Stuck In Customs

The place your mind can go before you travel there

Read the Blog Photo Tips

Sydney Photo Walk!

Sydney Bound!

Hi to everyone in Sydney! Saturday 18th June I will be hosting a free photo walk commencing at 3.30pm by the Achibald Fountain in Hyde Park. I can’t wait — I’ll see you there! 🙂

The day after that, I’m doing a full-day workshop as well — if you don’t have your ticket yet, don’t miss out! More info there at

Photo Walk Details:
Facebook Event Link
When: Saturday 18th June, 3:30 PM (I’ll get there maybe 30 mins early if you wanna say hi!)
Where: Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park
How Long? About 2 hours
Who is welcome: Everyone! It’s a family friendly event
What to bring: An camera will do from a big clunky DSLR to your mobile phone!
Hashtag: #Becoming

What is a Photo Walk? It’s a fun event when we all walk around the city together taking photos and sharing. I stop a few places along the way to give photography tips and tricks & more! They are always fun events and a great way to make new friends.

Bonus: Come join our Facebook Group pronto and start the sharing love! Here it is:

Daily Photo – The Mighty Bridge over Sydney

I'm really looking forward to coming back! 🙂

The Mighty Bridge over Sydney

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-01-09 17:52:05
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Deep in the 5,000 Bottle Wine Cellar of Huka Lodge

Interested in a Bespoke Travel Experience?

Over the past year or so, I’ve been toying with the idea of putting together a rather unique vacation offering for people that enjoy unique travel experiences. Places like the Huka Lodge below, for example… wonderful spots that locals know but are hard to find from the outside. A whole customized trip, just for you, friends, or family. Anyway, we’ve got some good ideas here and will get back to you.

Daily Photo – Deep in the 5,000 Bottle Wine Cellar of Huka Lodge

A few nights ago in the wine cellar of Huka Lodge, we had a gin tasting with a master sommelier. What a cool guy and what a unique experience!

He kept all the gins a secret until the end and made us guess. We missed every single one and there were many exotic ones, but the only one I recognized what Lighthouse. He had all kinds of opinions on the right way to have it and what kind of tonic water to use. I told him I thought all tonic water tasted the same and he politely guffawed. He also refuses to put ice in his G&T saying it waters it down. “Do you put ice in your wine good man?” No, he had me there. But my friend Scott Kublin put sugar cubes in his zinfandel.

This is a photo I took right before the tasting… this is just part of the 5,000 bottle wine cellar. So awesome!

We did a few FB Live shows from here too – you can see them if you check out the “videos” area of FB. Here's the one when we flew the quadcopter over Huka Falls… that was scary!

Deep in the 5,000 Bottle Wine Cellar of Huka Lodge

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-05-24 14:21:13
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time10
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Colors and Lines in Venice

Video Recap: Venice from Above

Here’s one of my favorite new videos… all about Venice!

Daily Photo – Colors and Lines in Venice

I love mixing together different levels of detail and smoothness in a photo. I think it's important to have a series of transitions. This one has many transitions, jumping from smooth dull colors to riotous textured colors to bright smooth areas to dull-colored highly textured areas. It's a fun way to process a photo because it comes out a little different every time, and I'm not ever sure I could re-create this.

Colors and Lines in Venice

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-02-08 16:53:17
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Painted Sky of Dunedin

Aurora HDR Pro

This is one of the most “extreme” filters from the New Aurora Expansion Preset Pack that I designed about a month ago. I actually did a lot of the design while I was down here in Dunedin, taking photos of various subject matters.

Daily Photo – The Painted Sky of Dunedin

I was lucky enough to stay on St. Clair's beach in Dunedin for a few nights. Each morning had a different sort of sunrise. This was one of my favorites. I was out there pretty much all the time, with my camera fully loaded and ready to go!

The Painted Sky of Dunedin

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-04-05 19:55:33
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time0.4
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Episode 10 is here!

Go check it out 🙂

Now that Episode 10 is out, we’re happy to offer a limited time 15% discount
on the whole series of 15 episodes! Just use the discount code “BAA15” head over to the BAA Page to check it out.

Episode 10 of Season 1 is out! As with every week, we leave up the episode for one week for free before taking it down. If you wanna get all 15 episodes, my RAW files, bonus videos, and more, see below.

As for Episode 10, join me in “A Reccy to Chernobyl” In this episode, I talk about slippery memories and my first job at a nuclear power plant. I then talk about how much I have changed when I visited Chernobyl almost 15 years later and the difference in the nature of the memories.

Share your photos and discuss this Episode in Trey’s Funky Lounge on Facebook at or get the whole series at

Notes from our amazing production team:

Entirely shot in Africa, Trey wanted to do something totally different, something he had never done before. This series explores the answers to the following questions…

“What is it like to become an artist?”

“What is it like to find that creative self inside of you?”

and for the practitioner: “How does he take and post-process his photos?”

Trey begins each episode with a very personal story. These might be strange stories from his childhood, embarrassing stories as a grown-up, or just weird stories about how he became an artist. You’ll hear how these stories emerged as life lessons which impacted his photography and art. The 15 episodes touch upon topics such as composition, color, light, and inspiration. This series will not only show you lots of photography tips & tricks but will inspire you to take your art in bold, new, and interesting directions.

Rose n’ Bel

Season 1 Coming Along!

Here’s one of the many photos I processed during Season 1 of Becoming an Artist! This was a particularly fun episode! 🙂

Daily Photo – Rose n' Bel

I think it's funny to watch girls like this frolic around together in a photoshoot. They're like two cats, batting back and forth a ball of yarn. I can't imagine two guys up here, posing for the camera and acting silly. Can you imagine me and Rene doing this? It sounds insane, and it would be. There's no way we could pull it off. Well, maybe Rene.

Rose n' Bel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-09-26 08:14:30
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Boomrock from Above

Dramatic Quadcopter Deaths

This story even beats the time in India when my quadcopter had a blade malfunction and tumbled dramatically into the river in Kerala. I don’t think I’ll ever forget any quadcopter crash… like a car crash, they seem to happen in slow-motion!

Daily Photo – Boomrock from Above

This is the place our quadcopter died when it got hit with a golf ball! Of all things… that story in a moment.

Here's an amazing place on the North Island of New Zealand called Boomrock ! Wow, what a place. We choppered in here and had a crazy two hours — we started racing around a private race track inside the newest Mercedes AMG sports car, then off to shoot clay birds, then to a driving range where you hit balls into the ocean (and quadcopters) with some drinks and tasty treats, then back home on a 10 minute helicopter flight to Wellington. It was definitely an amazing time… never seen anything like it!

As for the quadcopter thing, we had the DJI Phantom 4 out taking videos. We were pretty far away, so while we were trying to get a skilled shot, Bartman got a lucky shot and took out the quad! It spiraled? to the ground in a dramatic death. Curtis went deep into the bush to see what he could find. We made the recovery, and we're still pouring over the video to see if we can spy its final moment.

Boomrock from Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-05-17 11:15:58
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Mighty Mosque

Battery Packs?

Do you have a favorite battery pack you use? I have a Mophie that is pretty cool, but could last longer, you know? There seems to be a size/weight to power ratio. I was wondering if there were any super-slick small, lightweight batteries that were also quite high-powered, pushing the ratio in the direction I want! 🙂

Daily Photo – The Mighty Mosque

Seeing this again only reminds me that I have to get back to Abu Dhabi again to explore more. I flew right in there directly, but I also believe you can take a taxi there from Dubai, which is a more popular spot to be. If you come, be sure you check the weather ahead of time. I was here during a cool part of the year. I can only imagine this place in the heat of a summer day!

The Mighty Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-02-12 15:38:25
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time6.3
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Sydney Bound for a Workshop!

Things are hottin’ up!

I’m coming to Sydney, Australia! Join me and find out more!

What’s going on? Well, I’m gonna do a full-day workshop and it’ll be quite unique. The day is designed to challenge both sides of your brain. For the technie side, we’ll spend plenty of time playing with tools like Lightroom, Aurora HDR Pro, Photoshop, Photomatix and more. I’ll even screencapture the whole enchilada so that so you can download later… we’ve designed this as a “lean back” experience so you can see the way I create images, the way I move through my workflow, and my organic process to rearrange the light to communicate a story.

For the right side of your brain, we’ll spend the other half of the time talking about creativity and how to unlock bits of your mind that might be stuck. You’ll see this through the creation of images, stories, and how to get back into that elusive creative flow. The key is to get to know the tools and then let your free mind float on top of them.

What do you get? I wanted to put together a package that you can download before the workshop with all kinds of unique goodies. First, you get a Lightroom Library full of all my RAW files we’ll be working on together. Second, you get a welcome video that lays out three challenges for you to work on before the event. It’s optional, you know… I won’t be checking homework! Third, you get access to this new thing I made called “Trey’s Creative Survival Kit,” a collection of resources outside of the photography world to inspire and counterintuitively unlock creative energy sources inside of you.

I’m looking forward to meeting you in person, my Internet friends! And if I already met you from our Sydney Photowalk, I look forward to hanging out with you again with a whole new bag o’ tricks! 🙂

Sign up at

A Few Favorite Photos from Sydney!

What a great city… I can’t wait to go snap-happy! 🙂 And this time, it will be during Vivid Sydney!

Bridge Party in Sydney

The Amazing Bridge in Sydney I think I took this during the Sydney photowalk – I am not sure! But those clouds seem very familiar. I took So Many Photos in Sydney… thousands… and I’ve processed hundreds so far. But I just can’t remember exactly when I took this one! Maybe someone from Sydney can confirm that I took this that evening.I really wanted to get up there on the bridge, but they don’t let you take your camera, which is a real bummer. I wish I could get special permission some time. Whoever can get me special permission can go with me – that would be a blast! :)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Sydney Glows at Sunset During the Sydney photowalk, we ended up with some nice skies! I always love a bit of drama in the skies… makes everything a bit more exciting and epic I think. And just after the sun set, there were a few interesting splashes of color in the sky to break it up.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Downtown Sydney from the Rocks The Rocks is the oldest part of Sydney, and it’s down by the harbour. I have to make sure I get the “u” in there to appease local sensitivities. Anyway, it’s a cool area full of a lot of old-world charm. Now there are a lot of restaurants, bars, and little hotels that are sprinkled around the area.I took this one from the top of a 3-story salsa bar. I didn’t even really go into the bar, except for the way to find the top of it! I looked quite strange walking around the salsa dancefloor to get to the other side, dancing with my tripod!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Skies of Sydney Sydney? Check. Sunset? Check. Easy photo? Check!Man, this was such a lay up… I can’t claim much credit for it. I just kinda walked up and it was like this. Good sunset shots are not always easy, but this one was… I admit it! :) Now, it was made a bit easier with post-processing through Photomatix, but I kind of take that for granted now.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Daily Duck!

Here's one of my favorite photos from Sydney. It's also infamous because it's the same one their local newspaper put on the front page without my permission. Bad newspaper! Bad! 🙂

(it's okay we settled all is cool again)

Daily Duck!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-08-12 05:34:49
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Preset Expansion Video Tutorial #2

Showing off the New Preset Expansion with Tutorial Video 2!

25 Presets. 2 Tutorial Videos. 20 Sample Images. Rather Redonkulously Long Preset Names that are More Problematic than Helpful.

Nab the New Preset Expansion at or get the Full Bundle!

Hello Internet friends. Trey Here. As of the time of writing this, Aurora HDR Pro has only been out less than half a year and already has 250,000+ downloads. It’s clear people love this! Well, I use this almost every day… sometimes to process dozens of photos. I honestly love it. Remember when I used to use Photomatix? Remember back in the 70’s when I used to stand up and walk over to the Magnavox to change the channel? Yeah, that was pretty lame.

In the past few months, I’ve created about 100 presets. I thought about releasing all of them, but that seemed to be too silly and information over-load, so I decided on my favorite 25. I actually had a little Google Doc, and whenever I used one, I updated the spreadsheet. Pretty geeky I know, but it helped figure out the best 25.

I’ll be honest. Every set of photos is different and some of these presets will make your photo look amazing, and others like complete garbage. There, I said it. But listen, I’m an expert in this stuff, and you just can’t have a preset that works perfectly in Daytime + Nighttime + Indoor/Outdoor + CutePet. So, some will look amazing, others not so much. But don’t give up, next time you might get the inverted results!

One of my favorite new presets is called “Girls Love them some Jon Snow.” It’s dark and moody and has just the right amount of HDR. It works great in night situations. Another great one that works with night shots is “Horrible Mistakes on Snapchat.”

Looking for a good daytime filter? This one really plays with the dynamic glow, but I keep going to it. It’s called “ROBOT TREY Calls This 101101101” which is really a stupid name but Robot Trey doesn’t think about these things. Another daytime winner is “Chocolate Increases Happiness & Shame.” You’ll notice how there are thematic connections between the presets that hint towards an artist in an endless downward shame spiral.

Have an interior shot? I’ve got this one that was a total accident that always seems to work. It’s called, “BB8 is Like Waaaay Cuter than R2-D2.” There’s another great one, even though the results come out a bit more grainy and dodgy called “Crisco Twister with Aunty”

Anyway, that’s just a taste. There’s other weird situations too. You might even try “LEVEL X – Don’t click this for 1 month,” but don’t try it for a month. It’s a test of your will. Perhaps you might click the more daring B&W preset gently entitled “I Hope My Daughter Never Comes Home with a Black & White Guy.” Actually, it turns out that preset name was too long, so it’s been shortened to “Who’s that Black & White Guy??”

And even better, I’m including 20 of my photos you can play with (6 sets of 3 JPGs and 1 RAW file) as well as 2 Tutorial Videos showing you how I use these 25 presets!

Buy them now. Number One, Engage!

Grab the New Preset Expansion at or get the Full Bundle!

Here’s a Few Other Fave photos I’ve made with Aurora HDR Pro

from Trey Ratcliff at

The incredible interior of the Grand Mosque

White Sands At Sunset

My Last Night In Venice

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!