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What I Would Have Done If I Was Designing Google+

This is simply a hypothetical thought-experiment, especially since it’s all too late now.

I am (soon to be was when G+ shuts down next year) the #1 most followed photographer on there with over 8.5 million followers (and 140+ billion photo views across the G+ ecosystem). I use these social networks a lot. ALL of them. Over on Pinterest, I have over 4.2 million and a decent number on the other platforms too. I’m not saying this to be showy, and I certainly don’t take myself seriously in the least. I’m simply indicating I have some authority in the matter.

i-tkwhxvs.pngAll these social networks are kind of a fun game for me. Observing them from a distance, I see humans slowly forming a super-organism like bees and ants. I think it’s important to have a good infrastructure for humans to communicate, cooperate, and inspire one another. You need to be able to trust in that network. I’m starting to not trust places like Instagram, where you can buy hundreds of thousands of fake followers, fake likes, and fake custom comments for a very inexpensive price. Last year was the year of fake news. This year is the year of fake followers. And when you can’t trust the infrastructures in which you invest time, it causes our level of global anxiety to get even worse.

I’m not bitter about G+ shutting down. It doesn’t matter to me personally since I’m on all the other social networks, and, most importantly, none of those have a significant impact on my business or personal life. They are just sorta “fun” places to share your creations, help people, get inspiration, and inspire others. We could all use a little more of that.

If anything is upsetting, it is that all of the Google+ effort was largely a waste of valuable time, not just for the users that fed the machine, but for the team at Google that built it. Along the way, I did make some GREAT friends, was inspired, and it helped to fuel a lot of my creativity. This is one reason I hate to see the ride coming to an end for so many people.

Anyway, if I was in charge of Google+ now, I could do nothing! I’m talking about if I was in charge, say, a few years ago when they began to notice the trend lines to plateau rather than grow. THAT was the time I wish I was in charge of the design!

You can read about my musings over on my blog, go there now!


The photo above is from a really fun Photo Walk I did with Thomas Hawk in San Francisco with over 500 people. The idea that this entire community is now dispersed across the diaspora of the internet is kind of depressing.


Passport Exclusive - Processing an amazing sunrise using Aurora HDR and Lightroom

Here's a video that was shared first with SIC Passport Members over on the blog which shows how I processed this amazing sunrise. Become a member of Stuck in Customs Passport and you'll get unlimited access to my best photography tutorials, tip videos, presets, ebooks and more. All of this for less than two cups a coffee per month!


StuckInCustoms.com is a personal blog where Trey puts up a new unique photo every day and writes about the art, the technology, and the story of the adventures. Actually, this is Trey writing about this in third person. Both Trey and I appreciate your support very much! If you think your family or friends might like this Newsletter (subscribe for free), please forward this to them. It'll make a fun email chain!

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Reminder: The Text HDR Tutorial is Always Free!

I keep a completely FREE HDR Tutorial on my website. It is a living document that continues to evolve over the years. It goes over everything you need to get started and is a great introduction to the basics of HDR photography and post processing.


Here's some images from my blog

Alone In The Mosque
I visited the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur between services. I would not be allowed to take photos otherwise. But, mosques are almost always open to anyone that wants to come in to pray or relax, like this gentleman is doing. Sometimes, on very hot days in these Muslim countries, I will go into mosques to relax too. They are often air-conditioned and I just sit on the floor with all my equipment and relax/meditate. Running around all day long in the heat can really get to ya.
Somewhere Under Morocco
My memory is SO BAD. I really can't believe it. I remember going to this amazing restaurant in Morocco, but I can't remember the name, or even the city. There's a 70% chance it is Marrakech, a 20% chance it is Rabat, and a 10% chance it is Fez. I'm pretty sure of that, although that's like being sure of nothing. And, of course, I don't remember the name of the restaurant, because it would be pretty easy to look up. Anyway, at least I got an interesting photo of a mysterious place!
The Mighty Bridge In Chengdu
Man, these Chinese really know how to add a bit extra to their bridges. I can't figure out if it had some kind of a military advantage. It must have. In Europe, some of the biggest castles are on the waterways so they can charge taxes and enforce the flow of foreign boat traffic. I can only assume it was the same in China. Except, in China, many military installations are like this one, right on TOP of the river. It's not easy to sneak through there.
A Moody Night In South China
Right when Tom and I got to Guilin, a big storm hit. We had scouted this mountain (well, big hill) we could hike to the top of for sunset shots. It was hot and humid and you could just tell rain was on the way. And then the lightning started to hit everywhere and we realized we were going to the highest and most dangerous place in the city. Everyone else was running down the path while we were running up!
Night Time In Beijing At Olympic Park
I was really impressed by how there were thousands of people walking around at night at the Olympic Park in Beijing. The Olympics were there in 2008, right? Usually, Olympic areas are pretty much abandoned after. I think I heard the ones in Brazil are being taken over by drug gangs or something. Anyway, that's not the case here. Everyone was walking around and very happy. I can't figure out what they were actually doing. They seemed to be in a random amble.
More Selfies In China
Wow, they are selfie crazay there! They do it so often, I started to make a little sport of taking photos of Chinese girls taking selfies. No one ever seemed to mind. One of the best things about their selfie-taking is that they are very very slow and they stay in the same position for like five minutes. This gives me more than enough time to move around and try to get interesting shots like this one! Again, this isn't a portfolio shot or anything… I think it's just these little fun composition games that photographers play.
And I Thought I Was Hot At Burning Man
Okay, I saw a lot of crazy outfits here in Papua New Guinea, but none as cumbersome as this. It must have been 100 degrees outside, and all of a sudden, I saw this tribe emerge, all wearing this outfit. I don't know what to call it. I suppose if Chewbacca had an afro, it would look like this? I don't know if that is an apt way of putting it, but you get the idea. I really doubt these things “breathed” like a thin layer of Merino wool, either.
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