The Milky White Geothermal Occurence

This place is awesome! I love the “Blue Lagoon” area of Iceland. Before I went, I could only think of that old movie with Brooke Shields. I never saw it, but I remember being in school and some dumb kid told me it was soooo cooool because it was full of boobies. I never knew what that meant, for sure, but shades of it hung out in the back of my mind when I visited this one.

Can you imagine dipping your toes into that and getting inside for a nice warm soak? It’s wild! It’s hard to describe how wild it really is.

There is a whole complex behind there with lockers, showers, a restaurant, and this sort of thing. The design inside is all Scandinavian and modern. They have private rooms you can rent that are swim-up. I met a nice couple from Colorado and they invited me into theirs. It was filled with food and all kind of things — it reminded me of a James Bond evil lair. Next time I go, I’m gonna get one of my own! I checked on the prices, and they were relatively cheap, even back before the economy collapsed there.

The Milky White Geothermal Occurrence (by Stuck in Customs)

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A Leisurely Dinner Under the Stars

Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a place like this? I like these old European streets where great restaurants line edges… Let’s all move there… we can just go out and dine on the streets every night, eat fab food, see street performers, talk about photography, geek out, etc etc. Yes that sounds quite wonderful.

As you can see, I left in the HDR ghosting. Sometimes I quite like it, especially in these scenes where there is motion and feel like that’s part of the gestalt. I think these sorts of words are okay to use, even when not standing on a German street.

I am very appreciative to all the eyes out there scouring the intertubes! I had a nice girl who gave me the heads up on someone using images without permission. Her name is Shannon, and you can see her Flickr stream here. Thanks Shannon :)

A Leisurely Dinner Under the Stars

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The Ruins of Prambanan in Yogyakarta (and two new reviews)

Just outside of Yogyakarta in Indonesia are the ruins of Prambanan. Getting to this place is a long way from home, so we tried to take advantage of everything in and around the city. Prambanan is a Hindu temple that was first built in 850 CE.  It began a painstaking reconstruction in 1918.  I can’t imagine what difficult work that must be.

Actually, it was quite nice to get out of the crowded city.  Will and I had spent a long night walking around down near the markets.  The streets were so crowded in the busy night streets that it was unbelievable.  I had always known that Indonesia had hundreds of millions of people, but when stuck in the throngs, you can really feel it.  Also, that was a disconcerting night because it was the first time I stepped over a dead body.

I have a few new reviews for you too! These were mentioned in the most recent newsletter that went out a few days ago.  Both of these are short and sweet, since they are simple but great products.   The first one is for sharing large files with others and moving files around between computers easily. It’s called DropBox and you can read a short DropBox Review here.

The second tool I’ve been using is for backing my files up onto the Internet (the cloud). This gives me peace of mind in case there is a fire and my local backups are also destroyed. Even if you don’t have a ton of photos and just want to back up your family digital photos, it’s a smart idea. And it’s super-cheap. You can read more at the Backblaze Review page.

The Ruins of Prambanan in Yogyakarta (and two new reviews) (by Stuck in Customs)

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Castle in the Black

I had a hard-edged rule that I am now considering breaking. Who am I kidding? I’m gonna break it for sure.

Now that Ethan is eight, we’ve been able to take him to Disneyworld a few times. Isabella is three and she has never been. I had a rule that it is silly to take kids on vacation before they are five, since you really can’t form long-term memories before that age. Yes yes, I know… Some people disagree with this. Like my wife. She says it is not good that there will be a missing child from our family vacation photographs, no matter how good I am at photoshopping Isabella’s head on a stunt-body. I try to offer the counterargument that a sub-five-year-old can have the same quantifiable amount of fun (within an acceptable margin of error) while at home with Disney movies. This, then, is thrown back in my face with my three-year-old having a dangerous fascination with Cinderella’s castle. She can hardly believe that it is a real place.

So now we are going to take her to Disneyworld. Not for her, but for us. Well, also for her. Okay it’s kind of for all of us. Rule broken.

Castle in the Black (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Blood-Colored Walls of Tomb

This is Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. It’s a wonderful place full of a rich bouquet of textures and light. There isn’t a bad shot of it to be had in this well-preserved Moghul tomb, and these light levels were made for HDR.

I’ve put another image of this tomb in the upcoming book. I talked a little more about the shot and some additional explanation about how it was made. When I go around and give talks, get feedback, and hear all the comments here on the blog, flickr, and facebook, I get a lot of repeat questions. I think the book will be a good chance to get them all in a nice definitive place where almost everything can be addressed. At least, I hope so!

The Blood-Colored Walls of Tomb (by Stuck in Customs)

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Notre Dame in Lyon

Lyon is one of those wonderful European cities where things look romantic and timeless from either side of the river that inevitably flows down the center.

Here is a view from one side looking across and up the hill to where the Notre Dame de Lyon resides.  I’m glad they take the trouble to light it up… it gives the city a lot of character at night I think!

Notre Dame in Lyon (by Stuck in Customs)

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After Breaking the Ice

When I was in Iceland, I made a visit to the dock area. The edges of the dock were just beginning to freeze and occasional snow would blow in and pile up. All the ships were giant, metallic, and cold. I thought about what a hard life it would be to work on one of these ships. I don’t really like being too cold and I’m not sure if the old “dress in layers” trick would work so well when out on one of these ships in the north Atlantic. Those guys that do that every day are tough!

On this one, I kept the aperture pretty wide open to minimize ship movement on the rolling water. I don’t normally tell the software to automatically align images (mentioned in the HDR tutorial), but this time I did.

After Breaking the Ice (by Stuck in Customs)

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No Pool This Beautiful Should be Empty at a Time Like This

Daily Photo – No Pool This Beautiful Should be Empty at a Time Like This

I think the title says it all!

I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I mean, I can swim just fine and I’m as bouyant as anyone my age should be, but I don’t really like it as a form of exercise. THere is always so much that goes into the perparation bit of the exercise. Also, since I can’t liseten to my iPod while I swim, that’s kind of a deal-killer. I’ve heard they have some new water-proof MP3 players, but that just sounds like too much trouble all around.

Anyway, this was a 5-exposure HDR that went from -2 to +2. I’m convinced it’s the only way to shoot into the sun and get all the light levels of the details around the pool.

Swimming Pool in West Palm Beach Florida

No Pool This Beautiful Should be Empty at a Time Like This

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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Approaching the Taj

The Taj Mahal is an extremely crowded place! People from all over India, which tends to have a lot of people, come visit this mausoleum from every corner of the country. It’s right near the northern border of the country, and I know first hand how difficult the journey can be to get to this point.

Just beyond one of the official entrances to the Taj is the interior of a huge gatehouse, that was teaming with people trying to get a closer look. I held the camera high in the air after trying to position myself as centered as possible to try to capture a sense of the huddled masses.

Approaching the Taj (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Beating Hearts of the Buddhas

The morning fog coming off the top of the jungle trees was not like anything I had seen before. There was just enough morning light to give everything a twilight blue and paint the mountains in the distance a deeper color.

I tried something a little bit different with this photo. I was holding two flashlights to help me climb the temple in the morning. I think I got there about 5:30 AM when it was still pitch black, so the flashlights helped me find the right footholds and whatnot. Anyway, this was an extremely long exposure, so I used some of that time to “paint” the inside of the bell cages with the beams of my flashlights. Each of those bell cages held a solitary outward-facing Buddha. I’m glad I was there alone, because I’m sure I looked like a loon running around shining the flashlights in patterns to illuminate the Buddhas inside.

The Beating Hearts of the Buddhas (by Stuck in Customs)

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