Through the soft roads of Zion

The Team’s in Town!

I’m excited to have at least some of the Stuck in Customs team visiting Queenstown this week! I wish we could get everyone out here. We’re preparing for the workshop this week, which will be absolutely amazing. The weather should be incredible, and we continually get a great group of people that come to these things.

Daily Photo – Through the Soft Roads of Zion

I love the roads in Zion! I know this is a strange thing to say about them, but whenever I see this exact color and texture of roads, they feel so soft and rubbery. Even the way they grip the car feels different. And, naturally, they look so good hyper-colored in the photos!

Through the soft roads of Zion

Through the Soft Roads of Zion

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 19, 2013 at 12:28am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Goats Who Stare at Men

Has anyone seen “Her”?

What did you think about it?

Daily Photo – The Goats Who Stare at Men

I came to this wonderful, alien hillside one evening to take sunset photos. The lines and the clouds and everything lined up, and I thought it would be a perfect evening.

So after I took the photos, I laid back on this slope to take a little nap and wait for the stars. I took off my glasses and kind of set them behind me. I closed my eyes for a bit, and when I opened them up, there was a GOAT STARING DOWN AT ME. I just about levitated off the ground a few inches in shock while the goat clicked away. I flailed around and my glasses went skidding down the hill, glass side down. It was darker than that goat's eye sockets and I couldn't find them for five minutes. I finally found them, and there are still, to this day, a thousand tiny little scratches on them. It drives me nuts… anyway, I got my camera and got the heck out of there.

The Goats Who Stare at Men

The Goats Who Stare at Men

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 19, 2013 at 2:31am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wolf Howling at the Sky

Lighting Decisions

When I process a photo like this, I usually go through a bit of a decision matrix about lighting. Since I’m combining multiple shots, I can choose to have everything equally lit, or go with a full-on silhouette. Such power! Haha… sometimes all the decisions can make you seize up a little bit, which is not a good thing. I try not to get caught up in the decision and just try different things and let it flow. In this case, I went with mostly a silhouette, but I did a bit of lighting in the foreground. I think it adds a nice layer right there in front of you.

Daily Photo – The Wolf Howling at the Sky

The shapes in Monument Valley are right out of all the westerns you watched when you were a kid. So, when I was there for the first time it was a bit surreal. Now, I know many readers here have been there several times and they are experts at this area… but it was all fresh and new to me! As long as there are good clouds, I think it is relatively easy to get a good shot here! Sort of a lay-up, I think! Some photos you have to work really really hard for… and those are fine… but I also like a few of these that make themselves a bit easier.

Monument Valley

The Wolf Howling at the Sky

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 22, 2013 at 12:40pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Utah Summerstorm

Non-Texas Storms

I never get those big scary Texas late summer storms any more. The huge mountains here all around me break up the clouds a bit so they never have a chance to get too crazy. There is all kinds of fast-changing weather here though… cold storms in the morning that open up to 75 degree days in the afternoon. Bright blue sunny mornings that turn into bitter icy evenings… it all happens here!

Daily Photo – Utah Summerstorm

There are many wide-open areas across Utah after you emerge from tight canyons. It changes very quickly, and then it also reminds you how quick the weather can change. Whenever you can see a huge storm in the distance moving this way and that, everything feels a bit surreal. It's not clear if the storm coming your way or not, although, secretly, I think everyone wishes it really is. A big storm is kinda fun, eh? :)

Summerstorm in Utah

Utah Summerstorm

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 19, 2013 at 7:50pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Walking Along the Edge of Utah

Renting RVs

I feel like I’ve accidentally become kind of an expert in renting RVs for photo adventures! I never thought I’d be one of those RV-kinda-guys, and I don’t really see myself like that yet. But I guess I’m moving a bit in that direction. I must admit that it is very very nice to have a ton of space to hold all my camera gear and a fridge full of goodies always at the ready!

Daily Photo – Walking Along the Edge of Utah

Bryce Canyon is an unbelievable place. The drive is a bit daunting to get here, and here is a tiny tip that I hope doesn't kill you upon arrival.

Like most National Parks, there are many places to park and then walk up to a railing for some view spots. But if you just walk around the end a bit, you can get even more amazing shots. Note you don't have to go up to the very edge, and I don't recommend that. I never do that. I usually hang back a little or make sure there is actually a gentle slope or something along these lines. Nothing too scary! But, anyway, don't be afraid to do a little bit of scouting. All the fences make it seem like you're surely gonna die if you don't stay beside them, but that's not true if you're smart and have your head screwed on straight!

Walking Along the Edge of Utah

Walking Along the Edge of Utah

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 20, 2013 at 2:15am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A scene off the side of the Utah roads

Why is Google+ required for The Arcanum

All applications and user accounts for www.TheArcanum.com require Google+ to be tied to the profile for a cornucopia of reasons that make everything better! We have built something totally different — a completely new and human way to learn by building on ancient Master & Apprentice traditions and combining with modern tech.

— Google+ Video Hangouts – You will be spending fun time in private Video Hangout sessions with your 19 fellow Apprentices and your Master when you have your critique sessions. Your one-on-one critique sessions, for example, are automatically saved to YouTube and available to everyone else in The Arcanum.

— Google Glass – Many Masters have Glass, and it is very easy to start live G+ Hangouts with Apprentices so that you can ask questions, live. We also are working on specialized apps inside of Glass that make communication and the AR aspect of the magical academy more fun!

— YouTube Videos – All videos in the Grand Library are stored on YouTube as Unlisted creations from the Masters. You’ll be able to view them all from inside The Arcanum, but you’ll also be able to use your own personal YouTube Playlists to keep track of your favorites and view them easily on any device at any time.

— Google+ Login/profile – Even though you will have a specialized profile within The Arcanum, it’s tied 100% to your Google+ login. We layer other things on top, such as the Leveling System for more. This is both for convenience and so that everyone else on the inside can easily link over to your public Google+ account. As we all know, Google+ is a great way to find new friends and share passions with a wider world.

If you already filled out an application right in the beginning, you can go back now and tie it into your G+ account! You can also update your application with additional info if you wish; this may help Masters learn more about you when they begin their selection process.

We’re working hard on all the tools and preparing for an internal test-run with the Masters. What you see below is the new UI that we are rolling in over the next few weeks. We’re all so excited, and I know you are too! :) Thanks again for your enthusiasm — it is helping to drive us all even harder! :)
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-5WyajNPKE5U/Us7Uwy2IVvI/AAAAAAAIIWk/qlj-ZyLdue0/s800/thearcanum_log_in_v2_bg1.jpg

Daily Photo – A scene off the side of the Utah roads

There is a major amount of driving you can do in Utah! I can’t believe how many miles I actually drove through that state… and there were many many many things to stop and shoot. This might have made everything feel longer. I also was happy to have nice and wide shoulders that gave me plenty of space to pull over and take photos. I always get stressed when I want to pull over to take a photo at any old time, but there is just no place safe. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!

A scene off the side of the Utah roads

A scene off the side of the Utah roads

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 18, 2013 at 11:47am
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Deep into the Desert

Lightroom Presets

If you haven’t popped into the Stuck In Customs Store to see the latest Lightroom Presets, I invite you there. I used them in today’s photo, and I honestly find myself using them all the time. I especially use them on my personal and family photos to add a little special touch. If you already have them, well thanks! I’ve been seeing them pop up in style all over Facebook and Google+ — always fun to see!

Daily Photo – Deep into the Desert

I needed to spend more time here! But I suppose it is a good reason to go back. Arches National Park was nonstop gold! It’s always been on my list, and I never actually made it a point to go here until after I moved out of the US. I really had no excuse for not going while I was there. I guess it just seemed far away or whatever, which seems silly after I went there all the way from New Zealand!

I guess everywhere is far away from somewhere else. That’s something I say when people ask me about living in New Zealand. They say, “Well isn’t that far away?”

Deep into the Desert

Deep into the Desert

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 21, 2013 at 1:48am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Driving Into the Mistylight

Something Special Coming Up?

Yes oh yes! I’m working on something very special for you guys… I want to kind of give a hint as to what it might be, but it would just give it away! It’s actually under construction, kind of hidden away here on the site. If you do happened to find it, don’t tell anyone and enjoy the secret (even though it is still obviously unfinished!).

Daily Photo – Driving Into the Mistylight

What’s better than driving into a scene like this? Naturally, there’s a bit of squinting involved, but I think it is a cool thing when you are a photographer and you can take a photo, and then you actually are able to get in a car and drive right into the scene to see what is there around the corner!

Well, it didn’t turn out that awesome, because right around that corner was a Park Ranger from Zion that told me to turn around and I really should not be there.

Driving Into the Mistylight

Driving Into the Mistylight

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 19, 2013 at 12:29am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Moonset through the Valley

Speaking of the Moon…

I wanted to recommend a movie! Have you seen “Moonrise Kingdom”? If not, I super-duper recommend it… one of my favorite movies over the past few years.

Daily Photo – Moonset over the Valley

I don’t know if I was lucky. Okay, I was lucky.

I happened to be driving down this rather wonderful road in Utah just as the moon was setting. I’m not one of those mega hardcore photo-nerds that knows every moonset and the status of the moon… I kind of wish I was. Or, I wish I had a little helper monkey that would inform me of these things. But, I just occasionally get lucky and have my camera with me. Or, rather, I always have my camera with me, and, like a stopped clock is right twice a day — it’s the same with the full moon and me.

Moonset over the Valley

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 22, 2013 at 12:09am
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length210.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Roads Across Utah

Business Insider Article on Google Glass

They put up a few of my photos in this Business Insider article entitled, “These Astonishing Images Convinced Us That Google Glass Will Change Photography Forever” — enjoy! :)

Daily Photo – Beautiful Roads Across Utah

Is it okay if I post two Utah photos in a row? I hope so! haha… I’ve just been working on a bunch of them lately, and I was so transfixed by the whole experience just recently. It’s nice to re-live it as I edit the photos. Usually I jump around and post photos randomly to suit my ADD nature.

I pulled over to the side of the road here to get a quick photo. Actually, honestly, I drove past this hole in the rock, felt regret and pain, then turned the boat around to get another in position once again! :)

Beautiful Roads Across Utah

Beautiful Roads Across Utah

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 21, 2013 at 7:06pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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