Monks Walking

I was outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and saw these 2 monks walking by. I just waited for the shot and took several frames as they walked by.

I don’t pretend to understand the colours or monks robes. I know some are brighter than others. Older monks tend to have darker colours than younger ones. I’m sure it signifies rank but I don’t understand it enough to speculate and I’m too lazy to look it up on Google.

I liked the image, did a bit of a dodge and burn and ran a filter against it and called it done. I am suffering from a severe case of man flu right now so it’s all I can do to type this.


monks walking

Off Shore

I snapped this while I was wandering along Walking St. I went into a beer bar complex that has a great view of Pattaya Bay. It was a private bar but I asked in Thai if I could and was told no problem since they weren’t busy.

With Bali Hai pier under construction and the authorities finally cracking down on illegal parking of boats on the road and walkways (only took a decade or more) you see more boats moored offshore now. Owners are too cheap to pay for docking space at the new area for boats.

I shot this at dusk so the camera had a fairly high ISO. Just did some cleaning up and in the end happy enough.


Off Shore

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

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.


Road to Yonder

Twin Falls

I took this photo along the C&O Canal trail near Great Falls on the Maryland side of the falls.

I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about this photo. There was lots of water flowing due to recent rains and the river and various creeks were flowing due to the excess water. This was a runoff from some stream that was being drained into a canal lock.

I just liked the light in this which is why I took the image. It was later in the afternoon when I took this. I was hiking back to my car. The way the light fell on it just made for an interesting image so I took it.

This image is actually a composite blended together form 6 images I took. I was on a tripod so I didn’t have to worry about movement. I just applied my camera defaults and them open the images into Photoshop as layers. Did an align layers then a blend layers. Once I had the blended file I used Camera Raw to apply gradients and do my normal corrections. Then it was back into Photoshop to dodge and burn. The water is a bit hot on the falls but there was nothing I could do about it. Once I was done with a dodge and burn I brought it into Intensify CK to bring out some additional details in the water. Hit save and called it done.


Twin Falls

Follow The Line To Where It Leads

I shot this at Antietam Battlefield last year. I was walking along one of the many roads that go through the park and saw this and figured why not take a photo.

This image was meant for HDR but when I ran it through the initial conversion using Aurora it just looked awful. I did a quick edit just to see what I wasn’t happy with it at all. I just moved back to Lightroom and reverted to my usual workflow. While I enjoy making HDR images sometimes things can get a little too much. There is no sense in trying to push an image when it doesn’t work.

When it came time for editing I did my usual workflow then into Photoshop. Once I added my curves adjustment I did some local dodging and burning. While the image wasn’t going to be HDR it could use a bit of a pop. I created a new layer and opened Intensify CK and picked a preset that I have as a favorite. Brought it back into Photoshop and masked in the road at one opacity and the field and trees at another. Still wasn’t done. The grass and fields were a bit hot and nuclear. So brought them down using desaturase brush and a hue/saturation adjustment. This caused my line to lose a bit of its punch. Quickly made a new layer from the base, bumped the saturation back into the yellows and masked that in. Called it done.


Follow the Yellow Line

Signs Of Spring

With yesterday being the military hardware photo not being that popular I’ll go back to a landscape shot. I needed to test a camera so I ventured forth to Brookside Gardens.

I ventured out to Brookside Gardens to test a Nikon D5500 I picked up for video. The flip out screen is nice so I can see what I am shooting if I am in front of the camera. I figured since I was testing I might as well do some photography and see how the 24mp sensor works. So I threw on my Sigma 24-105 lens and just took a bunch of stuff.

I didn’t do much landscape stuff. I was there for some other things which I’ll eventually publish. When I saw this view with the spring buds on the trees and how it led to the gazebo looking thing I figured why not.

This is the second version of this image. I was shooting in harsh light for a reason. So when I did the first edit I made it a bit too hot with the highlights just below the blowing out point. So I went back and edited it again. I didn’t blow the highlights at all and a lot less dodging and burning. I used gradients to push attention to the gazebo. Once I had the curves in a bit of dodging and burning this time around and done.


Signs of Spring

SR-71 Blackbird

If I had a hero shot I wanted it was a photo of the SR-71. I have shot it before but I never really bothered much with it until one day I saw this photo by Trey Ratcliff. It was then I had a holy hell that’s cool moment.

This SR-71 is at the Udvar-Hazy Center which is apart of the Smithsonian. It’s pretty much the first thing that smacks you in the face as you walk into the hangers that encompass the facility. When I went there this time I specifically wanted to get my hero shot of this plane. That isn’t the big deal but I almost screwed it up and didn’t get it and a return trip is likely not in the cards.

I had puttered around photographing other things. I figured I would get the shot on the way out since you have to pass it. The facility closes at 5 and I was in a far corner. I figured I head back at 4:45 and get my shot and head home. The problem was I kept getting distracted by other cool things and by the time I got to the spot to take my photo I barely had any time.

I tried to use a new tripod thing I bought off a kickstarter that you can wrap around stuff. Having never really used it I wasn’t that familiar with it. So I was rushing and trying to get the thing setup and wasn’t having much luck. It didn’t help I was using a Nikon D810 with a Sigma 24-105 which isn’t the lightest combo on this planet.

I finally gave up and just jammed the camera between the railing and handles. Set the shutter delay for 2 seconds and stared death daggers at anyone that came near the railing and dared to touch it. I managed to grab a few shots and walked out a few minutes after 5.

If you have seen this image, yes it’s heavily edited. I did the usual camera profile and gradients then moved it into Photoshop. I then created a new layer and opened Aurora 2017 and just picked a preset that dumped details. I then moved back to my original layer and then did my curves adjustment and did local work dodging and burning. I then went back and masked in the HDR stuff I wanted to keep, mainly the SR-71. Wasn’t done yet. Created a new layer and opened Intensify CK and then picked a preset for details. I masked that in specifically on the SR-71 again. Then it was a matter of some final adjustments and done.


SR-71 Blackbird


Sunrise Over Washington DC

I didn’t get a chance to sneak out and do some photography when I was on business travel last week. I still managed to open my curtains and see today’s image and I had my Sony RX10 sitting on the table right near me.

This is one of those magical images that just work. Honestly, what was captured in the camera isn’t far from the final result. It really was that vibrant as the Sun was starting to rise over the city. I was zoomed out to 200mm and I just fired off a bunch of shots to make sure I got it since the window was dirty. In the end I got lucky.

I could go into editing and what not but this is basically out of the camera. I white balanced for cloudy and just put a gradient in that used dehaze and clarity for the sky and buildings. Simple curves adjustment and some dodging and burning. I did clean up some noise but I didn’t sharpen the image since I really didn’t have a focal point. Thnk I was 3 minutes total for editing.


Sunrise Over Washington

DC War Memorial

I had no idea what this monument was when I took the picture. It took a quick internet search for me to find out the name. It’s one of the smaller and less visited memorials on the Washington DC Mall.

I took this image of the DC War Memorial when I was down on the Mall a few months back. Just doing some random shooting in the afternoon getting the nice light from the sun setting in the west.

While this isn’t a busy memorial with people visiting it got a lot of foot traffic passing so I wanted to minimize that. I didn’t mind the two people sitting in within as it added a human element. Since this is a HDR image there was always going to be some motion blur with the people. If you blow the image up to full size you will see a lot of motion blur with the people. This is unusual for two people talking. The reason for it was they were speaking in sign language so their arms were constantly in motion.

The image was done in HDR using Aurora 2017. It’s one of those images that works well for HDR because it’s static architecture. I have come to discover that status subjects make the best HDR. This doesn’t mean moving subjects don’t work. You just spend a lot of time dealing with motion artifacts.

Once the HDR conversion was done it was time take the image into Photoshop and finish it up. I added some gradients using Camera Raw filter and then some dodging and burning for local adjustments. I did fight with perspective correction. It got to the point where the image looked level and I said done because I kept going second guessing and just had to hit save.


DC War Memorial