The Old Coffee Mill and a Call for Flickr & Facebook to increase their small pic sizes

It is old indeed! This is from my newly discovered ghost town and favorite place outside of Austin to go for a fun afternoon shoot! As much as I love coffee shops, I hate to see one fallen apart into such a state of disrepair… but it does make a good candidate for some HDR!

If possible, zoom into the Flickr one and see the original size (via All Sizes+ on top) if you like all the details in these sorts of places. The one here on the blog is 900 pixels across but the original is 6048 pixels across, so the blog cuts out about 6x of the detail!

But, it’s better than the paltry Facebook or Flickr sizes which are so tiny that it’s kind of depressing… I think that is a major problem with those two services… the very small default size of the image usually does not do it justice. They should have two interfaces – a low and high bandwidth interface. That’s not too much to ask here in late 2009, is it?

The Old Coffee Mill and a Call for Flickr & Facebook to increase their small pic sizes

The Tree Alone Against the World

Two textured shots in a row! Sorry, I usually don’t do this (put two very similar things back to back on subsequent days) but I’ve been spending my weekend evenings here recording these videos. I just finished this one and was happy with the way it turned out.

There was this interesting tree sitting alone after a morning snow. The snow had melted, but the skies still had these white-out conditions. Those skies normally make for very dull visuals, so I thought this would be a good candidate for textures. I think, by now, you guys know I can’t stand a boring sky in my photos… and since you can’t always have a four-star sunset, maybe it drove me to use the world around me to find textures to re-purpose inside these photos. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll figure out that bit in a while.

The Tree Alone Against the World (by Stuck in Customs)

Olympic Park in Atlanta and approaching 20 million views!

I was with my friends Scott and Rick in Atlanta a few weekends ago. While there, Scott pulled out his video camera and started following me, asking all kinds of questions about photography. He’s just getting started with his DSLR and so is Rick. Scott has made a few HDRs and was already hooked, so he thought it would be a good idea to videotape me for a few hours and just ask a bunch of questions while I set up for HDRs.

Scott just sent me an advance look at the final cut of the video he made… it’s very cool! I am going to share it with everyone in the Newsletter shortly. I think we should get it out in the next week or so. I’ll also have a longer uncut version available exclusively for Newsletter subscribers (yes it is FREE). It was very nice of Scott to make the video and I’m excited to share it. Below is one of the four photos I took in the video.

The second screenshot below is from Flickr. We are probably 10 days or so from breaking 20 million views on Flickr. Thanks everyone! I’ll buy a Coke for the 20 millionth visitor!

Playing at Olympic Park (by Stuck in Customs)

Stats | (by Stuck in Customs)

The Red Room

Does anyone else remember the Red Room from Twin Peaks? I was a real fan of that show and saw every one. The Red Room was this perfectly insane place that came out of David Lynch’s mind. All the scenes inside were filmed in reverse, and the lines were spoken backwards. They were then played backwards (so it appear forwards, but twisted) to give a very creepy feeling to the place. This was where the quirky Agent Cooper visited in many of his strange dreams… It’s also because of Agent Cooper that I give myself a small gift every day, like a nice slice of pie. I wish Lynch would make a new TV series!

This is yet another shot from the Crimson Lounge in Chicago. The place was awesome. I took a ton of shots and I probably could have taken even more!

Also, we have a new sponsor of the site here – I have a review coming up in the next Newsletter that will talk more about it. In short, it’s like Netflix for lenses! Very cool idea… It’s a great way to try out all those lenses that you’ve always wondered about or wanted!

The Red Room

The Glassy Lake Near Antarctica

I’m in the middle of working on a full upgrade for the Stuck In Customs Textures Tutorial. I think it’s already very good (only had ONE return in over a year!), but I can do even better. I’ve learned a lot in the past 18 months about this stuff and the technique continues to evolve. As I am working through some new shots for the tutorial, I thought I would go ahead and post this one. It was taken late one afternoon near a glacial lake on the southern edge of Argentina.

We have put together a fair upgrade plan if you have purchased the current Textures Tutorial and you want to a new set of 50 Textures taken from secret locations along with the new video. I’m excited to get it out there… not sure how much longer it will take. I want to give it a professional touch. In the meantime, I wanted to share this one with you!

The Glassy Lake Near Antarctica

The Booming Austin Downtown

I am looking forward to all these cranes getting finished so I can take a final shot of downtown!  As soon as I think they are done, another building starts up.  I’m not sure the expected completion date, but I do have a shot in mind for that day.  I’m not sure if it will work out…  but it’s worth a try!

There is an interview on FOX news here in Austin tomorrow morning.  It’s a live shot and I’ll be on a few times throughout the show…  I know we’ll be talking about HDR photography and I might even have a tripod set up…we’ll see!  I know most of y’all aren’t in Austin, so I’ll try to get a link up…

Booming Austin (by Stuck in Customs)

The Firemen in Boston

Early one morning I went walking around the streets of Boston and I found this firehouse. They were looking at me a little suspiciously while taking photos, but they let me be… I think they could tell that I thought firehouses and firemen were pretty cool. Firemen can see that kinda thing in people!

Red Engine Number 33 - The Firehouse of Boston

The Floating Umbrellas at the Shoppes at the Palazzo, and the Mac King Show

It was a busy day in Vegas (is any day here not?). We went all over creation… thank you for all the suggestions here on the blog and in Twitter!

The first shot below is from the recent expansion from the Venetian shopping area. It’s really beautiful inside and these designers should be given some kind of award! The best I can do here is try to honor their design with good photo of the place. It’s actually quite a difficult venue to capture! I have it from a few angles. There are many other beautiful ones, including one from down below looking up. I’ll be sure to include that at some point in the future!

After this, my friend Andrew Mayne (of recommended that we go to see the Mac King Comedy Magic Show. It was a great recommendation! I have pretty high standards (without being a snob), and this guy was just amazing. Ethan even got pulled up on stage to do all kinds of stuff… he was in heaven. After the finale, we went to meet him and I snapped this photo of Mac and Ethan. Anyway, I also recommend the show. It’s totally hilarious, family-friendly, and the magic is original and amazing.

Umbrellas at the Shoppes at the Palazzo (by Stuck in Customs)

Ethan and Mac King -sm (by Stuck in Customs)

Nearly Getting Arrested in Downtown Atlanta

Here is an HDR photo of downtown Atlanta from Olympic Park. This is not the shot I wanted, although I am still happy with it.

I had a run-in with the law this evening while I was with my friends Scott Kublin and Rick Shearer. Just next door to the Olympic Park is the aquarium and the Coke Museum with a big field in between. There were about a fifty people or so there at the park. I set up my tripod to take a photo of downtown and the Coke Museum was in the middle of the shot. A female cop of came over and told me I had to take down the tripod because I looked like a professional. Coke does not allow that, so she said. I said I’m a blogger with expensive toys and hardly a threat. Then she got quite huffy and agitated before telling me if I did not take down the tripod that I would be arrested.

This policy is absurd. She claimed that Coke is worried about their brand and image so professionals need special permission. So, it’s okay for amateurs with crappy camera-phones to take photos and upload to Facebook and Flickr? But not me, someone that can make their building look amazing? And they don’t want their pretty museum to be on a popular travel blog that gets over a quarter million visits a month and millions a year? Or even, who cares if I was not that popular and only 10 people saw it?

In fact, in the world of social media, Coke (and every other company with old-rules made by out-of-touch people) should welcome people like me that are making their brand even more popular.

And to think, I had just had a Coke.

Additional Note: There’s also quite a discussion happening over on the Facebook Thread and the Flickr Thread if you want to read even more about it! Thanks again for the interesting discussion and your insightful stories!

Nearly Getting Arrested in Downtown Atlanta (by Stuck in Customs)

Thanks for coming to the PhotoWalk!

Thanks to everyone who came downtown for the PhotoWalk tonight. It was lots of fun and I hope everyone got something out of it.

I asked everyone to please share their photos from the evening and encouraged people to comment on the photos of others. You can get this started by posting them either inside the Facebook Event Here, or, of you prefer Flickr, inside this thread in the Stuck In Customs group (which you can join).

According to the Driskill, we had about 160 people squeezed into the Victorian room. Cool! Is this one of the biggest PhotoWalks ever? Maybe so! Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed your assignments. By the time we got to the capitol, the group was a bit scattered! It was wild to see over a hundred photographers out there taking photos, using tripods, and running around to get the best angles. Very cool!

I set up to take some HDRs and talked through the process as much as possible. Around the backside of the capitol, I stopped here to take a photo. It just seemed like a nice spot with the little rolling hills and the evening lights. Like I explained to the group there with me, half is the shot, and the other half is the processing. There were many new people there today that are new to this scene, so I wanted to point them to the free HDR Tutorial here on the site.

I understand that CBS and NBC were there covering the event. I know I saw a camera from CBS out on 6th Street. If any of you can find footage, feel free to post it below. Thanks again to everyone that came — I hope you had fun!

The Capitol on the Night of the Austin PhotoWalk

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