Old Forest in Yosemite

Robert Scoble Video from Yosemite

Scoble was there with us for the photowalk… and he grabbed some video that maybe you have not seen yet…. here you go!

Daily Photo – Old Forest in Yosemite

This was a fun trip!

When I was walking through this forest, we had a photowalk-of-sorts going on with a ton of people going here and there.  It was sort of Ewok-like with all the activity.  We’d all have to ask one another to hide behind trees and duck out of the way, since we were all criss-crossing our shots this way and that.  Often times, the shot I really wanted to get required me to clamber up and over big fallen trees.  There’s not really a graceful way to do this.  No matter how many times I do it, I continually look like I’m just barely keeping it together…

Old Forest in YosemiteWhen I was walking through this forest, we had a photowalk-of-sorts going on with a ton of people going here and there.  It was sort of Ewok-like with all the activity.  We’d all have to ask one another to hide behind trees and duck out of the way, since we were all criss-crossing our shots this way and that.  Often times, the shot I really wanted to get required me to clamber up and over big fallen trees.  There’s not really a graceful way to do this.  No matter how many times I do it, I continually look like I’m just barely keeping it together…- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this entry at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Waikiki at Night

Space Cadets

Dallas Nagata White took this photo of Tom and me right after the photowalk.  She has a cool method for doing this…  I put it below so you can read more.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II…Yes, I shot these two with a Canon…I’m a rebel (but not a Rebel) like that. ;)
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 24 mm (It was using the EF 24mm f1.4L II, if anyone is curious…I personally love the flare it gives)
ISO Speed: 200

Two Canon Speedlites with Pocketwizard Plus II triggers…a 580EX is being held by my friend hiding in the shadows behind them, pointed into the lens, and my husband was holding a 580EXII (with a small softbox) is above me and to my left for fill. They are standing at the end of a concrete pier/jetty with their backs to the ocean, and I’m crouching in front of them. Those aren’t stars – they’re rain drops! :) Although I definitely love the idea of them as stars…that’s inspiring, and a concept I’ll have to play with later.

I also posted on more shot that doesn’t have the lens flare, just rim lighting, when I shifted and the flash was hidden from the lens.

Daily Photo – Waikiki at Night

And during the photowalk, there were many great chances to take photos of the city.  It was exciting for me — it was my first time to see the city at night.   All the Oahu people were kind of used to it, I assume…  But it was also exciting to have them all around.

When I set up for these shots during the photowalks, it’s always extra-strange.  Because I’m really trying to get a good shot, but I also know that a ton of people are watching me right there.  And then I talk through my shot while I’m taking it.  And, of course, I NEED to get a good shot… there are so many vectors of attention that it can be a little distracting… but I do my best!

Waikiki at NightAnd during the photowalk, there were many great chances to take photos of the city.  It was exciting for me — it was my first time to see the city at night.   All the Oahu people were kind of used to it, I assume…  But it was also exciting to have them all around.When I set up for these shots during the photowalks, it’s always extra-strange.  Because I’m really trying to get a good shot, but I also know that a ton of people are watching me right there.  And then I talk through my shot while I’m taking it.  And, of course, I NEED to get a good shot… there are so many vectors of attention that it can be a little distracting… but I do my best!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Behind the Scenes in the British Virgin Islands

Behind-the-scenes

Enjoy this brand new video that we just shot down in the islands!

Daily Photo – The Mining Coast

And here is the final shot from the how-to video above!

The Mining Coast Here is the final shot from the how-to video you can see at the link below.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post (and see the video) at the Stuck in Customs blog.

France in Epcot

The new Photoshop CS6 – what is your “line”?

Like you, I’ve been watching the videos of CS6 and playing with it myself. (notice the important “it” in that sentence)

Things are gettin’ a little crazy with post-processing eh? What are your limits for what you’ll do with your photos? It’s a very personal thing… I won’t judge you… I’m just interested! Here’s my post-processing line (which I reserve the right to change at any time):

I will:

  • I will remove things like lightposts or ugly animals or tourists wearing Spice Girls T-shirts
  • I will use HDR to bring out the colors in the shadows and dial back bright areas
  • I will sharpen to bring emphasis to one area or another
  • I’ll take multiple exposures on a tripod and fix one area of a photo with another exposure

I will not:

  • I will not take a foreign object from one photo and put it into another (like pasting a moon over a mountain)
  • I will not take a sky from one photo and paste it into the landscape of another

I might:

  • Use the new Content-Aware-Move in CS6. I can’t decide! It’s a slippery slope. For example, in the photo below, I had to work so hard to find and frame these boulders in this EXACT way. Man, it would have been so easy just to go to an easier location and then re-arrange the boulders using CS6 Content-Aware-Move. But maybe that doesn’t even matter! I can’t decide… And it is soooooo slippery… If I will allow myself to “Move a Boulder 10 feet” — then maybe I would also also “Move a Moon Behind THAT Mountain” — then maybe I would also…. well… where does it stop? It’s almost like I am 6-years-old and moving stickers around a sticker book! Hehe… I’m confused… my “line” is constantly being challenged… like the border between two countries in a good game of Civ!

Daily Photo – France in Epcot

These little fabrications of countries around Epcot try really hard at being authentic, and they are often quite successful!  Sometimes bits and pieces here are a little cheesy, but I get the sense that the people that build, model, and landscape these things put a lot of time and effort (and love) into it.  I’m sure it gets down to the detail of trying to choose the right kind of fonts for the clock.

This evening was a particularly lucky one because of the clouds and the light in the sky.  This situation is so rare that I went photo-crazy for about 15 minutes while it lasted!

HDR Photo

Behind the scenes – Virgin Gorda

Behind the Scenes

Here is a new video that I just made down here in the Caribbean for you. It shows how I set up to take the photo below, along with a few others!

To see my camera equipment, lenses, and stuff, jump over to the Camera Reviews page.

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Engine Room of the Coppermine

This coppermine on the edge of Virgin Gorda was a great find thanks to Stuck On Earth! I knew about many of the main places around the island to take photos, but I may have missed this place if I wan’t using the app. Be sure to go download it – and yes – we have plans to make it for other systems as well.

The Abandoned Engine Room of the Coppermine This copper mine on the edge of Virgin Gorda was a great find thanks to Stuck On Earth! I knew about many of the main places around the island to take photos, but I may have missed this place if I wan’t using the app. Be sure to go download it – and yes – we have plans to make it for other systems as well.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Sandstorm at Burning Man

Cameras at Burning Man

I get regular questions about how to protect your camera equipment at Burning Man.  Here are some points about that:

  • I use a backup (3rd) camera.  I mostly just pull out a micro 4/3rds camera and never change the lens.  It’s kind of a challenge, but a good challenge!
  • If you have to change lenses, well, don’t.
  • If you MUST change lenses, try to do it indoors… in a car or in an RV of some non-dirty hippy.
  • If you want to use your main camera, it’s good to weatherproof it with a baggie and tape… but the little dust will still get in.
  • Or, really, just follow my first bullet point and use a backup-backup camera and don’t worry so much! :)

Daily Photo – Sandstorm at Burning Man

The sandstorms come fast and furious. I was out in the middle of one as it blew across the playa. I was on my bike at the time, so it was easy to get around and find good perspectives of the temple as the sun was setting.

A storm of sands.  It comes to remind you of events that happen while you are busy living, and you ride alone through too many of them.  And truly, in the middle of the storm, there is nothing else but the storm.  It ebbs and flows and abates and gives shape and form to others.  And then it dies down and falls away, like a strange dream whose haunting fabric falls away the longer you are awake.

Girl Running in Santa Monica

The Disney Castle Shot video

I mentioned this yesterday after I edited the post later in the day, but I decided to go ahead and embed the video now as well. This was made by William Beem when we were together, shooting the Disney castle…

PhotoWalk Live Stream

Watch it here. We had only half an idea for the Austin Photowalk – to have the always-unpredictable Gino Barassa follow us around and do a live Hangout from the event. The video quality is REALLY bad, but you still get a sense of the event in a way…  and an accidental shot inside the women’s bathroom…

Thanks to Keith Barrett and Dave Veffer for helping it happen!

Daily Photo – Girl Running in Santa Monica

And speaking of PhotoWalks, this is the first photo I got during the LA PhotoWalk. After I was on the steps and gave my little speech-thing, I went down right to the water’s edge to see what I could find. This little girl was running up the beach to her dad, so I grabbed a quick one while I talked through the shot for the crowd. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, since everything was unplanned.

Girl Running in Santa MonicaThis is the first photo I got during the LA PhotoWalk. After I was on the steps and gave my little speech-thing, I went down right to the water's edge to see what I could find. This little girl was running up the beach to her dad, so I grabbed a quick one while I talked through the shot for the crowd. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, since everything was unplanned.- Trey RatcliffRead the entire post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Deep inside the Haunted Engine Room

New eBook Available over at Flatbooks!

Here’s a new kind of eBook for you over at FlatBooks.com.  Most ebooks, like my recent one about Photoshop, are photography-centric. This one is a bit different and more of a life-centric book.  It has gotten great reviews – hope you enjoy it!

3-2-1 Stop was written by Lorilee Lippincott and it’s filled with over 80 pages of advice, experiences, and application from someone who has experienced the freedom and power of being a minimalist in a consumerist world.

How I upload photos to Google+

I get this question a lot, so I made a little how-to video so you can see a little of my workflow.

Daily Photo -Deep inside the Haunted Engine Room

Right after the LA PhotoWalk, I decided to do something that may or may not have been illegal.  There is a haunted ship docked off the coast of Long Beach that has been partially converted to a hotel – the Queen Mary.  There is a little tour that takes you around haunted bits here and there.  Tom and I left the tour to start exploring on our own….  we found all sorts of amazing and creepy, abandoned places… this is one of them.

Deep inside the Haunted Engine Room Right after the LA PhotoWalk, I decided to do something that may or may not have been illegal.  There is a haunted ship docked off the coast of Long Beach that has been partially converted to a hotel – the Queen Mary.  There is a little tour that takes you around haunted bits here and there.  Tom and I left the tour to start exploring on our own….  we found all sorts of amazing and creepy, abandoned places… this is one of them.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

San Francisco Golden Gate by Night

TWIT Photo – Finding Your Artistic Self

I didn’t plan on this being the topic when I went into do this show with Leo Laporte, but this is what it turned into. I hope you find some bits and pieces in here of use to you! :)

Daily Photo – San Francisco Golden Gate by Night

I’d had a very long day up at the TWIT studios with Leo Laporte and gang, where I recorded TWIT Photo and MacBreak Weekly recently. After all that, I drove down south to find a place in Sausalito for the night with Tom. We planned on waking up early the next morning for photos. Since we were so close, we decided to take a small hike up the trail near there to see the bridge in the evening… and that is when I grabbed this shot.

San Francisco Golden Gate by Night I’d had a very long day up at the TWIT studios with Leo Laporte and gang, where I recorded TWIT Photo and MacBreak Weekly recently. After all that, I drove down south to find a place in Sausalito for the night with Tom. We planned on waking up early the next morning for photos. Since we were so close, we decided to take a small hike up the trail near there to see the bridge in the evening… and that is when I grabbed this shot.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

On Talent and Curiosity

I’ve thought about this a while before writing it. There were many jumbled thoughts and the shapes of certain truths, and I’ve done my best to sculpt them into something tangible.

So I had a lovely dinner with Vic Gundotra at his home. I actually wasn’t going to mention it at all until he did first. I don’t know what to do in these situations since there doesn’t seem to be any protocol, and I didn’t want to see internet-gauche. And so, here I am, after the seal has been broken, telling you some interesting things about our dinner.

We talked about everything from aesthetics to technology to time dilation to sociology to string theory to channeling emotions into creative output. Along these lines, I found out many things I never would have suspected, and it made me think more deeply about these notions of talent and curiosity.

Vic sat on the couch (after sending his well-trained son to the wine-cellar!) with some cheese and crackers, and vest and wry smile, and began to tell me something I never knew. It turns out that he has taken years and years of guitar lessons. He’s even had a private instructor come over to his home time and time again. He played proficiently, but one day after a straightforward question, his teacher gave him the bad news. Vic shifted in his seat and looked forlorn when he said, defeated, “I have no talent for it.”

And then later, towards the end of dinner, he told me about all the camera equipment he carries with him when he travels. He has more lenses than a Nat Geo crew jammed into his backpack, which means he is well beyond a “serious enthusiast.” Again, there is a tiny sadness in him that he can’t quite create the kind of images he really wants. There’s no doubt he’s got many winner-shots of his family in there, but I can tell there is more he wants to do with all that equipment. He has been unable to achieve the excellence he wants. Then, the topic turns to me, and he finds out that I’ve been at this for only a short time, and he chalks this up to the ever-intangible “talent.”

The conversation meanders naturally from subject to subject as we travel down various paths. He talks about time and people and the internet and the tendrils that connect them all. It’s more of a poem than a technical dissertation. He puts ideas into the shape of a cloud, shapes them with his hands, and then floats them across the room, only to offer up another.

His son comes down and Vic starts sharing some of my photos with him. He tells his son, with eyebrows high, “Trey has only been doing this for five years.” His son’s eyes get big, but I do my best to dismiss this by saying, “You can do a lot in five years if you’re curious enough.”

And then Vic goes back to talking about the connections between all of us, and how he and the team want to, essentially, enhance the humanness and connectivity of everything. He jumps between metaphors that bind together the theoretical and the practical. While he speaks with placid erudition, I can see glowing lines connecting the words and ideas that stretch into the future.

And while he shapes thoughts, I feel the edge of an idea. He has, in essence, a “talent” — but certainly not one with which anyone would be born, as talent is normally assumed to be divinely implanted. No one would ever be born with a “talent” for building social networks; there is no inborn talent to naturally work with a team to re-organize the web from pages to people. But certainly, one could say, that Vic has a talent for it. And maybe this is where curiosity comes into play.

Curiosity may be another word for “playful work.” I think all of us kind of stumble through life until we find something that resonates. And then, maybe, if you’re lucky, the curiosity will kick in and let you create what has never been created. The curiosity can help you find disparate parts of a whole and re-synthesize them into something that’s unique, unexpected, and wonderful.

So, Vic is “interested” in playing the guitar and photography, but he hasn’t let his curiosity run wild there yet. Over the past few years, his curiosity has been using up all his brain cycles over in the human-connection tech space. But a curious mind will wander, and maybe someday he’ll be able to release and explore other areas. The curiosity does require letting go and becoming one with the flow of the universe. I don’t mean to sound too Zen or anything, but you do have to let go of existing structured thought in order to let the curiosity blossom into something new. And I imagine this is exactly what he and the team have done with Google+ — in that they have let their minds go wild with every possible universe. And when you can see many universes in your future, you get to choose the one you want to be inside.

So I left his home later that evening and had a long ride home, thinking about everything. I can’t help but get excited like a little kid at these sorts of things. I’m not ashamed to say it. To me, these are the greatest conversations of all – those that deal within the spheres and magisterium of ideas. The notion of Vic’s mind running wild with the possibilities of what can happen when people are connected is like a waking dream.

I think about his family with him just before I left him for the night. It occurs to me that the root of all these people is that little network he holds most dear — his family as they buzz around him with ideas and thoughts and voices of their own.

And there, just inside the warm home, I see this family move about here and there, and I come to understand him even more. I feel why he is happy and curious. His wife’s smile shapes his day and his gentle kids set his mind to the dreaming realms.

A Great Day at the Google HQ! Wow that was a cool experience.  Those guys and gals over there are super-nice.  You never know...  I guess maybe Google seems somewhat intimidating from the outside, but after I met guys like Cliff, Brian, and Chip -- I felt right at home.I gave an hour-long talk in one of their theaters there.  It was super-packed and people were standing all around because seats were gone.  We were graced with the presence of one Sara Jane Todd from @Peachpit to help out selling books - and we sold out!  Also, my Brazilian friend Fabio, the editor of Abduzeedo was there too, so it was great to see him.The Authors@Google (video link) program has a neat deal where they subsidize books, so Googlers don't have to pay full price.  I saw all kinds of cool stuff and took a lot of pics.  I have to get most cleared with Google Corp Comms before I can release... but I nabbed shots of a spaceship, a new pseudo-holodeck, and more mysteries await!  We even got to eat lunch there in the Google cafeteria, which had some of the most excellent food I've ever had in such a setting... they even have a small organic farm on the campus... well, I could go on and on...  but I was very impressed and happy to meet so many enthusiastic people!The video should be done in the next 2-3 weeks or so.  We've got good-man Brian at Google slaving away on editing the whole thing together!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

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