Russia – Stuck in Customs

Woman in St. Petersburg

Michael Hawley

So sad to lose my friend Michael Hawley – he was such an inspiration… and, in fact, still is! This is a little video I made when he and Nina You came here to Queenstown to visit us around the holidays. I loved that dude… I don’t know anyone else remotely like him. You can see in this video how he’s just off the charts when it comes to inspirational stuff.

My son Ethan loves playing the piano and it was incredible to have this genius just do this natural jam. Isn’t that awesome… inspiring people of all ages. That’s kind of the key to life, eh? Just be loving and help other people. People make life too complex… yeah he really has made me a better person.

I first met him about a decade ago when he invited me to speak at his incredible EG Conference in Monterey, CA. He’s the classic Gladwellesque “connector” and I made so many lifelong friends from those conferences. It spawned so many stories and adventures… and all because of Hawley’s vision.

Just as one of the hundreds of examples, it’s because of Michael that I ended up spending a while in Australia with Neal Stephenson to help him research an upcoming novel. Note that I did absolutely nothing to help the actual research, as I was only there because Neal was afraid to drive on the left side of the road. I have all kinds of stories about that, but I’m waiting for the book to come out so I don’t ruin anything.

Anyway, besides that strange anecdote, Michael has been instrumental in vastly affecting the lives of tens of thousands of people… a truly lovable inspiration.

Daily Photo – Woman in St. Petersburg

We stopped at this hipster coffee shop just after our train rolled into the station. It was filled with all sorts of interesting people like this gal. I had on my 35mm F/1.4 lens, so I made as much use of it as possible. There’s not a lot of people that run around with cameras in Russia to take photos of people… so everyone was a little bit more suspicious than I would have liked.

Woman in St. Petersburg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2020-07-08 14:05:36
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St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square

Gigapixel

Thanks Stu for sending me this… here’s a 48 gigapixel zoomable photo of The Night Watch!

Daily Photo – St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square

Ever since I saw photos of this place when I was a little boy, I wanted to visit Russia. It seemed like it was right out of some kind of fantasy novel with the unique onion domes and cartoonish colors. I ended up there at a good point in the day when the yellow sun was setting, making all the colors really pop in a warm manner against the backdrop of the cool blue sky.

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-03 19:32:10
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Cool Boarder in St. Petersburg

Free Tutorial!

Since many people are bored at home and looking to add to their skillset, I have just released my best tutorial for free and it already has just over $92,000 worth of downloads – awesome! People seem to love it and thank you for the great feedback. I’ll keep it free as long we’re stuck here in this weird isolation… Beyond that, we have the “Passport” monthly subscription (at https://stuckincustoms.com/passport/) that has over 300 videos waiting for you. Great how-to stuff, behind-the-scenes, inspirational stuff, tutorials and more! I do the same thing as Sam Harris in that if you are struggling financially, for whatever reason, just contact the team and we’ll give it to you for free for a year. I don’t want money to stand in the way of buying keys to unlock your creativity. We also have some other cool Passport videos coming up! I release a new one every Sunday on the blog and there’s some amazing stuff in the pipeline. Anyway, thanks again for enjoying the tutorials and I’m in productivity overdrive…since…I… don’t have anything else to do! Last, we have a free group here on Facebook where you can share your creations, ask questions, and make some cool new friends. As opposed to a lot of Facebook, it’s a guaranteed asshole-free zone! 🙂 Cheers and enjoy!

Daily Photo – Cool Boarder in St. Petersburg

In Russia, you can just be as cool as you wanna be. I haven’t taken this many people/street photos as I did there except for the times I go to Burning Man! I saw almost no photographers there, so most people were very confused while I was taking their photos. Well, not the young people, they were all cool with it. The older ones seemed a bit more suspicious, probably because they grew up under hardcore communism when everyone was spying on one another.

Cool Boarder in St. Petersburg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-05 13:28:08
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

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Abandoned Rubber Factory in St. Petersburg

Michael Singer’s Surrender Course

I’m a big fan of Singer’s books and he has a new online course about Surrender that I recommend. If you read “The Untethered Soul,” then you have a pretty good idea of what this course is about. I don’t think most people can take it… but, if you’re ready, you’re ready.

Daily Photo – Abandoned Rubber Factory in St. Petersburg

While in our crazy-long day here in this classic old city, we spent a chunk of it in this abandoned rubber factory. They would make shoes and all sorts of things with rubber back during the Communist days. I can’t imagine how miserable a job that would have been! People complain about their jobs nowadays, but being a common worker in Communist Russia would not have been a joyride.

Abandoned Rubber Factory in St. Petersburg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-05 17:35:57
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

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Checking Social Media in St. Petersburg

Clubbing, as Described by Sir David Attenbourough

Click the video title to see the full frame…

Who actually like Clubbing ? So many (bad) memories… from funny

Daily Photo – Checking Social Media in St. Petersburg

Everywhere… everywhere… people are addicted to their phones. I’m pretty sure this is a giant source of increased anxiety. It is fun and stimulating to be on your phone, but it is an “unnatural” way to navigate the planet. Just getting out in nature and walking around is really a great counter to this. Also, being around other humans is important too. I was thinking about those African villages where the grownups and kids had so much happiness and absolutely zero screens to stare at. I’m not saying it’s one or the other, but a bit of balance is nice!

Checking Social Media in St. Petersburg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-05 16:06:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

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Happy Woman in St. Petersberg

A New Episode of My Podcast

In this episode, part 2 of a conversation while walking on the El Camino in Spain, I talk with Kevin Kelly about one of his many projects, the 10,000 Year Library. We also talk about what to do with all the existing libraries in the world… access to information… the future of libraries and knowledge curation… and more!

And if you missed it, part 1 is here.

Funny lady laughing at herself on YouTube

This reminds me a lot of today’s daily photo 🙂

Daily Photo – Happy Woman in St. Petersberg

I only had one quick day in this awesome city. I tried to make the most of it by taking as many people photos as possible. Some of these Russians had the grumpiest faces I’ve ever seen. I think they were so confused while I was taking the photos… it doesn’t seem like a hobby over there at all. I hardly saw anyone else carrying around cameras for street photography. My theory is that the older generation that lived in Communism for so long are just generally distrusting of others… especially others with cameras. But that didn’t stop me.

Happy Woman in St. Petersberg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-05 11:24:24
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

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Downtown Moscow

Awesome Japanese Grandpa

Here’s a great story about a new fashion mogul in Japan at https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/hanashimada/japanese-granddad-grandson-clothes-instagram

Daily Photo – Downtown Moscow

Who would have ever guessed this is the Moscow skyline? Not me! I took this from the balcony of the famous White Rabbit restaurant. Even well-traveled people rarely visit Moscow for a variety of reasons. It’s hard to get there. Visas are difficult. It seems a bit “scary” to most travelers. However, I know a few Russians and they are all a bit crazy in a fun way… so I was excited to go there and experience thousands of crazy Russians. I was not disappointed!

Downtown Moscow

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-04 21:40:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture5
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length57.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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Incredible Moscow

Paul Stamets on Joe Rogan

One of my psychonaut friends sent me this video! If you are interested in mushrooms… well, this is the dude!

Daily Photo – Incredible Moscow

During our New Zealand workshop, I got a request about how I achieved the “streaky” effect you see in this photo. I decided to re-create it with this photo from Moscow! And then, after I was done, I decided I like this photo even more than the original, unstreaky one!

Incredible Moscow

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-04 21:40:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture5
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length57.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Comments

Soviet Soldiers on Break in Moscow

Dougit Podcast

While I was at the amazing Te Arai Lodge, Doug (one of the family members) and I did his podcast together. It was a ton of fun! You can Listen to It Here.

Here’s his description that he put on Instagram:

“I felt so alive. I finally felt like I was finding my true life’s purpose… (When I became consciousness) It’s been a wild journey. By the way I still don’t know what I’m doing.” – @treyratcliff now up on the podcast with insights, love & vulnerability in all things HDR photography, consciousness, @burningman , fine art & so much more. Warning: This contains some explicit content & will expand your mind, heart & concept of reality. Bon appetite! 🎤😎👌🏼

Daily Photo – Soviet Soldiers on Break in Moscow

I walked into a random shopping mall to see what one was like in Russia. I think shopping in far-flung countries is always interesting… I like to see how they do things differently. Anyway, while walking around, I saw these two young soldiers sharing an ice cream. I told them it looked like much more fun than invading Germany and they nodded.

Soviet Soldiers on Break in Moscow

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2020-07-08 17:49:53
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Coffee Shop in St. Petersburg

Origin PC!

I’d like to thank my friends again at Origin PC for sending me that new computer! Man, Lightroom is SO FAST on it… even faster than my Macbook. They don’t pay me to write this stuff… it’s just the truth! It brings me a stability and a pleasure knowing that I’ve got a super-fast computer there helping me take care of my photos!

Daily Photo – Coffee Shop in St. Petersburg

While in Russia, we had a day-trip to St. Petersburg. We went to a coffee shop that was full of women that seemed to be right out of some modeling catalog. I don’t know if it’s like that all the time, but I will assume it is so. It’s hard for me to sit still for long, so I started running around with my camera to take photos of some of the inhabitants.

Coffee Shop in St. Petersburg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2020-07-08 14:07:45
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