The Abandoned Farmhouse

The Genuine Fractals Review

Here is a review that I haven’t mentioned in a while. It’s a handy piece of software for cleverly making photos bigger without losing resolution. See more in the Genuine Fractals Review.

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Farmhouse

This place was another one of those New Zealand fence-hoppers.

I’m never 100% sure that jumping over fences is a great move. But if the place looks abandoned, I just go for it. I don’t mean any harm…. I’m just going to take photos. So far, this has never caused me an issue (except for when I forget to check to see if the fence is electrified).

I don’t do a lot of these urbex shots, but I certainly do enjoy them. Did you know there are several forums out there that have listings of abandoned buildings around the world? They list out old abandoned hospitals, theme parks, hotels, and more creepy places like you see in zombie movies. It’s all great for photography, of course, and I think a few of my London contacts may be hooking me up with some abandoned spots around their neck of the woods.

HDR Photo

Photography podcast in the future? And… The Giant Sun Sinks into the Tasman Sea

Video from The Tech Guy

We have some fun video from the appearance on Leo Laporte‘s The Tech Guy yesterday. When I was out at Leo’s cottage a few weeks ago, he brought up the idea of doing a photography podcast on his network. I gave him the thumbs up and said I thought it sounded like a good idea! He said he wanted to put it together with me, Lisa Bettany, and Ray Maxwell. If you want to hear the latest in those discussions, fast-forward to the 12:30 mark.

Otherwise, we talk about HDR, the DVD, we critique on of his HDR shots, and this sort of thing. As far as links we mentioned, you can go to the HDR Camera Recommendations and the free HDR Tutorial.

And, after the interview, I forgot I was still on Skype!  So, he caught me carrying my computer back to the office… but I did capture some more behind-the-scenes stuff that you may enjoy…hehe.  You may enjoy seeing what happens during the commercial breaks of these shows… !

If you want to subscribe to more of Leo’s podcasts, just visit his main TWIT site. He has everything from the hit weekly show This Week in Tech that has John Dvorak as a regular to my fellow Austinite Brian Brushwood on NSFW. They have it all there!

Daily Photo – The Giant Sun Sinks into the Tasman Sea

Despite what I said in the podcast, sometimes you do want to go beyond +2 to -2 !  I can’t go through every caveat in those short soundbytes… but this exemplifies such a case.  In this photo of the sunset over the Tasman Sea, off the coast of New Zealand, I did take 7 exposures form +3 to -3.  Whenever you aim the camera right into the sun, you need to expose even more range than normal.

I am going back to New Zealand for about a month in October. It will be a blast! This time, I’ll be spending most of my time on the South Island, exploring around… I hope to bring back more wonderful finds from the wild for you!

HDR Photo

River to the Maelstrom

Flickr For Blogs & Social Media Stuff

I know that some of you are coming to OpenCa.mp to see me speak — but if you are a blogger or into social media, I highly recommend you come see Scott Kublin talk (see Scott’s session here). Just trust me on this one.

Speaking of blogging, driving traffic, and all that sort of stuff, I point you to this article on ReadWriteWeb called “Analysis: What are the Web’s Top Sources of Referral Traffic?” There is a nice mention of StuckInCustoms.com there and about how much traffic we get from Flickr alone.

FlipBoard is cool!

This is the coolest way to follow Twitter (@TreyRatcliff) and Facebook! It’s called FlipBoard for the iPad, and I have been using it quite a bit. It’s great! Basically, it is a clever way to see what is happening in Twitter in a magazine format. Whenever anyone posts a link, FlipBoard gives you a nice preview of the whole story.

I have created many Twitter Lists of good people to follow for various categories — artists, scientists, funny people, the Stuck In Customs community, and more!

Here are some photos of one of my lists called “Trey Ratcliff Curated Art” so you can see what it looks like.  There are all kinds of great sources on there like Abduzeedo, who is giving away an eBook, btw.  It very smartly builds a dynamic page based on what people put on the list!


Daily Photo – River to the Maelstrom

To honor ReadWriteWeb and its founder, the great Richard MacManus, I decided to post a new photo from his homeland of New Zealand today.

On the way to Milford Sound, there are a variety of little rivers that twist and turn into the mountains. I didn’t have nearly enough time, but I did a small amount of hiking to find some good compositions. I WILL have enough time, when I go back later in November or so of this year. Maybe I’ll spend a month or so this time, so I can really get out and do some serious hiking.

Even though I like to leave a little mystery in my photos (like that unusual maelstrom around the bend), I don’t like to have these mysteries in real life. I had to hike that direction to see what was there! And what was there? Hmm… maybe we’ll save that for a future shot!

HDR Photo

The Mysterious Stone Sphere

Torpedo Away!  London Calling!

The “Prettiest Newsletter in the World” has left the gates… All kinds of London news inside and more! Enjoy!


Daily Photo – The Mysterious Stone Sphere

This English-style garden near a smallish castle in New Zealand had all sorts of little sculptures and whatnot. This part of the day was overcast and cool, so it was nice to walk casually around with my tripod. I don’t know what this stone object was all about, but it certainly seemed photo-worthy.

I used a 14-24 lens for this shot, and I am still amazed how close I have to get to a subject to get it to fill up the frame. Usually, I have to get uncomfortably close to the subject. I suppose it’s not uncomfortable with an inanimate object, but, still…. you know what I mean if you have done this.

HDR Photo

About to Explore Milford Sound

Met Joseph Linaschke!

Yesterday I met Joseph Linascke in LA. He’s as great a guy in person as I expected. I had hosted This Week in Photography with him several months ago, and we have always been trying to get together. It was good to finally meet him in person!

Do you organize your photos on an Apple and interested in using Aperture to make the job easier? You should get Joseph’s Aperture eBook. That thing is over 100 pages long and filled with all kinds of good stuff.

Daily Photo – About to Explore Milford Sound

Milford Sound was one of the three places that everyone in New Zealand told me I had to visit. And after arriving there, I’m glad I did! It was a bit foggy and cloudy while I was there, but it made for a nice mood.  The light rain would get a bit annoying on the lens, but we all learn to deal with these little bummer things that happen.  Nothing is perfect and nothing is easy…

These days are difficult for shooting. There is sometimes not a good or obvious angle, so it takes a lot of hiking and consideration before I finally pull the trigger. I hiked all around the coast for a bit before settling on this spot. Not too long after this, I got onto a huge boat to take me out towards the ocean.  That afforded me a lot more angles and unexpected shots, which I’ll be sure to include in a future post.

Pasture Sentinel

Daily Photo – Pasture Sentinel

After I drove through Nelson, I was ripping along the highway and noticed an old farmhouse. I’m not sure how I noticed it, but the area was so different, I just had to stop. I spent 90% of my time taking photos of the farmhouse, and on the way back, I saw this tree. It stood solitary and wonderful; I had to grab a shot.

Driving to Akaroa

Recap – Twitter and Human Evolution

I thought it time to resurrect my “Twitter and Human Evolution” article for people that are new to the site in the last year or so!

I’m back at an amazing conference in Yellowstone. Actually, it’s not really a conference… it’s an eclectic gathering of a few dozen scientists, economists, artists, and all sorts of other people. It’s at a private ranch that you have to hike 11 miles to reach. Days are filled with exploration, horse-riding, fishing, photography, art, discussions, etc. Nights are filled with a fabulous dinner with servants followed by several TED-like talks in the Great Room.

Matt Ridley is here and recently gave a talk about his new book “The Rational Optimist”. I have it up on “Trey’s Book List“, in case you are interested in something entirely different to read.

New eBook on HDR Mistakes Tomorrow

I plan on releasing this within the next 24 hours, if all goes according to plan. I’ll have it up on the eBook page, so get ready… I know you’ll love it!

That little preview page there on the right is somewhat of a table of contents, I suppose! I have used one of my worst photos ever to show off many of mistakes & solutions presented in the book!

As for the eBook Giveaway Contest, the random winners are commenter #40 Nora, #61 Gordon Brown, and #407 Lauren Blackwell! Congrats!

Daily Photo – Driving to Akaroa

Akaroa is a little French town on the coast of the south island of New Zealand. While in Christchurch, this was the #1 spot people told me I had to visit! It’s not a long drive at all, and it was a great destination for sure.

Along the way, we passed these perfect little hills and water inlets. Many people told me that the middle of the summer is not really the best time for this area because the grass is not green. But that’s okay with me… I think the golden hues of the grass and the green of the trees go nicely together.

Also, I got a nice email from Robert Peper, who wanted to inform people here of a New Zealand photography newsletter. You can sign up there on the bottom of that linked page.

HDR-Photo

New Zealand Wine

Father’s Day Tweets

I know the vast majority of you all are not on Twitter, but I thought I would show this little interchange I had yesterday.

@TreyRatcliff At Isabella’s dance recital. They said you can’t take photos. They can pry my 70-200mm from my cold dead fingers.

Among various responses, I received this one, which I thought was touching.

@oceanshaman What’s a dance recital w/ NO PHOTOS?!? I still have photo my dad took of me in my pink tutu! ~@TreyRatcliff

@oceanshaman [Tomorrow] is #FathersDay. My dad died young. Photo he took of me in pink tutu on my bedside table today. Thx Dad! @TreyRatcliff

Common-Sense Photography

A related issue is the silly treatment of parents by these kid-function-authorities. Who are these people that won’t let me take photos of my daughter or record the dance recital? It’s a crazy world… From my observation, there are three causes, all of which are silly:

  • Attorneys and the legal system – Often times, organizations arm themselves with attorneys who defy reason in order to set up situations in which they can make money.
  • Hyper-Scared Busy-body Committees – These do-gooder committees decide that anyone with a big camera must be some kind of child molester.  These people spend a lot of time watching prime-time TV and news reports that help reinforce their largely irrational fear. There is a reason that there is never a statue of a committee.
  • Professional Photographers – I know that many times, there is a professional photographer or video company there, creating products to sell. I don’t know how they get the operation to agree to “banning” photos and video, but somehow they do. Their motivations are obvious and insidious. That organizations actually agree to it – well that’s just insulting to their customers.

What do you think?  Have you run into these issues?  I’ve heard that it’s even worse in the UK than the US. I would wager that the countries that have a more robust legal system are those same countries that make common-sense photography more difficult.

Daily Photo – The Wines of New Zealand

I’m afraid I’m not much of a wine aficionado.  I will not deny that I am always envious of those that are (or, appear to be) quite knowledgeable about the subject matter.  Although I’ve been on about 10 different winery tours, I think I retain very little since I am not a wine drinker.

It’s all very interesting scientifically, of course, the growing and wine-making process.  I’m can’t appreciate any of the end-result, but I do like to listen to people prattle on about it.  I occasionally find myself in small social groups where 90% of the conversation revolves around the consumption of alcohol.  I listen attentively, but can’t contribute…

We stopped at a huge winery in New Zealand, which is becoming quite famous this sort of thing.  After having a great lunch, I walked around the vineyards for a bit to find interesting bits here and there…

HDR-Photo

The Last Pier

New Video Soon

I made a quick video as I was going from one fjord to the next in Iceland just two days ago. I’m editing it now and hope to upload soon… so stay tuned!

Daily Photo – The Last Pier

I made two long drives to Milford Sound. Actually, on the first one I didn’t quite make it all the way because it got too dark. These are the perils of stopping a lot to take photos… but no matter, really, when you see stuff like this. How can you not stop for a photo?

It’s tempting to go out on the dock to take photos, but tiny ones like this tend to shift around with the waves. That can cause all the photos to be misaligned and can cause quite a processing mess. I spend enough time post-processing as it is, so I can’t imagine purposefully setting myself up for more!

HDR-Photo

Kea Campers in New Zealand

What Projects Am I Working On?

I am working on more cool stuff than I can talk about!

But, upcoming, I do have a full comparison of the new Photomatix (see the current Photomatix Review) and the Adobe CS5 Photoshop HDR stuff. I’ve been doing massive testing, as you might expect… and I am trying to put together something cogent for release soon. But, very briefly, so far Photomatix is faster and better with my recommended workflow.

Upcoming in the near future, I have a very long-form article about a wonderful adventure in Hollywood. It is taking forever to put together and is quite different from the usual post… but I think you will like it!

Besides all that, I’ve also been working on a huge new art project that I hope to display to you in the next few weeks. You guys may hate it… I dunno… I guess we’ll see. I’ve received too much rejection in life to worry about it, so I’ll just float it out there and see what you think!

Daily Photo – Kea Campers in New Zealand

While I was in New Zealand, I got up close and personal with my Kea Camper.  That thing was my home for almost a month, and my wife, two kids, and I lived the heck out of it.  Before the trip, I did a lot of research to find the best one… I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, I liked it so much, I grabbed a bunch of pics of it!  I’ll add them to the New Zealand Campers page in a bit. I will also add a bunch more information on there about suggested routes, tips, tricks, and more. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while… can’t find the time.

Also, the Kea Campers people know about me and the site – they wanted to offer you a special deal. Just mention STUCKINCUSTOMS when you reserve, and you’ll get all free camping equipment! Cool deal, eh?

I put a few things about the “Camper Van” experience on that page… the good and the bad. The best part? The kids having a blast in their “Clubhouse” upstairs above the driver. The worst part? Getting that beast up curvy, tight, uphill mountains… that caused a bit of unnecessary stress!

HDR-Photo

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