Stuck In Customs

The place your mind can go before you travel there

Read the Blog Photo Tips

Iโ€™m doing a series of free, fun, family friendly, photo walks across Europeโ€ฆ plus a few unique day-long workshops. Wanna see the list of places? Come check out the new site at 80stays.treyratcliff.com!

The View from Michael Hill’s Home

The Art Tour from Sir Michael Hill’s Home

Here’s the two parts stiched together (it was interrupted) from our little art tour in SMH’s home!

Daily Photo – The View from Michael Hill's Home

Sir Michael Hill has always been incredibly generous to me. Not only is he a friend, but he's an art collector. I took a group of friends there for an art tour not too long ago and after that, he let us all loose to take photos. This is the view from his front yard… that's Lake Hayes there in the distance… how pretty are the trees and, well, everything!?!?

The View from Michael Hill's Home

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-04-22 06:56:23
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length50.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Colors of Venetian Water

Speaking of Venice

Be sure to grab the NEW HDR Tutorial we filmed in Venice and just released for both Photomatix on Windows and Aurora HDR on Mac! It took me twice as long, but I think it was worth it!

Daily Photo – Colors of Venetian Water

The water in Venice is actually pretty disgusting. My friend Rene can attest to this because he actually fell into it with all his camera equipment! Luckily he survived to tell the tale! Anyway, sometimes during the day it looks less disgusting than usual, but one of the best ways to make it look pretty is to get these sorts of reflections at night!

Colors of Venetian Water

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-05-03 06:37:42
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Dubai, UAE

Lisbon Workshop and more!

Don’t forget to sign up for our Lisbon Workshop – it’s gonna be amazing!

Daily Photo – Dubai, UAE

I'll be stopping here on the way to that Lisbon workshop! To find out about other ones, go to our Workshops Page and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to find out! ๐Ÿ™‚

How beautiful is Dubai? I love coming here to take photos and explore the city. For this shot, I was invited through the royal family and a friend to get up onto a building that was about half a mile in the air. This allowed me to be able to shoot straight across at the Burj Khalifa. Most photos you see have it leaning inwards because it's so tall and shot with a wide angle upwards… those are cool, but so is this angle!

Dubai, UAE

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-03-17 22:39:48
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture4
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length17.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Colorful Corner in Old San Juan

Go to Old San Juan!

Even though it’s my 2nd time in Puerto Rico, I never had the chance to go to this great old place in the city. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and an evening… the food and drinks are amazing to grab in between photo shooting sessions!

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Click here to learn how to unlock this content plus many other amazing member benefits.

Daily Photo – A Colorful Corner in Old San Juan

I kept coming back to this corner again and again… one time I got here and there was this gal crossing the street in a shapely black dress, and I thought it made the scene so much more interesting.

A Colorful Corner in Old San Juan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-25 01:04:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Horse Play in the Water

Get a Pixel Phone!

These Google Pixel phones are great. Note Google didn’t pay me or anything to say this… I even bought a 2nd one for my wife and she loves it too. I find it superior to the iPhone in almost every way… and since I Switched from Mac to Windows now I am totally Apple-free! And yes, we’re still working on the Aurora HDR version for Windows! ๐Ÿ™‚

Daily Photo – Horse Play in the Water

Heck of a nice photo from a mobile phone eh? One of the best advantages of the phone is I was able to go jogs with it up and down the beach here in Aruba. I saw so many interesting things! And it was so easy to quickly grab with by pressing the power button twice on the side then Vol-Up to grab it. I often didn't even have to look at the viewfinder. I would just “guess” and then edit in Snapseed or on my computer later.

Horse Play in the Water

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-17 15:09:38
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/6000
  • Aperture2
  • ISO57
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Streaming Light in the Mosque

Local Guides

If you’re a Passport Member and you see the bonus video below, you’ll see the incredible value of having a local guide. In this case, he found a gentleman in the mosque that sings the verses and stories inside of this beautiful old room. You can also see me talking about taking photos in the same mosque as today’s Daily Photo!

Passport Member-Only Content
Click here to learn how to unlock this content plus many other amazing member benefits.

Daily Photo – Streaming Light in the Mosque

How pretty is this place? This is one of the oldest mosques I've ever been inside. It's the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and it began construction in 1356! The back room has this enclosed area where the light goes absolutely crazy when you use a tripod.

Streaming Light in the Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-03 16:14:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Join me for a week in Lisbon, Portugal for a true Photography Adventure!

Come explore Europe’s second-oldest capital, the City of the Sea

Every year I personally take a small group of people to an exotic location for a Photo Adventure… Venice, Namibia, Paris, Tokyo, London, New Zealand and now Lisbon. This photo adventure will be incredible and FULL of SURPRISES just like all the others!

I custom-design these trips to exceed everyone’s expectations and I believe so far we have! My idea of “roughing it” is slow room service, so we stay in luxurious accommodations, we eat amazing food, we drink fine wine, we gain access to exclusive and secret spots, most of the time while laughing and having the time of our lives!

Not to sound overly new-agey or self-important, but there is another philosophical aspect to these amazing events. I have personally found that being creative and artistic has added a layer of peace and tranquillity to my life, and by working closely together over the week, perhaps some of the techniques I share will rub off a bit. So, it might appear we’re just taking photos together, but really there is a lot more going on. Well, you’ll see. Your only regret will be if you miss out!

Visit the Lisbon Photography Adventure Page to find out more ๐Ÿ™‚

The Adventure begins April 15, 2017!

We’re excited for this adventure because not only will we be exploring Lisbon and the coastal areas but we’re staying at the unbelievable Penha Longa Resort in the Sintra Mountains! This amazing Ritz-Carlton property dates back to a 14th century Monastery, it’s truly remarkable. The adventure will be April 15 – 20, 2017 and we’ve worked closely with the resort to design a unique and unforgetable experience. The staff there is extremely nice and accommodating. We’ll make sure that all your needs are met!


Penha Longa Resort – Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

Sounds Exciting! Where do I Sign Up?

Please contact Curtis Simmons ([email protected]) for pricing information and to reserve your spot today! You can also contact Curtis if you have additional questions or would like to enquire about bringing a partner

10 Problems with the New Phantom 4 Pro Plus

Phantom 4 Pro Plus Problems (lots of P’s but even more Probs)

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my Phantom 4 Review here on the blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll put the video from the review at the bottom of this post.

So I have both versions of the Phantom 4 Pro. The “Plus” version that includes an integrated screen and the normal one where you just use your phone (iPhone or Android). I went out this weekend with my friend Mark who also has the Plus version, and we noted the EXACT SAME ISSUES. Some are major… others are minor… I’ll list them in the order of the most annoying!

1) At least three times while up in the air and fairly far away, the Plus thought there were obstacles in front of it. There was nothing… it was in the middle of the bright open air. This mostly happened when I was trying to fly it back to me. The two workarounds I found were a) to do a 180 and back it home to trick the sensors and b) switch to ATTI mode to manually fly it back. Of course, ATTI (Manual) mode can be very scary if the quad is a far away dot and you can’t tell what direction you’re going. (It seemed to happen whether or not I calibrated the compass before each flight.)

2) On four occasions the UI disappeared and we were left with a slightly zoomed-in version.

3) On three occasions I would get it up and somewhere between 50 and 100 feet it would say “Maximum Altitude Reached.”

4) After booting up, it took a long time to get a good connection to the controller. The connection was often weak even though there was no EM interference anywhere (we were in the middle of nowhere on the South Island of New Zealand).

5) Every time I fly now after a few minutes it says “Unable to save video – video cache is full.” For a while, this messed with my head because it made me think my SD card was full. That’s what it sounds like, right? So I kept landing and putting in new SD cards. But now I think it means the controllers video cache was full. I don’t know what that means or why it happens. The cache should just be dumping all the time as new stuff comes in, right?

6) The video that appears on the screen is not super-smooth and does a major tear randomly every 5-15 seconds. By “tear” I mean it shows half a second of video from 2-3 seconds previously. It freaks me out because I don’t feel like I’m getting real time video – also it makes me think I’m not getting smooth video.

7) When broadcasting to Facebook Live (See My Facebook Live Videos!), there was no way to upload the HD version or save the video myself. These are both options avail on the non plus version.

8) When going live on Facebook, I cannot choose my “Fan Page” – only my personal page.

9) Last, a minor one… when making the description for FB Live, I only have like 80 characters and there is no way to copy/paste more than a single word.

10) …another minor one… didn’t notice it until the import but the default clock does not update automatically. All my pictures say they were taken in 1951, which is well-known for being one of the worst years for quadcopters.

Anyway, I didn’t have any of those problems with the non-Plus version. The best thing about the Plus version is still the Very Bright Screen (way brighter than a mobile phone) and how quickly I can get it up in the air from the box. I can probably launch it in 45-60 seconds after I open the box and break it down back into the box in 30 seconds.

However, with all the bugs listed above, I’ll still recommend the non-plus version for a while.

Here’s the video from my first review of the Phantom 4! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

New Plotagraph Pro pricing

See today’s photo ? I also made an animated version that turned out great! You can see it over here on Facebook – it should auto-loop!

And if you go over to the Plotagraph Pro page you’ll see they have new pricing including a monthly plan. Give it a whirl… very fun! If you check my Instagram Feed you’ll see I’ve been posting a lot lately ๐Ÿ™‚

Daily Photo – Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

On my last night in San Juan, I went around to do a little exploratory fun walk with my friend Scott Jarvie. After moving around and through the town, we ended out by the docks. How pretty eh? It was a nice and moody night with all the clouds that made it even more romantic. I mean, I love a good romantic night with Jarvie.

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-26 09:02:48
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.4
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Paddleboard of my Own!

Here’s a photo of the first time I tried paddleboard yoga. This is extremely difficult, by the way… And when you fall off, there is simply no way to look cool. It reminds me of the other way it is impossible to look cool: When you crawl under a conference table to unplug things.


Yours Truly on a Paddleboard

Daily Photo – Paddleboard Yoga Class

You know what would have been really impressive? If I was doing yoga down there on paddleboard with all those ladies WHILE flying the quadcopter to get this shot. Can you imagine? Well… that's a recipe for disaster I'm sure… I almost fell over while standing over on the nearby beach!

Paddleboard Yoga Class

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-19 10:20:39
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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