I've been neglecting this blog lately, so as I way to try and get myself writing again I've revamped the design. It's based on the Pure framework, so it's much simpler and responsive, meaning that if you end up here from a mobile device you'll have a much better time.

"Responsive" doesn't just mean "mobile-friendly"; it also means the site adjusts itself as the size of the window changes on larger screens. Give it a go -- make the window bigger and smaller and see how the page adjusts.

Here's looking forward to more content!


A super-simple "golden hour" effect in Lightroom

I recently shot a friend's wedding, and was looking for nice way to add a warm "golden hour" effect to the photos. I didn't want to use a random preset as I wanted control over the rest of the processing; and adjusting the white balance wasn't giving me the subtle look I was going for.

After experimenting for a while I figured out a really simple technique. As the time of day changes the color of the sunlight, it primarily affects the highlights of an image and not the shadows. We can use the "Split Toning" module in Lightroom to add a subtle yellow tint to just the highlights while leaving the shadows alone.

In the Develop module of Lightroom, adjust the "Split Toning" Highlights setting to something like this:

You want to select a yellow-orange hue, and increase the saturation to about 30% -- any more than that and you risk it becoming distracting rather than subtle.

Here's a sample before and after using a photo of my good friend Nai taken during SXSW. The shot was taken at about 4:30 in the afternoon, which is too early for golden hour at this time of year in Austin.

Nai chillin' at the Spotify House An example of warming the highlights using split toning to create a "golden hour" effect


Street Art in East London

Smallest door in London

My first night in London was a rather large one, so after sleeping in until lunch time my hosts Pete and Jess took me on a hangover-curing walking tour of street art spots around East London.

Fly away

I can't remember the specifics of where most of these pieces were, but they certainly have a style that I'd never really seen before. Fine line-work and paste-ups seem to be the order of the day…


I couldn't resist stopping at Tokyobike and taking some shots of their bicycles; the contrast of the red/white and green/white against the black wall was really something.

Red bikeGreen bike

From here on I'll just add a heap of photos and let them speak for themselves.

Huge piece in East London In the air Everything must go Hipster? Skull with haircutJapanese Paste-ups Red door, holding hands Oscar the grouch

I'm sorry to say that this is the end of my eurotrip. That night I spent on Brick Lane, eating curry, catching up with friends from home, and not taking photos. The next morning I got up way too early to head to Heathrow and back to Austin.

I'll close out this post and this trip with a portrait of my good friend and host Pete, sucking on a milkshake and looking like a hipster. London certainly has improved his fashion sense.

Pete, the East London hipster


Touristing in London

Queen Victoria on Buckingham Fountain

Our time in Germany was at an end, so we left my brother in Stuttgart and hopped on a BA flight over to Heathrow. Unlike last time in Heathrow, this time I actually spent a few days in London visiting friends and touristing about the place.

Monmouth Coffee

After getting in quite late and staying up even later with Jess, I got a relatively early start and made my way to the Borough Market. I was headed there specifically to hit up Monmouth Coffee. I was immediately struck by the difference in the way London itself is laid out compared to newer cities - rather than being a somewhat regular grid it's a nest of alleys and small streets, running under bridges and between ancient buildings.

Tower Bridge

I fueled up on caffeine and headed east along the south side of the Thames, past City Hall and across Tower Bridge. Most people confuse London Bridge with Tower Bridge and I was definitely among them. London Bridge, in one form or another, has been there longer however Tower Bridge (pictured above) is much more ornate and interesting.

I avoided the Tower of London tour, saving that for a time when Rae can visit with me, and headed back along the north shore and across London Bridge to the Borough Market.

Duck sandwich.  So good.

By now it was lunch time and the market was in full swing. Lunch for me was an amazing duck sandwich, with shredded duck fresh off the grill. Amazing. I could've spent a good couple of hours there sampling the wares from all the vendors but somehow managed to drag myself away. After another coffee, of course.


From then on I was in full tourist mode, following the south bank of the Thames west. There are so many iconic sights, from the Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge (pictured above) to the National Theatre, the Jubilee Garden and the London Eye.


What I didn't expect to find was a full-on street art installation combined with BMX and skateboarding ramps.

London Eye

London Eye was really busy, so I avoided taking a ride in the interests of time, and instead rested my legs at a small coffee hut just further along the river.

Buckingham Palace

I ended up crossing the Thames at the Westminster Bridge, walked past Parliament and Big Ben, through St James's Park and up to Buckingham Palace.

Queen Victoria on Buckingham Fountain

I stayed at Buckingham Palace for a while, resting my legs and enjoying a nice day. That was, until clouds started rolling in over the Palace. It made for some interesting photos, and thankfully it didn't actually rain.


From the Palace it was back towards East London to meet friends for drinks and dinner, stopping for a while to take pictures of the Queen's Guard along the mall.

I don't think I've walked that much in a single day for years, probably not since my first day in New York City five years ago.


Stuttgart and the Mercedes Benz Museum


After a week in Deutschland, the time for us to leave was almost upon us. Rather than fly back out of Frankfurt we booked our flights to London from Stuttgart, meaning a train trip and flying visit to another German city.

Unfortunately all we really had time for was the Mercedes Benz Museum. I can't complain too much, because the museum was amazing.


The history of Mercedes is really the history of automobiles in general, and their museum went to great lengths to provide context to the development and progression of their vehicles. Each level was dedicated to a particular era, and as you worked your way between levels the walls were filled with history.

Some of the more interesting history for me were early stories about the players in the field of automobiles, the names of whom I guarantee you'll recognize -- for example Ferdinand Porsche was the chief designer for Austro-Daimler, and the original Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) was co-founded by fellows called Daimler and Maybach).

Being a German company, and a large manufacturing company in the early 1900's, Mercedes-Benz was heavily involved in the production of arms during the world wars. The museum was very frank about describing the company's role during these years, including unflattering details such as the usage of slave labour. For me, the context about German life before and during the wars was a side of history I'd never really been exposed to before and was very fascinating.

The first motorcycle ever built

But, onto the vehicles! From the first motorcycle ever built and the early Mercedes "chariots", through to the modern-day concept vehicles, the progression from engines on wooden frames to hybrid electric and F1 race vehicles was breathtaking.


Two vehicles that stood out for me were:

The 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster

1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster

The 1954 Mercedes Benz 300 SL "Gullwing"

1954 Mercedez-Benz 300 SL 1954 Mercedez-Benz 300 SL 1954 Mercedez-Benz 300 SL 1954 Mercedez-Benz 300 SL 1954 Mercedez-Benz 300 SL 1954 Mercedez-Benz 300 SL

The final section of the museum was mainly focused on their race vehicles, including a really nifty progression of their vehicles over time, and a really cool "expanded" F1 car.

Race Mercedes #2

For those that visit Stuttgart, the museum is definitely a "must visit" in my opinion. I would have loved to have had more time to explore Stuttgart a little more, but from the museum we headed straight to the airport for our flights to London.