardly know where to start… how about here, in one of the most relaxing places of all! Budapest is filled with many different Turkish baths, all of which are worth visiting. This one might be my favorite – it's called Gallert. It was not crowded at all, and there were seven different thermal baths, both inside and outside. We also did some filming in here… people wondered what the heck we were doing running around half nude carrying cameras!

The Turkish Baths of Budapest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-31 12:07:06
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Hans Zimmer in Frankfurt with our competition winner Martin!

Here’s the Facebook LIVE from at the soundcheck for the Hans Zimmer in Frankfurt at the Commerzbank-Arena with our big contest winner Martin Rosenkranz and his wife who came with him to see the concert! While we were filming Lisa Gerrard was belting out one of my favorites from Gladiator while the sound crew gets the levels right. A night spent taking photos while listening to incredible music, couldn’t ask for anything better. Below are some of my favorite photos from both the Budapest and Frankfurt concerts, check them out!





Here’s the first concert we visited in Budapest… the lighting here was just incredible, so I decided to do my own take as a tribute to Inception.



During sound check in Frankfurt, Hans jumped on stage to play “Video Killed the Radio Star,” a song that came out of his very first band (a rarely known fact!).



Lisa Gerrard belts out one of her heart-wrenching songs from Gladiator (Now We are Free).



Everyone in the band seems to do multiple things. Here’s some of the great violinists jump in to do some backup singing.



In the middle of the Frankfurt concert (this is Hans’ home town in Germany), a golden sunset started streaming through the stadium.



Behind the scenes were 10x as many people making sure the show went well. There was so much lighting and control mechanisms – I thought it was all quite overwhelming to even conceive of, much less control.



Tina Guo, one of the featured cellists, tears apart more strings from her bow. I told her it looks kind of like she’s playing a quadcopter, eh?



Here’s the old piano that Hans plays throughout the concert. He told me he gets really nervous before the show, so worried he’s going to hit the wrong note… so that’s why he puts little stars on the keys.



Hans conducts his band during Interstellar, one of the final numbers.

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