Another Night in Austin

Daily Photo: Another Sunset in Austin

I think many people in Austin know this place!

There is a cliff wall that can be traversed up the side on an easy trail that overlooks the 360 bridge. It’s always a beautiful place to come see the sunset over the Colorado. I walked up here a few nights ago when I had the feeling that a good sunset was coming (it’s in my bones now). There’s also this oddly-shaped tree up there all by its lonesome, and I felt like it should be included too.

Another Sunset in Austin

The Last of the True Texas Dancehalls – The Broken Spoke

The is the famous Broken Spoke in Austin. It’s hosted some of country music’s best and they are widely seen as the “last of the true Texas dancehalls”. I have a friend here in Austin that recommended I run around and shoot some of these places, and try to grab them with a certain style. So this is really the first in an upcoming series that will probably take me many months to finish.

There is also this ancient looking bus out front that I snapped at dusk… I hope to get that processed in the near future too!

Broken Spoke

Welcome to the Ghost Town (and some things that inspire me)

The locals from the nearby settlements don’t like to call it a ghost town, but I hardly know what else to called the damned place.

I have a variety of photos from this eerie locale.  It turns out it was a failed development between Houston and Austin that is slowly crumbling into the ground.  There seemed to be a few Madmaxesque squatters in the distance muttering about, but they seemed kinda scary so I kept my distance.  Maybe it all felt a bit extra eerie because of the inclement weather as night fell.  I put on appropriately moody music on my iPod as I drifted around like a ghost to snap some photos.

I also added a new section here called “Things I’ve Found That Inspire Me“.  If you didn’t think I was weird before, you will after you see this page.  Sorry if some things on there are kinda strange… I don’t know how or where I found all these things, but I collect them like a digital antique shop.  It occurred to me on a whim that you guys might enjoy taking a gander at my bizarre menagerie.

The Town Was Never the Same (by Stuck in Customs)

Time for a little touch up?

Hey everyone knows that models that we see in magazines and the like get a little bit of touch up.  That’s no shocker…

A few days ago I was invited to this exclusive party full of models and photographers.  I was picturing a scene like in that episode of Seinfeld when George Costanza went to that secret party.  Well it was nothing like that.

It started with a little road trip with some photographer friends… and, well… more after the link… but we ended up talking a lot about Portraiture.  I decided to give it a whirl, and so I whipped up a little Portraiture Review for you.  I think it’s great, and I am shocked it took me so long to give it a run.

In the review, you can read more about the process and the software. You can also see the original photo, since people always seem to see the “Before” and “After” of these portrait shots! And, if you like modeling kinda shots, I have them mixed in this set here on Flickr, some of which are the product of my Textures Tutorial.

The PortraiturePortraiture

Beautiful Austin at Sunset

I went downtown on Sunday night to work on some new drawings, and I was pretty sure that the gray clouds would not be conducive to shooting. But then, just as the sun dipped below the horizon, it tore through the city with bright pinks for about 10 minutes. I sped over to the other side of the Colorado River and jumped out for a quick shot. Luckily, I always keep the D3X in my car with me in case of a photo emergency like this.

In other news, I finally did that 25 Things thing that has been bouncing around Facebook. If you don’t have a Facebook account, I copied the 25 Things here to the site…

Beautiful Austin at Sunset (by Stuck in Customs)

Contest Winner Announced, and Isabella chases a baby goat to celebrate!

Hey everyone! The crew over at HDR Max has decided on winners for their photography contest. The winner receives a brand new 15″ MacBook Pro! 2nd and 3rd place get full copies of the software.

  • 1st place – Justin Kern – Hall of the Mountain King
  • 2nd place - Tamara Bauer – Life Is All About Choices
  • 3rd place – John McCormack – Three Brothers

I was not the judge, but I know it was a hard choice because I did get to see all the finalists. Really amazing work out there! You can see the three photos on here on my site with the original post or at the HDR Max site.  The contest is over, but you can still get a free trial.  If you decide to order, use the HDR Max coupon code “Stuckincustoms” to get $20 off.

Also, if Justin, Tamara, and John contact me, I want to make sure it’s okay if I post their pics here on StuckInCustoms.com – thanks!

And to celebrate, I have chosen for today’s photo a fun shot of Isabella chasing a baby goat out near Horseshoe Bay, Texas.

Isabella chases a baby goat (by Stuck in Customs)

The Batmobile

Everyone likes the Batmobile yes? It’s especially cool when you see one on the side of the road in Texas that some comic-book redneck has souped up to be something that is on the edge of street-legal. I jumped out quick to grab a shot before the owner could come out and hit me with some sort of a 2×4, which I only assumed me might be carrying. Actually, you never know… around Austin it’s just as likely to be a doctor or lawyer (assuming one of those two to be an honorable, upstanding profession!

The Batmobile (by Stuck in Customs)

The State Capitol of Texas at Dusk

I went down on Saturday evening to do some shooting around Austin and caught the capitol around sunset. There are all kinds of interesting things about the Texas capitol, like this cool underground Illuminati chamber you can see here, but the one thing that all Texans seem to know is that our capitol is 14 feet taller than the one in D.C. This is a source of pride for Texans, along with the cool and trivial fact that we maintain, in our state constitution, the right to secede from the Union.

The capitol is made out of this pink granite, and it gets a little pinker at night at soon as they turn on the lights, especially against the blue sky.

The State Capitol of Texas at Dusk

The Little Things in Life

This little thing has been a nice distraction for my holidays. This is actually a perfect little fairy that I got for my perfect little daughter who still believes that everything is both real and unreal at the same time. She doesn’t yet realize (or care) about what is possible and impossible. She has this wonderful free-spirit that is delicate and innocent – a soft way of holding my hand with intent as her grip loosens while she falls asleep.

I got her this little winged muse for the holidays – a tiny jewelry box for little things that she likes to use to make herself pretty for me.

Having kids running around is very nice for the artist in me… (uh oh – stream of consciousness warning – but don’t worry I am not a blogger who listens to the same Enya song 37 times in a row) It reminds me that it doesn’t really matter what is real and not real that affects the state of mind… To her fairies and magical forest creatures are real and full of wonder. They affect what she thinks and what she does… Then as adults, we are not supposed to think about that stuff any more because it is for children, but don’t we still fill up our heads with other things that are not real? Not only do we fill our heads up with non-corporeal visions, but most of them aren’t any fun at all! So, I say, why not go ahead and fill up our adult heads with fantastical things that may or may not be real, and have fun with it? I fill my head with things that have a deep truth and a fantastical nature… I suppose you can see some of that bleed out in my photos… and many of these things that are in my head actually come true in unexpected ways. There are elements of my brain that are like Big Fish and The Fall — all of it is there and happening within various levels… I am glad movies like that exist and kids exist… reminding us of what is secretly acceptable.

The Little Things in Life (by Stuck in Customs)

Merry Christmas from the Ratcliffs!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! See my three kids there? They’re so happy you come to the blog and, in so doing, help out the family! I love photography,and I love the family, so I can’t think of a better thing to share with you on Christmas.

And thank you so much for sharing the site with your friends and family. It’s helped us to grow to hundreds of thousands of monthly readers. Some come to just look at photos. Some come to learn more about photography. So whether you’re just browsing around for fun or here to get more goodies, I’m thankful! I hope you have a great holiday.

This is the first photo I ever took with my Nikon D3X. If you want to know more about this style of photography, see my HDR Tutorial (it’s free!). If you want to know more about this camera, I have it listed on my HDR Camera page here on the site.

In this photo are my three kids… See the older Ethan in the picture? He said, “Dad, that looks just like your old camera.” I tousled his hair and told him to just be quiet and pose for the photo and be as neoRockwellian as possible with the rest of my brood.

Have a good holiday week!

Christmas HDR Photo

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