Shopping in Osaka

Common Tourist Scams

I usually waste a bit of time each day on Reddit, but it turns out that it’s not always a waste of time! I found this cool infographic that is full of common tourist scams. Since I travel a lot, I’m pretty aware of most of these, but some were even new to me!

Of course, this is not meant to make you scared of traveling or anything, just something to simply be aware of. And, I would say that most countries are perfectly safe, but some countries may use ALL of these scams! 🙂



Daily Photo – Shopping in Osaka

Wow Japanese people love to shop! There is nonstop shopping all over the place, but especially in this district here called Dotonbori. The exact area of Dotombori is hard to define, but it covers many city blocks. It's so big, in fact, that I didn't even find this vast area until my fourth visit here!

Shopping in Osaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-11 14:20:02
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Some Favorites from Paris!

A Special Paris video for Passport members!

You may remember I did another special Paris video a few months ago. Well, I decided to make another one, but this one is more inspirational. I hope you dig it. And if you’re not a Passport Member by now, why not?!? 🙂

Some Favorites from Paris!

So many great memories from Paris! Here are four of my favorite photos from the romantic city!


Windows in Paris – The Saint Chapelle I wish I could find a good wide-angle lens like this Nikon 14-24 for my Sony NEX-7. I think one is coming out in a month or so… and I’m thinking of trying out the Olympus 7-14mm (Adorama link). The NEX-7 has served me as a good camera while my D800 is getting repaired!(Edit, I’ve changed my mind and decided to wait on this new lens from Sony)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Time Lasts Forever in Paris Oh Paris! Le sigh…These were not the ideal shooting conditions, as idyllic as the scene might appear. This is all handheld, btw, no tripod, and here’s the rest of the sad tripod story.To get to this spot, you have to walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. My first few times there, I did not even know you could get to the top! I felt quite dumb when I found out you can walk up about 20,000 stairs to get here.Once I got up there, I staked out a position with my tripod, and then Frenchy McFrenchface came over and told me I could not use my tripod. I explained that I was an arteeeest, and surely he would in the 19th century no one asked the impressionists to put their easels away. This was a losing argument, although I still think it’s a pretty good one. It will work one day, and I won’t give up this line of persuasion.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Walking about the Sorbonne in the evening

Another Summer Day in Paris I'm having an amazing time in Paris.  As usual, it's off-the-rails perfect.  The weather has been remarkable, the sunsets amazing, and the chocolate flows like mana from heaven.   I made it over to the Eiffel Tower for a big night of shooting, and arrived there just as the sun was setting.  I have a few little special spots I like to visit around the tower that are not full of tourists and the like.This shot looks much more delicate, perhaps, than I did while achieving it.  Unfortunately, this was one of those tricky ones where the tripod legs were splayed out like a flattened armadillo.  I looked beyond redonkulous while taking it...Read the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Paris: The Flaneur

I hope you enjoy! 🙂 If you like these sorts of videos, let me know and I can do more.

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Girl in St. Petersburg

Grand Cayman from Above

Here are a few highlights of the trip to Grand Cayman taken from above. This was mostly done with the DJI Mavic Pro and a bit of the Phantom.

Daily Photo – Girl in St. Petersburg

As soon as our train rolled into the station in St. Petersburg, we got out and went to breakfast at a great place. Sitting near us was this interesting-looking girl who was a local. That got me started on a long day of taking photos of interesting people here and there. And they all seemed happy to have their photos taken, except for this one old lady at an ice cream machine.

Girl in St. Petersburg

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-05 10:47:18
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Trey’s Mini-Rant About the New Star Wars Movie

Small Star Wars Rant

I really enjoyed Star Wars Episode: The Last Jedi. But, I’m such a geek that there are things that bother me… I could list 50 things I thought were awesome, but here are just a few silly things that I don’t understand. Maybe you can edumucate me.

  1. Vice Admiral Holdo. Overall, I found her to be a strange character. Especially when you have such an amazing female roles with Rey and Leia. I don’t mind yet another strong woman, but she was just a little strange for me. My biggest problem is she never really told anyone THE PLAN. Everyone was wondering what the heck her plan was. Because she refused to share her plan, it led to other side-missions and a mutiny. She could have said very clearly: “Look, our plan is to stay outside of their range for as long as possible, then send as many transports down to this planet with think is a safe base for us to call for more help.” Because she communicates no plan, a mass mutiny (a rebel rebellion) begins.

    Additionally, there were needless deaths during this plan. As the ships slowly got picked off behind her, all those people needlessly died. They could have taken a shuttle up to the cozy capital ship with Holdo. Surely they have an autopilot they can flip on for the last half hour of their flights so no humans have to die. Besides, the resistance needs as many pilots as they can get, so why let them die?

    Last, the idea to jump to light speed on a suicide mission was a pretty good idea, but it was really a last-second gambit. It should have been part of the plan from the beginning. And, if it was done right after the transport ships launched, those 10+ transport ships would not have been destroyed, saving even more lives.

    And, last, last, where did this mysterious fuel come from to jump to lightspeed? I thought they ran out and the final move was to launch the transports to the planet. The plot hole thickens.

  2. That whole Canto Bight side-mission was completely useless. In fact, it was deleterious. The whole point of the mission was for Finn and Rose to go locate a “Master Codebreaker” so they could sneak onto a ship and disable a tracking device, allowing the rebellion to jump to lightspeed and not be tracked. Well, that whole mission failed and it took up at least 30 minutes of screentime. Worse, not only did it fail, but it gave DJ (Benicio Del Toro) the chance to give insider information to the Empire when accelerated the Rebels’ demise.

    Continuing, why did they make it so hard to find this master codebreaker? I mean, he could have been anywhere, or even asleep. Why not arrange a meeting. When you are going to arrange a meeting, it involves a location and time. It could have easily been done because their mutual contact Maz Kanata could have set it up. Surely she doesn’t spend every waking hour jet-packing around with a blaster while Facetiming. She must have some downtime to send off an email or something to set up such an important meeting.

    Yeah, yeah it adds “tension” that they have to find this guy. And there was even more tension when they got arrested because they parked their spaceship in a bad parking space. Come on, Finn and Rose, can’t your writers advise that you go ahead and park your ship in a regular ship parking lot, so as to not arouse unneeded suspicion?

  3. Benicio Del Toro as DJ. That whole character was strange too. I think my biggest problem is that he wasn’t even playing a character, he was just being regular ol’ Benicio Del Toro. Hey, I love the guy, but he kind of took me out of the Star Wars universe and I was comparing his acting style to what he did in Usual Suspects (and most everything else). I thought it would have been cooler to have Lando Calrissian in that role.

  4. Rose. What is this character? I didn’t find her to be a compelling actor and I found her to be a bit annoying. It’s like they picked up some random fangirl at Comicon. “Hey, you’ll do,” thought the casting director while watching the audience at a Firefly panel on “How Handsome is Mal?”

    Rose’s job was to work on pipes or something, which is a fine job. So, how on the very next day does she go from being a Space Plumber to flying a fighter ship down on the planet with such skill that she can bop Finn’s ship to the ground without hurting either of them? I guarantee you those ships don’t have airbags. It reminded me a little of that Very Silly scene from Episode 1 where the 7-year-old Anakin takes a spaceship and uses it to blow up one of the Empire’s biggest ships.

  5. No JJ Abrams. I felt something in the force of this movie… that JJ Abrams was not involved enough. I always feel like I get a certain “feeling” with a JJ Abrams film that was missing here. I understand he gave full control to the director, and that’s probably a good thing because you can’t be second-guessing the director all the time, but it all felt a bit off.

Final Thoughts

All that being said, I still really liked the movie! I would have liked it even more if Holdo would have just explained the fucking plan.

Daily Photo – Airport on Hoth

Speaking of Star Wars, my time in Antarctica was a little bit like Hoth. I didn't have a tauntaun to crawl inside when I got cold, but I did have Stu Robertson. He made many of the same sounds as a tauntaun, in fact. Anyway, one day we snowmobiled out to the “airport” to see this scene. It's technically an airport, I guess, insofar as you land somewhere on this ice and can refuel for the flight back to Christchurch, New Zealand.

Airport on Hoth

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-21 07:39:26
  • CameraILCE-7M2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

A Rare Set Up Shot

2018 Looks Busy!

This year I’ll be on a plane a lot going to all sorts of places. My year is only half-booked, but I’ll tell you where I’m off to. The rest of the time, I expect to be back home in New Zealand, editing photos like a madman! Here’s the list: Hawaii, Denver, Dallas, Austin, LA, SF, Key Biscayne, Grand Cayman, Langkawi, Tokyo (again!), Hong Kong, Singapore, Burning Man, Koh Samui, plus 6 new places in China starting in Sanya, Beijing, and Shanghai!

Daily Photo – A Rare Setup Shot

On the Osaka photo walk, we had a fellow photo walker that was also a model! She liked to pose, so we all made good use of this. I was having trouble finding a good spot for her until we came across this really techno-looking building here where the bridge was lit up from underneath. I had her strike a pose while the rest of the photo walk group took photos, well, like Japanese tourists! After this, we all went back to the Ritz-Carlton for a wine party in the garden – how fun!

A Rare Setup Shot

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-11 10:15:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Sascha in LA

A Good Chance to Mention Plotagraph Pro!

Since today’s photo is of one of the founders, it’s a great chance to mention Plotagraph Pro! I continue to make quite a few of these, and I’ve been releasing about one new one a week on social media.

Also don’t forget to check out my new Class on Kelby all about this cool tool!

Daily Photo – Sascha in LA

Here's a very rare modeling photo from yours truly. Note that I should clarify that I am not actually the model in this photo. While I was in LA, Troy and Sascha (owners of Plotagraph and our biz partners) came over to say hello. We used the opportunity to take a few photos! Troy used to be a model photographer, and, surprise surprise, she used to be a model.

Sascha in LA

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-13 06:12:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3200
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length31.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Kobe, Japan

Thoughts on shooting from atop the gondola in Kobe

A few weeks ago, I shared the first Kobe, Japan video with Passport Members. Today, I’ll post the next one!

In Part 2 of 2 (view part 1 here) from Kobe, Japan, I’ll show you my camera settings and composition for a sunset photo from high atop a gondola.

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Daily Photo – Kobe, Japan

I'll give you a hot tip when going to visit Kobe. Usually, before I hit a new place, I Google the name of the place. In this case, I Googled “Kobe,” who is apparently some kind of a basketball player or something? Well, after looking at about 1,000 photos of this so-called “Kobe,” I was thinking, man, this guy REALLY likes Japan. He also appears to play a lot of basketball there. So, you can imagine my surprise when I showed up, and Kobe was actually full of Japanese people, none of whom who I saw playing basketball.

Kobe, Japan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-12 10:19:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3.2
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length98.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Bird’s Eye View of Tokyo

Quick Haze Tip

If you’re taking a city photo and it’s one of those bright, humid days, often times everything looks all white and washed-out. To get rid of that, I do two things. First, I use the final tool along the right side in Lightroom to decrease the haze. Second, I take it into Aurora and increase the HDR Enhance as well as the contrast. It worked great with today’s photo. The original one was quite washed out and boring!

Daily Photo – Bird's Eye View of Tokyo

Here's a shot looking almost straight down from the Skytree in Tokyo. There is one very cool design element to this building in that you can actually look about 45 degrees downward from the top. Normally in these observation towers, you can only look straight out the window and “kind of” downward. But here, the viewing area lets you look over the edge and through angled windows so looking almost straight down is easy. There's even a little glass walkway that is pretty cool, as long as you are not afraid of heights!

Bird's Eye View of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-01 06:14:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Stalin Looks like Kind of a Nice Guy

Back to Moscow

I’d love the chance to get back to Moscow to take some more photos. I particularly enjoyed the street photography. People were just sort of a little-bit-wacky. I can’t quite describe it, but if you spend any time on Reddit, then you know what I mean!

Daily Photo – Stalin Looks like Kind of a Nice Guy

He wasn't actually a nice guy; not really that nice at all, really. It's a bit strange how all these mass-murderers now have some kind of kitchy mass-appeal on the streets. I mean, you'd never see a Hitler look-alike on the streets of Berlin posing with people. Can you imagine? I wonder why it's cool in one country but not in another. In China, Mao is super-popular, but that's also because young Chinese people don't even really understand what he did there. Hey, it's a weird world!

Stalin Looks like Kind of a Nice Guy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-03 11:21:32
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6400
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A trip up the Volcano

Don’t miss the first three Antarctica videos we released!

These are kind of fun videos I think! If you’re a Passport Member then you can watch all three of them right now. 3/3 is the one that has the most “photo advice” whereas the others are just more informal and behind-the-scenes kind of stuff where you see me build a snow cave and junk like that.

Here’s a link to the first video!

Here’s a link to the second video!

Here’s a link to the third video, enjoy!

Daily Photo – A trip up the Volcano

See that volcano in the distance? It doesn't look too far, does it? Assuming there was a road to the top, it would probably take about six hours to get up there by car! Stu and I asked if we could commandeer that truck and go on a joyride to the top. They told us no, that it probably would not be a good idea because it's actually an active volcano. We begrudgingly took their advice.

A trip up the Volcano

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-21 07:31:35
  • CameraILCE-7M2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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