Rudyard – Stuck in Customs

Long Road in Montana


Google+ Invites – How-to-System

This system helps your friends get into the invite queue! It may take a bit, but all systems are go. I’ve met hundreds of people in Google video hangouts so far… may see you soon too! 🙂

[Note: Once you are invited, it may take a bit to get the email as Google+ is throttling incoming members.]

1) Already in Google+?  We need your help!  Jump to step 3!

2) Come to StuckInCustoms Facebook Page and see if you can find a thread that has remaining invitations. Put your email in that thread (not on the wall).

3) Accept your invite when it arrives, then return to the StuckInCustoms Facebook Page and pay it forward by saying, “I have 10-15 (whatever) invites for Google+ so leave your email below and I’ll get you in!”

4) To invite people in, create a new circle and fill it with email addresses that need access.

5) Share a post or photo with that circle, and it will ask you if you want to email people not in Google+. Say yes, and they will get an email invite!

And, if you are looking for me in Google+, here is My Google Profile.

Google+ Tips

– Come see this thread if you are looking for Tips on video Hangouts!

– Here is a Photographer’s List in Google+

– Here is Part 2 of the Photographer’s List in Google+

Daily Photo – Long Road in Montana

This is the road I got stuck on after my 4-wheeler caught on fire. Now, of course, I had all my photography equipment with me… who wouldn’t take a whole host of photo equipment on a 4-wheeler joyride? I don’t know! I mean, you gotta be ready just in case the dang thing catches on fire!

Long Road in MontanaThis is the road I got stuck on after my 4-wheeler caught on fire.  Now, of course, I had all my photography equipment with me... who wouldn't take a whole host of photo equipment on a 4-wheeler joyride?  I don't know!  I mean, you gotta be ready just in case the dang thing catches on fire!- Trey RatcliffRead more, including some info on how to snag a Google+ invite, here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

And further down that road, a few days later, I saw this… I posted this a while ago, but I’m re-posting in case you missed it…


The Tracer

More from Rudyard

Who has ever heard of Rudyard, Montana? Not many people, I figure! This is where I had the privilege  of spending several days with Jack Horner on a dinosaur dig in the badlands… slept in a tipi and everything. It was a great experience. To see the other photos from Rudyard (which many of you know this trick, now), you can just click on “Rudyard” by this post or over in the categories.

Daily Photo – The Tracer

Late one night, after everyone was super-exhausted from digging up dinosaurs all day, we had a BBQ. After the BBQ, everyone got out a bunch of guns and we started playing around with them. Good times in USA! Anyway, hehe… one guy pulled out a giant elephant-type gun and loaded it with tracers. We fired them off into the distance to watch their awesome parabolas. I set up to capture some of the action…

HDR Photo


The Old Good Year Truck

I’ve always thought that when old trucks go to die, their final drivers seem to park them in a spot that will be perfect for photography some day. That’s kind of them.

This truck was found when we were leaving the dinosaur dig in northern Montana. Sometimes it pays to get off the main road and drive around these tiny old towns like Rudyard. Small, out-of-the-way towns are always fun to drive through, but I try to get off the main street and do random zig-zagging looking for nicely composed scenes… old trucks… you know, the sorts of things that are just sitting around waiting for a photo.

Also, you may notice a new feature go live today (or soon) at some point on the site here. It’s called the Meebo Bar, and I think you’ll like it! The best feature, to me, is the ability to drag a picture and very easily share it. I think you know that I invite you all to share these works freely with your friends, and this should make it easy and fun.

The Old Good Year Truck


Cutting the Wheat

I am headed back to Montana tomorrow for a week. I’ll actually be in both Montana and Wyoming in Yellowstone National Park. I think it’s my 5th or 6th trip there! I’m really looking forward to it… This will be my first trip with the D3X, so I look forward to rediscovering some old favorites with the new camera. Also, since it’s Yellowstone, the weather patterns are always unique and unexpected.

This shot is from the northern part of Montana, up where the fields go on forever. These nice crop rows are the ones that get caught in your eyes when you are driving by at super-sonic speeds…but you can still make out single rows like frames in an old movie.

Cutting the Wheat


Descending into the Badlands

You know, I was just realizing that I spent a nice part of last summer digging up dinosaurs with Jack Horner in the badlands of Montana, and I’ve hardly posted any photos!

Well, now we are starting to get a “bit” closer to the dinosaurs… Here we are, descending down through the sandstones of time into the belly of the beast. Just a few more feet down, and we are getting into the cretaceous. Getting from the top to the bottom is a little treacherous, but I find it helps to follow a smart paleontologist when trying to figure out the best way to traverse the mudstones.

Not too far from here, I picked up a hadrosaur vertebrae, which I now keep here on my desk at home, among a panoply of other 90 million year old dinosaur fossils that I was lucky enough to find.

Descending into the Badlands


The Old Silo Against the Elements

Outside of Rudyard, Montana, I found this old grain silo that was still standing tall against the elements. There was a newer silo just down the tracks, but I thought this one had a bit more personality. The newer one was kind of predictable and boring, so where’s the fun in that? I walked around it a few times and looked at the clouds until I feel like I found a pretty good vantage for capturing the silo in its element.

The Old Silo Against the Elements (by Stuck in Customs)


Reaping the Storm

See that tiny storm on the left? See those tipis there on the right? That’s where I slept all night through the storm!

So, a word of warning… you may not want to travel with me. I come up with good ideas like sleeping in a tipi in the middle of the stormy season in Montana like this. There are a lot more good ideas where that one came from. At least I can promise it will always be an adventure… and you won’t get much sleep!

By the way, this is not a traditional HDR photo… I used LucisArt 6.0… working on a new tutorial for it!

Reaping the Storm (by Stuck in Customs)


The Road to Tomorrow (Happy 2009!)

I hope you have a great 2009! Here is a nice little one to get the new year started in fit and proper form!

I took this when I unexpectedly ended up spending a sunset alone. I was supposed to take an ATV over to another bluff to meet a bunch of paleontologists with whom I had spent the day unearthing a Hadrosaur from some Cretaceous mudstone formation. My forearms had never been so tired in my life after holding that hammer and pick for what seemed like endless hours of nerve-wracking excavation! After getting hopelessly lost on my ATV and having some mechanical troubles, I ended up near the border of Canada. Luckily, I had my camera equipment, so I slipped on my iPod and set up for the right moment.

Yesterday I updated my HDR Tutorial, and you might have noticed a shot from Lightroom with the five originals from this below the New York Times Square photo (which is a good one for the New Year!). Anyway, I thought I would share it because sometimes the other photographers that come here like to see the originals before they have been run through my algorithms… [edit: actually, looking at it closer, it is a “slightly” different perspective…taken about 20 seconds earlier… but, well, you get the idea… just picture it shifted over about 3 feet!]

The Road to Tomorrow (and Happy 2009!) (by Stuck in Customs)

HDR Tutorial



I was barely able to squeeze off this final shot before my battery died. Going by farm after farm throughout northern Montana, I kept looking for the perfect barn and the right kinda clouds over golden fields of wheat. And then, once I finally found it, I looked at the power left on the Nikon and it was scary-low! I held my breath and ran out into the field, hoping to hear that satisfying little click!

After I was back in the car, I clicked the preview button to see what I had shot, and it did not even come up… then I spent the next few hours wondering if this one even made it to the old memory card!



The Lonely Trinity

It must gave been a five hour drive from one end of Montana to another. After just a bit, you get mesmerized by the wheat fields.

Driving along, I always start to play games with the clouds and the objects on the horizon. This might sound strange, but I do enjoy seeing them in Euclidean geometric formations… so much so, that I had to jump out of the car to capture this.

The Lonely Trinity