The Tree Alone Against the World

Two textured shots in a row! Sorry, I usually don’t do this (put two very similar things back to back on subsequent days) but I’ve been spending my weekend evenings here recording these videos. I just finished this one and was happy with the way it turned out.

There was this interesting tree sitting alone after a morning snow. The snow had melted, but the skies still had these white-out conditions. Those skies normally make for very dull visuals, so I thought this would be a good candidate for textures. I think, by now, you guys know I can’t stand a boring sky in my photos… and since you can’t always have a four-star sunset, maybe it drove me to use the world around me to find textures to re-purpose inside these photos. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll figure out that bit in a while.

The Tree Alone Against the World (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Glassy Lake Near Antarctica

I’m in the middle of working on a full upgrade for the Stuck In Customs Textures Tutorial. I think it’s already very good (only had ONE return in over a year!), but I can do even better. I’ve learned a lot in the past 18 months about this stuff and the technique continues to evolve. As I am working through some new shots for the tutorial, I thought I would go ahead and post this one. It was taken late one afternoon near a glacial lake on the southern edge of Argentina.

We have put together a fair upgrade plan if you have purchased the current Textures Tutorial and you want to a new set of 50 Textures taken from secret locations along with the new video. I’m excited to get it out there… not sure how much longer it will take. I want to give it a professional touch. In the meantime, I wanted to share this one with you!

The Glassy Lake Near Antarctica

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Circumnavigating the Lake

This is yet another glacier-filled lake in the mountains between Chile & Argentina. I got up pretty high on a short hike to get this shot. I had seen this bright tuft of red leaves and wanted to work it into the final product. We were on the edge of autumn and a few leaves were starting to change colors. Most of the leaves were not in any interesting compositional angles or were impossible to get near! So this one took a bit of a hike to find and set up…

Also, thanks to everyone on Twitter and Facebook that became agitated when the cop threatened to arrest me because I looked like a professional photographer with my tripod in front of the Coke museum. Anyway, Coke saw the message on Twitter and via several emails that were sent in – so thank you Gail and all the others that helped! Props to Coke Social Media (see down in comment 55) for the response.

And last, I’ll be on FOX here in Austin this (Tuesday) morning for the morning news… A little interview at sunrise. It’s midnight and I should be asleep right now… okay here I go.

Circumnavigating the Lake

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The Worst Way to Cross the River

After we set up camp in a little wooded area, we headed off to see if we could get to one of the glaciers by sunset.  This is near Cerro Torre, a region that is disputed between Argentina and Chile.  I didn’t see much of a dispute while I was there — no armies or anything.  I did see some wayward Guanacas, but I was not sure which side they were on.

I walked along the river until I got to a stopping point, where I got stuck.  I couldn’t cross because it was too sketchy, even for me.  So I set up here to prepare for the sunset.  This was shot about two hours prior to the sunset while I was exploring the area.  I’ll be sure to edit the other photos soon (ish) and get them up!

The Worst Way to Cross the River

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The Autumn Tree After the Snow Storm

On one of the mornings when we woke up in Patagonia, I came out of the tent to find everything covered in a soft blanket of snow. It was the middle of the autumn there, so the rich deep colors on the trees stood out in sharp contrast to white snow.

I grabbed this shot as quickly as I could before the snow started to cover everything up too much, which can tend make for a somewhat washed-out shot. I believe this photo was at f/2.8 with the 24-70 lens. That aperture helped the most interesting tree in the foreground to stay sharp while everything else stayed foggy and snowy (which it kinda was anyway).

A Tree in the Snow (by Stuck in Customs)

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It’s a hot summer in the states but a cool winter in Argentina

I know some of you remember Natalia from El Chalten on the southern tip of Argentina, so I thought I would add another photo of her.

When we were walking back from the shoot, it got a little chilly, so she covered up a bit. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this or not… but she’s one of those gals that always seems to be posin’. Kinda like Angelina, I suppose, where you get the sense that she is always aware of the presence of a camera. So, since I had on the 50mm 1.4, I took a few quick ones like this while walking down the trail.

It's a hot summer in the states but a cool winter in Argentina (by Stuck in Customs)

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A Snowy Angelic Pose in the Forest

Here are two of my Russian friends frolicking in the snowy forest one morning. When you have a group of photographers tromping about the edge of the world, you end up taking photos of one another quite a bit.

This is the very deep-thinking Vova (I mistakenly called him Vulva) taking a photo of Irina, who is looking quite elf-like and innocent in the snow. Irina was responsible for making me borscht every single day and night of the hike. I ate more borscht than all the czars combined, although I can’t complain because a nice hot meal was always a welcome treat.

You can see Vova is using a Canon there. I didn’t hold that against him. These guys are currently on another photo expedition. I was invited, but I’m too covered up right now to join them… and it saddens me… Maybe I will have some borscht tomorrow in photographic mourning.

A Snowy Forest Photoshoot

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A cool waterfall to relax at during the hike, and a new Newsletter!

During the hike through the Andes, I would vacillate between sweating hot and frigid cold. Sometimes, things would be just about perfect and an idyllic waterfall like this one would emerge from the Eden-like trail. It was the perfect place to take a load off in the cool water for a break.

Well, there was enough negative feedback yesterday that I have decided to remove the ads. There were little ads that would appear whenever you “mouse over’ the photo. But some people found them annoying, and I have taken them off. The rates seemed to be better than google adwords and they were projected to bring in several hundred per month. But, alas, it’s not worth making the site ugly or upsetting the readers.

We do have a new Newsletter! I invite you to sign up for it. It’s free and should be something fun for your inbox.

Here is what we are aiming for the newsletter to contain.

  • Any upcoming news, events, or plans about Stuck In Customs, so you can be the FIRST to know!
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A cool waterfall to relax at during the hike, and a new Newsletter! (by Stuck in Customs)

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The Broken Bridge

Patagonia is marked with a change of terrain every half hour or so.  The 40km hike took me from mountains to plains to rivers to forests to swamps the to rolling hills.  All of these would be re-combined into interesting formations that kept my camera full and my backup system whirring away.  I’m glad the 20 pound battery of the D3X lasts about 6 months (exaggeration… but not by much)!

This was a particularly dense area of forest that was fed by a nearby stream system that came tumbling down off the Andes.  I came across this old bridge.  There is no telling how long it had been there…  I tried to imagine it was built by Fuegian Indians back in the day…

The Broken Bridge

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The Violent Volcano

I thought this mountain and cloud formation was too perfect to ignore. Clouds always do strange things when they pass over mountains, but this one seemed particularly violent and unexpected.

This is not actually a volcano. it’s just a regular old mountain in the Andes that had a nice little volcanic shape. I skirted around it for a while (skirting is quite a trek at this radius), until the angle seemed about right… although I had to skirt fast before the clouds changed. I have always wanted to take a photo of a volcano that is erupting. I climbed up part of a volcano that was erupting in Costa Rica, and you could see the red rocks, but I got absolutely zero good shots. Oh well… some day!

The Violent Volcano (by Stuck in Customs)

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