Best Landscape Photography of Week

landscape photography chosen in the challenge of this week:

Big Sur in the Morning

Image by Stuck in Customs
Destination Google!
On Monday Feb 1, I’m speaking at Google for their Authors@Google program. The whole thing will be recorded, so I’ll be able to share it back with the world here once it goes up. You can find out more by following @GoogleTalks. And thanks to Mike Wiacek @MikeWiacek who is the head of the Google Photog Club and to Cliff Redeker @mcrsquared for getting the whole thing set up… I am excited!

Later that afternoon, I’m giving a private photography workshop to people at Google back in one of their secret rooms… That should be a lot of fun too. I’ll be going through, in person, what I have in the HDR Tutorial here on the site.

There is a public photowalk and talk on Thursday, Feb 4 at Stanford. We’ll meet at 4 PM at the The Oval, and then meet at 5:30 in one of the auditoriums for the talk.

Private Tour at Hearst Castle
I’m driving up the coast towards Silicon Valley, and I decided to take my time and leisurely drive up Highway 1. I’m doing my best to fill the trip with planned and unplanned adventures.

I spent a big chunk of the day up at Hearst Castle. I was given a private tour whilst guarded by one of LAPD’s finest, who is now a security guard at the castle. I had carte blanche to go anywhere and shoot everything – it was totally amazing! I got into the wine cellar, into the top two spires where there are tiny bedrooms, and all over the place. It was just amazing — I have not had time to process the photos yet… but… you won’t believe it!

Daily Photo – Big Sur in the Morning
5:30 AM. Alarm goes off. It’s always painful. People that say they are "morning people" — I think they are lying. But, when in a beautiful place, I always force myself, military style, to pop out of bed. There are hikes to be made and photos to take!

I stayed at the Ragged Point Inn. My room had a little fireplace and everything (which made it even harder to get out of bed!). After I got downstairs, I started a little hike to get a good vantage of the coast and the sunrise. Of course, there was a fence blocking the best bit, so I jumped over it like Carl Lewis (a much older, whiter, and less jumpy Carl Lewis), and edged along the rocky coast to get a good spot. I forgot to put on my hiking shoes and mistakenly donned my Cole-Haans while in the dark. Big mistake. Those don’t make for good hiking shoes, especially after five minutes of getting soaked in morning dew from the foliage I was ripping my way through.

But, I had on my earphones and was blasting away music… all was good… the sun came up, the clouds were perfect, and I took this photo.

from Trey Ratcliff at

The Glacially Still Morning Lake

Image by Stuck in Customs
(see the blue of the glacier in the large one!)

Speaking at Ignite Austin
Ignite Austin is a most unlikely event – an unexpected format. Here’s the deal. I get 5 minutes to speak. All 16 participants go one right after the next in a rapid-fire serial pattern. There are 20 slides that I will speak to, and each one will be up for 15 seconds before automatically flipping to the next one. I’ve already submitted my plans, and I guess my thoughts on HDR photography looked to be interesting enough!

Another Nightly Twitter Book-Question Answering Session

I decided to do something kind of different and potentially crazy – I do my best to answer ALL questions about the book on Twitter. I sat down tonight and announced I was open for questions, and many came in both publicly and via DM. I got them all answered! I’m not sure I can keep this up forever, but it is very fun. I thank you guys for getting the book, and I want to be as accessible as possible to help you with the sport of HDR!

Daily Photo – The Glacially Still Morning Lake
I woke up and my sleeping bag was covered in snow. Brrrrr it was cold. And I mean cold! I had chosen to exile myself from the tent, since I pulled the short straw and had to sleep with Yuri. He is the worst tentmate ever. Worst. Tentmate. Evar.

Anyway, once I rousted myself (getting dressed IN the snow AS it is falling on you is very strange), I went on a little hike to warm up. As I crested a hill, I found this beautiful still lake. The wind had yet to kick up, and I could se the bright blue edge of the glacier burning through the morning fog. I was so relaxed that I almost forgot to take the shot. Almost.

From the blog at

Harmony in Pink

Image by Stuck in Customs
Behind the Scenes at B&H
After my talk at B&H Photo a few weeks ago, I had an unexpected event. One of the head guys walked up to me and offered a full behind-the-scenes tour of their operation. Now, I know only some of you know about this place… but it is basically the valhalla for photographers (with valhalla being the ultimate religious destination for your respective religion or pastafarianism). Since they are partners of, they have always gone out of their way to help me out, so I am very appreciative of them.

I recommended their store even before they partnered up! Great prices, no state tax, and they sell a lot more than camera stuff. You can even get huge TVs delivered right to your door and set up in right in your home.

For international people, they even have a prepay tariff-calcualtor, which takes care of all that governmental nonsense to get everything taken care of right away. Smart. That means people around the world can enjoy the greatness of B&H.

Anyway, the sights I saw can hardly be believed. I’ll do a full review of my behind-the-curtain tour when I get some time… but it was just wild… from the robotic conveyor belts to a camera room with a guard where nothing costs less than ,000 to special equipment that can also be used as weapons and can’t be sold outside of the USA — this place is AWESOME.
New Zealand Seems Excited!
I announced in the newsletter a few days ago that I am going to New Zealand, so I started a little page for Kiwis and Wanabiwis to give me some advice! It’s filling up fast – thanks so much! I’m drinking it all in, and I hope to have a little party there with everyone.
Daily Photo – Harmony in Pink
It was my first evening in Patagonia I was hiking over the low-laying grassy hills. Just beyond were the Andes, but it would be too cold and late to go this night. But, just as the sun dipped below the horizon, it splashed pinks and new blues across the icy clouds.

Driving into the Andes

Image by Stuck in Customs
Guest post on Scott Bourne’s Blog – Black & White HDR Photography
I did a guest post over on PhotoFocus about B&W HDR Photography. There is a quote in there that got tweeted out — "HDR is about light; it’s not about color." It’s true! Anyway, you can go read the guest post on his site.
Review of David duChemin’s book, Within the Frame
"Within the Frame" is a great book and I recently gave it a 5-star review on Amazon. Here is what I said about David’s work:
David presents all of his thoughts in a wonderful and inspiring way.

I find, personally, that the typical photography book is predictable and obvious. I like thinkers that challenge the status-quo, and David certainly falls in that realm. This book will inspire you because he’ll give you new ways to think about stuff you’ve been thinking about for years. If you are the kind of person that just wants old tired dictums being reinforced, then this isn’t the book for you. It’s full of new, fresh thought, smart conclusions, and, of course, beautiful photographs.

The world of Photography is changing, and David is one of the great flag bearers of the new age.
I also invite you to visit David’s website. He’s got his own review of my book there, which was awful nice of him!
Daily Photo – The Long Road to the Andes
There was a series of plane hops and car rides to get down towards the very edge of Argentina. At one point, I felt like I was on this road for a good 5 hours in a very sketchy rental van.

We pulled over to the road to relieve ourselves. I was ill-prepared for how windy this place is. There’s just no good way to capture how windy it was, since everything over one foot off the ground had blown away an epoch ago. The only evidence I have is that this was made with a single RAW file since I could not keep the tripod still for multiple exposures! I could not even keep myself upright! Let’s not talk about how I had to relieve myself; I can simply say there is only one good direction to aim.

From the blog at

Two Paths Through the Tangled Japanese Forest

Image by Stuck in Customs
Daily Photo – Two Paths Through the Tangled Japanese Forest
The day in Kyoto had a steady light rain. When I was going through this forest, I was able to lower the umbrella. The little droplets seemed to get caught up in the upper canopy of the trees. Big drops would plop down from time to time, but it was kind of nice, in a storybook way.

I got to this point and couldn’t decide which way to go… which way would you have gone?

from the blog

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