I don’t often do staged shots, but I did this time! I was at this amazing library in Tianjin with Curtis and one of the ladies from the Ritz-Carlton. I thought the photo would look better with a person in there pretending to read a book, and it does! It was pretty funny because in the first take we realized the book was upside down.
Here’s one of the new pieces from Series 2 of the fine art called The Impossible Library. We decided to make these a little smaller to fit on the walls of regular people! Haha… Series 1 has been doing great and many are sold out, but not everyone has a ton of room to hang pieces that can be 6 to 10 feet wide.
In this episode, while walking on the El Camino in Spain, I talk with Kevin Kelly about one of his many projects, the 10,000 Year Library. And yes, you can participate! It’s a really fun concept… I won’t spoil it!
When we went to the crazy library in Tianjin, we decided to have some fun and do some posed shots. That Curtis there on the right and the lady on the left was one of the ladies from the Ritz-Carlton that brought us here. She is probably the most giggly person I have ever met in my life. Literally, anything I would say or do would make her giggle uncontrollably. But, I actually like this quality in people… I like when they laugh at my jokes even when they make absolutely no sense.
Christmas idea – Invite your friends and family to Passport Sunday!
Hey guys, this is a little self-serving for sure, but it is also you-serving! I find that finding good Christmas presents is Very Difficult! I want to give something unique, and never sure what to give. Anyway, why not give the weekly present of the Stuck In Customs Passport?? It’s a fun thing for anyone who is either creative, into photography, or maybe just curious. Today is Passport Sunday, where I release a new video every week… It’s a fun gift because every week, your family member or friend will be reminded of how much you love them! 🙂
And here is the image I created in today’s video… quite a bit of Photoshop gymnastics was required but that’s all part of the fun!
Eliminating Window Glare
Here’s a rather tough edit from an older photo from Chicago where I had quite a bit of glare on the window. That’s perhaps the best part of the lesson, and I clean that up pretty quickly. Most of the end of the video is about me trying to correct the buildings to make them look more upright. That was sort of a bear!
Tianjin is kind of an interesting city and kind of a strange city, like most Chinese cities it reminds me of some kind of parallel universe where people use some of the same rules as Western cities and also do some incredibly random stuff. It’s clear the Chinese have a different aesthetic to city living than Westerners. I’m not saying it’s good or bad; it’s just different. Anyway, Tianjin is one of the first Chinese cities I’ve visited that has a ton of bridges crisscrossing the river. Here’s one of the best views from the most centrally located bridge.
I do a lot of interviews, but I think this might be my favorite one! 🙂 Right after Burning Man last year I flew to Florida to make some classes there. I sat down for a long-format discussion with Kalebra. You can see the full 1-hour interview here. Note you have to sign in and stuff, but you don’t have to put in your credit card number or anything… not a paywall! 🙂
Daily Photo – Checking out Books in the Tianjin Library
This library was both amazing and confusing, in more ways than one. I spent about three hours inside of here taking all sorts of photos. They would not let me use my “big boy” camera, so I had to use my Pixel 2 phone. But hey, I must say, that Pixel 2 phone is pretty incredible. Now I’m using the Pixel 3, and it’s even better!
Here’s a video that shows a really amazing sunrise out in front of my home here in New Zealand. For this sunrise, I was using the good old Hasselblad! Tune in tomorrow on the blog to see how I processed the photo! 🙂
I’ve been checking in every few days to see how the new bag is holding up over there. Pretty good! People seem really excited. Remember, now is the best time to get this because you get a discount AND you get your bag first!
Daily Photo – Mild B&E in Tianjin
This was a heck of a cool city, and I would love to spend more time here. We met a local photographer who really enjoyed a bit of breaking and entering of office buildings to get unique angles. To get into this place, we had to go in some back entrance at the bottom of the building then take the service elevator up. There were all these other people on the elevator too, so we had to act like we knew what we were doing (I did not). After we got close, we got off the elevator then went up several flights of service stairs until we reached the right level. Well, we were on the wrong side of the building, so we had to duck, climb over, and crawl through all matter of ductwork and electrical cables until we finally got to the very edge of the building. I’m glad I’m not too afraid of heights!
Today, exclusively for Passport Members, you get to see me carry around this 360 video cam and talk about the sort of shot I’m trying to create. I ended up going a slightly different direction, but it was nice to come back with so much raw material to work with. A funny story about this little 360 camera… when I walked in, they made it very clear no cameras other than mobile phones are allowed. I assured them this was not a camera and simply a small “starter” vibrator.
A 360 of the Tianjin Library
There is a secret thing about this library that I can barely bring myself to tell you. But, that’s not actually what this video is about. This talks a lot about the photo that I am attempting to accomplish in this library without it being so far away that you don’t even realize you are looking at a library.
Starting tomorrow, on “Passport Sunday” you awesome Passport Members are getting the first in a series of photo edits where I sit down with my neighbor Harriett and edit photos. Here’s a video below that shows some behind-the-scenes of today’s photo of The Impossible Library.
Daily Photo – The Impossible Library
In the video above, you’ll see how difficult this photo was to create! It took several hours, actually, and I almost gave up many times! Anyway, I stuck to it and now I am happy with the final result. I’m looking forward to seeing a big print of this, as I’ll be adding it to our fine art collection.
The photo below was taken with the Google Pixel 2. They are not a sponsor or anything and I had to pay full price for mine! But it was totally worth it… They would not let me use a DSLR in the library below, but I think the Pixel 2 did just fine.
Daily Photo – Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin
This is the second photo I’ve published from this amazing place. Tianjin has lots of other great locations too, but I was a bit fixated on this one for obvious reasons. I forgot this lady’s name, but she’s not a model I hired or anything. I never hire models and just kind of wait for things to organically happen. I saw her walking down the stairs, so I quickly slid into place to take a quick vertical photo. After I took it, she started to giggle, and we exchanged WeChat (the popular service there) info so I could send her a copy of the pic.
I spent a few months in China this year and got quite a lot of quadcopter footage! I made a little highlight video here of some of my favorite scenes… I visited a lot of new places… huge cities like Tianjin and Chengdu (each with about 15 million people – Chicago has around 2 million for comparison). I took around 20,000 photos that I’m going to start feeding into the blog soon.
Thanks again to the team in the credits for making all of this possible. 🙂
Daily Photo – The Ferris Wheel in Tianjin
Tianjin was a really cool city and I am a bit bummed out that I only spent two days here! But it’s on my list for a return trip. You may remember this city from the crazy library photo a few days ago. I’d even like to go back to that library! They didn’t let me use a real camera, so everything was done with my mobile phone. That worked out okay, actually, but I think if I go back in a few years that my mobile phone will be 4x as good! Anyway, this is the same Ferris wheel that you can see in the sunset shot from the video above!