The Deserts of Oman

Dune Bashing

What’s dune bashing? Well, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You just take a truck and run up and down sand dunes. I found it more stressful than anything, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it!

Daily Photo – The Deserts of Oman

If you go to the Middle East you gotta get a little desert time in, eh? From Muscat, we took a 2-hour car ride out to where the dunes were massive! It had just rained the day before so the sand was pretty dense and easy to walk on. This was the total opposite of when we went to the dunes a few days later in Qatar, where it was bone dry. Those dunes are VERY hard to walk on…

The Deserts of Oman

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length90.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Gondolas from Above

Great Comments

I love internet comments… if nothing else, it helps me not to take anything too seriously.

Gondolas_from_Above___Stuck_in_Customs

Let’s do a Photowalk around Edinburgh!

I’m really excited to come there… it’s my first time! We’ll meet at Hemma, which my friend Stuart tells me is a cool pub, at 2 PM to have some drinks then head out at 3 PM for the official walk! :)

My Photowalks are super-chill… everyone is welcome. All camera types (even mobile phones) and all skill levels are welcome! I’ll be giving tips & tricks along the way, and we’ll all share photos after the event as well. It’s a family-friendly event…

  • Meet: 2 PM at Hemma for drinks then 3 PM departure for Photowalk!
  • The Walk: My friend Stuart Davidson has a route for us!
  • Ending? Whenever you want it! But probably sometime after sunset/dusk
  • Hashtag? #TreyScotland2016 – this way we can share photos on all the networks and see what everyone snapped!
  • Cost: FREE. El freebo!

(For those of you in London, I’m here for this event — and then heading up to Scotland for an adventure after that!

Crazy Video Log of Every Jedi Ever

There’s a lot of awesome Star Wars stuff out nowadays… I’m pretty much a fanboy and find all of this stuff to be pretty awesome haha. I find it even more impressive that people make the time to make things like the video below!

Daily Photo – Gondolas from Above

How interesting is this photo? Yes, obviously it was taken with a quad, but I find so mesmerizing. Almost any top-down shot of a familiar object will make your head turn sideways a little bit and make your brain spin around. This is a really nice feeling, I think!

Gondolas from Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC300X
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO165
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

A Tree in the Clouds

Behind-the-Scenes Video

Enjoy this behind-the-scenes movie of the day I took this photo below! :)

Daily Photo – A Tree in the Clouds

Wow, I love this Hasselblad. This is one of the very first photos I took with it when we went out exploring around the South Island. As you can tell, I've done almost no retouching at all. These medium format cameras have a very interesting “look” don't they? The optics are just amazing.

A Tree in the Clouds

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture32
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length50.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Floating above Venice

Italy Recap

Okay, so then we left Qatar and flew to Italy. It was a fun flight for the family because they used points to upgrade to business class. I sat back in Economy (which I certainly don’t mind), but they had a ball up there! The flight attendant, at least, felt sorry for me and said she would bring back some of the “good” wine. Well, that was pretty exciting but then she never brought me any at all, which made it even worse, somehow.

Anyway, we got to Rome and the kids were able to see the last stage of the trip. It was actually kind of cool, introducing the kids to four huge religions. We started with Buddhism in Thailand, then Hinduism in India, then Islam in Oman and Qatar, then finally Christianity in Italy!

We actually started the tour in Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica. I guess technically that’s a different country! But it was incredible…

In Rome, we stayed in the Boscolo Exedra, a place I mega-recommend. It’s centrally located and the whole family was very comfortable and happy there. The kids were getting QUITE spoiled by this point… week #4 in a row of lavish breakfast buffets!

After Rome, we took a train to Venice for a final few days of fun. We went to another Boscolo hotel there the Boscolo Venezia, Autograph Collection, which was also fabulous. You can see it in the below as well.

Well, WHAT a 30-day family trip. I hardly know how to express how grateful I was to spend so much time adventuring around with the family. I think it was a little Extreme for everyone, but I’m just getting them warmed up for next year! :)

italy Video Recap

And here’s all the videos from Italy!

Italy Photos Recap

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

One day we leased a few Fiat 500s to roam around the Roman countryside.

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

And here’s one of those country roads we drove down. This is not too far from the Appian Way, the very first road ever!

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

Inside the Vatican…

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

Here’s the kids with one foot in two different countries, Vatican City and Italy.

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

Scarlett drinks from an ancient aqueduct-fed fountain. Here’s a little secret: If you plug up the bottom, there is often a little extra hole where the water spurts out the top to make it easier to drink!

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

And finally we got to Venice where of course we took a gondola ride. Scarlett simply HAD to be in the front.

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

And we had a visit to the Doge’s palace to see this enormous painting by Tintoretto.

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

And there is our Boscolo Hotel there on the left. It was in a wonderful, quiet area of the city where mostly just locals live. It was great to be away from the touristy area for long, quiet, peaceful nights.

Daily Photo – Floating above Venice

I'll tell you something embarrassing about this photo! But once I tell you, you'll definitely be able to see it. Having said that, it's a happy accident because I really like this photo! Anyway, this was a new quadcopter that I got after the other one crashed in India. So, I realized after I took this shot that I forgot to take off that little clear sticker that goes over the camera… yeah, you can see it now, can't ya? But still, a cool effect it had! :)

Floating above Venice

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

Life from Above, and Beyond

A new kind of video

I hope you enjoy this. It’s kind of different! :)

I’ve been shooting drone footage from all over the world for the past 3 years. Here’s the culmination! I hope you enjoy this idea.

Music by Hans Zimmer – songs were Day One (Superman), Cornfield Chase (Superman), Time (Inception)
Words by Alan Watts – more at http://www.alanwatts.org/

Special thanks to the team that helped make all of this possible: Curtis Simmons, Ollie Dale, Luke Lakatosh, Ruby Wilson and so many more.

If you wanna know more about the quads I used, they are all from DJI. It’s a collection of several Phantoms and Inspires. See my Phantom review.

A Recap of our next three days in Qatar!

Qatar Recap

Once again, I stayed in a place not long enough! Right after three nights in Oman, we came here for another three nights. This was all meant to be sort of an “amuse bouche” of the Middle East for the family… just enough to get everyone excited enough to want to come back!

We arrived at the Sharq Village & Spa in Doha. Actually, it was amazingly close to the airport. I think it took us less than 10 minutes to arrive! And then, upon entry, we met our personal butler. He was a heck of a nice guy from Serbia. He took us to our room, showed us around, and showed us all the various surprises they left for us. There was so much fruit it was insane. And every day they kept bringing more fruit. It was Very Nice, but at some point I had to say, “ENOUGH WITH THE FRUIT I LOVE IT BUT IT’S TOO MUCH!” haha it was so funny… it just kept coming!

Anyway, one of our first stops was to the old souk, which was absolutely incredible. I was amazed and blown away by the feel of this souk. I could have shopped in there forever. Then we went to an amazing Iranian restaurant called Parisa. You’ll see some of the intricate glassworks in a photo below.

Besides more great spa treatments, yoga, and food, we also had an incredible cooking class from the head chef of a new restaurant that is supposed to open there called Al Dana. It’s one of the only beachfront restaurants in all of Doha… and wow was that chef Evangelous Liakouris ever nice!

Qatar Videos Recap

Here’s the highlight video from Qatar!

Qatar Photos Recap

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

This is the Sharq Village and Spa at night, a view as we are walking back to our room.

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

Here the kids are in their cooking class with the head chef of Al Dana, Evangelous Liakouris.

The End Of The Call To Prayer

A man emerges from a mosque as the call to prayer is ending…

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

There are actually two Ritz-Carlton in Doha. I had a chance to go over to this other one for an INTENSE Italian dinner that was beyond description called Porcini. The kids even got to go into the kitchen to make some pizzas!

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

Approaching the souk…

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

The action inside the souk!

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

One day we came back and our butler surprised us, taking us to the beach where there was a camel named Jamilla! Isabella loves ALL animals so she would go back to visit Jamilla again and again and again :)

Daily Photo – Sharq Village & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha, Qatar

And here's the inside of that most incredible restaurant, Parisa. The manager told me that a bunch of women flew in from Iran to do all the glass decorations and it took them over three years. And guess what, this is JUST the hallway! Wait till you see the main room! I'll save that for a later post.

Sharq Village & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha, Qatar

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

An amazing three days in Muscat, Oman

Oman Recap

You’ll see a lot of footage of the Al Bustan Palace, the Ritz-Carlton here where we stayed. What a property! We had just come from India and seen how the royal people lived, and now we felt like them! They made amazing suggestions and we got to see everything from incredible souks to picturesque deserts. You’ll see more below and in weeks/months/years to come as I pour through the photos and share them here.

One of the greatest things that happened in here was totally unexpected! Isabella lost her tooth and it seems the Tooth Fairy went crazy and had a party in the room! You’ll see that and more in the video.

Oman Video Recap

Wow…I just watched this again and it makes me want to go back! We were only here for three days… not nearly long enough!

Oman Photos Recap

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

Here’s the view from the beach of the Ritz-Carton hotel there. I think they have something like a mile of private beach… and it’s mostly empty all the time!

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

How beautiful is this hotel?

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

Not too far away is this incredible mosque. I felt lucky to be able to visit it!

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

And here we are inside the mosque. The girls loved getting dressed up for the big event!

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

A short drive from the hotel was a great old souk. I found this lamp store and wanted to buy everything but Tina would not let me! :(

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

Here’s the main pool there at the Al Bustan Palace at night. These gentle fountains come on and dance across the water.

Daily Photo – Al Bustan Palace, The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Muscat, Oman

Check out the lobby! We couldn't believe our eyes when we walked in. The grandeur of the chandelier alone was enough to stagger all of us. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the entire property, but especially the pools and the ocean. We couldn't get them out of the water!

This was my family's first trip to the middle east and they were a bit nervous, to be honest! I wasn't worried one lick, but they were all extremely surprised at how open, warm, and welcoming the Omanese people were. I think everyone felt very safe and happy the entire time, exactly as I suspected!

Probably one of my favorite memories from here was when we took a little family catamaran trip one night… being out on the open ocean and seeing such amazing rock/mountain formations was really mesmerizing.

Al Bustan Palace, The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Muscat, Oman

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

An Amazing Adventure in India, a recap

India Recap

This was my second time to India but my first time to come with my family. We chose Bangalore as our home-base for a few reasons. First, there was yet another amazing Ritz-Carlton there which was great and relaxing for the whole family. This is where my son learned to fall in love with Indian food! This is saying a lot because hitherto we had only seen him eat hamburgers and pizza! We even got an extended cooking class at Riwaz that the kids loved. And to my surprise, after the cooking class, we got to eat everything and more. I ate SO MUCH FOOD in India it was absolutely ridiculous. And they kept bringing more and more. I’ve heard you’re not supposed to eat to make yourself happy, but I don’t believe that at all!

The second reason was this is where our train trip on the Southern Splendor started and ended! It was my first long train ride like this where you live on a train for a whole week. It was an incredible way to see the country and the whole family had fun. So Much Indian Food and I think we all learned to love it even more as the week went on! You can see a lot more in the videos below :)

India Videos Recap

And here’s all the videos from India!

India Photos Recap

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

Here is a view of Bangalore at sunset. I took this from the rooftop bar on top of the Ritz-Carlton. I have another photo of this funky bar down below!

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

Here are my two beautiful daughters. We went out almost immediately in Bangalore to get them a few traditional Indian dresses.

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

Not far from the hotel was this amazing old fortress-palace that we spent a bit of time inside.

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

Well this is obviously not Bangalore, but I wanted to throw it in as one of my favorite photos I took while in India. This is on the very southern tip, where three seas smash together in a Game-of-Thrones scene!

And here is the amazing rooftop bar I mentioned earlier. I had a major geek-out moment here when I was all alone editing photos and there was a huge bridal party blowing up all around me.

Here’s the entrance to the Ritz-Carlton… we had so many long and adventurous days, and this was always a welcome site to see at the end of the day!

Daily Photo – The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, India

Here is the entrance to one of my favorite restaurants in Bangalore. This is Lantern, and it's one of the many great places to eat inside the Ritz-Carlton. Look, it's lined with wine on the way in! So much wine, so little time! :)

The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, India

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time40
  • Aperture19
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length50.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Ritz-Carlton, Phulay Bay, Thailand

A Thailand Recap!

Now that I’m back home from a the 50-day trip, I’m gonna do a little 5-day recap of the 5 countries we visited along the way! Wow, what a trip… I’m still getting my head around the whole thing. Now, some of you may know how I absolutely love staying at these amazing Ritz-Carlton locations all around the world. I feel so grateful for our partnership and everything…I know I gush about them all the time, but, I mean, comon, really! Check out how beautiful it is there… and the whole team is so nice. Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you! I never want to check out of any location…

Thailand Videos

Anyway, here’s a few favorite videos of Thailand.

Thailand Photos

Here’s a few favorite photos of Thailand this trip, both on the property and around the environs!

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

Here’s the beautiful entryway where I would come to meditate. More on that below for the daily photo!

Exploring The Archipelago Around Krabi In Thailand

We had the most amazing boat ride around the archipelago. By the way, this is a pretty good example of the “type” of photo the Hasselblad takes.

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

My daughter feeds a baby elephant on the beach. How Cute Can You Get?

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

Isabella pauses after dinner on a bridge before we return back to the room for the night. We were hoping the elephant would be there too, but he was not…

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

On one of our last nights here, we were treated to an amazing show from all the locals. The kids were enraptured and my camera was in a state of constant motion!

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

This was one of our nightly walks, from the bar to another beautiful restaurant for dinner. They had so many amazing restaurants on the property that our minds were in a state of constant-blowage!

Daily Photo – The Ritz-Carlton, Phulay Bay, Thailand

This is a pretty peaceful view on the way to morning meditation, wouldn't you say? By the time I walked through all these bamboo pathways and peaceful shapes, I was already in the right mindset. In fact, I think this is maybe my favorite memory of this place. It's not a specific moment, it's more that I felt like I was in a constant flow of meditation while there. And I can't wait to go back!

The Ritz-Carlton, Phulay Bay, Thailand

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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