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! 🙂
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.
Drum roll… 100,000,000 HDR photos (actual number!) have been made with Aurora HDR, and now… more dramatic drum roll… The NEWEST iteration of Aurora HDR is announced, and this time it’s launching for PC and Mac at the same time! Yes, finally, all of you Windows people (including me nowadays), can experience the greatness of this software!
It’s now gone through 10 iterations. I can’t spill all the new features yet, but I can say the HDR algorithms are at least twice as fast, there’s a fresh new user interface, lens corrections, and a whole lot more. The Mac and PC versions will be available for pre-order in the Stuck in Customs store on September 12!
Watch this awesome (and silly) video about Aurora HDR 2018!
Mark your calendar for September 12!
Aurora HDR 2018 will be available for pre-order in my store on Sep 12, and released on Sep 28. Current users of Aurora HDR may upgrade at a special pre-order price of $49. New users can pre-order Aurora HDR 2018 for just $89.
Aurora HDR’s Key Features
If you’re new to Aurora HDR, here’s some of the best features!
Total HDR editing experience with the most complete set of tools available
Fast, powerful RAW processing engine
Tone-mapping algorithm to achieve both realistic and dramatic HDR images
Over 70 presets that give photos an amazing HDR look in just one click
Luminosity masking that automatically makes advanced selections within HDR images based on the Zone System
Unique layer system that supports blend modes, custom textures and using original exposures as source images
Image Radiance, brushes, masks, lighting, vignettes and much more help users achieve their artistic vision
Highly versatile batch processing
Works as a standalone app, or a plug-in to Photoshop and Lightroom
A sneak peek into what’s new in Aurora HDR 2018
Lens Correction Tool – The new Lens correction filter easily fixes all kinds of lens distortion, from barrel to pincushion, to chromatic aberration and vignetting.
New User Interface – Redesigned from scratch, the modern and responsive user interface brings a powerful, yet joyful experience to HDR photo editing.
Cross-platform version – Aurora HDR 2018 will be available both for Mac and PC users. Files are interchangeable and mixed-computer households can share the same product key.
Speed Improvements – Up to 4x improvement in RAW image processing, and up to 200% faster merging and masking performance means that Aurora HDR 2018 is dramatically faster than the last version.
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Here’s a fun video from one of my new friends I met on the European photo walks! Hi Phillip! 🙂
Portugal Travel Tip
If you’re on a limited budget, be sure to check out Portugal! It’s quite inexpensive and extremely beautiful. There are so many places to go see here. The country is much bigger than it looks on a map. I think people think of it as tiny because it looks smallish on the map, with Spain just dominating most of the peninsula. But when you’re on the ground, driving around, etc, you realize how big it is and how much there is to explore.
Daily Photo – In the streets of Sintra, Portugal
What a cool little town this was. We only spent one morning here after visiting the palace, but we had some crazy desserts. I never feel as bad about myself as when I start eating dessert at 10 AM. But hey, it's Europe, and I figure a lot of that sort of stuff happens all the time here.
One of my first real solo photo trips was in Italy. I remember REALLY falling in love with HDR photography here in the Duomo. Below is my first photo I took there, which was maybe eight years ago or so…
Daily Photo – Back to the Duomo in Milan
And here's the new one I took about a month ago. They're pretty different eh? I'm not too judgmental on my older work… I try not to think better or worse, but just different. But then one part of my brain thinks the newer one is maybe just a litttttle bit better! 🙂
Note, I was not disappointed with Prague; I’m disappointed I didn’t get more and better photos of it! I was only there from, hmmm, maybe noon until midnight. It was my first time here, and I’ve always wanted to go… so I felt a bit rushed to see as much as possible. I’m probably a bit hard on myself… but I’ll be back some day and take my time! 🙂
Daily Photo – Bridges of Prague
I had a bit of trouble finding the best spot to take photos in Prague because I was there for such a short time. But I think this spot is not so bad. There's a park that's nearby that has an elevated area for looking at all these beautiful bridges. I usually move around a bit more, but this evening, I just parked myself here and watched the world go by.
Here’s a new Plotagraph Review on the site. I also made two new how-to videos. Here’s one of them for you:
Every now and then, the Sony throws off this strange effect in the background. I’m not sure how I did it, but I sure like it. I used the 35mm Leica lens here, and it seems to have some sort of spiral effect. Or maybe it’s just the orientation of the crowd. I’m not sure, but I think it is interesting.
Daily Photo – Strange Bokeh in the Park
While in Berlin, I went to this weekly festival in a park there. It was kind of like a mini-Burning Man. You know these types of mini-festivals. They seem to be getting more and more popular. And they're always great for photos. This was taken in a big karaoke area where people would organically get on the stage and sing, dance, and perform. You can see the audience in the back, just as this performer was walking off the stage.
When I took this photo, I used my Google Pixel phone because I forgot to put a memory card in my Hasselblad like a big dummy! But, I think it turned out pretty great anyway. I took about 6 photos while holding the phone upright. I did a lot of overlap so that Google would automatically build a panorama on the backend. Later, when I got to the hotel, the panorama had already been made in Google Photos, so I simply downloaded it and made adjustments in Lightroom and Aurora HDR
Daily Photo – The American Cemetery in Normandy
After leaving Mont Saint Michel, our bus stopped to visit the famous Omaha beach before coming here. It was quite moving, as you might expect. The design was very interesting too. In this photo, it looks like there is a perfect grid of white crosses for as far as the eye can see. But there were many little gaps for trees and other designs. Also, if you look closely, not everything is a cross; some are stars of David.
Fuji was nice enough to send me the FUJI X-T2 to use at Burning Man along with a few lenses. I used it’s little brother last year and absolutely loved it. Here’s a link to the FUJI review showing off some of the shots I got with it. Below, if you’re a Passport Member, you can see me unboxing the new one!
Getting to Eze
The best way to get to Eze, if you don’t have a car, is simply to Uber there from nearby Naples. It’s a short ride, and you get dropped off at the base of the medieval town. You can wander up into it (not toooo far uphill), stroll through the streets, shop, then find a cute little restaurant and have wine and cheese and ice cream. It’s a great day-trip I recommend!
Fuji X-T2 Unboxing and a super inappropriate joke…
This little mountaintop town in France is one of my favorites. I first went here about 20 years ago with my dad. My dad used to do lots of car racing all over the world. He did those 24-hour races for Porsche – raced at Le Mans, Daytona 24hr, Nürburgring, Silverstone, etc. While there, he found lots of cool little spots like this. So it was fun to return now that I am really into photography and try to capture some of its beauty.
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.
Speaking of highlight videos, like the one yesterday, here’s one from our Amsterdam photo walk! 🙂
Daily Photo – The Red Light District in Amsterdam
The red light district goes all day long. It's great people-watching, as you might expect. I think once you get over the discomfort of looking a woman in a window smiling at you, it can be interesting just to observe and not judge or anything. It's all legal here and heavily controlled so nothing fishy goes on and the women are kept safe. No photos of course (I didn't try), but you can take ones that are a bit far away. Fun Fact: If you see a BLUE light inside of one of the windows, then you're looking at a transvestite.