Siem Reap – Stuck in Customs

Like a British Explorer

Books now in print at MagCloud

HDR PhotoOne of the most common requests we get for our eBooks over at is “Can we get it in print?” Now the answer is “Yes!”

We got everything up on HP’s MagCloud and ordered some test copies as an experiment, and I was blown away. At first, I was afraid it was going to be like a high-quality Kinkos copy, but it wasn’t. It was very thick and beautiful paper, bound on the edges just like a real book. Well, I don’t know why I say it like that… because it is a real book. If you have something you want to print out of your own, or publish something like a real book on Magcloud, then I recommend it!

The books we have up there avail for print (or downloadable eBook) are Composing the Photo, Top 10 HDR Mistakes, and Digital Workflow.

Daily Photo – Like a British Explorer

If you get to Angkor Wat very early in the morning, or befriend a monk and get to stay very late into the evening, then you can forget that you’re past the year 2011. It doesn’t take long before you feel like one of those classical British explorers, tromping through the jungle, finding ancient treasures. And, of course, you get to wear those little fancy hats and everything…

But, at the same time, after many days of mega-humid exploration, every time you wake up, you’re half-convinced you’ve contracted Legionnaires’ disease. It’s that unsettling feeling of waking up overseas in a cold sweat in a strange bed thinking, “OMG, I’m pretty sure my kidney shouldn’t feel quite like this.”

Like a British ExplorerIf you get to Angkor Wat very early in the morning, or befriend a monk and get to stay very late into the evening, then you can forget that you're past the year 2011. It doesn't take long before you feel like one of those classical British explorers, tromping through the jungle, finding ancient treasures. And, of course, you get to wear those little fancy hats and everything...But, at the same time, after many days of mega-humid exploration, every time you wake up, you're half-convinced you've contracted Legionnaires' disease. It's that unsettling feeling of waking up overseas in a cold sweat in a strange bed thinking, "OMG, I'm pretty sure my kidney shouldn't feel quite like this."- Trey RatcliffRead the rest of this entry and a little plug for MagCloud here at the Stuck in Customs blog.


Searching For Water

New Podcast Interview available

You can now listen to Digital Convergence Episode 33 – thanks again to Carl Olson for the nice interview.  Here is a snippit from his website:

In today’s episode, Trey and I talk about a wide range of topics. For filmmakers, Trey discusses his interest in how the human brain responds to high speed video. He has conducted a number of interesting experiments using low cost point-and-shoot cameras that can record video at high frame rates.

We delve briefly into the topic of HDR photography and then discuss a number of topics on the “edge” of visual arts. Trey manages to fool me into thinking he has taken up oil painting. Find out how he accomplished that!

We move on to the topic of “the decade of the artist” – how business models have changed for visual artists in the 21st century. Trey candidly talks about his business model and why he chose to go the route he did.

Daily Photo – Searching For Water

The amazing Ta Prohm ruins of Cambodia have secrets around every turn.  These enigmatic trees grow up and over everything.  I was amazed by the girth and length of this lateral root system, as the trees search everywhere for water.

I would LOVE to see a timelapse of this tree growing.  Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing in the world?  If you have ever seen a good simulation of this in video, please let me know… Some of these things we find in the real world are almost impossibly awesome.

HDR Photo


Best Places for Photos in London & The Lotus Sunrise

Free London PhotoWalk Details!

Everyone is welcome to come on out.  I look forward to meeting you…  If I don’t have a chance to introduce myself personally to you, please do not hesitate to come up and say hello whilst we wind about the streets of London together!

  • Facebook Event: See FB Event Here
  • Cost: Free! Like all my PhotoWalks
  • Time Start:  Friday, Sep 10, 6PM.   (Critical sunset is at 7:30ish)
  • Location: South Bank right outside the National Theatre (Google Map)
  • Getting there: How to Get to the National Theatre.
  • PhotoWalk End: We will end about 8 PM or so at a nearby Pub / Light Eating place…  And just hang out there, look at photos on the back of our cameras, geek out, talk, you can come over and introduce yourself, etc etc.  Very casual…
  • Plan: After a quick hello, we will walk together and take photos.  I’ll stop 5 times or so and set up formally for a shot and talk through it.  You are welcome to listen, ask questions, or meander about.  We will start by going past the Festival Hall and down to the London Eye, where we should have a good shot of the Westminster / Westminster Bridge / Big Ben.

And thank you to Greg Annandale (@greg_a on Twitter), who will be joining us at the HDR Workshop in London as well, for helping to set this up!

By the way, do you have professional video equipment and want to do a little extra during the PhotoWalk? Let me know !

The Ultimate London Photography Poll!

Thanks for all the suggestions on places to shoot a few days ago! I’ve done my best to compile them here into a poll… (This is not for the PhotoWalk, but instead for my week or so in London). Also, maybe others can use this list in the future too!

You can select ONE to TEN (10) of your favorites!

[poll id=”3″]

Daily Photo – The Lotus Sunrise

These delicate shapes are seen on a variety of temples all over southeast Asia, India, and other parts of the Far East. It is the shape of a Lotus Blossom, a timeless symbol, and it is repeated over and over here at Angkor Wat.

The lotus represents the purity of body, speech, and mind. Like the lotus, these should float above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.

The shot below was taken around 5 or 6 AM in the morning. While shooting, I was attended to by a small Cambodian girl that would bring me strong Vietnamese coffee whenever I ran out, which was often. I don’t know where she would go to get it — she would disappear off into the jungle and come walking calmly back every 15 minutes or so, smiling.

HDR Photo


Wrapping Around Time

Updating the D3S Review

As I take more and more photos with the D3S, I add them to the Nikon D3S Review here on the site.  Whenever possible, I try to include info such like the ISO, shutter speed, and this sort of thing.  I hope it is helpful, even if you are not going to get the camera!

Daily Photo – Wrapping Around Time

The ancient ruins of Angkor Wat are wild and unprotected.  I think the country just cannot afford to properly keep the sites maintained.  This is both good and bad.  It’s good for me, since I can go anywhere, climb anywhere, and take photos of anything.  I’m very careful when I am near these places, and I don’t disturb the natural order of things. The bad part is that graverobbers are everywhere, snatching this and snatching that.

These old banyan trees grow up and around everything.  The roots become crazily and beautifully entangled.  If I’m not mistaken, I believe that these are also sometimes used as bonsai trees.


Under the Ancient Skies

Processing Photos Out of Order

Some of you that have heard me talk have heard my discussions of why you should process photos out of chronological order. I was reminded of this because of these Cambodia photos, like the one below.

Boiled down, here are some reasons:
1) It is silly to feel “overwhelmed” by processing one group of photos before you can process the next.
2) If you process them all right away, then you will not know all the processing tricks you will learn in the next few years
3) There is a lot of excitement in going back to revisit places you have been… it keeps all memories in a constant tumble-dry.

Daily Photo – Under the Ancient Skies

Sometimes, an HDR image of a cool place can come out a little boring, even in an interesting place such as this.  So, often times I will run the image through a black and white treatment which can help take a boring photo and make it more interesting.

As I begin the processing, I sometimes discover a photo is more about shape, line, and contrast than it is about color, light, and saturation.  It’s all still there, in all it’s HDR glory, but the emphasis has had a bit of a correction.


The Lotus Mystery

What’s in my bag?

I try to get into my suggested equipment area in the Digital SLR camera secion to keep it fresh every few months.  I added a few new things this weekend and generally cleaned it up.  Maybe you will see some goodies in there!  It’s sort of a text-version of what’s in my bag.

Bamboo Forest Print, Finally Available!

This has now joined the small selection of Limited Edition Numbered Series prints.  We only do these in series of 250, so that they remain scarce and unique. In fact, this is now the only way we release prints..  You can get a smaller on fine art paper for as low as $99, and then it scales up from there.  I suggest the stunning 72″ giant canvas size that will go in your living room. Look, I don’t really want (or need) to oversell these things… If you want it, then you can easily get it… I just post soft reminders every week to let you know which new print has come available, and this one is a highly anticipated release.

The Bamboo Forest and some great Twitter Lists to follow

Daily Photo – The Lotus Mystery

You perhaps have seen this “lotus” shape on the top of many SE Asian temples (and India as well as many more places).  It’s a peaceful and beautiful shape that has deep meaning to many of these cultures.  There is something naturally soothing about its contours.

While I took this photo in Cambodia, a small Thai girl would come bring me hot Vietnamese coffees every 15 minutes or so.  These are strong coffees that are mixed with sweet condensed milk.  They are thick, sweet, and tasty. I remember it all fondly…

On most of these little trips, nothing goes as planned… but I go into the adventure knowing this will be the case, so I effortlessly roll through most of the mishaps because interesting and unexpected things always end up happening.

The Lotus Mystery


The Forgotten (Yes you can do HDR Black and White!)

Tinychat Video Interview

Yesterday, we did a little video interview with @Peachpit, the book publisher. It went pretty well, except for the Porn Spam. But…. that drifts away after a few minutes. Special thanks to Pat O’Brien who uploaded a recording here.

Daily Photo – The Forgotten

This was brought up in the chat session yesterday — Black and White HDRs! Yes, they are possible, and they are a lot of fun!  I don’t do it that much because I am so in love with vibrant colors.. but sometimes, on a lark, I’ll do it.  The one below, of a forgotten temple in Cambodia, is a simple black and white with a bit of a sepia tone.  Enjoy!

The Forgotten


Talking on the Jeejah

One morning when I was walking around Angkor Wat, I saw this monk there, chatting away on his mobile phone. I thought it was just all so unusual — I had to take a shot! Many monks from all over Asia come here on pilgrimage. I suppose he could have been talking to someone in his home precinct. Are they called precincts? I don’t know.

Also, if any of you have read the new Neal Stephenson book, you will get the “Jeejah” reference. It’s a very interesting book about, well… I am not ruining anything here, but it starts out with the tale of a monk. They are not familiar with all the technologies used by the outside (extramuros) world, and they call mobile phones “jeejahs”. There is a whole array of new words in there for the new world he has created… his books are thought provoking as always.

Talking on the Jeejah


Approaching the Inner Temple

These places were a joy to explore. My friend Ben Willmore is heading to the temples of Angkor soon, so I am hooking him up with some of the locals there that helped get me around. I’m sure he’ll have as much fun exploring these places as I did. While it was fun, there was sometimes not a stable place to step. I don’t have the strongest ankles in the world (thanks to a bunch of soccer injuries), so it got a little sketchy in spots! When you see some of those distant mysterious doorways, it’s hard not to want to trample over to have a closer look.

Approaching the Inner Temple


My driver in Cambodia

This was my driver in Siem Reap, Cambodia. He’s a heck of a nice guy. We had a growing retinue as the weekend wore on, and he was always there to help out! First it started out with just my guide, Ratanak (who recently set up his own Cambodia Tour Guide site here – I recommend him!), and then we added one monk and then another. By the end, we had five us piled into his car and we were having a great time.

He was there every morning at 4:30 AM to pick me up for first light and there every night until sunset. We kind of bonded because of the one-eye thing… (I also only see from one eye). I asked about it and he said it happened when he was a young boy. It’s been gradual, but he has gotten used to it; He seemed to be at as much ease as the monks in the backseat with me. Below are a few of the places he took me… thanks again mate!

My Driver in Cambodia

The Buddha King of Angkor Wat

Evening Night Bathing Angkor Wat under Impending Storm