The Lamp in Hakone

Lemons into Lemonade

Down below I have a story of how things looked rotten then turned right as rain. Do you have a photo-story like that – where things looked horrible then turned out okay?

Daily Photo – The Lamp in Hakone

The entire time I was in Hakone, it would not stop raining. This is not a great thing, when you finally make it to a place you are very excited about and there is a torrential downpour. So what to do? Well I didn’t want to walk away empty-carded (new word I just made up – feel free to use it!), so I lugged out the umbrella and took a stroll to see what I could find. And now, I’m happy I did.

Lighthouse in Japan

The Lamp in Hakone

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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

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  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
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  • ISO200
  • Focal Length55mm
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The Snow Monkey

New Books En Route to Flatbooks

Thanks so much for enjoying all the eBook offerings over at Flatbooks.com ! I appreciate it, and so do all the other authors there… :)

We have a great new eBook on the way… and it is being written by the very same Jaime Ibarra that I mention below. It will be an amazing one…

Also, don’t forget to check out the new printing eBook from Ron Martinsen that was released a few weeks ago.

Daily Photo – The Snow Monkey

I found this guy right outside of Nagano, Japan.

I’ve had this photo for a while, and I decided to process it today while hanging out with Jaime Ibarra from IbarraPhoto.com (nudity warning. nudity opportunity.) We spent all day and night processing photos. He’s a great guy. His techniques are so unique! I was able to convince him to write an ebook for Flatbooks.com — I can’t wait to see it. We hope to get it out before Thanksgiving! :)

HDR Photo

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The Gentle Path to the Beyond

Your Favorite Inclement Shooting Conditions?

Okay, let’s take perfect weather, sunrise, and sunset off the list. So, do you prefer a rainy morning, a snowy evening, a good lightning storm at night, or what?

Daily Photo – 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 Gentle Path to the Beyond

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28mm
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Five Tips for Photographing People

Five Tips for Photographing People

I’ve been talking about this for a long time, so I wanted to go ahead and give you some free tips for on-the-street people photography.

From various conversations, I think that photographers are REALLY interested in taking photos of people they see on the street. We can’t help it, right? Our eyes are drawn to interesting “things” — not just landscapes. And if we see an interesting person, we really want to take their photo, yes? But then, often times, we don’t even pull the camera up to our eye because we are shy, embarrassed, or think about all the horrible things that could go wrong. So, maybe these tips will help!

Look, honestly, I don’t know if these will do you any good or not. But these are some things that I personally think about. So, insofar as some of my insights are useful to me, maybe they will be useful to you too!

Even though I’m known for “landscape photography”, I actually enjoy all kinds of photography! I take hundreds of people photos, object photos, food photos, model photos, B&W photos, etc. I assume that you take many types of photography too.

1) If you prefer to take photos of people as they are acting naturally, go ahead and take the photo before they notice you. You are a photographer, and this is you. You capture life… if you see something interesting whether it is a landscape, a pile of peaches, or a person that strikes your fancy, go ahead and do it. If you like and it is convenient, you can always go show them the photo after you are done. I do this whenever it makes sense, and I have a nice little interchange with the person.

2) Keep an extra camera ready for people shots. When walking the streets, I normally have my “big” camera ready to go for city landscape shots. My tripod is on. My wide-angle is on. It’s in that “mode.” If I am going to have to switch lenses, it will take forever, and the moment will be lost. So, I carry a second camera on a sling around my shoulder for people shots. On that camera, I have an 85mm or 50mm prime lens. Now, you don’t have to have this exact setup by any means, but having ANY kind of second camera for people shots is recommended.

2b) I find that the 85mm prime keeps me outside something I call the radius of intimacy. That is, when you use a 50mm, you are so close that people often stop acting naturally, unless they are a professional model or a natural thespian.

3) If they ARE likely to notice you, be confident and deliberate, softly asking permission with your eyes. This is a very subtle and hard thing to explain. I usually raise my eyebrows while I raise my camera, clearly indicating, “I’m about to take a photo. Everything is okay.” If they don’t want you to, they will make it clear. Usually, they say it’s just fine. People like to be thought of as interesting.

4) If they are very close, I ask permission out loud. Often times, I don’t want them to pose… so I say something (smiling!) like, “You look very interesting — can I take a photo?” Once they say yes (98% of the time they do), I usually ask them not to pose and carry on about their business. Then I start taking a bunch of photos and enjoy the pressure of capturing the moment.

5) Don’t be shy! If you feel overly shy, it may be a larger indication that you are letting fear motivate you rather than the opportunities that life provides. So, if you feel doubt or fear, just try to channel me and be brave and forthright.

Regarding that last one, seriously, folks, just be cool and confident with it. If you want to do it, and it feels right, just do it. Do not worry so much about rejection. Yes, you WILL get rejected 2-10% of the time depending upon how likable you are. Out of 500 people photos, I’ve been rejected maybe 10-13 times. It doesn’t bother me a bit. So what? People say no… big deal. The fact is that MOST people LOVE to have photos taken of them. To be interesting in a world of same-ness is a tremendous thing. Chances are that no one has ever taken a photo of them before, and they will feel special that you thought they were special.

Most of the time, after I take a photo and people look over at me, wondering, “Why did you just take a photo of me?” I usually say, “You look cool!” Or, “You look awesome!” Or, if they don’t speak English, I give them a thumbs up and a facial indication that I think they look cool. 99% of the time, they smile and carry on.

If you’re taking a photo of a kid, just get a steady nod from the parents before. Bend down to take the photo, look up at the parent, saying, “is it okay?” with your eyes. They’ll say yes or no… There is a significant number of moms out there that watch too much sensational news and assume that 50% of the population are pedophiles… but, maybe you’ll hit that other 50%! Again, we’re all just photographers, and if we see a cute or interesting kid, of course we want to take a photo! It’s what we do! There is no need to apologize for it! :)

Daily Photo – Salaryman in Tokyo

While I was in the middle of making a time-lapse sequence (see the video below the photo), I was using my D3S on a sling to take quick photos of interesting people. They were everywhere!

Behind me, waiting for the light to change, was this young salaryman. Salaryman is the Japanese word for “businessman”. That word salaryman always cracks me up for some reason. Anyway, he was this young kid, standing there in a most unassuming way in this nice suit. I spun around and grabbed a quick shot.

He looked a little confused at me after I took it. I gave him a nod of thanks, and he smiled in a surprised way then went merrily on his way.

HDR Photo

Videos – Life in Japan

While I am busy shooting landscapes and people in Japan, I also take time to make some videos.  Below are a few of them from recent past.  The music from both is by the great Patrick O’Hearn (buy his stuff!).  Enjoy!

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Lonely Boats Near Hakone

New eBook Coming

I think you all will enjoy this eBook!

This Week in Photography Interview

It’s finally here!  The nice team from This Week in Photography has put up my interview – TWIP Episode Jan 13, 2010 (you can also get it on iTunes).  I hope you enjoy it.  We talk about everything from Creative Commons to Wide Blogs to HDR Photography to Mentally Unstable People Who Dislike HDR.

Amazing Review over at Abduzeedo

Giselle over at Abduzeedo wrote a fantastic review of “A World in HDR” and I am glad she enjoyed it so much!  Head on over there for a looksee.  Also, visit the top level of their blog because they always have great design inspiration.

Daily Photo – Lonely Boats Near Hakone

There is a spiritual and peaceful place on the edge of Japan.  I had to get off the bullet train and make a series of extremely confusing train changes to get to this place, but it was worth it.

The nice thing about photography is there is no such thing as bad weather.  Every scene has its mood, and whatever the scene is, that is the mood.  You learn to roll with the situation, and whatever is happening can be beautiful if you look at it for what it is.  It was a foggy and wet afternoon, so I walked peacefully up and down the shoreline for interesting things here and there…

Lonely Boats in Hakone

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The Rainy Forest in Hakone

Win a Free Book at Frederick Van’s Place

You can win a copy of “A World in HDR” over at FrederickVan.com. Note, if you can somehow evade his haunting stare, you can then leave a comment to win!

Fred is a an awesome guy, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him. We hung out together in Northern California a while ago and got along like a Starbucks on fire. Take some time and visit his blog… he’s got all kinds of good stuff on there. Also, he recently interviewed me for an upcoming This Week in Photography, which I will link to as soon as it goes live!

Daily Photo – The Rainy Forest in Hakone

Hakone is a wonderful and remote part of Japan. The bullet train only took me so far before I switched to a smaller series of trains to get me out to this spot. It is nationally known as a place for rest and spiritual relaxation. I was already on vacation, so I decided to double down and take a vacation from the vacation and super-relax. I spent the day out exploring places like this before retiring in the evening with the most intense hotbaths of my life.

A Rainy Day in Hakone

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