Outside the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo

When Robots Take Over

I hope they all are designed by the Japanese and have the voice & humor of GlaDOS. Well, without the natural instinct to kill.

Daily Photo – Outside the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo

This is a must-visit place if you go to Tokyo. It’s completely insane. They have robots all over the place and tons of scantily-clad Japanese girls. What could be better? The music and the display they all put on together is completely overwhelming! They serve you food in an old-school TV-Dinner from the 1970’s while you watch the proceedings. I’m still not sure what happened that night, but it was completely INSANE. You gotta go.

Outside the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture1.4
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length50.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Young Ninja at Mt. Fuji

While in Tokyo

I’ve been to Tokyo about five times before I ever decided to go visit Mt. Fuji. I suppose I didn’t know how close it was! It’s really just a short drive and there are countless good angles from all the small villages around the base.

Daily Photo – A Young Ninja at Mt. Fuji

How cool is this kid? I was exploring this small town around Fujisan and all of the sudden, this kid jumped out of the shadows and started doing all kinds of crazy moves! I pulled out my camera, then he really started going nuts, performing all kinds of wild maneuvers at me. It was so awesome!

A Young Ninja at Mt. Fuji

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length72.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

On the Japanese PhotoWalk

Stuck In Customs Internet Research Team

I wonder who in the audience can find her YouTube channel? A great challenge for this seemingly can-find-anything audience here!

Daily Photo – On the Japanese PhotoWalk

Here’s one of the gals that was running around with us during the crazy photowalk in Tokyo, Japan. I had no idea what was happening for most of the photowalk, but there were awesome sights and people everywhere. It turns out that this gal is a fairly major YouTube star in Japan, and she doesn’t speak a lick of English. I have completely forgotten her name, but I remember looking up her YouTube channel and being completely flummoxed by what was happening.

On the Japanese PhotoWalk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO12800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Monkeys in their Leisure Time

Android Watch or Apple Watch?

I guess I don’t really need either one… but I was kind of thinking about getting one! Which one would you get?

Daily Photo – Monkeys in their Leisure Time

I only recently processed this image even though I was here with the snow monkeys a while ago. I still remember how interesting they were to watch – like weird humans. They were perfectly cool with me being near them, as long as I didn't get too close. They would show their teeth a bit if I got inside that dangerzone, which was a pretty good excuse to back off!

Monkeys in their Leisure Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length200.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Exploring the Matrix of Tokyo

HDR Tutorial

If you got the original HDR Tutorial I released 4 years ago, then be sure to check out the new HDR Tutorial I released just over a year ago. It’s built for beginners and also has plenty of meat in there for intermediate and advanced photographers. You can grab it over in the Stuck In Customs store! :)

Daily Photo – Exploring the Matrix of Tokyo

This is one of my favorite new photos! I have a backlog of photos that is absolutely staggering, so I often “randomly” scroll back in time and saw this photo from Tokyo from over a year ago in my Lightroom catalog. I was thinking, “hmmm that one would be interesting to process…” and so I went for it. People often ask how long I work on these. For those of you that have watched me before, you know the answer — it's anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours. This one clocked in at about half an hour or so.

Exploring the Matrix of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Japanese Girl in Traditional Dress

Leica Lens Buying Guide

Don’t forget to check out the Leica Lens Buying Guide here on the site!

Daily Photo – Japanese Girl in Traditional Dress

We were at the Google event in Tokyo and we ended up in an area where many Japanese people were walking about in traditional clothing. It was so cool! It reminded me of playing the Sims or something… everything was so quaint and perfect (except for when things go pear-shaped in The Sims). Anyway, I guess I'm used to seeing this kind of traditional garb on older women in Japan, so it was fun to see these pretty young girls wearing them.

Japanese Girl in Traditional Dress

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Driving in Ginza

Low F-Stops in Cities

If you want to get this kind of out-of-focus effect like you see in the photo below, be sure to shoot at a low F-Stop and get a nice close subject. As in the photo below, I took a photo of that car at F/1.4 and everything behind it kind of fell away into the soft bokeh. You’ll get different results based on different lenses. This one was with the 35mm.

Daily Photo – Driving in Ginza

This hyper-clean and hyper-modern area of Tokyo is one of the best for photography I think! It's so wonderful to be able to just coast around the streets, listen to music on my ipod, take photos, and get lost in all the little streets. Actually this area is very hard to get lost in… it's quite grid-like, but you do get the feeling that you are like Pac-Man, just eating up all the little photo dots as you move through the streets!

Driving in Ginza

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Transcending Lindy

The Story of Transcending Lindy

I wanted to announce it to you here first… I just learned I’ll be heading off to Venice Biennale in May to photograph one of my favorite choreographers, Lindy Nsingo, who I shot last year in Tokyo. It was an amazing day! Let me tell you story behind this photo, which is my favorite from the series.

Perhaps the whole amazing thing about the whole experience is when Lindy was in the crossing, surrounded by all of these people, we were about to conduct this incredible performance without anyone noticing or stopping to watch. It was as if it never happened.

Earlier in 2014, I was asked by my friend David to photograph Lindy while we were in Tokyo. I had one day to put my idea for the photo together and was inspired by the first video that David showed me of Lindy dancing under a streetlight in the middle of the night. Because Lindy is a dancer, I wanted the photo to be about stillness and the chaos at the same time. I find dancing to be a parallel art form to my own in that I don’t understand the mind of a dancer and vice versa, but I do know we both find stillness in our craft. And since all of us on this planet are, of course, constantly surrounded by chaos, we still need to find stillness in our lives. There is no place with more chaos than the busiest intersection in the world, the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. I chose this specific crossing because I knew it was one of the busiest places in the world, with the most light, action, and humans. So, in essence, my idea was to capture Lindy in stillness while in the middle of human chaos.

Here’s how Lindy described it:

“Working with Trey Ratcliff was completely serendipitous as we happened to be in the same city at the same time and I attended his amazing Google+ talk. Trey set a date and time. We met and looked at the Shibuya Crossing and at the timing of people going in and out. From this moment the adrenaline kicked in and my main focus was to make Trey’s job easy and hold whichever position I found as long as possible so he could have the best chance of getting a great shot. Running out in front of the crowd was exhilarating and I think added to the intensity of the photograph because there was a limited amount of time. I had no idea how the photograph would turn out and I’m so happy with it!”

So, I’m off to Venice in April and May 2015 to attend the biennale, and where I will photograph Lindy again. She’ll be there collaborating on a work with artist Lena Liv, whose pastel drawing of Lindy is below. Can you believe that is a drawing? Lena is so amazing — be sure to check that link above to see more of her work!

Art critic Maura Reilly is preparing the catalogue for the exhibition and is working on a story about the collaboration. My image will be included in those various upcoming publications. It’s going to be awesome!

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Exploring Tokyo Tower

City Shooting Tip

The default compositional style when shooting cities from up high is to do the basic wide-angle landscape orientation. But I’ve been trying more and more to remember to go into portrait mode and zoom in a bit. Like this photo below, for example, was taken in this orientation at at 70mm.

Daily Photo – Exploring Tokyo Tower

The first time I saw this tower in Tokyo I did not like it. I thought it felt a little ugly, or maybe like a cheap version of the Eiffel Tower, but it has really grown on me. Especially at night. I really like the look of its starkness and warm shape against the blueness of the rest of the city.

Exploring Tokyo Tower

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Lindy

Fresh Newsletter coming within 24 Hours!

We have something supa-fresh and awesome coming… we only send out about one per month! Actually, we’ve been kind of lame, and it’s been 2 months, so a big train is comin’ down the tracks!


Daily Photo – Lindy

With the greatest of ease…

Lindy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1

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