The Golden Horse in Iceland

Charity Update

Thanks again everyone for contributing to Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva. I think we are over $11,000, and that is great. What have your experiences been like? Are people paying you back and you are reinvesting? I think all of my little loans have been paid back, so I gotta get back in there and find some new good entrepreneurs to support!

Daily Photo: The Golden Horse in Iceland

We worked on this one tonight in the webinar, and I hope people didn’t get too bored. It’s very strange, because I am talking to myself for over an hour, and I only get occasional feedback when Andrea stops watching reruns of Ricki Lake. Anyway, I’ll just assume that people like seeing it, since people keep showing up.

The Golden Horse in Iceland We worked on this one tonight in the webinar, and I hope people didn't get too bored.  It's very strange, because I am talking to myself for over an hour, and I only get occasional feedback when Andrea stops watching reruns of Ricki Lake.  Anyway, I'll just assume that people like seeing it, since people keep showing up. - Trey Ratcliff Read more here at www.stuckincustoms.com.

Church in the Fog and Interview with Nikon

HDR Tutorial in 6 Languages

And growing… find your language below and enjoy!

Welcome to the International HDR Tutorial!

New Interview with Nikon

Nikon has an official podcast where they talk all about Nikon stuff and stuff stuff like that. I didn’t know what it was going to be like before I was on, and I envisioned it would go like this:

[begin Stock Music Intro reminiscent of background music in porn movies]
Host: “So do you like stuff?”
Trey: “What, like Nikon stuff?”
Host: “Oh yeah, totally.”
Trey: “Well, yes, I do like Nikon stuff.”
Host: “Like all the Nikon stuff?”
Trey: “Well not all the Nikon stuff, but you know, some of the stuff.”
Host “Yeah totally.”
[fade out with same silly music]

But it turned out not to be quite like that…well, except for the music which I was spot on about… BTW, Nikon doesn’t pay me or give me free stuff stuff or any of that stuff.

Just click that lonely looking play button below:
[display_podcast]

If you want to see all my camera and lens suggestions (yes there is even a Canon in there, ahem!), see my HDR Camera recommendations page.

Daily Photo – Church in the Fog

I was driving along the southern coast of Iceland on the way to Vik, and I started going throw an area of lowlands. Around midnight or so, the sun was getting pretty low in the west, and it gave the sky a slight pink glow in almost every direction.

I shot this one at a 200mm at F/6.7. I don’t often take out my zooms for landscapes, but it does provide a nice compression that gives an unexpected feel to the final photo. It’s really hard to explain in words, but maybe you can sense of this framing in the final result. It just can’t be done with a wide-angle lens, even if I was a lot closer.

Church in the Fog I was driving along the southern coast of Iceland on the way to Vik, and I started going throw an area of lowlands.  Around midnight or so, the sun was getting pretty low in the west, and it gave the sky a slight pink glow in almost every direction.I shot this one at a 200mm at F/6.7.  I don't often take out my zooms for landscapes, but it does provide a nice compression that gives an unexpected feel to the final photo.  It's really hard to explain in words, but maybe you can sense of this framing in the final result.  It just can't be done with a wide-angle lens, even if I was a lot closer.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Exploring the Peninsula at Sunrise

48 Hours Left At Early Bird Pricing

The cleverly named Trey Ratcliff’s Photography Webinar will increase in price on Thursday to $247 for the 9-day course. Even though it is live, you can still download the sessions later if you miss it.  Sorry the early pricing is ending so soon, but the big event itself starts on Sunday.  It’s gonna be a blast, and you’ll learn some great skills.

Join me today Live

I’ll be on Live today at with Dane Sanders. Check the website for the countdown!

Daily Photo – Exploring the Peninsula at Sunrise

I weaved in and out of these little roads as the sun was coming up in Iceland. I was trying to find a certain rock formation off in the ocean, which I never found. But that’s okay. These roads are very windy, and that makes setting up for a shot very difficult. Every curve of the road is a new geometry, and this causes endless possibilities and problems! When you come across a nice old farmhouse like this, you hope the road is curving the right way so that you get a nice setup with the composition.

HDR Photo

The Best Fish Evar

You guys are insane – Thanks!

Wow I didn’t think yesterday’s post about the Photoshop Giveaway to announce the Webinar would generate so much traffic. It shows how many “lurkers” there are on here. You know, guys, you don’t have to wait until I give something away to leave a comment! hehe… no problemo… I already know from the stats that less than 1% ever comment. That’s cool… if you’re quiet, I’ll just assume that everything is a-ok. I’m kind of a quiet person too, really…

A great bootleg video from EG

I got to see this live at EG – it was one of the most amazing things… So, these two guys, Jake Shimabukuro and Charles Yang had just met the night before! Jake is the most famous ukelele player in the world right now… if you think that sounds lame, well then wait till you see this. And Charles Yang is from here in Austin, and he’s currently finishing his degree at Julliard. Thank God I did not have to speak right after them!

Daily Photo – The Best Fish Evar

I have a restaurant suggestion!

The best fish I have ever had is in that little viking-house there to the right. You have to duck to get through the door. Once inside, you emerge into a darkened viking-style dining hall (imagine the great hall where Gríma Wormtongue held powah over King Théoden of Rohan).

This spot is pretty well-known restaurant called Tjöruhúsið in the little town of Isafjordur. There is a little window in the back where the fishermen come every morning to deliver the fresh fish in exchange for getting to eat there for free. They bring you the food inside giant iron-clad pans… it was so awesome. I’m going back in a few months and I’m going to gorge myself here with giant dinners before heading out for all-night shooting.

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Simplicity of Life

Peter Lik Update

A few weeks ago I ran a story about Peter Lik using one of my images in a promotional way on is Facebook Fan Page. I pointed out that I thought this was bad-internet-behavior.

I’ve since received countless emails, tweets, FB messages, and more about the subject, so I wanted to give an update. I also updated the original post, but I realize that people don’t always go back and read what happened.

Here is a quick history and the resolution.

Peter’s Facebook Fan Page showed my New York Times Square image and underneath it said, “Peter Takes Times Square”. Also, along the top, it says, “Peter Lik Fine Art Photography’s Photos”, which is both wrong and facebooky-grammatically-incorrect. Once I found out from multiple sources, of course I was a little upset and confused. After all, Peter is an accomplished photographer and there is no need to use someone else’s photos.

After people complained, they finally took down the image. Peter never apologized, but someone from his social media team did come to my Facebook Page and left a wall post (which I found a while later after it had scrolled to page 2). I have posted that exchange on the right.

And, just to be clear, since everyone is not familiar with Creative Commons Non-Commercial, I’m happy to explain it again for the thousands of artists out there that subscribe to it like me. It is simple. People are allowed to use my photos in non-commercial ways for personal use, for blogs, for wallpapers, for fun, as the basis for new paintings, and this sort of thing. Simple. If people are going to use it in this manner, they must give credit to Trey Ratcliff and link back here to http://www.StuckInCustoms.com. Simple. In this case, even giving credit alone would not have been enough, since this was clearly for a commercial purpose.

In a sense, Creative Commons Non-Commercial just puts plain language around common sense.

Daily Photo – The Simplicity of Life

A delicate photo for you today.

There was a silent lake in the north of Iceland around 1 AM where I stopped for a stroll. I had bathed myself in this light for over a week, and this non-stop dream of solstice nights was getting deep into my mind. There is that strange moment between sleep and wake – you know the one – but that moment was elongated to hours on end as the elements drifted around me. Certain feelings around this are hard to explain, but perhaps you know what I mean.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Flowers and Carved Stone

Monterey PhotoWalk

We have the Monterey PhotoWalk group up now on Flickr! Thanks again for coming out.. that was a lot of fun… enjoyed the conversations and the chance to shoot with you guys! :)

Daily Photo – Flowers and Carved Stone

I kept driving and driving and driving and weaved my way up past a town in the far northwest fjords. I saw this strangely (and nicely) shaped mountain with that strange early-morning lighting. Then, I spent another hour or so hiking around until I found this special kind of blue flower (EDIT thanks to commenters Scott & Guðjón – it is called the lupine or lúpína in Icelandic). Just when I was about to give up, I found a giant patch of them, so I selected the right lens and set up for this shot.

HDR Photo

Homes in the Land of the Panserbjørne

The Webinar Approaches!

We’ve been going through hundreds of different comments (and some very creative and unexpected ones!!!) from the survey for the webinar. I already had a pretty good idea of what people wanted to know, but I am seeing a few surprises in there!

Now, if you want to be the FIRST to know, be sure to sign up for the free newsletter over there. We’ll announce pretty soon, and that’s a good list for the early alerts. I normally send out about one newsletter a month with links to all the latest videos, reviews, tutorials, and more. Also, when you sign up, you’ll get access to the 23 previous newsletters that are full of all sorts of cool info!

Daily Photo – Homes in the Land of the Panserbjørne

On my ninth or tenth day of the solstice, the mornings sometimes got a little strange. On this morning, it was around 2 or 3 AM. There was plenty of light, but the heavy clouds cast a blue tinge over the landscape.

And it was that strange time of “night”, when you know everyone is asleep and you feel like the only one on earth that is still alive. When everything is well-lit, you also feel a little bit apocalyptic about the whole thing. Was there some kind of Zombie outbreak, and now everyone has eaten one another into oblivion, and I’m the only one left? But it’s that sort of dream-state that is good for creating photography. When nothing around is the way it is supposed to be — then it helps to keep me in a creative state of mind.

HDR Photo

Dinner in Akureyri

Special Photos – Dinner in Akureyri

Normally, I do one new photo a day, but today I wanted to do ten of them! Something a bit different to keep things fresh, perhaps!

So, when I was in Iceland, I went to visit my friend Helga Kvam who lives on a fjord in the far north near a town called Akureyri. She lives in a farmhouse right up against the water. Helga was with her long-time boyfriend Völundur Jónsson, who is also a photographer. Even though they live in a beautiful place, I don’t think they ever take it for granted… this is a nice side-benefit of being a photographer. You can read more about them on their About page on their website.

I slept in their basement one day, and woke up in time for dinner time (I stay awake all night to take photos and sleep during the day). Völundur and Helga were hard at work making a fantastic meal! I pulled out my camera and took some photos of the evening, so I can share it with here below.

If you’d like to see some other photos I took in and around this area, check the Iceland category!

Völundur is outside getting the grill ready. The weather was perfect and Helga opened the windows so we could smell everything. You can see the fjord behind Völundur...

Helga, for being a photographer, is very shy about having her photo taken! So I took this one of her sitting with her nephew in the window sill, as they watched the food cook outside.

While dinner is cooking, Helga's nephew goes outside to play and shows me where he built his tree house earlier in the day.

He prepared a ton of amazing and fresh food. I think the only time they get to cook outside is the summer, and they take full advantage of it.

Helga was telling me about what things have been like after the economic crisis in Iceland recently. She said people have gotten back to the basics, and she knitted these gloves for herself. I tried to convince her to make finger-flapped knit gloves for photographers and I would help her promote on the website! But I don't think I convinced her...

Her house has all sorts of nice details and colors. Even before I met her, I knew she was very into rich textures and colors.

Helga and Völundur go into her kitchen to make last-minute preparations for dinner.

This meat was incredibly tasty and tender. I won't tell you what it was... since people often seem overly judgmental (or stuck in customs, the second meaning of the blog that few people ever get).

Fresh vegetables on skewers. They tasted as good as they look.

And for dessert, we had these insane bacon-wrapped dates. These things are amazing. I did find them one other place -- at a tapas restaurant in San Antonio. But anyway, stay on the lookout for these things!

Also, I just got a note from Helga that her mom has started an Icelandic skin care company called Urtasmidjan. So there you go… you can vist to get some Icelandic products… looks like a girly thing :)

Where They Dry the Fish

iPad 2 in Austin?

Are you one of those hardcore stand-in-line-super-early-at-Apple iPad 2 kinda people? Are you here in Austin? Then let’s talk! I need two of those things… email me at wildcard (at) stuckincustoms.com — if you can grab some for me, that would be cool. I’ll pay you back of course, and I’ll even throw in an autographed book.

Beta List Complete

We had a bunch of comments on the announcement for the iPad version of 100 Cameras in 1. Our beta-list is complete, and you should hear soon if you are on the list. We can’t get (and don’t need) everyone in… so it is a very small selection, I’m afraid. Anyway, no worries, full version will be out soon enough!

Daily Photo – Where They Dry the Fish (Ósvör in Bolungarvík)

I ate a lot of fish in Iceland. I even had rotten shark. You’ve heard of this? They bury shark and let it rot until it ferments. And then you eat it. And then you have to drink this Icelandic vodka called Brennavin or something like this. It’s lethal. I remember because I was sitting by a couple of Irish girls that were traveling flamenco dancers and they were laughing at me while I powered through this one-two combination. I don’t drink… but, it was part of the shark experience. And I think of it more as a healing potion than whatever the hell it really was.

While in the northwest fjords, I came across these little huts with intermittent slats. This is where the fisherman hang the fish to dry in the incessant sea-winds that blow up the coast. Pretty cool, eh?

High Dynamic Range Photo

100 Cameras in 1 for the iPad

Update – Available Now!

Go Get it Now in iTunes!

Update 2 – Testing Closed

Now that the app is out, all the beta testing has closed off – thanks again!

Join our private testing group!

100 Cameras in 1 for the iPhone has been a huge success, so it gave us the chance to redesign everything from the ground up to take the experience to a new level for the iPad. And, well, with the upcoming iPad 2, it’s gonna be even more awesome (even though it will also work on the existing iPads, especially since we notice a lot of people enjoy re-processing existing photos). I won’t say more than that now, but you can get a hint as to some of the varied goodies in the screenshots below.

Want to join the testing with us? Just leave a comment below, and I’ll randomly select people and contact you via the email you used (or FB) when leaving the comment. So, it’s just not all fun and games… you need to crank hard on the app, try to break it, send us feedback, bugs, and all that sort of thing to be a good tester.

Good luck!

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Week of HDR Tips continues!

Today is Tip #4: Let the Time Flow. It’s been a great week so far, yes? Yes. Rick Sammon and I are each providing a good tip to help you take your photography to the next level… I hope you are getting something out of it. I enjoyed putting these together!

I thought it was interesting that yesterday, people discovered inside the tip that the object in the middle of the arena was a dirt-zamboni. I guess I looked at it so long, that I figured everyone would get to that conclusion.. but interesting that the mystery worked even better than I suspected!

Daily Photo – Icelandic boy after building treehouse

When I stayed at Helga’s delightful farmhouse near a northern fjord in Iceland, her brother came over and brought his son. They built a treehouse in the backyard and filled it with all kinds of goodies — all in one day! The sun was low, as it always is there that time of year. He was running around, silently playing in the back yard. I thought his eyes were so other-worldly blue that I just had to take a photo.

This area was very close to the little town of Akureyri.  It took me about three visits to this place before I was able to pronounce it correctly.  I feel like a damned fool trying to say some of those Icelandic words!

High Dynamic Range Photo

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