The Lonely but Beautiful Path

The HDR Tutorial, Still Going Strong

I think it’s been over three years since I first posted the HDR Tutorial here on this site!  By the way, if you are new to the site, then what you are mostly seeing here is HDR Photography.

I go in and update the tutorial every three months or so, as I discover new techniques and further refine the process. We have SO many comments on there (especially on page 3 of the tutorial!) — I am not able to answer them all. But I am happy that so many people are learning this fun new sport. As usual, if you have any feedback, please let me know. The reason it is so good now is based on that very feedback, so keep it coming!

Daily Photo – The Lonely but Beautiful Path

I have a lot of alone time. When I am out shooting, I am totally in my own world. In fact, I’m even double-in-my-own-world because I have my iPod on and I drift away into pure right-brain mode. It’s quite nice, in a way, because I do achieve a zen-like peace where time does not matter.

I’ve worked with a few photographers that will copy and paste a sky from one photo and put it into another photo. I don’t do that stuff – that is waaaay too much editing for me. All the clouds and colors you see are true and wonderfully there. I even sat with a guy once who would take a perfect moon out of one photo and paste it into another! I simply can’t bring myself to do anything like that… it’s just too over-the-top!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this new photo from Florida… I’ve got some more beautiful ones coming up in the next week, so stay tuned!

The Lonely but Beautiful Path West Palm Beach Florida

The Lonely but Beautiful Path

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

First Photo from New Zealand – The Glowing Icy Cave at the Glacier

New Version of Topaz Adjust out today!

Topaz Adjust 4 is out today on the Topaz Website. You may have already seen my Topaz Adjust Review in the recent past, and you’ll be happy to know the new one is a free upgrade if you have the previous one! I got a sneak peak at the new one, and I posted an image below from the slick new interface. If you haven’t already got it, then I recommend it totally. I use it quite a bit to sharpen things up and give images some pop.


Screenie from the new Topaz Adjust 4 – Nice looking interface, eh?


Daily Photo – The Icy Cave at the Franz Josef Glacier

I’ve had an amazing time so far in New Zealand. I’m here for about a month with my family. On a recent evening, my 8-year-old son and I went on a decent hike to the base of the Franz Josef Glacier on towards the west coast of the southern island. Once we got close to it, we could see the icy blue cave where a glacial-white river emerged. Awesome! My son looked at me and said, “Wow. I feel like we just discovered Atlantis!”

In truth, we stayed way too late. This was a good 1.5 km from the car, and it was pretty dark. By the time we got back, it was totally dark except for the moonlight that helped guide us home. I had a flashlight hanging off my camera “just in case”, but, as case would have it, the flashlight fell off into the glacial river!

The Tunnel to the Singularity

How Long Until the Singularity?

About halfway through my HDR talk at Google (Youtube link), I asked this to the crowd there. I figured they would know! I was thinking about all that a bit recently while working on this photo for the day….

Don’t forget to come discover new artists!

We started this Smugmug Portfolio Contest just recently. Be sure to come over and see some of the new entrants… some beautiful work out there!

Daily Photo – The Tunnel to the Singularity

While getting lost on purpose in the streets of Tokyo, I decided to head up into one of the buildings to wander about. It led to one hallway, which led to another, another, and then to this amazing place. I’m not sure I could ever find it again, so I was sure to take way a photo as a keepsake. Sometimes special things like that happen, and I am sure to appreciate it at the time. One part of me thinks, “Oh, no worries, you’ll be back here again some day.” The other half worries, “Okay, maybe not, you better fully appreciate it!” And I did! :)

The Beautiful Airport in Kuala Lumpur

Mega-Photowalk During SXSW? How about March 13

Yes, I am thinking about putting one together based on a series of very enthusiastic requests! I don’t have anything formally planned yet, but some pieces are coming together. I know we have people coming to Austin for SXSW from all over the world. If we hold it, it will be around sunset on Saturday evening, March 13 (it was March 14, but I understand now the Austin Photography Group meets that evening). So… pencil in the 13th !

We might even have a little contest of sorts… see who can get the most interesting Austin evening / SXSW / party / social / or Austin-y shot!

Daily Photo – The Beautiful Airport in Kuala Lumpur

Ahhhh… Asian airports. I really love them. They all remind me, for some reason, of these clean-white scenes from the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The architecture in these places is inspired and the textures are impeccably chosen. I literally cannot help myself from taking photos. Whenever I walk through them and I compose a scene with my eyes, I am compelled to get out my camera and tripod and shoot away.

And yes — this is a common question I get on Twitter and all over the place. I always carry my tripod on the plane. I’ve never had a problem except for one international flight, when they told me it was a few inches too long. Now, this might have been a fluke because I have a big tripod. I’m just sayin’.

The Beautiful Airport in Kuala Lumpur

New York is Alive and Well, and Cali Lewis learning HDR

Join the Facebook Fan Club!

We have a nice growing community over there, and I drop in on occasion to put in little bits of news that just can’t wait on the daily blog post. I do want to keep the blog a regular once-a-day event. However, sometimes there are cool things you might want to know over on the Fan Page. I also encourage discussion, finding more friends, and the like there. So, come join and have a good time!

I had a great time in New York!

I just got back from NYC, where I went out to get ready for the book launch party. While there, I shot a secret video with Steve Simon, which may not be secret for long… stay tuned for that.

Also, I went out with Cali Lewis to shoot some HDRs in Times Square! This was a bit of an in-person version of the HDR Tutorial here on the site. Cali is the host of Geekbrief.TV – a show you should watch for sure if you like tech and spunkiness (plus, you can see she uses my photos on her backgrounds!). Anyway, after shooting some HDRs, we went and had Italian food with Cali, Neil (her hubby), and my friend June Arunga. I handed Neil my camera and he shot this pic of us together…

Cali Dinner

Daily Photo – New York is Alive and Well

It’s been a few years since I have been to New York, and Times Square is better than before! I was actually in New York on 9/11, so it’s always good to go back to the city and see everything is still awesome. Maybe next time I come, we can all do a flash mob and hit B&H Photo for a while – that would be fun!

New York is Alive and Well

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11.0
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Timeless Tomb — and the book launch parties announced

Book Parties Announced!

More details to come soon, but save the dates and come RSVP on Facebook! I’ll be signing books, meeting you, and hanging out. I hope you can make it! Don’t worry about coming alone… you’ll make friends with the nice people there soon enough!

The Timeless Tomb

The Taj Mahal is an awesome place. I mentioned it last night in the live video chat (thanks to those of you that could make it — we should have a recording up soon). I spent the day taking photos of the place, and I was dog-tired when it was all done. Plus, my feet were hella dirty. You have to take off your shoes there. It turned out, actually, to keep me pretty cool. It was a very hot day; the marble was nice and cool on my feet.

I obviously used a special texture treatment on this one — if you’d like to find out more, there is indeed a “Textures Tutorial” here on the site.

The Timeless Tomb and Three Book Parties Announced!

And then I hiked through the Autumn Trees to find the Glacier

Live Video Chat Thursday Evening in the USA

The video chat is tonight, Nov 19th! Come join us at tinychat.com/stuckincustoms. Everything begins officially at 7 PM CST (5 PM PST). I know we have people joining from ALL over the world. Sorry I don’t have local times for everyone, but I know people around here are smart enough to do the addition in their heads, I hope! :)

I’ll start it out with a little announcement that should be fun for everyone!

The Newsletter is Off

We sent off the free Newsletter yesterday. I notice that one of the previous newsletters was opened by over 200% of the people who were on the list! That means that most people forwarded it to at least one person. That’s great. I always try to fill it with pretty pics… so they are the kinds of things that are fun to forward to people that like pretty pictures. And who doesn’t like those? Anyway, since it’s free, I do ask that you forward it around. It brings more people to the site, we get better advertising deals, and then it’s great for everyone! Thanks!

Daily Photo – And then I hiked through the Autumn Trees to find the Glacier

I wasn’t exactly hiking in the safest spot in the world, when I stopped to take this shot. But the tripod helped! I tend to use it like a hiking stick sometimes. I was hiking through a pretty area of southern Argentina in a bitter rainstorm. You can’t see the rain here because I left the shutter open for so long, but you can see the heavy clouds, hanging just a bit over the Perito Moreno glacier.

And then I hiked through the Autumn Trees to find the Glacier

Trees and an Aircraft Carrier in the Fog

Live Video Chat Thursday Evening in the USA

The video chat for the pre-release of the book will be up at tinychat.com/stuckincustoms. Actually, it’s up now, but I won’t be broadcasting video until the event starts at 7 PM CST on Nov 19th. Come back then and join in!

Topaz Adjust and Noiseware

It’s been a while since I mentioned these great products! I used both of them in the image below; the former was for sharpening and the latter was for noise reduction. I also used Noiseware on the Tokyo photo from yesterday. To find out more and get coupon codes, check out the Topaz Adjust Review and the Noiseware Review.

Daily Photo – Trees and an Aircraft Carrier in the Fog

The time I spent in San Diego was very moody and covered in fog. I went down to the shore one night to spy the USS Midway. The fog was pea-soup thick and it gave the environs quite the mood. I found these amazing trees nearby that seemed wonderfully illuminated against the glow from the aircraft carrier.

Trees and an Aircraft Carrier in the Fog

Approaching the Inner Temple

These places were a joy to explore. My friend Ben Willmore is heading to the temples of Angkor soon, so I am hooking him up with some of the locals there that helped get me around. I’m sure he’ll have as much fun exploring these places as I did. While it was fun, there was sometimes not a stable place to step. I don’t have the strongest ankles in the world (thanks to a bunch of soccer injuries), so it got a little sketchy in spots! When you see some of those distant mysterious doorways, it’s hard not to want to trample over to have a closer look.

Approaching the Inner Temple

Meandering in the French streets after dark

I don’t sleep much, even when I am home here in Texas.  I get a good 5-6 hours of sleep a night; but when I travel, I’m so charged up I get less.  These foreign city streets seem to have a romantic sense about them, so that impedes even more on my sleep since there are so many great places to shoot.

This perfect little European medieval street was in Lyon, if I am not mistaken.  Sometimes I forget here in my old age.  There’s a 10% chance it is in Paris. There’s a long path from click to final image and my memory fades betwixt.

Walking the Streets of France After Dark

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