Folding in the Ice

Luminar Review

Here’s a link to grab Luminar! — and here’s a link to the Luminar Review here on the site. It’s avail TODAY! 🙂

Crazy Briefing

If you and I ever hang out (yes YOU), then remind me to tell you the story about my “briefing” before the trip to Antarctica. It’s one of the craziest stories ever and Stu and I still talk about it.

Daily Photo – Folding in the Ice

During my nightly hikes in Antarctica, I would try to visit new parts of the ice folds each time. They would change just a little bit every day as the sea ice crashed into the immovable earth. The shapes they made were mind-boggling. I'll never forget it. It was also quite scary, hearing all the ice creak and heave… unsettling and it made me feel quite small.

Folding in the Ice

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-12 02:39:03
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Luminar is Now Avail!

Just announced (Mac Only)

Here’s a link to grab Luminar.

What is Luminar?

It’s a new program that is a very powerful photo editor. It’s from the same team that brought you Aurora HDR (I collaborated with them on this), so you know it’s gonna be good.
Luminar is an extremely powerful and fast photo editor that can do not only the most basic adjustments, but literally millions of “looks” for your photo. It’s extremely easy and fun to use and designed for all skill levels.

Better than Lightroom?

That’s the big question you’re wondering, right? Well, YES, it is better in many ways. Remember, this currently is only a way to edit your photos — not to organize them. As of the time of writing this, I’m still using Lightroom to organize my photos.
You’ll find the controls in Luminar are much more powerful than the ones in Lightroom. I’d also wager to say that Luminar has 5-7x as many control options as Lightroom.

Screenshots and commentary


Here’s a great example of some of the power you can’t get in Lightroom alone. You can see I’ve chosen the “Orton Effect” filter. It’s extremely fast and this is a “look” you just can’t get in Lightroom because it involves a blending of layers (all of which is automatic in Luminar).



Yes, Luminar has layers, but you can see how much you can do with a single layer. Here, I’ve made use of a really cool filter called “Foliage Enhancer.”



You may notice that each screenshot has different controls over on the side. This is because you can organize your workspace however you wish, with whatever filters you wish. In this case, I wanted more details, so I pulled up the appropriate filters. You can even save your workspaces to your liking.



Naturally, there are many vintage-feels to the filters as well. There are a ton of presets if you’re feeling lazy or just in a hurry!



I was also impressed how it is quite easy to get an “HDR Look” by using many of the filters.



I’m a big fan of cross-processing, and Luminar comes with a variety of tools that help you to give these a more special look. Here I’ve used both Cross-Processing and Bi-Color Toning.

Oktoberfest Fun!

This was my first Oktoberfest in Munich and it was something else. It coincided with a really fun conference called Bits & Pretzels, which is a conference all about Entrepreneurs and Tech, mostly based in Europe. It was interesting to see all the different startups and see what’s going on over there. There were also two speakers at the event I really wanted to see: Kevin Spacey and Sir Richard Branson. They were great! 🙂

Here’s a BUNCH of photos from Oktoberfest. We shot a live show while there, so there’s a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos there too! 🙂 Some random stuff in here, so enjoy 🙂


Trey Ratcliff

Here’s my friend Alex Piuitti, who was responsible for us coming to Germany. He’s a great guy! In the middle there is Sascha from Plotagraph Pro. This is one of the only times she wasn’t wearing All Black like a ninja.

Trey Ratcliff

Here’s one of the behind-the-scenes shot during our Live FB Oktoberfest show. Everyone here was an entrepreneur or a venture capitalist. This gal was a VC with big funds to invest.

It was also a big tech conference. You can virtually see this gal is reality.

It was also a big tech conference. You can virtually see this gal is reality.

Here’s Felix, one of the organizers of Bits & Pretzels along with the major of Bavaria. I was honored to be invited up on the stage with these two as we all sang the mayor Happy Birthday! 🙂

Here’s Felix, one of the organizers of Bits & Pretzels along with the major of Bavaria. I was honored to be invited up on the stage with these two as we all sang the mayor Happy Birthday! 🙂

This was about 3 minutes into the live show.

This was about 3 minutes into the live show.

Another fun behind-the-scenes shot.

Another fun behind-the-scenes shot.

Two revelers at Oktoberfest. Apparently, there seems to be no age limit there!

Two revelers at Oktoberfest. Apparently, there seems to be no age limit there!

Here I am during the live show asking Sascha more about Plotagraph as she sends a shout-out back to her partner Troy in LA.

Here I am during the live show asking Sascha more about Plotagraph Pro as she sends a shout-out back to her partner Troy in LA.

Trey Ratcliff

Here’s Alex and Raphael Fellmer and Martin — these are the founders of — a new company to combat the wasting of food.

Trey Ratcliff

Here’s one of the guys that was at our table… they all had their own startups as well. Great dudes. This guy happened to be a longtime fan from Cairo.

Another one of the revelers… everyone looks good in these German outfits. The female one is called a “Dirndl.”

Another one of the revelers… everyone looks good in these German outfits. The female one is called a “Dirndl.”

Daily Photo – This is how I really dress when at home…

This is my new standard Bavarian pose in lederhosen. When I was not engaged in active conversation, I would assume this pose until someone walked up to me.

This is how I really dress when at home…

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-09-27 17:03:03
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Aurora HDR 2017 is here, get it now!

It’s been a long two weeks but the wait is finally over, the new Aurora HDR 2017 for Macs is finally here and ready to download! I developed this software along with Macphun, an amazing company that has already created many other stunning photography tools for the Mac. The idea that after 10 years I finally got to create my own High Dynamic Range photography software and jam-pack it with all my favorite tricks was absolutely intoxicating!

I’ve been using this software now for a short eternity and we’ve taken my experience plus some great feedback from other users to create this new version. You can head over to our Aurora HDR 2017 Page see all the long list of new and improved features.




Note: Aurora HDR 2017 is still for Macs only. Yes, we truly are working on a Windows version (harder than it sounds) and when it’s released you will be the first to know!



Current Users of Aurora HDR Pro can upgrade for $49. Click here to find out if you qualify for an upgrade.

New Customers can Order Now for only $89, (Extended Pre-Order price for one week only until October 6).



New software… and new HDR tutorial to go with it!

It is an hour long Video tutorial to show how I use Aurora HDR 2017 in practically every situation. From outdoors to indoors, mixes to architecture, moving objects to single photos, people photos and everything in between. You’ll see how I use the tool in slightly different ways for all these situations. As usual, I start out the tutorials very slowly, aimed at total beginners. But then we move on to intermediate and advanced techniques.

Trey’s Super Bundle

If you’re feeling a little adventurous you should check out the Super Bundle which includes both Aurora HDR 2017 AND my full-length HDR Video Tutorial for Macs all in one, for cheaper than it would be to buy them separately 🙂


Happy Aurora HDR 2017 Pre-Order Day!

At some magical point today, Aurora HDR 2017 will become available for Pre-Order! I’ve been working on this thing like crazy, and I can’t wait to get it in your hands. Below are two videos where I talk more about it. One is an overall preview and the next is a hot tip.

What do you get with the Pre-Order?

Pre-Order Bonus Items:

Trey Ratcliff Deep Dive video and RAW files
1 Year basic subscription to SmugMug
60-day KelbyOne membership
25 Square Prints from (free global shipping)

What’s the history and the deal with Aurora HDR 2017?

A few years ago, I called up MacPhun to see if they wanted to collaborate on the ultimate HDR program. They said yes, and we built the original one over a year ago. It went gangbusters and has over 650,000 downloads. Yes, it’s only Mac so far, but there is a Windows version in development. Anyway, we listened to all the feedback and ideas and made this new version. As usual, I’ve been testing it all along the way…

What are the updates?

There are over 20 updates, but here are the latest ones.

New Luminosity Masks controls
New Zone System allows selective masking of specific areas of an image; new controls provide extensive fine-tuning, allowing users to make brightness adjustments in more precise areas.

New tone-mapping engine
The improved algorithm is quicker, reduces noise, and handles tone, contrast and details in all areas of your photo for more realistic, sharp and natural tone-mapping results.

New batch processing
Automatically recognizes brackets, and adds support for sub-­folders and Batch preset – the single most requested feature since the launch of Aurora HDR.

New Polarizing filter
Emulating the polarisation filter added to a lens, this feature gives colours more depth with a single swipe, and cuts haze – perfect for landscape photographers.

New powerful one-click presets
Including Signature Pro presets by Trey Ratcliff, Captain Kimo and Serge Ramelli, to yield fantastic results instantly.

New ways to work with Layers
Support of different Blend modes for Layers and Textures, with new options for Darken, Color Burn and Lighten.

New enhanced Top & Bottom Adjustment panel
Top and Bottom Adjustment includes new contrast, vibrance, and warmth sliders, adding an extra level of selective control.

Faster RAW processing & DNG support
Time-saving image processing, and improved DNG handling.

Introducing Aurora HDR 2017

Here’s a fun video I made that shows some of the new features.

Tip Video: Batch Processing

Here’s one of three new tip videos that illustrates the new Batch feature. To see all the videos and more, pop over to my Youtube Channel!

Love on a Bike

Plotagraph Fun!

I’m working on a serious Plotagraph Pro tutorial. It’ll take me a while to finish, but it’s in the works!

Daily Photo – Love on a Bike

Here’s another Burning Man Plotagraph… these things are super fun to convert. I’ve probably done about 100. They don’t always work out, but this one did!

Looking back towards Queenstown

Instagram Fun

I’ve been going a bit Plotagraph crazy over on Instagram lately. Pop over there and have a lookie!

Daily Photo – Looking back towards Queenstown

Here's another shot from Social Media day from another perspective. This one is atop Mount Alfred looking back up the lake towards Queenstown. Maybe it gives some perspective of how huge this lake is. Another thing that you may notice is how pretty much no one lives along the lake! It shows how sparsely populated the south island of New Zealand actually is.

Looking back towards Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 15:54:40
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1600
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Eden Muse at Burning Man

Organic Matter

I’ve made about 100 Plotagraphs now… I’ve started to experiment more with a “hair in the wind” effect.

Daily Photo – Eden Muse at Burning Man

Here’s the latest Plotagraph of a random morning when I ran into this model, Eden Muse at sunrise. A nice encounter… and a natural poser, like my little girls! 🙂

The Mosque, Moving

Plotagraph Fun

I have a strange new nightly activity! When I am sitting down watching Netflix with my wife, I have my laptop on my lap and am making Plotagraphs! I often make something I think is kinda cool, and then I show her excitedly. She usually finds 3-4 flaws in it and I get quite deflated.

The Mosque, Moving

And here’s one that turned out pretty good, the incredible mosque in Abu Dhabi!

Revisiting Jogjakarta in Indonesia

New “Noise” Technique

Those of you that came to our workshops in Denver and Sydney have seen this new technique in person! It’s kind of strange, I must say. I really like the effect, though. Anyway, sometimes even with using sweet Aurora HDR, I still choose to leave a bit of noise in the sky. Then I bring it into Photoshop. There is a filter called “Oil Painting” — if you play with the sliders in there enough, you can get a smooth “swirling” of the noise, which feels quite alive and painterly to me. Try it! 🙂

Daily Photo – Revisiting Jogjakarta in Indonesia

Here's a photo that I haven't looked at processing for years and years. My other theory is that sometimes it's okay to wait a very long time to process your photos because, over the years, you'll learn many new techniques that weren't otherwise available to you. This is a pretty good example of that! 🙂

Revisiting Jogjakarta in Indonesia

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2008-03-16 10:52:12
  • CameraNIKON D2Xs
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.1
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!