Stuck In Customs Textures

In Resources by David9 Comments

One of the things I love about photography is the wide range of expression it makes possible. Oddly, the board and forums are full of people arguing for the narrowest possible expression – use this gear, don’t do this, don’t do that, and God help you if you even THINK about doing this AND that with the wrong camera. Sheesh.

A couple times now I’ve pointed you towards Trey Ratcliff and his site, Stuck In Customs. Trey is known for his work with the now-popular HDR-look and is one of it’s fiercest champions and teachers. As I’ve said before, this is a look that gets strong mixed reactions, but I think the point is not whether you like it or not, it’s why so, so many people love it – most notably the non-photographers. There’s an interpretive, even impressionistic quality to it, that is often missing in more literal darkroom work.

Anyways, for those that don’t love it, I suggest you at least explore why you don’t love it and let that push you to creating work that more closely aligns with what you love. But remember there is room for technique that broadens the apparent dynamic range of an image and it doesn’t have to hit people over the head to be effective. Don’t throw out the guitar just because some people play it more loudly than you’d like. And for those that do love it, Trey’s stuff is solid teaching.

His Textures stuff is great, used with or without HDR techniques. No texture in the world is going to make a bad photograph good, but used well it’ll add a level of interest, depth, and mood to an image. I’m linking you here to a page that explains it all, including the purchase options. His stuff isn’t cheap but I think we’re so used to the internet where you can get all kinds of crappy information for free that we sometimes forget that the good stuff costs someone to make it. I have Trey’s textures in my collection of goodies and they’re a godsend when I need them.  Want more information – Click HERE to visit the Textures page on Stuck In Customs.

Some light housekeeping – I’m home now from an extended period on the road, which accounts for my being scarce around here. I’ll post this weekend about a few things, including the upcoming Craft&Vision releases and some workshop opportunities, including a recap on the Italy Within The Frame trip. Some good stuff coming down the pipe!


  1. I was given Trey’s textures tutorial as a father’s day gift last year. One of the coolest gift I’ve ever received. I’m a huge fan of filling up my toolbox as much as I can.

  2. it is a little funny that we heard more from you when you were in Italy!

    Thanks for the link, …really cool stuff. I think he has a nice range of packages available. 🙂

    I would love to see how you’ve used the textures, do you dare share an example?

  3. p.s. I really enjoy the StuckInCustoms site. That and THIS ONE are my main souces of on-line information and inspiration

  4. Well said David. I really enjoy the HDR look because it is different. My stuff doesn’t look exactly like everyone elses. I’m now starting to explore the “painterly” look offered in CS-5 and Corel Painter 11 because I can create ART.

    This is the same discussion that wood turners (my other hobby) had about “painting” wood. It wasn’t natural that wood was painted, but check out this site to see what can be done:

  5. I really enjoy Trey’s work as well. I think HDR is another case of how “photography” has morphed into “digital art”. Not that anything is wrong with that. It allows more expression than previously with film.

  6. Intelligent words, HDR seems to raise quite a few hackles and yet, if used carefully, its a great tool to have in the box. I’ve found it useful for landscapes when i have not a got a neutral grad filter with me.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.