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

Digging up Dinosaurs with Jack Horner

New Photo Organization

I have a slightly different workflow I’ve been toying with lately. It’s particular to me, so it may not apply to you, but here it is.

I have my desktop iMac here where I do most everything when I am home. It also is where my main library is hooked into. But I also have my Macbook, and I’ve been taking a ton of photos lately with my little RX100. Check the “Camera Recommendations” up there soon, as I may make it my entry-level pick! Anyway, I’ve made a special Library on my Macbook JUST for photos from that little device. They tend to be quicker shots, street shots, family shots, and the like. It seems better than commingling them with all the other huge photos that come out of the Sony A7 system.

If you want to learn more about how I manage my giant photo library, check out my Organize Your Photos tutorial over at the s

Daily Photo – Digging up Dinosaurs with Jack Horner

This was a great trip! That’s my son there being held by Jack Horner… what a great guy! We went up to the badlands to spend a few days digging up dinosaurs with him… what an experience!

Digging up Dinosaurs with Jack Horner

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 16:59:54
  • CameraNIKON D2Xs
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashFired, Return detected
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Awesome Buildings in Tokyo

Lightroom Presets

I thought about re-packaging some of my presets for different kind of categories. Maybe a black & white package… a sandstorm package… I can’t actually decide because I don’t want to make it too confusing. Okay, I just talked myself out of

Daily Photo – Awesome Buildings in Tokyo

I don’t do a lot of single-shots of buildings, but when I’m in Tokyo I make an exception. I know nothing about architecture or how to make a cool building, but I’d like to think that if I was an architect that I could make something like this. I don’t know how these guys come up with ideas like this!

Awesome Buildings in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-03-23 20:14:04
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Playing with Light in Venice

HDR Tutorial

Don’t forget to get the newest version of the video version of the HDR Tutorial!

Daily Photo – Playing with Light in Venice

The extreme contrasts of light and shadow can be quite punctuated in Venice. Many of the colors of the buildings are already pretty bold, and when the sun hits them, they pop out to a new level. It’s a pretty good case for HDR, I think, especially because you don’t want to lose all the beautiful colors back in the shadows…

Playing with Light in Venice

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-05-10 13:14:15
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture5
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Missing the Food Fight

Photo Tip: Repeating Structures

If you ever have the chance to have the same object repeat itself into the distance, try to make it happen! It gives the viewer an immediate sense of depth.

Daily Photo – Missing the Food Fight

My friends were inside a restaurant right by here in Hong Kong having a food fight while I took this. I found this out later when I saw them all outside, covered with various bits of food. I’m not sure it’s excusable, but it must be a bit less excusable when it’s a 1-star Michelin restaurant!

Missing the Food Fight

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-02-04 03:58:42
  • CameraILCE-7M2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture11
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Another Rooftop Bar in Hong Kong

A Good Google Search

I don’t know why I never thought about this before, but when you’re in a new city and looking for good photo spots, google “Best Rooftop Bars in [cityname].” Invariably, I end up finding great photo ops from up th

Daily Photo – Another Rooftop Bar in Hong Kong

We tried to find as many of these as possible while there, and luckily, there were a ton! It’s the complete opposite of Venice (see yesterday’s photo), where you would expect a lot of rooftop bars and restaurants, but there are hardly any. I forgot where I was here, but I really liked the look of this building here with these porthole windows.

Another Rooftop Bar in Hong Kong

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-02-05 21:31:45
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time25
  • Aperture10
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

A Great Place to Explore in Dubai

Zooming in

You may remember a few days ago I talked about “cutting the tops off buildings on purpose.” That’s what I did again here… and I’m really loving the effect of it all. It goes against your first instincts, I think, not to include the top…so it’s a bit of an unnatural decision, but you can get used

Daily Photo – A Great Place to Explore in Dubai

I had big plans this night! I had been to this area once before, and I planned on coming down here for the night and staying out forever! I was by myself and planned to take photos like crazy, eat a bunch, chill out outside with some drinks and listen to music, then go take more photos! Well, I sat down to eat and realized I was mega tired… so I just wolfed it down then went back to the hotel. It was actually a mega lame night… just wasn’t feeling so great.

A Great Place to Explore in Dubai

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-03-19 23:03:47
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length61.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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