1236 Photos - Dec 20, 2012
Photo: China, the Wild and Remote bits 

I wanted to give away 10 free HDR Tutorial videos to thank everyone for the 10 billion views - how insane - thank YOU so much! Just leave a comment below if you want to win http://goo.gl/Fl8gQz - I'll pick winners in about 24 hours!

For this special day, I wanted to upload this new photo (19,000 pixels across!) that I just captured in the sweet spot in the northern bits of the Guangxi province, just to the south of the Guizhou and Hunan provinces of China. 桂林市 - 广西. I am standing on top of another spire (just like the ones you see!), and it was incredibly difficult, to say the least. Here's the story.

It was a muggy day, the sort where you feel your t-shirt sticking to you before you even realize it. We hired some local guides, who then hired some even more local guides to help show the way to the spire we wanted to ascend. Boy was it grueling! Jagged rocks, thorny bushes, all-fours most of the way. Sometimes the only thing to hold onto was a thorn bush or a glassy-evil-jaded rock. At the top, I looked down to see all kinds of grisly lacerations... but gathered my wits to get this photo!  My bff Tom Anderson was very smart and wore more clothes than me to keep his skin baby-smooth. This photo is a panorama, which I don't normally do, but the Dr. Seuss countryside there is so vast and overpowering, it was kind of the only way to bring it all together.

I think I'll go back here again... if you wanna come along, sign up for our newsletter at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com/news — or if you wanna go on your own, I'll take time to detail everything there including how to contact some local guides so you can find the same spot.  

Anyway, thanks again for all the views and I'm happy you enjoy them so much here and other places on the interwebs... I used to do this back in the day when it was just me and my mom that would look at the photos... she still comes every day — hi mom! And don't worry, I got down safe and I'm putting aloe vera on the wounds just like you taught me! :)Photo: Moonrise Kingdom

Here's a new photo I took a few evenings ago under a bright rising moon.  Maybe you can see the moon-shadow of the cliff on the water there.  I think I want to be here always, a secret beach bathed in starlight.

Today I am driving up to the +SmugMug HQ to give a speech this afternoon. (Don't know what SmugMug is? I have a review at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/smugmug-review/ )  I'll be talking about many stories (traumatic and embarrassing!) from when I was growing up and figuring things out.  I don't think it's open to the public --  +Katherine Cheng is organizing the whole event. And thanks to +Chris MacAskill and +Michael Bonocore for setting up the video so we can share it with everyone soon! :)Photo: The roads of Ancient China at the Witching Hour

This is the ancient city of Lijiang...  a wonderful place I recommend if you want to get away from the more well-known cities in China.Photo: A few days ago in Milford Sound...  This is from a series of New Zealand photos on http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: 特雷 *poof appears* in Weibo! 

中文名就叫特雷,特好记。我真的真的很喜欢中国。它是这样一个令人难以置信的美丽的地方,当我有时间的时候我都会持续来中国,它每次总给我不一样的灵感。 http://weibo.com/3566761121/Photo: A sunset near my home in Queenstown, New ZealandPhoto: The contest & giveaway continues!  Join me this week at the Google HQ in Tokyo for a Tech Talk plus full Photography Tutorial - drop a comment with your vague or extreme interest at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/09/29/join-me-at-the-google-hq-in-tokyo/ !!  We'll be there with +Vic Gundotra +Bradley Horowitz and a whole other bunch of fun people -- Good luck everyone! :)

This photo here is one of my very favorites from Japan...  It's one of my favorite places in the world!Photo: A starry night in NamibiaPhoto: A Second Night in the Fjords (and upcoming PhotoWalks!)

We just spent three days down there on our road trip to Milford Sound. As the water retreated back to the ocean for the end of the day, I had an idea to take this photo...

Don't forget about the upcoming PhotoWalks at Burning Man (where I am headed now) and in Dallas! Here are the links:

BM: https://plus.google.com/events/ckg6gim8l2pklpbsk6tibfqd7po

Dallas: https://plus.google.com/events/c2kfqifemt4gd8u5pou1saqqo94Photo: I was just up in a chopper over these amazing mountains in New Zealand.

Wow... just add a few clouds over these dramatic mountains, and you get an instant painting...

#HolyKawPhoto: 2-Part Charity Update: 1)  $448,000+ raised for Heifer International  2) A new chance for you to help kids via photography and hit another $50,000 !

Thanks everyone for contributing to the event earlier where almost $450,000 was raised!  If you are up for donating to Worldbuilders and Heifer International, hit this page:  http://teamheifer.heifer.org/worldbuilders2012 .  This is the brainchild of +Patrick Rothfuss  who has maybe helped you build worlds as well...

The new option for you is via www.100Cameras.org .  Do you know about this?  I'm working with them because I have a camera app you may know about called 100 Cameras in 1 -- we have well over a million downloads, so I am doing my best to get the word out!  All the money you donate to 100Cameras.org goes to charity, and you get cameras in the hands of children which then magically turns into sweet cash.  Go to http://bit.ly/Ywa28W !  It just started recently, but let's get that thang to $50,000 !  Thanks +Angela Francine Bullock  !Photo: Final Push! Going to Nepal to take photos for charity with the venerable +Patrick Rothfuss !

Update: Almost $400,000 raised so far!  Some people asked if the charity is paying for me to go to Nepal (a fair question!). The answer is No :)  I'm paying my own way and 100% of the money raised goes to Heifer International.

This year, the goal is $500,000 (unlocks the Nepal event!).  Last year, it hit $310,000, but this year we can blast through that!  Your $20 or $120 is quickly multiplied thanks to sweet sweet social media! :)  Donate a Flock o’ Chickens at http://goo.gl/8RXm0 

Now, who is this enigmatic +Patrick Rothfuss ?  I’ve told many of you that upon reading his book “The Name of The Wind” you automatically level up as my friend.  Some of you are level 1, others are level 2.  Some are even level 3.  (But seriously, every week I get dozens of emails from people profusely thanking me for introducing them to that book.  Rothfuss is teaching us all…)

And insofar as Rothfuss is teaching us all, he is the man behind the brilliant Worldbuilders, which is a really fun way to raise money for Heifer International.  By donating, you also have the chance to win incredible prizes, especially if you are a geek.  And, if you’re not a geek, I hope you have a few geeks in your life.  We’re everywhere now, since, finally, geeks rule much of the world.  Anyway, see all the incredible prizes and more on blog’o’Rothfuss at http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2012/11/worldbuilders-2012/ 

There is a bonus charity auction as well, full of all kinds of geeky-goodness! http://tinyurl.com/aw85xbh 

So, when I’m in Nepal with Patrick, we’ll be taking all kinds of photos of the families you’ve affected so you can see what your money has done.  I’ll do hangouts and answer questions and take special requests!  Want to see me milk a yak?

Donate:  http://goo.gl/8RXm0  (btw, I've never been to Nepal, so below is another photo I took that is kind of all mountainy and stuff)Photo: Kiyomizu-dera Treetop Temple

Here's a photo I showed during the presentation today... as well as a few things I said that people seemed to like/retweet:

- "If the establishment is giving you grief for being outside the lines, fuck the establishment and make your own."
- "The use of artifice in your craft is virtuous"
- "Google+ is not a stream; it's all of Google."
- "Don't hire others to be #you . Be yourself on social media. If not you're being disingenuous."
- "When you choose to artificially manipulate light in your photo (with lights before or in post processing) is arbitrary."Photo: Dragons Coming  (And Denver PhotoWalk reminder!)

Here's a new photo I just finished on a long plane ride from New Zealand to the United States (where I entered legally, btw).  I took this photo a few weeks ago in China down in the Guanxi area.

And we're getting closer to the Denver Photowalk!  I am getting a few more details and will put them up on the event page here soon: https://plus.google.com/events/c4ccoc9l4287n8k1fjut1i7prh8Photo: Magic SunsetPhoto: The Secret Underground World of the Goblin-people

How crazy is this place I just found?  It's rather difficult to locate, but I found it thanks to sweet sweet +Stuck On Earth (a free Android/iOS app I made for myself and all of you to help find places like this that are not in travel guides!)

This will be my last post for a while, as I am headed into Burning Man for a week with very limited (or no!) internet!

To find this place, go into the Valley of Fire in Nevada.  As you drive in from the south, you'll see a gravel road off to the left.  Get onto that and head about 150 yards down through a few slight curves.  Park and get out of the road then you'll have a small hike back through some of the huge domed fire-rock structures.  After poking around some of the caves and ducking your head here and there, you'll come to find it... don't give up!  It's totally worth finding!Photo: The World Has Not Ended in New Zealand

I am sitting here where the timezones begin, and even though it is well known that the Mayans hated the Kiwis most, everything is cool.   I'll get more photos up at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com from the Aurora too!Photo: I'm really enjoying Utah - I can't believe how many places there are to see and photograph.  One thing is hard to find though... Internet!  That is why I have been posting so slowly lately! :)

I got to Bryce Canyon last night just as a storm was rolling in...  rolling cloud after rolling thunder and lightning was all around... right after I took these, those big summer-storm raindrops came falling... you know those huge drops - the ones that mean there is about to be something crazy coming down soon!Photo: Photo: The Hills in New Zealand

I just went out to The Hills, which is a beautiful club here between Queenstown and Arrowtown.  After we took some shots, +Tom Anderson and I ran into Sir Michael Hill, the brave knight who built this amazing place...Photo: I'm in Hong Kong right now and here is one of my favorite photos from this amazing city.  I just posted about my friend +Bradley Horowitz  -- he has this rare metal print hanging in his office and I am so honored!  Now -- I am about to remove all prints from sale because we are doing something special.  I'll explain later -- but, within the next few weeks, all prints will be removed for sale from the internet.

Did you know the flight from Auckland, New Zealand to Tokyo, Japan is 11.5 hours?  So crazy!  It looks so close on the map... but man, New Zealand is mega far south... it's like flying to Antarctica !  One might ask if Hong Kong is a shorter route?  The answer would be an isosceles no, but at least this city is amazing to explore!

(going offline for a bit, but will read all comments soon and try to respond - thank you!) :)Photo: The Rocks in Queenstown

It's a very colorful place here... but I felt like a little black and white action! :)  B&W is good for HDR too...  Here's an article I wrote about HDR Black and White at http://photofocus.com/2009/12/22/hdr-its-about-the-light/ -- on +Scott Bourne 's website.Photo: Sun through the mini-sandstorm in the slot canyon

Just about to drive into Burning Man - I stopped through these amazing slot canyons on the way... it's my first time ever in this area... wow - what a place... !

Now about to recharge all my stuff (yes shooting all Sony) so I'm ready to go for yet another week in the desert!

I look forward to seeing some of you at the PhotoWalk soon :)Photo: Every morning the horses run out across the fields... and every evening they run back in towards the stables...Photo: Morning Light... wishing you a happy 2013

I hope we all have a great 2013 together.  Let's do awesome things! :)Photo: The Road to Paradise, NZ

Here's another place that Tom and I went a few days ago.  After you pass Glenorchy, the roads turn to dirt, but then start weaving through some of the most beautiful mountains in the world...Photo: Here is my favorite Christmas photo of my kids... my youngest one is inside the stocking :)

Believe it or not, I found that awesome star in a dumpster in downtown.  My wife was mortified when I brought it home and told her I found it in the trash!  But I think she's finally turned the corner on it...  ! :)Photo: From Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Photo: Photo: Not Impressed by Adobe Creative Cloud's Launch Features for Photographers.  Are you?
--> See full article on my blog at http://goo.gl/XUH66

(pasted below in plain text)

Is this how they user in the cloud era at Adobe?

Today Adobe announced Photoshop CC that is only available to cloud subscribers.

Adobe should not release such lame updates to Photoshop and Lightroom to convince people that the cloud-subscription software is exciting. They should make dramatic improvements – things that photograpehrs can’t live without. Can we live without “Smart Sharpen” and “Intelligent Upsampling” with Photoshop. Err, probably. The Lightroom improvements are equally underwhelming. You know that the updates are lame when one of the top bullet points is “Include video in your slideshows!” How did THAT become one of the top-most-requested features?

It also worries me that Adobe is running out of ideas for their photography-related products. Their “big features” are, at best, incremental improvements. They are certainly not exciting enough to drive millions to subscribe to their cloud subscriptions. Their biggest idea, sadly, seems to be cloud-based subscriptions.

Business model confusion with Adobe

Adobe’s PR and marketing team has a whole list of reasons about why Cloud-based subscription is so awesome for Photoshop. They have a few good points in there, such as it is easy to do incremental updates. But mostly, the reasons are lame and not exciting to amateurs and hobbyists who can’t afford to shell out a ton of money every month.

Here is the confusion: If Cloud-based subscriptions really are so awesome for Photoshop, why do they have a completely different business model for Lightroom? They tell me, well, Lightroom is more for hobbyists and casual people, and Photoshop is more for professionals. I think that sounds kind of ridiculous, don’t you?
What is especially confusing for me is, “How do I explain this to people?” I get a bunch of people that come to this website or to the HDR Tutorial ( http://www.StuckInCustoms.com/hdr-tutorial/ -- New and improved, and free as always, btw!) to get advice on what kind of software to get. We get a lot of new photographers who don’t really own any software. Now I have to give confusing advice: “Well, you really need Photoshop and Lightroom. Photoshop you have to pay every month for, but Lightroom you can just buy once.” People are like, “Whhhhaaat?” Why have two business models for such complementary pieces of software? It’s completely confusing to new people, and moderately confusing to veterans.

Anyway, these are the kind of confusing decisions that come out of committees. I hope they clarify things soon, and I also hope they have a business model that is less punitive to beginners, students, and hobbyists that can’t afford the high price of cloud-based subscriptions. It’s not like Netflix or World of Warcraft with their monthly fees. You pretty much have one kind of customer there. With photography, you have the full span of professionals and studios to ameteurs and hobbyists. In my judgment, it’s too punitive to have One-Pricing-Model to rule them all.

Photo Below:  Sunset in New Zealand before the blizzard! #HolyKaw 

We are expecting a major blizzard coming into Queenstown tonight! We just got back from the grocery store to stock up. I’ve got all my cameras fully charged and ready to go… I’ll try to hit as many places as I can with the fresh snow… chains are ready and all is good to go! Super-excited.

And, speaking of the article above, I can’t think of any of my images that could have been improved if I am using the new features in Adobe’s cloud. Sure, I subscribed to their cloud (Adobe did not gift me one, nor will they probably ever because I am so critical of them), and I am using the latest of everything… but none of these new features have really found their way into my photos yet. Comon Adobe… I know you can do better.   #Adobe   #Photoshop   #LightroomPhoto: Anyone that works at Sina Weibo here? Contact me! :) 张家界  business@stuckincustoms.com 

We're having a huge contest over there today soon to be announced at http://weibo.com/treyratcliff -- I'll go shoot with the winner for the day anywhere in China! It'll be a blast...  I'm really looking forward to it.  You guys should see me speaking Chinese on video.. it is crazy... I am so bad... I'll release something soon and you can laugh at me.

This photo below is from one of my favorite areas of southern China 张家界 ... it was the inspiration behind Pandora in Avatar.  It's hard to believe places like this really exist!Photo: San Francisco, California - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The mysteries of the counter-world...  I love the idea that there is an alternate universe within the one in which we live...

New York City, New York.... Grand Central StationPhoto: Big Google+ event: Sunset Day, All Around the World!!

It's coming up very soon... this should be the craziest hashtag ever!  I won't use it here... BUT, you can see what it is inside the event below.

https://plus.google.com/events/ca52a5tuuhpd310ff1ofo1d17ho - that event was set up by +The Weather Channel 

I'm currently on a plane leaving the Problogger #PBEvent   on the Gold Coast of Australia  the way to Google Zeitgeist in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It should be another amazing event... I am so excited!! :)Photo: Photo: Going to Japan to take photos this week...

I'll start in Tokyo where I'll meet up with +Tom Anderson and then we'll see what happens from there!  I know there is an event at the Google offices in Tokyo on Friday afternoon, and those details are forthcoming.  Anyway, I'm really looking forward to it all...  I have no real plan... just running around to take photos!  I love Japan, the people, the scenery, the food -- the everything!Photo: Dumping My Nikon for Sony - THE CHINA EXPERIMENT

See full article with photos at: http://goo.gl/odY28 

The Sony NEX Experiment in China

I’m going to spend a few weeks in China using only my Sony NEX (see Sony NEX-7 Review at http://goo.gl/5ejEZ ) I’m sidelining the Nikon D800 (see Nikon D800 Review at http://goo.gl/gwtxz ) for the time being. It will be my backup camera in case the Sony breaks down. This is a role-reversal for my cameras! For the last year+, the Sony has been the backup quarterback, but now the coach has made a big decision.


Over a year ago, I wrote a controversial article called DSLRs are a Dying Breed (link: http://goo.gl/oQG4w ). I got a lot of hate for that… but that’s cool.


Whenever you see someone come out and say something sensational like this, you should ask:

Question #1: Is Sony paying you to say this or make this move?
Answer #1: No.
Question #2: Did you get your Sony NEX-7 for free or discount?
Answer #2: No. I paid full price
Question #3: Does Sony pay you to advertise?
Answer #3: No. These Japanese companies don’t seem to care much about social media… I’m sure if I showed them the Google Analytics on this blog and that I have over 10 million followers when you add up Google+, FB, Pinterest, and Twitter that they would just give me a blank-Japanese-stare. They still care more about advertising in old photography magazines that hardly anybody reads any more. I have another article you might enjoy called “Stop Advertising in Magazines” (link: http://goo.gl/C0av4 ) where I did an experiment.

Anyway, if any of the answers were “Yes,” it would not necessarily make what I am saying invalid, but it should make you more suspicious. If you see other photographers in the media make a surprising change, you should ask these questions too.

Maybe if you’ve followed me on www.StuckInCustoms.com for the past 6+ years, you know I’m honest about what I use and say. Nikon doesn’t pay more or have any financial relationship whatsoever, and I’ve always pimped their wares. I’ve always paid full price for all my Nikon equipment. NOW, having said that, maybe things will change in the future… but they could never pay me enough to make me say something I don’t believe already. Life’s too short, you know?

Why am I able to be so honest, independent of sponsorships (and/or the sad lack thereof)? Well, the blog is very profitable and keeps our team of about ten people happily paid and rewarded. It makes money because many nice people like you visit our store and get goodies from the store you just can’t live without!  hehe… but, seriously, I don’t have to scrounge around for business and sponsorship deals so that we can make payroll. I’m very grateful for this… it keeps the website and me independent, and I’m also very glad we have so many happy customers that keep the whole circle of love going. Thank you!


For over a year, my Nikon D800 has been my Main Camera and the Sony NEX-7 has been the backup. They are now swapping places!

I’m just experimenting with this swap two weeks while in China. However, this is a pretty major decision because I don’t go to China too often. If I come back and miss shots because of a bad camera decision, then it’s all my fault. I don’t want to have any photography-regrets! I have enough other regrets in my life… I don’t need to add photography regrets to the list!

Something that honestly drove this decision is that I’m without my 14-24mm Nikon lens. But I’ve been without it now for 6 weeks, and another 4 weeks in the past year because of a fault with the lens that Nikon could never really fix correctly. During that 10+ weeks, I’ve been using the Sony NEX-7 a lot, and I think it can pretty much do everything I need.

Update: Nikon just offered to send me a free loaner 14-24mm lens, but I declined. It’s problematic to ship it to me since I’m on the move, and I’m happy to go forward with my Sony experiment. Also, I’ve been without the 14-24mm for so long, I’ve gotten quite used to a Nikon-less way of life. It’s not so bad.

I’ll include a bunch of photos from NEX-7 so you can see the quality and judge for yourself.

Okay, but, still, what are the main reasons I have made this decision? Here they are:

- The new 10-18mm lens on the Sony NEX-7 is amazing. It’s a cropped sensor at 1.5x, so I’m really getting 15-27mm, which is not that different than the 14-24mm that I am used to. I love landscapes, so just backing up a few more feet is quite easy most of the time.

- The camera is SHARP. Oh god… that mirrorless sensor system is just so sharp… never blurry.
It has all the basic lenses I need (which are not many – a wide angle and a telephoto)

- 24 megapixel — more than enough. Sure, the D800 has 36 megapixel, but, that doesn’t translate into many more horizontal pixels… Since I’ve been shooting with the D800, I haven’t been printing any bigger or doing any different licensing deals because of the higher resolution.

- Smaller. The NEX-7 is 5.9x smaller! Let’s just say SIX TIMES SMALLER for the sake of argument. Six Times. 6X. 111x49x38mm for the NEX-7 vs 146x123x82mm for the D800. It takes up hardly any space AND is…

- Lighter – 2.9x lighter (350g vs 1,000g) – I like measuring things in grams… I feel like a drug dealer.

- Faster at shooting 10 fps vs. 4 fps

- Screen that flips around – That is more useful than I ever knew…
I have a Leica lens adapter on my NEX-7 that lets me use amazing Leica lenses, like this sweet f/1.2 that sometimes makes a surprise appearance !


While my Nikon has been in various states of disrepair (my fault, I assure you) I have been left with my Sony NEX-7. Here are some photos that I took. I’m very happy with them! Note that most of these are with the kit lens! Also note that I post-process a lot of my photos unapologetically.

Sample Photos in main article at: http://goo.gl/odY28 


The micro-four-thirds are another very good system. There are also a lot more lenses available for that system rather than Sony’s new E-Mount system. But, I just really like the NEX-7 better than any of the micro-four-thirds cameras right now. Note all of that could change relatively quickly. But, really, the micro-four-thirds cameras are just fine and really cool. There are a lot more manufacturers making cameras and lenses for that system, and I know it has a huge following.


Well that is a good question. I wish I had not asked it. I’m quite scientific and analytical, you know? So I don’t know how I will know if this was truly a good move.

If I could do some sort of quantum experiment, where a parallel-universe-Trey made the opposite decision to use the Nikon D800 instead and happened to visit all the same places — and then I could quantum-combine the results and compare the photos from A and B — well that would be a good experiment, but I won’t do that. Well, I would, but I can’t think of a way to bring together multiple universes at the moment.

Another way would be if I took both cameras for two weeks and took the same photos of the same things. But that is overkill. I’m pretty Type-A go-getter, but I’m still kinda lazy. I’m not gonna do all that mess.

Here’s the thing, I’ll come back from two weeks in China with a ton of photos from the NEX-7, and either I’ll be happy with them or I won’t. If I come away with a lot of winners, then I’ll consider the whole thing a nice success! If I’m happy, then it will be a successful experiment. It’s quite a holistic analysis, and I am at zen peace with this.


Subscribe to my YouTube Channel ( http://www.youtube.com/user/stuckincustoms ) to see my videos that I’ll post while using this camera in China. BTW, thanks for the 2.4 million views on the channel! I’ll upload videos there. Even though China blocks a lot of Google and YouTube, I have a VPN so I’m gonna be sweet-sliding around the Great Firewall of China.   #HolyKawPhoto: The Lupins in Tepako, New Zealand - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Sometimes After Feeding

She looks at me and I know what she is thinking. Other times, I have no idea, but I think that is kind of awesome. A secret wildness, quantum-inscrutable to my mind. There’s another thing happening in there, and it is awesome, Some-Awe!  Or a lot of awe. Maybe Lotawe should be a word that is effectively double-awesome. Anyway, I felt like I was in the presence of another gentle intelligence. I was very quiet and didn’t talk or joke much with my mates whilst watching. I’m sure my friends thought I was kind of lame… but I was in another state. I felt a lot of the energy was at peace with the bits I could not quite understand. Understanding isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all.

[I saw this just a few hours ago here in Botswana.  Now I'm in a much different place and part of the country... close to the capital, waiting outside the embassy trying to get my passport fixed up so I can make it into South Africa to join the rest of my crew!]Photo: Yellowstone On Fire

I thought I would upload a digital painting I made.  I do this sort of thing quite a bit, but don't really share it much.  If you want to see more details, see http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2010/06/11/my-first-released-painting-yellowstone-on-fire/Photo: Above Tokyo - See you at today's free event!  I'm looking forward to it! :)

From +Google Japan  : 皆さん、おはようございます。

イベントのお知らせです。4 月 12 日(金)に、フォトグラファーの+Trey Ratcliff さんによる Tech Talk (プレゼンテーション)と交流会を Google 東京オフィスで開催します。

美しい写真で 470万人以上のフォロワーから注目を集める Trey さんと、Google+ を楽しむフォトグラファーの方々と交流できる機会です。参加をご希望の方は、以下のフォームにて必要事項をご記入ください。

Tech Talk (Trey 氏によるプレゼン) : 16:00 - 17:00pm
交流会 : 17:00 - 19:00pm *17 時 ~ 18 時の間にご入館ください

会場: 六本木ヒルズ森タワー グーグル株式会社

プレゼンと交流会両方にご参加の方は、「I'm attending the Tech Talk AND the Networking Event」にチェック、プレゼンのみの場合は「Tech Talk only」、交流会のみの場合は「Networking Event only」にチェックをいれてください。Photo: Tree on Fire

And I'll be seeing you tonight live on video to discuss "Business & Marketing for Photographers!" with some great guests.  You may not want my advice.  I'll just go ahead and tell you know... don't do it for the money... just for the art and the love... BUT, the guests tonight will have some more practical advice for you if you choose to ignore mine.  That's cool.  Check the event here for the guests and your local live broadcast time!  https://plus.google.com/events/c647hgj11keapdsnva92m5d6uaoPhoto: Exploring the a street near Tianamen Square, Beijing

I was looking for a place to stop for dinner with +Tom Anderson and +Priscilla Dorresteijn and her boyfriend.  We walked up and down this street several times, just taking our time and taking lots of photos.  We actually had to hurry it up because restaurants close pretty early around here!Photo: Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

I'm here at Lake Tekapo this evening... so happy to be home in New Zealand!

And yes, the water is really that color... it all flows from a nearby glacier...   #HolyKawPhoto: Taken a few minutes ago... Moonlight over Milford Sound

Just got back to the Milford Sound lodge... processing photos with Tom...  the rain stopped a few hours ago and the moon came out to peek between to clouds in the fjord.   (now to sleep to wake up at 5:40 AM for sunrise shots!) :)Photo: Happy Birthday Google+!

Yesterday after I went to go see my optometrist (maybe you saw the video I posted), I went down to the lake in Wanaka to enjoy the sunset.  I was listening to music and watching this most unusual tree that just grows right out  of the lake!  It was very zen... listening to music and taking photos... a nice evening all together! :)

I'm also excited about the new Google+ features... finally, moving photos around albums... and other new stuff too!  Now I have one less reason to log into the old Picasa site!Photo: Time Lasts Forever in Paris (Making Of)

BTW - Thx to all of you that just signed up_New_ live photography class online "Midnight in Paris" soon at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/midnight-in-paris/ !!

(Making Of)

Oh Paris! Le sigh…

These were not the ideal shooting conditions, as idyllic as the scene might appear. This is all handheld, btw, no tripod, and here’s the rest of the sad tripod story.

To get to this spot, you have to walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. My first few times there, I did not even know you could get to the top! I felt quite dumb when I found out you can walk up about 20,000 stairs to get here.

Once I got up there, I staked out a position with my tripod, and then Frenchy McFrenchface came over and told me I could not use my tripod. I explained that I was an arteeeest, and surely he would in the 19th century no one asked the impressionists to put their easels away. This was a losing argument, although I still think it’s a pretty good one. It will work one day, and I won’t give up this line of persuasion.

So that security guard shut me down, but I felt like there was still an opening. So I asked my friends Matt Knisely and Curtis Simmons to watch my stuff while I went for Persuasion Level 2. He was standing in a little glass wind-proof cage (which I wish I had later when I took this shot!). I motioned for him to open up so he could be subjected to Level 2. I didn’t have my tablet, so I pulled out my phone and started going through my photos. I think this helped to show him I took all of this terribly seriously. Eventually, I talked him into it! He said, sure, no problem, as long as I collapsed the tripod between shots. I was so excited!

I started taking photos, and then 10 minutes later, another security guard came over and told me no. I motioned over at the glass box and said, “But that other Frenchy McFrenchface already told me it was okay!”

The new security guard looked over at the box, then looked back at me and said, “Oh, but you see sir, that guard is now off duty.”

This guy was all business. I could see there was no way to overpower his mind with art and mojo, so I just had to go handheld for the rest of the night. By the time this scene appeared, there was a fierce and very cold wind… the kind of wind that needs hands-in-pockets-between-brackets.

I took 5 exposures from -2 to +2, but the +2 was too blurry, so I just processed the four shots from -2 to +1. The other EXIF stats are ISO 280, 17mm, f/4.  (on a Nikon D800 with 14-24mm lens)Photo: Tree in New Zealand... from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The Majesty of Utah

Here is the view from the middle of Zion National Park -- what a place! I think that many people actually don't come to this place because the name is so weird. I mean, everyone goes to the Grand Canyon because it has a sweet name... I don't know if the name kept me away or what... but maybe if it was called Fantasy Rockfairyland, I would have come earlier!Photo: Driving Through the Valley of Fire at Night

I've left Vegas to begin a week of exploring the desert and canyonlands before yet another week in the desert at Burning Man.  I'm so excited... I've got all my cameras ready (all Sony this time), and loaded for bear.  I was watching +Vic Gundotra last week on his trip through the desert, and I think I'm going to all the same places...  it's my first time through this area of the desert... I never made it out here for some reason when I actually lived in the US!  But, no matter... better late than never. :)

This place is in the middle of the Valley of Fire, which is just about two hours outside of Las Vegas on the way to Utah...Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The amazing observation deck that towers high above Tokyo...Photo: The Streets of Old China at Night

Here's a photo I took a few nights ago after weaving through the night streets and alleys of Beijing.  It was awesome during the day, but the lights were even more magical when night fell...Photo: Don't Miss the Astronaut Hangout with +Ron Garan and the schoolkids!  Have your kids ask questions live ! :)

Here's the event: https://plus.google.com/events/cdvjdpl158qp9pmf2gji24u95cs

This will be so fun! He's beaming in live to Queenstown, New Zealand...  see you later this week!

(as for this image below, it is of the space shuttle wormholing up into a cloud.  It was taken with a 50mm prime.)Photo: Humans Evolve a New Form of Visual Literacy… Through Images
Full article at http://goo.gl/UKyNH 

I believe we’re starting to use images to communicate in a new way with one another. Imagery is a universal language that has no borders and describes truths and stories that all humans can recognize.

Let's start with a thought experiment. Imagine a parallel universe where civilization has developed along slightly different lines.

Think of the moment when mankind first began to record their experiences, using crude imagery to communicate concepts and ideas. Behold, a new invention appears! It is a very early image-making device—a proto-camera of sorts. The invention spreads quickly through the major population centers via traveling tradesmen, and cultures around the world gradually begin to capture images of the world around them.

Inventors continue to improve this device so that most people are able to tell their own stories with pictures and groupings of images. These devices become as plentiful as quill and ink in our own version of this timeline.

No "written word" evolves. There are no letters, no symbology, no Phoenician, no Sumerian or Aramaic or Sanskrit, no Eastern ideograms, and no Roman alphabet we know today. In this parallel universe, no advanced civilization goes through the trouble of using a pen and paper to describe an idea or concept or a story, because it is easier and more efficient for everyone to quickly create images.

There is no Rosetta stone, because there is no difference in how people record information. Images are universal. A picture of a royal birth in Gaul is understood by the people in Mesopotamia. A picture of a cavalry charge of Genghis Kahn across the highlands of Mongolia is easily understood in northern Africa.

And there is a parallel-Shakespeare. He doesn't weave words into gentle forms and delicate sonnets. Instead, he takes image-making in a new direction. He tells stories by putting together a series of images where actors show pain and loss and love and betrayal and death and drama. These are mass-produced and shown to audiences around the world—a new and beautiful way of telling stories. Monks do not sit with ink and pen in candlelit monasteries to re-copy a written symbology to communicate concepts of an ethereal world. Instead, they use other devices to copy and paste a series of images that describe divinity and communicate spiritual notions.

In this world, children do not spend ten years of their lives learning how to convert a concept or idea into a series of alphanumeric symbols. They don’t slave away with paper and pen to create a series of cogent sentences so that others may "read" their thoughts and reverse-engineer them into imagery in their mind. This inefficient "translation" layer is a waste of time for children to learn in their important formational years. Instead, they are taught to use their own picture-making devices to record information and ideas. In this world, there is no "illiteracy" because anyone can understand a simple picture, though advanced concepts may require viewing a series of them.

Pictures are everywhere, and children and grownups alike crave new pictures, new stories. Suddenly, this doesn’t sound like a different dimension any more, does it?

As we’re sliding through the second decade of the new millennium, something new is happening. We all have cameras in our mobile phones and taking a photo of something is far more efficient than typing a sentence about it. Sharing that image online is not only easier - it’s automatic. Your friends and family immediately see the concept or story that you have created.

When there’s a birth in the family, what is better and faster: writing a few paragraphs about the experience, or taking a series of photos from your family to see? Yes, there will be many journalist graduates who shake their quills violently in the air at this idea, but I think the evidence online speaks for itself.

Think about the "streams" that fill our days in web browsers and smartphones. We scroll and scroll and scroll, often skipping past text updates and pausing whenever we get to a photo. Imagery is more immediate, more evocative, and more interesting than text. There is no "translation" necessary. We don't have to use these complex text-to-imagery-brain-translation that we've been perfecting all our lives. Let's just skip that bit and look at the images and video, right?

I think people who take pleasure in and prefer the written word to imagery will be an ever-diminishing percentage, though they'll never disappear. I was raised in an alphanumeric world; I love sitting outside on a cool night under a warm blanket and reading a good book; but I also love taking photos of concepts and ideas that can't be captured in words and sharing them online.

This new visual literacy that we’re adopting is fundamentally changing communication. For hundreds of years, the only people who could mass-communicate ideas were the few people who had the power to purchase a printer’s services for their content—the church, the government, and the wealthy elite, mostly. Now, things are more democratic. Everyone has a printing press in their pocket that can mass-produce images, describe concepts and tell stories. Over time, we will all become better at telling stories through images — about our daughter's ballet recital, a graduation, a new love, a new passion — the things that matter to us.

As our streams become more about imagery than words, all of us will evolve a new sense of visual literacy. It is important to note that imagery is not better or worse than text — it is simply different. Those who have spent decades bathing themselves in words are quite adept at abstracting ideas and concepts into words and sentences. The world of academia is one that is based on this abstraction of concepts into words. A book on philosophy, for example, is almost inconceivable without having one super-abstracted word like "epistemology" to represent a bundled set of concepts. And those of us who were raised in an alphanumeric age begin to grow older, we take great pleasure in learning new words out there like "schadenfreude", a wonderful word that means, "to take pleasure in the misfortune of another."

In our make-believe world of imagery, could these ideas of philosophy and other academia that are bathed in words even be possible? It's hard to say, because we've never given them a chance to flourish. When we teach millions of people to write, they will work together to create a higher concept of thought and academia. Now that billions of people have a camera, we will see what follows. I believe that people will work together to create a new visual literacy that will build upon itself over time. We all know that there are wonderful things in life where words just fall apart. These gentle feelings have been the domain of poets, who use vague "imagery" to illustrate the situation.

Imagery is inherently a more "human" way to communicate. All seven billion people on Earth understand the same visual concepts of what it means to be a human. Not only are there universal facial expressions of emotions, but all cultures are connected through human connection. We all share the idea of joyful children playing without thought. We all feel the serenity of a forest while the autumn leaves color the ground on a warm afternoon. We all share the feeling of time slipping through between our fingers like water cupped from a river.

I believe this is the most exciting time to be alive, and it’s the most exciting time to take photos. Some old-school photographers may be upset that everyone can take photos now, but to keep that power and knowledge in the hands of the few is an old way of thinking akin to the old printing press. Since the advent of the Internet, now everyone has a printing press. Now, literally billions of people have cameras too. Soon, there will be no more value in having a camera — the value is in the human that is holding it.

Billions of people now have a totally new way to communicate, and we will all discover this new visual literacy together. Now, finally, our ideas and thoughts and feelings and stories can effortlessly travel across borders, cultures, and time.Photo: The Temple at Burning ManPhoto: Another day of Google+ Auto Awesome! This time, the streets of Paris in the holiday season.

Actually, I'm trying to figure out exactly how the Auto Awesome with the sparkle works.  I super love it, but I've uploaded some photos that I thought would be unicorn sparkle-riffic, but I didn't get the auto-awesome gift! :(  It reminds me of the years that I was on the naughty list and Santa didn't bring me any gifts...  I wish I could force the sparkle.  Force the sparkle...Photo: Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Old China...  walking through the ancient town...

Thanks again everyone for tuning in tonight.  I'll get the new How-To Video up soon on YouTube.com/stuckincustoms !Photo: Bridge to old Lyon

I like how the black water moves slow and with purpose through the night...Photo: I'm glad everyone is enjoying the new HDR Tutorial ! Here's one of the images I made using the techniques from it! :)  A link to the free video and more: http://www.stuckincustoms.com/complete-hdr-tutorial/Photo: From New Zealand to Casablanca, under the same stars... Want to Join me? :)

I'm now flying to Casablanca after sleeping under these stars about a week ago.  BTW, if you want a chance to join me under these stars in NZ, go to http://goo.gl/eoaQQM where we have an amazing contest in the works!

I took this photo, in case you are wondering, with the Sony A7r and the 24mm Leica f/1.4 all the way at f/1.4.  It was a 20 second exposure at 500 ISO I think...  this is in Tekapo, where I slept out with friends under the stars by the Church of the Good Shepherd, which is also, coincidentally, the name of my grade school in Texas.Photo: Traffic in Shibuya, Tokyo

Here's one of the images I captured in that 15-minute (boring) Google Glass video I posted from Shibuya Station - What is it like to ride the subway to the busiest intersection in the world? ! :)

There are about 30 seconds of vehicular traffic then 30 seconds of crazy foot-traffic!  Here, a biker pauses and waits for his opening...     #Throughglass   #CoolJapan   #100TokyoPhoto: Rainy Sadness

I found the only person in Tokyo without an umbrella...  so sad she was! :(Photo: It's getting close to the autumn again here in New Zealand...Photo: Photo: Less than 24 hours remain for the Big Deal for 2K worth of photography learning for $89 at http://goo.gl/xQ9mUU - then it goes away forever! Below is a photo I took of Paris while filming our Midnight in Paris tutorial that is included in that $2,000 package.

As for this shot, I'll tell you more about it!

These were not the ideal shooting conditions, as idyllic as the scene might appear. This is all handheld, btw, no tripod, and here’s the rest of the sad tripod story.

To get to this spot, you have to walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. My first few times there, I did not even know you could get to the top! I felt quite dumb when I found out you can walk up about 20,000 stairs to get here.

Once I got up there, I staked out a position with my tripod, and then Frenchy McFrenchface came over and told me I could not use my tripod. I explained that I was an arteeeest, and surely he would in the 19th century no one asked the impressionists to put their easels away. This was a losing argument, although I still think it’s a pretty good one. It will work one day, and I won’t give up this line of persuasion.Photo: This little pond with the little dock is about four minutes from my house... I think I should go here more often! :)Photo: In New Zealand...Lake HaweaPhoto: Boats under the garden trees....Photo: Look at this beautiful family of elephants we found by accident while we were tracking a pride of lions last week...  That one has her trunk lifted into the air to smell us!Photo: Since +Tom Anderson and I are playing dueling banjos here (hard Deliverance reference there), I'm posting a photo of the next road we traveled down.  You'll recognize this mountain from the shot he just posted! :)Photo: Path in Glenorchy

Last night we took a very nice walk along this lovely path...  We were on a reconnoissance mission, preparing for the big event that starts tonight!  http://www.stuckincustoms.com/new-zealand-photo-adventure/

We're all currently here in the house preparing for about 25 people to come over to begin the festivities.  +Karen Hutton  is in here with her Vitamix she brought from the US making crazy vegetable smoothies for everyone.  +Scott Kublin is busy processing photos.  +Curtis Simmons is running around making final preparations for the party tonight...  it will be great fun! :)Photo: Video from the making-of this photo — I made this video a few days ago — a bit more behind-the-scenes now up on the blog at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2014/05/13/from-queenstown-to-glenorchy/Photo: Huge Hangout for #SunsetDay  later today!!!

#SunsetDay Photography Hangout, Thursday 9/12 at 1:00 pm PST

We'll be taking your questions live with +Nicole S. Young +Karen Hutton +Thomas Hawk and +The Weather Channel  to talk all about sunset photography!  Come ready with your questions.

Free and open to all.  RSVP and get ready to watch live at  http://wxch.nl/sunsetday

(thx +Nicole S. Young  I stole your tiny URL thangy)

(this photo below is of my homeland of New Zealand at sunset..)Photo: A crazy alien bridge in the wilds where no humans walk...Photo: Photo: A Father's Day Discount now happening in the online store! 20% off everything at http://store.stuckincustoms.com — just use the code THANKSINTERNET — that goes for video tutorials, Lightroom presets, and more!  Enjoy!Photo: Arriving in Bora Bora in the South Pacific late in the night...

I just got to Bora Bora and this is the view from the amazing +Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts here.  I took this from the Sunset Bar, which is quickly becoming my favorite spot! :)Photo: First Sunset in Thailand 

Here's a photo I took last night while walking down the pier near Bang Saray beach in Thailand.  I'm staying here at the amazing Karma Sound Studios and this is just a short walk... I have a feeling where I will be almost every night!Photo: Photo: The Lenticular Clouds

Five minutes from home and a short walk brings me to this spot.  I've been here many times, just me and my iPod, playing music and following the clouds around.  I only discovered it recently.

I spent most of the day working on a new series of how-to videos.  These are going to be really really really cool.

Central Otago Valley, New Zealand.Photo: Saw this little sheepy when driving home today from Paradise (it's a real place!) to Queenstown.

(this was shot with a 70-200mm lens at 2.8, -1EV, ISO 160, 1/500s)Photo: A lonely road at sunset...  on the edge of the badlands in Montana.

I took this one summer night after spending the day digging up dinosaurs with Jack Horner.  That guy is awesome.Photo: Coming to you live from here in New Zealand in a few hours -- the weekly show is starting!  https://plus.google.com/events/cmjol53j23g9ejeulo0j3lieo7c 

We'll have on +Steven Levy from Wired, +Thomas Hawk, +Nicole S. Young, +Gino Barasa and maybe more! :)  See you soon... click the link above for details.   #HolyKawPhoto: A strange and faraway place...Photo: Farm along the epic mountains...

I'll see some of you at the other speaking event tonight... on my way... !! :)Photo: The colors across time and space...Photo: Taking a little road trip this direction...  Seems like a good direction to go.

I'm stopping in the middle of the South Island to go for a glider flight in Omarama, then back in my truck to find a place somewhere under that mountain to set up my tent.  And yes, of course I'll have my camera stuff with me... it's the whole purpose of the trip! :)  At night in my little tent, I'll be reading my next PKD book... looking forward to that too. :)Photo: Today on Speargrass Flats Road
Here's a beautiful little road in my neighborhood here between Queenstown and Arrowtown. This is the road I go jogging down and right by my turn-around point. I absolutely love running down this tunnel of trees while listening to music! And to see the amazing colors that are popping out this week - omg!

I think +Vic Gundotra came down this road too with his family on a scavenger hunt, but that day was all foggy and moody — today it looks quite different! :)

#MyBeautifulEarthPhoto: I just climbed one of those ridiculous mountains you saw from the previous photo and I can see a beautiful little town below, under the curving mists that come off the Lijiang river...Photo: Here's Queenstown yesterday afternoon. I went up to the top here with +Cliff Baise (a great Arcanum Master!) while we waited on a sunset... a good sunset never happened, but we still had a good time! The full-rez version is only here on Google+, btw.  If you pop over to Cliff, you can see what this looked like at night.Photo: Pulling the Black Death from the Sky - Namib Desert

BTW, thanks everyone for popping over to enjoy special feature over on the blog this week at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com — 5 New Behind The Scenes Videos! There are new videos from Morocco, Tokyo, China, and New Zealand - Enjoy :)Photo: A Red Dress atop a Sea of Jewels

Well it seems that SOMEONE reported my last photo on Facebook as being Offensive because of the Gratuitous Nudity.  Come'on YOU... just unfollow me if you are offended by a little nipnip...  And how do you know it's not a guy?  Maybe it is... everything Does get a bit confusing out there, after all.  It's still here on G+ at  https://plus.google.com/+TreyRatcliff/posts/Xt8GzUMFpkw 

As for this photo below taken on the final night of the burn, you'll see the dress goes fairly high up the leg, but not quite to the nether-region.  I hope this one shows the right amount of skin so maybe those FB people won't clicky that little "Flag Offensive" button.Photo: Photo: $2,000 Of Photography Education For Just $89!

Grab it here at http://goo.gl/1iDRSY - SUPER limited time! I’ve included a favorite tutorial video from Paris in the package too. It’s called Midnight in Paris and it was an amazing time there… you can see a bunch of my editing tricks.  But if you get the package now, you also get, well, like another $2000 worth of stuff from other amazing photographers too. What a deal jeez!

(I took this photo a few days ago in the wine country of Cape Town, South Africa)Photo: Time expiring! That $2000 deal for $89 thing is close to running out! Click http://goo.gl/PEKDAv - I have one of my favorite video tutorials in there for you from Paris! :)

As for this photo, I took it a few weeks ago in Africa. I slept on the roof with my friend Rene Smith... we set up our cameras to take photos while we slept...  it was so wonderful there!Photo: From one of my final days in Utah... so cool that the Earth can make these shapes.Photo: I love watching waves exploding off rocks in the ocean... man, I just never get tired of it! :)Photo: I wanted to dedicate this new photo to +Vic Gundotra ! I'm so sad he's leaving Google... man o man... :(    Anyway, this is a nice little serene thing that happened yesterday. The colors are changing down here... the Autumn and one thing turns into the next, and this is very nice I think!  Those little dots down there on the left are ducks on their way into the shelter of the trees for the night (and naturally, thanks to sweet sweet Google+ you can zoom in and see the full 7409x4402 pixel version!).  I "googled" the little story about Vic that I wrote back in early 2012 and found it here to share with you:  http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2012/03/04/on-talent-and-curiosity/Photo: We took an amazing overnight camping trip last night. Here's one of the lakes we flew over in the chopper on the way there... and last night it snowed and snowed — new photos coming soon!  Thanks again to the great Choppy at Over The Top helicopters! :)Photo: A photo from this morning from atop Deer Park Heights in Queenstown.Photo: Here's a photo from a previous trip to Montana...  I'm getting ready for a big adventure around here!Photo: Two Trees in Paradise

Here's a photo from a tiny little photo adventure two days ago just past Paradise, New Zealand.  Today I'm headed out to Wanaka to take photos if the Crown Range road does not have too much snow. If it does, then I'll head over to Skipper's Canyon for a few shots!  It's a typical if-then-else kinda shooting day! :)Photo: Spirestorm

When I was in Guilin, China a few weeks ago, I hiked to the top of a mountain.  As soon as I got up there, this massive storm rolled in across the mountains into town... it was dramatic a full of fury!Photo: This Morning with my Bees in Queenstown 
What a great sunrise! This was about 30 minutes ago and I went out with +Curtis Simmons  to take some sunrise photos. See those little boxes there on the left? Those are my bee hives! I was out yesterday getting them ready for winter, since bee winter is coming. I was also happy to see +Jay Patel and +Varina Patel who have blown into town for a big week of fun! +Frederick Van Johnson  lands in a few hours along with several others... it's gonna be an epic week! :)Photo: Here in Sydney for the Google HBO Game of Thrones PhotoWalk!

Very excited to meet you all and have a great day together!  If you want to know more about the event, see: https://plus.google.com/+TreyRatcliff/posts/8Q7APqzcp28Photo: Finally got some internet at Burning Man! Here's one of my favorite new art pieces here. It's called "Embrace" — they are going to burn it tomorrow morning at sunrise. I can't decide if I am gonna wake up early or just stay out all night! I'll figure that out later!

(more pictures coming soon... I needs more internet... also sorry for not responding to emails and stuff - just really off the grid here!)Photo: Love on a Bike

Here's one of the 65,000 people here at Burning Man.  Everyone rides bikes, wears costumes and facemasks, and ride around the desert seeing all kinds of interesting art. It's so surreal here, especially as the sun starts to go down when I took this photo.

I have a lot more photos coming soon... sorry if I overload you with stuff from the event for the next few weeks!Photo: Photo: How do you backup your photos?

Join us TOMORROW night live here on G+ Hangouts to discuss this very subject.  Here is the event:  http://goo.gl/6v2aV  It is Monday at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET.

We'll be talking about the latest and greatest backup solutions... taking live questions, and the like.  There is a great group of people joining me to talk about this... +Clayton Morris +Elena Solomon +John Pozadzides +Scott Kublin +Eric Cheng +Peter Adams +Gino Barasa and also +Dave Veffer.  I'll even move my webcam around so you can see my three different systems I have at work behind my computer... !Photo: Photo: Uploading to Google+, no cropping, 5900+ pixels, no compression!

Hehe -- I guess some people saw me complaining about FB just now... and yes, of course I like sharing my images on G+ more!  They just look better here.

And yes, this was taken with the Sony NEX-7. I'm aiming to get my full analysis done by Friday.  That day, I'm also going on This Week in Photo with +Frederick Van Johnson to talk about it all, so that should be a good time!  Man, I guess I have to get writing...

Here's a little hint as to the direction of it all.  I just bought (paid full price) a Sony NEX-6 as a backup camera.  I know +Doug Kaye also has that camera and also enjoys it quite a bit.  I'll talk about the NEX-6, NEX-7, lenses, etc etc in the upcoming analysis...

As for this photo, this is Jack's Point in Queenstown - I went out with +Eden Brackstone the other night to take some photos. After he decided to wade callously into this crystal clear water and ruin the placid reflection, I had about five minutes to contemplate life while the ripples settled down.Photo: Three boats rest in a lake in one of the royal lake districts of China...Photo: The French Prison -- Live Tutorial during the SXSW Talk

I'll be doing a live photography and post-processing tutorial after the Q&A part of the talk at SXSW soon - see more at http://schedule.sxsw.com/2013/events/event_IAP16031 - I'm working on the presentation now to get it all ready for you! :)

Also, you are welcome to join the free photowalk the next day - see http://goo.gl/x6wtaPhoto: Two Dolphins in Love on Valentine's Day in Milford Sound

While we took the boat out of Milford towards the Tasman Sea, a pod of bottle-nose dolphins came to visit.  They turned and jumped and spiraled in a double helix, twisting endlessly like a playful cyclone.

#QueenstownAdventurePhoto: Just another New Zealand sunset  ...from last night

The final evening of the big event was a few hours ago.  We went on a wonderful walk through about 70 hectares here in the rolling hills between Queenstown and Arrowtown in an area called Bendemeer Estates.  After this, we had an amazing dinner that was catered down at the wool shed by an incredible chef.  Thanks again to A Touch of Spice (concierge service) for helping us to set everything up... it's hard to believe we woke up in Milford Sound for sunrise shots and ended up here for sunset...  just another day in New Zealand!  Thanks again to everyone that came in from all over the world for the event!  We'll get more photos and news up on http://www.stuckincustoms.com/new-zealand-photo-adventure/ Thanks again to +Karen Hutton  +Scott Kublin and +Curtis Simmons for making it such a great success! :)

Want the full-rez 7313x4884 version of this shot?  Grab it at  http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio-The-Best/your-favorites/10668747_nxsXfB#!i=2359740272&k=6NxwkRt  #QueenstownAdventurePhoto: We spent a great morning here between Arrowtown and Queenstown.  Here's a new photo from Bendemeer Estates -- another perfect day of weather! :)Photo: Anyone here Burning-Man-Curious?

I might note that one complaint that I see from people that have never been is that, "It appears to be just a lot of hedonists; an unfortunate decadence of narcissism!"  I will counter that by saying this is a mistaken analysis, although I can understand its origins.  Actually, what is happening here is that you have tens of thousands of people that are perfectly comfortable with their own sense of self-expression.  Totally being yourself, and confortable in whatever way you choose to carry yourself - this is certainly the pinnacle of self-expression... and this is quintessentially human -- isn't it?Photo: Mountains on the way to Queenstown from Glenorchy.Photo: The Long Twisting Road with Tiny Waterfall

I had to wait for about an hour while a swarm of gnats died down to get this shot.  I had never seen a storm of gnats (or mývatn, as they are called here) that bad since I was a kid with my dad in Alaska.  But it just happens for one hour, and then they go away...Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Caged in Flames in the Streets of Barcelona

I wish I could find this street performer so I could give her this photo...  I wanted to get her email, but she was too busy with back to back performances!Photo: View of Tokyo at sunset from the Google offices

Thanks again everyone that came out tonight to +Google Japan !  I enjoyed doing the tech demo, the Q&A, and the after-party -- it was cool to meet so many other enthusiastic photographers from all over Japan!

During the party, everyone headed over to the windows to take pictures of the sunset.  You know it's a wonderfully geeky party when everyone starts taking photos at the same time! :)Photo: Full article at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/09/25/raw-photos-in-the-cloud-now-on-google/Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: New Zealand - Want to see a Making-Of video?  Come to http://www.stuckincustoms.com/new-zealand-photo-adventure/Photo: San Francisco in Full Rez - 6728x4726

I'm loving the new ability in Google+ to upload full-rez photos automatically via that new checkbox!  I've updated my old article at http://goo.gl/3AFkw with the new steps.Photo: A walk along the lake during my favorite part of the evening...Photo: A mighty and beautiful waterfall...Photo: The Back Streets of Tokyo

I just finished this photo after visiting Tokyo a couple of weeks ago with +Tom Anderson.  It shows one of the more "seedy" bits of Tokyo, like you can probably tell from the signs... I still upload the full rez-file that is 6500 pixels across (thanks G+!) if you want to get in close!

This was shot with the Nikon16mm fisheye but then lens-corrected in post...Photo: Here's an amazing little home near Vik, Iceland.Photo: Some wicked sunset clouds in the Gibbston Valley (one of the many wine areas here)...Photo: New Zealand Event - 20 Free Student Scholarships Awarded Soon!

It includes about five hours of video where you can watch the full creation of this shot - from setting up the camera on the scene to all the details in the post processing.  See more at http://goo.gl/HPw4Y 

To sign up for one of the 20 Free Student Scholarships, go to: https://plus.google.com/105237212888595777019/posts/DSkiuA3mCTpPhoto: The Drive to Mount Cook

I saw this a few days ago when I took this delightful drive… it's only a few hours away, and much of the trip is spent driving along this crystal blue lake...Photo: The Church of the Good Shepherd under the stars

For you camera nerds (Like me!) here is the EXIF:  ISO 5000, 16mm (prime fisheye), Nikon D800, f/2.8, 25 second exposure.

This is one of The Darkest Skies in the World. You may find this snippet interesting: "A delegation from the country has successfully petitioned UNESCO for the protection of 'sky-scapes' as well as landscapes under their World Heritage system, in order to see the status granted to the air above Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook."  I had a great time here along with +Scott Kublin +Karen Hutton and +Curtis Simmons !Photo: Solitude

BTW, if you ever want to see the EXIF on anything, just click through and go check out the Photo Details.  Everything is on there...  Since most of my work involves a few exposures, you're only getting part of the story though.  To see how to make these with multiple exposures, check out http://www.StuckInCustoms.com/hdr-tutorial/Photo: Here's one of the waterfalls I just saw in Milford... when the rains come, the pour becomes 4x as torrential...Photo: Monkey in Nagano, Japan - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: The Endless Fields of Queenstown  - Dimensions: 7245 x 4597 pixels!

I'm now using the new, easier method to upload full-rez photos right to my Google+ galleries.  Man I am excited...  I updated the How-To article at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/03/21/google-now-allows-full-rez-photos/  !Photo: Why I Stopped Using Facebook Events and switched to Google+ Events
> See full article at http://goo.gl/2khqS 

Facebook events seem to pale in comparison to Google+ events.  I've planned countless events in both, and the Google+ events have better results.

For example, if you look at the upcoming Austin SXSW Photowalk event in Google+ at http://goo.gl/x6wta , we have well over 550 (!!) people RSVP'd for the event.  Compare this to the PhotoWalk I put as an event in Facebook for Paris (a much bigger city) at http://goo.gl/6jBQg a few months ago where a very lame 19 people RSVP'd.  I mean, the people weren't lame.  The number is.

Now, I have 430,000 subscribers on FB compared to over 4.5 million Google+.  So that is could be part of it, but I don't think so.  I know that a bunch of those 430,000 subscribers from Facebook LIVE in New York City (at least more than 19) and would have liked to be informed of the event, but I doubt they even knew it was going on if it wasn't for Google+.

The only time I got any traction on a Facebook event is when I posted a link to the FB event to my 4.6 million Pinterest followers.  As soon as I did that, a bunch of people signed up. I'm sure there is a big overlap in Pinterest and Facebook users, but none of those Facebook people would have found out about it unless I posted it on Pinterest!

There a few other x-factors in Google+.  One is that it is integrated with the whole Google email and search world.  So, if people use Gmail (who doesn't???) or do a search in Google (who doesn't???) then it is easy to find events that are happening near you and get invites from your friends.  There is much less friction to sharing an event.

And Facebook search is horrible!  It took me forever even to find my previous event.  I did a search for "Paris Photowalk" and mine did not appear -- another one appeared.  Plus, I know there have been many many photowalks in Paris, and only a random one appeared.

Screenshot of lame Facebook search:  http://goo.gl/PsMCq 

The recent PhotoWalk Event in Melbourne (see http://goo.gl/SdHQ) is a good example of how vibrant and alive the event system is with Google+.  It's growing and growing as they add more features, and it is certainly the most "fun" place to share photos during and after the event.

Another X-factor in the Google+ events is the live sharing of photos.  If you're at an event with Android and have "Party Mode" toggled on temporarily, then all the photos you take automatically upload to the event page so you can watch it live from many different perspectives.  I think this will be a fun way for everyone to interact with our SXSW PhotoWalk in Austin even if they can't be there with us.

There is one little bug with G+ events.  Whenever I +mention people or pages, it loses the hyperlink whenever I have to edit the event.  That bit is annoying... so hoping they fix that soon.

Anyway, if you are putting events in both places, what are your thoughts?  Or, if you are JUST putting them on Facebook, have you noticed them being less effective? It's possible that maybe only the Facebook event was being shared with my friends and not subscribers.  It's a black box and I have no idea what is going on... but I do see the results... and event after event gets better response and engagement through Google+.Photo: Mystery Museum
Does anyone know this amazing spot?

(regulars around here may recognize it as one of my favorites!) :)Photo: A gentle turn...

I hope you all are having a good weekend! :)Photo: Santa Cruz, California

When I was in Santa Cruz, I was totally rushed to get here at the last minute for this photo! I arrived just as the sun was setting to get some shots from above, then came down to the beach to take some more of the reflection off the wet sand. It was so perfect down there, and it lasted for a good thirty minutes after sunset, which was quite convenient!Photo: Photo: Driving Home in NZ

As you approach Lake Tekapo from the East, you pass through an interesting set of geology. The mountains are rolling one second and ragged the next. I’ve noticed that some days also feature very strange light patterns, with heavy clouds overhead while shafts of evening light slice through and light up parts of the hills. I was able to capture this little scene, which only lasted about sixty seconds.Photo: Through the lower wetlands...  exploring the wild and uncharted...Photo: New Years... 2012 ! from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Coming Back to Australia - Where should I go?

Maybe we can even do a Google+ PhotoWalk somewhere, if you wanna!  I'll be coming there in about a week with +Tom Anderson.  We land in Sydney, but then were going to rent a car and drive either towards Melbourne or Brisbane, stopping to take photos all along the way.  I've never been to either place... and I know there are many Very Active Aussie photographers on here, so we value your advice!

Below is a photo that I took while in Sydney last time... I'm really looking forward to coming back - it's just a 3 hour flight from here! :)Photo: Just got my tickets to go back to Burning Man in 2013...  I'm already getting excited! :)

Maybe we'll do a big PhotoWalk there this year... there is no shortage of photo ops for sure.

Want to see more from this crazy-awesome place?  Here's my Burning Man album on Google+: https://plus.google.com/photos/105237212888595777019/albums/5645256805077157953Photo: Camping under the Storm of Ages

If you go camping around here, you better be ready for anything...  someone please pass the s'mores, time to snuggle up in an epic sleeping bag with a good book! :)Photo: Flowers at Sunset - Taken with the Sony NEX-7 

Speaking of the Sony NEX-7 (from the last shot) - I have an album here on G+ with a ton of photos in it that I took with this camera at https://plus.google.com/photos/105237212888595777019/albums/5805669813661838625Photo: Beautiful Waterfall in Yellowstone... zoomed in at 200mm.

Other exif info:  f/4, ISO 800, 1/2,000th of a second, with the Nikon D3S and the 200-400mm f/4 lens.Photo: The Cemetery in the Monastery Castle

I know that purists tend to call this place more of a monastery, but I call it more of a castle!  To me, after all, it just looks like an almighty castle (said in Bob-Ross-voice), doesn't it?

For this one, I got down pretty low with the Nikon 14-24 lens.  I had the engines pushed to Warp 10 at 14mm!  The rest of the EXIF is ISO 100, f/8, 15s, taken with a Nikon D800.Photo: I'm driving out to the east coast of NZ today on a little road trip...  going to visit the Cadbury chocolate factory in Dunedin and then visit a cool-sounding place called Tunnel Beach.  This photo is also from the east coast a few weeks ago, a bit North of Dunedin in a place called Moeraki.Photo: A long and lonely road to the inn...Photo: Dunedin Train Station

I just got back from Dunedin and wanted to post this photo...  Also, earlier yesterday I took the tour at the nearby Cadbury factory. They told me that this train station is the 2nd most photographed building in the southern hemisphere (behind the Sydney Opera House)... can anyone confirm that? I find that hard to believe...

Here's all the EXIF info for you photo geeks out there like me: 16mm (14-24mm lens), f/8, 1/15s shutter, ISO 100, 5-exp hdr -3 to +1, Nikon D800.  You can also see all the EXIF yourself if you click through then scroll down to "Photo Details"Photo: Horse in Paradise, New Zealand

We just took a drive out to Paradise, NZ (Yes, this is a real place!), just beyond Glenorchy.  Along the way, we saw all kinds of amazing landscapes and dramatic animals.  Here's one of the dramatic horses, striking a pose! :)

(took this with the Nikon 16mm - I have a review over at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/nikon-fisheye-16mm-lens-review/ )Photo: The Macabre - This is the final shot from the video at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/midnight-in-paris/Photo: Adventuring in the Valley - Argentina

Argentina is gorgeous. Have I said that before? Doesn't it go without saying by now? You really get to know a set of mountains when you have to hike around them. Fortunately, in the middle of these death marches, I was able to stop and drink in some of the scenery. It took a lot longer than necessary to get to the destination, but at least I arrived with a camera full of photos. That beautiful peak in the distance is Fitz Roy. I was very lucky to see it, because 90% of the time it's covered with clouds.

From the blog at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Flying to Sydney today, then driving to Melbourne for the G+ PhotoWalk!

Here's the event details:  http://goo.gl/22Fff

There's a nice short flight from Queenstown directly to Sydney very soon; I'm excited to come back!  I'll be having dinner with the great +Alexia Sinclair while we discuss secret plans for an event later this year in Venice (along the lines of the Paris event a few months ago).

What gear am I taking for my little photo-trip? 2 Cameras, 2 lenses each. Main camera:  Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 28-300mm.  2nd camera:  Sony NEX-7, 10-18mm lens, 35mm f/1.2 Leica-mount.Photo: The Road to Mount Cook

Here's another image from a few days ago...  we ended up at the end of the road at a little cafe that was opened by one of NZ's heroes, Sir Edmund Hillary!Photo: Tunnel Beach, Dunedin

A few days ago I was in Dunedin... thanks for all the suggestions to go to this amazing beach.  Here's a photo I just finished to share with you!Photo: A creepy old, abandoned ghost town...Photo: A beautiful little side street in Arles...  This is where Vincent Van Gogh moved and made many artistic breakthroughs...Photo: Look!  There's a Giant Rubber Ducky in Sydney Harbor

Just saw this while walking around...  awesome!

(edit:  I see this is called Darling Harbour, which is in Sydney)Photo: Last Night in Sydney, from the Rocks - and Google+ PhotoWalk tonight!

I took this photo last night on a little walk...  I just finished driving to Melbourne with +Tom Anderson for the big photowalk tonight!  Here is all the event info you need:  https://plus.google.com/events/c1cpr5t7k1gel34nthasn807njk  -- see you soon!  (It's 4:13 AM... I'm going to crash and will re-emerge around noon... or... well probably later!Photo: A lonely boat rests in the ancient city of the Phoenix in southern China...

Every morning was foggy and misty, and perfect for a nice morning walk to take photos.Photo: The Walt Disney Concert Hall at night...   Another matrix-like night in LA...Photo: Yosemite - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Sydney's State Theater - PhotoWalk in Melbourne in a few hours! :)

PhotoWalk Update:  Follow along on the posted photos at http://goo.gl/Yud3m 

The event starts at 7:30 PM, but you can arrive a bit early if you want to shake hands and say hello! :)  Be sure to take lots of photos of all the other photowalkers and post them on the event so other people that aren't there can follow the festivities from home... this will be great fun... a great celebration of photography! :)

This photo below I just took in Sydney of the amazing State Theater.  Thanks again to the crew at the QT Sydney hotel next door for getting us in here! :)  Want to see the full-rez 7000+ pixel version?  Go to http://goo.gl/fkx3GPhoto: Photo: The Mysterious Rock Tower - Iceland - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Fortune Teller in the streets of Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

Here's one of the last scenes as the photowalk was winding down...

#100Tokyo   #CoolJapanPhoto: Resting inside the Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple 

Today while going through one of the many temple and monastic buildings, I ended up around one on the edge of the complex.  Many of the lamas there were studying or working (in the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism), but this one was taking a little nap.  Or maybe he was meditating.Photo: A mighty wave explodes out of the sea in Oahu, Hawaii.Photo: The Lonely Rock Island

Here is a new photo from a moody day here in Big Sur.  The sand was very soft and when I put my tripod down, it sank down a bit.  I would twist and turn the legs so they sank a little deeper and was more stable.   #holykawPhoto: The blue blue blue waters of New Zealand...Photo: The Light Dancer from the Melbourne PhotoWalk

After hour THREE of the mega-photowalk, we came across this gal.  She said her name was "Jane Fondle," which I thought was kind of strange.  And I thought it was even more strange when she gave me a brochure and it said that she does live performances in front of children so they stay in shape.  Jane Fondle!  hehe...

Anyway, this was a tough shot... as you can probably tell...  getting HDR with movement is especially tricky -- and double-tricky when playing with light trails!   #MelbournePhotoWalk2013Photo: My favorite part of Ginza, Tokyo, Japan at night...Photo: Photos in Nepal for Charity - Let’s do it!

Firstly, I will say straight away that I’m paying my own way on this Nepalese adventure with +Patrick Rothfuss, and I won’t use any of the charity’s money.  100% of the money raised goes to the Heifer International!

This year, the goal is $500,000.  Last year, it hit $310,000, but this year we can blast through that!  Your $20 or $120 is quickly multiplied thanks to sweet sweet social media! :)  Donate a Flock o’ Chickens at http://goo.gl/8RXm0 

Now, who is this enigmatic +Patrick Rothfuss?  I’ve told many of you that upon reading his book “The Name of The Wind” you automatically level up as my friend.  Some of you are level 1, others are level 2.  Some are even level 3.  (But seriously, every week I get dozens of emails from people profusely thanking me for introducing them to that book.  Rothfuss is teaching us all…)

And insofar as Rothfuss is teaching us all, he is the man behind the brilliant Worldbuilders, which is a really fun way to raise money for Heifer International.  By donating, you also have the chance to win incredible prizes, especially if you are a geek.  And, if you’re not a geek, I hope you have a few geeks in your life.  We’re everywhere now, since, finally, geeks rule much of the world.  Anyway, see all the incredible prizes and more on blog’o’Rothfuss at http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2012/11/worldbuilders-2012/ 

There is a bonus charity auction as well, full of all kinds of geeky-goodness! http://tinyurl.com/aw85xbh 

So, when I’m in Nepal with Patrick, we’ll be taking all kinds of photos of the families you’ve affected so you can see what your money has done.  I’ll do hangouts and answer questions and take special requests!  Want to see me milk a yak?

Donate:  http://goo.gl/8RXm0Photo: Old London

It’s a long walk to the top of St. Paul’s.  And by long walk, I should throw in that there are a lot of stairs.  But, after you finally arrive, you’re greeted by a wonderful view of the city.  As long as you don’t have too much of an issue with heights, you’ll be in for a treat.

Even though I saw all sorts of stuff while I was up there, I enjoyed working on this photo too.  I was able to zoom into 100% and look at all the details and little buildings/bridges/shops once again.  It reminded me of walking around many of them at ground level.Photo: Girl with a torch at Burning Man...

I'm not sure who this girl is, but she rode by me on a bike holding torch.  I was holding my Nikon D3S with a 50mm prime at 1.4, 0.7 EV, 1/125s.Photo: Paris, France, from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Milky Way over the Burning Bush

I took this photo in Death Valley one evening. The bush is red and mysterious because of a bit or light-painting with my headlamp. My neck got a bit tired from multiple tries. That glow around it? I don’t really know… maybe a bit of the dust from the desert caught the red light. Either way, I like how everything looks all funky and zen.Photo: Photo adventure in Nepal for Charity -- with the great +Patrick Rothfuss!!

Update: $330,000 raised so far!  Don't forget that 100% of the money raised goes to Heifer International.  I'm paying my own way on the adventure.

Bonus Update: I see from comments the last time I posted that there are many of you in Nepal - let's do a PhotoWalk while there! :)

This year, the goal is $500,000 (unlocks the Nepal event!).  Last year, it hit $310,000, but this year we can blast through that!  Your $20 or $120 is quickly multiplied thanks to sweet sweet social media! :)  Donate a Flock o’ Chickens at http://goo.gl/8RXm0 

Now, who is this enigmatic +Patrick Rothfuss?  I’ve told many of you that upon reading his book “The Name of The Wind” you automatically level up as my friend.  Some of you are level 1, others are level 2.  Some are even level 3.  (But seriously, every week I get dozens of emails from people profusely thanking me for introducing them to that book.  Rothfuss is teaching us all…)

And insofar as Rothfuss is teaching us all, he is the man behind the brilliant Worldbuilders, which is a really fun way to raise money for Heifer International.  By donating, you also have the chance to win incredible prizes, especially if you are a geek.  And, if you’re not a geek, I hope you have a few geeks in your life.  We’re everywhere now, since, finally, geeks rule much of the world.  Anyway, see all the incredible prizes and more on blog’o’Rothfuss at http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2012/11/worldbuilders-2012/ 

There is a bonus charity auction as well, full of all kinds of geeky-goodness! http://tinyurl.com/aw85xbh 

So, when I’m in Nepal with Patrick, we’ll be taking all kinds of photos of the families you’ve affected so you can see what your money has done.  I’ll do hangouts and answer questions and take special requests!  Want to see me milk a yak?

Donate:  http://goo.gl/8RXm0Photo: Going back to Milford Sound

I drove here three days ago and it was raining like crazy... so I'm about to head back for another go.  I'll be spending the night at the Lodge down there...  out late shooting on the rocks then up early for another stab at it!Photo: The Glittering Stars over Queenstown, New Zealand

We took this one about midnight last night because the sun was setting all the way around 10 PM!  And it sets so slowly here around 45 degrees south that the sky stays light up until about midnight...

Took this last night from above Queenstown - EXIF info for you photo geeks like me :)

Geeky Shot Info: 20 seconds, f/2.8, -1EV, ISO 1250, Nikon D800, Nikon 16mm fisheye (corrected in PS with Lens Correction)Photo: Photo: HDR Community - Growing Fast to 60,000 members - Interested in Being an Editor?

One of our fellow editors over there, my friend +Peter Gorges, is going to help me find some new editors for the HDR Community at http://goo.gl/Ek8eh .

There are several tasks as an editor besides the general good-will of keeping the community happy, communicative  and helpful to one another.  Two main tasks are a) Spam Removal and b) False Positive Correction.  As for B -- this is quite a problem because most new posters are suspected spammers, automatically.  Editors need to go through and manually approve the posts.  If some of your photos are not appearing -- this is why!  Anyway, we're on the case.

If you DO want to be an editor, drop a note below and introduce yourself (or re-introduce yourself) along with your Desire To Be An Editor in THIS category at http://goo.gl/LLnTc .Photo: Photo: Going on another Disney Cruise!

We liked the last one so much that we booked another cruise. This time, we are going to try the Alaska cruise, which should be pretty awesome. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the cruise, since I’m not really a cruise-kinda-guy, but the Disney ones are very nice!

This is the lobby of the Disney Fantasy...  this is not an HDR image... all Lightroom!Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Death Valley is a pretty harsh place.  It's especially harsh if you happen to live your life as mud.

I saw these kinds of cracked mudflats in many places, but this was one of my favorites.  It was very close to some giant sand dunes.  I'm hardly an expert on deserts and sand dunes and whatnot, but I was surprised that these were so close to endless miles of dunes...Photo: Farewell Tokyo   (Sharing with you first on Google+!) :)

I had a great time with you!  I took thousands and thousands of photos and I can't wait to process them all!  I've been playing with a lot of new post-processing tricks.  This one is a standard HDR with five exposures, but I kept them extra-long to get the light trails from the freeway.

This was taken from the +Google Japan offices during our event together.  Thanks again!  They are editing the video together now of the tech talk and the how-to tutorial... I'll share it on my YouTube channel soon!Photo: A farmhouse in the morning sun...  something for your new day :)Photo: Believe it or not, this is a natural landscape...  it looks manicured by some four star resort!Photo: Christmas in the City of Lights

This is one of the most awesome Christmas trees I’ve ever seen! Sure, it’s bathed in a sea of rampant commercialism, but, like a Russian friend said, “It is what it is.”

I wonder if there is a “Making Of” for this tree inside the Galaries Lafayette in Paris. The entire thing is suspended in midair! I’d love to see how they get this giant tree inside and hang it every year. It must take forever, since the French are only legally allowed to work 12 hours per week.

(See full rez 7168x4883) at http://goo.gl/OxN4KPhoto: Here's a photo of +Tom Anderson taking photos of some horses off a dirt road north of Queenstown.Photo: The Summer Hills and Golden Grasses of the Wakatipu Basin

Here's a photo that we took from the chopper last week...  one nice thing about all these hills here is that you can just run up most of them and explore around like an antelope.Photo: New China, beyond the Bird's Nest...

I took this one while hanging over a fire escape with +Joe McNally ! :)Photo: The Cinderella Castle at Disney

And... Congrats to the winners of the Student Scholarships for the Midnight In Paris event https://plus.google.com/105237212888595777019/posts/Y2aQKzzExuP   !  Here they are:
+Luke Zeme
+Carlos Bucio
+Nikki Tibbett
+Emilie Corgnet
+Troy Cusson
+Robert Pazitny
+Sampson Emilien
+Mealika Brown
+Anna Ryndak
+Angelika PerryPhoto: Anyone remember this place from Forest Gump?

I went there with my good friend +Scott Kublin to take photos... this is his home town in Savannah, GA.  And next week, he comes here to NZ along with +Karen Hutton , +Curtis Simmons  and about 20 more new friends! :)Photo: Downtown Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills

Before I went to LA the first time, I thought it would be one huge concrete jungle.  And, well, it kind of is except for some cool exceptions like this...Photo: Coolest hotel in Sydney?  Maybe!

This is my room at the QT Sydney here... you can see my bags and stuff... probably should have moved them for the picture.  Anyway, one of the Coolest things about this hotel is the elevators!  They scan to see how many people are inside.  If there is just one, then it plays lonely music, like Elvis singing, "Are you lonely tonight?"  And then when there are two people, like, embarassingly when I was in there with +Tom Anderson , it started playing, "Just the two of us."  And when there are like five or more people in there, it starts playing party music like Lady Gaga...  anyway, it's a trip!Photo: Mysteries of the Museum...Photo: "There's no money in photography"  (What do you think?)

Moving From a Hobbyist to a Pro Photographer Live Video Hangout tomorrow! Event details at   https://plus.google.com/events/c9m429kjegt5jrrmgaf2e014lsg 

Joining us for the discussion will be +Clayton Morris  from Fox News, +Scott Jarvie +Nicole S. Young +Gino Barasa +Melvin Little  and special guest +Alfie Goodrich  , who wrote this article below!

I say Special Guest +Alfie Goodrich  because he just wrote this on his blog at http://japanorama.co.uk/2013/01/23/on-being-a-photographer-todays-thoughts/ 

[This is Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will repeat...]

One of my Facebook friends [who wants to become a photographer] was asking me for my angle on something his dad had told him: that there was no money in photography. My first response may have come across as an over-simplification of the answer. Yes, I do manage to support a wife and three kids and pay my Tokyo mortgage with photography alone. But, there is a back-story to that and after a few more comments on my friend’s FB status, I wrote the following for him and I wanted to share it a little wider… as it seemed that might have value for other people than just my friend.

The photo above is of my youngest son, Charlie. He likes the camera. Using it and being in front of it. Maybe I’ll have this chat with him one day soon as well….

[This is Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will repeat...]

Our conversation has spawned a number of other points and I will be blogging about those in the coming days as well, because they are worthy of separate discussion. For now, though, here is my first utterance on the subject:

Being a professional, freelance photographer is fun. But like anything there are pros and cons and there is no simple answer to people asking ‘how do I go pro?’…. so here’s a little of my story, as I explained it to my mate…….

I support my family with photography but a lot of months it’s tough and it’s always stressful. Sitting here writing articles for my website, sharing pictures… feeling all ‘creative and successful’.. and then the wife comes in my office asking me when the money is coming next.

I am lucky enough to finally be following one of my dreams but in doing so I am often putting something aside for the good of my kids and that ‘something’ unfortunately is as damaging for them as it is beneficial. Yes, I am building something that is outside of the traditional ’9 to 5 salaryman’ model. Maybe it’s something that the kids can take over from me. It’s hopefully also building some sort of ongoing income for the family, as I this year start to make books and other ‘long life’ products. But I work all the time. Freelance people don’t get paid holidays or sick-leave or pensions. You snooze, you lose. I spend too much time working some weeks that my kids dont see enough of me…

[This is Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will repeat...]

Photography can easily be your release from other work… and all the while it is NOT your full-time occupation, you have a freedom to pursue it without the restrictions, pressures and creative shackles that invariably come from doing it for other people in return for their money. I have to shoot stuff that doesn’t really make me as excited as if it were just me and my camera, shooting pics just for me. That’s OK. I live with it. But like many of the other facets of being a freelance creative person, I deal with that because those crappier moments are offset by wonderful moments where everything comes together: like standing in Toyota’s studio alongside the director of US ‘Top Gear’, shooting concept cars that none of you ‘mere mortals’ will see for two more years… and, another rarity, getting paid WELL for it. Well enough to pay the mortgage for three months. I had enough money in my hand to walk out a buy a brand-new D800E camera but by the following day the money had gone…. to pay the arrears on the mortgage. That’s good. No problems with that. But because of the pressures, I have to get max value for as long as possible from my gear. That’s all good too.. makes me not lust after the latest thing all the time.

Photography has always been expensive and you may never see a return on that investment: I studied for three years, full-time, to get qualifications in photography. Of the 62 people who studied alongside me, over the two courses I did, myself and one other made it to be full-time professionals. That’s a 96.7% washout rate. Those 3yrs of college bankrupted me. You think gear is expensive now, it was worse then. You can shoot for free now, once you have that camera. I was putting around £100 a week into my photography – film, paper, chemicals – for three years. That’s about $15K back in the late 80s and early 90s. Probably equivalent to £40K now. I’m just starting to get the investment back, just.

[This is Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will repeat...]

So… there is no QUICK money in photography. There is very little or no EASY money in photography but that goes for the rest of life too, for the most part. Get happy, get stable, get positive and successful in a career which will allow you to shoot as much as possible. Keep the dream of photography alive by shooting and learning and building as a photographer. Set goals for your work and reach them. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to shoot and get your work seen in the right places. Start shooting some projects that have a commercial element – even if it’s just a fictitious job that you create them for as a project. Find an edge for your work. Find yourself through your shooting and that’ll help feed your drive to stick at whatever else you are doing alongside the photography; enough so that you are ready to see the opportunity to shoot for a living and seize it.

Photography is who I am. Not what I do. Therefore it needn’t really matter WHAT I DO…. I am still a photographer inside. It’s harder now, in some ways. But it’s easier in many others.

[This is Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will repeat...]

There have always been shit photographers who get by with little talent. Now it’s just easier to find them. Yes, there is lots of photography out there. Lots of ‘photographers’. Some good, some shit. Some who seem to get all the breaks even though they are just churning out crap. But it has always been the same. It’s just that now we hear about and see them and their crap more often and more readily.

Before the web you had to go to a lot of exhibitions, read a lot of books, look at a lot of magazines, to get the idea that some people just had all the luck to have ‘made it’ on the strength of the shite they were shooting.

Now you can sit on the no.49 bus, with an iphone, and be drowned in crap photos…

… or you can sit on that same bus and be inspired right in the palm of your hand. [cue the cheap masturbation jokes here]

It has always been tough to get noticed by the right people: In the past, to get seen, you needed a show, a book, a publishing deal. You needed to get in front of editors and convince them your work was good enough. That set up some sort of filtration process. So in some ways the good stuff was what got seen. But a lot of the time it was about who not what you knew. That’s how the crap got out there. And let me tell you that getting a few bum comments on Flickr about a picture is a lot easier to brush off than getting ‘Dear Alf’ letters from 25 editors, publishers and galleries….

Now? Well, one way of seeing it is that as a photographer today – with digital cameras, ‘lights-on processing’, smart-phones, the web – you’ve never had it so good. You can sit on the toilet having a shit and publish your photos to a global audience. Back in 1988, I would have given my right arm to have had such a convenient worldwide mechanism for publishing my work.

[This is Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will repeat...]

Everything has its pros and cons. The web has saturated us with images but it provides a mechanism to get seen, allows us to network and meet people and share things in a way that I could only have dreamed about when I left college and was looking for my first assistant’s job.

I understand what my mate’s dad meant. Photography is not an easy road. No creative pursuit is. Every type of professional creative person – musician, photographer, artist, writer – is under financial pressure to actually be able to pay the bills with their craft. As a parent you want to try and be realistic about things with your kids whilst not seeming to be crushing their dreams. That’s a tough balance.

My parents were great and I miss them, as they both died a few years back – within six months of each other. They supported me a lot as a youngster. They got to see my work on walls and in a few magazines and newspapers but they were gone by the time my photography really kicked-off and got me as widely published/seen as I am now. That’s a shame but that’s life.

So now my kids get to go to school and brag to their mates that ‘dad just shot for Lexus… and he let me see the shots of a car you won’t see on the streets til 2015… na-na-ni-na-na’

That’s as good as my mum and dad being here to see it….

[This was Alfie's article... just re-pasting... this message will not repeat...]Photo: The Lights of Tokyo

One evening I was walking around Roppongi, taking in all the sights. There doesn’t seem to be a bad direction to go. Everything was alive and full of life.
Getting into this particular position took a few Cirque de Soliel moves that no one was around to appreciate (or warn me against). There is a pedestrian set of stairs that blindly switchbacks its way up an outside drum-tower of sorts. I had a feeling that on top of this little tower would be a good vantage in this particular direction, which I had not seen, but I had mapped out in my brain. I did one of those moves like children do when they work their way up a doorframe — but I did it in a narrow stairwell. It got me to the top, which was extra-difficult with the tripod! I ended up with a clean view of everything. But then, only then, did I start to wonder how the heck I was going to get back down.

I waited for a nice-looking stair-walker to pass by underneath, and then I handed down my camera before performing an unceremonious jump/fall.Photo: Summer Sunset over Lake Wakatipu around 9:20 PM...

Every day it gets a little shorter here... tonight is 9:16 PM.  This is the wonderful Lake Wakatipu that connects Kingston, Queenstown, and Glenorchy.Photo: Two fellows found along a wall in the Forbidden City, China.Photo: I know what your day was missing... a Steampunk Horse! :)

(can anyone name where this is was taken) :)Photo: The Great Wall of China in the smog...Photo: Dante's Gates of Hell

This amazing statue by Rodin has smaller versions of most of Rodin's greatest works integrated.  If you look right at the top of the door, you can see The Thinker.Photo: Sunset after the Bullfight

The southern part of France still has many regular bullfights...  if you zoom in close, you can still see blood in the sand...Photo: Horse in Tundra in Iceland - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Night in London... when I was about to get on the Tube...  it was a long night of shooting, but I was inspired to get this one last photo...Photo: Beautiful horses in the setting sun...Photo: Musée d'Orsay, home of Le déjeuner sur l'herbe

I have read a lot about this painting... and then when I saw it in person, I was really surprised at my reaction.  The sensation was like a fresh cool shower when I didn't even know I was feeling hot.Photo: Busted through the Great Firewall in China, Finally! - Sharing first to Google+

Here's a photo I took a few hours ago from atop the CCTV tower in downtown Beijing. They interviewed me on China TV (one of their four state-managed channels) and asked me about taking photos along the famous "Central Axis" in Beijing. I gave some sort of cogent answer, whereby I solemnly praised their linear geographical alignment of landmarks.

And then they asked me if the United States has a "Central Axis," and I said, "Not really, it's more of a central squiggly line that includes Washington D.C. and a bunch of awesome places along Route 66, I guess." The reporter was very confused and did not offer a follow-up question, but instead changed the subject to taking photos of architecture... It all got more confusing from there... I have an old interview of this sort of ridiculous nature on China TV somewhere on my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/stuckincustomsPhoto: Happy New Year 2013 from New Zealand!

The fireworks went off here just recently at midnight... and now it's 2013!  I came home to process this photo to share with you... went to a little party atop the hill that had a nice vantage point of our little town below.

Happy 2013! :)Photo: The mighty room...Photo: The Train Station - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: I took the crew here right after they arrived... it's just a few minutes from the airport. Off in the field in other directions (outside of my viewcone) are +Scott Kublin +Karen Hutton and +Curtis Simmons..Photo: The Ice Bar - all made of ice - Below Zero - Queenstown, New Zealand

We've been running around preparing for a big week for the event here in Queenstown this week!  We took a break to go visit the famous Ice Bar with +Eden Brackstone.  Just beforehand, he had met +Karen Hutton +Scott Kublin and +Curtis Simmons  on the rainy streets after a chocolate blow-out at Patagonia (none of this sounds like we are actually working does it?).  If you want to follow along and watch the video of the event, see http://www.stuckincustoms.com/new-zealand-photo-adventure/ 

Anyway, the Ice Bar was very cool.  You actually drink out out of cups made of ice, and when you are done, you get to smash them like plates at a Greek wedding.Photo: Master planning in Beijing...

I'm enjoying this Sony NEX-7 experiment in China...  I'm keeping copious notes... the plusses and the minuses... will compile a full report after the trip, but for now, here's a shot from the middle of it.

If you missed the background on the experiment, see  http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/05/09/the-china-experiment-dumping-nikon-for-sony/Photo: Kayaking in Milford Sound

See those two little orange things in the lower left?  Those are two kayaks beside one of the towering fjord walls of Milford Sound.  I've been down here for the past few days on a little photo adventure (thus the lack of recent updates).  There's not much internet here... I hear they have a lot of internet in Californeee.Photo: New York City - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: We had a wonderful sunrise in Queenstown today...  !!!Photo: The Hills - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Stars on the Lake in Queenstown - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Rowboat

We're just getting back to internet civilization after a long time off the grid on the South Island of New Zealand.  It's an amazing group of people and we had some brilliant weather.  Here's one from a few mornings ago as we walked through The Hills.   #QueenstownAdventurePhoto: العالمية HDRاهلا و سهلاً بكم في دورة ال
HDR Tutorial now in Arabic (and 7 other languages!)

تتكلم العربية؟ اهلاً و سهلاً ! http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial-arabic
Speak English?  http://www.StuckInCustoms.com/hdr-tutorial/
Sie sprechen deutsch? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/mehrsprachigen-hdr-kurs/ 
Parlez-vous français? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/tutoriel-hdr/
Parli italiano? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/tutorial-hdr-in-italiano/
Fala Português? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial-portuguese/
Hablas Español? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial-espanol/
Mluvíte česky? http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial-ceskem/

من موجه هذا التدريب ؟
.المصورين المبتدأين الذين يريدون الحصول على صور افضل
.كنوع جديد من التصوير HDR المصورين الذين يريدون تعلم ال

.بالعالم HDRلقد كنت محظوظاً في حياتي ﻷسافر حول العالم و التعرف على افضل مصورين ال

.فنحن اﻷن ننشر طرق التصوير و نصور معاً و نعالج الصور معاً و انا حقاً سعيد ﻷنشر هذا الفن معكم

؟HDR ما هو ال
هو عبارة عن معالجة لصورة واحدة او أكثر, و ضبط التباين في الصورة و عمل اشياء من المستحيل عملها بفتحة عدسة و سرعة  غالق واحد, في الحقيقة 75% من صوري استخدم فيهم هذه الطريقة و لو كانت طريقةً جديدةً عليك ربما ستلاحظ منظرمختلف قليلاً لصوري. عند معالجة صوري استخدم في العادة الطرق البسيطة , و لكن بعد اﻷنتهاء من الطرق البسيطة هنالك خطوات عديدة اقوم  بها لأجعل الصورة تبدو افضل.
أريد ان اتحدث قليلاً عن الفلسفة الكامنة وراء نمط تصوير اللحظات السريعة, ربما لاحظتم ان طريقة حفظ الدماغ البشري للصور تختف كثيراً عن الطريقة التي يحتفظ بها حاسوبك في الصورة, فليس هنالك فتحة عدسة, سرعة غالق ,,, الخ..    في بعض   اﻷوقات عندما تكون في اماكن رائعة او عندما تكون مع اشخاص مميزين و تأخذ صور, هل لاحظت انك عندما تدعوا اﻷشخاص لرؤية الصور تقول لهم انهم يجب ان يزوروا هذا المكان؟ حتى المصورين المحترفين بأستخدام الكاميرات اﻷحترافية  نادراً ما يلتقطون المنظر كما كان موجوداً امامهم, فتكون بالصورة هنالك مناطق اﻷضاءة بها قليلة و مناطق اخرى اﻷضاءة فيها مرتفعة لهذا افضل   و سأعرض عليكم اﻷن بعض الصور التي كنت قد التقطتها والتي نالت على اعجابكم.HDRالتقاط الصور بأستخدام تقنية

http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial-arabicPhoto: Walking the Path in Glenorchy 

Here is part of the 2-hour long walk we did a few evenings ago during a peaceful night on the tip of Lake Wakatipu.   #QueenstownAdventurePhoto: The Royal Entrance

This would be fun with some roller-skates! :)Photo: Come see my SXSW featured talk: A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording - all about Google+, photography, sharing, the Internet, and new ways we're all evolving together.

The speech will be in Austin on Sunday March 10th at 3:30 - seating for 820 people so arrive early! :)  I don't know if it will be recorded or not - but more info here: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2013/events/event_IAP16031 

On the day after the talk, come to the free Austin SXSW PhotoWalk at https://plus.google.com/events/chpb5noklnit5k9svue7ah7im0s !Photo: +Clayton Morris (from Fox & Friends) in the fjord as high-tide caught us by surprise...

There are no waves, really, in Milford Sound (which is really a fjord), but the water slowly rises while you get stuck out on little islands that you probably never should have walked to anyway.  And then suddenly you turn around and realize you've been cutoff from the mainland!  Every moment of indecision is another inch of water, so you have to choose your first bad-idea of a path and just go with it.Photo: A visit to the temple early one morning...  these are the interesting sort of people that are milling about...

(in this case +Eden Muse )Photo: Girl With Umbrella Under Prayer Shingles

The wind clicked and clacked through a thousand different thoughts.Photo: Weekend at home... editing photos...

Tip: If you like those rays of sunlight, get your f-stop high... like f/16 or higher.  You don't have to max it out... sometimes if you go tooooo high, you get no more rays of sun but just a lot of sensor dust!

Well everyone has left now... my little cottage-studio is quiet, except for my blaring music, of course.  I'm in here editing photos from the past week or so.  Here's a pretty one...  I'm alternating between making how-to-videos and working on photos, and here's one from Bendemeer Estates.Photo: Old Boats on an Old River, Feng Huang, China

I spent many hours sitting along the shore here, drinking tea and eating snacks while drawing on my sketchpad...Photo: Boats in the fjord in Isafjordur...  deep still, cold waters wait under the boats... they come in every morning with fresh fish and wait while the fishermen sleep.Photo: Abandoned North Korean Prison in... New Zealand???

I’ve always wanted to get up to this place, but it has been virtually impossible since they closed all the roads years ago.

And yes, it’s right here in Queenstown, New Zealand, atop Deer Park Heights, a huge mountain that can be seen from pretty much everywhere in the valley. It might not look like a mountain next to the Remarkables, but it is huge. Everything in New Zealand is so epic that you lose track of the scale of things. For example, did you know that they make Cinderella’s castle in Disneyworld look bigger by using a forced perspective trick by making the upper spires much smaller than they would normally be? This is what happens with the relatively “small” mountains around here. So you’ll see Deer Park Heights and think, “Oh, I could climb that thing myself!” Well, maybe you could, but you won’t make it down by nightfall.

So, WHY, I hear you wondering, is there an abandoned North Korean prison in Queenstown? It was actually built as a movie set for a movie in the 80′s by Disney. It was called “The Rescue” — and it was horrible. The plot involved a bunch of young boys who had to rescue their dads who had gotten themselves imprisoned in North Korea. I think it skipped the theaters and went straight to airplanes, along with Miss Congeniality 4.

How was I able to get up here and take about 20 new friends? I cannot say!Photo: An impression of Wyoming...Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Queenstown Gardens, Stone Bridge

Here's another photo from last week...  a summer day in the gardens...Photo: Here's the backside of that abandoned North Korean prison atop Deer Park Heights in Queenstown (this was a movie set about 20 years ago)Photo: How it looks up a Gaudi elevator shaft in Barcelona...Photo: Cartier at night...Photo: Man sitting by door in the middle of the afternoon in northern India.Photo: The simplicity of life...Photo: La Défense in Paris

The new, modern downtown area of Paris is certainly worth a trip!  It's just 20 minutes through the subway to emerge into this area.  I never really wanted to go down here, even though I kept hearing good things about it.  To me, it wasn't really Paris, you know... modern buildings and all.  But, once I got down here, I was very excited.  There are a ton of cool buildings and a thousand great compositions waiting to be had!Photo: Another photo from this summer... A Glowing Slow-Motion Sunset in Queenstown, New Zealand

The sunsets in the summer here last about 2-3 hours.  Once you get around 45 degrees latitude and beyond, the sun does not sink right into the horizon.  Instead, it slides sideways into the horizon like A-Rod stealing second in slow motion.  This means the colors change very very slowly, and sunset is a nice, long relaxed photography session rather than a high-pressure one.Photo: Sleeping on a boat in the fjord... waking up to a lazy blanket of blue fog...Photo: The SR-71 Blackbird Waits...

If you look closely, you can see Clint Eastwood in the cockpit...Photo: Monkeys cleaning - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: I stopped here to rest for a while on a walk through this endless forest in the south of China...  No one was around, and I didn't see anyone for a few hours... just me, my snacks, and a few snakes.Photo: Google+ SXSW Austin PhotoWalk with Trey Ratcliff - All Levels of Photographers - All Free!

Over 300 people already - RSVP and Event Details:  https://plus.google.com/events/chpb5noklnit5k9svue7ah7im0s

Also you are invited to come to my featured (Google+ heavy!) speech at SXSW - "A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording" - http://schedule.sxsw.com/2013/events/event_IAP16031 

Google+ PhotoWalk Details!

$1000's in Prizes! A ton of Google+ swag! Members of the Google+ team!!

Bring your camera (even mobile phones are cool!) and bring your sense of adventure and discovery!  We'll walk around the streets of Austin together and grab some cool photos to share with one another.  If you've never been to one of these events before, then this is your chance.   Bring a friend or bring the kids -- it's a family-friendly event and all are welcome! :)

I'll be giving lessons and teaching how I set up for various shots.  Anyone can ask me anything at any time... sort of an in-person AMA! :)

When:  Monday, Mar 11 at 6:30 PM Austin Time
Where:  Downtown Austin (Exact spot to be announced soon)
What to bring:  Anything from a mobile phone to a DSLR with a tripod
Tag to use for photos:  Attach the photos to this event and use the tag #AustinPhotowalk2013  ! :)

Prizes (in addition to free Google+ swag to be randomly distributed):
- Really Right Stuff Tripod goodies (BH-40 LR and some LB-40s)
- Syrp Genie (Fresh from the factory!) - http://www.stuckincustoms.com/time-lapse-photography-syrp-genie-review/ 
- Huge Secret Adorama Prize
- Xumeadapters Prizes
- FStop (Loka Bag and 1 ICU)
- Camera Sutra t-shirts
- Many Stuck In Customs Camera Straps ( http://store.stuckincustoms.com )
- 5 Copies of Midnight in Paris! ( http://store.stuckincustoms.com/tutorials/midnight-in-paris-tutorial-bonus )

How To Win A Prize: "Best Photos of Fellow Photowalkers!"
Share your photos on Google+ and/or in The Photo Community with the tag #AustinPhotowalk2013 - winners will be chosen by a Team of Humans at Google and other coaches from the photowalk.

Thanks to the coaches too +Dave Wilson  +Alex Suarez  +Mike Connell   Jerry Hayes and Simi Shonowo !Photo: Here is the great +Karen Hutton in New Zealand !  :)Photo: Across the Cyborg Desert

Want to know more?  See the whole album at https://plus.google.com/photos/105237212888595777019/albums/5645256805077157953Photo: Here's another little place that Tom and I visited on the way from Queenstown to Milford Sound...Photo: A boat through the southern fjords...

Here's another recent photo from a fun cruise through the fjordland area of New Zealand...Photo: This is the "Guest House* at Hearst Castle...

It would have been nice to be friends with the Hearsts back the day... !Photo: Fisheye in the Hotel Banke

I was very happy to experiment with the fisheye lens while I was in Paris.  I borrowed Tom's, and that pushed me over the edge to buying one for myself.  Prior to this, I had rented one, but never really liked it very much.  I think maybe because I took a lot of people photos, and they were just tooooo artsy and weird for me (which is saying a lot), but I really found using the fisheye on architecture and things like this to be a lot of fun!Photo: A view out the window in Tokyo

There is very little sleeping and a whole lotta photography in Tokyo! :)Photo: Weather Stations in Remote Iceland

I visited a few several of these and tried to capture shots when the weather was in the most extreme conditions.  These places are so remote and lonely... sometimes I feel like the only human to visit these weather stations in decades, although I know that can't be the case.  I assume hardy Icelanders come out from time to time for maintenance and calibration... but still, they are powerful lonely.Photo: The airport in Beijing is really beautiful... I do really like walking around asian airports...  and none of them seem to mind if you are using a tripod!

Even better:  No TSA.  (P.S.  did you know TSA is an acronym for Tub Stacking Authorities?)Photo: A foggy, moody afternoon here...Photo: 42 People Live in this little medieval village

Aren’t medieval places the best? Yes! I wonder what it would be like to live here all the time. Maybe you’d get tired of how charming and Hansel & Gretel everything is all the time… I doubt it though!  (btw that 42 stat comes from wikipedia)

Around this old monastery of Mont Saint Michel is a curtain wall where you can easily walk along the top. It’s quite cool because every few steps there is a good view of the village and the tower above, each view offering another good photo op.Photo: Borobudur, Indonesia

This remote temple is not easy to get to, but once you are there, everything is magical and awesome...  I have a bunch more photos at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/category/travel/indonesia/borobudur/Photo: Girl in Beijing on Gossamer Wings

I saw this girl while walking across a bridge in Beijing... I'll be going back here in a few months.  Maybe we'll have another photowalk while there?  Sounds fun to me!

Also thanks for all your feedback on the article I just posted "Why I Stopped Using Facebook Events and switched to Google+ Events" at https://plus.google.com/105237212888595777019/posts/VdtCMFpUpPTPhoto: PhotoWalk Prizes and Location Announced! See http://goo.gl/RVyDQ 

Over 550 people have RSVP'd... this thing is gunna bu curazy! "Google+, why you so CRAY-CRAY???"

$1000's in Prizes!
- Really Right Stuff Tripod goodies (BH-40 LR and some LB-40s)
- Xumeadapters Prizes (http://www.xumeadapters.com)
- And a ton more prizes - see the full event at http://goo.gl/RVyDQ 

Where:  City Hall - Gather in this Google Map location: http://goo.gl/maps/qXEdR
Route Map:  http://goo.gl/maps/aGn0X 
Time: Monday, Mar 11 at 6:30 PM Austin Time

How To Win One of the Many Prizes: "Best Photos of Fellow Photowalkers!"
Share your photos on Google+ and/or in The Photo Community with the tag #AustinPhotowalk2013 - winners will be chosen by a Team of Humans at Google and other coaches from the photowalk.

PhotoWalk Route - See Google Maps Route Walk at: http://goo.gl/maps/aGn0X 

We'll all start together at City Hall.  That's a great time to start trying to win the prizes by taking photos of fellow PhotoWalkers!  We'll then work our way up to 4th street, then 6th street and end the route inside the Hilton, where maybe one of you will buy me a drink.  We'll be taking photos of the city, the sights, and other PhotoWalkers all along the way.  The "ending" of these is always a bit strange because there is no formal gathering, but just keep taking photos until you peter out... you can drift away into the night like a firefly, then go home and get back on the sweet sweet internet with a beverage of your choice and post away.  You have a week to add photos to the event before the winners are chosen! :)  Thanks again in advance, and I think we'll have a great time together!Photo: Downtown L.A.  ...just got to Los Angeles...  Austin is next!

LAX is one of the worst airports in the world, by the way.  It's just crazy the way the thing is laid out and what they make passengers go through to get their situation together.  Even worse, combined with the TSA - it's the perfect storm of frustration.

I just finished watching Argo.  I wonder if THAT is the training film for the TSA when it comes to customer service.  TSA trainers stand over their shoulder and whisper, "See, future TSA-Employee, watch how the Iranian airport-security treats these 'Canadiens' -- this is our goal and our vision."Photo: The Steamy Earth

This first one here is from a crazy part of Iceland.  It's very close to a geothermal station.  You can just kind of walk around anywhere and see this steam pouring out of the Earth...

 - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Los Angeles - Blade Runner - FfromPhoto: Patagonia - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Church in Iceland - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: The Mothership - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Horses against the Time

Remember that behind-the-scenes Android shot I posted yesterday while playing golf?  Here's the final photo I got.  I was excited and came home to process it!

This golf course (The Hills) is not only famous in New Zealand, but all around the world for having unique pieces of art like this throughout the links.  They don't get in the way of the golf unless you just hit a horrible shot.  But, take it from me, if you golf heads over into these tussocks, your ball is just gone forever... like dropping your car keys into flowing lava - they're just gone.Photo: The Medieval Village - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Taking a picnic to the little island

Here's another new photo from New Zealand.  This place is in a valley between Queenstown and Arrowtown.  There are about 100 little lakes scattered around... most of them are picturesque and serene... like this one with a little wooden bridge that goes out to a tiny island.Photo: Horse in Iceland

I'm adding some favorite photos of horses and monkeys to the album for you to enjoy.  This horse below is in front of a strange rock outcropping in Iceland.  Other photos in there are a snow monkey in Nagano, some monkeys in Cambodia and Kuala Lumpur, and some horses in Yellowstone.

- from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Seen in China last week... behind the gate tower that stands on the little island in the middle of Beihai Park.Photo: Monkey in Kuala Lumpur - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Join me at the Google Science Fair -- Live on Google+ Hangouts soon!

Join the free educational event at http://goo.gl/3oiTd !  I'll be interviewed by the great
+Robert Scoble soon!

Do you have kids that are interested in learning about science?  Do you like Google?  Then you should know about the +Google Science Fair !  "The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. We're looking for ideas that will change the world."

(Below is a photo I took of the space shuttle at NASA, wormholing up into a cloud...)Photo: Horses Running Wild in Yellowstone - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com - all images Creative Commons NoncommercialPhoto: Driskill Hotel, Austin

Here's the Driskill here in Austin… nonstop #SXSW Parties here!  I'm kind of an introvert… so not really so great for me. :)Photo: Here at SXSW in Austin... thinking about being an introvert and stuff with all this chaos happening around me.  I am not really a party-kinda guy.  I prefer a nice open road alone like this below...  Socially, though, I do like small conversations among 1-3 people.  That is best for me.Photo: Erica during the SXSW PhotoWalk, sporting the PINK Stuck in Customs camera strap prize! 

See all the prizes below... will be awarded in about 5 days - keep uploading! :)

Here is +Erica Taylor walking down Sixth Street.  Want to know how she won that strap?  We gave +Cliff Baise  about 10 of the pink StuckInCustoms camera straps (he was sporting the leather-bondagey-one).  Anyway, we said that when Cliff scans the crowd, any girl that winks at him can have a strap!

For the boys, we did the opposite and gave +Lotus Carroll  a pile of straps to hand out if they winked at her too.  She got a lot of winks. :)

Prizes to be awarded soon! Tag your shots with #AustinPhotowalk2013 
- Really Right Stuff Tripod goodies (BH-40 LR and some LB-40s)
- Xumeadapters Prizes (http://www.xumeadapters.com)
- $500 (5 $100 gift certificates from +Adorama
- Syrp (A NEW Genie!!!) worth $1000 - http://www.stuckincustoms.com/time-lapse-photography-syrp-genie-review/ 
- FStop Loka Bag and 1 ICU (http://fstopgear.com/product/mountain/loka)
- Camera Sutra t-shirts (http://store.stuckincustoms.com/gear/shirts/camera-sutra)
- 20 copies of Trey's Lightroom and Photomatix Presets!
- Many Stuck In Customs Camera Straps (http://store.stuckincustoms.com/gear/camera-straps)
- 5 Copies of Midnight in Paris! ( http://store.stuckincustoms.com/tutorials/midnight-in-paris-tutorial-bonus )Photo: 国家大剧院

This building in Beijing is sooooo cavernous inside that you can even see the pollution clouds up near those lights on the right...

This is the National Centre for the Performing Arts, and it's really worth a visit.  We did a photowalk here last time... maybe we'll do another one soon! :)Photo: The Wolfman Violinith

From the great photowalk last night in Austin!  #AustinPhotoWalk2013  <--- Click to find other photos from the amazing event - thanks a lot for sharing - prizes to be decided in 6 days! :)Photo: How to Upload Photos to a Google+ Event - How do you do it??

There are at least 3 ways that I will describe below.  Note that I use my own method because:
a) I want the photo I upload to show up in my Public Stream (it does NOT if I just post to the event)
b) I want to attach a hashtag of  #AustinPhotowalk2013 
c) I also want it to appear as a photo in the event at https://plus.google.com/events/chpb5noklnit5k9svue7ah7im0s 

Method 1 (My Method):
1)  Upload the photo to one of your existing albums
2)  Add your post text and add the hashtag
3)  Go into the Event, click Add Photos, then go find the photo you just uploaded.

The disadvantages to method 1 is:
a)  It is a bit convoluted
b)  It creates TWO copies of your photo in Google+
c)  You end up with two different +1 and comment streams

Method 2 (Recommended Method by the Events team):
1)  Upload your photos to a New album.
2)  Add text to the post with the hashtag
3)  In that album, go click on "More" then chose "Add Photos to Event"

The only disadvantage to this method is that you have to make a new album, which may not be a problem for many people.

Method 3 (Simple):
1)  Add the photo JUST to the event
2)  Go make a comment on your own photo with the hashtag

The big disadvantage to this system is that it does not show up in your public stream.  I see that +Amalia Diaz did this.  If you look at her stream, you can see how messy it actually is... she (like many others) are struggling with out to get photos into the event AND share them with people outside the event!

Maybe there is another method that is better that I am not seeing?  I'll keep experimenting, but I'm open to suggestions!

In this photo below, you can see +christopher sherman aiming his Nikon right at me in the middle of the vortex, swirling around us.Photo: Hallgrímskirkja  - The Reykjavík Rocket

A Very Awesome Place.Photo: This is the road in New Zealand that connects Wanaka to Queenstown.  It weaves over the Crown Range (near Shania Twain's house, btw) and descends into the valley below where it winds for about 20 kilometers before it finds its way over to Lake Wakatipu and the beginning of Queenstown.Photo: Sailing into Sydney Harbour

Here's a new one I've been working on over the weekend... also working on putting together a few how-to videos and things for you too.  I'll get them up on http://www.youtube.com/stuckincustoms when they are ready, so subscribe there to see them first :)Photo: Girl with Umbrella, Ginza, Tokyo

I'm about to walk over towards the Google office in Roppongi.  You may see me walking through the streets with +Tom Anderson soon!  We'll be the two whiteys with tripods who do not fit in.Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The Ruins of Queenstown in the Autumn

Yesterday, I went out to get some photos of the Autumn near my house and took this photo.  This spot is about three minutes away in an area between Queenstown and Arrowtown.  These amazing ruins were just back behind some trees off Speargrass Flats road.  I had seen the hints of some structures back there, but I was not sure until I went back to investigate...  so awesome!Photo: Rooftops Forever

Here's a view across the top of the village of Lijiang, China.  I was really thinking about doing a bit of Assassin's Creed action across the top.Photo: Here's another new photo from here in Queenstown, New Zealand.  I've been working my way through thousands of photos in the past few weeks.  Equal time shooting and post-processing... both are great fun!  :)

See you all Live tonight in a Google Hangout at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET - Event Details:  https://plus.google.com/events/c0l7f9adi3db45ctndn81lp5vp4Photo: Here in the library....  what book do you want to read?

(this is one of the libraries in Hearst Castle)Photo: The upswept peak in Death Valley

I posted another photo from Death Valley yesterday... here is another nearby location that still made me feel like I was on an alien planet.Photo: Alcatraz...the sun melts behind the desolate prison...Photo: I took this on a walk through a forest in Yosemite back on one of the first mega Google+ photowalks.... so many people there... just to name a few, +Thomas Hawk +Julia Peterson +Tina Ratcliff +Tom Anderson +Robert Scoble +Karen Hutton +Scott Jarvie and many more!

Where should the next one be??!? :)Photo: Running through the valleys and mountains

I just finished taking about 4,000 photos in the past few weeks and been processing like crazy.  There's also a new how-to video coming soon... so that will be fun.

I've broken two Nikon 14-24mm, and that makes me a sad bear :(  ...but at least I got this one before the second death!Photo: Winter Path, New Zealand

Here's a photo I just took a few minutes ago after driving home from the Winter Festival here in Queenstown. I saw this off the side of the road, so I tookout my snowboats and hiked over to a good spot to get a photo. #WinterFestival #QueenstownPhoto: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: A strange bridge in alien world...Photo: Live Hangout with School Children from Thailand soon!

Come learn with us! :)  A few students from a town in Thailand will be asking me about photography and tech and the internet and stuffstuff... you know, geeky-awesome stuff.  It will be a live On-Air video hangout.  Gather some nearby kids and watch live and get all the event details at https://plus.google.com/events/cqj53j4hqficddlg8djrhd0ersc 

A nice school teacher named +Alpha Mae Amor Reyes Paquibo  contacted me to set this up.  It will be fun! :)   Edit:  Looks like one of the students is +Kantapat Jungpaibul  (Gunn!)Photo: I went to play golf a few evenings ago by myself...  and took this on hole 18 (had my clubs and my camera!).  That's the clubhouse back there... you can't tell from this angle, but there is grass on the roof! :)Photo: Pere

Here is my friend and website designer (he designed http://www.StuckInCustoms.com ) +Fabien Barral with his daughter on their farm in the south of France.  I took this when he invited us over for a wonderful spring meal in their garden.   I'll never forget the fresh mint on the ground... as we walked around and disturbed it, the smell mint hung in the air before drifting downwards towards the vineyards...Photo: Photo: Inside the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel

This was a really cool place to explore.  There were about six or seven open spaces like this throughout the monastery complex.  Even better, I read there was an Assassin's Creed level (multiplayer downloadble I think) based on this place... I gotta find it!Photo: Just finished playing golf here at The Hills again.  For those of you keeping track of my golf-progress, I still suck.  But at least I took some photos that make me happy!Photo: Whenever I see these wonderful red telephone boxes, I feel like I'm time-traveling in London!

I took this one last time I was there... walking back to my hotel room with +Scott KublinPhoto: I’m sure Europeans find this kind of architecture to be quaint and banal, but I rather like it. In fact, I’d say it’s just about one of my favorites! Whenever I see old buildings in this style, it makes me a little bit happy.

This one was in the village of Mont Saint Michel. It was one of very few hotels that are tightly woven into the old medieval walled complex. I didn’t go inside, but it felt like it was right out of Skyrim!Photo: I'll be going back to Japan in the next few weeks -- looking forward to it! :)  I'm not exactly sure where I'l be going there yet... will figure it out!Photo: A girl crosses an ancient bridge in the small town of Feng Huang, China.Photo: One of the many interesting rooms you can find when strolling around The Met.Photo: I love Indonesia!

This is Prambanan or Candi Rara Jonggrang.Photo: I'm headed over to the local high school today to give a talk on photography and corrupt their young minds with the joys of post-processing. It's at Wakatipu High School in Abbey Duncan's class at 12:45, so maybe I will see some of you there! :)   (I'm also doing something online for the +Google Science Fair soon that will be avail on video.)

Now, I just need a sport coat with some patches on the elbows...hmmm... (photo below is one of the views along the path at The Hills Golf Course in nearby Arrowtown)Photo: Inside the Gypsy Truck

Every time you get out, things are different...Photo: Hollywood Tower Hotel (or The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror)

A wonderful old, ornate fireplace...  can anyone tell me where it is?   (people got it fast so I modified the title!)Photo: Live from San Francisco, Queenstown, Austin, New York City, and Mountain View SOON

The live show starts at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET!  See the event here to join us https://plus.google.com/events/chi69nlnb1kbrdufetsfl3todfo  Any questions? You can ask live on http://www.StuckInCustoms.com 

I'll be on with +Clayton Morris  from Fox News, +Thomas Hawk from Thomashawk.com, +Erica Joy from Google, +Cali Lewis from Geekbeat, and +Gino Barasa from Mars.  We'll be talking about G+ full rez photos, FB reddit-style comment ranking, backing up on the road, and more!Photo: Free photography talk at the Google HQ in Tokyo - Join me this Friday!

さんという、Google+ 470万人のフォロアーがいるフォトグラファーの方が日本に 来日、Tech Talk と交流会に参加されます。ご参加希望の方は、こちらのフォームに必要事項を記入してください。

Want to come, just fill out this handy bilingual form at https://services.google.com/fb/forms/techtalk04122013/ and then I will see you there! :)

The Google offices are located at 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo. The building is called Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and the Google reception is on the 26th floor.  All are welcome - this will be a fun event!Photo: Come hang out with me in Auckland or Tokyo this week!  Below are the details!

Tonight (Wednesday): Auckland, NZ I'm overnighting here on the way to Tokyo and hanging out with +Ollie Dale.  I'll be at the Northern Steamship Bar around 8 PM - come say hello... and yes, of course I'll have my camera (as always!)

Friday: 4-7 PM - Tokyo, Japan - Meet me at the Google HQ for a Photography Talk and Real Life Hangout! Hehe... this is a free event!

さんという、Google+ 470万人のフォロアーがいるフォトグラファーの方が日本に 来日、Tech Talk と交流会に参加されます。ご参加希望の方は、こちらのフォームに必要事項を記入してください。

If you want to come, just fill out this handy bilingual form at https://services.google.com/fb/forms/techtalk04122013/ and then I will see you there! :)

The Google offices are located at 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo. The building is called Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and the Google reception is on the 26th floor.  All are welcome - this will be a fun event!Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Man Crossing Street, Tokyo - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The Aurora Australis - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: I took this photo last night while crossing the street in Tokyo... this place is full of awesome!Photo: Approaching Mt. Fuji

I spent today on a quest to see Mt. Fuji!  I've always wanted to visit the amazing area around the famous volcano, but never had the chance until now.  I was so excited!  We started out the journey here in this little village of Saiko.  After taking some photos, we went inside one of these little buildings and up some small stairs to sit on the floor and eat some soba.  It was a great start for the journey! :)Photo: Mount Fuji and Temple at Sunset (shared first on Google+)

At the end of the day, +Tom Anderson and I walked up through a forest and up a small mountain to get to this location.  We found it thanks to sweet sweet +Stuck On Earth ( www.StuckOnEarthApp.com) !  This is an app that I made for myself to help find the best places on Earth to visit and take photos.  And now we have over a million people downloading updates to the app - even better, the Android versions AND Mac OS versions are on the way very soon!

Thanks again to +Sulwyn Lim,  +Negoro Kaori, and her husband the driver for helping us with a great and adventurous day. More to come! :)Photo: Three Fisherman near Mount Fuji

Here's another photo from yesterday.  It was very peaceful down on the lake...Photo: Photo: The Infinite Loop Bridge, Tokyo

Thank you to +Takahiro Yamamoto  (Takahiro-san!) for taking us to this amazing part of Tokyo.  Right after this, we got up and did a bit of drifting around the bridge and got a video!  :)  I'll share that soon too.Photo: Robots in the streets of Tokyo!!! :)

from a few nights ago in Shinjuku...Photo: Lake Pukaki and Lenticular Clouds over Mount Cook

Here's another photo from last week's travels across the south island of New Zealand with Tom.  It was a weather-perfect day, and everything was like walking around a painting...

Don't forget about our live show tonight where we'll talk about The Transition from Hobby to Pro Photographer at 7 PM PT, 10 PM PT.  We'll be joined by +Clayton Morris  (from Fox News), +Alfie Goodrich  (who wrote the article below), +Nicole S. Young  (pro), +Scott Jarvie  (studly pro) +Gino Barasa  (no qualifications whatsoever) and +Melvin Little  (pro-curious) - Event details at https://plus.google.com/events/c9m429kjegt5jrrmgaf2e014lsgPhoto: The bridge in Black Rock City.Photo: Here's a new photo from a few days ago -- a closeup of the photo from downtown Tokyo -- but this is a new picture, so it by itself is 7360 pixels tall.  I'm enjoying uploading all the full-rez photos to G+!  I'm glad to share the full-on version! :)

If you want to see the previous shot of Tokyo, it's in my stream at https://plus.google.com/+TreyRatcliff/postsPhoto: The seas of the mountains churn in the fog...Photo: The Eyes of Tokyo

Here's another new photo from Tokyo a few days ago.  Tom and I worked our way into the center of one of the busiest roads in the world, right in the middle of Shinjuku.  There wasn't really a good place to stand, but there rarely is!  You just kinda gotta find a spot.  I'm sure photos like this make my mom +susan ratcliff  very scared -- but don't worry mom - Safety first!! :)Photo: Meteor Shower over the Point Sur Lighthouse

Two nights ago I went out to shoot the meteors while here in Big Sur, California.  I woke up at a painful 3 AM to get out there.  I saw a bunch of shooting stars but didn't get any good photos of them.  If you are able to get a good meteor photo, then in my book, you are either a god or really lucky!

I did manage to get what you see below -- the lighthouse shining its light on the left and the car coming over the hills on the right.Photo: Last week, we were in an older area of Tokyo where the women still dress in a traditional manner and use an umbrella to protect their skin from the sun...Photo: Here's another photo from my stargazing here in Big Sur over the past few nights. I saw only a few shooting stars during the big event. It was a little disappointing... but, then again, most shooting star photos look like airplanes or are just kinda disappointing. I don't even know how to make it look interesting. Even a good shooting star photo you could say was an airplane... I guess if you "say" it is a shooting star, then that gives it a little bit of a story and some context... and I guess I COULD photoshop in a shooting star, but that feels a bit cheeky...Photo: Running through the future...Photo: The Sea at Sunset - Where the whales were playing

I took this last night along the coast of Big Sur.  One awesome thing about this place is something you cannot see (unfortunately!).  Behind this rock is a pod of whales.  They played and slapped in the water for about an hour during the sunset.  I have never seen whales so close to the beach.  I think they had some babies with them too.   #holykawPhoto: A New T-Shirt - The Camera Sutra - also perfect for Valentine's Day... "for those spending quality time with their cameras" (!!) http://store.stuckincustoms.com/gear 

These have not even been formally announced yet, and a new shipment was needed because the first one sold out! Here you can see +Christa Laser  wearing one and the website has a few others sporting some of their first-batch deliveries! Keep the photos coming in (thx +Angela B. Pan  too!) That one of +Jason Law  was taken by +Karen Hutton  yesterday.  Now, you can't quite see all the positions here in Christa's shirt because it is a little wrinkled -- we've all been in this position bending over a flower.  Anyway, "Flower" is the part of the word you can't read. :)Photo: Inside the megaspire...

and... don't forget to mark your calendar for May 7 to join me online at the free educational event at the Google Science Fair!  You can RSVP here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cd55fsvobj78oakuljljfevl4rc  - the topic is "The Science of Photography" -- bring the kids along! :)Photo: A view across the lake here in Queenstown... so happy to have a bunch of new friends coming over to the house tonight!  I'm sitting here with +Bel Jones who will be getting video of the festivities.Photo: I just bought my tickets for my next Disney cruise with the family... I'm excited!  :)

This photo is from the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy.  That ship was awesome!Photo: Wanaka, New Zealand...  from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Man to Sky in Shinjuku, Tokyo

Here's another new photo from a few nights ago.  Today I am in Monterey at The EG conference - http://www.the-eg.com/ - come say hi if you are here! :)

Lots of people are around -- +Neal Stephenson  +Matt Groening  +Stephen Tobolowsky  +Hong Yi  +Michael Hawley +Sebastian Thrun +Nicholas Negroponte  +Marco Tempest +Steve Jurvetson  +Chris Young  +Kina Grannis and more!Photo: The Techno Hippodrome...

It's like if Shakespeare's Globe Theatre time-traveled into the future.  This photo is from Beijing, China, btw.Photo: The Biggest City Model I've Ever Seen

This thing is sooooo crazy-big!  You can get a sense of the scale from that waist-high red rope.  See the red rope in the far distance too?  Huge!  And, another awesome thing about this place is that as the city lights up, they play pirated music from Jurassic Park - so China! :)Photo: Queenstown, New Zealand in the Autumn

I went out this morning to take this photo.  It's about five minutes from my home and I saw this while I was walking down to Lake Hayes.  This is my first autumn in NZ and I love it!

And thanks for the comments/questions on the new video from +SmugMug  - I put up a few replies on YouTube at Trey Ratcliff - Speech at SmugMug - Living in the NowPhoto: Coming to Google I/O in San Francisco - Where should I stay?

What's your favorite (or new?) hotel-searching website or app?

I'm coming to SF for a few days next week for I/O and really looking forward to it!  I'll be there for just a few days before heading off to China for a little photo adventure.  I've been slow in booking my hotel... everything close by the Moscone is booked!  I wondered if you all had any hot tips. I sometimes use +Hotel Tonight at the last minute to get a place, but it's hard to plan ahead with that with international flights.Photo: Google Glass Giveaway.
Yes, you read that right!  See http://goo.gl/JpJ48 

And the actual PhotoWalk Event is up now too at http://goo.gl/Zarq3 !

Besides that announcement, the show will still have all other fun stuff and great guests on the show tonight like +Brian Matiash  +Frederick Van Johnson  +Mike Wiacek  +Sara Byrne and more!

(watch that episode at Glass Giveaway Details from Google & The Business of Photography with Thomas Hawk, Matiash )Photo: Happy night in New Zealand...  here's a little pond that is a short walk from my house...  I should get over here more often to take photos I think! :)Photo: Wanna Win Google Glass? RSVP at the event here: http://goo.gl/He5g1 

We're doing a fun Google+ PhotoWalk in San Francisco very soon. So join +Thomas Hawk and I for this once-in-a-lifetime event! Everyone is welcome, no matter your skill level or camera -- one lucky person that attends will get Glass!

We're going to have everyone enter "Party Mode" during the event -- this means that photos you take with your Android or iPhone get automatically uploaded to the event!  Then everyone else not in San Francisco can watch it unfold live.Photo: Cirque du Soliel - sharing first to Google+ ! :)

Here's a photo I just finished working on.  This is the special tent for the Cirque du Soliel in Orlando at Downtown Disney.  This was the first time we took my son +Ethan Ratcliff to the circus.  He loved it!Photo: The Space Shuttle in Repose

I edited this one live on-the-air in a Google+ hangout not too long ago.  That was a fun and challenging one because all my shots were handheld!  The man was holding me back.

However, I think tripods will be out in full-force on Tuesday for the San Francisco photowalk with +Thomas Hawk ! (no worries, mobile phones are welcome too!)  Come RSVP and see more at https://plus.google.com/events/cm6l1qj16ktg9f8sv69ep7b2rhk - I think we are adding location details very soon.  Pretty much everything has been figured out!Photo: Last night, I got to meet the blacksmith (actual blacksmith!) who built Sting and Glamdring and all the other swords for LOTR and The Hobbit! He works in an actual forge in Weta Workshop in Wellington - awesome!

This was all part of a formal event here at The Hills (pictured below) in Queenstown where there was a dedication of some new sculptures by Max Patte.  We all had a great dinner together and I also had a fun conversation with Sir Richard Taylor, who is the head of Weta Workshop.  He was there and said the opening words for the big unveiling for Max.  You can see the new giant pieces of art here: http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/05/10/the-frolic-and-the-fancy-by-max-patte/Photo: Which eye do you use to look through a camera?  Is it the same side as your dominant hand?

I was wondering if it is random or if there is something to it...

(I took this photo at NASA with my left eye and right hand.  haha... well I mean, I'm right-handed too.)Photo: from Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Watch the SF PhotoWalk Live tonight!

I've updated the PhotoWalk event at http://goo.gl/FqJcw with everything, but here's the skinny!

Can't make the photowalk?  Watch live tonight with +Karen Hutton and +Virtual Photo Walks™ !! It will be shared live here to my own stream as well.

The Plan: Look, it's possible security may throw us out of our meeting spot (inside the event at http://goo.gl/FqJcw ) right away, and I may not be able to jump up on a bench and give my Mussolini-esque speech.  If that happens, here is the plan:

- Focus on PhotoWalkers:  - Even though we'll be taking photos of the city as we weave through it on our route, it's OPEN SEASON on other PhotoWalkers! Take all sorts of photos of your fellow walkers, and later, tag away. Get close, get far, get creative!

- Photo Lessons - I'll be stopping a few times throughout the walk to set up for shots.  I'll talk through my settings and describe my setup.  People are welcome to look through my camera.

- Need Photo Advice? - Come up any time throughout the walk and ask me or Thomas anything!  We're happy to help.  No question is too dumb, and we are happy to help!

- Sharing - Get back home to the sweet internet after the event and upload your photos to the event.  Tag people in the photos, and tag the photos with #GlassPhotowalk 

We'll have a TON more details soon...  this will be a great celebration of photography!

How to Win Google Glass: This will be a random selection for people at the PhotoWalk. At the Photowalk you will given a ticket with unique number. Hold onto that ticket! Look for +Curtis Simmons to get yours! At the end of the photowalk we will draw a random winner from the tickets that were handed out. To be elegible to win Google Glass you must be 18 years or older (bring ID), a US Resident with proof of residency, and be present to win when we call your number!Photo: Exploring the Temple of Confucius, Beijing

I found this out while here yesterday -- did you know this temple has something called the "Touch Evil Cypress"?  This scary cypress (not pictured...deeper in the temple) called the Chu Jian Bai, and it was made famous by folklore.  From legends: "Its name derives from a story from the Ming Dynasty that when a famously corrupt official was passing by, the tree knocked off his hat, and since then people have thought this particular tree could distinguish between good and evil."Photo: Swimming Above Beijing

What an amazing room this I found yesterday, high atop the sprawling city of Beijing. After this, I went up on the roof for sunset... those pictures coming sooooooon.... ! :)Photo: In the Imperial Hallways of the Gate Loggia

Here's a little moment of something unexpected I saw yesterday while walking through some of the mysterious inner cloisters while on the island-temple in Beihai...Photo: Rain on the old Imperial road...

It was a rainy few days in Beijing!Photo: China Going Meta-Cyber

Here's a photo I just took in the capital of China - Beijing.  I got up on top of one of the television towers at night. It was a wild night full of lights and colors! I'll put up a video soon on my YouTube channel at http://www.YouTube.com/stuckincustoms 

And yes, I took this with the NEX-7.  Even though I had my Nikon D800 with me, I continued the "experiment" of only going mirrorless in China!  I'm compiling results now...  here's a little preview though. Even at 100 ISO on a tripod, I am still getting compounded noise in the resulting shot.  It requires a bit more post-processing than before, but the amount of time there is counterbalanced with the amount of time and effort required in getting the camera in a shooting situation.  Anyway, I've got quite a "holistic" analysis going... if this is all news to you, see my Sony NEX Experiment in China article at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/05/09/the-china-experiment-dumping-nikon-for-sony/Photo: 北海公园 Beihai Park

I had another lovely, warm evening in Beijing.  There was not much of a sunset, but the smog/pollution makes the light so strange as the sun sets.  It reminds me of those really unusual skies you get after a volcanic eruption.Photo: Farewell Toronto!

I had a fun time in the Toronto during the Future of Travel Media #TBEX conference.  On one of the evenings, everyone headed over to Centre Island, where I set up after the stormy squall to get this shot.  Thanks again everyone in Toronto for coming up after the keynote and being so friendly -- that was fun!Photo: This is from a beautiful mall in China that's filled with dozens of sculptures.

Here's a little HDR tip for you if you are enjoying the sport as much as I am!  You may notice that some of your longer exposures, like your +2 or +3 may come out a little bit blurry because your shutter is open too long.  If that is the case, don't take them into Photomatix (or whatever your HDR program is).  If even just one of the photos you take into the algorithm is blurry, it confuses the whole process and your final photo will come out less sharp.Photo: I'm loving the new vertical shots on G+.  Here's a new one I took last week in China...  This area of town, the CBD (Central Business District) has these really cool lights on the edge of the roads that charge up during the day and glow all night...Photo: The Chinese military-industrial-complex watches...Photo: Something unusual I saw in an unusual part of China last week...

What do you think is happening here?Photo: Here's +Tom Anderson last week in Beijing using his Nikon D800E, shot with my Sony NEX-7!

And yes, I'm still working on my full analysis of what it was like just using the Sony instead of the Nikon for the whole trip! :)

By the way, thanks for all the good feedback on the newsletter we sent out last night.  I am glad you are enjoying it!  That was newsletter #44 -- can you believe it?  That sounds like a lot!   #HolyKawPhoto: What is it?

Here's another strange thing I found in China a few days ago...  any ideas?Photo: Here's a young girl (I guess? Hehe) I found back in a hutong not too far from where I stayed. If you ever get tired of the major sites around Chinese cities, a few steps back into the neighborhoods have an infinite number of scenes to shoot.Photo: A surreal tableau vivant from a BBQ with +Neal Stephenson.Photo: Idea:  Family videos on YouTube (and a question for YouTube Experts)

Summarized Question: What is the easiest way for a family to share a private playlist of family videos on YouTube?

So, I've taken to recording SO many videos of the family on my android phone (and now Glass too), and it's great to share them privately with my family all over the world on YouTube.   I used to burn DVDs every year around Christmas for the whole family using iMovie, but that's kind of a pain.  Now, the videos are nice and short, and there are a lot of them... uploading them all as "Unlisted" to YouTube then sharing the link seems to be pretty awesome.  I've also taken all my old family videos DVDs and ripped them and uploaded them to YouTube.  I feel good having a backup on the cloud.  And, frankly, it's often easier to go to YouTube rather than put in a DVD!

Question to YouTube Experts: So, I have made a playlist called "Family Videos" that contains about 60+ videos.  All the videos are "unlisted" but I can't figure out a way to make an "unlisted" playlist that I share with the family.  The playlist is either "Private" or "Public".  If it's private, then only I can see it, right?  It says I can "share" the private playlist, but no one can see it until it is public, and I don't want it public... so... what do I do?

I really want this private family playlist to work.  That way, the family can just always check this playlist for the "latest" videos.  Know what I mean?  Otherwise, I have to send out an email every time I add a new short video to the playlist.

And why is the "Playlist" so cool? Well I know that Grandparents especially like the way one video just plays after the next, automatically.Photo: An old corner in Beijing...  a quaint walk-up bakery...Photo: Here are some boats near Beihai Park in Beijing.Photo: New Lightroom 5 Presets Released!
(Yes they also work in LR4)

See http://store.stuckincustoms.com/tools/lightroom-5-presets -- these are all new, and I've also re-mastered some of the most popular ones from before. I'm uploading a new video now that shows all the new ones at New Lightroom Presets (LR5 and LR4)  -- I tried them out on about a dozen photos :)Photo: Clean, old street in China...Photo: This is what it looks like inside the Peking Opera house... you'd never guess this kind of elaborate decoration exists from the outside!Photo: Here's the rest of that story & image from yesterday. Which LOTR movie featured this mountain?

I just shared a photo of where I was flying with a chopper yesterday across the central part of the south island of New Zealand, and I thought you'd like to see another image from the same area.  This is the mountain you saw in the distance - Mount Cook.  I think it was in one of the Lord of the Rings movies?  Or maybe The Hobbit?  One of you smarties will know! :)

Anyhoo, this shot is from a closer vantage point to one of the roads that heads down into a dead-end at the end of the valley...  I have more photos over at www.StuckInCustoms.com !    #HolyKawPhoto: Thanks for coming out today in Christchurch to say hi!

Bonus:  Join me live on This Week in Tech tomorrow at http://live.twit.tv - I'll be joining from New Zealand where I'll be talking about what happened on Project Loon from Google [x]

We had a fun event here with Google at the Air Force Museum today.  People showed up from all over Central Otago to say hello!  It was cool to meet so many people... thanks for sharing your stories and telling me more about your photography, showing me your cameras, and all that stuff.  Here's one of the photos that was hanging up on the wall inside the museum... this is an area that the Loon balloons have been floating over all week! :)Photo: The Ruins of Christchurch, two years after the earthquakes.

I've been in Christchurch, New Zealand for about a week now.  It's been about two years since the most recent quake that sadly ruined a big chunk of the of the city.  It is ABSOLUTELY SURREAL to walk around the downtown area, much of which has been cordoned off in a post-apocalyptic zombie-like scene.  There are ruins still all over downtown, but there are new businesses, restaurants, hotels, and the like mixed in.  There's even a cool new shopping mall that's been built out of shipping containers. I don't even know how to describe everything here...    I'll post some more photos soon.Photo: Buddha sits alone in his temple in Beijing...Photo: 北京孔庙/北京孔廟

This is the Temple of Confucius... where I visited just recently in China.Photo: Exploring the back streets of China at night

Every alley and street is full of new sights and sounds.  Here's a little HDR Tip, if you wanna...  it's a little complex, but kind of handy.  So, what I do is take a series of brackets at 100 ISO.  That keeps everything nice and clean for processing.  But, things like those red lanterns are a'swingin' around.  So, I take another series at a very high ISO and low Aperture so they are nice and stable.  Then, I mask them into the final photo... and I smooth out the transition so it is gradual...   #HDR   #HolyKawPhoto: She brought Tom and I some food in this old ornate part of Beijing...  I asked if I could take her pictures as she went through this circular portal...Photo: from Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Where the super-heroes live... protecting the streets at night...Photo: Пособие по HDR по-русски - The HDR Tutorial is now in Russian and about a dozen other languages!  See http://www.stuckincustoms.com/hdr-tutorial-russian/Photo: Lighthouse in the sunset

And be sure to join us for our show Monday night (see your time on the event page at http://goo.gl/6v2aV ) to talk all about backing up your photos.  It should be a good show full of great information!Photo: The Cloud - backing up your photos both physical and virtual - the live show starts Soooooon!  We'll talk all about how we do this... a great group of people!

Get your mug of hot chocolate (or a stronger drink) and get ready to join us to talk all about this subject.  It starts at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET - and for your time, check  https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cvvvanilstra7b9g3qa6jh33cggPhoto: The Super Moon Sets in Queenstown

I woke up early this morning before sunrise.  I walked over to my cottage to start the fire and stuff to get it warm while I made coffee.  On the way back, I saw the moon was setting!  It was so bright, but nicely lit with the morning-purple clouds...Photo: Why I don't use Watermarks -- full article at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/06/25/why-i-dont-use-watermarks/

(repasting text-only-version)

Watermarks Get in the way of the art
I know my stance on this is not popular, but I don't really care. The photography-media is out there trying to scare you into protecting your work with watermarks... I urge you not to live your online life and make your online decisions based on fear. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. A little green friend once told me that.

As you may know, my work is all Creative Commons Non-Commercial. That means people, as long as they give credit and link back to www.StuckInCustoms.com , can use my images on their blogs, wallpaper, personal use – anything – as long as it is not used commercially. Every day, I upload a HUGE 6000+ pixel max-resolution image to the Internet. I do not have any fear at all… Believe me, it’s quite liberating living in a world without internet-stealth-fear.

This does not prevent licensing of the images. We do a ton of this activity when people contact us through the website.

So why don’t I use watermarks? It’s a multi-part philosophy:

Updated List o' Reasons

1) Watermarks look ugly. Whenever I look at a photo with a watermark, often times, ALL I can think about is that watermark! It's so distracting. Also, I find that I begin to psycho-analyze the photographer based on their font choice. I can tell immediately if they are a cheesy wedding photographer or someone that has no sense of graphic design couth. Now, maybe this is just me. But I don't want to spend any time thinking about the watermark. I just want to look at the image. And, conversely, I think this is what people want when they look at my images.  (and I know my good friend +Thomas Hawk agrees with me, so there! hehe)

2) Legitimate companies do not steal images to use commercially. So I don’t have any logical fear there. *In case of emergency, break glass and see #4

3) There are other services, like Google Reverse Image Search - http://www.google.com/insidesearch/features/images/searchbyimage.html - that can help my team easily find bottom-feeders that DO re-post your images.

4) We do register our images with the copyright office, so if someone uses an image commercially without a proper license, it is an easy lawsuit. Easy. We've had many many wins (often which happen even before you go to court), but we can't talk about them because it's always in the paperwork. But there are many online articles you can find out about our lawsuits... everyone from Time magazine to the Sydney Newspapers.

5) I don’t have to maintain two versions of each image – one with a watermark and one without.

6) NOT using watermarks and using creative commons helps more and more people to use your image freely for fun, which increases traffic and builds something I call “internet-trust." If more people link to your images, then you get more Google juice that flows down your river.

7) As image search and image recognition get better and better, there will be no need to watermark things. In a very short time, we'll be able to use online tools to find the original creator of an image.
Yes, last, there will be bottom-feeders that steal your stuff. I call this the cost of doing business on the internet. These are the Tic-Tacs that are stolen from the 7-11. It is impossible to maintain 100% of your digital inventory, so wanting "perfection" in your online strategy is an illusion.

(image below - Chicago from a Chopper... P.S. bonus trivia: Did you know that JJ Abrams has a print of this one?)Photo: Seen while crossing a bridge to get some food in Tokyo...Photo: Here's the ceiling of the Paris Opera I shot recently.  It's over 7000 pixels across if you want to zoom in!  I upload max rez to G+... so you can make it your hi-rez wallpaper or whatever you like... enjoy! :)Photo: Temple of Confucius

Here's one of the beautiful temples I visited a few weeks ago in China...Photo: Here is one of the sprawling scenes from China... also taken with the Sony NEX-7.  I'm still working on that big analysis, talking about what happened with the experiment from http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/05/09/the-china-experiment-dumping-nikon-for-sony/Photo: Photo: Mistakenly (and happily!) found when walking through an alley in Marseilles, France...Photo: 10 Free Books! Just leave a comment & tell me if you want to win!

I'm giving away a bunch of books over at www.Flatbooks.com in celebration of our All-Photography-Authors G+ Hangout show yesterday at https://plus.google.com/+TreyRatcliff/posts/YXEdRPvPZAs - I hope you enjoy that hangout as much as we did.  It's full of all kinds of Photography Tips and Tricks!

We'll pick randomly from below tomorrow and let you know if you won! :)Photo: Jagged mountains in the morning light...Photo: The Streets of Montpellier by night

Usually I go in after dusk... but, when the streets are so wonderful in the night... I never want to go back!

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The sun burns slowly down into the deep sea...Photo: The Mighty Rocket Rests

I had some time during the day while at NASA to visit the Kennedy Space Center.  Inside was the insanely huge Saturn V rocket.  It's one of those things that would hurt like hell if you dropped it on your toe.  The shuttle only has one more launch before it is forever mothballed, like this...  The final launch of the Atlantis is on July 8, the first day of my 40th revolution around the sun.  That's kinda cool I think...

from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The Batmobile (...with trailer-hitch!)Photo: Photo: Gather the kids - Space Talk with +Ron Garan  VERY soon!

3 PM PT, 6 PM ET and 10 AM New Zealand time! Check your time in the event at https://plus.google.com/events/cdvjdpl158qp9pmf2gji24u95cs 

To watch the event live, just watch the stream here at https://plus.google.com/+TreyRatcliff/posts -- feel free to ask questions live and we can see them from the classroom !  See you soooooon! :)Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: A fantastical ceiling... reminds me of Myst... but in real life, inside the Paris Opera.Photo: This is a huge, solar-powered flower that opens and turns and follows the sun...  a beautiful piece of robotic art in Argentina...Photo: I'm really looking forward to going back to Burning Man this year.  I've just made all my arrangements, so everything is getting rather exciting!  I'm taking my family this time, and we'll be there with my good friends +Cliff Baise and +Cher Baise.

Maybe we should plan a big photowalk this time?  That would be pretty wild...Photo: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto: Testing uploading photos...  Here's a random person I met by the temple one day.  She said she didn't think she was interesting enough for me to take a photograph.  I told her I disagreed!  I actually don't even know who she is.  I wish I could share this photo with her.  Maybe through the magic of the internet she will find it one day. :)Photo: An old Medieval village -- from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The Four Seasons in Vancouver - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: *Mickey Mouse Tries Google Glass*

He loves it!  See the big smile on his face! :)  Hehe… we're having a great time here on the Disney cruise to Alaska…  Going to see Tracy Arm today and some glaciers, so will be exciting!  Also, I saw some people here from the Google+ Austin Photowalk too -- in fact, we're re-enacting the photo walk on Deck 9 right now! :)Photo: Alaska Sunset from the Deck

As we started to get closer to land yesterday, the sky lit up with a late night summer sunset.  This was taken about 10 PM off the upper deck of the cruise.  And yes, I'm just using the NEX-7 and NEX-6 this trip... so all new photos from Alaska will be from one of those! :)Photo: Disney Cruise Hallway - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Aboard the Disney Ship at sunsetPhoto: Island in the Glacial Blue

I'm amazed at how many islands I'm seeing in these fjords in Alaska... I guess I am used to New Zealand where there are hardly any islands deep in the fjords.  If you look in the distance, you can see a glacier.Photo: Four Seasons in VancouverPhoto: View of Alaska - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Pulling into golden and beautiful Vancouver under the Lion's Gate bridge...Photo: The massive glacier loomed... at one point I heard an unholy crack as part of the ice calved off into the water and turned over in movie-style slow motion...  from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Vancouver, Canada - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Alaska Sunset - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The Amazing Museum of Evolution in Paris - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Gundam Style - Tokyo, Japan, - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Wall-e on the Disney Cruise - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto: Going up the stairs in the Chateau... from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: The Light in the SkyPhoto: The Coast...Photo: The Spiral - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Disney Castle - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Horses Wild... in Yellowstone - from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: Yellowstone Morning Steamy RiverPhoto: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The gates of Kyoto - from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: From Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The mist rolls through the highlands and creates endless waterfalls...Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The Evening in the Dark Tower

I'm about to go on stage here in Auckland for the talk... I got some questions yesterday so I will put up people that are interested in this sort of thing:  http://caaspeakers.com/trey-ratcliff/ 

The next talk is in Australia, but it is sold out.  There may be more tickets available at the last minute - be sure to follow +Darren Rowse and +ProBlogger to see if more come available.

After the talk today, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to come up and ask me anything... happy to answer! :)Photo: Ranjit is currently sitting in front of an old restaurant on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. He used to work in a nearby factory, making aluminum parts, but he was replaced after his cataracts got too heavy and he began making mistakes. Ranjit does not like being a burden on his son, who doesn't come to see him much anymore. He says, motioning off into the distance behind me, "The boy is in Putrajaya, living in government house." He keeps reaching out in that direction, groping around, as if he is trying to find a light switch in the dark.Photo: The buddhas in the belltowers

Across the wilds of Indonesia...Photo: www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: From Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The Path of Fantasy

I was out on a walk the other night in Auckland... I was listening to music and thought this little scene was popped right out of a fairy tale! :)Photo: Farewell Auckland!

I had a wonderful time in Auckland!  Here's the shot I did together in the NZIPP masterclass yesterday.  It is exciting that all the money raised by the class yesterday is going to fund scholarships for future students!  I hope you learned a bunch of cool tricks and had a good time… we will do it again soon, Auckland ! :)

I see that USA today and +Jefferson Graham are doing a story on Google+ photos.  I told the whole class and others watching around the world that I would post this on Google+ first… and so that helps extend the experience beyond wherever I happened to be.  This is the second photo I posted of Auckland...  and I am always honored when people are keeping up with this stuff and enjoying the latest photos.Photo: www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The colors of Yosemite...

I'm glad people enjoyed the +This Week in Photo (TWiP) today - sorry my bandwidth got all chopped up.  I'll repost the OTHER video I made with +Frederick Van Johnson tomorrow... where we go through the whole matter...  I know lots of people disagree with me on these points... that's cool.  It's a long life... maybe you'll come around and we'll share a cup of coffee some day and laugh about the old days! :)Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Stairs to the Monastery

I went up and down those stairs about six times throughout the night to explore this amazing place. The best part was that it was completely bereft of tourists. Whenever you get to walk around a huge medieval walled town like this in the middle of the night with no one around, you really begin to feel like you’re not supposed to be there, as if you’ve broken into some place secret…Photo: The intricate tilework

On the way back from Normandy, I stopped at this amazing cathedral to take photos.  Can you name it?  It's a little tricky because this particular photo was taken in the second, underground church.  I never would have found it if it was not for sweet sweet Stuck On Earth!  This app is available for free on Android and iOS, btw.  The Mac version is going into the app store soon... also free! :)Photo: The last bit of sunlight of the day grabs the edge of the hill...  here in New Zealand on the way home to Queenstown...Photo: Another friendly sheep here in New Zealand… checkin' me out on my way home... :)Photo: From Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: From Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Here's one of my favorite places - The Crimson Lounge in Chicago...  It's a great place to hang out... and a great place for photography! :)Photo: Here are some of my drawings...Photo: Burning Man PhotoWalk - All Levels Welcome.  All Ages Welcome.  All [Dress] Welcome.

More about the event: https://plus.google.com/events/c3ppo0hen96dvo8cjah9n7i11oc

This will be A M A Z I N G ! I can’t wait to walk around the desert with all of you and see what there is to be seen and see beyond that. Come alone or bring a friend (no worries, you’ll make new friends too!) — we will have a great time.

When: 6 PM on Wednesday Aug 28.
Where: Outside of Center Camp – between Center Camp and The Man

Are you just a beginner with a small camera or mobile phone? No worries – you are more than welcome!  Personally, I'll be bringing my tripod, but this is not necessary.  This is a very friendly group, and we will walk around for a few hours through the sunset and see where the winds take us. Just look for me and +Cliff Baise  … we’ll be there and ready to go!Photo: Crossing the bridge close to midnight...Photo: from Trey Ratcliff www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: The Ancient Waves of the Desert

Utah is non-stop with the photo action -- I'm having such a wonderful time. I've taken thousands of photos and constantly on the move. And... all of this a week before Burning Man, where I'll be going photo-crazy again! :)

If you want to join me on a PhotoWalk there in the desert, be sure to look HERE for details: http://goo.gl/V5EFUW -- see you soon!Photo: Here's an amazing alien landscape right here on Earth...  this is a huge, and I mean huge, chunk of the earth that shoots straight out into the Utah landscape...  just saw this yesterday - what a place!Photo: The Cool Highlands around Queenstown, New Zealand

Here's a photo I took a few days ago in New Zealand before I came here to the deserts of Utah.  I was just thinking about this because it was so nice and cool there, and it is so blisteringly hot here!  I took this photo from a helicopter when I was flying around with +Kim Dotcom  and Louisa Patterson! :)  She took a photo of me after we landed and put it up on her FB page... I gotta convince her to get a Google+ page for her business! :)  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151605006033553&set=a.398840053552.165313.59223658552&type=1Photo: Now traveling through Moab, Utah... what a place this is... full of geological spectacles at every turn! :)

If you're wondering what Lightroom Preset this is -- it is "Sunday Alone Time" from pack #8! :)Photo: Leaving Moab like a thief of light in the night...

This is part of Arches National Park.  Wow I haven't spent nearly enough time here -- but that just means I get to come back some day!! :)Photo: Taking the Long Road to Burning Man

Hey, btw, is anyone coming to Burning Man and the PhotoWalk (link below) and have an extra Nikon D800 charger for my friend +Cliff Baise? He forgot his! I'm all Sony now... so my D800 charger is back in NZ... but I'm hoping one of you does! Drop him a note if you do have an extra... you guys can figure out how to hook up in Black Rock City!

Here is the link to the PhotoWalk: https://plus.google.com/events/c3ppo0hen96dvo8cjah9n7i11ocPhoto: Driving back through Vegas otw to the Burn

Here I am, just driving through the Valley of Fire to the firely lights of Las Vegas beyond...Photo: The Desert is Burning

I'm deep in the playa right now... internet is hard to come by, but I found a few bits floating through to send you this image.  This amazing sculpture towers over the desert...  60,000 people are here this year and it towers over all of us.   #BurningManPhoto: *The Desert Portal*

Here is one of over 200 crazy artcars here that roam the desert day and night. Each one plays a different kind of music, and you can get on at any time in a random location before then dropping you off in another random location, where you can wait for another random car to pick you up.Photo: --Bunny Watch--

This year there are 60,000 people here, which means 60,000 different costumes (at least, many people bring 2 or 3!) all week long.  This was taken right before the Bunny March against Humanity, were at least 2,000 people showed up in bunny costumes and hopped about a mile across the desert together.Photo: The Music Before they Burned the Church

Here's a photo from the Burning Man photowalk - thanks again everyone for coming out!  It was so fun!! :)  I'm looking forward to seeing all the photos as people begin to upload them.

This inventive church has hymn sheets that fly out of the organ.  When people sit down to play, all the sheets light up in different colors and flow out of the church through the windows and the roof.  It is a really amazing piece of art.  It's called the "Church Trap" because right behind me is a big stick that is holding up one end of the church...  Last night they burned the whole thing down while we sat around the outside to watch...  #BurningManPhoto: The Alien Crashsite in the Desert

We're not far from Area 51 here at Burning Man in Nevada.  My good friend +Cliff Baise decided to dress up his 12-year-old son Seth as an alien then came up with the idea to go out to this alien crash site sculpture on the night it burned.  We went out there with everyone and my own son, +Ethan Ratcliff helped him ham it up by doing a human-alien-communication scene. Needless to say, this really tripped out all the people that were already on acid.

#BurningManPhoto: PhotoWalk in Brisbane!

I'm in San Francisco but flying to Australia very soon!  Let's do a photowalk in Brisbane -- see the event details at  https://plus.google.com/events/ctdp5svlqlrci47f2a29mn4f1ak  -- thanks again to +Stephan Bollinger ! :)Photo: In San Francisco for a few days before heading to the big PhotoWalk in Brisbane, Australia -- hope to see you there! Info on the photowalk at https://plus.google.com/events/ctdp5svlqlrci47f2a29mn4f1ak !!

I'll be seeing my friend +Claude Leveille and a few others here... maybe even jumping out on a yacht to take photos of America's Cup!Photo: Updated Location for the Brisbane, Australia PhotoWalk! 

I'm about to leave SF to head to Brisbane for the big photowalk and Problogger speech at http://probloggerevents.com/speakers/ 

Event info for the PhotoWalk: https://plus.url.google.com/url?sa=z&n=1378627677151&url=https%3A%2F%2Fplus.google.com%2Fevents%2Fctdp5svlqlrci47f2a29mn4f1ak&usg=ZidtmBcUjdr3jcHV3yBs9P8C2bQ.

Below is the updated info and location

Come and join us for a great evening of photography and learning ! :)  We'll be walking around and enjoying the "Santos City of Lights" at the end of the walk... This is my first time in Brisbane, so I am so excited.  A big thanks to +Stephan Bollinger  for helping to put this all together!

Meeting Date:  Thur, Sep 12
Meeting Time:  4 PM
UPDATED Location: Queenspark, behind the Treasury Casino at Google Map Location: http://goo.gl/6NR9eh
What to bring:  Any camera (even mobile phones!) and/or tripods!  I'll have my camera and tripod...
Who to bring: A family-friendly event!  Bring the whole brood! :)

I'll be setting up to take many photos and telling everyone what I am doing.  You are welcome to ask me any question from beginner to advanced -- happy to answer!Photo: Sunset from the Google offices in Tokyo, Japan

I'm posting this in honor of #sunsetday  and the big event on Sept 19 with +The Weather Channel :)  It'll be a sunset-event extravaganza with a BIG hangout where anyone can come join us to ask questions about how to take interesting photos of sunsets!

Pasted below from the great +Karen Hutton 
Here are all the details: http://goo.gl/XYdyVF...
and  *here is the event itself: http://goo.gl/zG1Hqc.* 

THIS THURSDAY, Sept. 12 at 1pm PT / 4pm ET ... I'll be joining +Trey Ratcliff  +Thomas Hawk  and +Nicole S. Young  to help you prepare to take the most AWESOME sunset photo possible!

We'll be in an OnAir Hangout hosted by The Weather Channel  to answer questions about the best gear, strategies and whatever else you were wondering about photographing sunset awesomeness!

Come join us!! It gon' be funnnnnnn! :D

OH! And if you were wondering about the meteorology of a sunset... they got you covered there too! They did an HOA about it yesterday: http://goo.gl/Zh7utT.Photo: www.stuckincustoms.comPhoto: Lightroom Presets - New Stuff from Burning Man with free upgrades! See Before and After shots
http://store.stuckincustoms.com/tools - Enjoy

So I just added a bunch more presets from my time in the desert, and if you purchased "Trey's Lightroom 5 Presets" in the past then it is a Free Upgrade ! :)  Just log into our store, go to "My Downloads" and re-download "Trey's Lightroom 5 Presets" again for all the new stuff.

We recently renamed "Trey's Lightroom 5 Presets" to "Trey's Lightroom Presets - Volume 2". If you own Volume 2 then you've already got the new Bonus set.

I think you'll love the new presets, and I've also gone in and fixed up some of the HDR ones in the existing volumes.  There are 20 other little minor tweaks too based on feedback and new ideas.  I hope you love them!

You can zoom into any of those and see an example of the before-and-after.  Note this is just Lightroom effects - nothing more!

Questions?  Contact support@stuckincustoms.com!Photo: Today is a big travel day - leaving the Arizona to come back home to New Zealand.  This is third trans-pacific flight in one week!

Here's a photo from yesterday of the amazing pool that has ever-changing-colors under the water at the +Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North  -- that place rocks!Photo: Over Dalefield, between Queenstown and Arrowtown.  from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.comPhoto: New Book on HDR Photography - Downloadable now! 
(includes links to RAW files so you can follow along)

http://www.flatbooks.com/introduction-to-hdr - it's super-beautiful, well laid out, and you'll get a lot out of it if you're interested in this kind of photography. Enjoy! :)Photo: from the blog www.stuckincustoms.com