Across the Estate

Stuck In Customs Community on Google+ — Come Share your Photos and Thoughts!

Come join the Stuck In Customs Community on Google+!

Why did I make this? Well, I REALLY want all of you to continue getting to know one another without having to be tied to a discussion of the daily photo! Also, you’ll be able to share your photos there and get to know one another better. There’s also a fun discussion area for you right there in the categories on the left.

I do love it when people link to their photos in the comments, but I think that this could be a much better way, so it is not tied to an individual blog post, if you know what I mean.

Below you can see one of the photos that was shared by Christy Miers! Thanks Christy and thanks everyone else that got an early start in there! :)

Paris PhotoWalk Photos

We had an amazing PhotoWalk in Paris! To see all the photos, go check out the Paris PhotoWalk event on Google+!

Daily Photo – Across the Estate

As the event at the chateau was winding down on the final evening, we all dispersed to take late night photos in the dusk. There were good angles everywhere. One of my favorite was up under this tree. But it was also very interesting to watch where everyone else walked. It was kind of like a private photowalk… I find it endlessly fascinating to watch other photographers while I am also taking photos. I don’t know why this is!

Paris Chateau grounds

Across the Estate

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO280
  • Focal Length18mm (18mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Streets of Mont Saint Michel

HDR Tutorial and More for the Christchurch Photo Event

I know we have many people coming to Christchurch this week for the big event! For anyone new or just getting into post-processing photos, here’s a collection of links and stuff from the HDR Tutorial here on the site.

Software I use (in order of importance):

  • Photomatix Pro (required) – Save money by using the code “TREYRATCLIFF” – grab it from the Photomatix website (there’s also a free trial version that leaves a watermark).
  • Photoshop (recommended) – You can buy Photoshop (click) right from the Adobe website, and begin the download. You can also use Photoshop Elements, although I do not recommend it in my Photoshop Review because it does not allow other robust plugins. Now, if you follow the tutorial to the final steps, you will see that I suggest using Photoshop to “clean up” problems from Photomatix above. So, it is not absolutely necessary, but it is recommended.
  • Noiseware Professional (optional) – I have tried a multitude of “noise reduction” software packages. You’ll notice that the HDR process can create a bit of noise, to say the least. I use Noiseware Professional.  Online, you can order the Full Suite for Windows or the Full Suite for Mac to get all their products and save money (I use them all – see my Reviews).  Or, you can just go to the Imagenomic website and just choose Noiseware Professional.
    • Note:  After you “Proceed to Checkout”, use the Imagenomic Coupon Code “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to save even more money!
  • Topaz Adjust (optional and awesome) - You can grab it from the Topaz Website. This product can help bring some contrast and pop into the final product. I have a Topaz Adjust Review here on the site if you want to read more. If you can afford a little more, I suggest the whole Topaz Photoshop Bundle since it comes with a lot of other goodies too!
  • What else do I use? – I use many tools and have a blast with them all. If you want other amazing pieces of software that I use, then I suggest you see my Nik Review and my onOne Plugin Review. Both are great!

Daily Photo – The Streets of Mont Saint Michel

I miss this place already!

I had a magical time exploring this place night after night. It never got boring and there were hundreds of little nooks, crannies, staircases, doors, and other mysteries to discover! I even got in the middle of a cat fight while two medieval cats duked it out… the whole place was dead quiet up until the point. That sound of fighting cats is hard to ignore… and then it all went back to quiet after that.

By the way, if you ever come to this amazing place, I suggest you sleep up inside the walled city. There aren’t a lot of rooms up there, so plan ahead. I think it’s better than staying outside of the city, because you get to roam around inside of it at night…

Saint mont michel France

The Streets of Mont Saint Michel

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

4 Million Followers on Pinterest and the Paris Opera House

Thanks Pinterest Ladies!

I think it’s like 80% female on Pinterest, yes? I’ve never been so popular with girls! Believe me… in high-school… it was rather slow… and not just because I went to an all-boy Catholic Jesuit school!

I’ve released many more photos recently on Pinterest to celebrate the event. You can see them on My Pinterest Page of recent pins. Enjoy, and thanks for following!

Pinterest Show with Kalebra Kelby

Kalebra has a fun show she does about Pinterest. I joined her this week… embedding here because it is fitting for the subject matter! :)

Daily Photo – The Paris Opera

I went by this building several times before I even thought about going in. For some reason, it never occurred to me that I might actually be able to go inside and take photos! Of course, I really wanted to go inside, so I was happy when Curtis told me that it’s no problem to get in there.

Next time, I think I’d like to go on a private tour and get some special angles and whatnot. I did get in trouble for using my tripod, but not bad trouble. Just a little trouble. A little trouble ain’t so bad…

Paris Opera

The Paris Opera

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

4 Million on Google+ and Christmas in Paris

Wow – 4 million followers on Google+!

I still find this hard to believe, but I don’t take it for granted. I know most of you here are also on Google+ — so maybe you saw the TWO special messages and videos I put over there.

Special Message #1 – Christmas Photo How To

If you like the photo below, you can a behind-the-scenes video on Google+.

Special Message #2 – Ethan plays a song from Lord of the Rings

I asked my son to play a special song, and I put it on video… you can see the latest from the little hobbits!

Daily Photo – Christmas Tree in Paris

I visited this place about four times two weeks ago! If you saw the review yesterday, then you will note that I tried out a few lenses on this tree too. I think this one is my favorite of the shots…

This amazing Christmas display is in the Galaries Lafayette. Also, on the first floor, you should go have lunch at Angelina… they have amazing hot chocolate. The roof also has another cafe with amazing views of the city.

Christmas Tree Paris Galaries Lafayette

Christmas Tree in Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

New Nikon Fisheye Review

Nikon Fisheye Lens Review

I’ve started putting the framework around a new Nikon Fisheye 16mm Lens Review. I’ve added many sample photos over there so you can take a look at the results of my experimentation and thoughts thus far…

Daily Photo – The Mysterious Places of Paris

Isn’t this room amazing? It’s not in the main part of the Paris Opera House, but it had the most ornate and Inception-esque room I’ve seen in a while. I took this photo while in the middle of experimenting with the Nikon fisheye lens. It seemed to fit the bill for these ornate grand locations that are still in a relatively confined space.

Opera Paris Ceiling

The Mysterious Places of Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

What Prints Hang in My Home?

9.7 Million Minutes Watched on Video!

Well this one is kind of crazy. I checked my YouTube stats for the first time ever. I don’t add a lot of videos, but the ones I add are quite long. Anyway, this stat shows almost 10 million minutes of my videos have been watched – that is crazy! I don’t think I’m THAT entertaining on video… honestly… I’m not like, say, Flavor Flav or anything…

What Prints Hang in My Home?

I got this question the other day, so I thought I’d list them out here. I’m always changing them out… but here are some of my favorites, including the new one from Paris below, which I just had printed here in Queenstown at WePrint.

Our Prints page has more details. But you can order the Artist Proof series on metal. Each of those is in a limited quantity of 50, and each one is individually signed by me. There is another more affordable series, which you can access by ordering via the SmugMug portfolio.

Anyway, here are a few of the prints that I have chosen to hang in my home:

Mountains Forever During the Yosemite PhotoWalk, the sky was beyond belief for the first few nights.  The second half of the trip had fairly mundane skies.  So, I was happy I went out there and got a lot of shots in the beginning!I’m often optimistic about the “future” of the trip, assuming that the sunsets will always get better and better.  This rarely is the case, so I don’t know why I’m consistently optimistic about the prospects.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

 

HDR Photo

 

The Bamboo Forest While exploring Kyoto, I eventually found my way to this fanciful bamboo forest.  There had been a light rain most of the morning and everything was quite lovely.  The rain does strange things as it moves its way through these sorts of trees.  I waited and waited, and that was nice too.  In the early afternoon, the rain stopped while the sun peeked through the top.  It shone down while the earlier rain misted down from the tops of the trees.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

 

-The Gentle Path to the Beyond-The little train that carried me into Hakone started winding through misty mountains.  The trees were thick and a fog was rolling in.  I had a feeling that it would stay wet, moody, and fairly perfect.  It had that heaviness that made you feel like it would remain like that for a few days, and it did.Before I get on train rides, I have a wonderful but dangerous habit of loading up with pastries.  Train stations seem to have nice little selections of all sorts of foreign twists on the usual subjects.  And, since I consider myself an explorer, I thought it would be good to get a TON of pastries and try them all.  It's very nice... sitting there... looking out the train window at a new land... rain falling... eating pastries...  (and I'm only a little ashamed to say that, upon arrival, my pastry bag was empty.)

 

The Secret Passageway to the Treasure After the crowds of Angkor Wat, it was nice to go find a remote temple in the jungle and be alone. This temple laid under the jungle, completely undiscovered for centuries.  The hallway and mysterious chambers seemed to go on forever.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – The Amazing Eiffel Tower in Romantic Paris

I shot this just recently with Tom Anderson. We almost didn’t leave the hotel because it was so stormy, but we had been watching the clouds all day. We started out with Miss Aniela at the Paris Opera before exploring the rest of the city. Sunset comes early here around this time of the year (about 5 PM or so), and it always sneaks up on us.

Some of the best sunsets come right after storms… so it’s always worth a little adventure if you don’t mind getting a little wet…

Paris France Romantic City Eiffel Tower

The Amazing Eiffel Tower in Romantic Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length55mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure Program
  • Exposure Bias

Sunset at the UFO Landing Zone

Our Menu in Paris for the workshop

Want to see what we ate for lunch? It’s hard work, you know, shooting all day at a French chateau and then sitting around post-processing with wonderful people. Sometimes you have to take a break for a super-elongated French meal! You can see Tom Anderson’s fingers back there dancing away on his Mac in this photo taken by Daniel Hurtubise.

If you want to see a video from the event, come sign up at for the Newsletter so you can find out first once it is edited together…

Daily Photo – Sunset at the UFO Landing Zone

This was shot back behind the chateau after dusk settled into its final colors for the evening. All the light was so strange outside, from the blinding white near the fountain to the golden hues reflected off the chateau to the nebula purple from the dithering sky…

Sunset at the UFO Landing Zome

Sunset at the UFO Landing Zone

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO280
  • Focal Length19mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Mont Saint Michel

Social Media How-To

Here is something MANY people have been asking for – a primer on social media! So, I’ve (somehow) gotten over 8 million followers on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest combined, and I just did this interview below about this. Many people ask me about social media, so now I am pointing you to Frederick Van’s Site to find out more.

If you find the talk below interesting, you should go check out more free stuff on Fred’s site or sign up for his course. If you enter STUCKINCUSTOMS, you’ll get $50 off he says – so go for it! :)

I don’t personally sell any ebooks or videos about social media, but you should really pay attention to Frederick Van here. I trust him, and you should too. If you’re looking to grow your knowledge and expertise in this area, Fred will get you set up! I know the course is called something like “Social Media for Photographers”, but I think it’s probably applicable to many disciplines… I should get him to change the name to make it more broad! :)

Daily Photo – Mont Saint Michel

After Paris, I rented a car with Tom and we drove off through France through Normandy. We finally arrived at this magical place — an amazing location I’ve always wanted to visit.

It’s a huge fortified monastery atop a fortified and walled city. At low-tide, you can walk out across the sand to get there, but in high tide, it becomes an island. Is there anything more awesome? I don’t think so!

Mont Saint Michel Castle

Mont Saint Michel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length250mm (250mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Chateau in Paris

New SmugMug Pricing

There is a new pricing situation at SmugMug! The STUCKINCUSTOMS code still works for it to — and will save you 20% even off the new pricing. Here is the new pricing option lets you print and sell your work!

Here’s a video I did with SmugMug… they sent their video team down to join me in Big Sur…

Daily Photo – The Chateau in Paris

We are all having the most wonderful time exploring the French countryside. I wish everyone could be here with us!

I’m sitting in the class right now, showing people how I make blog entries. They now see it is not as exciting as they may have envisioned.

The Chateau in Paris

The Chateau in Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Relaxing in the South of France

Photos from the Paris PhotoWalk

There should be a bunch of photos now flowing into the Paris PhotoWalk Event page. You can use this as an opportunity to find a few new people to circle up as well!

Daily Photo – Relaxing in the South of France

When I visited my friend (and website designer) Fabien, he invited me over to his home in the country. It was amazing! We had a picnic outside on with a view of the rolling hills and vines of the wine country. This little hammock hung under a tree near where we ate. One of the best things about it was that instead of grass, there was a field of mint underneath us. So, whenever you stepped, it sent up a fresh bouquet of scent into the air… basically, everything you imagine to be the case in the south of France is true!

Hammock France Colorful

Relaxing in the South of France

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/1.4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length50mm (50mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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