Adventuring in the Andes (and a new NBC TV Interview)

Argentina is gorgeous. Have I said that before? Doesn’t it go without saying by now?

You really get to know a set of mountains when you have to hike around them. Fortunately, in the middle of these death marches, I was able to stop and drink in some of the scenery. It took a lot longer than necessary to get to the destination, but at least I arrived with a camera full of photos.  That beautiful peak in the distance is Fitz Roy.  I was very lucky to see it, because 90% of the time it’s covered with clouds.

So, last night something else lucky happened! Here are the high points:

  • I did an interview that aired on NBC at 10 PM here in Austin.  The segment was all about HDR and turned out really well.   Jim Swift interviewed me and he did a great job editing together a nice little story.  You can see the full video by pressing play in the upper left hand area of the TV Station’s KXAN site. There is a second video down on the left with some extra interview stuff…
    • You guys should contact your local NBC affiliates and ask them to get the segment from KXAN – that would be cool!
    • The story also mentioned the HDR Tutorial, which you can get to via that link.
  • The news segment mentioned an upcoming PhotoWalk in Austin on August 6 that I am organizing.  You can find out more inside the Facebook Event!

Adventuring in the Valley (and a new NBC TV Interview) (by Stuck in Customs)

Unique type of photography hits Austin | (by Stuck in Customs)

You can click that picture just above to visit the NBC KXAN site to see the whole segment with Jim Swift.

This is gonna be a long hike (and an announcement soon!)

The 40km hike in Argentina (which my legs still feel and probably always will), it started out by ascending a small mountain in the Andes. A small mountain in the Andes, by the way, is a mountain of incomprehensible proportions in any other part of the world. After a harrowing trip, I was greeted with this view of the rest of the hike. Luckily, I was tired enough to grant myself an excuse to take off my pack and put together my Inspector Gadget camera setup to grab this shot.

In other news… wait just a few hours… we have a big announcement coming! :)

This is gonna be a long hike (and an announcement coming soon!)

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)

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)

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

The River Passed the Quivering Forest in the Autumn

I think it’s really nice how one part of the world can go through a season while the other hemisphere is going through the opposite. The waxing and waning of the nature of things is a nice cycle. And then, just as you are getting used to the extreme loneliness of one cycle or the next, the equinox begins to approach again as everything betwixt the hemispheres comes back together.

This was shot down in Argentina, near the coast of Chile, on a glacial river that streams away from Andes, before a long journey to the lake.

And now, for something unrelated, and I mean completely unrelated, I received an email recently that someone has opened a gallery inside Second Life of my work. I don’t play Second Life. I tried it once for a few minutes before I committed digital suicide because of the horrible GUI. But, regardless, the virtual world still a popular thing, and I guess it’s kinda cool to have a gallery in there. I just hope there are no furries inside.

The River Passed the Quivering Forest in the Autumn

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!
  • A collection of fun links that I find/post on Twitter, neat finds, and other things to inspire you.
  • Advanced secret links to upcoming reviews so you can be the first to see and provide feedback! !! This is a cool one, eh?
  • A review of the latest, most interesting photos.
  • A nice, compact, beautiful email that you can share with your family and friends. These are just the sort of pretty emails that can make you popular in your email circle o’ friends.

A cool waterfall to relax at during the hike, and a new Newsletter! (by Stuck in Customs)

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

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)

The Panorama of Patagonia

I have put up a short Gigapan Review. The gigapan is a cool little machine that lets you make photos that are insanely huge.

This is the same photography tech that was used on the Mars rover, and I was able to jam it into my backpack during my hike in southern Argentina. Panoramas on the web are always a tough thing to show and share. The default size is always short and wide, and it loses a lot of the effect. Then scrolling and moving about seems to take away a little bit too. I think a lot about how people consume digital media on the web, and I’m not sure there is a great way to show off a panorama just yet. I’ve used dozens of GUIs, and they all seem a little bit clunky.

However, despite all those comments above, you can go here to the Gigapan site to see the full-sized version, zoom in, etc etc.

As you can see, it was a beautiful and rough place. I can’t believe I hiked for so long and didn’t twist my ankle once. The late afternoons heading into sunsets always had these clouds that were darker than the sky, making it all extra moody.

The Wiles of Patagonia, a 14K panorama (by Stuck in Customs)

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