The Terminal

Want some Awesome Aperture Presets and Goodies?

Do any of you use Aperture to organize your photos? If so, my friend Joseph Linaschke, has released some New Aperture Presets with my Textures. Really amazing stuff… After you follow that link, just click on “Adjustment Presets” and you’ll be in the right area.

Joseph plucked some of his favorite textures out of my texture tutorial package and integrated them into those presets. It’s a pretty dang simple way to use them!

Besides the presets, Joseph has all other kinds of goodies in there too… ebooks and a little bit of everything. He wrote that remarkable ebook for Flatbooks.com about the Canon camera, so he’s a real pro. His stuff is the EXACT opposite of mine! I’m Nikon/Lightroom, and he’s Canon/Aperture. But we get along fine… like ebony and ivory.

HDR Tips Continue!

High Dynamic Range PhotoHere we are on day 3 of a week of HDR Tips with Rick. Today’s Tip #3 is “Leave Some Mystery”.

You might remember this shot on the right from Nimes, France. It is of an old Roman colosseum where they still have bullfights and concerts. I was thinking about visiting my friend Fabien (the website designer) this summer to see Sting there. It’s supposed to be an amazing place to see live music.

Daily Photo – The Terminal

You guys know I love the Asian airports. I can’t quite figure out why they are all so awesome. I suppose that the government just pours a ton of money into them. But, I don’t really understand the economics of airports, even though I spend a lot of time in them. I know the airlines have to lease the gates, so that provides a regular income, but probably not enough to pay back the billion dollar pricetag to get it built. I’m pretty sure there is a lot of incestuous stuff that goes on… I know some giant Asian airlines are subsidized by the government, which in turn give money to airports that are owned partially by the government, and it all gets more messy from there. I suppose I’m just used to the government doing everything badly here.

This is one of the smaller terminals in Beijing. The main terminal is huge, and you get to this one after you pass through security. The floors are so glossy, I feel like wearing ice skates!

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Saucer Section Separates

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Since today’s photo has a reference to the great series of yore, I thought I would share a few of these videos. You may remember this episode on the right. It’s one of those special episodes you just can’t get out of your head.
And who could forget the comic stylings of Geordi and his wacky sidekick Data? When those two get together, you never quite know what will happen.

Even better, when you mix in the softly-bearded Riker, he can take things to a whole new level of unexpected heights. That show was genius…pure genius.

The Saucer Section Separates

You know you were in for something special whenever the Enterprise got into one of those situations where the saucer section would separate from the warp nacelles. It always happened in the most extreme situations, and there was always a vital emergency. But the actual separation process seemed to involve about four minutes of special effects, which was surely long enough for the Borg to assimilate everyone.

What would have been better, in retrospect, was if the Borg would just assimilate the special effects department and modernize it a bit.

Can anyone figure out from where this photo actually hails (ahem).

High Dynamic Range Photography

NBC Interview – Behind the Scenes

NBC Video and Behind-the-Scenes

Besides the video below, there is an extended article with more behind-the-scenes stuff you might enjoy. Jim Swift from KXAN here in Austin did a nice story on the whole thing. And, thankfully, he cut out the parts of the video where we REALLY look like idiots.

100 Cameras in 1 (iTunes link).

Is an Android Version coming?

If you scroll to the bottom of the KXAN Article the question came up and we addressed it there. I know you are excited about it! So am I, obviously! :)

Sunday Approaches…

The big video release is just two days away… It took me a small eternity to finish, but you’ll zip through the whole thing in a matter of minutes.

Daily Photo – Girl in Hat

One morning I woke up early to go visit the Summer Palace in Beijing. Since it was the week of the national holiday, I was not the only guy that woke up early. Around the outskirts of the palace, there were thousands of celebrants in all sorts of garb. And plenty of cute kids in fanciful headwear. I saw this little girl, so I got down to her level and took a quick shot with the 50 prime.

I hope this one is sharp enough for you… I know on Flickr sometimes I get a few photo-nerds that complain, “errr…you’re a little soft in the lower right quadrant.”.

High Dynamic Range Photo

A Child in Tiananmen Square

Game of Thrones

I’m so excited! This is my favorite series of fantasy books in the world… I think George RR Martin is pure greatness. I heard HBO was making this series, and I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting. They just came out with a behind-the-scenes preview of the first season. See the preview here on YouTube!

Fail Pictures

My friend John P over at One Man’s Blog put together the best Fail Pictures. Nothing can make you feel better than some idiot doing something stupid.  And I’m not talking about John P there.

Daily Photo – A Child in Tiananmen Square

After I left the exciting-sounding (but actually cool) Beijing City Planning museum, I walked under the street to get to Tiananmen Square. There were thousands of people out celebrating a national holiday. Kids, parents, families, and all sorts of festive activity. Asian kids are always cute aren’t they? You just can’t get away from it…

I found this little one with a busy mom snapping away nearby. Everyone was taking photos everywhere…. it was kind of crazy. I knelt down to grab this one before moving on to find more cute kids.

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Chinese Mothership

Thanks!  And New Version coming Soon!

A few days ago, I asked if you had media connections to help with 100 Cameras in 1.  And now we have stories on Wired, The LA Times, TUAW, AppAdvice, Toucharcade, and many more!  And this was in addition to the Gizmodo / Kotaku reviews…  Thanks very much! You guys rock!  

This helped us to finally pass Camera+, which is quite an accomplishment!  BTW, I keep advising that you pick up Camera+ too since my friend Lisa made it… support your local internet artist! :)

Even though these ratings vacillate, you might be interested to know that we are in the top 0.16% of all the 300,000 apps in the store.  Amazing!  In the US, we’ve stayed in the top 10 all week for photography.  For that category in other countries, we hit #3 in the Netherlands, #8 in Australia, #9 in Brazil, #3 in Finland, #8 in France, #4 in Argentina, #5 in Belgium, #7 in India, and #6 in New Zealand!  Thanks countries of the world!  We’re working on some amazing updates with secret surprises… stay tuned.

Oh China, let’s be friends!

As opposed to the stats above, in China, we are a depressing #268. Oh China, why oh why? We’ve been such good friends, and I’ve tried to take such pretty pictures of you, China. Don’t be like that. Maybe I just need a Chinese version of the app, but I’m not sure how to do that.

Even worse, in Russia, we are #310. Was it something I said? Oh China and Russia… I don’t wanna fight… can’t we just be friends?

Daily Photo – The Chinese Mothership

Look at this magical place in Beijing… it’s on the edge of belief.

I could hardly fathom the nature of this place. I expected the lights to appear on the grid with melodic tones a mystical, alien language, like in Close Encounters. But none of that happened… So I just stood there for a long time, thinking about how incredible this place was… and took my time, setting up my system for a fitting photograph.

Remember when we were kids, and we never finished our food, even under the threat of starving children in China? Now, I say to my kids, you better eat your food, or else Chinese children will grow up and create an economic powerhouse. Well too late for that!

This is the amazing National Centre for the Performing Arts, or as I like to say, the 国家大剧院 — I find that rolls of the tongue a bit easier.

The Chinese Mothership

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Inner Museum

Photography Gadgets, Updated

I updated the Photography Gadgets page, and that thing is still a work in progress. I know perfect is the enemy of good… so my usual method is to put up pages while they are still incomplete, and then I iterate on them over time. That page is on its third iteration, but not quite where I want it yet!

Part of that page is a “Photography-related Gadgets”, which involve things that are in the orbit of my camera. One cool new thing I added was the Moshi products… There are two on there, and I pictured one to the right. I’ve tried three different iPad cases, and this one is the best.


Moshi iPad Case

Daily Photo – The Inner Museum

This is the Capital Museum in Beijing, and it houses some famous and exquisite pieces. Many of the works were still incomprehensible to me, but it’s nice how there seems to be an international feeling of beauty around different objects.

The lighting was very unique in here, and the layout made for a challenging shoot. Of course I did use a tripod here…I’m not sure it is possible to capture it otherwise.

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Mysterious Chinese Woodwind

Waiting for the Sunset in Atlanta

High Dynamic Range PhotoWhen I was in Atlanta last year, I set up on the top floor of the W Hotel for a sunset shot. I was there with my friend Scott Kublin. So much of taking photos is just patience… in this case, I laid down for a bit to think about things. I didn’t realize it until just yesterday — but Scott took this photo of me! Anyway, I thought it came out kind of nice… and it shows that most of what I do is not really as exciting as it might seem.

And guess what? The sunset was really boring, so I never got a good photo. These things happen quite a bit… But I never have a photo to show of it… the absence of a photo is not a photo that is worth sharing…

HDR Camera Recs

I updated my camera recommendations page with the old good/better/best categorization. I’m sure not everyone agrees, but that’s okay! I could easily describe 10 different Nikon models, but that gets a little overwhelming for new people that are just getting into the sport.

But about that “Entry Level” option. Maybe you can make a case for a better one? I want to recommend something VERY inexpensive that can do bracketed JPEGs. Not everyone can afford $900+ for the better DSLRs, but they really want to make bracketed photos for HDR.

The Mysterious Chinese Woodwind

In one of the older areas of Beijing, I visited several different operas. Luckily, my team on the ground there was able to talk to the management to make sure I could walk around anywhere during the performance to find interesting things. I saw this woman playing this most unusual instrument, so I stayed in her area for a while until the light was right.

This opera had some very unusual instruments, and I heard sounds that were completely foreign to me. They say that these instruments and styles have been handed down over centuries, and I suppose that is why they sound so unique.

There’s one sound in particular, not made from the instrument, that I can’t ever forget. It sounds vaguely, forgive me, like a large metal mixing bowl, 1/3 full of water, that is struck with another, empty metal bowl. It’s a jarring but mystical sound… maybe you know the instrument I am talking about? Or maybe you recognize the one from this photo?

Edit: Smart Commenters below point out it is called a “The Chinese sheng” (Chinese: 笙; Pinyin shēng).

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Metal Ribbon and Animoto Review

Animoto Review

I wrote up a full Animoto Review here on the site. If you want to read more about it, pros and cons, and more, check out the review. Below, I have placed one of the videos I made with Animoto.

You can also use the Animoto Coupon Code of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to get 2 months free with a pro account… thanks for the team there for providing that for us!

The music has a nice, artistic story behind it. There is a big fan of the site here named Antonis Karalis, a musician from Greece. He put together this song — did all the instruments and voice himself. If you like his song and want to support another internet artist — click here to get it in iTunes!

Daily Photo – The Metal Ribbon

Here we have another stunning example of the fanciful architecture in Beijing. The opera house is a huge, cavernous complex. On the top level towards one side, there is an immense gathering area that’s used for banquets, parties, and other such events. Luckily, my translator and assistant had set everything up ahead of time, so we were able to get in for several hours before the big concert to take some photos in peace before the crowds arrived.

High Dynamic Range Photo

My Irregular Annual Student Interview

Brain Pickings!

You guys know I only recommend stuff if I think it’s awesome.  Life is too short not to focus on the awesome!

One of the accidental things I have found is called “Brain Pickings”, and you gotta see their end-of-the-year redux for 2010 — amazing stuff they found last yea!.  I found them because we were both featured on FlipBoard, and it looked kinda artsy.  And then I got in deeper, and saw that the woman that curates Brain Pickings is my kinda gal!

Besides the link above, also see their “10 Most Popular Articles” – it’s a good sushi sampler from the chef, Maria Popova.  Also, it’s one of those sites that lives off donations — so maybe you are feelin’ internet-generous.
100 Cameras in 1

iPhone App Updated

Our team cranked away and put in a ton of new features and updates, so thanks to everyone! You can download 100 Cameras in 1 pronto.

Here are some of the new features and updates:

➤ Option to disable sound & music
➤ Added option to dramatically increase resolution in cropping phase for each iPhone model (e.g. for iPhone 4, which is 2592×1936 pixels — the square is cropped to 1936×1936)
➤ Added ability to turn on/off cropping after you take the photo or select from Library
➤ Three new Achievements
➤ Upload to Flickr, Facebook, Twitpic at maximum resolution for your given iPhone (in square format)
➤ Even more features added! See all of them on our 100 Cameras in 1 page.
➤ (shhhh… and many more currently in super-secret development for next update… shhh)

New Video – My One Student Interview for the Year

Hehe… well… I explain the title of this early in the interview. Here are a few things that are discussed in the video:

  • The business side of Stuck In Customs
  • What my wife does (and other personal questions… *ahem*
  • My thoughts on Getty licensing and what a RIP OFF model they have
  • My thoughts on micro-stock photography (I’m sure people won’t like what I say)
  • My thoughts on contests and judges and how silly contests can be
  • My thoughts on using a lot of lights in your photos and what happens by accident
  • And a bunch of other BS. But – well… all kinds of stuff… hehe.

Daily Photo – The New of Old China

I found this place near the one of the old Imperial rice barns that had been converted into an opera house.  It’s a hard-to-find but charming area of the city.  Not even my driver or assistant could find it, and they’ve lived in Beijing their entire lives!

To find out more about other things found amidst these hidden gems, see “Amazing Opera Discovery in Beijing“.

High Dynamic Range Photo

On Gossamer Wings

Recap – Five Tips for Photographing People

In case you missed the piece a few months ago, you can always go back to read “Five Tips for Photographing People“.  I hope they help!

Canon Giveaway

You guys know I’m a Nikon man, but I still occasionally will let myself be seen with Canon shooters like Scott Bourne.  But only rarely, and if he buys dinner.  Anyway, Scott is running a contest over at PhotoFocus to win a free Canon 5DMKII.  Look at that picture on the page!  It doesn’t even have a lens… what a cheapskate.

Daily Photo – On Gossamer Wings

I had spent most of the day inside the Forbidden City, trying my best to find little bits here and there. Tiny discoveries, you know. I was pretty tired after a day of searching, but I still had barely enough energy to keep exploring into the night.  At that point, I decided to go to another, older area of the city.

There were hundreds of quaint shops, the smell of fresh food, families walking to and fro… it was all very nice.  I came to cross a little raised bridge, and I saw this woman standing there.  She was dressed in vintage Chinese grab and holding a delicate umbrella.  While talking with her friends, the light caught her umbrella just right, so I snapped a quick photo.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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