Stuck In Customs

The place your mind can go before you travel there

Destinations Read the Blog Photo Tips

Crossing through Alexandra

Symmetry Tip

Whenever you take a photo of a symmetrical situation, be sure to spend a few extra moments to make sure you are absolutely in the very middle. If you’re using a mirrorless camera with an EVF, switch through to the different modes where you see the most gizmos on the screen. You can use all those horizon/tilt gizmos as triangulation bits to like up symmetrical objects in the room. Take a little extra time, because it’s really tough to fix symmetry in Photoshop!

Daily Photo – Crossing through Alexandra

I've made many road trips from Queenstown to Dunedin in the past year… every time I go through Alexandra. This is what it looks like as you cross the bridge in the middle of the Autumn. How pretty! 🙂

Crossing through Alexandra

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/180
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Camping in the Yard at Night

Life from Above

This is one of my favorite video creations from this year… you will see a bit more of Burano in it! 🙂

Daily Photo – Camping in the Yard at Night

I built this for my kids to have a little camp out party. How awesome is that? I liked it so much that I wanted to go out there with them, but I wasn't quite welcome in their clubhouse. The nerve!

Camping in the Yard at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Episode 12 is out and ready to go!

The countdown is on, only two episodes left!


Episode 12 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.

To get the series, go to http://www.stuckincustoms.com/becoming-an-artist/

As for Episode 12, join me in “How I Keep Learning To See”. In this episode, I share a story about when I gave a keynote speech at Kent State and an unknowing student asked me something that made me question the nature of vision. I then delve into Black and White photography and share a few techniques.

Share your photos and discuss this Episode in Trey’s Funky Lounge on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomingAnArtist/

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.

Sunset in Bali

The Next Morning in Bali

Here’s a FB Live thing I did while in Bali… this was the next morning!

Daily Photo – Sunset in Bali

We went out on a little photo excursion one afternoon and evening. It was great fun! We started by visiting a few different beaches then ended up at this magical place in the evening. There were no bad pictures from any angle. It was a shame I only got to go here one night… but driving around Bali and exploring was a great experience. I look forward to going back some day and seeing more! 🙂

Sunset in Bali

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length58.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Pig Island and Pigeon Island

Another Show Suggestion

Rick & Morty! Even though it’s a cartoon, it’s definitely not for kids. It has some of the funniest writing and craziest plots I’ve ever seen!

Daily Photo – Pig Island and Pigeon Island

Amazing eh? I got this out of a helicopter while flying out to Earnslaw Burn on a reconnaissance mission. Maybe once a week or so the lake gets this smooth. I've never seen it this smooth from the air, though, so I had the chopper pilot make a 360 so I could get this shot. I got a little dizzy, but it was worth it!

Pig Island and Pigeon Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/90
  • Aperture22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Devil’s Staircase

Silicon Valley

I highly recommend watching this show. At first, I wasn’t sure… but it really grows on you! I think it’s just in Season 3 now, so it’s a good time to get started!

Daily Photo – Devil's Staircase

Isn't this a cool road? This is one of the first photos I took with the Hasselblad. That's quite a camera eh? Amazing optics and sharpness. I can't quite figure it out because it's not like my Sony system is blurry. The feel is very…immediate, no?

This is actually quite a dangerous part of the road between Kingston and Queenstown, especially when it's raining… so if you are ever coming down here, be sure to drive carefully! Sometimes it's not your fault as there are a lot of Chinese tourists who are not that familiar with driving at all.

Devil's Staircase

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length80.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The less populated bits of China

Did you know?

That there is a special audio commentary along with this photo? You can see it over at http://www.treyratcliff.com/ — hunt and espy this photo to hear it!

Daily Photo – The less populated bits of China

The city grew without changing its core growth algorithm. I don't even feel that old, but in my few visits to China, I can actually see the logarithmic growth. From shrubbery and farmland to concrete and stacking, there seems to be a pre-programmed mushroom-time-lapse strangeness to the shaping. It is all supposed to make sense with perspective and from above, and I suppose it sort of does, but in moments of doubt, it makes no sense at all.

The less populated bits of China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

After the Rains in Venice

Lightroom Workflow Tutorial

Don’t miss my Lightroom Tutorial – Organize Your Photos!

Daily Photo – After the Rains in Venice

This is one of my favorite new photos from Venice! I know I keep saying that over and over and over again, but it's nice to re-visit these places through photos. Even though I have a decent memory, I find these photos in my Lightroom to process and I think, “Oh! I almost forgot about that one!”

After the Rains in Venice

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture22
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Running Off Into the Sunset

Photo Walk Reminder!

Don’t miss today’s Photo Walk in Sydney! And also don’t miss the big workshop event tomorrow as well… it’ll be epic! 🙂

Daily Photo – Running Off Into the Sunset

There's one of my girls, running off into the picture when I told her not to! But then, I realized it was actually a better picture with her in it! Seeing this reminds me we gotta get the kids to more beachy places. They never get tired of playing on the beach… those kiddos! It's especially nice to think about now because it's the middle of a cold winter in New Zealand! This photo was taken at Phulay Bay in Thailand.

Running Off Into the Sunset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Drama Church!

iPad Pro

At first, I didn’t think I’d like it so much… just seemed too big. But now that I have it, I really dig the thing. Photos look absolutely incredible on it, and it’s also great for games. I even love reading on the thing… it’s so big I don’t even have to turn the pages that often. I feel it’s like reading one of those old giant encyclopedias.

Daily Photo – Drama Church!

I was walking on the beach one night in Bali here at the Ritz-Carlton. I don't remember ever seeing a church or any kind of religious thing at any hotels before… so this one really stands out because of its architectural impact. I knew there was a storm coming, so I went out here on the beach to watch it for about half an hour, trying my best to capture some lightning, and then I did it! As fast as lightning, they say.

Drama Church!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Wild Earth Winery at Night

Lunch suggestion

There are a ton of great places to eat all around Queenstown, but this one is a must-visit I think. Not a lot of people go because it’s about a 40-minute drive towards Cromwell… but the food is really amazing. They actually have converted old wine barrels into grills. Very cool!

Daily Photo – Wild Earth Winery at Night

This was a hard photo to take! I took it during one of our workshop events after we had just had an amazing dinner. It wasn't hard to take because I had too much wine — it was hard to take because it was on a swinging bridge. So I got to the very very edge of the bridge right by where it connected to the ground to minimize the swing. It was still a very long exposure and I was holding my breath. I really like the way it turned out!

Wild Earth Winery at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Episode 11 is here, check it out!

Season is almost done…

Episode 11 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 11, join me in “What Burning Man Taught Me about People Photography” In this episode, I talk about getting outside of my comfort zone and how I’ve learned to take photos of people in a unique way. I also explore images of the people that I’ve captured from around the world.

Share your photos and discuss this Episode in Trey’s Funky Lounge on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomingAnArtist/ or get the whole series at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/becoming-an-artist/

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.

An Idyllic Weekend at Wharekauhau

A hard word to say?

Yes, the resort below is hard to say for sure. I have my own system for how to pronounce it (I always have trouble with Maori words). So I say it (kinda): “Forry ko ho.” I’m getting better! 🙂 haha

Daily Photo – An Idyllic Weekend at Wharekauhau

What a treat to spend a few days here. It was soooo relaxing and beautiful. There was a really nice vibration to the place and I always felt at home there. Dave, Curtis, Olivia, and I drove here from Wellington through some beautiful rolling hills. As you can tell just by looking at it, this estate is massive. Those white buildings there are individual cottages where the guests stay. I was in that one on the left. In a future blog post, I'll show you the main lodge where we would all hang out and eat together during the days and evenings.

This property actually touches on James Cameron's plot, where they'll be filming Avatar 2!

An Idyllic Weekend at Wharekauhau

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC330
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/750
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

An Art Stay with Gabriella Lewenz

Waiheke Island

I can’t believe it took me four years in New Zealand to get to this spot! I got a ton of photos, though, and I’ll be sharing them all here on the blog soon!

Daily Photo – An Art Stay with Gabriella Lewenz

Now here's an amazing idea. When I was on Waiheke Island, I went to go visit the home of Claude and Gabriella Lewenz. He designs villages and she's a fine art painter. This is a picture of part of their amazing home there. Anyway, they've just launched this new concept of an “Art Stay” where you can go stay with them for a few days. While there, you commission an art piece from Gabriella and she begins making it while you are there. What a fun idea…you'll love it! I wanna go! See more at http://artstay.com/

An Art Stay with Gabriella Lewenz

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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 http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/becoming-workshop

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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomingAnArtist/

Daily Photo – The Mighty Bridge over Sydney

I'm really looking forward to coming back! 🙂

The Mighty Bridge over Sydney

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomingAnArtist/ or get the whole series at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/becoming-an-artist/

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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/becoming-workshop

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 Taken
  • 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 http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

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 https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomingAnArtist/ or get the whole series at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/becoming-an-artist/

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

Underearth

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

Sunset in Ft. Lauderdale

Happy Birthday!

To my sister Bianca! 🙂 Love, Trey

Daily Photo – Sunset in Ft. Lauderdale

We only spent one evening here on the bus trip, but it sure was fun! I was desperate for a day off from the USA tour, and this hit the spot. I had a jog on the beach during sunset with some quad lovin', got a massage, then had a fab sushi dinner. I really liked it there and want to go back for sure!

Sunset in Ft. Lauderdale

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC350
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/240
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

Episode 8 is out!

Season 1 Ticks along!

Episode 8 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 8, join me in “What Goes Up Sometimes Come Down in a Different Location!” In this episode, I begin by talking about how HDR brought a new perspective to photography and how I believe that quadcopter photography is now doing the same thing.

Share your photos and discuss this Episode in Trey’s Funky Lounge on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomingAnArtist/ or get the whole series at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/becoming-an-artist/

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.

Rene is the one in the top left

Going to PNG

If you decide to go to PNG out into the bush, get ready. There’s no hotels or any of the common “tourist” services. You’ll have to go through a service. For example, we somehow stayed inside a private military compound that was owned by a diamond miner. We met him one night at the bar, and he told us how much the locals loved him because he built a lot of roads. And then, he said, if the locals don’t love him, he hits them in the chest with a 12-inch bronze pipe.

Daily Photo – Rene is the one in the top left

Here's my amazing friend Rene Smith, who never fails to make me laugh. We were in Papua New Guinea together, completely out of our element. We're actually ALWAYS out of our element, but especially here. I think the thing is that Rene and I are always laughing and have open hearts, so we never really run into any trouble. I think the idea that we were not head-hunted in Papua New Guinea is a pretty good indication of that. All it has done is made us more bold in our travel adventures. If we can survive here, then we can survive almost anywhere else, I think. Where's next Rene? Let's hit Iraq and Syria to spice things up! 🙂

Rene is the one in the top left

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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