Into The Sea

Site of the Week

We made the coveted Abduzeedo Sites of the Week!  Pop over there to see some of the other winners too.

Daily Photo – Into the Sea

I wonder what percentage of photographers live on the West Coast versus the East Coast. Of course, the west gets all the great sunsets over the ocean, and the east gets all the great sunrises. Given that most sane people are asleep at sunrise, and given that most photographers are insane — I am not sure! What do you think?

This one was taken at sunset on the beautiful San Clemente pier. The sunset was coming on, and it was a high-pressure time to get up onto the pier and find a good spot.

Sunset at Hearst Castle

New Book on Book List!

As some of you know, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Matt Ridley and his wife, Anya Hurlbert. I knew of Matt previously because I’ve always been a fan of his unique science/genetics books; these have delightful and unexpected hooks into economics, anthropology, history, and critical thinking. And then I found out his wife was also of a different sort of scientist, with a concentration in Visual Neuroscience. If you saw my Google Talk, then you’ll know that is also a big interest area for me! Follow her link above if you want to read more.

Matt has a new book that just came out called “The Rational Optimist“. If you want a taste of it, read Matt’s recent Wall Street Journal article.

Anyway, here on the site, I have “Trey’s Book List“, that has all sorts of suggestions. There is surely something for everyone in there!

Bonus Book Suggestion!

I just finished listening to the Audio Book of Daemon. You gotta get it! I haven’t heard anything this good in a while… and, as opposed to most books, I really do recommend the audio version. Jeff Gurner does an amazing job with the voices, and hearing the computer voices talk is more than entertaining! The author, Daniel Suarez, really knows his stuff. And, I would not be surprised if he has read some of Matt Ridley’s books — particularly “The Red Queen”.

Daily Photo – Sunset at Hearst Castle

Maybe people in California get spoiled by good sunsets. Not living there, I don’t know! But, when you are sitting up high on a mountain, in a castle-mansion, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, how could you not get spoiled?

And this isn’t even the main castle. This is just one of the guest-houses. Hearst had several guest houses there, each one as stunning as the next.

If you are enjoying these Hearst photos, I’ve now published six so far. You can see all the Hearst Castle Photos. Note: These are also accessible via the “Categories” down on the right side of the page.

HDR-Photo

Secret Meetings in Hollywood

New eBook now Available to Newsletter Subscribers!

Issue #14 will be flying into people’s email boxes some time this Sunday morning. Note that I made a big mistake yesterday! I had the signup form on there, but the “Submit” button did nothing! I can’t believe it… that was so dumb of me… I think a ton of people put in their info and clicked submit, and just assumed it worked!

But now it is fixed… you can sign up below, and, after confirmation, you will get a Welcome email that has a link to the new Newsletter #14. It’s the prettiest newsletter in the world! Thanks again for forwarding it to all your friends, family, and other loved ones!


Newsletter Map!

I haven’t updated this in a long time… I need to… but a few hours after we opened up the Newsletter, you can see how many people subscribed and where you all are from — cool!

Newsletter Subs

Daily Photo – Secret Meetings in Hollywood

This photo was taken in Los Angeles (Santa Monica to be exact) after I got finished with one of those Hollywood Power-Lunches you always hear about. I’m not yet ready to talk about it… but I just wanted to put out a little teaser for you. I’ll be sure to put out the full story when it is ready to be told.

So, anyway, after the meeting I took my camera and tripod across a few streets over to the beach. I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain this is where they filmed the opening to Three’s Company. It’s burned into some deep layer… strange bits of my 70’s brain were firing away as I was walking down the coast. The palm trees and the blue sky — they were so LA — so I set up to grab a shot.

HDR-Photo

Hearst Castle in San Simeon

Any Problems with New Server?

We’ve recently moved over the entire website to the Rackspace Cloud.  This was done because our traffic is growing like crazy, and we wanted things to be nice and speedy for everyone.  Also, from time to time, Twitter can cause big surges in traffic that brought the whole thing to a grinding halt.

Let me know if you see anything is awry.  It’s hard for me to test anything, and there are always niggling little problems…  Like, for example, I found out that Firefox didn’t work because of some silly Facebook <iframe> code that still broke it even though it was commented out!

I’ll put together a full review on Rackspace soon enough… along with a whole list of all the backend stuff that keeps the site humming along.  I know we have lots of technical people that come to the site, and we all like geeking out about the specs and “how things work”!

Daily Photo – Hearst Castle in San Simeon

Did you know that Hearst Castle is only a few hours north of LA? If you ever end up in LA for a trip, be sure to set aside a few hours for a trip up to see this place. After you get out of the LA city-scape-area, the terrain totally changes – so does the “feeling”.

Towards the end of the day, all the tourists had left. I had an escort with me for most of the day. This gentleman was a retired LAPD officer who spends a few days per week working up at Hearst Castle. There are several of these guys and gals that help keep the place secure. They take the job pretty seriously, as you would expect from any LAPD-type. After a few hours, I was able to wear them down with humor. I found they responded very well to anti-lawyer humor, btw. So keep that one in mind in case you ever get in a pinch.

Everyone there was extremely nice, and I loved the opportunity to capture Hearst as it is meant to be captured. I kept returning to this fountain time and time again — until the skies and light was just right…

Hearst Castle

Under the Docks in California

New Interview with Matt Brandon

Matt is a really nice guy, and I enjoyed our time together for the interview.  He runs a website called The Digital Trekker, and he has just recently posted the interview at that link.  His podcast is called “Depth of Field”, so be sure to check it out!

Want to know something really strange?  We were on the same flight from Tokyo to San Francisco a few weeks ago, and I didn’t even know it! :) I found out about this later via Twitter — he walked by me, and I was deeply engrossed in something on my laptop!

Daily Photo – Under the Docks in California

Some of you remember the great photowalk we had down in San Clemente.  I really had a good time there.  On my photowalks, typically I stop from time to time and tell the assembled crowd what I am doing.  Well, I finally got a chance to process this quintet!

I felt fortunate to have a good friend that had an amazing condo that overlooked this same beach.  Frankly, after a long day and night of shooting, I felt spoiled and happy just taking a few more steps to my pad…  grabbing some cool drinks… opening the patio doors to listen to the surf… good times!

Hans Zimmer’s Studio

Update! I got to spend a whole afternoon with Hans!

To get that full story, see “Hans Zimmer in His Studio.”

First Round – Hi Res Versions Now Avail

When I first got to Hans Zimmer’s Lair, I posted a few photos, but only one had the hi-res link. I know sometimes people like to click through to see the huge size and check out all the details.

Now, you can click through all of them here below. To see the full size, click on the photo, and then click on the “O” for “Original size” at the top of the SmugMug page. It’s a little hard to see there – it’s right beside the “X Large” text at the top.

Hans Zimmer's Studio I don't know if words do it justice, but I hope these photos do. The studio is even bigger than I thought, and I was reminded of the Crimson Lounge in Chicago.  In fact, I pulled up the image on my laptop there on the table to compare textures and light.  I thought everything worked well together -- the decadence and richness of the decorations integrated with the technology.   I don't know if there is a word for such a look... It's something out of a Phillip Pullman novel, somewhere between Steampunk and Techno-boudoir.  Again, words fail.The first two photos I have placed on Flickr.  You can click on them to go to Flickr and then zoom into the full-res size.  Amazing details -- especially in the chair photo. I'll post more in coming weeks, months, and years, as usual.  So, stay tuned... my ongoing quest continues!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Hans Zimmer’s Studio

It takes me a long time to process these photos, as you guys know by now. This is good and bad… One side-benefit of the “good” is that it allows me to leave many open threads and story-lines that are continued for months and years on end (much like Lost, where certain bits get lost forever). For example, I know everyone is waiting to hear about the dead body I saw in Indonesia… people love dead body stories. But you have to wait for the next Indonesia street shot for that! Hehe…

Today, I have three more photos from the studio.

The first is his massive bank of monitors that almost circumnavigate his keyboard. His team blanked out all the monitors so I could not capture his next secret project (which is not nearly as cool as his secret project with me, which is, indeed, so secret that Hans does not even know about it yet).

The second photo is of his grand piano where I assume his plans many of his compositions. He had a very cute photo there of his son, like any good dad. I normally don’t re-arrange scenes, but I did move that photo to protect the privacy of the family.

The third photo is the serpentine wiring system that keeps all the electrons flowing in the right directions. Seeing this, I’ll no longer fret the next time I need to go re-wire my home stereo.

One Plane Alone at the End of the Night

Upcoming Guest Blogger

In not too long, I look forward to featuring a surprise guest blogger sometime this week.  I have the whole article ready to go, and we will spring it on you soon!

You might enjoy these previous guest bloggers, for something a bit different:

  • Miss Aniela – a photographer friend in the UK.  Maybe I can talk her into stopping by the workshop!
  • Kook Ewo – with a name like that, he’s gotta be cool!

Daily Photo – One Plane Alone at the End of the Night

Here we are at Santa Monica Airport deep in the night.  It was quiet.  And peaceful.

I spend a massive amount of time at airports.  I’m usually totally alone, and, most of the time, this is perfectly all right.  I’ve developed an ever-changing internal dialog that keeps me mentally stimulated at all times.  I’m glad no one can read my thoughts… surely they would find the cacophonous chorus to be the height of lunacy.  And then, when things finally bubble over, well, it is nice to have a kindred spirit around.

The secret lair of Hans Zimmer, from where he inspires the world

Update! I got to spend a whole afternoon with Hans!

To get that full story, see “Hans Zimmer in His Studio.”

I Approach my Quarry!

Six days ago I was up at 3 AM, listening to Hans Zimmer while editing photos, and then I had an idea for a project with him, so I made a blog post. Now, less than a week later, I was in his studio in California!

For those of you that don’t know who Hans Zimmer is, he’s, like, the Liger of composers. He did the soundtrack for The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lion King, Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes, and many more! In fact, back when I was in college and had a double major in Computer Science and Geophysics (I dropped the Geophysics bit after a fight with the professor), I commandeered the SGI machine in the Geology department to make a computer animation, and I set the whole thing to one of Zimmer’s songs from Backdraft called “Burn it All”. So, in short, I’ve had Hans Zimmer’s music in my head for about 20 years.

The Story of How I Got Into Hans Zimmer’s Studio

It’s because of you! We have millions of visits here on the blog every month, and you all know how thankful I am for your repeat patronage. It’s tough to get a pretty photo up every day, and I thank you for all your feedback! So, when I put out the call in my newsletter, I got a ton of responses. My math-guess was that I was one or two degrees away from Hans, especially since there are many creative-types that are regular visitors.

Also, many of you hyper-active types (like me!) talk to me, ask questions, and follow me on Twitter — thank you for being responsive to real-time requests and news.

About an hour after I sent out the newsletter at midnight, I got a response from a German gentleman (name private) who is friends with Hans! In fact, he told me he was going to see Hans the next day at his studio near Hollywood! He did a few things to help out, and, although I could not meet Hans today, I did get an amazing opportunity to take photos of his studio. I knew I could make his studio look the way it feels — I had a sublime confidence I could make it happen. Anyway, I was like a kid in a candy store. I got a ton of shots… I only had time to process four of them.

Hans Zimmer’s Studio

I don’t know if words do it justice, but I hope these photos do.

The studio is even bigger than I thought, and I was reminded of the Crimson Lounge in Chicago. In fact, I pulled up the image on my laptop there on the table to compare textures and light. I thought everything worked well together — the decadence and richness of the decorations integrated with the technology. I don’t know if there is a word for such a look… It’s something out of a Phillip Pullman novel, somewhere between Steampunk and Techno-boudoir. Again, words fail.

The first two photos I have placed on Flickr. You can click on them to go to Flickr and then zoom into the full-res size.  Amazing details — especially in the chair photo. I’ll post more in coming weeks, months, and years, as usual.  So, stay tuned… my ongoing quest continues!

Hans Zimmer's Studio I don't know if words do it justice, but I hope these photos do. The studio is even bigger than I thought, and I was reminded of the Crimson Lounge in Chicago.  In fact, I pulled up the image on my laptop there on the table to compare textures and light.  I thought everything worked well together -- the decadence and richness of the decorations integrated with the technology.   I don't know if there is a word for such a look... It's something out of a Phillip Pullman novel, somewhere between Steampunk and Techno-boudoir.  Again, words fail.The first two photos I have placed on Flickr.  You can click on them to go to Flickr and then zoom into the full-res size.  Amazing details -- especially in the chair photo. I'll post more in coming weeks, months, and years, as usual.  So, stay tuned... my ongoing quest continues!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Chair

Skulls

The Back Room

More photos from the studio…

I put these in a later blog post… and came back to post them here too.

Sunset Under the Pier

Synthetic Happiness and Photoshop

I have a strange array of answers I give when people ask me questions at book signings and stuff. I recently met a cool guy named Casey Berner, and he asked me if I ever “go back” to a photo after I am done to work on it again. I told him no, and then referred to a TED video from Dan Gilbert. Most of the time, I say this stuff and people just nod… but I don’t really know if it sinks in. But it did with Casey – in fact, he wrote a whole blog post on it and included the video I mentioned!

Coming to California

I’ll be coming out to California soon… to both LA and Northern California.  I’ll be sneaking into a few bookstores here and there to secretly sign books.  I hope things are warmer there than here!

Daily Photo – Sunset Under the Pier

We had a great time at the workshop today!  After a sunset dinner at the Oasis, we came back to the Driskill and I offered to let people watch me stay up late and process photos.  Everyone came but Cliff Baise who was probably drunk.  (Actually, during the workshop, Cliff uploaded this cool pic to Flickr).

I processed three images, and I had a bear of a time with this one from Manhattan Beach.  It was a class “HDR Problem” shot that had ghosting in the waves, a dirty gray sky, and unfortunate artifacting.  I showed everyone how to fix these problems, and I hope some of it sunk in!

Sunset Under the Pier

Guarding the Beaches of LA

Being a lifeguard in LA must be a great job. Or it might be a boring job. Or it might have occasions of greatness filled with a long periods of boredom.

There was a lifeguard sitting here in the station on Manhattan Beach when I took the shot. I guess I could have asked her while I stood outside her station for 10 minutes with all my glass aimed right at her. I kept giving her a nod of confidence, indicating that everything was okay. I was really just waiting for the colors to get right in the reflection.

Guarding the Beaches of LA (by Stuck in Customs)

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