Where Geothermal Steam Covers the Land

Every time I go to Yellowstone, I see something different. There are hundreds of great locations, each one of which should be visited for at least an hour during three different times of the day.

This is a new area I visited on my most recent trip there. I don’t think it is always this steamy, since the air temp has to be a certain delta to the water. I don’t know why, but it’s always fun to sit there and watch the boiling water. I don’t enjoy watching boiling water in my kitchen, but the sight there is always mesmerizing.. There is also the strong smell of sulfur carried through the area. It wasn’t repulsive at all, but it did give me the just-took-off-my-helmet-on-an-away-mission feeling.

Where Geothermal Steam Covers the Land (by Stuck in Customs)

Meditation

It’s sort of hard to find time to meditate nowadays, eh?  I mean, there is a lot of stuff going on.  I wonder if the old-school Buddhists would be as good at meditating if they had broadband.  It’s quite easy to distract yourself online.  By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for distracting yourself with the blog!  I guess I’m happy to be a source of distraction for you.

And, should you find the inspiration to meditate a little, maybe this shot from Siem Reap, Cambodia will help.

Meditation (by Stuck in Customs)

Houston at Dusk

I’ve had (the pleasure) to go to Houston a few (too many) times this year.  I always end up staying downtown, which affords me some good opportunities to take photos at dusk.  Usually I am busy (being drained) and can’t actually get out to shoot at sunset, so whenever I have a chance, I do my best to get a good one.

This was shot from the top of the Magnolia Hotel, which is a very cool place to stay, if you ever make it down thataway.

Houston at Dusk (by Stuck in Customs)

The Arabian Roof

Nothing makes me feel more like being in a foreign place than having the ceiling being entirely composed of cloth fluttering in the breeze.

Well, I am pretty sure that is what the Disney Imagineers intended when they designed this place. This was an Arabian-style restaurant right in the middle of Disney World, which has to be one of the coolest places in the world for photography. One of the problems there, frankly, is that there is so much to see that it is simply overwhelming. I think, now that I have been there multiple times, you just have to force yourself to drink in the details slowly over time. Wouldn’t being a Disney Imagnieer be just about the coolest job in the world?

My other piece of advice for parents (although, may Disney veterans already know this), plan a nap into the day. There is just no other way to do it with kids. Do the morning and lunch in one place… then maybe one ride on the way back to the hotel for nap time. Get a nice 2-hour nap in, then head out to different park for the evening. It will decrease stress levels by a factor of pi, and, besides, we adults are the ones that really like the naps, right? It’s a vacation, after all.

The Arabian Roof (by Stuck in Customs)

New York, New York

Is it a sad thing to say that one of the most fun things I did in Vegas was walk around by myself and take photos? Yes, I think that sounds kinda sad.

But it’s true! What a great place for photography. The lights are insane, the textures are off-the-wall, and everywhere you look is a feast for the eyes. It’s also a real challenge to try to get everything just right in the photo. With so many light levels working against one another on your sensor, it takes a bit to get it right.

I just finished recording another podcast today with Jim Goldstein from EXIF and Beyond. Whenever that one comes online, I’ll share it with y’all. We talked a lot about HDR and how it can best be used. I usually dial it up or down based on the photo, and this one, like my others, follows the steps in my HDR Tutorial. I can’t think of a better situation for HDR than Vegas at night. I look forward to getting more time in Vegas to go take photos of the other casinos hotels. If you guys have any special requests, be sure to put them in the comments!

New York, New York (by Stuck in Customs)

Guarding the Beaches of LA

Being a lifeguard in LA must be a great job. Or it might be a boring job. Or it might have occasions of greatness filled with a long periods of boredom.

There was a lifeguard sitting here in the station on Manhattan Beach when I took the shot. I guess I could have asked her while I stood outside her station for 10 minutes with all my glass aimed right at her. I kept giving her a nod of confidence, indicating that everything was okay. I was really just waiting for the colors to get right in the reflection.

Guarding the Beaches of LA (by Stuck in Customs)

The Deep River in Austin

This spot is about 5 minutes from my house.  Why don’t I go up here every night for sunset?  I don’t know.  I really don’t have a good excuse, because every time I go up there, I come away with something different.

On this night, I walked up there with my son right after the sun dropped below the horizon and we watched the day turn to night together.  One of the planets was brightly lit (Venus?) and appeared right above that cool-lookin tree that sits atop.  People from Austin know the one I’m talkin’ about. :)

The Deep River in Austin (by Stuck in Customs)

A Topaz Adjust Review – and the ’57 Chevy

I’ve found a wonderful new piece of software!

It’s a Photoshop plugin called Topaz Adjust and I’ve written a full Topaz Adjust Review here on the site. People send me software all the time to review, but I only end up reviewing stuff that I actually use. Eric Yang, one of the gurus over at Topaz, also gave me a Topaz Adjust Coupon Code of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” for 10% off to pass along to my readers. I think you will like it as much as I do! I actually recommend the Topaz Bundle (for MAC or PC), but you can read more about why inside the review.

Below is a shot of a ’57 Chevy. I saw it when walking back to the Magnolia Hotel on Friday night after dinner in Dallas. I took a photo of this pretty car under the blue lights of the porte-cochere, went upstairs to my room, downloaded the Topaz Bundle software, made the adjustments, and had the whole thing finished in less than 30 minutes. That quick turnaround speaks to how easy the software is to use. I’ve since used it on a number of other images, including some unpublished ones that are coming soon.

Topaz Adjust Review - and The 57 Chevy (by Stuck in Customs)

A Winter Snow in Autumn

I was in Patagonia as the leaves were turning colors for the fall, and on the edge of the glacial zone of the Andes, it could snow at any time.

I had camped in a very picturesque little forest to get away from the wind and the elements. We were pretty close to a river, which was nice to listen to while I slept. Note that I wasn’t in a tent since I had removed myself from Yuri’s tent for the sake of sanity and sleep. Luckily my sleeping bag was rated for negative 10 degrees, so I stayed snug.

The next morning when I woke up, a gentle snow was falling all around. The inner sanctum of the forest was green and warm while snow started piling up on the edges of the trees. It all looked too perfect, so of course I had to set up for a shot to bring it home to y’all!

A Winter Snow in Autumn (by Stuck in Customs)

Lunch at Chateau Rodin

I had been hiking around Paris with way too much equipment for several hours. Whenever, I’m in photo-gatherin’ mode, I am fairly tireless. I go from spot to spot like a Navy SEAL… but this day, I actually planned to have lunch at Chateau Rodin, the famous estate of the great French sculptor.

I had some food in my backpack that I had picked up at a small store a few hours before… a fresh baguette, a selection of cheeses, some fruit, and few truffles for dessert. I sat down at the edge of the fountain with my tripod up, aimed, and ready to go. I relaxed for a bit, listened to some Gotan Project on my iPod, and waited for the clouds to get just right.

Lunch at Chateau Rodin (by Stuck in Customs)

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