Tuktuk Ride In Cambodia

I have been quiet because I have been in Cambodia since Monday. With my schedule in Thailand I haven’t had time to edit but I have been actively shooting. Which is why this site now gets updated when it gets updated.

I had an opportunity to go to Cambodia for 5 days so I took it. Traveled light with just my Sony RX10 and and my cell phone. First day was a bit of a wash due to weather so no shooting was done. I finally got a chance to do some stuff today but no way to edit.

With that said, I decided to record the video of my tuktuk ride to the Royal Palace (Well part of it). Guy got me for $2 for about a 15 minute walk. In the end it worked out because I got the video. On the way back I did a bunch of street photography and generally just took my time until I felt my face start to burn. Then ducked into a riverside cafe and had 2 .65 cent draft beers to cool off and chill out.

Enjoy the video.

The Lone Cloud

Was just standing on shore and saw this scene and figured why not take a picture. The single clouds was the dominating object in the image but there was so much else that I just liked the total scene.

I am not 100% sure where I took this image. I know I had my Sigma 17-70 on my Nikon D5500 but that’s about it. I believe I was near the Bali Hai but don’t quote me as I was wandering around the area with my camera and just taking photos.

Editing this I bumped it up with Macphun Intensify and liked the end result. I am starting to put more contrast in via my curves adjustments now and let Intensify bring out features. I didn’t bother to mask anything in. I did spend copious amounts of time removing dust spots from the lens and then burned the cloud down a bit.

Enjoy.

The Lone Cloud

Guess Who Is Back

Well I am back. Conditionally speaking of course. Which will be explained shortly.

First off, I had to take a break. I was suddenly thrust with the problem of being a landscape/travel photographer shooting when I felt like it to being a full time portrait/event photographer. Whole different world and one I wasn’t exactly prepared for.

I had done events before. No big deal. Bang the photos out and done with it. So shooting parties wasn’t a real difficult task. The problem was the portraits. I never really shot them much. If I did they were off the cuff and for fun, not work.

I suddenly had to become a portrait photographer which was a whole new world to me. It meant learning to retouch photos on a level I had never done before. It also meant learning flash and lighting and all that went with it.

Over the past month I have learned. I have never spent so much time in Photoshop in my life. When I wasn’t in Photoshop I was reading articles on how to retouch faces, match skin tones, and so on. Took a lot of work and effort.

With all that I didn’t have time to shoot personal work and to be honest I still don’t but trying to change that. I doubt I will do 5 days a week anymore. I just can’t because of other commitments.

I rather publish a photo I am proud of or that I personally enjoy then some crap I shot just to put in for filler. It doesn’t work and I feel I let myself down by publishing crap.

So with all that said, I’ll be most again. Just not as frequently and on a schedule that is slightly more erratic than before. Goal is 3 or 4 images a week and no longer on a Monday – Friday schedule. They will go when I think I have something worth sharing and will just be published whenever. No more scheduled photos. I live on the other side of the world now. So time zones are a bit of a pain and really not worth the effort.

This image was taken off the balcony of my room. My view is towards the Gulf of Thailand (I can’t see the water) and towards downtown. It’s a weird view but I like it.

The sun was setting and I had my Nikon D810 (which I use for all portrait work) on a table so grabbed it and took this shot.

When I went to edit it I wanted that sunset to pop and the buildings to clip towards black. Did all that and then used a bunch of filters to get the sky to pop. Each one a different layer. Trust me, nature didn’t make this sunset. The joy of doing that is you always introduce noise into a sky photo. So I just ran another filter to denoise the image. Then I masked it in so it didn’t look unnatural and called it done.

Enjoy

Sunset over Pattaya

Interior Work

This was taken for friends of mine who are opening a new bar. They needed some interior images and I just really like this one.

Normally I don’t show off work I do for others but I really like the image. This was more of a test image but I ended up liking it a lot. There are two versions, this one I masked in from Intensify and the one we used for something else. Even with the minor issues it’s a cool image. The bar wasn’t open yet and I was just there doing some interior images for later.

This is just some of the stuff I am doing. What I can’t show and why I don’t have much time to shoot anymore.

Editing this was normal workflow and then I used Intensify to do bring out details. Nothing overly fancy going on here. Used my Sony A7R and a 16-35mm lens.

Enjoy

interior work

On The Bench

These were all shot at Meadowlark Gardens while I was shooting the early spring stuff. While they could have gone with those images I felt they stood on their own with their own theme.

Still on travel, in fact as this goes live I’ll be on my final leg of my flight to Thailand. So hello from the future since this was all preloaded.

Editing was my standard Lightroom and Photoshop workflow.

Enjoy.

Spring Trees – Part 2

This series was shot at two locations on back-to-back days. They were taken at Brookside Gardens and Meadowlark Gardens. I was playing with the Nikon D5500 and had my Sigma 24-105 on the camera.

I am on travel this week as I start the final part of my journey as I move to Thailand. With all the travel I have done all the editing in one shot. I am preloading all the posts for the week so I can focus on getting to Thailand.

Editing for every images was just my Lightroom and Photoshop workflow and nothing more.

Enjoy!

Tower Life Building

Shot this while I was out in San Antonio one night. Just had by Sony RX100III with me and handheld at that. Still turned out decent even at ISO 2000.

When I travel about I tend to carry some camera on me. While I will use my phone it’s not something I prefer. Phone photography is nice but when you want a better shot a bigger camera is going to do better. This is just a limitation of a cell phone’s sensor. While they have come a long way they still cannot complete with a larger sensor on a camera. A cell phone will be fine when there is lots of light. In low light the smaller sensor will struggle and show more noise just because there is less of a sensor to capture the available light.

With the noise on this image I could not push editing too much. Went ahead with my usual workflow then used Camera Raw in Photoshop to reduce the noise further. Some minor dodging and burning and called it done.

Enjoy.

San Antonio

Sunset On The Gulf Of Thailand

If you are thinking you are at the right site or not trust me you are. Things just look a wee bit different for a couple of reasons which I will get into shortly. As for the image it was taken on the Gulf Of Thailand. Which played a part in all this.

This site was hosted on WordPress.Com and it was fine hosting. I paid $299 a year for it and to be honest the set it and forget it nature was great. The problem is I have hosting that I pay for myself that is also $299 a year that runs various other projects I do. So it didn’t make sense to keep paying WordPress for something I could do myself.

I did a backup of the site and I restored to my server without issue. One of the problems was the theme itself isn’t on the free version of WordPress so I had to pick a new theme. I found one that did the trick for me and I called it done. Well, not really. I went through a few before I settled on this one and did some quick changes and then called it done.

If you attempted to get to the site over the weekend and got HTTPS errors it’s because I didn’t have a TLS certificate installed. That was a quick $9 fix and off to the races I went. If you are still getting weird errors refresh your cache.

Why does Thailand come into this? Well, I’m moving there. That’s right. Not just a brief holiday. Like, full time resident of the Kingdom of Thailand. My plane leaves the 12th of July and I will land in Thailand the 13th.

This has been a long time coming and with lots of planning. For this reason, it’s why I also gave up WordPress.Com hosting. I walked away from a very good job to do my own thing. While I have income coming in – I don’t have stupid amounts of income where $299 is just a blip on the radar or a good night out. In fact, it’s basically my monthly rent for the place I got in Thailand.

Coming in the near future will be another site where it won’t be solely photography focused. Look for that eventually. It’s in the design phase now. It will be my world through the eyes of an expat and traveler roaming South East Asia. Will be video and more. I’m sure there will be growing pains as I learn how to edit video. But it will be something to keep me occupied.

Eventually this site will redirect to that site. One day you will come here and be like WTF this isn’t the site I wanted. Don’t worry, it’s just me doing some DNS magic on the background. I was an IT guy for 25 years or so it’s not like I would be winging it.

I won’t write how I edited this photo. I just figured it was appropriate considering the nature of the post. Enjoy the Gulf of Thailand. I know I will be seeing it a whole lot more in my very near future.

Thanks for reading!

Gulf of Thailand Sunset

Sunrise On A Gazebo

I took two different shots of the gazebo at Antietam. One from the front and this one. Considering the light I guess I didn’t take them that far apart.

If there was a hell for photo editing this image is likely involved. I have edited this image at least 10 times. This is finally the version I settled on.

Part of the problem was the light and how the camera metered it. It did some really funky things and I minimized them as much as possible. I won’t tell you what they are but they are there. Then I had some crap that I didn’t want in the image and thought I be slick and clone stamp it out. That turned things even worse. Finally, no matter what I did HDR or not HDR is just kept looking like ass.

This edit I took a master source file and did my usual edits in Lightroom then brought it into Photoshop. I then created 2 layers. The first layers I edited it as I normally would any other file. Curves adjustment and the local work with dodge and burn. Second layer I opened in in Aurora HDR and then started in on that. I just kept playing with sliders until I was happy.

Once I had the two layers I started masking bits in here and there that I wanted. I had to contend with blown color channels, highlights, and blacks clipping. To get around it I masked in the darker “normal” layer with various opacities. Then I did some more local work with dodging and burning until I finally said no more. The last bit was a crop to get rid of the garbage I knew I could not clone stamp out. Then called it done.

Enjoy.

Dawn on a Gazebo

Road To Yonder

Title came from a comic I read as a kid. Guy walks up to two other guys and asks for directions. One of the men answers and and says ‘It’s yonder’. The man asking for direction leaves. The other man who didn’t talk then asks the man that gave directions if he actually knew where he sent the other man. He replied, ‘Always wondered where yonder is’.

This isn’t the most fabulous image I ever took in my life. In fact, it’s more of a Monday image and I was playing around so might as well publish it. There are lots of flaws with it but I’ll let it go. Part of this is me wanting to avoid Photoshop and Lightroom right now after having to reinstall them to fix the latest Adobe nightmare that somehow insists that my Camera Raw is not in sync between the two.

I do find it ironic that I raged against HDR and then I turned around and made a HDR image. In this case it worked as the source images were relatively static. There is some motion in the sky but it works so I didn’t bother with it.

This was taken at Antietam Battlefield at some watch tower thing. I climbed to the top and has it to myself so I setup my tripod and fired off a bunch of shots since I had the luxury of time. Was rather nice not to have to rush to try and get an image in what would normally be a busy spot.

As I indicated this was done in HDR. I only used the -2 and 0 images to create the file. I manually did the settings playing with sliders until I was happy. Then I brought it into freshly reinstalled Photoshop and started adding local adjustments via dodge and burn. Satisfied enough with the result I called it done and hit save.

Enjoy.

Road to Yonder