When a Temple is Forgotten

These are the kinds of places that are too cool to be true. I think these are called “banyan trees” (no doubt one of my smart readers will correct me if I’m wrong!), and their seeds fell centuries ago on top of these old tombs. Although not part of the main complex, the temple of Ta Prohm is still considered part of Angkor Wat. It’s a distance away, but, in many ways, cooler than the main temple.

Maybe I was lucky, the the days I spent there hardly had any tourists around. There were a few monks, but most of them were not Cambiodian and had traveled there from other monasteries all over the world.

Probably the coolest thing about the place was the ability to go anywhere and do anything. No little chamber, passageway, doorway, or underground mystery was off limits. It was definitely one of the best places for spontaneous adventure that I have ever been.

Note this was made with Lucis Pro 6.0… a few months ago, I did Lucis Tutorial, in case you want to know more.

When a Temple is Forgotten (by Stuck in Customs)

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I’ve Made it to the Edge of the World

Daily Photo – I’ve Made it to the Edge of the World

This was shot in the final hours of daylight, near the southern tip of Argentina and the edge of Chile, just a glacier’s throw from Antarctica.

In the morning, we woke up at 4:30 AM in -7 degree cold. I hardly slept 30 minutes the whole night. I was in a tiny 2-man tent with Yuri. The noxious fumes of our tiny prison reminded me, if you will, of the inside of a tauntaun that had spent its life consuming cognac and cigarettes. Furthermore, his snore had the sonorous bass and carrying power of a humpback whale with none of the beauty.

I started on one edge of these rugged peaks and moved around to this side, to get the view from the glacial lake. The spiked mountains there are Cerro Torre, and I was very lucky to see them without cloud cover. I understand they are covered up 90% of the time, so to have crystal clear air was fortunate. The glacier there, which presents on the right but really goes back behind many more mountains, is called “glacier grande”.

I did a lot of other things this day too, including a 45-minute 1500-foot ascent up an icy trail that was not really a trail at all. Dima and Vulva (Vulva is one of the other Russian gentleman who joined us on the trip — it’s hard to pronounce with a strange V-W sound, but he seemed to respond when I called him “Vulva”) went up the mountain with me in the pitch black, using only headlamps. I’ll have more on that story later because it was pretty sketchy. But, alas, we were able to see Fitz Roy as the sun turned the tips pink. After that, we began the long additional 10km hike that brought us to this location. I stayed here watching icebergs float by until the last morsels of dusk remained.

Last, I hope you like the new theme – it should come online sometime today. There are still minor little probs — the comments will get better, etc… but we will ease into it. The new design was done by one of the top graphic designers in the world – a Frenchman named Fabian Barral. He used images from my passport to create the look and feel. I think it’s great — let’s hope you do too! :)

I've Made it to the End of the World Patagonia Wilderness Photo

I’ve Made it to the Edge of the World

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/16.0
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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A Godly Dance at the Taj

I was barefoot like the rest of them.

The day must have been around 95 degrees and as stuffy as can be, but the cool marble seemed to keep me from being drenched in sweat. After a long walk, I had finally made it to the inner core of the Taj Mahal, around the main tomb structure where pilgrims from all over the country had gravitated. The faithful coiled in long lines and snaked their way around the complex, waiting patiently to reflect at the megamausoleum and communing with the god of their choice. How could a billion people be wrong?

When I travel, I actually always enjoy talking to Indians (or whoever) about their religion. Here is a little thing I do… I’m not sure it’s totally ethical since I say the same thing over and over, but I enjoy seeing people’s reaction as a probe a panoply of personalities. Inevitably, when I’m in a taxi or man-powered trike-mobile, there is some sort of deity that is jiggling about on the dashboard or handlebars. It can be anyone from Shiva to Brahma to Vishnu to Krishna to Ganesha and beyond.

So, I always ask, “Who is the god to whom you pay reverence?”

They respond quickly and directly, usually naming one from of the top ten from the pantheon of possibilities.

I respond back, in all seriousness, “Oh! He is a very powerful god!”

To this, they always turn to me and nod gravely.

My guide there was from no from one of the traditional Hindu sects — he was a Jain. The Jain don’t recognize the divine origins of the Vedas (made popular in the US from Oppenheimer’s re-quote after testing the Bomb), nor do they believe in any one supreme deity. They instead revere Tirthankaras who have raised themselves to divine perfection. So anyway, if you ever try out the little trick above, don’t bother with a Jain because they will just give you a funny look and a wobble of inconsequential solitude.

So if any of you get the chance to go, I recommend it.  The people are all nice as can be and very eager to engage in conversation about just about everything.  Or, of you’ve already been, then you know what I mean!

By the way, this comes from my new Lucis Tutorial.

A Godly Dance at the Taj

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A Day of Lucis Art

So now I’ve been using Lucis Pro 6.0 for over a month. I was hesitant to write a review and tutorial before I had processed a multitude of images. I feel like I have gotten the hang of it and figured enough stuff out to make a little tutorial. You can get there by clicking on the Lucis Tutorial here, or you can find it over there in the right column by all the other Tutorials.

In short, even though Lucis Pro is expensive, it will let you do a lot of things that are unique. You can also almost entirely circumnavigate the old HDR flow to create an HDR photo very quickly.

When I started this site, I never thought I would end up writing so many reviews and tutorials and stuff! I don’t think I am particularly good at it, but people seem to get a kick out of it, so I’ll keep it up!

Below is the newest photo I have processed with Lucis Pro and the one below that are some shots from the tutorial.

The Edge of Iceland at Sunset (by Stuck in Customs)

Lucis6Train3

Alone and Dejected in a Strange Place

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The Old Silo Against the Elements

Outside of Rudyard, Montana, I found this old grain silo that was still standing tall against the elements. There was a newer silo just down the tracks, but I thought this one had a bit more personality. The newer one was kind of predictable and boring, so where’s the fun in that? I walked around it a few times and looked at the clouds until I feel like I found a pretty good vantage for capturing the silo in its element.

The Old Silo Against the Elements (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Warm Curios Inside

I can’t believe it was closed and I couldn’t go inside.  Look at all the little interesting things in there to explore.  I rattled on the transparent glass and some gal I didn’t know shooed me away.  I’ll go back there one day and I’m sure it will open on up…   I mean come on…it’s me!

The Warm Curios Inside (by Stuck in Customs)

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1001 Arabian Nights and the Wily Scheherazade

Do you recall this tale?

The Persian king Shahryar got somewhat upset with one of his wives, had her killed, then married a fresh virgin each day. Then he had them beheaded the following day, which was generally bad in form. Then, as the kingdom ran out of women, the vizier’s own daughter, Scheherazade, married the king with a plan… She told him such interesting stories and things night after night (1,001, to be exact), he became endlessly enraptured.

1001 Arabian Nights and the Wily Scheherazade

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The Gestalt Coming and Going

I do love train stations in Europe!

I think each one has a personality of its own, and the gestalt is a function of the trains that come to visit. Leipzig wouldn’t be Leipzig if it never made a connection to Dresden. The stations really have no say in the matter and connections just get made on their own. It’s the natural order of things. Whatever it is about Dresden that makes it special becomes part of Leipzig, and vice versa.

This is from my upcoming LucisArt 6.0 tutorial… I’m still a-workin’ on it when my mind has moments of lucid thought.

The Gestalt of Coming and Going (by Stuck in Customs)

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Le Fleur de Lys, where I really should have dined

Do you see that gentle shape there in the room with me? It’s made up of hundreds of other tiny little things that are perfect and delicate. Each is alive and real. I’ll let you zoom into the full-sized version and see if you can deduce their Linnaean taxonomy. (you can zoom in by clicking on the image to go to the Flickr page, then click on All Sizes, then Original — it works like this for all my shots…. I always put the highest rez version online for you, should you decide it is time to dive in for the full experience)

The restaurant is called the Fleur de Lys, and it’s in THE Hotel, attached to the Mandalay Bay. You will probably also see that wine cellar on top with a nice little table for two. I think I need to get back to that place one day… I do love French food.

Le Fleur de Lys, where I really should have dined (by Stuck in Customs)

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A Chilly Morning in Boston Common

I had an 8 AM meeting in Boston but woke up round 6 to go walk around the Boston Commons and frolic in the snow. There was no frolicking involved. There was a lot of freezing involved, and it reminded me of a bad morning I had in Kiev with a gypsy cab in a blizzard. I wanted to get down to the harbor for some some other sunrise shots, but did not end up with time… but maybe that’s a good thing because it would have been even colder down there!

Morning in Boston (by Stuck in Customs)

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