Jogjakarta – Stuck in Customs

Revisiting Jogjakarta in Indonesia

New “Noise” Technique

Those of you that came to our workshops in Denver and Sydney have seen this new technique in person! It’s kind of strange, I must say. I really like the effect, though. Anyway, sometimes even with using sweet Aurora HDR, I still choose to leave a bit of noise in the sky. Then I bring it into Photoshop. There is a filter called “Oil Painting” — if you play with the sliders in there enough, you can get a smooth “swirling” of the noise, which feels quite alive and painterly to me. Try it! 🙂

Daily Photo – Revisiting Jogjakarta in Indonesia

Here’s a photo that I haven’t looked at processing for years and years. My other theory is that sometimes it’s okay to wait a very long time to process your photos because, over the years, you’ll learn many new techniques that weren’t otherwise available to you. This is a pretty good example of that! 🙂

Revisiting Jogjakarta in Indonesia

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2008-03-16 10:52:12
  • CameraNIKON D2Xs
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.1
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias


Old Jogjakarta

Merry Christmas everyone

I hope you have a great one! My entry is a little short tonight… I’m up late building things!

Daily Photo – Old Jogjakarta

I visited this area of Jogjakarta day after day to get different light and different conditions. This is the old temple of Borobudur, and each of these “bells” is a stupa-cage that protects stone buddhas that sit inside.

I wanted to get a photo of the inside, but it’s extremely difficult… so you’ll just have to take my word for it! 🙂

HDR Photo


Prambanan Sunset

Great time at EG!

I’m having a good time in Monterey at the EG Conference and looking forward to the PhotoWalk on Sunday!

I had breakfast with Freeman Dyson, ended up having several conversations with Neal Stephenson, sat by Alexa Meade, talked about Icelandic horses with Stephen Tobolowsky and his wife, got to speak today between the great Elliot Erwitt and Max Ferguson, talked about the “haters’ with Masie Crow, discussed photography with Chris Rainier, shared adventure stories with Rachael Kinley, and decided to collaborate on something awesome in the future with Masa Kuwamura. Plus, about a dozen other remarkable things that are also worthy of mention! But I am so tired…. need to sleep after the…

Daily Photo – Prambanan Sunset

Sometimes the lighting is best right after the sunset.

And sometimes this is right when the police come to get you. Maybe they were security guards. But it was hard to tell in the dark – and, besides, I didn’t know the difference between the clothes of a security guards and a policeman in Indonesia. I had Will with me when these guys approached us, and he was no help at all. He did manage to keep them busy for a while so I could take some final shots, but we could tell that we had worn out our welcome. So then the guards started to escort us right out of there.

HDR Photo


Mysteries of Indonesia

Glad you Enjoyed the Newsletter!

We had a huge response to the last free newsletter! It went out on Christmas Eve and was full of cool stuff. You can still get it if you sign up (it’s free). The welcome email has a link to all the newsletters, including the most recent, #20. Looking at the stats, our newsletter is opened up by well over 125% of the people to which it is sent! That means that many people forward to friends and family… that’s great! It’s helped us grow well beyond expectations!

Today, we’re showing a new photo from Indonesia – the unique temple of Borobudur. This was taken prior to sunrise, when a thick layer of damp fog covered the mountain lowlands, where this temple is located outside of Jogjakarta. It was one of those very wet mornings when there is really no appropriate attire. It’s not too cool and not too hot – but just “uncomfortable.” I was listening to my music to make me forget about that nonsense though… it helped quite a bit!

And then, sticking to the theme of this week, I included a whole raft of photos I shot while in Indonesia… it just reminds me of how much I want to go back and explore more of that country!

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo

High Dynamic Range Photo


Purple Sunset in Indonesia

Shooting after the Storm

Here is something new that I have accidentally figured out in the last few years.

So, I watch clouds and skies all the time now.  Sometimes, I feel a bit like a shaman, back arched against the sky, watching subtle clues on the horizon for upcoming deltas in the weather.  I’ve become very sensitive to dozens of types of clouds, their layers and elevations in the atmosphere, and the incident angles of the sun in relation to the humidity.

If you are have in one of those late-afternoon storms in one of the tropics, the chances are pretty good for a spectacular sunset.  The “quick storm” is usually a localized cell where the clouds don’t reach to the horizon.  This means that the sun will be able to dip below the clouds and light them from underneath.  Watch for this.

Daily Photo – Purple Sunset in Indonesia

I promised that I would continue my story about the dead body in Indonesia, so here it is.  It doesn’t really go with a pretty sunset, but, well, here we go.  It’s short and not too spectacular, so don’t get your hopes up for a good old-fashioned dead-body story.

While walking through downtown Jogjakarta with Will the crowds were thick.  There were thousands of Indonesians walking around through busy downtown streets.  It was an area without cars, but hundreds of bikes and carts darted in and out of the traffic.  It was not really a commercial district, but it was somewhat third-world in the types of little shack-like stores that fringed the edges.  Food carts rolled around selling hot, steaming mysterious meat-mashes and small ziplocks of coconut juice hung from poles, ready for sale.

After walking through a bit, we approached a curb where we saw some poor soul splayed out across the concrete.  I’ve seen thousands of homeless / passed out / drunk / unfortunates splayed out in the street before, but this was different.  This guy was dead.  You can just tell.  People walked around him and certainly regarded him as an empty shell.  People would kind of step on or trip on bits here or there.  I passed by his legs and didn’t quite know what to do.  There was no one stopping to help, and I didn’t really want to get involved, since I don’t speak the language and didn’t want to get carted off for questioning/shakedown.

So I passed by and Will said, “Do you think that guy was dead?”.  I nodded and we got the hell outta there.


Templestorm, and the Stunning Results from the HDR Workshop!

The Amazing HDR Workshop Results!

Trey Ratcliff HDR Workshop Group Photo

I told the HDR Workshop class last weekend, very sincerely, that I was quite impressed with their progress. It’s my first workshop, and I love teaching people, but I did not expect them to make so much progress so quickly. Mind you, we already had a few people that were already quite good, but even they picked up a bunch of new stuff. Without further ado, here is a random selection of some of the resulting shots from their newfound skills!

(and yes, we are making an HDR DVD of the workshop for those that could not attend the event!)

Also, a very special thanks to John P from One Man’s Blog (and especially Cali Lewis for the introduction!), Scott Kublin from ScottyCentral, and Alex Suarez, one of the aliens from Galaxy Quest.

Thanks Frederick Van for the Interview!

Hey that was a great interview! Hehe…  I just listened to it and forgot about all the HDR Controversy we addressed therein!  You can listen to it also from Frederick Van’s blog.  Thanks again for all the kind tweets and emails about the interview.  Even though I went out on a limb in many areas, I think they struck a chord… thanks again y’all.  And when I say “Internet” – I mean YOU! 🙂

Daily Photo – Templestorm

It’s hard to keep up with my students!  I feel they are catching up and surpassing me!  I won’t have it!  Hehe…  no no… my theory is that HDR will begin to splinter into a million different shards.  I can’t wait to see where each of them take the artform.

This is just outside of JogJakarta, Indonesia at an ancient temple called Prambanan.  It was the kind of place that has been sitting there waiting for me to bring my story-telling-machine there.  You have seen a few of my other shots of this place perhaps, just after the storm hit.  As I was leaving, I looked back over my shoulder to see this.  I sometimes forget as I walk away from things to turn around and look back, and I can see things I don’t expect.

Templestorm, and Stunning Results from the HDR Workshop


A Zen Moment Above the Fog

This is from an awesome monument in Indonesia called Borobudur. There are about five ways to spell this temple, at least when I spell it. But, you get the general idea.

I’ve re-mastered this one by using the textures from the Textures Tutorial. This one is actually featured in the video. I have a non-textured version of this which is also interesting… and I think I explain in the video that the use of these textures doesn’t necessarily make something “better”, but what it does do is make something else that is equally satisfying in a different way. So then, at the end, you have two photos, rather than one, each one different and nice in its own way (if that makes sense!).

A Zen Moment above the Fog


The Ruins of Prambanan in Yogyakarta (and two new reviews)

Just outside of Yogyakarta in Indonesia are the ruins of Prambanan. Getting to this place is a long way from home, so we tried to take advantage of everything in and around the city. Prambanan is a Hindu temple that was first built in 850 CE.  It began a painstaking reconstruction in 1918.  I can’t imagine what difficult work that must be.

Actually, it was quite nice to get out of the crowded city.  Will and I had spent a long night walking around down near the markets.  The streets were so crowded in the busy night streets that it was unbelievable.  I had always known that Indonesia had hundreds of millions of people, but when stuck in the throngs, you can really feel it.  Also, that was a disconcerting night because it was the first time I stepped over a dead body.

I have a few new reviews for you too! These were mentioned in the most recent newsletter that went out a few days ago.  Both of these are short and sweet, since they are simple but great products.   The first one is for sharing large files with others and moving files around between computers easily. It’s called DropBox and you can read a short DropBox Review here.

The second tool I’ve been using is for backing my files up onto the Internet (the cloud). This gives me peace of mind in case there is a fire and my local backups are also destroyed. Even if you don’t have a ton of photos and just want to back up your family digital photos, it’s a smart idea. And it’s super-cheap. You can read more at the Backblaze Review page.

The Ruins of Prambanan in Yogyakarta (and two new reviews) (by Stuck in Customs)


Borobudur in Poetry

One thing we always ask for, as part of the deal, is for the companies to send us a copy of the final product. So we get several of these kinds of things a week, and it is always cool! I get excited and giddy to see my work used in creative ways across many mediums. Here is one we recently got of a poetry book that used on of my Indonesian pics on the cover. I put the orig below, along with a few other shots from that temple.

I end up throwing all of this stuff into these giant boxes in my office. I don’t know what I will do with them! They just kinda pile up… I should have a giveaway some day! 🙂

Borobudur Book

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands

The Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur at Sunrise

The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM


The pool that taunted me in Jogjakarta

Can you believe that I looked at that pool every day and I never got in? It was there day after day… alluring and perfect… looking warm and fun… I would walk around it, admire it, take photos of it, pass it on the way to the spa… I did just about everything to that pool but get in. I thought about it a lot, for whatever that’s worth (a lot, actually, I have an active imagination). But next time I get there, I’m goin’ in… I think about what those little tiles will feel like slippin’ around under my toes… It’s gonna be great!

The pool that taunted me in Jogjakarta (by Stuck in Customs)