Traveling Ratcliff Photo Circus Around The World!





Day 30 – The Traveling Circus ends in Venice

Venice is one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world and I was happy to share it with my family for their first trip there. To get to Venice, we took the direct train from Rome. It was a super-fast train and we got there in only about three hours. We jumped into a water-taxi from the train station and went right to the Boscolo Hotel in the northern part of the city. It’s quieter up there… hardly any tourists and where a lot of families live.

From there, we went out adventuring all over the place. You gotta do all the touristy things in Venice, eh? Yeah! We did everything from the gondolas to the glass factories to the gelato. In fact, Scarlett was appointed the Queen of Gelato and it was her job every day to make sure everyone had their daily gelato. The only rule was each day had to be a new flavor!

And here on Day 30 is when the whole trip officially ends. The family flies back to New Zealand and I stay here in Venice for another two weeks for both Carnivale, filming some new videos, and a fun photo workshop! And yes, more gelato!

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

A view from the Canals.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Details of a beautiful old church.

This is the Hotel L’orologio where we are staying for the next two weeks for the workshop at Carnivale.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Ethan in the Gondola.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Here’s the Boscolo Venezia where we stayed the first few nights.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Inside the Doge’s Palace.

Venice at Sunset.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Scarlett poses in a Gondola.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The incredible San Rocco.

Daily Photo – The old city of Venice begins to wake up

The old city of Venice begins to wake up

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC300X
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/1400
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

The Pink Hood

Viewbug HDR Cityscapes Photo Contest!

Macphun, Viewbug and I have all teamed up to bring you a series of contests called Explore HDR! There are 6 contests in the series and there are amazing prizes for each contest! This is the first of the 6 contests in the series, and it’s all about getting out there and exploring your inner HDR.

Prizes:

  • The Grand Jury winner gets G-Tech 1-TB drive and a Serge Ramelli Complete Package
  • Amateur winner gets 1 month free Arcanum and a metal print from Bay Photo – Gallery Series frame
  • People’s Choice winner gets $50 Amazon Gift Card and a metal print from Bay Photo – Gallery Series frame

Entries for the first contest in the series close in 19 DAYS! So get out there and start taking photos!

At the end of the series, I will select an overall Series Winner from the best of each previous 6 contests. The overall winner gets a NEW DJI Phantom Vision Advanced Quad!!

You can read more about it over on the Viewbug competition page :)

Quad Love?

I was thinking about making a quadcopter-centric screensaver… I’m still trying to figure out if this is a good idea!

Daily Photo – The Pink Hood

I tried to maximize my exploring in Chefchaouen to see every possible nook and cranny. It's small enough where 10 hours on foot can get you to photograph the whole town, or at least, the colorful parts of it. The whole place is a soft powdery blue, so you can imagine my surprise when I found this pinky area!

The Pink Hood

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/750
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Paragliding in Queenstown!

Learning to Paraglide

Here’s a fun video I made on Day 1 of learning to fly… I kind of combined it with getting to know my new Sony A7 a few years ago! :)

Daily Photo – Paragliding in Queenstown!

Wow, I do love to paraglide here, but I've actually given it up! I took this photo on one of my last flights from the southern alps here. I did about 15 solo flights before hanging up my chute! I actually had a few friends die in sudden air-related things… made me think that, while it is certainly one of the safest air-related sports, it really still amps up the risk level! Anyway, I had a great time while it lasted, except for the extreme momentary lapses of fear!

Paragliding in Queenstown!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Seeing Double In Vegas

New Honey Harvest!

My bees are out there working hard! I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing another major spin pretty soon. That’s always a ton of hard work for a day, but it’s so awesome to end up with over a hundred jars of your very own honey!

Here’re a few pictures from last year’s harvest with the family!


Those Ratcliffs-067 Those Ratcliffs-065 Those Ratcliffs-046 Those Ratcliffs-041 Those Ratcliffs-028 Those Ratcliffs-022

Daily Photo – Seeing Double In Vegas

This is one of those fun double-exposures. I don't do a lot of them…I'm not sure why. I think they often look pretty cool and trippy! The creation process is quite fun in its own right. I used Analog Efex Pro 2 to make this… it's one of the new features that is in the new version.

Seeing Double In Vegas

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.3
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Down in the French Dungeon

Midnight in Paris

This was one of my favorite collaborations! I’m looking forward to doing more of these. If you want to get it, pop into the store and get the Midnight in Paris video!

Daily Photo – Down in the French Dungeon

Right outside of Paris, we rented a mansion for a few days to hold a great event! While there, we, of course, went down in the dungeon to get some photos… it's a fairly extreme HDR situation as you might imagine! We all really had a great time, and it was amazing to see what Miss Aniela created down here!

Down in the French Dungeon

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Traveling Ratcliff Photo Circus Around The World!





Day 25 – Rome, Fiat 500 Adventures, and the Holy Catholic Vatican

Awesome Rome!

We left Doha, Qatar after too-short of a trip and flew about six hours to Rome after I finally got my quadcopter out of being stuck in customs! I wasn’t allowed to fly it anywhere in Qatar or Oman, so they kept it at the airport for me. There’s always a confusing process to get it un-stuck! But everything turned out okay…

In Rome, we stayed right in the middle of the city at the Boscolo Exedra. It was another great hotel and a fun home base for the whole family. We did a ton of stuff here in the city. We got started with a full tour of Vatican City, which was even more impressive than I anticipated. Mind-blowing really! I’ve been to Rome four times but never visited the Vatican until this time. We had a private tour guide and it was definitely the way to go… Maria knew everything about this place and it was much more interesting than just blindly stumbling around.

And then we ended up in a 1962 and 1967 Fiat 500s to tour the Roman countryside. What a great way to explore… just about 10 km away was a beautiful lake… and, well you can see more in the video!

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

A Roman villa stands on a hill with the rest of teaming Rome behind it.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

A Straight-up view from another area inside The Vatican.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Driving into the Roman countryside.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Exploring another room in The Vatican.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Exploring the massive halls inside and outside of Vatican City.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Having a quick flight over Rome with the DJI Phantom 3.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Her skirt was a little too skimpy to be let into The Vatican, so they stopped outside for some selfie action.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Scarlett got a new coat in Rome and she never takes it off.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Stopping with our Fiat 500s at a Roman aqueduct.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The amazing golden dome of the Basilica of Saint Peter.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The Basilica of Saint Peter is the longest church in the world and you can see the lengths of other churches represented on the floor.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The girls in front of the Coloseum.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The massive interior of the Basilica.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

There are thousands of fountains all over Rome where the water is perfectly drinkable – one secret thing many have is if you plug the bottom, the water spurts out a little hole on top .

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

We took two Fiat 500’s out to explore the Roman countryside.

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

With one foot in both countries of Italy and Vatican City.

Daily Photo – The beautiful Colosseum from above.

The beautiful Colosseum from above.

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC300X
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/900
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

Hobbiton in Evening Light

A Visit to Wild Earth Wineries

This is a great winery and place to have lunch here on the South Island! One day when I was there, I flew the quad around a bit… Here’s the result! :)

Daily Photo – Hobbiton in Evening Light

Jumping from the beautiful South Island to the North Island of New Zealand, we come back to the quaint and too-perfect Hobbiton. I was lucky enough to be there right after they installed all the lights. What could be better than this? Something so scenic and relaxing… and it's all real too. I mean, there are no Hobbits or anything… but all the plants, gardens, working mead tap in the Green Dragon Inn – everything! I want to sleep here all night I think. :)

Hobbiton in Evening Light

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length29.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.7

Standing Guard at the Tomb

Aurora HDR Pro 1.2 is here!

Check it out, Aurora HDR Pro 1.2 has been released with a whole lotta improvements and some sparking new features! :)

Here’s one of my favourite recent photos from my family trip that was done in Aurora HDR Pro! Look at all that glow action!

NEW FEATURES:
1.Photos for Mac editing extensions support
2.Leica M Monochrome (type 246) RAW file support
3.Open/Save for .HDR and .EXR image formats

IMPROVEMENTS:
1.Better RAW file handling for Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji images
2.Updates to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop plug-ins
3.Enhanced masking brush
4.Improved clipping results for overall HDR effect
5.Improved chromatic aberration reduction
6.Better UI support for 11″ and 13″ displays
7.Improved performance and various bug fixes

Well, this day started out great

You’ll read more about it below, but about 30 minutes after this I was in a car crash! My taxi hit another car in downtown Rabat that had run a red light. We t-boned it and I had on no seat belt! Half of me ended up in the front seat with a super-bruised right knee! Everyone jumped out of their cars and it was like a crazy Moroccan street fight. I was thinking I GOTTA GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE! So I jumped out very clumsily, pulled my suitcase from the trunk and limped away for about half a km till I was way out of that area… jumped in another cab, then hit the train station to exit stage left!

Daily Photo – Standing Guard at the Tomb

I was only briefly in Casablanca before moving on here to Rabat, Morocco. The first place I visited here was the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. I arrived way too early and it was closed. So I kind of loitered around… it was my first real day in Morocco so I was just wandering like a babe in the woods… it was so awesome. I made friends with the other guards that were waiting to get in, then I was able to be first and get a few choice shots while everyone set up for the day of guarding the tomb!

Standing Guard at the Tomb

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Burj Khalifa at Night

6 HDR Shooting Tips

I recently wrote an article for a photography magazine with 6 tips. I thought I’d repeat them here! :) You’ll see I make a few references to Aurora HDR Pro — so grab that if you don’t already have it! :)

1) Get your camera into Auto-bracketing mode. I take just 3 exposures most of the time at -2, 0, and +2. I also shoot in RAW mode so you’ve got a little more juice in the light to play with later in post.

2) Collect Auto-bracketed shots everywhere, even if you don’t think it’s an HDR situation. If your camera has Auto-bracketing, go ahead and keep it on most of the time. When you drag a series of photos into Aurora HDR Pro (or most HDR programs), you’ll be surprised at some of the textures and colors that come out of the woodwork.

3) If you’re shooting in the bright sun, go ahead and set your Exposure Compensation to -1. That means your three exposures will be at -3, -1, and +1. I find that the +2 on a bright day is just TOO bright and has no positive effect on the final creation.

4) Also, if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, don’t bother with a tripod. Just go handheld. All these programs nowadays are so good at auto-aligning that you don’t have to worry about it. Just save the tripod for sunset and night shots!

5) If you find that processing the photos is going a bit slow on your computer, just use JPGs (or export to JPGs) before bringing the shots into Aurora HDR Pro or any other program. Honestly, I can’t see a big difference in bringing in the RAW files at all. And I really pay attention to these things!

6) When processing, be sure to use layers to make different parts of your photo look unique. For example, you may not want the “whole thing HDR’ed” — maybe you just want the buildings to be highly textured with an HDR look, but not so much for the trees or skies. A common mistake most people make is they try to give the entire photo the same look… I think it’s great to make some parts smooth, some parts glowy, some parts texturey, other parts saturated… Each photo will come out very unique, much like you… think of yourself like a chef, organically creating a reflection of you and the scene at the time.

Daily Photo – The Burj Khalifa at Night

There's no way to take a bad photo of this thing! Actually, I did notice a bunch of people with mobile phones having a heck of a time trying to fit the whole thing into frame. They would be taking photos of their friends and in almost every case, they had to lay on the 100 degree concrete and aim up to get the whole thing in… it was actually funny, walking around and watching everyone laying on the ground with their phones!

The Burj Khalifa at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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