The Treetop Temple in Kyoto of Kiyomizu-dera

Passport Sunday Party!

Today for Passport Members is a special and fun edit because you get to see me re-master the photo from Kyoto below and transform it into the new version. This is the 2nd of 3 photos I am re-mastering for Series 2 of the fine art series at TreyRatcliff.com.

First, here is the photo I made about 7 years ago. I still quite like it… but I think I’ve improved upon it a bit.

The Temple Protects Kyoto

Kyoto Remastered

Want to follow along and edit with my same files? Well you’re in luck because here are my 5 RAW files for this temple in Kyoto.

If you’re enjoying Passport, why not recommend it (or gift it!) to a friend? It’s a great present because people get new stuff every week! Think of it like a wine of the month club, except it’s weekly, and without the wine. That’s not the best sales pitch I’ve ever made.

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Daily Photo – The Treetop Temple in Kyoto of Kiyomizu-dera

Ahhh, beautiful Kyoto! It’s one of my favorite cities in the world, so going back to re-master this one, seven years later, was still as much of a joy as the first time. It was also great to use better tools like Aurora HDR. to give it a better “look.” Before, I think I might have just used the sliders in Photomatix and not even done any touchup in Photoshop. I’ve also learned a lot more about color theory and this sort of thing in the time betwixt.

The Treetop Temple in Kyoto of Kiyomizu-dera

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2009-09-29 03:54:08
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length19.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Over Monte Carlo

Euro Tour

Check out this highlight video of our European Photo Walk Tour!

Listen to Sam Harris talk with Yuval Noah Harari (author of Sapiens)

Also, here is an interesting podcast I just finished listening to where Yuval Noah Harari talks about his new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. It is a wide-ranging discussion which is well worth some of your Sunday.

Passport Sunday – Art Talk in Glenorchy

If you ever find yourself in New Zealand, check out Camp Glenorchy as a place to stay. I was there a couple of weeks ago to do an art talk and not only is it a gorgeous location, but they also have the best projector known to humankind. In today’s Passport video, which is the complete talk, you’ll not get to experience the projector in all its glory but you will get to hear some stories from my travels along with a fun Q+A session towards the end which focuses on art, life and creativity.

Exclusive content for Passport members

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Daily Photo – Over Monte Carlo

On the European Tour, we stopped in Monte Carlo one day to take photos and have a dinner before getting back on the bus to drive overnight to Cinque Terre. I had been to Monte Carlo a long time ago with my dad and I remembered being down by the marina. When I looked at the map, I saw there were two marinas, and I was not sure which one to be dropped off at. I chose the wrong one! And there were no taxis or Ubers around, so we had to walk up this mountain… when we got to the top, I turned around to take this picture of the scene below. Yeah, it’s a cool marina, but not as cool as the one on the other side!

Over Monte Carlo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-01 19:46:32
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Complete Photography Bundle – $2,500 products for just $89

Featuring the likes of Zack Arias, Photoserge, Skylum, Phlearn and some guy called Trey…

Time to decide fast, because it’s time for the Complete Photography Bundle from 5DayDeal. It’s packed with photography resources which are 100% brand-new. No repeated products. Period.

There are over $2,500 worth of products for just $89. This year it includes two of my most awesome new video tutorials, one for total photography beginners and the other for drone newbies, who will quickly get addicted to this fun new form of photography and videography. Elsewhere in the 5DayDeal product, you’ll find courses on Lightroom, Photoshop, model photography, color grading, wedding photography and even zero gravity product photography. Seriously.


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And if that isn’t enough, a portion of every sale goes to charity. Everyone wins!

Click here to grab it now, all of the products can be downloaded immediately.

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Aurora HDR 2019 Launch Day!

Today’s the Big Day that Aurora HDR 2019 is ready for download! Come grab it pronto in our store.

Last year, we won Apple’s App of the year, and that was very unexpected and exciting. We have over 3 million downloads from their store and our stores, so it looks like we really hit a nerve for this thing. It’s especially great for beginners that want to add a special look to their photos.

The new features include noise-free results immediately, no halos, better for interior architecture shots with bright windows, new HDR sliders, and better processing for RAW files. I have a TON of videos I recently made that show off all the features over on YouTube.

I think this new tool is really gonna get your creative juices flowing! 🙂

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Pre-order Aurora HDR 2019 now

Entirely New HDR Algorithm with Artificial Intelligence

How do you follow up from Mac’s App of the Year in 2018? That’s a tough one but we put our heads together with the team from Skylum and we’ve done it!

i-ZjfXKWw.jpgAurora HDR 2019 uses Skylum’s new Quantum HDR Engine. It is a completely redesigned HDR algorithm, paired with artificial intelligence, which took 3 years of development by Skylum’s AI lab. My favorite thing about this new version is you no longer need to make corrections on the initial results because it virtually eliminates noise, halos, and other little issues you often needed to fix. This means you can focus on your creative side. Begin by trying out the new “looks” (formerly called presets, a few of mine are included for free). And try tweaking out the “HDR-ness” of your creation with the new and improved HDR Enhance and Smart Structure sliders.

Pre-Order prior to October 4th to save $$ and get tons of freebies!

Existing users can check this link to see if you qualify for an upgrade for just $49. New users may purchase Aurora HDR 2019 for just $89.

A collection of bonuses are included with every purchase:

  • $300 USD OFF a multi-day Iceland Photo Tour
  • Landscape Photography Handbook by David Johnston
  • Exclusive interior Aurora Looks by Richard Harrington
  • Burning Mood Looks by Richard Harrington
  • 3-month 500px Pro membership
  • Video Tutorial: Getting the Most from Aurora HDR 2019 by Trey Ratcliff

What else is new in Aurora HDR 2019?

I’m also impressed with the vastly improved results of interior architecture images. These are often problematic when it’s quite bright outside but dark inside. Previous versions of Aurora HDR would handle this in a bit of a sloppy manner. And competitors to Aurora HDR still struggle with interior shots.

Aurora HDR 2019 also includes Lookup Tables (LUTs) which allows you to give your finished image a “movie / film” appearance. They’re adjustable with sliders so you can get a little bit, or a whole lot of, that “Wes Anderson / Mad Max / Blade Runner” feel. Last but not least, there’s even more dynamic range if you choose to process a single RAW image, which I now do over 50% of the time.

And YES, the Windows version and the Mac version are now exactly the same. Huzzah! Go grab it pronto! If you’re not 100% satisfied you can, of course, have all your money back with no worries. It’s a perfect risk to reward ratio. In fact, mathematically, it’s a 1::infinity ratio, so you’re in a cozy mathematical nesting of absolute certainty.

How does Aurora HDR 2019 Compare?

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Here’s a few images I created with Aurora HDR 2019!

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Camping out on the Great Wall

Camp out overnight with a shady company!

Hey, everything did end up working out in the end… but if you also want to try to sleep overnight on the Great Wall, I recommend this website! We did end up making a few videos of the entire adventure… wait till you see! Remember, apparently it is illegal to camp out on the Great Wall, but I guess you can do it anyway. He gave us some great advice in case the military arrived. He said it’s best just to ignore them.

Daily Photo – Camping out on the Great Wall

I'll save the overnight story for another blog post, but first I can tell you about the mini-struggle to get this photo! So, we found this place online that looked fairly legit. This “company” can get you up on top of the wall for a hike and an overnight camping trip. This guy and his driver picked us up at the hotel and we spent most of the day together. He seemed pretty legit, but less so as the day got closer to night. It was close to sunset, and he really wanted us to come into his farmhouse to take a shower. We said we don't really want to shower, but we want to get a sunset photo from the wall. He was really angling for this shower business, which we thought was strange. Finally, he admitted that we can't go up onto the wall until the guards go home from duty. This was the first indication that we were involved with a shady operation. More on the story in a future post!

Camping out on the Great Wall

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-06 23:09:57
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture9
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length29.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Love Heart Island

New Luminar Tip Video

Grab the new Luminar here and get cracking with some of these hot tips! In today’s video, I show how to use “LUTs” which stands for “Look Up Tables” – I find this to be a very geeky acronym that mostly just confuses people. Despite its geekiness, it’s quite fun and powerful!

Daily Photo – Love Heart Island

Here's that little island that sits in the middle of Lake Wanaka. From the shore, it looks like a little perfect fairy island… a perfect little secret island to go have some adventures on. It also looks like you could swim out to it, except you'd defo die from hypothermia in transit. I think people are always surprised when they visit the South Island at how cold the water actually is. Some people are really into swimming in cold water, but I think those people might be kinda crazy.

There's another quirky thing about New Zealand (this might be the case in Aussie as well). Anyway, you know that “heart” shape that we use to describe the shape that is, well, a heart? Well the Kiwis call it a “love heart” shape. I think that's kind of a nice quirky thing about it… now my little girls say that, and sometimes even with a Kiwi accent!

Love Heart Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-05-12 14:11:30
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Shanghai, The Bund, and Beyond

Working on a new China Video

While in China over the past year, I’ve done quite a few drone flights. I used the Mavic Pro almost exclusively, and it held up perfectly. I’m currently in the middle of a longer project where I’m putting together my favorite aerial footage into an all-China from the air video. I hope to have it ready within a week or so! I’m having my friend Stephan Bollinger put some finishing touches on the titling and credits area.

Daily Photo – Shanghai, The Bund, and Beyond

This might be one of my favorite new photos! I took this from the Sky Lounge around the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton on the Pudong side of Shanghai. These cool ships sail up and down the river and right in front of the warmly-lit Bund area. Those old colonial buildings have hardly changed in over 100 years while the rest of the city has built up behind it. Along the riverfront there, you can see a bunch of people walking around – that is the same place we had our awesome photo walk a few weeks ago. Thanks again everyone for coming out for the event!

Shanghai, The Bund, and Beyond

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-06-20 23:04:10
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/10
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length91.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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The Remarkables Across from Lake Johnson

New Luminar Tip – AI slider and Removing Color Cast

If you don’t have Luminar, grab it here! Today’s tip shows how to remove that color cast you may not know is there and how to use the AI-Accent slider.

Daily Photo – The Remarkables Across from Lake Johnson

Here's a photo I took on my three-hour hike around the lake. I think it only takes half that time, but I was really going slow and getting distracted. I didn't see another human soul the entire time, so it was sort of surreal. A lot of the Queenstown and Arrowtown area is overrun with tourists, so it's rare to spend times like this alone. I have a rough plan to come back here after a fresh snow, because I think it will look incredible!

The Remarkables Across from Lake Johnson

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-05-05 11:45:55
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length36.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Flying Into Auckland

Luminar Tip – Dehaze

Here’s another tip for one of my favorite editing programs, Luminar. This one has to do with De-haze!

Daily Photo – Flying Into Auckland

I've made the flight back and forth to Auckland probably 20 times now. It's a beautiful 1.5 hour flight where you get to sail across the top of New Zealand. About half of the way, you only see ocean, but it can make for some amazing clouds as they form on the coast. We get a warm wet wind that blows in from Australia across the Tasman Sea. When it collides with the NZ coastline, you get all kinds of fancy clouds like this.

Flying Into Auckland

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-08-13 03:01:09
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture5.3
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length98.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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