The Rapture

Live on Leo Laporte’s SXSW Broadcast!

The night started out over at the Austin American Statesman Social Media Awards. I was a winner and got a cool little trophy – you can see it in the video below! While there, I met a bunch of interesting people… I’m always impressed at what a hub of social media Austin has become.

I was between parties and walking down the 6th street when along came Leo Laporte and his huge entourage.  Leo has a big battery pack on his back, a camera, and a light.  He carries around the contraption and broadcasts everything live to thousands of people on

To get a good view of his setup, AND to see how HUGE SXSW is here in Austin, see this amazing video of Leo crowd-surfing at the Diggnation event! He was live streaming the entire crowdsurfing event to thousands of people all over the world… very cool!

Anyway, I was walking down the street – and I said, “Hi Leo!”.  He didn’t know who I was at first, but then, after talking to me for a bit, he remembered.  I told him that I was, indeed, quite forgettable, and I certainly took no offense.

The group was Leo, Robert Scoble, Jeff Jarvis, Dane Golden, and a whole bunch of other people, including a small contingent from Rackspace. That first picture there on the right is of me, Robert Scoble and Leo Laporte.  Anyway, we geeked out for a few minutes talking about HDR Photography… he mentioned this website, which then caused a crash when the TWIT Army attacked it.  As you can tell, Leo could not have been nicer… a very cool guy.

After our little talk, they started talking a bit about SmugMug and Chris Makaskill — if interested in finding out more, see my “How to Make an Online Photo Album” here on the site.

Weird Things

One of the people I met tonight was Justin Robert Young, who has a show on the TWIT network, and runs a website called “Weird Things” with my friend Andrew Mayne (who Twitter-duced me to Justin). Be sure to check out their website if you’d like to see some cool and unexpected stuff!

Even better, he invited me along and then got me right into the Mashable Party, which had a line halfway around the block!

Daily Photo – The Rapture

The drive to Milford Sound is probably the prettiest in the world.  The landscapes were just outrageous.  It’s a 2-hour drive, but it took me about 5!

Along the way, the clouds and sun were doing some crazy things.  I drove down to the beach to grab this scene, just at the perfect time.

The Homestead

Topaz Adjust 4 is Fun!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Topaz Adjust 4 is now out, and I’m having a lot of fun with it! I took a while today on Twitter to answer questions about HDR and the book. One gentleman asked me about what settings I like the most in Topaz Adjust. I answered with “Photo Pop”, “Dramatic”, and “Portrait Drama”. All of those are quite nice… and great starting points for further adjustments.

Daily Photo – The Homestead

I took my campervan from 90 KPH to 0 as soon as I saw this place on the side of the road! This caused some mild excitement with my two kids that were nestled in their clubhouse above my driver’s seat.  This was a move they came to expect over the coming days.

It seemed just like the kind of place that I needed to shoot. The old house was abandoned and falling apart. So, of course, after I took shots of the outside, I ventured inside to really have a look. I got a ton of photos, and here is the first.

The Tolkienesque Bridge – and the Texas Social Media awards

Statesman Texas Social Media Awards

I was awarded one of the 25 winners without even knowing I was nominated. Cool! Really, it’s thanks to all of you… All I do is try my best to put up an interesting photo every day and share a little bit about the circumstances and the process. I’m glad it resonates!

Be sure to check that list – you are bound to discover a few other people in the Texas landscape that you may find interesting…

The Bridge – Edited with Topaz Adjust 4

I used Topaz Adjust 4 (try it on the Topaz Website) to help add a nice touch to the bridge photo today.  Have you guys noticed much difference between it and the previous Topaz Adjust 3?  I notice the UI is better, and a few other things, but no other big bullet points I can think of.  Adjust 3 was already good enough!  It has caused a few graphics problems for me from time to time, like it doesn’t quite complete processing the image.  Has anyone else noticed that?

Daily Photo – The Tolkienesque Bridge

I normally don’t put two photos from the same city (or even country!) back-to-back in consecutive days, but I decided to award Queenstown this honor. It is very high on my list of cities to move to! I just need to check on a few things like broadband availability and a good spot to plop the family down, and I’ll be in business!

This is from the main park in Queenstown. It was as quaint as could be. The evening light made everything a little bit extra-colorful, and some clever little hobbit-engineer, found it fitting to put this nice little stone bridge across the pond. It is all quite nice, no?


Bad News for Austin Photowalk

I was thinking about planning a mega SXSW photowalk in Austin, but I have decided not to. They take a lot of work to plan out and execute on… I’m afraid I just don’t have the time to make it happen!

I know many of you are coming to Austin for SXSW – maybe I will see you around the streets!

Daily Photo – Mountainstorm

I took an evening drive to Glenorchy, which is about 50 km outside of Queenstown. It’s one of the windiest drives in the world, especially in the middle of a violent storm! The rain stopped for a short time while I went on a short hike to capture the mountains across the lake.

The wind was so intense. After setting up the tripod and setting up the interval timer, I had to shield the whole thing with my body, by leaning into the wind on the more threatening side of the camera. As I was doing this, I was wondering if anyone would really want to be my assistant. it’s not nearly as glamorous as you might think!

Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole and the Party Tree in the Shire

Visit Ian Brodie at HobbitonTours!

Little did I know that one of my newsletter subscribers is also an HDR enthusiast and one of the guys at! How cool! He sent me a nice note before I came, offering to take my family and I on a private tour of the Shire. Anyway, I wanted to make sure to link back to his website, even though he did not ask me for any favors. Also, I should tell you that Ian Brodie made the official guidebook for the Lord of the Rings tour around New Zealand, and it shows where every scene was filmed… kind of a fun way to do a travel guide!

One of the coolest things about this is that the set is currently being rebuilt for the two-part move of The Hobbit! The landscaping crew is already there, moving around trees, shrubs, and they even have the stakes in the ground to rebuild the Green Dragon. I understand that tours of the Hobbiton Movie Set will still go on, even while they are getting ready to film The Hobbit.

Much of the original set has been destroyed from rain and storms and general wear-and-tear, but you can still see where many of the main Shire shots were taken. If you are a fan of Hobbits, then you simply have to go!

Behind-the-scenes Video

Want to see how I made this shot? Here is a behind-the-scenes video of me talking about the shot with Ian.

Daily Photo – Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole and the Party Tree in the Shire

I showed my 8-year-old son all the Lord of the Rings movies prior to our trip to NZ. He then re-watched the first one three times on the car trip… so he was just as excited as I when we arrived.

You might remember Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole and all the scenes with Frodo and Gandalf inside. That is it right there, on the right hand side at the top. The huge tree on the left is the “party tree”, which was the centerpiece for the big party for Bilbo’s birthday. It was the one of the main reasons that Peter Jackson chose this remote farm outside of Matamata on the North Island.

The Remarkable Mood

New Video – What’s in Trey’s Camera Bag?

I put this video on a special Camera Bag page here on the site — and included the link in the recent newsletter that went out a few days ago. It has a few comments on there with model numbers and the like, if you are interested!

Cali Lewis and John P met me for lunch one day in Texas, and John had his handy-dandy video camera. I was just about to leave for a long photo-adventure, and we decided to use the opportunity to document what is in my bag. I know many people are interested in this, so here we go!

Cali can be seen on and is the host of Geekbrief.TV. You can find John P at Thanks again – and I hope you guys enjoy seeing what is on the inside.

I mention some Photography Gadgets there in the video — and if you want more information on any of the things inside, see my “Reviews” area of the website.

Daily Photo – The Remarkable Mood

Oh wow do I love New Zealand!  Every city I have been to is remarkable in its own way, and I was particularly struck by the environs around Queenstown. It’s just an amazing place. I’ve been completely swamped with photo activities, but I stayed up till 4 AM in my “HomeCar” (as my daughter calls it) to process this photo. It’s all a perfectly magical place, as you can plainly see here. This was the beginning of a three-hour sunset drive that went around this same lake… every stop was more moody than the next.

That mountain range? It’s called “The Remarkables”. What a cool name.

First Photo from New Zealand – The Glowing Icy Cave at the Glacier

New Version of Topaz Adjust out today!

Topaz Adjust 4 is out today on the Topaz Website. You may have already seen my Topaz Adjust Review in the recent past, and you’ll be happy to know the new one is a free upgrade if you have the previous one! I got a sneak peak at the new one, and I posted an image below from the slick new interface. If you haven’t already got it, then I recommend it totally. I use it quite a bit to sharpen things up and give images some pop.

Screenie from the new Topaz Adjust 4 – Nice looking interface, eh?

Daily Photo – The Icy Cave at the Franz Josef Glacier

I’ve had an amazing time so far in New Zealand. I’m here for about a month with my family. On a recent evening, my 8-year-old son and I went on a decent hike to the base of the Franz Josef Glacier on towards the west coast of the southern island. Once we got close to it, we could see the icy blue cave where a glacial-white river emerged. Awesome! My son looked at me and said, “Wow. I feel like we just discovered Atlantis!”

In truth, we stayed way too late. This was a good 1.5 km from the car, and it was pretty dark. By the time we got back, it was totally dark except for the moonlight that helped guide us home. I had a flashlight hanging off my camera “just in case”, but, as case would have it, the flashlight fell off into the glacial river!

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