Horses on an Evening Meadow

Topaz with Photoshop CS5

I am still using Topaz Adjust quite a bit to do some final sharpening on my images. Topaz Adjust 4 does work on Photoshop CS5 now, but it still feels a little slow. Actually, I find Topaz Adjust 3 is faster. What is your experience with it?

They tell me (when I complained) that the algorithm is exactly the same. This is probably true, but it does launch a new UI in a new window. The process of launching that new window seems to take a while longer than before. I’m on a Mac… maybe it’s just a Mac problem… but wondering if I am alone with this!

If you want to see other images from Topaz, see my Topaz Adjust Review here on the site… I try to pop new images in there from time to time.

Daily Photo – Horses on an Evening Meadow

Every night before sunset, the horses would be let out of the corral for a bit of “personal” time.  They spent almost no time at all on the Internet, and, instead, just meandered around this grassy meadow at the ranch.

The grass looks nice eh?  And there was no lawn-mowing necessary.  All you need is a bunch of beautiful and hungry horses, and your lawn can look just like this.  Don’t worry about your neighbors.  You don’t like them that much, anyway, do you?  No, of course not, all your real friends (like me) are on the Internet.

This evening turned out really well.  After spending some time taking photos, I went into the lodge to have a wonderful dinner before going into the great room.  There, one of my friends named Annie sang some opera while we enjoy apres-dinner espressos.  It was really great.  It’s the second time I have heard her sing, and it was just as good the second time around.  Should I put her last name here?  I don’t know… let me ask her first to see if she is too shy!

HDR Photo

About to Jump Out of a Plane with the Army’s Golden Knights!

Out of a Plane, onto the blog…

In a few weeks at Openca.mp (you guys are coming to hear my speech, yes?), I’ll be jumping out of a plane with the famous Golden Knights from the US Army! These guys are basically like the Blue Angels, but way more insane because they actually jump out of the planes.

If you jump over to the blog of Cali Lewis at CaliLewis.Me, you can read even more about it. I think she was a little freaked out by the idea of jumping, but she seems all for it now.

If you want to know more about the Golden Knights, you can visit them at http://armygk.com/.

And yes, I’ll have my camera and will be taking photos and video of the whole thing! :)

Daily Photo – The Inner Sanctum

Here is a cool and relatively unknown place in San Francisco. Can anyone figure out where this mysterious location is?

I went in here with my dad while we were looking for cool photo-ops. We weren’t so sure we were allowed in this place, but we just busted in quickly for a shot before anybody said anything.

The Metal Moose & New eBooks from Friends

My Friends Have eBooks Too!

We’ve got a thriving community of photographers out there writing eBooks. I can’t possibly give everyone a link that asks, so I will do so randomly from time to time. A bit like a lottery!

Joseph’s Aperture eBook – Do you guys know of Joseph Linaschke? He’s a good friend that I first met when we co-hosted This Week in Photography. Anyway, he’s quite the Aperture expert. With Aperture 3 out, he’s got a nice eBook there that can help you get the most out of the software.

SAFARI, A Monograph – I’ve talked about David here on the site before. He’s a great guy and a hardcore photographer. This is the 2nd book in his “Print & Process” series (I think!). He fills the book with beautiful photos and then gives exact specifics about equipment, tools, and techniques. His eBooks get raving reviews, and there are several there to choose from!

The Metal Moose

After the book party in Chicago (thanks again for all of you that showed up!), we had a little photowalk the next day. Along the way, we stopped outside an office building near Michigan Avenue that had this enormous metal moose. I’m not a big fan of taking photos of art, but this was an exception.

As usual, I enjoyed meeting everyone on that photowalk and sharing stories and tricks. I think the next one we do will be at Burning Man, followed by London. Those will be great fun too! :)

Pasture Sentinel

Daily Photo – Pasture Sentinel

After I drove through Nelson, I was ripping along the highway and noticed an old farmhouse. I’m not sure how I noticed it, but the area was so different, I just had to stop. I spent 90% of my time taking photos of the farmhouse, and on the way back, I saw this tree. It stood solitary and wonderful; I had to grab a shot.

A Rocky Morning

Bonus Stuff For You

I have several sections of the website with miscellaneous stuff that has built up over the years. I give out recommendations all the time on books, music, apps, etc etc. Some of this stuff needs an update, but some stuff is pretty fresh!

  • Best TED Talks – I just added a great one by Stephen Wolfram…  I studied Computer Science and Math in college… so I like that guy
  • Trey’s Book List – A list of some really cool books that I recommend!
  • Twitter Lists – Looking for interesting people to follow?  See these!
  • Photography Gadgets – Some cool gadgets I use, including the wonderful Green Cube that everyone loves!

Daily Photo – A Rocky Morning

One morning when I crawled out of my tent in Argentina, a dense cloud was just rolling through. I got out to explore a bit, and the cloud quickly blew away to reveal an amazing landscape.

I had planned just to take a few shots and then go back to the camp and make some breakfast.  But then, I saw something interesting just around the other side of the rocks.  And then, I got over there and saw something else that might be interesting.  And it was.  And then I saw something even further away…

HDR-Photo

The Gentle Grasses of New Zealand

New Textures Tips From Vanelli

Back when I moved my portfolio to Smugmug (See my Smugmug Review), we did a little promotion where a winner got to go on a Vacation with Vanelli. Remember that guy? Well, here comes Vanelli blowing back onto the scene with something new – a video. He has made a cool variation of techniques with my textures, and he wanted to share this “grouping” trick with everyone.

See Vanelli’s New Texture Video there on his site. You will be able to tell very quickly that Vanelli really gets a kick out of all this stuff, and he loves teaching people. You might want to surf around his site a bit more for even more goodies.

New Zealand Images Groweth!

By now, we have posted 17 images of New Zealand! Cool. It’s a beautiful place, and surely you can see why I plan on moving the family (and StuckInCustoms.com) there. In fact, today I got a little email from Roy Furgeson, New Zealand Ambassador to the US (and former ambassador to North Korea)! I was so excited. In HUGE red letters on it, the email said, “UNCLASSIFIED“, which I suppose means that I can mention it without any untoward Kiwi repercussions.

I went to the official New Zealand website for these sorts of diplomatic matters to see what else has been happening of late. This week, besides the historic occasion of emailing me, the Ambassador has been quite busy.  A Kiwi bird was born, and Mr. Ferguson had the honor of naming it “Hiri”.  Hiri is a Maori word that means, “Kiwi Egg Was Not Eaten By A Dirty Drunken Aussie Possum”.

Daily Photo – The Gentle Grasses of New Zealand

As we moved from the North to the South Island (by grinding our Kea Camper onto a moaning ferry), we expected the terrain to change dramatically. Everyone in the north told us how different things were in the south!

But right after we arrived in Picton and started making our way to Nelson, the terrain still had the soft hills and flowing greens of the north. Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you. But, for a while (until we made it further south), I thought that the whole North Island was playing a huge practical joke on me, and the South Island was actually a perfect replica of the north. After ravenously consuming the comedy stylings of The Flight of the Conchords, I thought I would be able to scry every type of Kiwi humor.  While driving through this bit, I thought perhaps I had fallen prey to old Country-Wide-Giant-Practical-Joke.

HDR-Photo

Ripping Through the World

New Video Tomorrow!

We posted a behind-the-scenes video a few days ago, and a new one is coming tomorrow. You can see previous ones on the Videos page.

Updated Woopra Video Review (Thanks London!)

I recently updated my Woopra Review, which is a cool real-time analytics tool for your website or blog. I recommend it! You can try it for free and be up and running in just 10 minutes after a visit to the Woopra site.

Daily Photo – Ripping Through the World

I know everyone has their own various tastes for HDR, and mine is all over the map! Sometimes I really feel artsy and go crazy with one, like this car below. It’s hard with awesome cars… because the reflectivity in HDR is so off the map.

I’ve been meaning to get to one of those high-end car shows and go crazy with my tripod. I’ve heard the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach is really one of the best in the world… but maybe you all know of some other stellar car shows you can recommend?

Akihabara Street – Geek Heaven

Technical Problems

Some of you have mentioned on Twitter that the site is slow and is having some memory errors. I’ve got a few people looking at it and I hope to get it fixed up soon!

Daily Photo – Akihabara Street

It took me many days in Tokyo before I finally made it over to one of my favorite areas – Ahikabara. This district is famous for its pure technology insanity! If you are a geek, then this is geek heaven!

Every street is filled with huge towers, each one flowing over with all sorts of technology, gadgets, games, robotics, toys, and scantily-clad-women. The streets are filled with girls that dress in… hmmm… how do I explain it? Imagine a grown woman wearing little-girl clothes, with puffy-laced mini-skirts, giant bows, and comely dispositions. They stand around, handing out little flyers, trying to get you to come into a shop, a cafe, or something in between.

There is even a cafe there with monitors built into the table. When you order a drink, your waitress goes over to the soda fountain, where a camera lies in the floor pointing upward. Upon pressing a special button, an extra blast of air is strategically blasted to increase your viewing cone.

From the Forest, Across the Valley

Upcoming Review of Nikon 18-200 Lens

This is probably an unexpected lens for me to buy, but I’m really getting a kick out of it! I’ll be sure to update the Nikon 18-200 Review when it is all done.  I’ve been using it a lot in the last few weeks and I quite like it.  I wasn’t sure for a while…  mostly because it is a DX lens.  But I am using it in a bit of an unconventional way — anyway, a full review will come when I get a bit more time!

I added a few pictures of the new lens on my camera while here in Japan. You can get an idea of the relative size of the thing… it’s certainly a lot smaller than the 24-70mm or the 70-200mm. By the way, this will be the crux of my review… that is more convenient and lighter, and the higher f-stop is not a problem whilst in a tripod.

The 18-200 lens retracted at 18mm on the body of a Nikon D3X

Daily Photo – From the Forest, Across the Valley

I’ve read several interesting anthropological studies of what people like to see in paintings.  I assume the same thing goes for photos.  I don’t hyper-analyze all the constituent parts, but I do notice when they come into play naturally.  There are a number of features that are desirable, most of which track back to a genetic history of the Pleistocene.  One interesting bit is that we like the idea of being near the protection of a forest while looking out across a wide plane that has a sense of scale.

Well there is plenty of that in New Zealand!  This spot was found on the long drive to Milford Sound.  I had so many wonderful distractions along the way…  how can I not stop for something like this?

The Artist’s Palette in Rotorua

The World in HDR, now on the Kindle

I found out that my HDR Book is now on the Kindle. That is kinda cool! Although, frankly, in all honesty, I would recommend you get it on the iPad rather than the Kindle when it is available. It will just look so much better in color. Anyway, I thought you guys would like to know that little update… I have no date yet on the iPad version. I did talk to my editor on the phone, and everything is moving forward!

Daily Photo – The Artist’s Palette in Rotorua

Isn’t this spot awesome? I did not expect all this geothermal activity in New Zealand — it was just as impressive as Yellowstone.

This area of the north island is called Rotorua. This, specifically is the Champagne Pool at the Artist’s Palette at the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland. The term “Wonderland” always makes me think of a cheap attraction on the side of the road where you can buy rubber snakes after the kids have had a great time and the parents are bored out of their skulls. But this Wonderland really was a Wonderland for all ages! I made a few videos here as well… I need to get around to editing these things together for y’all!

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