The Shapes in the Shire, and a new behind-the-scenes video

New York, New York

I’m coming to Manhattan very soon! Rick Sammon gave me his ultimate secret spot for shooting some HDR, so I’m excited about that. I’m also going to be making another Stuck in Motion style video while there, so I’m looking forward to that. Keep an eye out for me if your in those parts! I’ll be the one with the camera.

Previous Videos

I’ve been adding a lot of videos in the last 6 months eh? There is a new one below, and I’ll be adding more soon with the upcoming book. It makes reference to a few unreleased videos here on the site, so I’ll be sure to get them up soon. If you want to see previous one, just see the “Videos” section there on the right!

Daily Photo (and bonus video!): The Shapes in the Shire

This is another shot from Yellowstone accompanied by a little video I shot with my Flip video camera. It’s not a high quality camera, and it’s awfully shaky. Sorry for that. But, I hope the content is good for you. I know people always like to know how many exposures I’m taking… this and that… so I’ve got all that info in there.

In the video, I show another photo, which you can see large right here.

The Shapes in the Shire, and a new behind-the-scenes video

Where the Sky is Torn Asunder

This Week in Photography show log available

If you wanted some of the links or to find out more about the other photographers on the show, visit the TWIP Log. Also if you found the show enjoyable, please be sure to leave them a comment. I’m sure they would enjoy hearing your feedback!

International Book Pre-Orders Available

In case you missed it, now you can pre-order the book now internationally on the HDR book page. We can’t hit every country yet, but maybe soon! We should note that international pre-orders cannot get the signed copy or the one with the Limited Edition Numbered Series print. My apologies for that… you will have to find a friend in the states if you simply must have one!

Daily Photo – Where the Sky is Torn Asunder (deep southern Andes, not far from Ushuaia)

The morning sun sprayed orange across the top of Fitz Roy, and I could feel those sharp tips slicing into the cold sky. It was really an unbelievable experience being there at the perfect time; I feel very lucky indeed.

Where the Sky is Torn Asunder

Golfing after Dark

Coming up soon

We have a short video coming up in the next week. It’s another of my bad shaky-cams, capturing some of the behind-the-scenes footage of some photos I took in Yellowstone. The quality isn’t great… but the content is good… well, let us hope!

National Instruments

Thanks to the nice people at National Instruments here in Austin! They invited me up to speak today at lunch. They have a huge photo club there with about 100 people. I gave them the old van-down-by-the-river talk. They asked very good questions and were very nice. I invited them to one of the upcoming book launch events (which you also know about, since you subscribe to the newsletter, right? Right???).

Daily Photo – Golfing After Dark

Horseshoe Bay here in Texas has one of the nicest putting courses in the world. They illuminate it at night with hundreds of lights scattered across the meticulous landscaping. This one is worth a large view! I happened to take it right at that moment in dusk that only lasts about five minutes.

Golfing at Dusk on the Lighted Course

A View from the Ranch in Argentina and Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography

HDR Workshop Update

In less than 24 hours, you can register for the HDR Workshop! At last count, after the announcement a few days ago, we had over 130 responses. There are going to be 12 spots available when registrations open, so you’ll have to be fast! Be sure to check back on the HDR Workshop page just after midnight CST on Friday, November 13th (to be exact, in case you are confused by midnight, the midnight between Thursday and Friday!).

Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography – The technique reveal

I was honored to be invited to guest host TWIP on Monday by Frederick Van. There is a live version of the show where perhaps you saw me in video action! If not, now it is available for audio-download. You can get TWIP Episode 115 here. I had a great time – and I thank Joseph, Ron, and Frederick for humoring me… I think I could talk to those guys all day and geek out on photography!

I revealed that video technique which a clever commenter coined “Stuck In Motion“. I put ALL the information there on that link. It should tell you everything, in addition to what you hear on the show. The original video posting gathered over 240 comments, speculation, and more. I think it’s fantastic how people guessed, poked, and prodded. Experimentation is great!

My friend RC Conception chimed into the chat, and I hijacked his question as an opportunity to talk about HDR not being a fad. Hehe… Anyway, you guys should also check out the great RC on Layers TV if you want to learn some new tricks in the Adobe suite of products.

Daily Photo

I’ve always heard about how wonderful it is to have a ranch near the wine country in Argentina. But not until I was down there did I really find that out in person. The idea of walking across a ranch during the nether hours of the day and seeing something like this… well… it kind of makes me want to just go ahead and retire down there. All I need is broadband and these kind of vistas… that’s the life, eh? I hope I was able to adequately capture the majesty of that place with this photo.

A View from the Ranch in Argentina and Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography

5 Great Twitter Contests

The Best of Breed

If you have some more ideas, Tweet me at @TreyRatcliff!

I’ve been asking all my social media pals, photographer-friends, and others about some of the most successful and fun Twitter contests that have been run.  I was sitting down with my publisher at @Peachpit, because we need to Give Away a few copies of “A World in HDR“.  While we thought of a few ideas, I thought we would open it up the Internet to see what we can find!

Frankly, and this might offend some people, I think that straight give-aways are crass and obvious.  I think it can get you followers, but I can argue those are ill-gotten followers.  You may disagree.

I think there are more fun, engaging, and productive ways to run Twitter contests.  So, to that end, I’ve assembled some of the best below.  If you have MORE, drop me a note in the comments, and I’ll do a redux soon! :)  Also, please, tell me your favorite contest idea and we can try to do something similar for the new book!  I’ll probably have @Peachpit run the contests, since I don’t want to Tweet about give-aways once an hour on my personal Twitter account (@TreyRatcliff). Besides, you guys should follow Peachpit anyway, since they are a good company that publishes fantastic books.

1)  The Michelle

  • So named, because it is the idea of Michelle Greer, a clever Twitter user and social media smarty-pants at Rackspace.
  • We pick a non-photography related blogger who frequently uses pictures in their posts to act as a judge (who’s interested??)
  • Judge announces a theme for the day (Landscape, architecture, etc) and announces via Twitter.  We’ll get that Retweeted widely and repeatedly.
  • Contestant picks a photo that fits the theme, “Hey @TreyRatcliff and @Peachpit, this #hdr is inspiring (link).”  Note this does not have to be MY photo…it can be yours, or anyone’s!
  • Judge picks the winner and uses it on their blog with attribution.  Winner gets a the prize!

Why I like this idea:

  • People get to find and share great art online
  • People get to discover new photographers and new sites that feature them
  • I’m a big fan of Creative Commons (all my work is CC, no Commercial Use allowed without contacting us first).  I think bloggers out there should know about all the beautiful photos from photographers that are available.  And photographers who believe in creative commons LOVE to be featured on blogs.
  • Everyone likes eye-candy on Twitter!

2)  The Trivial

  • Thanks to Eugene, a frequent guest on this site!
  • Send people on a scavenger hunt through a particular website to find something hidden
    • For example, we could ask, “How many nights in a row was Trey forced to eat borscht cooked by three Russian women in Argentina?”
  • The contest judge accepts tweets with real, creative, or funny answers.
  • The winner is selected randomly amongst those that got the right answer in 24 hours.

Why I like this idea

  • It’s fun and game-like
  • People get even more engaged in a website and might find some hidden gems
  • You have 24 hours to play, and you don’t have to be “quick on the draw”

3)  The Macleod

  • A frequent guest of the site, Barbara Youngleson, brought this one up.  Thanks Barbara!
  • This idea appears to have come from Hugh Macleod, the clever cartoonist and consummate cooligan
  • It works like this (more or less):
    • Purchase a book by any means, and send the PO over Twitter
    • A limited number of winners are chosen
    • Receive a second book, signed, for free.  Give one to a friend!

Why I like it:

  • It is non-pushy
  • It rewards people that are real-enough fans to buy the book in the first place!  Hehe.
  • Hugh did it, so it must have some coefficient of cool

4)  The Threadless

  • This idea is being successfully executed at
  • If you see a Tweet you like, you can submit it to the contest
  • It is then voted on by the Threadless community
  • The best Tweets end up on T-Shirts and the Tweet author gets sweet cash.

Why I like it:

  • It’s incredibly fun and engaging.
  • It’s super-viral.  I found out about it because someone nominated one of my Tweets: “If I get another dog, I shall name him ‘ROFL’.”
  • Threadless is cool, and it is fun to be associated with a cool brand.

5)  The Moonfruit

  • Moonfruit (a website buildin’ company) ran a good promotion where you can use the hashtag #moonfruit in any kind of Tweet
  • They selected a random person every day and gave away a MacBook Pro
  • It resulted in the #moonfruit hashtag being a trending topic and gaining over 30,000 followers

Why I like it:

  • It was very easy to enter
  • It was viral because you wonder why your friends are all talking about Moonfruit!

Today’s Photo – The Bar at Dosa in San Francisco

The photo today was taken at an awesome Indian restaurant in San Francisco called “Dosa”.  The manager was nice enough to allow me to move around and take a few photos after dinner.  I was dining with the marketing and PR team from Peachpit (@Peachpit), who is publishing the book.  Taking roll-call, we had Scott Cowlin (@ScottPeachpit), Sara Jane Todd (@SaraJaneTodd), and Laura Pexton (@Laura7).  We sat around all night talking about having some fun Twitter contests for people to give away books… so here we are, and you get to vote on your favorites!

5 Great Twitter Contests

Exploring Kyoto at night

Twitter and Facebook Contests!

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some of the best and most successful Twitter and Facebook contests I have seen. We are going to be having the good people at @Peachpit run a few contest to give away copies of the book after release! I’d like you guys and gals to pick your favorites. So please, if you have more suggestions, let me know. I’ve got a great list already, so let’s keep ‘em comin! Note that I don’t want to do just boring, obvious contests. I’d like them to be fun, different, and engaging. Know what I mean? So, if you’ve seen some that are successful, please pass them along!

Today’s Photo

I think I could stay in Kyoto for a few years and go out taking photos every day and night! What a picturesque place… I feel like someone designed it a thousand years ago just for HDR! Now, I think this is a pretty darned good example of HDR. When you are there, you do see all these colors and light levels. Absolutely! Thank goodness for the sweet lady HDR and all her little tricks.

Exploring Kyoto at Night

Join Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva!

Kiva and Stuck In Customs

Today, I am announcing that a percentage of all book profits for “A World in HDR” will go to Kiva. I have written a little bit about Kiva on the Charity page here on the site. Also, I made this little video to tell you what the heck Kiva is. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s probably not what you expect!

To get started, come join Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva and let me know your experiences! You can either put it here or on the Charity page.

I’d like to thank Sloane, who runs the blog, who I met through Michelle Greer, who runs (that links to a recent article she wrote after getting some notions from my reading list! – cool!)

Live Interview Today, Nov 9, on TWIP (This Week in Photography)


At 11 AM PST (1 PM CST), tune in live to the video at Leo Laporte’s TWIT cottage here on I won’t be talking about HDR today… I think that is being saved for a future interview when the book comes out. However, I will be talking about that video method I used to make the “Moments Between” video.

Come tune in Live and send Tweets along the way to @frederickvan! If you miss it, you’ll have to wait for it to be released on Wednesday! Don’t let that happen!

Daily Photo – The River Runs Through the Andes

Our daily photo today comes from deep in the Andes. Getting to this position was not as long a hike as the others around Patagonia, but it was no cakewalk! It was one of those strange river-rock strewn areas where the rocks seemed to be the perfect size for spraining your ankles. I had the tripod extended to act like a walking stick, although it’s not the most handy walking stick with a giant Nikon on one end of it!

The River Runs Through the Andes

The River Runs Through the Andes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/22.0
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Tokyo Road and International Pre-Orders now Available

Book Update

We got good news from Peachpit! You guys in many international locations can finally pre-order the book. Now, I’m afraid that you cannot get the one available here that is autographed and comes with the Limited Edition print. However, someday when I meet you in your country, I’ll be happy to sign it in person!

Today’s Photo

Today we have a fun one from Tokyo at dusk. What a cool place! I think I could climb up to the top of a different building every day at sunset and just shoot in every direction. None were bad! There is that perfect time just before the sun sets when all the lights are coming on… they sort of have that soft glow while they are getting warmed up.

Tokyo Road and International Pre-Orders now Available

The Crimson Before the Party

Update: I am very excited about the HDR Workshop. Thanks for all the great feedback! Registration will open close to midnight next week at this time (The midnight between Thur and Fri… hehe… I know saying “midnight” can fall either way!). I’ll also update the full list of everything that will be included, the amazing venue, extra bonus post-processing “fun” time with me after hours, etc etc.

I was lucky enough, thanks to a friend, get entry to run around the Crimson Lounge in Chicago on a Saturday before they opened. I think maybe some of you have seen the other Chicago photos of this location… there were so many interesting things to shoot with great angles. That reminds me — did you know that if you scroll down and look on the right, you can click there to see photos from various locations around the world?

Speaking of shooting cool stuff inside of an amazing place, we have a secret event coming up in Austin in the beginning of December. But shhh… don’t tell anyone… I’ll announce more as the time gets closer. It’s going to be quite a party. It may or may not have something to do with a major book launch from someone you may or may not know.

The Crimson before the Party

The Secret Spots in Tokyo

First, I’d like to thank everyone that expressed their interest and gave feedback to the HDR Workshop yesterday. Great stuff. I’m shocked. Really.

Second, I am glad so many of you are getting a kick out of my Five Twitter Lists! I KNOW you guys are finding some interesting people to follow on Twitter. As always, I’m open to suggestions, especially if you would like to join the Stuck In Customs Community List. Follow it, make a suggestion or recommendation (even recommend yourself – no prob!). I’ll take care of it.

Third, for today’s photo! What an amazing place. Now, knowing the crowd around here, you will be able to identify this secret spot in Tokyo. I really thank everyone out there for being so kind and introducing me to these great spots for photography. I feel quite lucky that when I travel, I have instant friends everywhere. I can’t believe it! Anyway, the gentleman who ushered me into this incredible lair was Alfie. Be sure to hit that link if you ever visit Tokyo and want to get some lessons WHILE seeing great places around the city.

The Secret Spots in Tokyo

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