Virgin Islands – Stuck in Customs

Looking Back

Daily Photo – Looking Back

Here’s one from way back in the archives. Maybe even my first full HDR tutorial… certainly one of the early ones. A shot from the Caribbean.

Looking Back

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-05-10 19:45:57
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias


Google+ Communities Launch – The Photo Community

Huge new Google+ Feature: Google Communities! The Photo Community

Come see The Photo Community (Google+ should activate it at some point here…) – Come join as soon as you can!

What are communities? They are very similar to regular Google+ accounts, except they are not tied to a person — they are tied to a passion or an idea. This will allow threaded conversations to begin and live independently in the world of Google+.

Think of a piazza in Italy where the whole community comes to hang out, eat gelato, watch artists, have coffee, and talk about the world as it goes by. To me, this is what a Google+ community is.

Besides making The Photo Community, I am also going to make a private community just for people involved in the Stuck In Customs (my website). That will be a private one — invite only. This will replace the Sorry 1990’s Forums that currently run on the website. I’m so sick of that old style of forums… aren’t you? I assume everyone will be able to make public and private Google+ Communities soon.

You’ll notice that The Photo Community has categories on the left. This is a cool thing that allows conversations to be established within certain buckets. Here are a few of the categories I set up, with more to come:

General Discussion – a place for everything… it’s sort of a catch-all for everyone just to hang out.

Critique Me! – Do you have a photo that you would like critiqued? Just post it in a new thread here, and you’ll get it analyzed. I can’t promise it will all be rosy, but we would prefer it if the feedback is civil and constructive! 🙂

Gear Talk – If you have a particular penchant for the hardware side of things, this is a great place to have these discussions and ask questions.

Newbie Photo Zone – Are you just getting into photography and have a question? This will be a great area for you… don’t be shy!


Google+ Communities can also have moderators, which will be very helpful. I’m going to start setting those up today to take the burden off of me as an individual. As a rule, we’ll try to make sure the community is a positive happy place… Back to that Italian piazza example above, these will be the kind old-lady-shop-owners that come kick the cretins out of the piazza.

Features to come?

Here’s a few features I’d like to see in upcoming iterations. Google has a tradition of quickly iterating on design to improve the user experience.

– Allow commenters to embed photos in a thread — this is especially handy for photographers, and I think it would also be handy over on the food-related groups!

– Allow moderators to have a “sticky” or community-news post that doesn’t get pushed down the stream.

– Any other ideas you have? Put them in the comment

Daily Photo – The Rising Setting Sun

I’ve tried to detect pattens for when you see these streaming bits of sun at sunrise and sunset. At first, I thought it was just related to moisture and particulate in the air. Then I thought it was related to clouds five+ miles away that are naturally broken up with gaps between them of several hundred meters. Now I think it’s a combination of the two. Maybe this explains why it is so rare.

Now that I live in the mountains, I never see the horizon any more. It doesn’t bother me so much, but it is harder to get these kind of shots. Those of you that also live with no horizon know what I mean! 🙂

The Rising Setting Sun

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-04-30 07:06:55
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture5.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length112.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias


The Magical Cave

Many Comments Yesterday – Responses (and an upgrade!)

The comments from yesterday got a little crazy, and I did my best to respond. You’ll also notice a massive-upgrade to the commenting system. What do you think?

Trey’s Variety Hour #39: Body Painting and Photography

Warning: If you are offended by nudes, watch the TWiT pixelated version in the podcast.
Opportunity: If you can effortlessly handle the naked naked, be sure to watch the embedded YouTube below! 🙂

Artists Paul Roustan, Alexa Meade, and Daniel Ibanez join me this week and show us a bunch of their artwork and tell the stories behind them.

*Bonus Notes:

– Awesome time travel movie I recommend: “Primer”. Give it your full attention otherwise you might miss something 🙂
– Barry Glassman, a colorblind photographer, of is looking to pay someone to help him process photos. Go check him out if you are interested!

Thanks to Leo Laporte, Tony Wang, and Dave Veffer for helping out with the whole production!

Podcast Options – Get it free FIRST via:

Daily Photo – The Magical Cave

The Baths on Virgin Gorda are filled with many tiny little caves here and there. For some, you have to crawl through sand or swim to get there. This one was one of the tightest and one of the most awesome! I thought it would be a great place to take a photo… I first went inside here with Justin Troupe and it was so awesome, I decided to return inside with my camera!

Because the light levels were so extreme in here, I went with a 7-exp shot in this situation.

The Magical Cave

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-05-09 14:25:38
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length21.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2


Behind the scenes – Virgin Gorda

Behind the Scenes

Here is a new video that I just made down here in the Caribbean for you. It shows how I set up to take the photo below, along with a few others!

To see my camera equipment, lenses, and stuff, jump over to the Camera Reviews page.

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Engine Room of the Coppermine

This coppermine on the edge of Virgin Gorda was a great find thanks to Stuck On Earth! I knew about many of the main places around the island to take photos, but I may have missed this place if I wan’t using the app. Be sure to go download it – and yes – we have plans to make it for other systems as well.

The Abandoned Engine Room of the Coppermine This copper mine on the edge of Virgin Gorda was a great find thanks to Stuck On Earth! I knew about many of the main places around the island to take photos, but I may have missed this place if I wan’t using the app. Be sure to go download it – and yes – we have plans to make it for other systems as well.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.


Old pictures of St. John

Here are some old pictures from our time in the US Virgin Islands. These are from St. John… this is back with a different camera and I could not quite get the quality I would have liked, but oh well… they are still not bad.

When we were there, we stayed at Caneel Bay, which is one of the Rosewood Properties. It was a very nice place and we had our own hut down on the beach. The worst thing about the trip was we had a diabetic driver that worked for Rosewood and he had an seizure WHILE he was driving us around the island and ran off the road into the jungle. We were lucky nobody was killed, actually. Afterwards, Rosewood management did nothing for us… can you believe it? Totally ignored! We’re not even the type to complain, but comon…

St. John


Snorkeling in St. Kitts

I took a small boat over to St. Kitts today to do some snorkeling. It was pretty decent, although I have had considerably better on other Caribbean islands. I almost caught a lobster, but it was too fast for me. I did grab a nice conch shell… I’ll get a picture of it after I use some acid to clean off all the gunk. It’s not a perfect specimen, but it does have some unique colors.

Here is a picture of the Nevis volcano from the channel that connects the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean. This is the same place I saw a giant sea turtle but it did not stay surfaced long enough for me to grab a pic.

Nevis Volcano