Google+ Communities Launch – The Photo Community

Huge new Google+ Feature: Google Communities! The Photo Community

Come see The Photo Community (Google+ should activate it at some point here…) – Come join as soon as you can!

What are communities? They are very similar to regular Google+ accounts, except they are not tied to a person — they are tied to a passion or an idea. This will allow threaded conversations to begin and live independently in the world of Google+.

Think of a piazza in Italy where the whole community comes to hang out, eat gelato, watch artists, have coffee, and talk about the world as it goes by. To me, this is what a Google+ community is.

Besides making The Photo Community, I am also going to make a private community just for people involved in the Stuck In Customs (my website). That will be a private one — invite only. This will replace the Sorry 1990’s Forums that currently run on the website. I’m so sick of that old style of forums… aren’t you? I assume everyone will be able to make public and private Google+ Communities soon.

You’ll notice that The Photo Community has categories on the left. This is a cool thing that allows conversations to be established within certain buckets. Here are a few of the categories I set up, with more to come:

General Discussion – a place for everything… it’s sort of a catch-all for everyone just to hang out.

Critique Me! - Do you have a photo that you would like critiqued? Just post it in a new thread here, and you’ll get it analyzed. I can’t promise it will all be rosy, but we would prefer it if the feedback is civil and constructive! :)

Gear Talk – If you have a particular penchant for the hardware side of things, this is a great place to have these discussions and ask questions.

Newbie Photo Zone – Are you just getting into photography and have a question? This will be a great area for you… don’t be shy!

Moderators

Google+ Communities can also have moderators, which will be very helpful. I’m going to start setting those up today to take the burden off of me as an individual. As a rule, we’ll try to make sure the community is a positive happy place… Back to that Italian piazza example above, these will be the kind old-lady-shop-owners that come kick the cretins out of the piazza.

Features to come?

Here’s a few features I’d like to see in upcoming iterations. Google has a tradition of quickly iterating on design to improve the user experience.

– Allow commenters to embed photos in a thread — this is especially handy for photographers, and I think it would also be handy over on the food-related groups!

– Allow moderators to have a “sticky” or community-news post that doesn’t get pushed down the stream.

– Any other ideas you have? Put them in the comments!

Daily Photo – The Rising Setting Sun

I’ve tried to detect pattens for when you see these streaming bits of sun at sunrise and sunset. At first, I thought it was just related to moisture and particulate in the air. Then I thought it was related to clouds five+ miles away that are naturally broken up with gaps between them of several hundred meters. Now I think it’s a combination of the two. Maybe this explains why it is so rare.

Now that I live in the mountains, I never see the horizon any more. It doesn’t bother me so much, but it is harder to get these kind of shots. Those of you that also live with no horizon know what I mean! :)

Sunset Pacific Ocean

The Rising Setting Sun

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length112mm (112mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

Textures Tutorial

We broke apart the Textures Tutorial so that people could JUST get the hi-res textures. That was a common request, so we recently made that available for you.

Daily Photo – Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

This is the beach that was just a short walk from Toad Hall, the place we stayed during our fun trip down to the islands. The sand was so soft and powdery, and the water was like a warm bath. I guess that’s why this area got the name “The Baths” although I am not sure.

Do you like this painting effect? I think I like it sometimes… depends on my mood.

Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

Evening on the Beach in Virgin Gorda

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Swirling Seashore

Early Bird Pricing on Paris Event ending soon

Current pricing of €1,190 EUR to join me at the chateau in Paris only lasts a three more days! After Friday, the pricing goes up to €1,290 EUR, so grab one of the last available slots quick. :)

Expanded HDR potential for the NEX-7!

Check out the Sony NEX-7 Review page to see what the new firmware can do! Basically, it gives you expanded auto-bracketing range from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV – very cool.

Nikon and Canon Firmware

Why doesn’t Nikon or Canon release new firmware to give people more options for autobracketing? It’s confusing… I don’t think that those of us that enjoy HDR are such edge-cases any more, right? So hurry up, Nikon and Canon — take some notes from what Sony is doing here! :)

Daily Photo – The Swirling Seashore

Every now and then you see some rocks along the coast that are not smooth, but covered with moss and clinging vegetation. It’s kind of strange how nearby rocks are worn smooth and slick, while others, like this one below, look like they could be in some deep jungle freshwater river.

Virgin Gorda Rock Ocean

The Swirling Seashore

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length20mm (20mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Golden Disc Descends Behind the Island

Camera Reviews

Many of you have seen the Camera Reviews page, and I take time to figure out the best recommendations for “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.” There are always new cameras coming out and new specs to consider. It’s an ever-complex problem!

There are a few new cameras that I’m analyzing, but I don’t really have enough info on them. These are the Sony RX1 (Adorama Link) and the Nikon D600 (Adorama Link). Believe it or not, Nikon offered to send me a free D600 to play with, but I told them I was too busy! I’m not really a hardcore camera review guy, and I already bought the D800. This is just a busy time for me… otherwise I might have taken them up on their offer!

Daily Photo – The Golden Disc Descends Behind the Island

I could watch one of these every night I think!

It is hypnotic, isn’t it, watching this massive fireball slowly dip into the sea? I notice that the sun seems even bigger when there is another object of significance in the distance. You can’t always plan for that, but it sure is nice when it happens.

I took these photos from the balcony at Amaterus.

Island Sun Sunset

The Golden Disc Descends Behind the Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length250mm (250mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

A Beach for your Thoughts

The Cloud Whisperer

Someone called me the Cloud Whisperer on a recent PhotoWalk and I thought it was kind of funny. I do watch the clouds a lot and analyze them like Kvothe thinks about the wind… and I do sometimes see things that are coming before they come.

But I’ve also noticed that some places have amazing clouds on a consistant basis. One of these is here on the south island of New Zealand. Where have you noticed a fairly regular supply of interesting clouds?

Daily Photo – A Beach for your Thoughts

Another night on Virgin Gorda… another perfect beach and sunset…

Since it was so perfect every night I was there, I simply could not go without taking a sunset/beach photo. I simply could not deny myself! And then every night I would think to myself, “Well I’m glad I got that because tomorrow night there will be bad light and no clouds.” But I was always wrong. Every single night had a crazy light/cloud situation!

Virgin Gorda Beach Carribean

A Beach for your Thoughts

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

A Simple Wave

Sony NEX-7

I still use this camera quite a bit and I’m adding new photos to my Sony NEX-7 Review. So if you haven’t popped over there in a while, you might see some new things!

Daily Photo – A Simple Wave

I don’t know what to think of this photo. I took it with the NEX-7 and did not process it at all. I find it a little bit interesting, but I am not sure why. I’ve stared at it for longer than I care to admit, trying to figure it out.

A Simple Wave

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (27mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Underwater Cave of Mystery

No Variety Hour Tonight

No, we’re not changing the name to “The No-Variety Hour.” Trey’s Variety Hour is not running tonight due to the Labor Day holiday. Be sure to keep an eye on my YouTube Channel for next week’s show!

Best Caves in the world

What are some of your favorite caves in the world? I’ve only been to a few…. but I’m dying to get into that giant salt crystal cave… it’s shut off to the public, but I’d love the opportunity to go take photos inside.

Daily Photo – The Underwater Cave of Mystery

This is a very cool place!

There are a thousand boulders that are stacked up all over The Baths area of Virgin Gorda. The beaches are actually separated where the boulders get really intense. This is one of those areas, and to get here, you have to duck and shimmy and slide around. Once you are here, however, you can wade deep into this cave and into other underwater caves beyond.

The Underwater Cave of Mystery

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length19mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Calm Sunrise Over the Atlantic

Dog Breed Help

Help, dog lovers! I need advice!

I’m going to get a dog when I get back to New Zealand. I think I want a poodle-mix, but I’m not sure. I’m looking for the following qualities: No shedding, smart and trainable, nice around kids, looks funny when dressed up by quirky owners.

Disney Cruises

Yes, I am going to go on another Disney cruise. I never thought I would like them as much as I do! They are quite luxurious, and the kids have a great time off in their kids’ clubs. It’s not like a daycare either… I mean, they go all out at Disney… the kids are baking cookies and getting stories read to them by characters and going on treasure hunts and a million different things… and, well, since there is no real internet, I get plenty of time to read and relax! :)

Daily Photo – Calm Sunrise Over the Atlantic

I think I’ve taken more photos of the Atlantic Ocean than the Pacific Ocean. Or maybe not. That cruise put a big dent in my Atlantic Ocean shots, but I may even-up next year when I do the Disney cruise in Alaska…

I took this one in the morning off the coast of Virgin Gorda.

Calm Sunrise Over the Atlantic

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length32mm (32mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

New Video Tutorial Released – For Beginners and Intermediate Photographers

Now On Sale for Everyone!

Now available on the Discover the Art of Photography page!

We had the special live event recently, and now the video course itself is available for everyone! If you visit the Art of Photography page, you can read some of the nice things people said. (Note to everyone that participated in the Live Event: You should have received all the special Q&A video links by now – those were only for the live event participants. If you did not get the links, please contact support@stuckincustoms.com.)

Daily Photo – The Ruins on the Coast

One early morning, Curtis and I woke up to drive to the other side of the island and explore these old ruins. I don’t know if you can say that one set of ruins are in better shape than others, but these were still pretty awesome (even though they were in ruins)!

I did something a little different with the processing here, mostly related to adjusting the color of the shadows in Lightroom.

The Ruins on the Coast

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length19mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Amazing Time with the New Class!

You missed the class! But less than 24 hours to get it!

Note: You have less than 24 hours to sign up on The Art of Photography page. The first class is available for download for everyone that registered. You don’t have to watch Live, even though that bit is quite exciting.

THANKS so much to everyone that joined me last night. It was an amazing experience… it’s the biggest online training of this sort of thing in the world, and it was just crazy-fun… I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did! We have a lot more stuff coming in the next three classes… I’ll be showing you all some Awesome Stuff and Cool Tricks! :)

Daily Photo – The End of the Path

This is the very end of the long path from Toad Hall to the beach on Virgin Gorda. One thing this photo does not show is that there is about a 4-foot dropoff right below this path! It’s no problem for a grownup to navigate, but it was a little logistical challenge to get three kids down there.

I took this path almost every day… for a little trip down to the beach to see what I could find…

The End of the Path

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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