Sunrise in Half Moon Bay

HDR Tip with Quadcopters

I’m using the Phantom 4 Pro now, but I’ve stopped autobracketing. I’ve noticed that whenever I take multiple brackets into Aurora (or Photomatix) that they get very noisy. So now I just bring a single RAW photo in and it seems to work fine.

All I can gather is the small sensor size (Even though the P4 Pro is 4x it’s lesser cousins in size) still has a bit of micro-noise that adds up when you combine multiple photos.

Daily Photo – Sunrise in Half Moon Bay

I had really bad luck weather the whole time I was here at Half Moon Bay. On the final morning before the family flew to Denver, there was finally a good sunrise. I had been planning to get out there with my quadcopter to get this kind of a shot. It was very windy, but it was able to hold steady enough to get a few good shots! By the way, this is the beautiful Ritz-Carlton there. The night before, the bagpipe player came out at sunset while we all at smores over the firepit. How awesome!

Sunrise in Half Moon Bay

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-11 07:33:33
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Apple is dead to me… I’m switching to Windows!

Have Mac vs. PC arguments with friends?

Share this article with them on Facebook or wherever and begin the battle of wits! You can share anywhere right up there in the sharing icons… and thanks! 🙂

Switching from a Mac to Windows PC

I converted to Apple over 5 years ago when it was clear to me Apple made the best products for creative professionals. I loved Apple and became a hardcore fanboy. I was all-in. Now, I’m switching back to PCs. The new line of MacBook Pros are not-that-awesome. Apple has always been a company that makes beautiful, well-designed products (and still does), but they’ve started to put an emphasis on sleek design form over professional function.

Why am I switching from a Mac to a PC?

I need a more powerful machine that can handle a LOT. I doubt I’m the only creative professional in this situation. Nowadays, my camera’s RAW files are bigger (I use a Hasselblad X1D, but my MacBook was still choking with my Sony A7Rii files), and I do a lot of video work as well. I simply need a workhorse. It’s too bad that Apple has chosen not to care so much about the creative professional; we were the ones that got them through the lean years. Oh well…

Unboxing the Beast

Nothing better than unboxing a new toy! I also advise not using a corkscrew to unbox anything… even though I’ve probably done it over a dozen times, I haven’t improved.

More reasons for the Switch

Windows 10 is getting really good, and Microsoft really seems to be innovating. I’m impressed and never thought I’d see the day… I thought they might just spiral down like IBM or WANG, but I’m happy they are making a come back.

I’m also not an iPhone user, having switched to Android a long time ago. The new Google Pixel phone simply amazing! I’m pretty objective, and it is just a better phone all around, and it gets you out of that ridiculous closed Apple ecosystem.

Even though I had a Macbook and an iPad, I always found the ecosystem to be quite confusing. iCloud will NOT stop demanding my family and I pay it more money. I never liked the Apple software apps like Mail (I use Google Inbox) or Apple Maps (I use Google Maps). While I was using Apple Photos to organize my final portfolio shots, I found it to be somewhat confusing and not as powerful as I needed it to be.

Another reason is I really want to get into VR more and you need a powerful Windows machine for that. I want to do 360 art, play 360 games, and all that fun stuff. I’m a big gamer, and I like the idea of playing all those Steam games on my Windows laptop and even my tablet (I got the Surface Pro as well).

How’s the Switch Going?

Great! It hasn’t been as hard to switch to Windows 10 as I thought. Most of my woes have been around adjusting my photography workflow, but I needed to update that anyway. I was heavily reliant on a workflow where I had combined Adobe Lightroom and Apple Photos (formerly iPhoto), because I liked to keep my final portfolio in Photos. It synced nicely to my iPad and everything.

Basically, I want to do everything on a big beefy laptop but also have a light tablet-like computer for more casual things.

My Shopping list – Essentials

I used to build my own PC gaming machines back in the day before I switched to Apple. I did a ton of of my own research this time around, and I remembered back in the day when I would build my own gaming PCs that I bought everything from Newegg! When I decided to switch, I called up my contacts over there to send over some of the goodies listed in this article and I’d link to them in this Switch Guide… so here we go! 🙂

Bonus Items

Here are some other goodies I got for the Windows ecosystem:

Bonus Desktop Computer – Microsoft Surface Studio

I’ve recently added a second Windows computer to my mix – a desktop! I set up this desktop computer in my studio at home to serve as the mothership for everything. I have the new Microsoft Surface Studio, and it is amazing! If you don’t know about this computer, be sure to check out this video. How awesome, eh? Honestly, this screen is bigger and more beautiful than any of my Macs. Apple used to have a monopoly on this stuff, but no more. I love this machine!

Here’s a Strange Reason to Switch

I’ll give you a somewhat strange reason (but not my main reason). It gives you a chance to clean all your stuff up and re-organize. It’s literally like moving into a new house. It’s a pain, but it can also be kind of fun! Also, counter-intuitively it’s good for creatives to “mix things up” from time to time and be a bit uncomfortable. I’m not going to get all philosophical here, but maybe you know what I mean. You can read more about my new storage in Step 4 below.

Switching while on the Go

The switch from Mac to Windows is challenging enough but I also did it while on a family vacation, moving from location to location. I was actually in the middle of a 60-day photo adventure around the world with my the wife and kids and everything. Balancing all that, the photography, AND a computer OS/hardware switch was quite the Olympian feat, I must say! 🙂


Trey’s Guide for Creative Professionals to Switch from Mac to Windows

This guide is a bit Trey-centric because, well, I am. Although from what I can tell, I have a fairly typical setup for a photography workflow. I mostly use Adobe products, which takes away 80% of the switching pain. I’d say the other 20% is a combination of finding those “little” apps you liked so much on the Mac and finding their counterparts on Windows. Well that, and getting used to the new UI!

Step 1 – Get your essential programs up and running

There’s an old joke about Internet Explorer – the first thing you do with it is download Google Chrome. That joke is so old now that Internet Explorer has been replaced by “Edge,” but you can still download Chrome. Actually, I used Edge a bit and it’s pretty good. They say that it’s more optimized for Windows 10, but I can’t tell any difference yet.

Here’s a list of the most important things I installed first when setting up the new machine:

Note: It is recommended that you try to get the apps from their websites rather than the Windows store, where sometimes the apps can be a bit outdated or imperfect.

Additional Windows software that do various things:

Step 2 – Begin the Copy Process

I used my new sleek Samsung T3 Drive and began copying all my documents to it. I tended to drag whole folders, many of which were full of other folders. Even though I was dropbox-syncing, I also moved it over manually. It sped up the process quite a bit.

If you’re not that familiar with the Mac folder system, be sure to look all through the Finder window at all the core directories on the left side. I had almost everything important under /TreyRatcliff — everything should copy over fine. Here’s some notes to think about:

  • There’s no need to copy anything under “Applications” because those apps won’t work on Windows.
  • If you’re planning to use this as an opportunity to “clean up” or “reorganize” your Dropbox, don’t do that until you have everything 100% copied over. If you make directory changes in the middle of a sync, it gets confusing. One thing at a time.
  • If you have native app files, like Keynote files or Numbers files, be sure to convert them to Powerpoint or Google Docs first. I highly recommend Google Docs… just get them uploaded to your Google Drive and begin that conversion.
  • If you have some “really fancy” Keynote docs, you may want to convert to Powerpoint, but understand that you’ll have to spend some time in Powerpoint to make those presentations as “smooth” as they were in Keynote. It’s possible… but it takes a while.
  • If you can fit your whole Adobe Lightroom directory on a single drive, then do that. Mine is over 10 TB and is on a Pegasus Thunderbolt drive. So, in my case, I connected the old Pegasus Thunderbolt drive to my MacBook along with the new WD 16TB drive via USB and I made the copy that way.
  • I’m not sure of an “easy” or automatic way to auto-sync my Lightroom Presets and Adobe Actions. I had to go find those directories and copy over directly. To find your Lightroom Presets, go into your Lightroom Preferences and look under Presets, there you’ll see a shortcut button.

Step 3 – Get signed in Everywhere and start Syncing

This is always a bit of a small logistical pain. Luckily if you’re a Google and Facebook user, then getting logged into those first helps with the other programs you may use like Spotify and Chrome.

Adobe Creative Cloud is pretty straightforward. Remember you can only have 2 active logins with Creative Cloud, which I think is stupid. But that’s how they roll there at Adobe. Anyway, you can use your new computer to log out of all the others and create two new ones. It’s not too tough.

If you’re a Spotify user and like local copies of all your music, you may need to log into their website and activate/deactivate different devices. You get three there.

At this point, you should have all your programs signed in and the full syncing will begin. Everything from Evernote to Dropbox to Spotify to Chrome Favorites or whatever is in your app world will start to copy over.

Step 4 – The Great Storage Adventure

Note this only applies if you are not dropbox/google syncing all your files. In my case, I have 12 TB of photos, and Dropbox would take at least another adniminstration to sync.

The first thing you need to know about sharing large capactity storage between Windows and MacOS is that how the external storage is formatted makes a HUGE difference. Since Windows and MacOS can both read and write to exFAT drives, it’s good to format the drive on the Mac using exFAT. I tried doing this on the PC and the Mac cound not see it. When you go into Disk Utility on the Mac, just choose exFAT to format your new drive. Easy!

So what storgae did I go for? The Western Digital My Cloud Pro (PR2100) NAS. A Western Digital My Book Pro and the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro portable drive.

Starting with the My Cloud Pro, first think about how you want your storage configured. My NAS is the 16TB model and it arrived set to 2x8TB mirrored (basically 8TB of storage with the 2nd drive used to keep a seperate copy of every file an automated process). I used the web interface for the NAS to re-configure the drive to show as a single 16TB volume. (HOT TIP: When you first use the NAS, update the firmware then set the web interface timeout to be as long as possible. With the default settings the login times out before you complete the drive configuration and so it has to be done again.)

Optional Step 4a – Keep the Aurora HDR Party Going (until Aurora is released for Windows)

I know many people reading this love Aurora HDR 2017 which is only for the Mac. By the way, for the record, I partnered with Macphun to make this app – it’s objectively incredible! We’re working on the Windows version now, but we don’t have it yet. So, I’m reluctantly keeping my Mac around ONLY for Aurora HDR. So this requires a temporary workflow change. Here’s what I did.

I made a new folder on my Dropbox called “Aurora Me” I then made a new Lightroom Export called “Aurora Me” in which I export the brackets to that folder. It auto-syncs on my Mac. I open my Mac every few days and there is a pile of 10-100 photos in there for me to AuroraHDR-ize. Easy and fun. When I export it, I go to another Dropbox folder called “Completed” that ends up back on my PC. I simply import those final versions into Lightroom for final storage. At first, I thought this would be a big pain, but it really isn’t. It’s kind of nice using my MacBook Pro for just this one simple purpose. It takes up more desk space of course, but, well, it’s not the end of the world. Plus, it’s only temporary.

Be Notified First!

Sign-up for my newsletter and we’ll notify you as soon as a release date is known for Aurora HDR 2017 for Windows.

 

Free Newsletter from Trey!

Sign up for my newsletter! There are always hot tips and the latest goodies!

You wanna hang out on Social Media? Sure, why not? Everyone is doing it! Follow me on:

Step 5 – Use the Windows Machine exclusively for the first week

I noticed when I switched from Nikon DSLRs to the Sony mirrorless systems that it was really a difficult switch when I had both available. I knew the Nikon system so well and I would have great photo ops. For example, I was offered a cool helicopter ride up to a glacier. I was staring at my two cameras on the table, and I would usually take the Nikon because I knew the system so well and I didn’t want to risk it with the Sony.

Well then one day in Sydney my Nikon broke, so all I had was the Sony. I was forced to use it for a few weeks and I ended up loving it a lot more. I was able to see how much better it was and learned all of the advantages.

I’m now seeing that with Windows. Yes, learning things in the new OS are a little painful. Windows is not quite as slick as iOS in a lot of ways. I found the trackpad not quite as nice for example, and I had to re-train my brain about a few different things. But that only took a week, and now I’m pretty smooth with it!

Step 6 – Get your Color Right

By default, your new PC will have a different color profile than your Mac. At the very least you’ll have to open your color preferences and adjust the saturation until it is the same as your Mac. I recommend you pull up your 10 favorite photos and put them side by side, adjusting the saturation and color on your new PC until they are the same. Even though this system is calibrated at the factory by MSI (and has built in color profiles) this is a mistake I made and for about a week, my photos were a bit off and more de-saturated than I like. I only noticed when I looked on my wife’s mac and my photos looked less colorful than I preferred.

Bonus Step 7 – Surface Pro

Party with the Microsoft Surface Pro! I didn’t think I’d like this machine, but I was wrong. I like it better than my iPad for sure. It’s a fully functional computer and not just a tablet. I’ve actually been altering my workflow quite a bit where I do many “daily” things on my Surface Pro – things like email, social media, Facebook stuff, etc etc. It’s a tiny little machine that I can set on my lap or anywhere. It’s also great because I can play Steam games on it, it travels well, I can do lightweight Lightroom stuff — I have some folders synced with my big computer, etc.

Bonus Step 8 – Use your NVIDIA Graphics Card with Adobe Products

This wasn’t obvious and was nowhere in the documentation. But the MSI computer has a “GFX” button under the power button to the left of the keyboard. When you click that, it asks you to reboot to use the fast NVIDIA card at all times. This can have performance benefits in some applications such as Lightroom which by default use the less powerful Intel GPU rather than auto switch to the NVIDIA which happens when gaming. Now I just keep that NVIDIA GPU on all the time (no need to reboot). On the downside, it eats up more battery, but I am connected to power most of the time.

Bonus Step 9 – Virtual Reality

I bought the funky HTC Vive VR Kit! This has been an unexpected joy to our family. We all LOVE playing VR. There are now so many fun games and apps – the kids and wife go crazy for it. I could stay in VR Google Earth forever. At some point, I’ll put together a list of all my favorite VR Apps and Games for you!

Bonus Step X – Questions??

Okay, okay, this is a living document… what did I miss? What have you discovered? Add to the comments below! And thanks for reading this far – I hope you found it helpful! 🙂

UPDATE 03/15/17 – OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICIAL JURISDICTION OF TREY RATCLIFF IN REGARDS TO THE SEEMINGLY UNRESOLVED MATTER OF AURORA HDR, SUCH OFFICIAL JURISDICTION NEITHER BEING OFFICIAL NOR A JURISDICTION.

IN REGARDS to ARTICLE (also known in common world wide web language as a BLOG POST) that MAY contain the words: “Apple is Dead To Me”

DATELINE: SAN FRANCISCO. I, Trey Ratcliff, hereby being of sound mind and body, understanding that these two aspects of the aforementioned are held in dispute by many authorities and experts, he, himself, speaking in the third person, furthermore hereby declares his unfettered support of Aurora HDR for the Computer In Question (Hereby toafter referred to APPLE MACINTOSH or derivatives thereof, including the latest manifestation of the APPLE MACINTOSH line of computers, albeit slower and sillier and donglier) and forthrightly denies moving back to Previous HDR Program in Question (hereforafterknown as PHOTOMATIX, which is a program that Windows users must tirelessly suffer, until said AURORA HDR is completed for MICROSOFT WINDOWS PROGRAM).

Furthermore, Trey Ratcliff (TR) does not claim any knowledge of an exact date for which AURORA HDR will be made for MICROSOFT WINDOWS computers. But he welcomes that day. TR has weekly conference calls with MACPHUN SOFTWARE (MS, not to be confused with MICROSOFT which often uses the acronym MS, but that is not recognized by this textual body), with which he partners on AURORA HDR. Even though the aforementioned may have written an article-post (Known in AOL Browser-device as a BLOG POST) entitled “Apple is Dead To Me,” it does not indicate that TR does not use MS for HDR on APPLE MACINTOSH or its various un-MAGsafed derivatives. The following paragraph will no doubt clarify.

Many INTERNET denizens, including such entities as 4CHAN and REDDIT and COMPUSERVE ALT-DATING GROUPS have made reference to the controversial BLOG-article entitled “Apple is Dead to Me.” The “Me” in this case is indeed TR (In the future to be referred to a “Trey Ratcliff”). Many Denizens may have indeed read the headline, but failed to read the actual article written by “Trey Ratcliff”, in which he details a rather convoluted DROPBOX (like “Microsoft Briefcase” that actually works for those familiar with PRODIGY) system that includes using MICROSOFT WINDOWS MS OS to do all of his photography work, however carving out DROPBOX (“MSDOS Briefcase”) as a means for transporting (over world-wide-web) certain files to his MACINTOSH system, upon delivery when he utilized AURORA HDR to process said photos, and then putting them back in the MS Briefcase (DROPBOX) to be transported across the internet (INTERNET) back to his MSDOS Windows COMPUTER, where he may or may not put them into ADOBE LIGHTROOM (to be known SLOW ADOBE PROGRAM or SAP). He then uses this SAP to receive into its digital innards the final photo which was beautifully adorned using AURORA HDR (High Dynamic Range), a program that was created by MACPHUN MS in partnership with “TR”.

Let it also be known that there are absolutely no discussions to port AURORA HDR to LINUX (LX), which has caused a great tumult amongst 0.1% of the INTERNET, which causes TR and MS and MSDOS no short amount of Linux-bitterness. TR apologizes for any inconvenience caused by operating systems he doesn’t understand.

Let it be known that TR recently visited the HQ of Apple in Cupertino. Upon entry, he had a sudden thought that he should have published the internet-log-article entitled “Apple is Dead to Me” after his visit to said Apple HQ. Many executives withheld a quiet rage and asked TR if he would consider waiting for WWDC (What Would Diablo Create) to see if perhaps something might change his mind. TR contended he maintained a small flicker of hope, as it is the only thing that springs eternal. “Trey Ratcliff” has not completely given up this hope that perhaps Apple will come back. After all, Microsoft did. He also gave an executive of APPLE (A) a Jar of Honey from his bee hives in New Zealand (NZ), where he farms as an amateur beekeeper, as a peace offering. TR harvested it by hand a week prior after a rigorous AURORA HDR session on his A Computer. In return TR received a VISITOR’S STICKER upon his hoodie. A facsimile (FAX) of said sticker is attached in ADDENDUM Q (Addendums A-P hereby being occupied by all the places TR has misplaced his DONGLES).

In case any of the above is unclear, let it forhitherwither be known that “TR” (TR) uses Aurora HDR on MAC (intosh) computers via a modern-day MICROSOFT BRIEFCASE also known to Internet Citizens as DropBox. For Further Explanation, please see magazine-online-article known in TCP (IP) language at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2017/02/10/switching-from-mac-to-windows/

/EOL


As a gesture of goodwill to Apple users worldwide… for a limited time you can save on the Aurora HDR (for Macs) Bundle. It contains Aurora HDR 2017 and my newest (and arguably best) HDR tutorial. Grab it now!


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 Parabo.press (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!

Central Park, Made with Aurora HDR 2017


Burning Man Fun!

Today’s the day I arrive at Burning Man! To see pics from the last six years, see my Burning Man Portfolio here.

What’s in Trey’s bag – Burning Man Edition

Which bags do I use in which situation? Here’s a quick video I made! Thanks again to the amazing team at Peak Design for making me so extra-bag-happy! 🙂 More on the Kickstarter over here

Daily Photo – Central Park, Made with Aurora HDR 2017

I've been making HUNDREDS of photos, testing out the new software and getting everything ready for the new release. This looks pretty good, eh? I went back and got some of my still unprocessed frames from over 5 years ago when I was in Central Park. It's great fun to “drudge” up these old memories and re-process them with new software!

Central Park, Made with Aurora HDR 2017

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2009-11-22 22:50:00
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length48.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Dunedin Sunrise Plotagraph

More about Plotagraphs

Check out the page here on the site for more info.

New Plotagraph Tutorial!

I made a much better version of the Plotagraph Tutorial. This one shows full end-to-end and has more samples. I also talk a bit about the price as well as how to share on various social media.

Daily Photo – The Dunedin Sunrise Plotagraph

Remember, this was made out of a single JPG – how cool! I made this animation be a bit faster than most to add to the drama. But, of course, you can choose whatever speed you like. Actually, this one has two different speeds for the sky and the water (the water is barely moving).


null

Crossing through Alexandra

Symmetry Tip

Whenever you take a photo of a symmetrical situation, be sure to spend a few extra moments to make sure you are absolutely in the very middle. If you’re using a mirrorless camera with an EVF, switch through to the different modes where you see the most gizmos on the screen. You can use all those horizon/tilt gizmos as triangulation bits to like up symmetrical objects in the room. Take a little extra time, because it’s really tough to fix symmetry in Photoshop!

Daily Photo – Crossing through Alexandra

I've made many road trips from Queenstown to Dunedin in the past year… every time I go through Alexandra. This is what it looks like as you cross the bridge in the middle of the Autumn. How pretty! 🙂

Crossing through Alexandra

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-04-19 03:29:13
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/180
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

New! Aurora HDR Presets Pack!

Hello Internet friends

Grab the preset expansion at or get the full Aurora HDR Bundle!

25 Presets. 2 Tutorial Videos. 20 Sample Images. Rather Redonkulously Long Preset Names that are More Problematic than Helpful.

Hello Internet friends. Trey Here. As of the time of writing this, Aurora HDR Pro has only been out less than half a year and already has 250,000+ downloads. It’s clear people love this! Well, I use this almost every day… sometimes to process dozens of photos. I honestly love it. Remember when I used to use Photomatix? Remember back in the 70’s when I used to stand up and walk over to the Magnavox to change the channel? Yeah, that was pretty lame.

In the past few months, I’ve created about 100 presets. I thought about releasing all of them, but that seemed to be too silly and information over-load, so I decided on my favorite 25. I actually had a little Google Doc, and whenever I used one, I updated the spreadsheet. Pretty geeky I know, but it helped figure out the best 25.

I’ll be honest. Every set of photos is different and some of these presets will make your photo look amazing, and others like complete garbage. There, I said it. But listen, I’m an expert in this stuff, and you just can’t have a preset that works perfectly in Daytime + Nighttime + Indoor/Outdoor + CutePet. So, some will look amazing, others not so much. But don’t give up, next time you might get the inverted results!

One of my favorite new presets is called “Girls Love them some Jon Snow.” It’s dark and moody and has just the right amount of HDR. It works great in night situations. Another great one that works with night shots is “Horrible Mistakes on Snapchat.”

Looking for a good daytime filter? This one really plays with the dynamic glow, but I keep going to it. It’s called “ROBOT TREY Calls This 101101101” which is really a stupid name but Robot Trey doesn’t think about these things. Another daytime winner is “Chocolate Increases Happiness & Shame.” You’ll notice how there are thematic connections between the presets that hint towards an artist in an endless downward shame spiral.

Have an interior shot? I’ve got this one that was a total accident that always seems to work. It’s called, “BB8 is Like Waaaay Cuter than R2-D2.” There’s another great one, even though the results come out a bit more grainy and dodgy called “Crisco Twister with Aunty”

Anyway, that’s just a taste. There’s other weird situations too. You might even try “LEVEL X – Don’t click this for 1 month,” but don’t try it for a month. It’s a test of your will. Perhaps you might click the more daring B&W preset gently entitled “I Hope My Daughter Never Comes Home with a Black & White Guy.” Actually, it turns out that preset name was too long, so it’s been shortened to “Who’s that Black & White Guy??”

And even better, I’m including 20 of my photos you can play with (6 sets of 3 JPGs and 1 RAW file) as well as 2 Tutorial Videos showing you how I use these 25 presets!

Buy them

Aurora HDR Pro is Live!

It’s been 10 long days, now it’s here!

Want to see what the new Aurora HDR Pro is all about? Here’s a Deep Dive video that shows how fun and amazing the software is!

It’s really just incredible… I use it to make all my HDR images. It has layers, curves, special glows, and more! I think you’re gonna love it. Here it is in our store!

And here’s a list of all the features! 🙂

  • Revolutionary tone-mapping technology (less noise, realistic results).
  • Advanced high quality image processing engine.
  • JPEG, PNG, TIFF support
  • Adobe RGB wide color profile support.
  • ProPhoto wide color profile support.
  • Built-in sample photos.
  • Native RAW files support (Aurora HDR Pro)
  • Real-time image processing.
  • 38 HDR presets in 5 categories.
  • Signature presets by Trey Ratcliff (Aurora HDR Pro)
  • Custom presets import and export.
  • Layers & Masking.
  • Support of different Blend modes for Layers.
  • Custom texture overlays
  • Luminosity masking.
  • Custom brush for selective editing.
  • Gradient masking tool.
  • Layer source changing.
  • Masking with brackets.
  • Color clipping preview.
  • Duplicate layer.
  • Advanced Tone Mapping controls.
  • Smart Tone technology
  • Highlights / Midtones / Shadows adjusters.
  • Whites & Blacks.
  • Advanced Structure & Clarity technology.
  • HDR denoise.
  • Image Radiance effect.
  • Color contrast tool.
  • Image Details enhancer tool.
  • Glow effect.
  • Graduated ND filter emulation (“Top & Bottom Lighting”).
  • Tone curve tool.
  • Color filter tool – Selective coloring.
  • Color toning.
  • Vignette.
  • Automatic Alignment
  • Automatic Deghosting
  • Automatic Chromatic aberration reduction.
  • Histogram.
  • Crop tool.
  • Align image.
  • Quick compare
  • Side by side comparison.
  • Image navigator window.
  • Full Screen preview mode.
  • Facebook sharing.
  • Flickr sharing.
  • SmugMug sharing.
  • Export to email.
  • Export to iMessage.
  • Export to other apps.
  • Export to Photos for Mac.
  • Export to Creative Kit apps.
  • Photoshop plug-in (Aurora HDR Pro)
  • Lightroom plug-in (Aurora HDR Pro)
  • Aperture plug-in (Aurora HDR Pro)

Some of my favorite Aurora HDR Pro Images!

Before the Aurora!

A recap of San Francisco

Wow that San Francisco Photowalk was amazing! Here’s our recapped video for you of all the highlights.

Daily Photo – Before the Aurora!

I know I keep talkin' about the new Aurora HDR Pro, but I'm so darned excited about it! I was especially just thinking about it because of today's photo from San Francisco. I processed this one with Photomatix, and I got that strange banding and chunky noise in the sky. I don't have those problems with noise in Aurora HDR Pro because there are two ways to get rid of it, using HDR Denoise and a tricky Clarity slider

Before the Aurora!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-09-20 11:47:40
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time13
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length43.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!