Shopkeeper in Beijing on Steps

Category Reminder

I’m usually pretty good about tagging the daily entries with categories.  If you see one that interests you, just click on the tag at the bottom.  For example, this one is in China, so clicking that will take you to all the China photos.  I only put up about 15 per page, so if you click “Previous” at the bottom, you’ll get another set of 15, and so on.

Daily Photo – Shopkeeper in Beijing on Steps

I carry around two cameras so I can get things like this.  I keep my main body affixed to my tripod with whatever lens fits the bill.  This is either a the 14-24 or the 28-300.  I keep my second camera with a prime — either the 50 or 85 prime.

I was taking photos of the festive street at dusk, and I noticed this shopkeeper out taking a rest.  I’ve always admired how people can rest in this position.  I can only sit in that position for about 15 seconds before I scream in agony and my patellas pop off at a hyperspeed tangent.

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio-The-Best/your-favorites/10668747_AuyBk#1329655537_bnBH

Evening at the Summer Palace

TWIT Photo – New Video

The new video from TWIT is up now. I hope you enjoy it!  Among many other things we discussed:

  • My friend Lisa Bettany is not doing the show any more on a regular basis
  • The future of digital photography
  • Instagram integration (BTW “100 Cameras in 1” made #1 in Photography for iPad!) (iTunes link)
  • Lens correction in photoshop and lightroom
  • And, in general, you can get to know a bit about Mikkel Aaland

Daily Photo – Evening at the Summer Palace

I didn’t make it to the Summer Palace until my final evening in Beijing, and I was graced with a delicate sunset.

This place is also called the “Gardens of Nurtured Harmony” and it rests on top of “Longevity Hill”, a very Chinese-folk-sounding name. What is kind of interesting is that this entire area was manmade, and the huge hill was built out of dirt when they excavated the man-made lake!

It is a truly beautiful place, as you can plainly see. I could not have asked for a better place to explore on my last night in China.

Evening at the Summer PalaceI didn't make it to the Summer Palace until my final evening in Beijing, and I was graced with a delicate sunset.This place is also called the "Gardens of Nurtured Harmony" and it rests on top of "Longevity Hill", a very Chinese-folk-sounding name.  What is kind of interesting is that this entire area was manmade, and the huge hill was built out of dirt when they excavated the man-made lake!It is a truly beautiful place, as you can plainly see.  I could not have asked for a better place to explore on my last night in China.- Trey RatcliffRead more (and check out a new TWIT Photo Webcast) here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

HDR Photo

The Original Photo

Now, you guys know I don’t normally do this… and don’t get used to it, but I thought you might like to see the original photo. Sometimes the colors come out so wild that people just surely assume I am “painting” in some wonderful color… but as you can see this is not the case. By the way, the reason I don’t do this very often is not be elusive — just I am incredibly, insanely busy and this all takes extra time…

Now, of course the HDR helped here a lot to bring out better color and all the detail in the palace, as well as bringing back the evening “haze” that was really there… Beijing does have a bit of a constant haze problem, to say the least… and the fast exposure there to the right (I believe it was the -1) did not pick it up… but the color of the sky is just about right.

The Deep Indigo Night

HDR Photo

Join me Live on Video on Mostly Photo Today!

Come to Live.TWIT.tv today at 1 PM PT (4 PM ET). We’ll be talking about photography and stuff, and more stuff like that.

Previous Videos

On the Videos page here on the site, I try to remember to link or embed previous videos, interviews, and all that sort of thing. Pop on over there, and you can see the previous episode of Mostly Photo that I was on where we talked about the following:

  • How to share your photos online (I give some philosophical advice in addition to logistical, practical advise)
  • Pricing your images and selling prints
  • Getting inspiration from other online photographers
  • SmugMug and how I use them  (see my full SmugMug Review here)

Thanks Om Malik and Mashable!

The new 100 Cameras in 1 with export-to-Instagram got some good press yesterday. Thank you to GigaOm and Mashable (and many others!) for the coverage.

Daily Photo – The Deep Indigo Night

Usually once it gets dark outside, I give it another half hour or so before I go restaurant-hunting. I like experimenting with new food while processing a few photos… It’s one of the greatest things… I usually have a table all by myself, and I get quite a large one so I can lay out all my stuff. I order all sorts of quirky foods, and I have a diet that would make Walter from Fringe happy.

But this night, there was so much strange ambient light that I decided to shoot for a few more hours. I worked my way up and down the waterside to find interesting sights. In these situations, I usually try to have at least one of my exposures be 30 seconds. That means the other four exposures are 15s, 8s, 4s, and 2s. That makes a good 59 seconds per session. I usually have my earphones on and I keep one finger on the tripod so I can feel the shutter click. I can tell immediately if my settings are off by the vibrations.

The Deep Indigo NightUsually once it gets dark outside, I give it another half hour or so before I go restaurant-hunting.  I like experimenting with new food while processing a few photos...  It's one of the greatest things... I usually have a table all by myself, and I get quite a large one so I can lay out all my stuff.  I order all sorts of quirky foods, and I have a diet that would make Walter from Fringe happy.But this night, there was so much strange ambient light that I decided to shoot for a few more hours.  I worked my way up and down the waterside to find interesting sights.  In these situations, I usually try to have at least one of my exposures be 30 seconds.  That means the other four exposures are 15s, 8s, 4s, and 2s.  That makes a good 59 seconds per session.  I usually have my earphones on and I keep one finger on the tripod so I can feel the shutter click.  I can tell immediately if my settings are off by the vibrations.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Austin Airport Not Supporting Artists

Austin Airport Not Supporting Artists

This one angers me… especially since I am supposed to live in a city that respects and supports artists. Anyway, you won’t believe this story…

So, I was coming through the Austin airport many weeks ago, and in the PRIME spot at the bottom of the escalators is a huge light-up photo display. Inside, I saw a photo that looked HDRish and so I went over to investigate. Down in the corner, it said simply “photo by mapaolini.” So, I recognized that “name” because Mike had taken one of my workshops back in a 2010.

About a month later I saw Mike at the Austin photowalk during SXSW and congratulated him on getting his art up in the airport. He said, “What?”

HDR PhotoAnd so then I got very very interested. After my most recent trip to Florida, I took this photo with my iPad while waiting for my baggage and sent it to Mike so he could see! We then got into a big email conversation while I was trying to figure out what happened… it was pretty much immediately obvious to me, but I wanted to see if my suspicions were correct.

So, get this:

  1. Mike was never informed that his photo was in the airport
  2. Mike was never paid a dime (placement like this should be worth several thousand dollars to the artist, especially if they are going to use it for many months)
  3. Mike’s name is not even correct in the corner of the photo.  His name is not “mapaolini” – that is his Flickr codename!
  4. They made the WORST CROP EVER.  See his original Flickr photo!

Any one of those things is annoying — but all of them together are just embarrassing for the airport and the city of Austin.

Mike did some detective work and called the airport, who said they got it from the Austin Tourism Bureau.  They said this is considered Non Commercial.  HORSE MANURE.  Is all art in the airport non-commercial?  Does no one get paid?  How much did they pay for that huge bronze of Barbara Jordan (who looks like she is waiting on her baggage)? How much did they pay for those gut-wrenchingly awful paintings above the checkin counter for American Airlines?

It’s an insult to Mike, and, by extension, to all photographers and artists in Austin. They know what they did, and I think it’s pretty lousy…

Daily Photo – High-Tech Dining in Beijing

Beijing has some of the funkiest restaurants in the world! I think that some of the interior designers and architects really take some risks to do all sorts of things with lighting, textures, and styles. It doesn’t always work, but I  think it works pretty well here.

This restaurant was right next to the opera (see my blog post on “Amazing Opera Discovery in Beijing“). This was also built inside one of the old imperial bans in this old sector of Beijing.

High-Tech Dining in Beijing Beijing has some of the funkiest restaurants in the world!  I think that some of the interior designers and architects really take some risks to do all sorts of things with lighting, textures, and styles.  It doesn't always work, but I  think it works pretty well here.This restaurant was right next to the opera (see my blog post on "Amazing Opera Discovery in Beijing").  This was also built inside one of the old imperial bans in this old sector of Beijing.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

And, below is the photo that was taken next door at the opera just after the amazing dinner.

The Peony Pavilion at The Imperial Granary I was invited to go see a very special event here in Beijing.  There is an old area that has the ancient Imperial Granaries that date back hundreds and hundreds of years.  One of these has been converted to an intimate opera house.  They bring in some of the best opera actors from all over China to perform here.If you haven't seen a Chinese opera, you are in store for something totally original!This particular performance was called The Peony Pavillion, which was written during the Ming dynasty and is a love story about all kinds of crazy mythical stuff that I don't want to spoil for you.  But it's really a must-see if you are into unique forms of entertainment.  And you do feel a bit like a time-traveller, watching a scene from hundreds of years ago.Even more interesting, there is a trendy and delicious restaurant next door.  Everyone eats together and has a wonderful leisurely meal before meandering over next door to enjoy the opera.  It's a great experience!- Trey RatcliffRead the rest of this entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Unknown Land

New YouTube Channel – What do you want to see live?

Come subscribe to my YouTube Channel! We’ve just been upgraded to a full YouTube partner, which is pretty exciting. It means we can do live shows and stuff… so let me know what you’d like to see live, and maybe we can plan something for the future. I don’t have a lot of time, but I’m always up for experimentation.

Daily Photo – The Unknown Land

After a while, my boat driver thought I was insane. We started before the sunrise and kept going, and going, and going, and going… he kept giving me the international head movement for “we really should be returning for a spot of tea,” but I kept motioning him further up the river.

To me, the river got most interesting when we saw no more people, except for the occasional fisherman that still had remote hut for his family along the river. I had plenty of battery power, amazing music on my iPod, a full array of snacks, a ton of drinks, and nothing to do for the rest of the day and night… so I was perfectly content just going until our gas tank reached 50%. And that took a long time… and who would want to stop with views like this around every other turn?

[And yes, this was made with effects from my textures tutorial, in case you were wonderin’]

The Unknown Land

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-08-12 06:07:28
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Lantern in the Streets of Old China

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Note that the new video is about half a gig, so the zip file will take a little while to download. The support team can help you with that too, if you are having trouble.

Daily Photo – The Lantern in the Streets of Old China

My time in China was winding down, and I took a flight back to Beijing for a few more days of exploration. There is so much to see in the old city that my month there was still not enough! And on one of these final nights, I decided to visit this very old section of the city.

It’s very well maintained with bright, fresh red paint, restored ancient lanterns, ornate windows, and the like. And inside many of the ornate windows are all sorts of antiques and old Chinese curios. I went into several, and now I am kicking myself for not buying more stuff. They had a bunch of bundles of old Chinese photos. I can’t figure out why I didn’t buy them… I think, now, that I was just overwhelmed by all the stuff that was inside. But next time when I go back, I’ll get a few bundles and bring them home to hand out at some event! That seems like a good idea.

The Lantern in the Streets of Old China My time in China was winding down, and I took a flight back to Beijing for a few more days of exploration.  There is so much to see in the old city that my month there was still not enough!  And on one of these final nights, I decided to visit this very old section of the city.It's very well maintained with bright, fresh red paint, restored ancient lanterns, ornate windows, and the like.  And inside many of the ornate windows are all sorts of antiques and old Chinese curios.  I went into several, and now I am kicking myself for not buying more stuff.  They had a bunch of bundles of old Chinese photos.  I can't figure out why I didn't buy them... I think, now, that I was just overwhelmed by all the stuff that was inside.  But next time when I go back, I'll get a few bundles and bring them home to hand out at some event! That seems like a good idea.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

New Interview and the Silent Temple of Zhangjiajie

New Video Interview

I think you’ll enjoy this one… I did this with Dane Sanders who has interviewed all kinds of people. You can pop over to his website to see even more. I like Dane a lot, and you’ll get a pretty good sense of him in the video too. We talked about all sorts of stuff, and I put a little guide just below the video in case you want to jump around.

Beginning – About the NASA trip

8:15 mark – HDR and some introductory stuff

12:30 mark – Talk about balance of photography, life, and business

28:00 mark – The internet is about to boom.. digital art as a cultural influence… room for us all to grow together.

31:20 mark – Competition and how everyone can win (and, so, it’s not really competition)

39:00 mark – Creating photos to be accepted by other photographers and how to use your own unique life experience to create.

48:00 mark – Burning Man and my artistic approach

53:30 mark – Someone in chat asks to see my t-shrt, and then we talk about my future of content creation

Daily Photo – the Silent Temple of Zhangjiajie

Here’s another photo that I worked on during last night’s webinar class. It was a tough one! I was going through many different examples, and this was a good example of one of those mixed-light situations. It’s so easy and wonderful to experience in person, but so difficult to capture otherwise.

I took this in the middle of a serious trek in Zhangjiajie, deep in the southern part of China. It was one of the hardest single-day treks of my life. This part in the lowland forest was not too tough because it was relatively flat. There were little path problems here and there, but nothing too major. Most of the problems involved walking up and down these bitches. I probably should not call them that, but, honestly, when you are walking up on down them, it’s one of the words that keeps popping into your mind.

In a single day, I walked up and down those things twice, each time passing through these lowland forests… this was the calm before the storm of the ascent, and this little temple brought me some temporary peace.

The Silent Temple of ZhangjiajieHere's another photo that I worked on during last night's webinar class.  It was a tough one!  I was going through many different examples, and this was a good example of one of those mixed-light situations.  It's so easy and wonderful to experience in person, but so difficult to capture otherwise.I took this in the middle of a serious trek in Zhangjiajie, deep in the southern part of China.  It was one of the hardest single-day treks of my life.  This part in the lowland forest was not too tough because it was relatively flat.  There were little path problems here and there, but nothing too major.  Most of the problems involved walking up and down these bitches.  I probably should not call them that, but, honestly, when you are walking up on down them, it's one of the words that keeps popping into your mind.In a single day, I walked up and down those things twice, each time passing through these lowland forests... this was the calm before the storm of the ascent, and this little temple brought me some temporary peace.Read more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Batch 1 Of Spots Sold Out

Webinar Update [Batch 1 of spots Sold Out]

Update: Normal prices are now effective for Batch 2 of spots for the Photography Webinar! Don’t miss out! I hope to see you there!

Andrea will email everyone today (some may have already received) with details on the specifics of the Webinar location with a special link for you. I’ve spent the last few weeks figuring out how to jam a ton of practical tips into this 9-day 9-hour course. Also, and it should go without saying, but of course there is a money-back guarantee. If you don’t feel like you learned a ton and are inspired to do great, creative work, then you are more than free to take me up on that!

Daily Photo – Cracking The Egg

Ahhh…the wonderful things that man can create!

I was just coming off the end of a sickness from some bizarre viral strain I picked up in another part of China. And I was extra-tired because I over-worked myself and gave a long speech / demo at Google in Beijing. And then I over-over-worked myself because I had an amazing invitation to visit The Egg here, but I had to go, you know? You gotta go… I couldn’t say no to these amazing opportunities. …and I wasn’t collapsing with fatigue and sickness… I could still move around a bit, even though I was not in top form. But I’m glad I went.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Chinese Pirates

Video Help in Austin

I need your help! We have a cool kinda-secret project going on here in Austin. I want someone local that can come get some of our meetings on video. If you have skills and experience with 1) recording high-quality video 2) editing 3) story-telling with video, then contact [email protected] with your info. Thanks!

Daily Photo – Chinese Pirates

One evening, my boat driver was speeding down the Li River as dusk was approaching. Every bend held new secrets as we wound our way further from civilization. I had a bag full of snacks to my left side and my DSLR to my right. Sitting out on the front of the boat, I had a full view of everything that was coming at me, so it was pretty amazing.

Just before we got to the turn-around spot, we came across this old ship. Part of me wanted to go inside to explore a little bit… the other part of me was a bit freaked out. Since I was new to this part of the ‘verse, I thought there could be Reavers inside.

HDR Photo

Sad and Alone at Night

Free Photoshop Awarded

When I announced the prizes for the webinar, I also decided to give away an extra copy of Photoshop CS5 I had here at home. We got over 1400 comments, and 100 of them were from Theolonius Gonzo, who wins the most entertaining award (go read his long comments… you can’t miss ’em!).

The randomly selected winner is Iain, who I hope doesn’t mind if I plug his website at Emptiful, which was embedded in his comment registration. I though this byline was kind of nice – it reads “photoblog of Iain Simmons: amateur husband, amateur photographer…”

Mostly Photo – Going Commando

I recorded this a few weeks ago, but I never posted it… I don’t know why! So, here it is… On this episode, Leo Laporte, Lisa Bettany and I talked about what kind of camera to get for entry-level DSLRs, the advantages/concerns of upgrading, and other general photography talk.

Daily Photo – Sad and Alone at Night

On one of my first evenings in Beijing, I walked around some of the older parts of the city to get a feel for it. Whenever I have extra time in a city, I usually don’t go too hardcore with the photography initially – choosing instead to explore on foot and get a sense of the place. But, you know, I do have my camera with me to get a few things here and there…just can’t help it. Between a few streets, I came across this little guy sitting on the seat of a small motorcycle.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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