Stuck In Customs

The place your mind can go before you travel there

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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

Coming to Australia for some Photography Workshops!

I’m coming to Australia in June for some photo workshops! These are gonna be great events. See more at our Workshop site and see how special these events will be!

Actually, we’re gonna do more than 20 of these around the world this year. Our travelling band of merry artists and adventurers will be visiting 6 continents in the next 6 months, and we’re getting started across the Tasman Sea in Australia. These are great events, and I’m excited to meet you all!

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.

Jane Fondle, the Light Dancer in Melbourne After hour THREE of the mega-photowalk, we came across this gal. She said her name was “Jane Fondle,” which I thought was kind of strange. And I thought it was even more strange when she gave me a brochure and it said that she does live performances in front of children so they stay in shape. Jane Fondle! hehe…Anyway, this was a tough shot… as you can probably tell… getting HDR with movement is especially tricky — and double-tricky when playing with light trails!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Episode 9 hot off the press!

Season 1 Continues!

I’m giving away 500 copies of the Entire Season (15 Episodes + RAW Files) of Becoming an Artist to Local Camera Clubs around the world. Just leave a comment and give us the name of your camera club! 🙂 More about the series on our Special Becoming an Artist Page.

And now…

Episode 9 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 9, join me in “Pregnant on a Roller Coaster” In this episode, I talk about my incredibly awesome birth defects and how none of us were born to be normal. I share some of my favorite night photography photos and demonstrates how to make a nighttime panorama.

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.

The Real Lord of the Rings

Live from WETA Workshop

I’ve been having some great fun out on the road broadcasting via Facebook Live. It’s a blast to bring you all along on my adventures and even better that we can interact via the comments and questions as the broadcast takes place! One of the highlights so far has been our visit to WETA Workshop where Sir Richard Taylor gave us a tour. If you have seen Lord of the Rings, Narnia, King Kong, District 9, Mad Max, or Avatar (to name a few) then you have seen their work. It was a super cool experience, check it out below.

Favorite New Zealand Photos

And here are some of my fave photos inspired by the movies! 🙂

Coming Home


The View From Deer Park Heights In New Zealand

The Dirt Road to Paradise After you pass Glenorchy, the paved road continues for a while as you approach Paradise. The paved road then turns into a dirt road. At this point, many visitors turn around, which is a shame! You can keep on rolling down this road in your rental car for quite a way. There’s even a few river crossings you can make, like Arwen on horseback. You can do it! Probably. I even see giant campervans going through here… anyway, the dirt road is in pretty good condition, so don’t let that turn you back!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Another Midnight City hike

Long Exposure Tip

If you ever do go the Hasselblad way, you’ll note one of the coolest features is you can set your exposure to be longer than 30 seconds. I think you can set it up to 10 or 15 minutes or something. That’s awesome! I don’t know why all cameras don’t have that natively… there’s this whole 30-second cap thing that’s just rediculous… Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc — they all do it. Sometimes I think there is very little free-design thought in those companies.

Daily Photo – Another Midnight City hike

My first night in Abu Dhabi, I arrived around 7 PM and vowed to stay up all night and take photos. This technique worked so well in Dubai, and I thought I'd experience it again. It turned out that I didn't stay at the most “downtowny” area of the city, so I had limited things to shoot. But one of them was this area, where I tried some very long exposures to see what I got… and I quite like the result. When I got back to the hotel, boy was I tired!

Another Midnight City hike

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-02-12 03:29:39
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time32
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Magical India

Video Recap

Here’s one of the recap videos from our recent family trip to India! 🙂

Daily Photo – Magical India

Wow, what a place! I've forgotten the exact name (will look it up), but this place is very close to Thiruvananthapuram. It was amazing during the day, and even more amazing at night! I was not here long enough, but I vow to go back one day and spend more time! 🙂 Now, if I can just remember the name…

Magical India

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-12-25 21:09:16
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Morning Jog in South Beach

Miami Photowalk

Speaking of Miami, here are the photo walk highlights!

Daily Photo – Morning Jog in South Beach

When our party bus pulled into Miami, we were all feeling a bit rough. It's really hard to do these photo walks and party late every night… a bus full of guys is generally a bad idea, but it was so fun having bad ideas that we couldn't stop ourselves. So I decided to have a morning jog to clear the cobwebs. I took the RX100 with me and here's one of the quick photos I grabbed that morning.

Morning Jog in South Beach

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-08-14 10:04:11
  • CameraDSC-RX100M4
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture2
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

It’s still my favorite drive

Drone Fun

I have plans one day to sit in the back of my pickup while Curtis drives and fly the drone overhead down this road… how fun and dangerous would that be? It’s both one of my best and dumbest ideas! 🙂

Daily Photo – It's still my favorite drive

About four years ago when I first came to New Zealand (I've been living here ever since), I reckoned this was the prettiest road in the world, and I still feel that way. I've never seen the same clouds or weather either. I think I've done this road about 30-40 times now, and each time is magical. Sometimes there is no wind and the water is perfectly smooth, like a giant mirror. Of course, those times I didn't have my camera! Bad Trey! Bad!

It's still my favorite drive

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-10-08 02:27:20
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length29.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Infested with Humans

From Above

There are so many great quotes in this video below… today’s photo is inspired by one of them

Daily Photo – Infested with Humans

One day we took a boat from Venice to Burano. When we were almost there, we had the terrible and awesome idea to launch the quadcopter from the top of the boat! How fun! I knew Burano was pretty, but I didn't think it would look this cool from above. I was surprised how “circular” the edge of the island was. Next time I go, I'd like to spend a few days here to explore, I think!

Infested with Humans

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-02-05 15:31:11
  • CameraFC300X
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/900
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

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