The ROT Biker Rally of Texas

Every year we get thousands of bikers that descend on Austin for a few days during the big ROT Biker Rally.

They cruise up and down 6th Street and close fill the streets with incredible bikes and works of art. It’s an amazing place for photography, so I was able to take a break this evening and go down and shoot for a few hours.

I remember when I was growing up that bikers where just about the scariest people on earth. But now, everyone I have met seems to be much nicer and more affable than the average joe. They love having pictures taken of their bikes and generally seem to love life. That’s cool.

The ROT Biker Rally in Austin (by Stuck in Customs)

Green Fins in Austin

See how cool American cars used to be? And then they started getting designed by committees and focus groups and marketing experts… Did anyone see that Simpsons episode with Poochie the dog? I think about that episode a lot whenever I see a boring product flounder its way onto the scene.

Anyway, none of that has anything to do with anything… other than just as a talking point when looking back at old American cars and how much personality they used to have. This was shot at a classic car show here in Austin, which is always a great place to take the tripod for some HDR goodness…

Green Fins in Austin

Hanging out with Altus in Austin

Today Altus, my good friend from Japan, came into Austin with his family. They crashed at my place and it gave us a chance to go out and do some shooting… I feel lucky to be able to go out and shoot with another great HDR photographer! I can add him to the collection! Here are some other greats I have shot with… and I’ll be sure to add Altus to the list soon.

After we went to a secret spot, we ended up at The Oasis on Lake Travis. Here is a shot of Altus leaning over one of the decks to get a shot using his famous fisheye. And here is one of his shots of his hometown of Tokyo.

Altus in Austin

It’s Summertime for Little Girls, and are the new ads too annoying for ya?

I don’t think I realized a big difference in clothes and seasons for little girls until I had one of my own. Every single outfit choice is as dramatic as the final night of American Idol. The histrionics that ensue is the selection of shoes could be stage play of epic proportions. But, once the outfit is complete, then it’s time for summer.

Now, some of you may notice (and have noticed) that I am experimenting with new ads on the site. I will leave them up for 24 more hours and see what your feedback is like. If you find them very annoying, I’ll take them down. Feel free to give me frank comments down here below. The site gets between 300K and 350K visitors per month, and the only ad hitherto has been the banner on the right for B&H Photo, who sponsor the site. So, anyway, I value your regular readership, and I have no wish to annoy you! Lemme know… thanks!

It's Summertime for Little Girls (by Stuck in Customs)

The Place in Texas Where They Found the 17 Bodies

Now this is a proper Texas ghost town!

It was always one of those things that fascinated me as a child. Pretty much anything with the name “ghost” in it was cool back then, including my “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. I remember there was one called “Deadwood” or something like that, which always had a creepy ghost town feel to it.

Anyway, this is a strange abandoned town outside of Brenham, Texas (Home of Blue Bell Ice Cream!). And no, 17 Bodies were not found here… just being a bit dramatic. Or maybe there WERE 17 bodies here but the authorities are just covering it up. It’s all true. I heard Alex Jones say it.

Last, I have updated my Nikon 14-24 Review and my Nikon 24-70 Review with new photos and the like. I know that only about half of our audience is photographers, but some people are looking to get into it more seriously, so maybe those will be helpful to you!

The Place in Texas Where They Found the 17 Bodies (by Stuck in Customs)

Houston at Dusk

I’ve had (the pleasure) to go to Houston a few (too many) times this year.  I always end up staying downtown, which affords me some good opportunities to take photos at dusk.  Usually I am busy (being drained) and can’t actually get out to shoot at sunset, so whenever I have a chance, I do my best to get a good one.

This was shot from the top of the Magnolia Hotel, which is a very cool place to stay, if you ever make it down thataway.

Houston at Dusk (by Stuck in Customs)

The Deep River in Austin

This spot is about 5 minutes from my house.  Why don’t I go up here every night for sunset?  I don’t know.  I really don’t have a good excuse, because every time I go up there, I come away with something different.

On this night, I walked up there with my son right after the sun dropped below the horizon and we watched the day turn to night together.  One of the planets was brightly lit (Venus?) and appeared right above that cool-lookin tree that sits atop.  People from Austin know the one I’m talkin’ about. :)

The Deep River in Austin (by Stuck in Customs)

A Topaz Adjust Review – and the ’57 Chevy

I’ve found a wonderful new piece of software!

It’s a Photoshop plugin called Topaz Adjust and I’ve written a full Topaz Adjust Review here on the site. People send me software all the time to review, but I only end up reviewing stuff that I actually use. Eric Yang, one of the gurus over at Topaz, also gave me a Topaz Adjust Coupon Code of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” for 10% off to pass along to my readers. I think you will like it as much as I do! I actually recommend the Topaz Bundle (for MAC or PC), but you can read more about why inside the review.

Below is a shot of a ’57 Chevy. I saw it when walking back to the Magnolia Hotel on Friday night after dinner in Dallas. I took a photo of this pretty car under the blue lights of the porte-cochere, went upstairs to my room, downloaded the Topaz Bundle software, made the adjustments, and had the whole thing finished in less than 30 minutes. That quick turnaround speaks to how easy the software is to use. I’ve since used it on a number of other images, including some unpublished ones that are coming soon.

Topaz Adjust Review - and The 57 Chevy (by Stuck in Customs)

The Bizarre Da Vinci Styled Hotel

This was shot in the lobby of The Joule Hotel in Dallas. All the architecture and decor inside is related to energy. I found it by accident while walking down the street on last night after dark with my rig. I saw some interesting lights inside, then peered closer to see a giant gearworks rotating around. I ducked inside for some shots and ended up talking to some very nice people behind the front desk. The hotel itself is filled with all sorts of art, and they gave me a nice little guide so I could work myself around and drink it all in.

There is also this awesome swimming pool ( pic from their website ) with a glass front that juts out over Main street in Dallas. It was under repair, so she said I could not photograph it…. but maybe next time!

Note this photo is not HDR. It uses some new software that I am in the process of reviewing… I hope to get it up soon!

The Bizarre Da Vinci Styled Hotel

Leslie walks across her farm in Texas

I spent that afternoon and evening with Leslie out at her farm and her animals in Brady. She has a bunch of animals that she lightly calls pets. Featured in this menagerie are about 50 goats. I never thought about how a goats head is exactly at crotch level until I walked amongst them.

Leslie has many creative pursuits going on, including but not limited to: acting (see her IMDB (see the IMDB ink here), photography, writing, and a swath of other creative activities that come in handy on a farm in a pinch.

Leslie Walks Across Her Farm

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