Sunflowers at Sunset – Oh, and I’m making a short film

This photo from Butte, Montana, was much harder to take than it might seem!

First of all, these sunflowers are tall – and I mean tall! They must be between 6 and 7 feet in the air. I was on the ground with them, so, of course, I was looking UP at them. No one wants to see a shot like that…!

So, I put the camera on the tripod, set the timer to 5 seconds, extended the legs, set the manual settings correct, then jacked the whole thing in the air, holding it rock steady while it took the exposure. Getting a steady horizon while holding the camera 12 feet in the air is not easy… and after a number of takes, my shoulders were just about spent for the rest of the night.

As for the little announcement there, I am working on a short film. It’s from Patagonia and somewhat experimental. I expect the debut to be right here on www.stuckincustoms.com on Friday, April 17, so stay tuned! :)

Sunflowers at Sunset

New York on Fire at Dusk

I am jealous for all the people that live in New York! They have a city that looks different at every moment of the day from every slightly different angle. I think if I lived there, I’d feel kind of guilty if I didn’t make it out several times a week at sunset to go shooting.

I shot this one from the top of the Rockefeller Center. They don’t let you take tripods up there, but I always see that as somewhat of a challenge to my manhood, and I take offense. So, consequently, I set my mind to smuggling my tripod in there, usually inside my overcoat or a big shopping bag. I mean, you have to, right? There is no other way to get a good night or evening shot without a stable surface (or a high ISO, which I don’t like).

Anyway, this was a perfect night. Later, after I shot this, I was graciously invited over to have dessert with Rudy Maxa (he has a travel show) and his daughter in Brooklyn. It was great to meet him and he was a super guy. I figured since I mentioned Rick Steves yesterday (who people on my Facebook comments were saying was not such a nice guy), today it was time for the very nice Rudy Maxa.

New York on Fire at Dusk

The Motion of Shanghai

I crossed under the river one night from the Bund to get a closer look at the Oriental Pearl Tower. There was a cool fountain at the bottom and no tourists around.

This is a good thing, since it is always hard to make tourists look “cool” in photos. No matter what, everyone ends up looking like a gawking Rick Steves. Speaking of which, his travel series on PBS called “Europe through the Back Door” always gave me cause for concern.

The Motion of Shanghai

Evening Storm Approaches the Temple

This is an old temple near the main complex of Angkor Wat that sits high on a hill.  At the bottom, a man gave me an option of riding an elephant to the top.  I don’t know why I didn’t!  I think I might have been in a hurry to see the sunset and the elephant looked old and ponderous.

It was a bit sketchy up there with the storm, but there was nothing metal so I didn’t feel like there was much danger of lightning.  I was used to Texas thunderstorms with big lightning, but maybe they didn’t have those sorts in Cambodia – who knows?  Not me.  Anyway, it was too cool to stay up there and watch the storm as it rolled in…

Evening Storm Approaches the Temple

The Glowing Forests of Endor

It was dark in Hangzhou, former home of the Song Dynasty in Southern China. The Songs ran the show until the Mongols invaded in the 1200’s. No one ever expects the Mongol invasion.

Now it is devoid of Mongols, but it is filled with cute Ewok-like creatures that live up in the hills and along the idyllic lake.

The Glowing Forests of Endor

The ruins of Angkor from across the moat

Angkor Wat was really more of a fortress than it was a temple.

There is a massive moat that encircles the complex.  I can only imagine how long it took peasants to dig a thousand years ago.  I also wonder how they all drank fresh water back then.  I know I couldn’t go more than 10 minutes walking around the area without needing a drink.  The massive heat, humidity, and standing water was a perfect recipe for cavalcade of bacteria to rise up and fight back.  I don’t suppose they all boiled their water.  Maybe everyone was just more hardy back then…  Luckily, when I was there, there were plenty of little children running around selling me bottled water.  Which, upon further reflection, I probably should not have drank.

The ruins of Angkor from across the moat

The Guardian of the Ancients

I found this daunting chap while trekking to northern India. We stopped to rest on the long road to Agra at a fairly imposing little structure on the side of the road. I was curious to see if I could find a drink or maybe a bit of food.

As I approached, this guy stood out front. I was pretty sure he didn’t speak English. We regarded one another for a bit. I tried to survey the authenticity of his weapon and the his circumspect agility. He examined at my anachronistic garb and camera for a bit. Then I gave him the international symbol for, "Can I take a photo?" He stiffened proudly in a pose. I took a quick shot, nodded, then passed by to see what he was guarding within.

A Guardian on the way to Agra

Inside the Train Station

I think, as Americans, we are over-the-top interested in European train stations. I really enjoy them. I don’t know why… they just seem like really interesting places to be. This is part of the train station in Leipzig — the part after you get off the train and go into the shopping area.

Curiously, if you look at the large or original size, you can see taxi cabs driving through the inside of the mall. I do not have a full explanation for this.

Inside the Train Station

The Point for Artists

Isn’t this just the perfect kind of place to take this sort of photo? I say it is! I almost don’t even know what to say about this place, and anything I say about it would only take away from it!

The only interesting thing about this is that I was in a tremendous hurry to take this shot and get to another destination. I think I had literally 45 seconds to take the shot. I prepared for it… got all the camera settings right, ran into what I felt was the perfect spot, ripped off some shots, then got right back on the road. Afterward, naturally, I was happy to see that everything worked out as expected.

The Point for Artists

Borobudur in Poetry

One thing we always ask for, as part of the deal, is for the companies to send us a copy of the final product. So we get several of these kinds of things a week, and it is always cool! I get excited and giddy to see my work used in creative ways across many mediums. Here is one we recently got of a poetry book that used on of my Indonesian pics on the cover. I put the orig below, along with a few other shots from that temple.

I end up throwing all of this stuff into these giant boxes in my office. I don’t know what I will do with them! They just kinda pile up… I should have a giveaway some day! :)

Borobudur Book

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands

The Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur at Sunrise

The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM

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