• Travel Plans – Larung Gar and Sertar

    I have begun formulating a plan to travel to the pristine and little known area of Sertar in the Kham region of Tibet/China. Sertar is home to the Larung Gar Monastery and Buddhist University, the largest dedicated settlement of Tibetan Buddhist Monks and Nuns, and the world’s largest Buddhist University. Very little information is available on this amazing place, and I have had to track down a few savvy travelers on the web who have actually been there, and can assist in navigating the journey from Chengdu. It will be a 2 day bus ride, a very bumpy one I hear, from Chengdu to Sertar.

    I first heard of Sertar while attending a teaching by Khenpo (A title denoting a Buddhist Scholar) Tsultrim Lodro, the successor to the founder of Larung Gar, Chogyel Yeshe Norbu Jigme Phunstok. His talk and the insight he gave into the already familiar Buddhist teachings on compassion and the need for unity were a welcome re-introduction to Buddhist philosophy in my life, and he even chose to answer my question about lucid dreaming, giving a detailed and fascinating description of Dream Yoga and it’s use in Tibetan Buddhism. After the talk I became entranced by the (admittedly very few) photos of Larung Gar I found online. I was told by some that it was heavily restricted area, and not open to foreign travelers. I was quite dissapointed to hear that!

    A few months passed and I ran across an online discussion regarding travel to Sertar. My eyes lit up when I saw people discussing the fact that travel is currently open to the area, and I set out to find all the information I could. I found a great travelog called straightondetour, where the author Prue Sinclair offered me advice and a heartfelt recommendation to travel there. I also ran across the stunning photos of Larung Gar by Wanson Luk (below), and decided to contact him. He has been very helpful in detailing the route I should take, and the details of what it is like in this truly foreign place. So if you’re reading this Wanson, Thanks!

    So my plans have begun to solidify. I plan to go in May or June of 2016, to arrive between the bitter cold winter, and the grey monsoon. I am hoping this time period will allow me to take some long exposure and timelapse photography of Larung Gar, that I have come to learn is quite rare. Photography may be my main mission, but I am also very interested in visiting such a bastion of Tibetan Buddhist culture, something akin to what Lhasa must have been like in the 1950′s before the Chinese began transforming it into… what it is now. 

    I have a number of months of hard work and saving ahead before I can comfortably up and leave, but the thought of this adventure is more than enough to keep my hand steady at work, and my mind pining for a new adventure. The road beckons once again!

    The best photo I have found of Larung Gar. Credit Wanson Luk, who is also asssisting me in finding my way

    The best photo I have found of Larung Gar. Credit Wanson Luk, who is also assisting me in finding my way.


    Another fantastic photo by Wanson Luk

    You can visit Wanson Luk’s Instagram @ https://instagram.com/6ws/


  • Day And Night On The American Riviera

    6 months of photography condensed into 4 minutes. This timelapse compilation comprises over 5000 still images. After posting this I have received offers to create opening trailers for 2 iInternnational Film Festivals. Looks like the hard work and dedication is finally paying off!

  • Dedicated Photography Facebook Page

    I have decided to stop clogging my personal facebook with tons of my photographty endeavours and have opened a page solely dedicated to my photography. I am doing a lot of work in timelapse and hyperlapse lately so come over and have a look!



  • Nocturnal Rainbow – A Milky Way Panorama

    This image took a lot of work. over 30 photos stitched into a mosaic, it features the Milky Way arching over the Santa Barbara mountainside. I have a 30″x72″ print of this image, which I am currently working on to become a multimedia installation piece. Progress is slow, but I will update with an overview of the project when it is complete. For now, enjoy the view.

    handpaint sb composite rs

  • The Milky Way Over Santa Barbara

    This is part of a long-running timelapse project that I wanted to share. The fog rolled in over Santa Barbara, and dulled the light pollution so that the view of the milky way was outstanding!

  • Flight Paths – Visualizing The Flight Patterns Of Birds (Video Editing Tutorial)

    A while back I had seen a video on youtube which used a fascinating editing technique to visualize the flight paths of birds as they rode the airwaves in the sky. 


     I was really amazed at how this technique brought out the inherent patterns in nature that always surround us, yet we are rarely cognizant of. About a year went by during which I became much more proficient with my camera and editing techniques, and I somehow came across the video again. I had, and still have very little experience with video editing software aside from timelapse editing, and figured this was something that was way out of my league. Nevertheless I decided to post a request for the technique to the author on youtube who goes by poochengeez, who has a great variety of interesting videos with unique editing ideas. To my surprise he responded and the explanation was a lot easier than I had anticipated. Since I figure their may be interest among people online on how to do this, I have decided to post this quick tutorial using Adobe After Effects CS4. This is actually quite easy. With a few clicks, and some waiting for rendering time you can get effects like this!

    Firstly you will need a video file of birds in flight. A wider angle and good foreground will help to give this technique more impact and sense of scale. The video should also be at least a minute long, so as to give enough time for the effect to fully take hold. I chose a video of a vulture circling on thermals for this example which really emphasises the “echo effect” that we achieve with this technique.

    Open the file in Aftereffects.


     In Aftereffects, in order to work on a file we need to move it down to the workspace on the bottom left. Drag it from the top left to the highlighted space bottom left.


     Now we’ll go to the effects menu and select time>echo


     This will apply the time echo effect to the sequence. We have the options for the effect at the top left. We need to configure the effect to make it work with our footage. The first step is to select echo operator>minimum This means the entire frames will not overlap and create far too much exposure and just turn white, instead it will only overlap moving subjects, like our bird.


     Next we need to decide how long the interval or “echo” will be between our subjects. This will be completely dependent upon your particular footage. Enter a time in seconds into the Echo Time section. I have chosen .25 seconds which works well for this sequence, but you will need to experiment.



    Next we will need to decide how many “echoes” of the subject we want. Keep in mind that while more “echoes” look great, it is EXTREMELY memory intensive, and the higher you go, the longer your computer will likely be unusable due to Aftereffects using all your RAM. So enter an integer into the  Number of echoes section. I have chosen 100, and don’t like going higher than that, as this 1 and a half minute clip took over 7 hours to render!


     Once these values have been set, you can preview how the sequence will look. Don’t try actual playing it in the preview as it will likely be too slow, just choose a frame in the middle to see how it looks. If you are not happy go back and experiment with the echo time and number of echoes values until you are happy.


    Once you are happy, go to composition>add to render queue


     This will bring your video into the rendering area on the bottom. When you are ready to sacrifice your computer for a while, go ahead and hit Render!

    9 Hopefully after a few hours you will end up with a cool video that not only looks fascinating, but also gives you a great insight into nature and the patterns that surround us everyday!

    Please leave a comment if you found this tutorial helpful! This is the first one I have created and am interested in doing more if I get positive feedback!

  • Smoke On The Water – Long Exposures On The Sonoma Coast

    If it wasn’t apparent by now, I am a big fan of long exposure photography. It is much more involved than just snapping a photo of a beautiful scene, and so allows you to really take the time to connect with a certain place and notice it’s nuances. One of the most interesting subjects for long exposure photography is water and it’s movement. Depending on how the water is moving, it can create the appearance of fog, like below -



     Or if the water is slower moving it can create the appearance of an almost fabric-like consistency, sort of an ethereal velvet.



     While these shots take a deliberate eye and a good dose of patience, they are almost always worth the time involved.

  • San Francisco – A Panoramic

    This photo was taken on a frigid Christmas Morning before sunrise from Twin Peaks. It is seven photos stitched together, and spans from the Golden Gate all the way to South San Francisco. All 4 Bridges are visible. Can you spot them all?

    andro tor-0237_stitch

  • Light Painting – Learning the LED Ropes

    For the past year I have been working on techniques using an LED rope to paint light on long exposures. It has been a long, and often frustrating journey to see what different movements and flourishes create the best results. It’s far from an elegant process, with wires stuffed into a jacket, and lugging around a heavy battery pack. Despite the frustration, my dedication has finally begun to pay off with some very nice looking and composed shots. I am happy with the direction these are going, so look out for more in the future.

    Infrared Roses

    Infrared Roses

    Standing Fire

    Standing Fire

    Spectrum Shore

    Spectrum Shore

  • Tom Kha Salad with Mango and Charred Leeks



    Tom Kha Salad with Mango and Charred Leeks
    Serves 4
    A light spring salad with seared tuna and a sweet and sour Thai inspired coconut milk sauce
    Write a review
    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    45 min
    Prep Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    45 min
    613 calories
    60 g
    70 g
    28 g
    41 g
    22 g
    813 g
    423 g
    32 g
    0 g
    3 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 613
    Calories from Fat 234
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 28g
    Saturated Fat 22g
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
    Monounsaturated Fat 2g
    Cholesterol 70mg
    Sodium 423mg
    Total Carbohydrates 60g
    Dietary Fiber 9g
    Sugars 32g
    Protein 41g
    Vitamin A
    Vitamin C
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    1. 1 16 oz. can coconut milk (Chao-Koh brand is best)
    2. 8 oz. chicken stock
    3. 3 Limes juiced
    4. 5 thai chilis or 3 jalapenos chopped
    5. 2 T fish sauce
    6. 1 bunch cilantro
    7. 1 lb Fresh Tuna steaks
    8. 2 Large firm but ripe mangoes
    9. 1 Medium daikon
    10. 2-3 red bell peppers
    11. 2 Large leeks
    12. 3 T black pepper
    13. Garlic chive flowers for garnish
    14. Thai basil for garnish
    1. Bring a large saucepan to medium heat
    2. Fire up a grill or preheat oven to broil
    3. Add coconut milk, chicken stock, lime juice, fish sauce, chilis,and cilantro stems to saucepan, bring to a simmer to reduce
    4. Heat a thick bottomed skillet to high heat and coat tuna steaks in black pepper
    5. Add oil to hot pan and sear tuna 30 seconds per side, reserve
    6. Halve leeks, and cut off the leafy tops, keeping the roots intact and lightly oil them with a neutral oil
    7. Put leeks on grill or in oven, they will take a while to char on the outside
    8. Slice the mango and bell pepper into small, even, brunoise, discarding all seeds
    9. Check the sauce reduction, it should evenly coat the back of a metal spoon, and not run
    10. When leeks are well charred on the outside remove and plate the dish on a base of the reduced sauce, using the cilantro, thai basil and flowers as a garnish.
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/