Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

Read the Blog Photo Tips

Photo Friendsies at the Song Museum

What’s a Friendsie?

A Friendsie is when you would gladly take a selfie, but you have your friend do it because they can get better angles. I noticed this in spades all over China. While I did see a lot of selfies, I saw an equal number, or greater, of Friendsies. They would go out in groups of two or three and just take photos of one another all day long. Note that the word Friendsie doesn’t exactly exist yet, but I’m kinda inventing a new “name” for it. Elodin would be proud.

Daily Photo – Photo Friendsies at the Song Museum

We visited the Song Museum north of Beijing one day. It's a very contemporary and modern museum with clean white lines and elegant shapes. Inside the museum was the usual fair, but the outside of the museum was teeming with a hoard of girls taking photos of one another. Groups of two or three would all spend hours just taking photos outside the museum of one another in different poses. They were all stylishly dressed and quite avant-garde. Of course, I got into the fun and started taking photos of the whole scene as well, then sharing the photos back with them on WeChat (the most popular social network there).

Photo Friendsies at the Song Museum

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-10 20:11:50
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Update on Workshops

New Goodies for Workshop attendees

For our upcoming Photography Workshops in New Zealand and Africa, I’ve decided to throw in a Peak Design Goodie Kit! It will include a Peak Design bag and lots of other goodies. I think you’ll have a great time on the workshop anyway, but even better if you’re sporting some flash new gear!

Daily Photo – Beautiful Arrowtown in the Autumn

And this is one of the things you'll definitely see on the Autumn New Zealand workshop. We always spend at least a day here in Arrowtown to see the incredible colors while receiving photography instruction. One of my favorite parts after a long day of shooting and post-processing is ending up at one of my favorite restaurants for a group dinner. Everything is included with the price, and we always want to over-deliver, so I take you to the best places… the best foods, best wines, best photography… what else could you ask for!?!

Beautiful Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-05-01 13:43:02
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO6400
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Sphinx Across Time

I’m constantly Updating my Kits!

If you head over to my Kit.com, you’ll see I’m constantly updating it with everything from books to gadgets to photography gear. I hope you find something cool in there you just can’t live without!

The Sphinx Across Time

While in Egypt, we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with the mighty Sphinx himself! It was pretty crazy standing there… right in front of one of the most iconic places on Earth. It wasn't quite as big as I expected, but it was still very impressive. I even managed to do a Facebook Live from this location while an Egyptologist showed us around… and even showed us a secret tunnel underneath.

The Sphinx Across Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-02 14:49:18
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

An Old Tea House Near Chengdu

Updated Burning Man Camera Survival Guide

I’ve committed to updating my Burning Man Guide every year. Now it’s got a bunch of new stuff in there, also updated with some of the latest gear I’m taking with me.

Daily Photo – An Old Tea House Near Chengdu

Check out this old-timer. We drove about an hour outside of Chengdu to see some of the “old ways” since a lot of that has been swept away in the urban growth of China. We came to this old tea house were people were just sitting around having tea and smoking some rather insane looking pipes. That is literally all they did… all… day… long… But it was really interesting and great for photography. I even sat down and had a little tea for myself!

An Old Tea House Near Chengdu

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-15 15:06:00
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Incredible London from Above

Passport Sunday!

In today’s video for Passport Members, you’ll see me and Harriett sit down together and edit this photo. It was actually a pretty easy edit and I had to perform a few tricks to get rid of the glare because I didn’t have my lens skirt with me at the time.

Editing London from Above with Aurora HDR and Photoshop

Here’s another one of these videos I recorded with my friend Harriett. She doesn’t do a lot of photography like this, so she asked if she could come down and sit in on a few processing sessions. I told her of course, but then I decided to make some Passport videos at the same time. She was kinda nervous on camera, but I think she did okay!

In today’s photo, I take three original photos and use Aurora HDR to give it some serious punch. And then I played around a bit with the temperature sliders to give different parts of the city different treatments. Finally, I get into Photoshop and clean up a bit of the glare mess. Enjoy!

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – Incredible London from Above

If you want to get up high and get this same view, it's not too difficult. Just get up to the sky bar in the London Shard and find a good view out of any of the windows. They might have cracked down on photographers now, but maybe not. I think you probably have to at least by a coffee or a drink so that the staff there does not glare at you too much. Speaking of glare, don't forget to get a lens skirt or something. I have that gizmo and others on my Kit.com page if you want to see more.

Incredible London from Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-02-18 01:47:20
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Impossible Library and Passport Sneaky Peaky

Here’s a quick video preview

Starting tomorrow, on “Passport Sunday” you awesome Passport Members are getting the first in a series of photo edits where I sit down with my neighbor Harriett and edit photos. Here’s a video below that shows some behind-the-scenes of today’s photo of The Impossible Library.

Daily Photo – The Impossible Library

The Impossible Library

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-13 13:53:20
  • CameraPixel 2 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO158
  • Focal Length4.5 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

I don’t know what to call this

More about the Camino de Santiago

You can find out more about my upcoming week-long hike in Spain on the Wikipedia entry for Camino de Santiago. Here’s a little blurb about it… (note I’m not doing this for religous reasons)

Known in English as the Way of Saint James among other names, is a network of pilgrims’ ways serving pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth.

Passport Bonus Day

Today I’m adding a bonus inspirational video for Passport Members that compares taking photos for the right reasons to reading books for the right reasons. I filmed it inside of this library below.

Copyright Trey Ratcliff www.StuckInCustoms.com

Taking Photos for the Right Reasons

Hi awesome Passport Member! Even though I am doing a new Passport Video just for you on Sundays (Passport Sunday!), I wanted to throw a bonus one in now. This one is a bit more inspirational and I talk about how my reasons for taking photos are a lot like my reasons for reading books. I’m recorded this in China in the Tianjin library.

Note this is kind of a pre-pre-release of these new videos I am working on. I have about 30 of these… still trying to round up a few more sponsors that make sense. But, as long as some are already finished, I thought it would be nice to show you first and get your feedback!

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – I don't know what to call this

I am not sure exactly what this is or why it exists, but I thought it was interesting. I also have no idea what even to call it. I found it inside a the National Museum of Singapore up on the top floor. Nobody was here and there was no art or anything on the walls up here. I guess the thing itself is considered art entombed in some sort of modern architecture. I mean, it's not ugly or anything. I almost didn't take a picture of it because I couldn't figure out what I was taking a photo of, exactly. But, I thought it was interesting in its mysteriousness.

I do recommend going to this museum, however. There are lots of great photo spots and the architecture itself is quite interesting.

I don't know what to call this

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-27 16:39:13
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture5
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Istanbul at Sunset

Upcoming Trek in Spain!

I’m very excited to go on the Camino de Santiago with Kevin Kelly and a group of what I hope to become new friends! I’m doing this in early September. We’re hiking for about a week through the mountains on this rather famous trail. Here’s the path we’ll be taking.

Daily Photo – Beautiful Istanbul at Sunset

I would love to get back to Turkey to take more photos. I only spent a few days here, so just barely enough time to explore the highlights of Istanbul. As you know, I hate to go into “tourist” mode and only visit the places that are popular, but if you only have a short amount of time, I guess that's what you gotta do. And even going into these places like the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia, my goal was to try to get a unique angle… something a bit different. Fortunately, a friend told me about this epic rooftop restaurant where I could get some epic views of the Blue Mosque as the sun sets. I'd gladly share it with you if I remembered the name!

Beautiful Istanbul at Sunset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-10-02 23:20:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2.7

Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin

Don’t miss my Pixel 2 Review

The photo below was taken with the Google Pixel 2. They are not a sponsor or anything and I had to pay full price for mine! But it was totally worth it… They would not let me use a DSLR in the library below, but I think the Pixel 2 did just fine.

Here’s my Pixel 2 Review!

Daily Photo – Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin

This is the second photo I've published from this amazing place. Tianjin has lots of other great locations too, but I was a bit fixated on this one for obvious reasons. I forgot this lady's name, but she's not a model I hired or anything. I never hire models and just kind of wait for things to organically happen. I saw her walking down the stairs, so I quickly slid into place to take a quick vertical photo. After I took it, she started to giggle, and we exchanged WeChat (the popular service there) info so I could send her a copy of the pic.

Exploring More of the Impossible Library in Tianjin

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-13 15:29:40
  • CameraPixel 2 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/120
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length4.5 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Rain in Shanghai

Beautiful video of the ski fields in Queenstown, New Zealand

My friend that works over at NZSki just sent me this video from the Remarkables Ski Field. We have three different ski fields here near Queenstown. All are pretty close together except for Cadrona that takes about a 45 minute drive. Anyway, check out this video!

Daily Photo – Beautiful Rain in Shanghai

I mentioned before how it rained most of the days that I was in Shanghai, but that didn't bother me at all. Unfortunately, my long-gone assistant spent half his time on another gig, so I didn't have anyone to hold an umbrella over me. I know that sounds like a real primadonna kind of thing to want, but it's almost critical because you need two hands to operate the camera. I've tried locking the umbrella in my bent neck (like a 1970's phone receiver), but that doesn't really work because there's not enough diameter to keep it from spinning around all over the place. So, I just had to be really quick and try my best.

Beautiful Rain in Shanghai

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-23 01:27:13
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length21.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!