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

Stone Steps in the City

High Dynamic Range Photo

HDR Tip #5

The week of HDR Tips continues with Rick Sammon. Today, I called mine, Tip #5, Don’t Forget the Zooms. I have haphazardly used the word “zoom” in a plural manner that is both irresponsible and confusing. But that’s the way I roll.

Daily Photo – Stone Steps in the City

How do you guys feel about hyper-manufactured situations like this?

I don’t always know what to think. There are a lot of urban areas like this around Beijing where they create little natural-looking areas. They certainly look cool, and perfect in many ways. But, perhaps it is a little too perfect. No, that’s not the right way to say it. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something doesn’t feel right about it. It’s almost because I can picture the designer deciding to put a tree in a certain spot or the selection of a certain shape of stone in another part. Maybe if the placement of items was truly accidental — true randomness — then it might look more natural.

But I see a lot of this in China. They have communities with giant apartment blocks. The new ones are all very modern and nice. And in the middle of them are fountains, small groves of trees, paths, swings, and everything. There are families out mucking about and enjoying it… but I wonder if it “feels” as funny to them as it does to me. I sometimes feel like I’m on a holodeck.

High Dynamic Range Photo

100 Cameras in 1 for the iPad

Update – Available Now!

Go Get it Now in iTunes!

Update 2 – Testing Closed

Now that the app is out, all the beta testing has closed off – thanks again!

Join our private testing group!

100 Cameras in 1 for the iPhone has been a huge success, so it gave us the chance to redesign everything from the ground up to take the experience to a new level for the iPad. And, well, with the upcoming iPad 2, it’s gonna be even more awesome (even though it will also work on the existing iPads, especially since we notice a lot of people enjoy re-processing existing photos). I won’t say more than that now, but you can get a hint as to some of the varied goodies in the screenshots below.

Want to join the testing with us? Just leave a comment below, and I’ll randomly select people and contact you via the email you used (or FB) when leaving the comment. So, it’s just not all fun and games… you need to crank hard on the app, try to break it, send us feedback, bugs, and all that sort of thing to be a good tester.

Good luck!

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Week of HDR Tips continues!

Today is Tip #4: Let the Time Flow. It’s been a great week so far, yes? Yes. Rick Sammon and I are each providing a good tip to help you take your photography to the next level… I hope you are getting something out of it. I enjoyed putting these together!

I thought it was interesting that yesterday, people discovered inside the tip that the object in the middle of the arena was a dirt-zamboni. I guess I looked at it so long, that I figured everyone would get to that conclusion.. but interesting that the mystery worked even better than I suspected!

Daily Photo – Icelandic boy after building treehouse

When I stayed at Helga’s delightful farmhouse near a northern fjord in Iceland, her brother came over and brought his son. They built a treehouse in the backyard and filled it with all kinds of goodies — all in one day! The sun was low, as it always is there that time of year. He was running around, silently playing in the back yard. I thought his eyes were so other-worldly blue that I just had to take a photo.

This area was very close to the little town of Akureyri.  It took me about three visits to this place before I was able to pronounce it correctly.  I feel like a damned fool trying to say some of those Icelandic words!

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Terminal

Want some Awesome Aperture Presets and Goodies?

Do any of you use Aperture to organize your photos? If so, my friend Joseph Linaschke, has released some New Aperture Presets with my Textures. Really amazing stuff… After you follow that link, just click on “Adjustment Presets” and you’ll be in the right area.

Joseph plucked some of his favorite textures out of my texture tutorial package and integrated them into those presets. It’s a pretty dang simple way to use them!

Besides the presets, Joseph has all other kinds of goodies in there too… ebooks and a little bit of everything. He wrote that remarkable ebook for Flatbooks.com about the Canon camera, so he’s a real pro. His stuff is the EXACT opposite of mine! I’m Nikon/Lightroom, and he’s Canon/Aperture. But we get along fine… like ebony and ivory.

HDR Tips Continue!

High Dynamic Range PhotoHere we are on day 3 of a week of HDR Tips with Rick. Today’s Tip #3 is “Leave Some Mystery”.

You might remember this shot on the right from Nimes, France. It is of an old Roman colosseum where they still have bullfights and concerts. I was thinking about visiting my friend Fabien (the website designer) this summer to see Sting there. It’s supposed to be an amazing place to see live music.

Daily Photo – The Terminal

You guys know I love the Asian airports. I can’t quite figure out why they are all so awesome. I suppose that the government just pours a ton of money into them. But, I don’t really understand the economics of airports, even though I spend a lot of time in them. I know the airlines have to lease the gates, so that provides a regular income, but probably not enough to pay back the billion dollar pricetag to get it built. I’m pretty sure there is a lot of incestuous stuff that goes on… I know some giant Asian airlines are subsidized by the government, which in turn give money to airports that are owned partially by the government, and it all gets more messy from there. I suppose I’m just used to the government doing everything badly here.

This is one of the smaller terminals in Beijing. The main terminal is huge, and you get to this one after you pass through security. The floors are so glossy, I feel like wearing ice skates!

High Dynamic Range Photo

Tableau Vivant of California Dudes

The New Photography Podcast is up!

What do you think? Any feedback? It actually might be best to leave them on the YouTube page.

Free Photowalk Reminder

Want to join us in Austin for the PhotoWalk? It’s coming up during SXSW, and it’s gonna be great. Join the invite here.

The week of HDR Tips continues!

The Egg Beijing

Today I’m talking about reflections, and new ways of planning for them in HDR situations. Rick Sammon has his new tip as well. For more, go see HDR Tip #2, along with links over to Rick’s blog.

I’ve always said there is no “right” way to make art, and I enjoy seeing other perspectives on it too — and I’m sure you’ll agree. Sometimes when I watch other people do things, I get a little confused and mistakenly see things. But I find that those mistakes make me think about things in a new way, so you never quite know where learning will take you.

Daily Photo – Tableau Vivant of California Dudes

I’ve had a nice ten days or so here in California. I started in LA, went up to San Francisco, then came back down here just before the Oscars. My agent invited me to some fancy-schmancy party in Hollywood. It was quite a problem to figure out what to wear to something like that. I felt like a girl. I mean, with the confused-about-what-to-wear thing… this is not something I usually think that much about.

It was interesting and fun. I didn’t even really fit in… here’s the basic conversation: “Are you a director?” No. “Are you an actor?” No. “Oh, you must be a producer!?” No.

But that night, I ended up staying at the Hotel California. I put a little photo there to the right… I found out I could check out any time I liked but…

And for our California photo below, here’s a bunch of guys that I guess have nothing better to do than walk around the beach all day with incredible bodies. Since I don’t have this, I can only rely on my personality, which frankly runs out after about five minutes.

High Dynamic Range Photography

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x