High over Shanghai and a Studio Tour for Passport Members!

New today for Passport Members!

If you are one of our awesome Passport Members then today you get to see a 360 Video tour of my updated studio with seasonal art! It’s also the first 360 video I made since upgrading the firmware on this cool Insta360 camera. Before, it was honestly pretty bouncy, but now I find it to be quite smooth!

We’re on a good pace to put up 60 new pieces of content per year for Passport Members, so at least once a week, I’ll be bringing you something fresh and new!

Stabilizing My Studio

It’s a new season around here, and time for another art hanging at my studio! I’ve been making one of these every three months or so to celebrate the turning of the season and a new set of art to hang! You’ll see it’s a bit snowy outside as I make my way over the studio… oh, and notice how mega-smooth the upgraded firmware is on this Insta360 camera!

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Daily Photo – High over Shanghai

I was really excited to return to Shanghai with all my new photo skills! I'm not saying I have all the skills in the world or anything, but I certainly have a lot more than my first trip there almost ten years ago. I look back on those older photos and I don't even like them that much. Since I was here for a solid week or so, I decided to shoot my heart out and see what I could achieve. This spot was one of my favorites because it made for a perfect vantage point in Pudong. This is shot from the rooftop bar at the Ritz-Carlton there. We actually took over the whole venue one day for one of my art talks about the 80 Stays tour. On that particular day, it was quite cloudy, but our first night here made for the perfect view!

High over Shanghai

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-18 23:32:42
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Sun is Rising or Setting in Sydney

Helping my Son with his Resume

My son Ethan is trying to get his first job and he really has no job experience except when the cops got him to go try to bust a few local bars. So I decided to help him write a more colorful version of the episode:

Undercover Cop (said in Cartman’s voice)
New Zealand Police Department

The NZ Police employed me to infiltrate dins of iniquity and use my cunning guile to expose lackadaisical standards of serving minors in local drinking holes. In disguise as my pre-drinking-age self, I surreptitiously entered pubs in Queenstown and Wanaka to beguile the local glasswipe with a bit of witty repartee before ordering a simple beer, a pilsner, a varied spirit, or a perhaps, on a whim, a rather complex girly drink. Despite my stage training, I was never able to bring any drinking establishment to its knees, a result that I entrust is an accidental benefit to my future employer after they leave work, tired of my musings, and “need a drink.”

Daily Photo – The Sun is Rising or Setting in Sydney

When I initially posted this, I thought for sure it was a sunset. But then my clever Aussie friends told me I was facing towards the East here, which means I was definitely 100% wrong. It's so strange, though, because I don't remember waking up for the sunrise there. But, clearly, I did. This just once again reminds me of how my memory is a slippery slope slipping more all the time.

The Sun is Rising or Setting in Sydney

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-09-25 16:50:09
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Burning Man Photo Editing

This Week on Passport

Today’s how-to video for Passport Members is a bit longer than usual. I usually try to keep them under 5 minutes, but this one clocks in at over 15 minutes to edit a single photo. You’ll see everything from alpha to omega. I do a lot of detailed work on this one… probably a bit overkill, but I hope you enjoy!

Some favorite Burning Man Photos

Speaking of Burning Man, I thought I’d add a few from my //Burning Man Portfolio// over on SmugMug!


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


Here’s how I edited a photo of the Black Rock Lighthouse. You’ll see me begin with Aurora HDR to make adjustments then end up in Photoshop to align and create some margins for artistic purposes. You’ll also see a lot of content-aware + clone-stamp action to clean up some of the mess!

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The Complexity of Hong Kong

New, Stabilized 360 video!

We recently upgraded the firmware on the Insta360 camera so it is more stabilized. This is the first test of it today for Passport Members! I take you on a tour of my studio and the new art that I have just hung. I swap out the art every three months for each season. I’m a little behind now… as you’ll be seeing the “red” theme for Autumn. I gotta get ready for Winter colors now… as you’ll see the snow outside of the studio too!

Enjoy today’s newly stabilized video of my art hangings in the studio. I’ll stop briefly and tell little stories about each photo. Note that these photos aren’t for sale… just small informal prints to brighten up the mood of the studio.

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Daily Photo – The Complexity of Hong Kong

How beautiful is Hong Kong? I took this from the bar atop the Ritz-Carlton there on the other side of the bay. I tried to not just get the obvious wide-angle shots, but instead to zoom in and get some interesting details here and there. Naturally, there are all sorts of different apartments for different income levels. These are some of the nicer ones over on the Hong Kong side.

The Complexity of Hong Kong

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-13 00:01:59
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A Food Truck Dinner on the Lawn!

Editing Kid-Sports Photos

Today for Passport Members is something a bit different! I openly admit in the beginning of the video that it may be a bit boring to those not interested in taking photos of kid-sports! My son has been playing a lot of rugby lately, and I’ve been taking more and more photos. So you can see my workflow of my 300 (mostly awful) photos and see how I pick out the winners, along with a few tips on composition.

When I went to Ethan’s (he is 17 now) rugby game on Saturday, I took just over 300 photos. Here’s how I organized them in Lightroom then edited a few of the winners!

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Daily Photo – A Food Truck Dinner on the Lawn!

How fun is this idea? it was a looooong travel day to get here to Sanya, China (which is a small island off the coast). We woke up in Macau, then took the ferry for an hour to Hong Kong before taking a flight here to Sanya. We were pretty exhausted after we landed, but were reinvigorated as we saw them setting up this massive dinner on the lawn. There were about 15 little setups with all sorts of food and drink. They do this out on the lawn of the Ritz-Carlton right by the beach there once a week. Anyone can go, and you don't even have to be a guest.

A Food Truck Dinner on the Lawn!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-17 18:47:34
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO174
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-1.66

Exploring Gaudi’s Masterpiece

A new workflow for RAW Photos

Today’s video just for Passport Members shows a slightly improved workflow for RAW photos. I’m always tweaking my workflow this way and that, and this seems to work out pretty well!

I used to just take the RAW file and drag it into Aurora. I still sometimes do that, but I find that I like making just a few tweaks in Lightroom first. You can see how in the video below!

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Daily Photo – Exploring Gaudi's Masterpiece

The first time I came to the Sagrada Familia here in Barcelona, I didn't go inside. There is a ton of construction going on, and I didn't even realize you could pay to get inside. And I would not have thought it would look so bright and colorful on the inside because the outside is very dark and gothic. It's too bad Gaudi didn't stay alive long enough to see it completed!

Exploring Gaudi's Masterpiece

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-04-30 08:23:27
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Speaking of Sculptures…

Editing Photos from Glenorchy

Here’s a long editing session where you see me working on a few photos from an outing. There’s a lot of stream-of-consciousness in here, so it’s not quite as “tight” as some of my other videos, but maybe a bit more “real”! Anyway, enjoy!

Daily Photo – Speaking of Sculptures…

Here's a new sculpture up at The Hills by the British artist, Sean Henry. I kind of like this photo, but I think I can do better. The thing that is missing is the scale of the image. It's absolutely massive… so I think I need to add another element in to give it scale. I may put a human in here, but I'm not sure what I would have them doing. I don't do a lot of “setup shots” like you see on Instagram with solitary figures standing in a vast landscape. I find those photos a bit droll for some reason. Anyway, maybe I'll get a little kid and let him crawl around on the creepy guys' lap or something. That's not a bad idea… kind of a strange idea. I'm obviously brainstorming now.

Speaking of Sculptures…

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-05-03 16:28:05
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Singapore from the roof of the Ritz-Carlton

Making super-smooth and dreamy reflections

Today, for Passport Members we have a new video up that shows a technique I’ve been using for creating smooth reflections. It’s kind of a hack, honestly, but as far as hacks go, I think the final result is very beautiful!

Here is an example of the effect in the reflection of Doubtful Sound below:

Copyright Trey Ratcliff www.StuckInCustoms.com

In this video, you can see how I use the Oil Paint filter in the reflective part of the photo.

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Daily Photo – Singapore from the roof of the Ritz-Carlton

Getting up here on the roof was not easy! I had security take me up here, but you have to duck under all these air conditioner units and clamber up ladders and the like. But, after I got up there, the view was totally worth it! I never understand why all hotels don't convert the roofs to rooftop bars. I would think everyone likes a good rooftop bar with an excellent view like this!

Singapore from the roof of the Ritz-Carlton

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-25 00:33:52
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length26.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A Silent Morning in Doubtful Sound

All 400 of my mostly lousy photos of Doubtful Sound!

Today for Passport Members, I go through the ~400 photos I took over two days in this area. You’ll see how most of them are absolutely atrocious. I’d like to blame the bad weather on day 1, but I really only have myself to blame!

Win a free Mavic Air Drone!

Join me on Facebook Live here as I talk about editing drone videos and drone photos – also be sure to join our Drone giveaway! I’m giving away a new shiny red Mavic Air to promote my new drone tutorial you can find here!

Take a tour through my favorite photos from Doubtful Sound in today’s video. Also included on the tour, are about 395 terrible photos that sent me into a shame spiral.

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Daily Photo – A Silent Morning in Doubtful Sound

I just finished my first overnight journey with Real Journeys down in Doubtful Sound. I've lived here on the South Island of New Zealand for about six years, and I had always wanted to do this overnight adventure. I went down there with Curtis and Tane and we had a great time. The first part of the voyage was a bit “moody” with some crazy wind and rain, but that subsided to some beautiful calmness afterward.

One great thing about having lots of rain is that you get to see hundreds and hundreds of waterfalls. I often find it difficult to get a good photo of a waterfall, but I'll share some attempts in upcoming posts!

A Silent Morning in Doubtful Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-05-09 08:51:31
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Mystery Ceiling

Today on Passport

Usually, I give photo tips, but for today’s Passport I give some travel tips. Mostly these are travel tips in Tokyo, but the idea of exploration will work almost anywhere. You’ll also see me use the Explore for Food options using Google Maps. I use that all the time now to find tasty places to eat!

Today are some travel tips from Tokyo! I take you to a few cool places around there, show you how I find good food, show you my favorite crazy store Don Quixote, and more! It’s all in 360, so feel free to spin the camera around to watch whatever you wanna watch! 🙂

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Daily Photo – The Mystery Ceiling

Here's a little trick for taking photos of ornate ceilings like this. It's not actually that difficult once you know the trick. The first thing is to find the very very middle of the room. If you're a little bit off, it's tough to fix. Then, take set up your camera for a longer exposure. If you have a mirrorless camera, you can just look up and see if the exposure looks right. If you have a DSLR, do a few handheld shots and look at the results. Sure, it will be blurry, but you're just making sure the brightness is good. Last, turn on the timer (I do 2 seconds), set it on the ground, take the photo, then jump away so you are not in the shot!

The Mystery Ceiling

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-19 18:28:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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