Monday, October 10, 2016

Adobe Creative Cloud / Photography - DISCOUNT !!

For anyone who ever wanted to pick up Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, you are probably familiar with the sticker shock on the software and likely decided against it much like myself. Adobe has since revisited how they distribute and update their software, moving into a cloud based system, Adobe CC. I took some time prior to switching over, making sure to get feedback from fellow photographers and was completely blown away at how fast and easy the whole process was. At an annual cost equivalent to the standalone copy of Adobe Lightroom, you get the most current release of BOTH Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, it's really an amazing package for the cost. Since the software is cloud and subscription based you also receive the most current software updates as they get released, so your software will always be current. 

The regular subscription price which I pay is $9.99 USD, which is really a fantastic deal already considering I am using one of the two programs regularly every day. I happened to come across this deal online today where new subscriptions can get the first year for only $7.99 USD, an even better deal!!

Follow this link to take advantage of this deal (I am not making $ or anything either, just thought I'd share this great find) >> Adobe CC DEAL <<

To check out more about Adobe Creative Cloud / Photography software package simply follow this link and learn more >> Adobe CC Photography <<

Adobe Creative Cloud / Photography

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Discount's and Freebie's

Hey guys!
Everybody likes to save money when they can, especially in the expensive world of photography. I am certainly one of those people. So I decided I'd shoot out a quick blog post highlighting a few money saving options for you guys.

SmugMug Discount
I wanted a reasonably easy to use back-end that had a clean, professional look all without paying a substantial yearly rate as well as being able to use my own URL. SmugMug covered all of those areas for me and I found the rate especially appealing compared to some other similar hosting sites. 
There are 4 different package options to choose from, I am currently subscribed to Power plan which has all of the features I wanted, and should I want to upgrade to another package it's super easy to do with one click.
The site itself is quite easy for any level of user to get started, and has plenty of customization features for the more advanced users as well.
If you are looking to make some money selling digital downloads and prints there is options for that as well allowing you to set your price points.

Feel free to visit my current portfolio website ( to see for yourself, and if you are ready to start up your online portfolio site AND you'd like to save a few bucks while doing so be sure to follow my referral link below to save 20% off your subscription!

SmugMug Discount

Google Nik Software - FREEBIE 
In case you missed it a while ago, back in March Google made their famous Nik Software Collection free for all, yes ... FREE!

It is an incredibly powerful collection of plug-ins that can be quite easily integrated with your Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, or Aperture workflow. The package includes Analog Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro (a personal favorite of mine), HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, Viveza, and Dfine. This package last year ran somewhere around $100 if I remember correctly, so the chance to grab it free now is quite an awesome deal to say the least. Simply follow the link below to grab your copy!

Google Nik Collection

Sunday, June 26, 2016

SE Asia Gallery / Sony a6000 review

Finally, after far too much procrastination since returning home from SE Asia, I have completed my gallery of travel photos. While most of the images I captured were very unplanned and spontaneous, I feel like in the end I was still able to capture moments that I can look back upon and remember exciting things. Normally at home I currently shoot with a Canon 6D and Tamron 24-70 2.8 lens. For this trip though, since it was not only my first trip longer than 10 days, it would also be my first time overseas so I opted to try out a mirrorless camera system so as not to lose or damage my Canon which I use a lot of event and music photography and the setup would be hard for me to replace at the time. After much research I went with the Sony a6000 camera for my trip. The price was very reasonable for a camera which boasts a 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor (equivalent to a crop sensor on a DSLR) in a very compact, lightweight design which is good since I was packing super light for this trip. Overall I was happy with the camera, though in hindsight I should have bought the camera body and lens separate as the kit lens it came with left a lot to be desired. I would recommend a mirrorless camera system to anyone looking to capture high quality images while reducing size and weight during travel. A complete review of the Sony a6000 can be read here for anyone interested. Shortly after I returned back to Canada in March, Sony had announced the latest version of the camera, the Sony a6300, which cost quite a lot more and at first glance appears to be quite similar to it's predecessor.
The compact size and fast focusing of the camera was very useful when it came to street photography, which is something I spent a lot more time trying out during this trip. The opportunities for amazing street photography are endless in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia so I was happy to have a small and discreet camera system in hand. Another feature I found quite useful during my trip was the ability to do RAW conversion and export directly and easily to my smartphone. With free WiFi at almost every establishment in SE Asia I was able to keep my social media feeds going with current content using high quality RAW base files. The camera body itself features a 3" articulating screen on the back, something I found to be a bit of a poor design compared to the fully adjustable screen found on something like the Canon G12. The reason I find the design poor is that it only tilts to about a 45 degree angle, in the end the screen is always exposed on the back making it very prone to scratching when you are transferring it regularly in and out of a backpack or daypack. The design of the Canon G12's screen is far better in my opinion as it can be rotated completely around and the screen can be folded into the camera body during storage. While many reviews speak to the poor battery life of the camera, I didn't find it too bad overall in my experience and the battery/camera can be easily charged with a micro USB cable similar to many of today's smartphones so it was never an inconvenience for me. I found the quality of the landscape photos I captured pretty good as well, and not having to lug a heavy DSLR/lens combination to some of the hikes was definitely a bonus at times when the temperatures on average reached over 30+ degrees each day.

Overall i'd say my first experience with a mirrorless system was a positive one, though at times I definitely wanted my DSLR in hand for familiarity. I have since sold the Sony a6000 since I was out of money when I came home and did not require 2 camera bodies at the time. The technology has certainly come a long way in mirrorless camera systems and I would definitely consider buying another one someday as a second body.

If you are reading this (i'm not certain that anyone does or not haha) I highly encourage you to check out my full SE Asia gallery of images over at my website ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sihanoukville & Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

Next destination after leaving Siem Reap was located in the south of Cambodia in the city of Sihanoukville. To get there I needed to first take a sleeper bus to the city of Phnom Penh and then take a second smaller bus down to Sihanoukville. The bus bus company I chose to use, Giant Ibis, is very well rated and has very clean buses with friendly staff aboard. I came across this very helpful and detailed blog post (Move to Cambodia) regarding transport around Cambodia which helped me with my decision. My first experience with a sleeper bus was not a pleasant one at all unfortunately, not due to the bus company or bus itself though but more so due to my inability to sleep well in vehicles (and the complete shit roads you will find all over Cambodia). I maybe slept about 1 hour out of the 8 hour ride to Phnom Penh and have since learned my lesson and picked up some sleeping pills for future overnight bus trips I encounter. After about a 2 hour waiting period in Phnom Penh I boarded the second smaller regular seater bus towards Sihanoukville which was approximately a 5 hour ride.

I finally arrived in the coastal beach city of Sihanoukville and luckily the hostel I had chose to stay at (One Stop Hostel) was literally a 5 minute walk away from the Giant Ibis store font. It was a very similar setting as the One Stop Hostel I had stayed at in Siem Reap which was nice to have a bit of familiarity and comfort after a bit of a rough night of transport. But there was a bonus, they have a pool ... which was where I ended up spending the majority of my first day relaxing. The city of Sihanoukville is very, very touristy and a bit of an annoying place to be as I found out over the next couple of days. While it's a nice enough place, you get constantly approached by locals (and kids) hawking a variety of useless goods. Politely declining these individuals becomes an exhausting task very quickly and it takes away from the beautiful beaches you had set out to enjoy originally. But, thankfully through some fellow travellers I had heard about a newer and far less touristy beach area about 15 minutes tuk tuk ride outside of the city called Otres Beach. That's exactly what I was looking for.

Through some on-line research (Hostelworld,, Agoda, etc.) I opted to stay at Hacienda located in the heart of Otres Village. A nice chilled out place with incredibly helpful and friendly staff, and even a chill bar right on site where they also have an extensive menu of great food. From Hacienda its approximately a 20 minute walk to either of the currently developed locations of Otres 1 or Otres 2. But the fine folks at Hacienda can even have a scooter rental delivered right to you which is a fantastic way to explore the area and I highly recommend it for as little as $5 USD per day. If you chose to walk it though you will notice the large area of beach between the two Otres locations that is being primed far a large amount of new development so I would suggest you make a stop to that area ASAP as it will definitely loose the fantastic charm and relaxed vibe it currently has. I spent several afternoon enjoying beers while swinging in a hammock next to the waterfront in Otres 1, that's the vibe I headed south for. The currently undeveloped beach along Otres is completed unspoiled at this point so you can go and grab your own little piece of paradise for the day and not be bothered by a single person ... for now, enjoy it while you can.

During my time in Sihanoukville and Otres I had heard about the island of Koh Rong which is a very popular destination as it turns out. I had yet to visit any island during my travels so I figured I should go check it out. The fine folks at Hacienda even booked my speedboat ticket and transportation to the speedboat dock back in Sihanoukville which was great and required zero planning on my part. The speedboats you take to and from the island average about 50 minutes travel time one way. Since I didn't directly book my boat I don't recall the name of the company I used but there are a handful to chose from all costing the same, $20 USD round trip. Koh Rong was the first location during my travels I opted to just show up and find a place to stay as most of the available dorm's on the island are not bookable on-line anyway. I stayed at a place called Bong's Guesthouse located a few minutes down the beach, there is a ton of places to stay all right in one spot as you arrive. Unfortunately for me since I didn't do any research it turns out that they have a regular issue with bed bugs, yay!
The island itself apparently used to be a very chill place but has since been purchased by some large developing group who intend to make it more like a tourist island in Thailand. This as I found out after being there was a bit disappointing for me as it appears at one point it used to be a beautiful and relaxed place to be. It's now more of a commercial tourist hub which is fine if you are looking to party and do island pub crawls and stuff. While I didn't completely hate my time on the island I would definitely recommend people visit the smaller island nearby Koh Rong Samloen where it sounds like more of the unspoiled island paradise that many people are after.

Some of the highlights I found on Koh Rong island were Long Beach, which you can take a 1 hour trek through a jungle path to reach on the other side of the island. It's a beautiful 7 kilometre stretch of almost untouched beach (It too is currently in the early stages of mass development). You can also opt to take a water taxi service around to different locations on the island for $5 USD one way. We had completed the trek to Long Beach but after several hours of lounging around on the beach none of us were too keen on hiking back so we took the water taxi which was an really nice 20 or so minute ride around the south portion of the island, and we bartered them down to $10 USD for three of us instead of $15. The available food on the island was another highlight, and surprisingly it was cheaper than back in Sihanoukville. They feature many different BBQ stations along the beach front hostels and business. But if there's is only one place you MUST eat at on Koh Rong, it's Sigi's. He is an incredibly friendly gentleman from northern Thailand who now calls Koh Rong his home. A one man show who takes 4 to 5 orders at a time and creates some of the best Thai food I have ever eaten (and I started my trip in Thailand). Pull up a seat and watch him do his thing as it's an absolute pleasure to witness first-hand.

The boat day tour several of us signed up for was a great experience as well. It consisted of some snorkelling, (pro tip: the mask can be a bit leaky I found out when you have facial hair like me, but apparently some Vaseline helps fix that problem) some fishing using small handheld spools and the boat and the boat staff BBQ up all of the days catch right on the boat for lunch, a stop at one of the fishing villages located at the very far end of Long beach as well as enjoying the evenings sunset on the boat. The highlight of the days boat trip for me was swimming with plankton after the the sun had completely set, seriously the trippiest thing I have ever seen! Its like a blue-green aura that appears around you and reacts with the movement of your body while in the water.
So my beach time in southern Cambodia wasn't all I had initially hoped for, all in all it was a travel experience that I can reflect back on and grow from for all my future travel's.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Siem Reap, Cambodia

My flight from Chiang Mai, Thailand landed in the city of Siem Reap, Cambodia which is a city most famously known for Angkor Wat. The city itself is quite a busy place as a result due to high tourism demand for people wanting to explore the Angkor Archaeological Park (which is a UNESCO Heritage Site as well). Angkor, Cambodia was also listed as one of the 21 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the World. In Siem Reap I stayed at One Stop Hostel, a very fresh and clean place with incredibility friendly staff as well. As it is not a "party" hostel the social scene in the common area was a bit lacking, but it was a great place to stay located right in the heart of the city near Pub Street which is actually more of a nightclub street as it turns out. 

In the evening on Pub Street you will find various street food and alcohol vendors (tuk tuks with bars attached), countless patios, and several clubs (Temple Bar and Angkor What? are the main two across the street from each other) blasting music at insanely loud volumes in hopes that you will come and drink buckets at their location, which eventually turns into a street dance off party where you'll usually find a local Khmer girl (who sells bracelets) out-dancing everyone who challenges her. She may even challange you to a game of rock, paper, scissors as well. And while I did have a great time on Pub Street the first evening I arrived, I found it to be quite old and repetitive very quickly on the subsequent nights as you will hear the exact same tunes each night. Other unique bars to visit not located in Pub Street include the Mad Monkey Top Banana rooftop bar located at the top (obviously) of the Mad Monkey hostel, the entire bar is beach sand which is pretty awesome to play some beer pong in. The other bar I enjoyed was X-Bar located not far from Pub Street. It is a multi-level facility which features beer pong, pool tables, live music as well as a rooftop half-pipe which the legendary skater Tony Hawk even skated at one point last year!

The temple tours were the real reason I came to Siem Reap though. I ended up completing two different temple circuits which I was easily able to book my tuk-tuk ride with through my hostel, though you can likely ask any driver you see and they can do the same. The first day of my tour called the Small Circuit included stops at Angkor Wat, Bayon, Takeo, and Ta Prohm. The second days tour I completed called the Grand Circuit included visits to Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Tasom, and Pre Rup ... I may have misspelled a few of those. Each days tour took about 6-7 hours, and even then we only ended up seeing a small handful of the extensive network of temples in the area as you can see from this thorough online Temple Guide. I would highly recommend using the tuk tuk drivers to visit these temples as you will do quite a lot of walking throughout the day in a very hit climate and will be very exhausted by the days end.

Siem Reap is a great city to visit if you planning to come to Cambodia. I'd recommend renting a scooter or pedal bike as well to get around the place so you can adventure a bit further outside the core of the city.