New York City Travel

SmugMug Winners – Free SmugMug Pro account!

For everyone that didn’t win, you can at least use “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to save money over at SmugMug. If you want more info, see my full SmugMug Review here on the site.

I picked five people from the recent photowalk in San Francisco (see the tag on G+), and here they are: Keith Cuddeback, Omar AlQabandi, Joe Ercoli, Joette A. Wangsgard, and Dave Bell. Just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to have our support team hook you up with your prize!

More categories?

Are you a newcomer to the site?  Yes, besides all the photography tutorials and stuff, there are endless categories of countries and locations down the righthand side there.  The site may be going through a redesign soon, but I’ll be sure to always keep that monster-list somewhere!

Daily Photo – New York City Travel

So this is my newest photo of Times Square.  I return to this spot time and time again.  The situation, light, cars, people, and billboards are always different, so it’s never a dull subject.  It’s also always such a challenge to shoot that it keeps all my senses fully honed.  In fact, I’m already thinking about going back to New York City for another photograph of Times Square!

New York City TravelSo this is my newest photo of Times Square.  I return to this spot time and time again.  The situation, light, cars, people, and billboards are always different, so it’s never a dull subject.  It’s also always such a challenge to shoot that it keeps all my senses fully honed.  In fact, I’m already thinking about going back to New York City for another photograph of Times Square!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read this entire post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

New York, Yellow Cab

New Flatbooks on the way!

HDR Photo

One of the many fine eBooks over at FlatBooks.com. This one is from the great photographer, Joseph Linaschke.

We have all kinds of new eBooks coming soon to Flatbooks.com! There are many authors working away now including Lisa Bettany, Ben Willmore, Jack Hollingsworth, and Jaime Ibarra – I can’t wait till they are available to read!

Daily Photo – New York, Yellow Cab

Here is one of my favorite areas of New York. It’s right by the famous Flatiron building — but I obviously did not shoot in that direction here.

There’s often a nice traffic flow, and it makes for a fun experiment to time out the traffic. Since I shoot from -2 to +2., I try to predict when the middle exposure will in the right spot to get the right amount of blur on that photo. My rules for this are a little different based on the time of day and a few other factors.

New York, Yellow CabHere is one of my favorite areas of New York. It's right by the famous Flatiron building -- but I obviously did not shoot in that direction here.There's often a nice traffic flow, and it makes for a fun experiment to time out the traffic. Since I shoot from -2 to +2., I try to predict when the middle exposure will in the right spot to get the right amount of blur on that photo. My rules for this are a little different based on the time of day and a few other factors.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Action of New York City

Reworking old photos

Today’s photo is not a reworked older one, btw… but I was wondering if you sometimes do that. Will you go back and re-do an old photo?

Daily Photo – The Action of New York City

I just finished working on this photo. It was a difficult one, but it was a lot of fun. Shots in Manhattan are often filled with all kinds of complex activity, and Times Square amps that all up to the next order of magnitude.

The weather was perfect this day, and I know that isn’t always the case. Since everything was more or less idyllic, I decided to make the most of it and see how many compositions I could squeeze into the afternoon. The only time I spent waiting around was watching for a few Yellow Cabs to streak by.

The Action of New York CityI just finished working on this photo.  It was a difficult one, but it was a lot of fun.  Shots in Manhattan are often filled with all kinds of complex activity, and Times Square amps that all up to the next order of magnitude.The weather was perfect this day, and I know that isn't always the case.  Since everything was more or less idyllic, I decided to make the most of it and see how many compositions I could squeeze into the afternoon.  The only time I spent waiting around was watching for a few Yellow Cabs to streak by.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Hover Car in the Diamond Age

HDR DVD Spotted in the Wild

Yes, the rumors are true. Several dozen copies of the HDR DVD are out in the wild. I confirm that these are out there… we have given out a few as ‘testers” to make sure they work with many different DVD players and computers. Since this is our first mass-production product, I want to ensure that everything is of the best quality. We’ll be letting newsletter subscribers (Free to sign up) get the first stab at ordering, since I’m a little worried about meeting demand.

Please put your info below.  Thanks!
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Daily Photo – The Hover Car in the Diamond Age

Around the time of the book signing in New York earlier this year, I headed out into the streets for some shooting.  The Diamond District is not too far from Rockefeller Center, and it is a perfect “New Yorky” area at night… especially in the rain.  Between stoplights, I would pop out into the street and grab some frames as quickly as possible.  With five exposures, the last was pretty long at 30 seconds, so it was still a little “exciting” to grab the tripod at the last second and then scurry off the street.

That one car the made it through my tripod-roadblock is interesting, isn’t it?  It appears to be a hover-car of sorts.  I can no longer recall what sort of car it was, but I keep staring at that wonderful apparition.  It’s quite mesmerizing, floating there on the rainy street.

HDR Photo

Tutorial HDR em Português

Tutorial HDR em Português

Do you speak Portuguese? My friend Gisele did a full translation of our HDR Tutorial, which is now mirrored here as the “Tutorial HDR em Português“. I know we have a bunch of fans down in Brazil and Portugal, so I am happy to make this available!

Of course, as always, we have the regular HDR Tutorial, if you want the King James version.

Daily Photo – The Park Through the Sky

Isn’t this park awesome? It is an elevated park that weaves along top of New York City. Hardly anyone knows about it!

Of course, people in New York know about it, and they assume that everyone else should know too. It’s relatively new — I think it only opened a few years ago. It’s called “High Line Park”, and it used to have freight trains that ran up and down it back in the 1930’s. That train service is dead, and they converted the entire thing into a long, meandering park.

Steve Simon (see SteveSimonPhoto.com) took me to this place after we had a fabulous French breakfast. I got in a bit of trouble for using my tripod, so I collapsed my tripod and acted like I was walking away until the security guard did. And then I re-built my decepticon transformer and took this HDR.

HDR Photo

Exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Workshop Sold Out!

The HDR Workshop sold out in less than 24 hours! We increased the price of this one to about $1,450, but we did not want to let too many people in. Apologies there, but the DVD will be considerably cheaper and be available more widely (see below).

One cool story is that we have a repeat student! One of the crazy (and skilled!) HDR students named Elvind (@EivindDovik) that came from Norway to my Austin Workshop will also be attending the one in London. I need to get him a trophy or something! Anyway, we’ll all have a great time, and I really look forward to it.

In case of cancellations, you can get on the alternate list by emailing “sales AT stuckincustoms.com” — the team will get you on the list!

HDR DVD – First sets to newsletter subs

These will be available very soon, but in short supply. It’s our first time doing this, and the process of printing and shipping 6 hours worth of instructional material on 4 DVDs is not easy. Anyway, the newsletter signup below is free, and we’ll send out the DVD alert at a surprise time very soon!

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Daily Photo – Exploring The Met

Many of you know that I like to go spelunking around the world’s museums and root through their impressionist paintings. The Met in New York City is one of my favorites — probably for their collection of Renoirs.

I didn’t get to carry around a tripod with me. So I had to do my best to find other ways to secure myself and my camera around the museum. This room had a few banisters, columns, and the like where I could wedge myself. I looked like an outright fool to get into this particular spot, but this spot needed to be photographed!

HDR Photo

The Megapolis

Portfolio is Growing

I’m still happy with my move to SmugMug several months back. If you decide to try them out, just use “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to save 20%. If you want to know more, see my SmugMug Review here on the site. I have a new bit in there about how it compares to Flickr with pros and cons. I still use Flickr too, and my photos from SmugMug get copied over there, since I intermix with many communities.

Now, daily, I upload a new photo to the Portfolio and it is appended to the end. I need to get in there and re-arrange things a little bit. But, for now, the portfolio goes into a slideshow mode that starts with some of my favorites and then cycles through all of them. You can start the slideshow, if you wish, by clicking the photo below!

Daily Photo – The Megapolis

I was spending the day with various characters including June Arunga, Paul Roussin, and Cali Lewis while hunting around New York City for some interesting shots. I never get tired of shooting there. It’s a bit like the ocean in a way… it changes and cycles with the light and the motion. I find myself circling back to the same bits again and again to see how things have changed.

I don’t know why I happened to be posting this one so close to the Petaluma puddle shot from a few days ago… I suppose it is just somewhat of a coincidence! The hardest bit about these shots is getting my head so close to the ground. It’s impossibly awkward, and I’m sure I look like quite the loon, splayed out across the pavement of Times Square!

Approaching Grand Central Station in the Rain

My Sprint 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot is Pretty Crappy

So, I was going to either get the Verizon MiFi or this Sprint 4G Mobile Hotspot thing… I needed a fast mobile connection that I could use on the road instead of depending on coffee shops or hotel rooms. I could not decide which one to get, and in the end, I opted for the Sprint one because I thought the 3G would be equal to the MiFi but the 4G would be better where I had coverage. What I’ve learned (briefly):

  • The 4G is better if the area has 4G.  Austin does, so that is nice.
  • I’ve since traveled to Plano, Dallas, and Orlando, none of which could pick up a 4G signal
  • So, instead it connects at 3G – it is glacially slow!
    • It says “3G”, but I think it is lying… because it seems 10x slower than my iPhone alone
    • I have run it on Speedtest.net many times.  Half the time, it is to slow to even load the site, much less measure it!  When it does run, it shows about 0.09 mb/s.  I might as well be on Prodigy
    • Don’t believe anything can be that slow?  See this Speed Screenshot from Speedtest.net!
    • Before, I had used Cali Lewis’ MiFi and it was very fast – must faster than this Sprint black hole of bandwidth
  • It gets very hot.  Very very hot.
  • The battery only lasts about 2 hours.  That is pretty lame, really.  Even when you have it plugged in via USB, it appears to drain faster than it charges.
  • When I use it for a few hours, the Internet stops working…  It requires a reboot of the device.  This has happened to me 4 times now.

Photo-Posting While Travelling Tip

As you know, I put up a new photo every day here on the blog. This is hard both from a processing standpoint, since these can take anywhere from 20 mins to several hours to produce. It’s also hard logistically because I’ve got to get everything uploaded and into its place before posting!

So, I’ve taken to uploading 10-20 photos to SmugMug (see my SmugMug Review) at a time before a trip. I go in an “Hide” the photos. That way, I can just go online and “Unhide” them when I get ready to make the daily post. This seems to be a good solution.

Daily Photo – Approaching Grand Central Station in the Rain

Rainy nights in cities pose a tough problem. Really, in many ways, you have to fight against every natural human instinct to go out into the rain on purpose. It’s so easy just to want to stay inside, make a hot cocoa (or, a think Aztec Drinking Chocolate in my case), watch a movie, be all cozy, etc etc. But the little photographer inside of you also knows how interesting things are out there!

So, I tend to compromise, and force myself to go outside half the time and stay inside half the time. This occasion in New York City was obviously one of the times I went out in the rain.

You can see I am approaching Grand Central Station — and that is the famous Chrysler Building in the background. This was shot with the Nikon 14-24 Lens (See my Nikon 14-24 Review). It’s an expensive lens, so if you are looking for something cheaper that also takes great wide-angle shots, check out the Sigma 10-20mm (Review coming some day when I mysteriously get more time).

HDR-Photo

New Behind-The-Scenes Video and Manhattan Living

Behind-the-Scenes in New Zealand

I recently edited together and posted this scene from the south island of NZ, when I was out in this beautiful meadow at sunset. I was using a 70-200mm lens, so I used this to add to my Nikon 70-200 Review.

If you’d also like to see the resulting photo, check out the Video on the Valley of Abundance page.

Daily Photo – Manhattan Living

When I was in New York City, I had the good fortune to spend time with Steve Simon. We had breakfast at this great little French place and then went around to do a bit of shooting. We stopped at his place and went up to the roof. Peering over the side, I saw this and thought it was kinda nice… so I grabbed a quick one.

Be sure to visit Steve’s site on the link above. He has amazing work and I am sure you will get a kick out of it!

The Amazing FAO Schwarz

Shopping in 2010?

Speaking of today’s image, I’ve noticed I have really changed the way I shop!

Now, this doesn’t happen in all shopping situations, but it is happening more and more every month.

On my Trey’s App List, I mention something called RedLaser. When I was in the toy store below, I basically walked around with my iPhone, found cool stuff, scanned in the UPC with RedLaser, chose the best price, and had it sent to my home. Most often, Amazon had the best price. In some ways, this could become the future of retail stores — they become showrooms.

It reminded me a bit of a later trip to B&H Photo. They have an amazingly cool system there where you find the stuff you want on the show floor, and then the boxes are sent to the front from an underground warehouse across a robotic series of conveyor belts overhead. While you shop, the boxes whiz above your head with a gentle buzz… it’s all very cool.

And so, I picture this same sort of thing as I shop in other stores using RedLaser. I imagine the box sliding all around the UPS/Fed-ex World, slowly weaving its way to my home.

Newsletter in next 48 Hours!

At some magical point in the next two days, the Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever will arrive in your email.  You will see how it took a small eternity to put together.

In exchange, I have one simple request.  If you find it pretty, forward to your mom, your kids, or your best friends.  Life is too short for ugly emails.  Besides, you know how everyone else forwards you ugly junk?  Do them a favor and up the ante a little!

Daily Photo – The Amazing FAO Schwarz

While I was in New York City for the big book party, we took some time out for shopping! This is the famous FAO Schwarz, which holds a special place in the hearts of many people. I’m sure at one point, you could call it the greatest toy store in the world. I’m sure other places hold that title now. In fact, I think I heard about FAO going bankrupt or something a few years back? I can’t remember… but, either way, the store was still alive and hopping while we were there!

I figured this is most certainly the kind of place you cannot use a tripod, which made me determined to use a tripod. I quickly set up on the second floor after surveying the whole store for about 30 minutes, looking for the most interesting vantage. I quickly extended the tripod, fired away, and then retracted back into stealth-mode.

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