Wat Ounalom Monastery

I was in Cambodia last month just to get out of Thailand for a bit. I generally try and disappear from Thailand periodically to have a holiday from my holiday as I call it. It’s not every person that can say they wake up to a view of the Gulf of Thailand as their daily view.

During my time in Phnom Penh this time it pissed down daily. We are talking torrential rains for several hours. When it wasn’t doing that it was threatening. The other joy was it was 1000 Degrees pick it in Celsius or Fahrenheit doesn’t matter. It was hot. I’m used to a breeze coming off the Gulf of Thailand so no breeze sucked.

Anyways, I saw Wat Ounalom on a previous visit to the city and this was the first chance I got to stop in. It also helped it wasn’t going to piss down immediately, of course, it was my last day in the country so go figure.

I didn’t bring any of the bigger cameras. Instead, I just used my trusty Sony RX100iii and it did what it handled the photos well.

For those wondering why the long absence. Part of it has been my laziness to edit. It’s tedious at times. The other issue is I switched from Mac to PC which is a bit of a learning curve remembering how to use a Windows keyboard for Windows again versus Mac.

If you did visit and ended up on some Japanese language page, well the site was hacked. Luckily in my previous life, I was an IT Director so with some Google searches I took control of the site and resolved the issue. Then it was a matter of watching to see who was trying to hack me again. Then shut them down on a permanent basis. That took a few weeks.

So my goal is a few photos a few times a week as I am sitting on one giant backlog of images.








Wat Phnom

I shot these last year when I was in Phnom Penh for a couple weeks. Wat Phnom is the main temple everyone goes to if they are in Phnom Penh. It’s a mixture of a tourist trap and a local temple. There is an entrance fee of $1 (Cambodia uses the US Dollar) but you can easily just step over the rope and avoid paying it. I saw a lot of cheap ass tourists doing this, it is a dollar and if you have money to fly into Cambodia or South East Asia you can afford a dollar to get into the temple. The dollar would just mean one less beer on the river during happy hour or just find a spot that offers the .50 cent beers instead. Yes, Cambodia does have .50 cent draft beers!

There isn’t a lot to say about Wat Phnom, to be honest, it’s run down and rather dirty. Cambodia doesn’t have the tourist income like Thailand does so their temples aren’t as lavish. When you factor in cheap asses avoiding the $1 fee you can see why the temple isn’t that great. Still, recommend a visit. There are monkeys running around but I could not get a shot. Just ignore the usual temple beggars and try not to let the trash that is a around distracts you from your visit.

All images shot on a Nikon D5500 with a Sigma 17-70mm 2.8 – 4.0











One More Sunset

Shot this the same time as yesterday’s sunset. Bit of a different view from yesterdays as this is in landscape format and pointed at a different section of sky.

While I use my Nikon D810 and my Sony’s for professional stuff now, I use my little Nikon D5500 for a lot of other stuff and with the crop sensor and the 55-200 lens it makes it a great combo that is light and gives you a lot of reach. I could not image how bad the camera would be with the 70-200 2.8 on it. The D810 is bad enough.

Again, all done in Photoshop, nothing via a plugin because they are all broken. May have to do a reinstall which pains me. I know it is likely the Adobe upgrade that broke them.

So just a curves adjustment, lots of dodging and burning and calling it done.



Bridge In The Clouds

Took this while I was in Florida on Estero Bay near Fort Myers. Was on a boat in the middle of the day.

Sadly this is one of these place holder images I do that should be apart of a series but I haven’t had time. Since moving to Thailand I have been busy with so many other things that editing has taken second place.

This time I had to edit photos for someone else on a quick turn around. So I have been editing most of the afternoon to get them done and turned over. So I’m a little fried from looking at Photoshop right now.

Editing wise this was normal workflow. Then I took it into Intensify to bring out the clouds a bit more. Originally masked it in at 40% and it was way too much. Took it down to 13% and got the effect I was looking for. Bit of a dodge and burn and good to go.


Bridge In Clouds

Light On A Storm

This was shot while the storm was doing its thing. In Fort Myers, it’s not uncommon to see strong sunlight while it is storming at the same time.

This was taken with my Sigma 17-80mm which is an amazing lens. I did a lot of research while looking for a good video lens to use with the D5500. After a doing all the research I ended up with the Sigma Art lens which has image stabilization. It’s not constant aperture going from 2.8 on the wide to 4.0 on the long but that wasn’t a deal breaker. Matching it up with the D5500 had been a great combo.

Editing wasn’t much going on. In these type of shots you don’t need to do a whole lot. Applied my camera default and then a couple of gradients. Then a slight curves adjustment in Photoshop. Slight dodging and burning and called it done.


Light On A Storm

The Gate

I believe this is a Korean style gate/arch. I don’t know 100% but there are lots of Korean memorials throughout Brookside Gardens so it would be logical that is is Korean.

I really like Asian architecture and style. I’m content wandering through a Buddhist Temple in Thailand. Even if you have seen one temple you have seen them all there is always a bit of a surprise. You will stumble across Chinese temples that are part of the Buddhist one but are separate. You will see Hindi stuff mixed in so there is always variety if you look around.

While I have only spent time in Korea on layovers one of these years I’ll venture over there. The same with Japan and a few other spots. There is a chance I’ll be in Cambodia late this year or early next. Still working out the details of that!

Nothing fancy with the editing. Camera profile applied which I can’t stress enough to use. Then just some gradients to pull your focus. Then into Photoshop for curves adjustment. Then local dodging and burning. Hit save and done.


Korean Gate

Vertically Natured

Since I was in the archives with the Portland, Oregon photo from yesterday I figured why not see what else was there. For the flower lover(s) out there I clicked on the stuff I shot at the Portland Rose Gardens.

It’s strange what I will and will not let through anymore. I know these images aren’t great. Still, I figured why not. Sometimes you need to let go and just go with what you want. I know there are flaws in these images but most people looking at them will never pick them up. It doesn’t mean I just rushed the edits and said to hell with it. It just means, I’m not going to worry about if it’s an epic masterpiece or not. I have shot them and edited them. Sometimes you just edit and publish image because people like it.

These were shot on either a Sony A7R or a Sony RX100M3. They were processed the same way. Camera defaults applied in Lightroom, then gradients and other fun stuff. Then into Photoshop for a curves adjustment for tone and contrast. Local working with dodging and burning and done. Sometimes one more white balance in Camera Raw and and a hue/saturation depending on what I was looking for.


PS – If they look crispy it’s because they are. I am now just applying the sharpening in full res and letting Photoshop sort it out when I down res it for the web.

PPS – If you are looking at sky and wondering why there is so much variation. It really did shift that much in the couple hours I was there shooting.

Portland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose GardenPortland Rose Garden


Cutting Through

This is from Great Falls earlier this year when I went out for a New Year’s hike with my Sony A7R and a polarizing filter. The weather was nice and it wasn’t that crowded so it was a pleasant day out.

One of the things I have been late to the game with has been polarizing filters. Sure, you can somewhat reproduce the results with editing software but there is still something about a good polarizing filter that makes an image pop.

I have been using step rings for all my filters. This works great but I am really lazy and it’s one more more thing to remember to carry with me. I was surfing on Amazon and somehow I got recommendation for Amazon Basics filters. The in-house brand for Amazon is usually decent quality and the filters were very inexpensive so I just bought a complete set. Think from 82mm to 52mm was all of around $80. For the price and quality, you can’t complain and now I can be lazy and go with one filter for my various lens.

Editing wise this is really out of the camera. I didn’t go fancy. The polarizing filter did the the heavy lifting in the sky and then I just ran gradients to for clarity and dehaze to bring out the clouds. Once I had my basic edits done it was off to Photoshop where I put in a slight curve and then just local adjustments using dodge and burn.


Cutting Through

Dawn Over Silent Cannon

This is another one from Antietam Battlefield. Was on the field near the visitor’s center with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance and the sun just starting to rise.

This is another example of an image that was meant for HDR that just wasn’t going to work. HDR just creates too many variables into the image that make it difficult to get a solid, finish image. There are little things that drive me nuts with objects not aligning. Weird color shifts that aren’t natural. Plus the HDR halo effect for lack of better term. You can fix all these things but it adds time and effort to an image for little gain.

I haven’t given up on HDR. I do enjoy it but I am discovering that it works well in some applications and other applications it doesn’t. Unless you want to spend hours on a landscape photo it’s not worth it. For interiors and stationary objects, you can get some really spectacular results. I’ll still play with HDR but I’m not going to run a conversion just because I shot the image for HDR.

This image was straight out of Lightroom into Photoshop. I added a curves adjustment to get the overall tone correct then I added contrast to it. I did have to use the Camera Raw filter to add another gradient to lighten the grass. It went too dark on me. The rest was just local dodging and burning. I do admit to “popping” the sky a bit using Intensify CK and masking that in. It just made the photo that little bit better.


Ps – I almost spelt cannon with just one N. I spent too much time on photography websites. It would have been really awkward because this was shot on a Nikon.

Dawn Over Silent Cannon

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