Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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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

Cinque Terre as Evening Falls

Restaurant Recommendation for this spot

I recommend getting an outside table at Nessun Dorma here in Manirola. This is basically the view from the restaurant! Well, it’s a little bit higher, but more or less… go there and order a bunch of food a spritzer drinks and enjoy several hours of one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Daily Photo – Cinque Terre as Evening Falls

It's hard to say where my favorite stop was during our 55-day photo tour in Europe. This area of Italy is easily in the top 10, though. I've always wanted to visit this place, so we decided to make it happen! There are 5 small towns here embedded into the coastline of Italy. You can hike between all 5 or take a little train that connects all of them. We decided to take the train to cover as much ground as possible. I have a lot more photos to share from the area, but wanted to get the Cinque Terre party started early with this one!

Cinque Terre as Evening Falls

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-02 19:35:25
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time16
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • 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

Recap of Paris from another perspective and mini-Luminar Review

Trey and Photo Serge in Paris!

Just by chance, my friend Serge Ramelli was in Paris while we were there on tour. Here’s a video he made while there… always good to see Serge, and even better to hang out with his extended family a bit! You’ll see his daughter Marin in the video below as well.

More about Luminar

Go grab the new Luminar now at the Macphun website. It’s a great improvement over the last one. I’ll talk about one feature in particular here: the “AI Slider”.

When Dima (the head programmer) told me about this in Amsterdam, he was so excited… this idea that ONE slider can make your photo look better, with AI! I was skeptical, of course… but after playing with it, I get it! 🙂

I’m working on a full review of Luminar, but, in the meantime, here are two quick screenshots with caption descriptions:

Day_25_-_Monet_Det_-___233_of_344__jpg

After you load an image into Luminar, go up to that drop down on the top right and select “Quick & Awesome” – inside there is that ONE slider you need “Accent – AI Filter.” You can see the split screen here… that is literally the only slider I moved! This was taken in Monet’s garden in Giverny, a place I had always wanted to visit. I bet Monet wishes he had this slider himself.

Day_25_-_Monet_Det_-___2313_of_344__jpg

Here’s a slightly more complex screenshot to show you just a few of the other things you can do in Luminar. Here, I tried a different workspace – the “Landscape” workspace. When I selected this, it opened up a ton of filters on the right side. It still has that “Accent – AI Filter”, but it also has a whole host of the other filters that can really give your landscape a bit more attitude. You can’t see it all in this screenshot, but you can scroll down quite a ways and make all sorts of adjustments.

Getting through border security at LAX

This was one of my most popular and controversial Facebook Lives of recent past. I didn’t mean for it to be so nutty, but, well, have a watch/listen and maybe you’ll see!



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.

A Favorite Walk

How-To Video

Here’s a how-to of how I made today’s photo. I did this on Facebook live, and it’s embedded here. Enjoy! 🙂

Side note: the video looses audio/visual sync though due to technical gremlins but hopefully it’s still somewhat useful!



Daily Photo – A Favorite Walk

I do this walk by my house a few times a week. This is about 5 minutes away and affords amazing views of the valley. I decided to make a panorama here with my new Hasselblad X1D. This is made up of 5 different vertical photos… stitched together in Lightroom, then adjusted with Aurora HDR. Well, you can see more in the video above!

A Favorite Walk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-27 23:15:30
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

New to Luminar – Accent AI Filter

Hey there’s some new Mac software you should try – it has this ONE awesome “AI Slider” – too easy! This is the latest iteration of Luminar, so it has all the other nifty sliders if you want to get down in the details. Grab it now at the Macphun Site.

I was with the engineering team in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, and Dima was geeking out about this feature… he showed me and now I know why! We worked with Macphun closely on Aurora (which yes, is coming to Windows) – so I know how passionate these guys are about great photo editing software. Anyway, if you’re a busy or casual photographer, having this new, simple AI slider is pretty ingenious. Hope you love it! 🙂

Here’ a quick broadcast from my desktop to show you how to use the AI Slider.



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