A Blue, Blue Night in Tokyo

Lens Skirt

Over in my Kit.com I recommend getting this thing called a Lens Skirt because it allows you to take photos out of windows with no reflection. I use it almost all the time when shooting in cities. It’s a strange looking thing, and it sounds weird to put a skirt on your lens, but hey, my camera is in touch with its feminine side.

Daily Photo – A Blue, Blue Night in Tokyo

I got back to my hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton there in Tokyo, which happens to be in the highest building in the city. Every night, I would turn out all the lights in the room and sit on the window sill to take photos like this. They all came out great, and they look even bigger full-screen.

A Blue, Blue Night in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-14 14:45:03
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time24
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Amazing Rotterdam

Less than 3 days left!

The so-called 5 Day Deal now only has 3 days left. If you’re just getting started with photography, or even been at it for a while, there is more than enough in here for you to enjoy. It includes a special tutorial I made in Venice at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/5daydeal

The Netherlands

I think almost everyone ONLY thinks of Amsterdam when they go to the Netherlands, but I recommend you go here, to Rotterdam. Actually, I also recommend a trip to the Hague and Utrecht – two other beautiful places to visit!

Daily Photo – Amazing Rotterdam

I had a great time wandering around Rotterdam at night. We had a great dinner across the river and then came down to start taking photos. As is often the case with me, I wander off on my own and the team loses track of me. But that's okay… I'm fairly self-sufficient. So, along the way, I found this spot along the river. I thought the colors and shapes were amazing, so I hung out here for about 15 minutes waiting for the right moment.

Amazing Rotterdam

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-15 22:30:24
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Each Week, More Burning Man Photos

Hey it’s week #3, time for a new batch of cookies!

Tough Decompression after Burning Man

What is a “Decompression”? That’s challenging to describe to people that haven’t spent over a week in an environment like this. It’s not just the heat and survival-factor; it’s also a bit of a mind-shift. I think many people have experienced this in different ways, and it doesn’t need just Burning Man. It’s maybe similar to coming back for a week on an island getaway and getting back into the “real world.”

After you are at Burning Man for a few days, your mind kind of slips away into another state of being. I’m not sure how to describe it. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the drugs or anything. It’s more about being around 70,000 other artists and creatives that, by default, accept you and are non-judgmental. (Maybe this is where it differs from an island vacation where bronzed pool-boys are serving you margaritas.)

Basically, Burning Man is very egalitarian, where all are equal and everyone is giving one another gifts all the time. Random people. And back too that non-judgmental thing. It’s perhaps one of most comforting places in the world, from that perspective. You don’t even notice yourself falling into this sort of peaceful state. Imagine, living in a world where no one cared what the heck you did, what your real-life job was, and everyone, even random people, always had a hug at the ready. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to live in a world like that?

And then, immediately after leaving, you get back into the other world… back at the Reno airport were people are upset, stressed, complaining. You post stuff on the internet and then people find something to complain about, something that doesn’t fit with their particular world-view, and they need to let you know about it. Blah blah blah I could give countless examples, you get it. So then, the challenge is how to take all this open-heartedness back with you to the real world and not be beaten down. It kind of reminds me of what we do to kids. They are so open, free, and creative, and society just kinda slowly beats it out of them over time. Children at least have 16+ years to decompress, all of us leaving the desert only have a few days!

It was especially hard for me because I had to fly to Florida (INTO THE HURRICANE) to make 48 hours worth of training videos with KelbyOne. Then creating a ton of Aurora HDR 2018 training videos for Windows and Mac before launch. I powered through it, on sheer will, but I never really had the chance to re-integrate. Wow I don’t even know if I did a decent job explaining anything there, but at least a few meandering thoughts for you. Oh, forget about all that, how about some photos?!?


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This is @mekithappen hanging out and having a happy walk. Even though it looks sunny now, not long after this a big rainstorm hit so I jumped on my bike to make it home before my wheels got all gummed up.


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One amazing sunset I went out to visit the tree and a naval vessel, the Monaco, sailed up to visit. They seem to have a good crew on there!


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Here’s one of my favorite artworks from this year’s event. She was a giant marionette, operated by a team that would dress her in different outfits every day after she woke up. She walked, talked, and visited her favorite artworks. Even commenting on them. I remember when she visited the Tree of Ténéré, talking about its energy with a light lilted British accent. This was during Burn night, at sun…


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Escaping the heat


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Taking a rest in the shade around 3:30 and C. I was looking for one of my friends; he and I love going out to take photos. It’s almost impossible to make meetings there because there is no mobile service. I asked this girl where he was. She didn’t know. But I asked if I could take her photo so the trip wasn’t a total bust, and she said, YES!


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
A wicked fire… Burning Man, 2017 It was really quite the Joseph Campbell quest, and it was great! I took more photos than ever before. Here’s one of the temple burning behind the Tree of Tenere. It was one of my favorite art pieces this year…

The Backyard View

Hasselblad X1D Review

If you haven’t seen my Hasselblad X1D Review, please pop on over! I’ve added some new photos recently that you may enjoy.

Daily Photo – The Backyard View

Whenever I get a new camera, I head out into the backyard to take some test photos. This is one of the first photos I took when I got the new Hasselblad X1D. It arrived at the house, and I didn't even realize the delivery until the sunset. I was so excited and I threw a memory card in there to run out and take this photo.

The Backyard View

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-30 19:51:47
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Burning Man 2017

Wow what a great year! I got around 18,000 photos and had a very inspirational time. After eight years in a row now, I’m always surprised how every time is like the first time, in so many ways. Sometimes awesome, sometimes uncomfortable, it’s sort of like a microcosm of a whole year of life squeezed into one week because you are doing and seeing So Many Things.

Here’s a few photos for you to get the party started!

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
This was many people’s favorite art pieces on the playa. In the day time, it was a pure green tree in the middle of the night desert. At night, the LEDs came on and flowed through the tree like the wind

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
It was another great year out there… it was very exhausting out in the sun all afternoon, though. But still glad I got out there as much as possible to take photos. I still have tons more to process, but enjoying going through

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Birds of a feather…

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
You may remember the photo of the embracing Israeli couple that was doing Acro-Yoga from a few days ago. Here’s the pre-acro-yoga stretching period. They say it’s good to stretch before exercising. I don’t know who this “they” is, but they are probably right about these things. The sun caught her jewels in a surprising way.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Around 5:30 PM the sun begins to get low enough to cast great angles everywhere. It’s still a little warm, so many people still have their fans out to stay cool. I suppose a native American headdress also helps! 🙂

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
I don’t know if this enormous statue got enough attention, but she certainly did for me. She glowed from the inside and outside. I made a small pilgrimage there every day; this time I came with my camera.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
By meandering-chance, I found a camp along the Esplanade that had a tremendous steel wool vortex spinning away. People would come stand in front and let the winds spray the burning metal around them. I’m not into being burned and stuff, so I sat down in the desert to take some photos. It was great fun to watch… I could have stayed here all night, but forced myself to get up and go see what else I could find.

Relaxing Monkey

Back to the Snow Monkeys!

I’m excited to go see my snow monkey friends again in late October. This time, we’ll bring the video crew and everything and make some cool content. It’s gonna be great. I wonder if the snow monkeys will remember me fondly. Let’s hope so.

Daily Photo – Relaxing Monkey

Man, these snow monkeys really know how to relax. You can just tell they're not worrying about anything. Whenever I take a nap, even on a Sunday afternoon, I feel guilty as shit. Probably just because I work too hard and am kind of obsessive… but I do like hanging out with these monkeys. They make me feel a little less guilty about taking a nap!

Relaxing Monkey

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-17 07:27:26
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/90
  • Aperture3.4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length90.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Izzy’s Bar in Golden Gai

Updating my Kit

I’m always making tiny adjustments here and there in my carry bag. I also keep updating my Kit page as I go. I really like that site because I can categorize things a bit differently.

Daily Photo – Izzy's Bar in Golden Gai

Here's another photo from my favorite little drinking area of Tokyo. I didn't take a photo inside any of this places… maybe I will next time. But even this angle shows you how quaint and intimate each little bar is, only seating less than 10 people. They all have tiny little doors too. I've bumped my head on them many times (even before drinking!).

Izzy's Bar in Golden Gai

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-16 16:13:26
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Amazing Tokyo

Smugmug Portfolio

I’m always updating my SmugMug Portfolio so be sure to pop over there to see the latest!

Live on The New Screen Savers!

I had a fun time talking about Plotagraph on The New Screensavers with Leo and Scott. You can see the episode here. I splash onto the scene at the 17:50 mark. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Amazing Tokyo

I know I've been posting a bunch of photos of downtown Tokyo! But I took so many and a lot of them turned out pretty cool. They've all been a thrill to edit in the new Aurora HDR 2018 as well. The tool gets better and faster each year, so it saves me a ton of time during the editing phase. And now, I'm pretty sure I can get results that are different than I used to be able to create.

Amazing Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-14 10:35:12
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time11
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Cocktail Hour in Okinawa

Google Fit App

If you have an Android phone, be sure to grab the Google Fit app. It keeps track of your steps, your workouts, your runs, etc. It’s very smart… I notice my wife uses her Fitbit all the time… I don’t like wearing another thing. Whenever we walk together anywhere, my Google Fit shows just about exactly the same number of steps as her Fitbit.

Daily Photo – Cocktail Hour in Okinawa

Here's the view from the deck at the Ritz-Carlton in Okinawa. When we were here, this was the perfect spot to watch the sunset. I didn't realize how hot it got here in the summer, so it was a good excuse for a nice cool cocktail. Although, I never really fully “relax” at sunsets because I often have one or two different cameras going!

Cocktail Hour in Okinawa

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-13 09:47:30
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Shinjuku!

Before Photo

Here’s the “Before” photo for today’s Daily Picture:

Daily Photo – Shinjuku!

…and here's the after photo! Thanks again Aurora HDR and the team at Macphun for helping to create such fun software! I've been using it a ton, and I'm really excited about going back to Japan to make more photos like this. I need to go out and shoot more at night around the city. It's so much fun… I always feel like I leave something on the table there. This next trip, I don't want to feel like that! 🙂

Shinjuku!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-16 15:56:46
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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