New SmugMug Vid! Want to see even more Behind-the-Scenes videos?

SmugMug Review

You guys know that I’ve been using SmugMug for years. If you want to try it out, they gave me a discount code of STUCKINCUSTOMS to save you money. To really get the full scoop and compare to Flickr etc etc, see the full SmugMug Review here on the site.

Want to see more behind-the-scenes videos???

So, even though this video below is obviously a promo for SmugMug (they didn’t pay me btw), I thought it was SO COOL that I wanted to share it. The guy that filmed it, Anton Lorimer, is absolutely fantastic.

So, I liked it so much, that I was thinking about bringing him with me on a photo adventure and have him grab a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff. I’d like them to be both scenic and technical. What do you think of this?

I’m sure I could get SmugMug to spring for the cost of sending Anton along with me (I’ll pay for myself as usual.. I never accept paid trips or free hotels, even though I get offers all the time).

Photo Reveal – 1 week from Today

In the video below, you’ll see me in the Big Sur area of California. You’ll see me taking a photo of the surf and rocks at sunset… want to see how it turned out? I’ll publish it here a week from today!

New Video – SmugMug Pro Promo

Well, this is obviously an ad for SmugMug pro (didn’t pay for my appearance in the ad OR me putting it on the website, since you may be wondering)… but, besides the commercial side, it’s also amazingly cool footage. Anton followed me around a double-wicked evening of wind and skin-ripping sand on the beach here in Big Sur. I assumed he knew what he was doing, but when I ended up seeing the footage, I was really blown away!

If you like this “look”, we’ll assemble a lot more behind-the-scenes stuff. In future ones, I’ll focus on the technical details of the shoot, how I compose, how my camera is set up, and these sorts of matters… again, let me know if you want to see this, and I’ll put together a formal plan.

New HDR Tutorial

Free HDR Tutorial Video

Okay now that I let it out there with a smaller beta crowd, we can make it official! The HDR Tutorial has been totally re-made and we’ve worked out all the bugs. Also, I made a new video to accompany it that shows how I at least start the process. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Snow in Nikko

It was a freezing cold morning when I woke up to explore this temple area of Nikko. Luckily, I was the first person to arrive, and I was pretty much alone for this early morning because of the snow. It gave me a peaceful period to explore with my music on… taking my time and moving around the temple to take in the big picture and all the nice little details.

Snow in Nikko Japan Temple

Snow in Nikko

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (18mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Old Waterwheel

Part 3 of the Student Interview

And the African Queen of never-ending-turns-interview ends with this segment…

Daily Photo – The Old Waterwheel

Right after I arrived in Feng Huang, I went down by the river to walk up and down both sides… and I was drawn to this old waterwheel right away. It was all so quaint… here were old Chinese women washing clothes in the river, and it was all right out of a movie. I only got to spend a few days here… after seeing how wonderful everything was, it’s on my list to revisit some day…. I hope it stays like this.

HDR Photo

Fingers Above River

Student Interview Part 2

And here is part 2 for you…

Daily Photo – Fingers Above River

This was one of those Tour-de-France days when I burned about 10,000 calories. I carried my equipment all up and down this valley in Zhangjiajie… up and down each side, traversing the entire length several times, took very few breaks, and ended up sleeping like a baby. That wasn’t a complete sentence… I know this.

This is just about the same area where I encountered a snake later that night. It was black and gnarly and did nothing to lift my spirits. I’ll finish that snake story next time I post a photo from this region… I don’t really want to think about it until then!

HDR Photo

Entering the Neo-Opera

The Student Interview

Remember these? I never ran all three parts, so I will start that now.

See the rest of part 1 on Vimeo… At the time I uploaded that YouTube video, I was not yet a YouTube partner so I had to make it short… so you may want to fast-forward a bit through that Vimeo one there…

Daily Photo – Entering the Neo-Opera

This is a truly beautiful building. I sometimes feel like I am cheating… when the colors and textures and lines are already there, it just makes for such a pleasant shooting experience. But, when times are easy like this, it reminds me of when the situation is a non-stop struggle to get a good shot. I guess, like everything, it comes in waves…

HDR Photo

Gentle Green Slopes to Rocky Curved Crags

New Video – PSDs to JPGs

That is maybe the worst title for a video ever, but it does get to the non-romantic heart of the matter. I’ve gotten this question a lot… well, I get a lot of questions a lot… so I figured I would just go ahead and make a little screencast video that shows how and why I manipulate files in one particular area of my workflow. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Gentle Green Slopes to Rocky Curved Crags

After you are driving around Iceland for a few weeks, you get so used to wild landscapes that it’s hard to be objective. I force myself to wake up and be objective about the matter… and then, I suddenly come to my senses and I realize that scenes like this are entirely unique! So, that helps me to pop out of my truck and go on a short hike to get a good vantage point. And then I get back… process it many months later… and I am happy that I took the time to recognize it was indeed a special place.

Gentle Green Slopes to Rocky Curved Crags After you are driving around Iceland for a few weeks, you get so used to wild landscapes that it's hard to be objective.  I force myself to wake up and be objective about the matter... and then, I suddenly come to my senses and I realize that scenes like this are entirely unique!  So, that helps me to pop out of my truck and go on a short hike to get a good vantage point.  And then I get back... process it many months later... and I am happy that I took the time to recognize it was indeed a special place.  - Trey Ratcliff Read more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

New Interview and the Silent Temple of Zhangjiajie

New Video Interview

I think you’ll enjoy this one… I did this with Dane Sanders who has interviewed all kinds of people. You can pop over to his website to see even more. I like Dane a lot, and you’ll get a pretty good sense of him in the video too. We talked about all sorts of stuff, and I put a little guide just below the video in case you want to jump around.

Beginning – About the NASA trip

8:15 mark - HDR and some introductory stuff

12:30 mark - Talk about balance of photography, life, and business

28:00 mark - The internet is about to boom.. digital art as a cultural influence… room for us all to grow together.

31:20 mark - Competition and how everyone can win (and, so, it’s not really competition)

39:00 mark – Creating photos to be accepted by other photographers and how to use your own unique life experience to create.

48:00 mark - Burning Man and my artistic approach

53:30 mark - Someone in chat asks to see my t-shrt, and then we talk about my future of content creation

Daily Photo – the Silent Temple of Zhangjiajie

Here’s another photo that I worked on during last night’s webinar class. It was a tough one! I was going through many different examples, and this was a good example of one of those mixed-light situations. It’s so easy and wonderful to experience in person, but so difficult to capture otherwise.

I took this in the middle of a serious trek in Zhangjiajie, deep in the southern part of China. It was one of the hardest single-day treks of my life. This part in the lowland forest was not too tough because it was relatively flat. There were little path problems here and there, but nothing too major. Most of the problems involved walking up and down these bitches. I probably should not call them that, but, honestly, when you are walking up on down them, it’s one of the words that keeps popping into your mind.

In a single day, I walked up and down those things twice, each time passing through these lowland forests… this was the calm before the storm of the ascent, and this little temple brought me some temporary peace.

The Silent Temple of ZhangjiajieHere's another photo that I worked on during last night's webinar class.  It was a tough one!  I was going through many different examples, and this was a good example of one of those mixed-light situations.  It's so easy and wonderful to experience in person, but so difficult to capture otherwise.I took this in the middle of a serious trek in Zhangjiajie, deep in the southern part of China.  It was one of the hardest single-day treks of my life.  This part in the lowland forest was not too tough because it was relatively flat.  There were little path problems here and there, but nothing too major.  Most of the problems involved walking up and down these bitches.  I probably should not call them that, but, honestly, when you are walking up on down them, it's one of the words that keeps popping into your mind.In a single day, I walked up and down those things twice, each time passing through these lowland forests... this was the calm before the storm of the ascent, and this little temple brought me some temporary peace.Read more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Nine Things For Your Photo-Brain To Consider

I did a long-form article for My Modern Met. Do you know this site? It’s pretty cool — run by a friend named Alice Yoo. They feature many different artists from various disciplines, and we decided to do this thing together!

So I wrote an article called, “Nine Things For Your Photo-Brain To Consider“. Jump on over to read all the details.

Also, they are giving away a $1,000 prize in their own photography contest (link), so you may wish to enter!

Selected Photos

My Modern Met also made a selection of some their favorite works to include with the article, and I will put a few of them here for you!

High Dynamic Range Photography

High Dynamic Range Photography

High Dynamic Range Photography

Crossing Tower Bridge in the Rain

Now Starring You

When I was out in California recently, I met Om Malik, the guy behind GigaOm.com. I didn’t really know what to expect. I got the vibe that he was either a long-time fan or a new one…either way, he could not have been nicer. And, of course, I was a fan of his too, since I’m a tech-news junkie. Anyhoo, we talked about all sorts of things, and he ended up writing a story called “Now Starring You in a Movie About You“.
High Dynamic Range Photo
While I was there in SF, I ended up stringing a bunch of little meetings together. A few hours later, I was still at Om’s secret hideout coffee-shop, and Frederick Van from This Week in Photo came over to get me on video (will be posted soon). While we were recording the video out in the little garden area, Om came right back out with another one of his tech paramours and sat at the table beside us. He has a knowing nod and wry smile that kind of sets you at ease…

HDR Tip #7 – the Last One

Today’s final one is Tips from the Clubhouse in my contribution to the week of HDR Tips with Rick Sammon. We have a private area here of StuckInCustoms that people get access too when they get the HDR Tutorial on Video. I asked them for some of their thoughts, and got some good ones back!

Did you miss the other tips?  Here they are, listed out:

Daily Photo – Crossing Tower Bridge in the Rain

My bulbous 14-24 lens is a problem in the rain! If you haven’t seen the Nikon 14-24 (see my Nikon 14-24 Review) before, then most people think it is a fish-eye lens, but it isn’t. The apex of the glass juts out almost just beyond the tiny bayonet, and it seems to suck rain drops into it! I’m always wiping down that dang thing.

But… here’s another little hint. That lens can shoot at F/2.8. That means you can focus on infinity for most of your landscape shots, and you’ll only see a few, if any, raindrops that form on the lens. It’s a very nifty trick! And, with a wide-angle lens, infinity ain’t that far away.

High Dynamic Range Photo

On Golden Borg

HDR Tip #6 – Don’t HDR People

High Dynamic Range PhotoThe week of HDR Tips continues with Tip #6: Don’t HDR People.

I still see this all the time… I used to do it back in the day too, so I’m as guilty as the next. It can be a cool effect, but, for the most part, it just makes people look dirty. And not the good kind of dirty.

It’s also a big problem with some of these HDR videos, no? There are a few of these floating around out there… and people always look really really really strange in HDR video, and I don’t really like anything I’ve seen yet in that department. Anyway, this is not about video… it’s about photos… and try to avoid the HDR temptation when it comes to people.

Ron Martinsen’s New Tutorial

Ron is a friend of the blog here, and he’s an avid user of a lot of the little things we sell. He just put up a new free tutorial that has a nifty trick, and made mention of the special Textures package that we sell. See his new tutorial here.

Daily Photo – On Golden Borg

If I had stayed a little longer in this area, I’m sure I would have been assimilated too!

Not only were all the little buildings perfectly modeled, but the insides of the buildings had little lights. Every few minutes, they would flicker and change, and the lights in the overall room would dim.

So here’s a good idea if you go to Shanghai or Beijing, or any of these Asian megacities that have city-planning museums. These huge models are great for scouting sunset shots from a nice perspective. I usually use Google Earth, but taking photos of downtown areas require some thought about the altitude of the shot. So, for example, you don’t want to go to the tallest building in a city to take the photo, because you actually want the tallest building to be in the photo. So that means you need to find a nearby building that is “high enough” that still has a good angle towards the big building. Also, preferably, you’d like that second building to be east of the big building so there is nice light at sunset. Well, there’s a lot of things to think about, and these models are a perfect playground for perspectives.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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