Pena Palace from the Sky

Russian Wedding Photos

I never get tired of looking at the latest crop of what happens in these Russian Wedding Photos. I was doing some research for this book about Instagram, and it ended up sending me down this rabbit hole once again.

Daily Photo – Pena Palace from the Sky

This was one of my more frightening drone flights! I’m not used to doing a lot of quad excursions that take the unit a few miles away from me, but I decided to go for it here because I might not ever have another chance. Also, there was not really a “perfect” angle to take a photo from the ground. There is lots of space all around it, but it’s covered in trees so you really can’t get a clear view. Getting a shot from the air seemed like the best solution!

Pena Palace from the Sky

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-04-17 19:32:21
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Derek Sivers in a Field

Sam Harris Meditation App

I have many meditation apps… this is a new one from Sam Harris that I really like. I think it’s perfect for people just getting into it for the first time. I’ve been meditating for a while, but it’s still fun to “start over” with a new set of techniques. That Sam Harris, he’s a cool cat.

Daily Photo – Derek Sivers in a Field

I think I really nailed it with the title of this photo. It came to me instantly. I don’t know what force brings about these amazing photo titles, but I am very thankful for it.

Man, I miss this guy! We were gonna do a big road trip across New Zealand, but we were both too busy to make it happen. He’s in Portugal now. Maybe I should make a trip over thataway and we’ll do a road trip there!

Derek Sivers in a Field

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-21 04:50:19
  • CameraX1D-50c
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Tina Guo Ripping Up String Instruments

Hans Zimmer Live on Netflix

Don’t forget to jump on Netflix, turn up the volume, and check out this amazing concert. You’ll definitely be seeing Tina Guo slay a cello during some of the scenes.

Editing the photo of the abandoned yacht in Hong Kong

This is one of my favorite photos I took this year. Today, you awesome Passport people get to see me do a full edit of this one from the RAW file all the way through completion.

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Daily Photo – Tina Guo Ripping Up String Instruments

What do you get when you cross an out of control BDSM scene with a cello? You get Tina Guo.

Anyway, what’s so cool about this gal (where do I start?) is that she’s a total badass on stage. She looks angry and she’s about to rip the face off the first man she sees. Anyway, that’s what I see. Maybe you see something different. But then, off stage, she might be the nicest and sweetest person on the planet.

Tina Guo Ripping Up String Instruments

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-09 22:27:59
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Pre-Interview Sunrise

Aurora HDR 2019

Hey guys, don’t forget to pop over to our store and get the new Aurora HDR 2019. Today’s photo is a good example of what it can make out of a single RAW file (handheld shot).

Daily Photo – Pre-Interview Sunrise

One of the New Zealand TV Morning Shows invited me down for an interview early one morning here in Queenstown. They were set up down by the lake, and it was freezing cold. I don’t know why they decided to do it at the coldest time of year, but, hey, I’m not in TV production. Anyway, I went down there to give a little interview about my fine art and some of my collectors. About 30 seconds before I ran onto the set, I took this photo!

Pre-Interview Sunrise

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-07-04 08:08:31
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length23.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Checking out Books in the Tianjin Library

Kalebra Kelby Interview

I do a lot of interviews, but I think this might be my favorite one! 🙂 Right after Burning Man last year I flew to Florida to make some classes there. I sat down for a long-format discussion with Kalebra. You can see the full 1-hour interview here. Note you have to sign in and stuff, but you don’t have to put in your credit card number or anything… not a paywall! 🙂

Daily Photo – Checking out Books in the Tianjin Library

This library was both amazing and confusing, in more ways than one. I spent about three hours inside of here taking all sorts of photos. They would not let me use my “big boy” camera, so I had to use my Pixel 2 phone. But hey, I must say, that Pixel 2 phone is pretty incredible. Now I’m using the Pixel 3, and it’s even better!

Checking out Books in the Tianjin Library

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-13 14:50:43
  • CameraPixel 2 XL
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/120
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.5 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Airport in Madrid

American Airlines Story

Wow, I really don’t like flying with these guys. This is gonna be a little negative, which is strange for me, being a zen positive guy that generally is not bothered by all the things that seem to bother other people.

When I go back and forth to New Zealand, I generally prefer Air New Zealand or Qantas. The planes are great and the service is even better.

I have a great travel agent that I love (hi Hans!) and sometimes I take a more inexpensive option to save money. That usually means I end up on American Airlines. This one was a business class seat, so one would not expect any complaints at all, but I’ll tell you two quick stories.

About halfway through the flight, I got up to use the restroom in the front. I walked past the flight attendant in the galley to go to see if the restroom was open. The pilot was there, and he looked like either he was hanging out or waiting on the restroom. Anyway, this flight attendant JUMPED in front of me very aggressively and said, “You are not allowed to be here while the pilots are swapping out. Use the other one!” My goodness. It was really crazy. Did she think I was about to put the pilot in a headlock and gouge out his eyes or something?

Are Americans now so full of fear that they institute these insane policies into their airlines? We all know airport security is mostly useless (I call it “security theatre”) and it’s mostly a big process to make people “feel” safe but it doesn’t actually do that much. Now I see the same policy happening on planes. Hey, what if I just wanted to talk to the pilot? I’m a great conversationalist. I’m sure he’s bored as hell. Anyway, I found this entire situation to be incredibly stupid,

Here’s the second story, although this one is a rather minor complaint.

I woke up with about 3 hours left in the flight. They were serving breakfast. This time it was another flight attendant that came by. She asked if I wanted coffee. I said yes, and I also wanted a bloody mary. International waters, and stuff, you know.

Anyway, she rolled her eyes and said, “Well, we’ve already locked the liquor cabinet.” I wanted to say, “Listen, lady, who are you? My mom? I’m a little hungover. Get me a bloody mary stat.” Anyway, I didn’t say that, but I gave a sheepish, “Please?” She gave a heavy exhale and went back to the galley to go through what must have been a tremendously exhausting experience to “unlock” this devilish den.

She finally brought it to me with the rather passive-aggressive comment, “I can do it this one time, but now everything is locked.” I was thinking… omg, I have to spend at least 2.5 more hours sober with this bitch.

So yeah, that’s kind of a mean thing to say, but it’s objectively true. I travel a lot internationally, and I’ve noticed many (but not all) flight attendants that fly for US-based airlines have a real attitude. They don’t really want to serve you and they clearly think of it as a “job”. Compared to Air New Zealand or many Asia based airlines, it’s the complete opposite. In those, the flight attendants are obviously enjoying serving people and they consider it a noble and proud thing to make people around them happy. Anyway, rant finished.

Daily Photo – The Airport in Madrid

I know people say a lot of negative things about the economy in Spain, but, for some reason, they have absolutely beautiful airports. They are better than almost any airport in the USA. I spent many many hours walking around and just taking photos. If you plan on traveling internationally, I always recommend putting big gaps between your flights to explore all these airports photographically!

The Airport in Madrid

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-09-19 18:08:50
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length31.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Part 3 of the Camino Story – Aaron Lammer and New Matt

Where do I start with this guy? Maybe here with this 360 video (a reminder that you can grab the video and turn the camera any way you want).

When I was invited on this 150km hike in Spain with 10 people, I didn’t know most of them. But I did a little googling ahead of time so I would get a sense of the sorts of characters I’d be stuck with for a week. One of them was Aaron Lammer, who was easy to get-to-know because he has three podcasts. One of them is on cryptocurrency, one of them is about weed, and one of them is about long-form writing. I only listened to the crypto ones and I was immediately impressed by his approach to the subject matter.

See Part 1 with Kevin Kelly talking about Death here.
See Part 2 with Hugh Howey talking about World Building here.

What impressed me the most was his openness in his understated approach of “I don’t know anything about Crypto, but let’s figure this out as we go along by talking with other experts and funny, strange stories from the crypto world.” Note that isn’t an exact quote, but that was basically his pitch for the show.


Aaron Lammer, always ready to ham it up.

I’m not going to talk much about crypto here. I’m a believer that this will be how most humans transact in the future. Actually, even though I love my friend Hugh Howey, he could not disagree more! I’ve met many people that are quite divided on this subject. It’s interesting at a meta-level how an idea can be so divisive. But most people on this walk were really into philosophy, so it made for some great conversations.

I’ll step back a moment and explain why I liked Aaron so much.

He has a lot of deep knowledge in a vast myriad of subjects. I think whatever subject I brought up, he had strong opinions about everything.

Also, during our final dinner with all of us, he had a good old-fashioned cry, as most of us did. That’s a big deal. When you can cry in front of a bunch of other dudes. I won’t say what we all talked about because I’m the best secret-keeper in the world, but it was all wonderfully emotionally stirring.

Aaron does so many things! He even just produced a music video for Francis and the Lights. How does one guy do so many things that appear to be unrelated?

My armchair psychoanalysis is this: Aaron gives 100% of his energy to things that are interesting to him. The only commonality between producing music to crypto to weed to long-form writing is Aaron himself. I get the feeling that he’s tried hundreds of things, but they just weren’t all that interesting to him, so he focused everything on these items. And, if they don’t serve him in a few years, he’ll be onto something else interesting to him.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

All along the path of the Camino, we would see signs like this, showing us how much further we need to walk. By the way, in a lot of the world, people use commas rather than periods to denote a decimal.

Perhaps my favorite part is that he’s unapologetic about his interests and beliefs. It’s a delicate balance to have strong opinions on a myriad of subjects and not be an egoic asshole about it.

I really like this quality in people. Maybe this is a solipsistic thing because I am very similar. I’m easily distracted but when I find something interesting, I put 100% of my energy into it without apology.


One of our foggy mornings, walking on the Camino in Spain.

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When the fog cleared, we would often walk by some of the most beautiful plants, trees, and flowers.

There is a funny story along the Camino with Aaron. Well, there are dozens, but I’ll tell you this one in particular.

Just before the final day of our hike, Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress, my roommate, and the subject of a future story) left us because he had to go speak at their annual conference. Also, his knee was really hurt and he was hobbling around in a terrible way that made us all feel bad for him. Anyway, our group was one short, and we made a “friend” at one of the rest breaks that we called “New Matt”. I don’t remember the guy’s actual name, but it doesn’t really matter because he was New Matt.

New Matt totally sucked.

We all hated him, but he walked with us for many hours anyway. Who hated him most? Aaron Lammer. He turned out to be the diametric opposite of Aaron. For example, Aaron knows a lot about music. This New Matt could not have infuriated him more. New Matt says he refuses to listen to music after The Beatles and thinks everything is terrible.


This is Old Matt. He was awesome. When we thought of old Matt, it only reminded us more about how much we hated New Matt.

What really ground Aaron’s gears were the same argument techniques that seem to be used by people raised in the Jewish culture. Aaron is not a practicing Jew, but he definitely has those funny Woody Allen argumentative tendencies. New Matt was a bit more hardcore Jewish, from Israel, and even more opinionated than Aaron. The big difference is that New Matt had his entire ego and “story of self” tied into his opinions and he was completely blind to hearing other viewpoints. This drove Aaron absolutely crazy and, even after New Matt finally left our crew, it was the subject of conversation for countless hours. It was like Aaron ventured off into the forest to have a pee and he got a splinter in his nutsack he couldn’t extract for weeks.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

A random scene along the Camino.

I think our experience with New Matt really helped us to get to know Aaron better. Not until one meets their foil does one come to know oneself. And we were all listening in to their heated conversation with reckless delight. You don’t want to get on Aaron’s intellectual bad side. No matter how cunningly Aaron attempted to paint New Matt into a corner of his own logical demise, New Matt would slip away into a straw man argument that was only loosely related. Aaron prepared a riposte with a steel man, only to be deflected in a subtle way with another unconnected point that would increase Aaron’s frustration and re-direct the verbal battle.

We recorded countless hours of our talks, but that is the ONE talk I wish we had recorded.

Anyway, we all love you Aaron. You all should go listen to one of his podcasts now.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Oh, look how sad Aaron is here. I’m sure he’s still thinking about that dastardly New Matt.
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Boat Adventure in Thailand

Drone Photo from Thailand

Below is one of the very first photos I got from a drone in Thailand. I would love to go back and do these again with my Mavic 2! It has this feature I think is pretty awesome where it will zoom into 48mm and take a series of 9 shots that you can then stitch together into something very high-rez.

Floating Over Krabi

Daily Photo – Boat Adventure in Thailand

Yesterday’s photo featured a sunset from this exact same place! The next morning I woke up and headed over to the beach where this cool boat was waiting to take me on a little adventure! We did some island-hopping and I took my drone with me to get some photos. It’s always a hair-raising experience to launch and land drones on a boat, and this was no different. There were definitely some high anxiety moments!

Boat Adventure in Thailand

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-29 14:34:33
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Comments

Sunset in Krabi

Check out my Kit!

I’m always making updates to my kit.com that includes everything from my favorite books to my recommended camera gear to my crazy gadgets. Of course, sharing this goes against my minimalist, non-consumer inner drives. I don’t really have a lot of stuff, but, for the stuff I have, I choose stuff that adds to my life and does not subtract from it.

Adobe Bridge How To

We received a nice email from a Passport Member asking about Adobe Bridge and how I use it. I realized I had never made a video about that before, so this was the perfect opportunity. In this video, I also share a little bit about my workflow. Enjoy!

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Daily Photo – Sunset in Krabi

Here’s another crazy sunset I saw while in Krabi, Thailand at the Ritz-Carlton Reserve. To be totally honest, I felt like a very lazy photographer when I was there. It was just too easy to waltz out of my room, get my bare feet in the sand, and then set up to take a photo. Here’s a fun word for you… Crepescular. That kind of light that is shooting out from the clouds is called “crepuscular” light. I don’t really know why that is interesting other than me enjoying the texture of that word.

Sunset in Krabi

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-29 23:36:22
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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A Rainy Evening in Shanghai

Cool Tools with Kevin Kelly

During my 150km hike with Kevin Kelly and a bunch of other awesome people, we took a break to record this podcast below. Kevin has this show called “Cool Tools” where he talks to people about what kind of tools they use. Enjoy!

https://kk.org/cooltools/trey-ratcliff-photographer/

Also, if you wanna see the 360 video I did with Kevin, check this blog post!!

Daily Photo – A Rainy Evening in Shanghai

One of my favorite kinds of photos is to take photos of other people taking photos. I’ve been taking photos for quite a while now, and I see a lot of people just now getting into the sport. I think it is very interesting to watch how people pose other people to try to get the best shot. There’s always some level of confusion as they move people this way and that. The only problem with these sorts of photos is when they see me with a big camera and then think, “Hey, that guy knows what he’s doing, let me hand him my phone so he can take photos of us!” I always say yes, and then I, of course, try my best to get them a memorable photo.

A Rainy Evening in Shanghai

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-23 01:47:24
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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