Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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Where the Sky is Torn Asunder

This Week in Photography show log available

If you wanted some of the links or to find out more about the other photographers on the show, visit the TWIP Log. Also if you found the show enjoyable, please be sure to leave them a comment. I’m sure they would enjoy hearing your feedback!

International Book Pre-Orders Available

In case you missed it, now you can pre-order the book now internationally on the HDR book page. We can’t hit every country yet, but maybe soon! We should note that international pre-orders cannot get the signed copy or the one with the Limited Edition Numbered Series print. My apologies for that… you will have to find a friend in the states if you simply must have one!

Daily Photo – Where the Sky is Torn Asunder (deep southern Andes, not far from Ushuaia)

The morning sun sprayed orange across the top of Fitz Roy, and I could feel those sharp tips slicing into the cold sky. It was really an unbelievable experience being there at the perfect time; I feel very lucky indeed.

Where the Sky is Torn Asunder

Golfing after Dark

Coming up soon

We have a short video coming up in the next week. It’s another of my bad shaky-cams, capturing some of the behind-the-scenes footage of some photos I took in Yellowstone. The quality isn’t great… but the content is good… well, let us hope!

National Instruments

Thanks to the nice people at National Instruments here in Austin! They invited me up to speak today at lunch. They have a huge photo club there with about 100 people. I gave them the old van-down-by-the-river talk. They asked very good questions and were very nice. I invited them to one of the upcoming book launch events (which you also know about, since you subscribe to the newsletter, right? Right???).

Daily Photo – Golfing After Dark

Horseshoe Bay here in Texas has one of the nicest putting courses in the world. They illuminate it at night with hundreds of lights scattered across the meticulous landscaping. This one is worth a large view! I happened to take it right at that moment in dusk that only lasts about five minutes.

Golfing at Dusk on the Lighted Course

Crossing the Bridge into Old Lyon and the HDR Workshop Registration Open!

HDR Workshop Registration Open – $999 per person – Edit – SOLD OUT

Edit: The HDR Workshop sold out in 11 minutes. Crazy! First, you guys crashed the server for 45 minutes!!! And then we went live at 12:46 AM. By 12:57, all the slots were gone.

We will have an HDR DVD of the Workshop. I think it’s gonna be really good. To stay on top of that and see when it is first avail, be sure to sign up for our free newsletter!


New York Times Article

Did you guys see the New York Times article online about Stuck In Customs and HDR Photography? Cool! John Tierney wrote a great little piece and asked if publications like the New York Times should consider using HDR Photos. They have an open commenting system over there, so pop in and give them your two cents (the newspapers need it!).

Daily Photo – Crossing the Bridge into Old Lyon

This was a pretty tough shot to get! This was a little pedestrian bridge that crossed from the new part of Lyon, France, into the older part. It swayed and buckled in the breeze. Plus, it was night, so you kind of have to leave the shutter open for a long time. I hate to crank up the ISO, but I had to so everything would stay sharp.

That night I walked around for about five hours deep past midnight. It was just me and my Russian friend… walking around… solving the world’s problems… while he gave me all kinds of hard-ass Russian advice on how to solve my own!

Crossing the Bridge into Old Lyon

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-29 08:37:11
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length13mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

A View from the Ranch in Argentina and Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography

HDR Workshop Update

In less than 24 hours, you can register for the HDR Workshop! At last count, after the announcement a few days ago, we had over 130 responses. There are going to be 12 spots available when registrations open, so you’ll have to be fast! Be sure to check back on the HDR Workshop page just after midnight CST on Friday, November 13th (to be exact, in case you are confused by midnight, the midnight between Thursday and Friday!).

Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography – The technique reveal

I was honored to be invited to guest host TWIP on Monday by Frederick Van. There is a live version of the show where perhaps you saw me in video action! If not, now it is available for audio-download. You can get TWIP Episode 115 here. I had a great time – and I thank Joseph, Ron, and Frederick for humoring me… I think I could talk to those guys all day and geek out on photography!

I revealed that video technique which a clever commenter coined “Stuck In Motion“. I put ALL the information there on that link. It should tell you everything, in addition to what you hear on the show. The original video posting gathered over 240 comments, speculation, and more. I think it’s fantastic how people guessed, poked, and prodded. Experimentation is great!

My friend RC Conception chimed into the chat, and I hijacked his question as an opportunity to talk about HDR not being a fad. Hehe… Anyway, you guys should also check out the great RC on Layers TV if you want to learn some new tricks in the Adobe suite of products.

Daily Photo

I’ve always heard about how wonderful it is to have a ranch near the wine country in Argentina. But not until I was down there did I really find that out in person. The idea of walking across a ranch during the nether hours of the day and seeing something like this… well… it kind of makes me want to just go ahead and retire down there. All I need is broadband and these kind of vistas… that’s the life, eh? I hope I was able to adequately capture the majesty of that place with this photo.

A View from the Ranch in Argentina and Guest Hosting on This Week in Photography

5 Great Twitter Contests

The Best of Breed

If you have some more ideas, Tweet me at @TreyRatcliff!

I’ve been asking all my social media pals, photographer-friends, and others about some of the most successful and fun Twitter contests that have been run.  I was sitting down with my publisher at @Peachpit, because we need to Give Away a few copies of “A World in HDR“.  While we thought of a few ideas, I thought we would open it up the Internet to see what we can find!

Frankly, and this might offend some people, I think that straight give-aways are crass and obvious.  I think it can get you followers, but I can argue those are ill-gotten followers.  You may disagree.

I think there are more fun, engaging, and productive ways to run Twitter contests.  So, to that end, I’ve assembled some of the best below.  If you have MORE, drop me a note in the comments, and I’ll do a redux soon! 🙂  Also, please, tell me your favorite contest idea and we can try to do something similar for the new book!  I’ll probably have @Peachpit run the contests, since I don’t want to Tweet about give-aways once an hour on my personal Twitter account (@TreyRatcliff). Besides, you guys should follow Peachpit anyway, since they are a good company that publishes fantastic books.

1)  The Michelle

  • So named, because it is the idea of Michelle Greer, a clever Twitter user and social media smarty-pants at Rackspace.
  • We pick a non-photography related blogger who frequently uses pictures in their posts to act as a judge (who’s interested??)
  • Judge announces a theme for the day (Landscape, architecture, etc) and announces via Twitter.  We’ll get that Retweeted widely and repeatedly.
  • Contestant picks a photo that fits the theme, “Hey @TreyRatcliff and @Peachpit, this #hdr is inspiring (link).”  Note this does not have to be MY photo…it can be yours, or anyone’s!
  • Judge picks the winner and uses it on their blog with attribution.  Winner gets a the prize!

Why I like this idea:

  • People get to find and share great art online
  • People get to discover new photographers and new sites that feature them
  • I’m a big fan of Creative Commons (all my work is CC, no Commercial Use allowed without contacting us first).  I think bloggers out there should know about all the beautiful photos from photographers that are available.  And photographers who believe in creative commons LOVE to be featured on blogs.
  • Everyone likes eye-candy on Twitter!

2)  The Trivial

  • Thanks to Eugene, a frequent guest on this site!
  • Send people on a scavenger hunt through a particular website to find something hidden
    • For example, we could ask, “How many nights in a row was Trey forced to eat borscht cooked by three Russian women in Argentina?”
  • The contest judge accepts tweets with real, creative, or funny answers.
  • The winner is selected randomly amongst those that got the right answer in 24 hours.

Why I like this idea

  • It’s fun and game-like
  • People get even more engaged in a website and might find some hidden gems
  • You have 24 hours to play, and you don’t have to be “quick on the draw”

3)  The Macleod

  • A frequent guest of the site, Barbara Youngleson, brought this one up.  Thanks Barbara!
  • This idea appears to have come from Hugh Macleod, the clever cartoonist and consummate cooligan
  • It works like this (more or less):
    • Purchase a book by any means, and send the PO over Twitter
    • A limited number of winners are chosen
    • Receive a second book, signed, for free.  Give one to a friend!

Why I like it:

  • It is non-pushy
  • It rewards people that are real-enough fans to buy the book in the first place!  Hehe.
  • Hugh did it, so it must have some coefficient of cool

4)  The Threadless

  • This idea is being successfully executed at Threadless.com
  • If you see a Tweet you like, you can submit it to the contest
  • It is then voted on by the Threadless community
  • The best Tweets end up on T-Shirts and the Tweet author gets sweet cash.

Why I like it:

  • It’s incredibly fun and engaging.
  • It’s super-viral.  I found out about it because someone nominated one of my Tweets: “If I get another dog, I shall name him ‘ROFL’.”
  • Threadless is cool, and it is fun to be associated with a cool brand.

5)  The Moonfruit

  • Moonfruit (a website buildin’ company) ran a good promotion where you can use the hashtag #moonfruit in any kind of Tweet
  • They selected a random person every day and gave away a MacBook Pro
  • It resulted in the #moonfruit hashtag being a trending topic and gaining over 30,000 followers

Why I like it:

  • It was very easy to enter
  • It was viral because you wonder why your friends are all talking about Moonfruit!

Today’s Photo – The Bar at Dosa in San Francisco

The photo today was taken at an awesome Indian restaurant in San Francisco called “Dosa”.  The manager was nice enough to allow me to move around and take a few photos after dinner.  I was dining with the marketing and PR team from Peachpit (@Peachpit), who is publishing the book.  Taking roll-call, we had Scott Cowlin (@ScottPeachpit), Sara Jane Todd (@SaraJaneTodd), and Laura Pexton (@Laura7).  We sat around all night talking about having some fun Twitter contests for people to give away books… so here we are, and you get to vote on your favorites!

5 Great Twitter Contests

Exploring Kyoto at night

Twitter and Facebook Contests!

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some of the best and most successful Twitter and Facebook contests I have seen. We are going to be having the good people at @Peachpit run a few contest to give away copies of the book after release! I’d like you guys and gals to pick your favorites. So please, if you have more suggestions, let me know. I’ve got a great list already, so let’s keep ’em comin! Note that I don’t want to do just boring, obvious contests. I’d like them to be fun, different, and engaging. Know what I mean? So, if you’ve seen some that are successful, please pass them along!

Today’s Photo

I think I could stay in Kyoto for a few years and go out taking photos every day and night! What a picturesque place… I feel like someone designed it a thousand years ago just for HDR! Now, I think this is a pretty darned good example of HDR. When you are there, you do see all these colors and light levels. Absolutely! Thank goodness for the sweet lady HDR and all her little tricks.

Exploring Kyoto at Night

Join Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva!

Kiva and Stuck In Customs

Today, I am announcing that a percentage of all book profits for “A World in HDR” will go to Kiva. I have written a little bit about Kiva on the Charity page here on the site. Also, I made this little video to tell you what the heck Kiva is. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s probably not what you expect!

To get started, come join Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva and let me know your experiences! You can either put it here or on the Charity page.

I’d like to thank Sloane, who runs the Causemopolotan.com blog, who I met through Michelle Greer, who runs MichellesBlog.net (that links to a recent article she wrote after getting some notions from my reading list! – cool!)

Live Interview Today, Nov 9, on TWIP (This Week in Photography)

Watch LIVE HERE!

At 11 AM PST (1 PM CST), tune in live to the video at Leo Laporte’s TWIT cottage here on live.twit.tv. I won’t be talking about HDR today… I think that is being saved for a future interview when the book comes out. However, I will be talking about that video method I used to make the “Moments Between” video.

Come tune in Live and send Tweets along the way to @frederickvan! If you miss it, you’ll have to wait for it to be released on Wednesday! Don’t let that happen!

Daily Photo – The River Runs Through the Andes

Our daily photo today comes from deep in the Andes. Getting to this position was not as long a hike as the others around Patagonia, but it was no cakewalk! It was one of those strange river-rock strewn areas where the rocks seemed to be the perfect size for spraining your ankles. I had the tripod extended to act like a walking stick, although it’s not the most handy walking stick with a giant Nikon on one end of it!

The River Runs Through the Andes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-29 12:37:36
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/22.0
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Stuck In Motion, the next video, listen to the technique live on This Week in Photography

Announcement – Join us Live!

EDIT: It has been revealed… you can see everything on the “Stuck In Motion” page here on the site. Enjoy!

I’ll be live on This Week in Photography tomorrow (Monday) at 11 AM PST (1 PM CST). Frederick Van used his powers of persuasion and is getting me to reveal the whole method there on the show.

You can tune in and watch the live video on live.twit.tv. After this live show, it will be turned into the weekly podcast that will go out on Wednesday. I’ll link there too when it is ready, if I remember. (remind me, I’m getting old).

What? You don’t listen to TWIP? It’s a great weekly podcast. I recommend it! But, this time, be sure to watch it live, or else you’ll have to wait until Wednesday for the how-to!

Be sure to also follow Fred on twitter.com/frederickvan. Tweet him – he’s nice!

The First Video of The Moments Between

This got a great response – I was so surprised! Thanks for all the comments and name suggestions. People (and me) seemed to like the name “Stuck In Motion”.  It works good enough I think!

I really like how many people guessed, experimented, and tried to do it. I talk a lot about that in the book — how important experimentation is in the photographic process. I hope that those that experimented figured out some new things!

New Video – The Moments Between. Episode 2: The Kids

A great way to use this technique is to capture your family in a new way. Now, if you are like me, then you don’t get much of a kick out of seeing OPK (other people’s kids!), but, imagine this with your own family or those close to you. Let me talk a little here about the way memory works, at least, to me!

We live life a certain speed. We are only immediately, consciously aware of about 30 frames per second. However, our brain does not record and react at 30 frames per second. It can do a lot more than that.

Our brains record memories like tiny fantastic movie reels, networked together by feelings, associations, and experience. As a photographer, I always have to remind myself that the brain does not store memories like a computer stores JPGs. We DO NOT take millions of snapshots and file them away. Nor do we take hour-long TiVo recordings of the day and store them for later retrieval. The truth is somewhere in between — fleeting thoughts of moments that grabbed you and will never leave.

We do certainly sense the world at greater than 30 frames per second. You know by experience that you can pick up on the micro-emotions that appear on people’s faces when you talk to them in person. You lose a lot of that over TV or Webcams. Those means can suffice, but, given the choice, in person is always better. Case in point, I’d wager to say some of your deepest memories were experienced in person rather than on TV or over a webcam, which take an arbitrary 30 (or 24) slices of time.

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