Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

Read the Blog Photo Tips

The Financial District of Hong Kong

Wild Wild Country Documentary

I just finished watching this docco on Netflix; wow was it interesting! Even though I was just a kid when this “cult” was in the news, I have no memory of it. Anyway, watching the documentary reminds me of how unorganized hippies can be. I think the original notion of the commune was actually a pretty good idea, especially because it was voluntary and self-contained.

The whole idea seems pretty Burning-Man-ish. At Burning Man, we often sit around the campfire and wonder what it would be like if “this” existed for 52 weeks rather than 1. Well, it does require a bit of organization and governance by clever people. This documentary is a really good example of a good idea with rather bad organization.

Another aspect that occurred to me is the danger of the ego of the leadership. I’ve never listened to any of teachings of their leader, as there was a scant amount in the documentary. But it’s clear that some of the leadership started to take themselves and their identity a bit too seriously and that is when everything started to unravel.

Daily Photo – The Financial District of Hong Kong

I only spent four days in Hong Kong, so I tried to be as photographically productive as possible. Being the quintessential introvert, I have chosen not to live in big cities so it's a treat when I get to visit them. Nothing wrong with living in big cities, of course, as I know extroverts get a lot of energy from cities that never sleep. I enjoy them too, but only for short visits. Hong Kong has all sorts of different districts, and this is the financial hub of it all. I've been working on this new processing technique that you see here. I'll put together a how-to video soon and share it with you.

The Financial District of Hong Kong

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-12 23:57:36
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Abandoned Ships in Sanya, China

Updated Portfolio for Cities

I have four different portfolios over on my Smugmug account. I think you may enjoy my recently updated Cities Portfolio/. I just added about a dozen photos from Asia Pacific into the mix.

Daily Photo – Abandoned Ships in Sanya, China

On our last night in Sanya, we walked a few kilometres from the market area over to the coast to catch the sunset. I spent a few hours walking up and down the beach watching people and taking photos. I'll share some of my favorites here on the blog later, but in the meantime you can maybe catch a few random ones in my “other” Instagram account at @80stays. One thing is for sure… Chinese females love the selfies. It was hard to see a female on the beach NOT taking a selfie. It was something else… anyway, after I got tired of seeing that, I flew the Mavic and went out to explore some of the abandoned ships off the coast.

Abandoned Ships in Sanya, China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-19 18:34:09
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO103
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Dots in Dots

Some Book Suggestions For You

I don’t know if you’re more into Fiction or Non-Fiction. Personally, I alternate between the two. But I’ve recently updated my Book list over on Kit.com. I hope you find something you enjoy there! 🙂 Note that these are the top 10% of my favorite books… I won’t bother listing ones I’ve read that I think would be a waste of your time.

Daily Photo – Dots in Dots

If you are in Singapore, don't miss a visit to the ArtScience Museum. You can't miss it, as it is around that central lagoon. It's very family-friendly and there are very interesting visual displays inside. I have a bit of an “issue” with some of these Instagram-roadside-bingo collection points. Instagrammers love to go here to fuel their egocentric lives, but I decided to go anyway because it looked pretty awesome! As you can tell, I did not do a selfie here. Maybe it's because I can't find an “Influencer Hat” that fits my cabeza in the right proportions… but I was with my new friend @Dotzsoh and she struck a better silhouette than yours truly.

Dots in Dots

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-27 23:13:03
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Kayaking at the Bond Island

A Video Art Tour from Aro-Ha

You all may know that I have been out to the yoga retreat called Aro-Ha here in New Zealand a few times. I love it there! Well, the gentleman that owns it is one of my art collectors and he decided to put a few pieces up there. Enjoy this little tour as I show you around a bit!

Daily Photo – Kayaking at the Bond Island

This isn't actually the famous James Bond island from Thailand, but just another miscellaneous one off the coast of Koh Samui. Can you see a face in it? I definitely saw it in there the whole time. I love seeing these islands with this strange, undercut limestone shape. I wonder what it looks like when an island like this tips over into the ocean. It must make a tremendous crash and set of waves… I'd love to see that some time!

Kayaking at the Bond Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-21 21:04:09
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Abandoned Yacht in the Middle of Government Housing

CNN Article on the Burning Man Exhibit

One of my photos was on the front of CNN.com the other day, linking to this article on the new Burning Man exhibit at the Smithsonian. I have three works hanging there… if you make it over there, be sure to talk a selfie and send it to me! 🙂

Passport Goodie Day!

For Passport Memembers I made a cool 360 video here in the studio showing all the stuff I took on this trip to Hong Kong and across Asia. So much stuff… and believe it or not, I’m cutting down quite a bit!

How did I pack for this trip across seven different locations in Asia Pacific? Here, you can see all the stuff I crammed into my bags in this 360 video. Remember that as you watch this, you can grab the screen and twist it around to look in any direction you desire!

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Yacht in the Middle of Government Housing

How wild is this scene? This is the kind of thing that gets me so excited about Drone photography! I feel like a little kid, having so much fun seeing these sorts of things like a bird. That reminds me, we are putting our finishing touches on a Beginning Drone Photography and Videography tutorial. It's going to be a great one! The final edits are being made now and we'll try to get it to you as soon as possible!

The Abandoned Yacht in the Middle of Government Housing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-15 13:03:19
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/1800
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.344

Exploring the Guanyin of Nanshan in Sanya, China

For More Photos from the Adventure

I created a second Instagram account at @80Stays where I post a ton of different photos from the trip. A lot of these are just little “studies” or behind-the-scenes shots… little things and scenes I find interesting. If you dig around in there, you may see a few more photos of this place!

Daily Photo – Exploring the Guanyin of Nanshan in Sanya, China

Check out this amazing Buddhist statue that is over 350 feet tall! This is in Sanya, China. Sanya is on Hainan, a little island off the coast of China that I had never even heard of before I visited. I never thought of Hainan as having a tropical, beachy island, but I was wrong. One cool thing about this statue that you can't see from this angle is that it actually has three faces, each facing a different 120 degrees.

Exploring the Guanyin of Nanshan in Sanya, China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-18 16:27:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Tane in the Element at a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Testing the Phantom 4 Pro

Right when I got this machine (see my Phantom 4 Review), I took it around a few favorite spots in New Zealand to check out the quality. I wasn’t disappointed! I made a quickie little highlight video to show off the clarity and color balance. None of this is color-corrected or anything,… straight from the Micro SD card to you!

Daily Photo – Tane in the Element at a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Here's our assistant Tane, fresh after shaving his head on the road. The next day we happened to visit the Federal Mosque and we had to wear robes. I thought the whole thing looked like a bit of a timeless scene. And even though I asked Tane to stand there for a photo, I did not expect our friend Liz (@YoungAdventuress) to come sauntering along from the right side. I thought it all made for a nice photo.

Tane in the Element at a Mosque in Kuala Lumpur

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-31 23:05:52
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Hong Kong Government Housing at Night

Passport Early Look

I made a post-processing video for Aurora HDR users on how I worked on this shot and Passport Members get an early look. It was a lot of fun to work on! I’ve actually been saving this photo until I got back into the studio because I wanted to take my time working on it.

This incredible housing complex in Hong Kong was just asking for a photo! If you want to know where this is, check here on Google Maps. You may notice my final photo looks a bit different than what you see in the video below. I made a few more adjustments after the video ended:

1) I lightened up the upper floors towards the back of the complex. I felt they were a bit dark.

2) I desaturated some of the extreme yellow. After I looked at the shot, I felt it was too yellow and orange in some spots.

3) I made the canvas WIDER and stretched out the side-parts wider so that it seemed a little less narrow.

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – Beautiful Hong Kong Government Housing at Night

Hey, when it comes to government housing, it's hard to get more interesting than this! We had a long day running all around Hong Kong and exploring with my new friend Simon. He was a great local resource to show me some of his favorite spots. I think this was my final shot for the evening before we decided to go off bar hopping together! And for you Passport Members I hope you enjoyed the post-processing on this one.

Beautiful Hong Kong Government Housing at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-15 02:44:23
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture10
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Incredible Macau

Iceland Seascape Edit

Here’s a how-to video of a photo I took in Iceland along the black volcanic seashore. It was incredibly difficult to walk around here and all the rocks were like sharp black glass. I knew if I fell over, I’d be completely lacerated! Anyway, this video focuses on how to make the waves and seas come even more alive.

Daily Photo – Incredible Macau

I only spent one evening in Macau, so I tried to make the most of it! It's one of those places I've always wanted to visit. For those of you that don't know, it's the “Las Vegas” of China. And you know what they say about Macau: “Whatever happens in Macau is forever stored on servers with the Chinese Government.” It's a classic catch-phrase that keeps people coming back for more. No, but seriously, it was pretty interesting. Especially the Casino games. They LOVE baccarat there, and not the Burt kind. Besides that, they have so many crazy gambling games I've never heard of. If you don't know, the Chinese love numbers and have a lot of superstition around certain numbers. Four is unlucky, for example. No hotels there even have a fourth floor.

Incredible Macau

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-17 00:17:29
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Last Sunset in Langkawi

Time Travel to 11 Years Ago in Langkawi!

Just when I was getting started in photography, I used to spend a lot of time in Langkawi. I loved it, and I still do. Yes, my style has shifted a bit since then, and this is a pretty stark example of it. I took this one evening right before a huge rainstorm hit the beach. A classic from… drumroll… 2007! Did I take this on a Nikon? I think so… D70 if I recall!

The Blue Before the Storm This was taken literally five minutes before I got drenched to go under the shade and drink coffee for an hour, stranded with my camera, imagining my panacea of Photomatix later in the day.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – The Last Sunset in Langkawi

We ended the first part of our 80 Stays here in Langkawi, Malaysia. The Ritz-Carlton pool there was ridiculous. Even more enticing, it was right by a bar. I was at great odds because I could not decide if I wanted to get in the pool, or take a photo of my friend @LauraKTroy (she does Marketing and Social Media stuff for the RC) while she was enjoying it! Truth be told, I enjoy taking photos of infinity pools at sunset just as much as actually being in the pool. Call me crazy.

The Last Sunset in Langkawi

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-04-04 00:20:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!