The Magical Castle at Night

Luminar Quick Tip

If you don’t have this amazing tool, be sure to get Luminar on Skylum’s website. It’s really a great tool! In this video, I show a bit about how to enhance foliage with one of their cool tools. I also briefly mention my new drone tutorial in this video, which is now available in the store.

Daily Photo – The Magical Castle at Night

Many hardcore people get angry when I call this a castle because it's actually more of a monastery on top of a medieval village. But I'm not much for semantics and the form largely ticks the “castle” pattern-recognition part of my brain. This is Mont St. Michel in the Normandy area of France. I still recommend this as an amazing destination, even if you are not into photography. It's kind of touristy in the daytime, but it really clears out in the evening. If you're looking for a “lively” place with lots of cool bars and restaurants, it's definitely not that kind of place. But if you're looking for a place where you can play real-life Assassin's Creed, well it's much more that kinda place.

The Magical Castle at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-13 22:50:04
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length250.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+3

Some Favorites from Paris!

Some Favorites from Paris!

So many great memories from Paris! Here are four of my favorite photos from the romantic city!


Windows in Paris – The Saint Chapelle I wish I could find a good wide-angle lens like this Nikon 14-24 for my Sony NEX-7. I think one is coming out in a month or so… and I’m thinking of trying out the Olympus 7-14mm (Adorama link). The NEX-7 has served me as a good camera while my D800 is getting repaired!(Edit, I’ve changed my mind and decided to wait on this new lens from Sony)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Time Lasts Forever in Paris Oh Paris! Le sigh…These were not the ideal shooting conditions, as idyllic as the scene might appear. This is all handheld, btw, no tripod, and here’s the rest of the sad tripod story.To get to this spot, you have to walk to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. My first few times there, I did not even know you could get to the top! I felt quite dumb when I found out you can walk up about 20,000 stairs to get here.Once I got up there, I staked out a position with my tripod, and then Frenchy McFrenchface came over and told me I could not use my tripod. I explained that I was an arteeeest, and surely he would in the 19th century no one asked the impressionists to put their easels away. This was a losing argument, although I still think it’s a pretty good one. It will work one day, and I won’t give up this line of persuasion.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Walking about the Sorbonne in the evening

Another Summer Day in Paris I'm having an amazing time in Paris.  As usual, it's off-the-rails perfect.  The weather has been remarkable, the sunsets amazing, and the chocolate flows like mana from heaven.   I made it over to the Eiffel Tower for a big night of shooting, and arrived there just as the sun was setting.  I have a few little special spots I like to visit around the tower that are not full of tourists and the like.This shot looks much more delicate, perhaps, than I did while achieving it.  Unfortunately, this was one of those tricky ones where the tripod legs were splayed out like a flattened armadillo.  I looked beyond redonkulous while taking it...Read the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Dining Car in Paris

Passport Members check the Vault!

I believe we have over 60 videos in the vault now if you’re a Passport member. Right now, they are sorted by most-recent, but we’re coming up with another way to surf through these!

Passport freebie

Every now and then we take one of those videos from the vault and pop it out for everyone to see and enjoy! Here’s one about processing Lupins!

Kalebra Kelby Interview

I sat down for a long “Up Close and Personal” interview with my friend Kalebra Kelby. It was a great talk, and I hope you enjoy it. Their team just put together a few highlights here for you. The whole thing is over at KelbyOne along with two of my new classes. One is for Aurora HDR 2018 and the other is for Plotagraph.

Daily Photo – Dining Car in Paris

What kind of travel blogger am I in that I find this awesome restaurant in Paris that looks like an old train car and then I forget the name! Well, actually it was kind of touristy and silly, but still kind of awesome. It was right by our little crappy hotel there and I saw it almost every day when I would go out to take photos. I finally decided to take the team over there for a bite and a drink and took this photo while waiting for our mediocre food!

Dining Car in Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-08 20:02:38
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time16
  • Aperture16
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

I love Nice!

European Tour Highlights

This is one of my favorite videos we made in the last year! Thanks again to Olya and the team!

Daily Photo – I love Nice!

I took this during our short day in Nice, France while we were on the European Tour. After a breakfast stop with mimosas, we took a stroll down the beachfront and ended up in this hashtaggy area where a bunch of locals were in full French party mode! This is kind of a “throwaway photo” – and by that, I mean, I take a lot of quick photos here and there with never any plans to publish them. Just tiny little moments here and there that I think are interesting. I don't publish 95% of the photos I take… I've always thought about making a Tumblr or another Instagram account called “Trey's Throwaway Photos” that are little moments like this. I don't know what to do with my other 95% of photos… they are not terrible, but they're not portfolio-quality either… just kind of in between… little ideas like this.

I love Nice!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-01 13:08:33
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Getting the New Year off to a Bang with a special Paris Inspirational Video!

Yesterday, on the first, we did the big article analyzing Mac vs. Windows sales and the conundrum there. I’m still going through all the comments! Thanks for those!

Today, for Passport Members (thanks for all of you that got these a new Christmas gifts for family members and friends!), we have a radically new video from Paris. I’ve never done anything like this… It’s an inspirational video about taking photos and why we do such a strange thing. You’ll see it’s professionally captured, edited, and more. We have about 20 of these in the hopper right now in fact, from different cities around the world. I’m excited to bring you the first one now.

Here are a few favorite photos from Paris to get you in the mood before the video!

Walking about the Sorbonne in the evening

Where Jules Verne would perform experiments on animalkind

Young girl on a bridge in Paris After a shooting a set of shots with the sun rising over Notre Dame, I saw a few girls on the bridge with me.  It was a little cold this morning, and they were in coats, laughing and playing with their own camera.  With my tripod still set up, I grabbed my D3S and 50 prime on my sling.  I pulled it up quickly to grab a shot of one of the girls as she covered her face from the cool wind of the morning. - Trey Ratcliff Read the rest of the entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Tiny House in FranceSo, Versailles is a monstrously huge place.  I'm not sure how you could see everything in a day.  I chose to concentrate this trip out in the royal gardens, and a confusing walk got me into this place.  It's not exactly secret, but I didn't know about it until I walked up upon it!It is called "The Hameau de la Reine", and is generally known as the Queen's Hamlet.  It was built for Marie Antoinette between 1785 and 1792.  It is lovely, and this is only one of the many little places I captured there... more soon!- Trey RatcliffRead the rest of this entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

And here’s the first video that talks about the word “Flaneur.” Note that we wanted to share these with Passport Members first before we spread around to the world. Our business team is currently putting together a series of sponsors to help fund these things. As you might suspect, videos of this quality are a bit more expensive to produce. So, for now, you can enjoy this version Sponsor-Free! 🙂 I look forward to your feedback! I’m always trying new stuff ’round these parts.

Exclusive content for Passport members

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The Beaches of Omaha

More about Les Braves

I was interested in the origins of this sculpture, so here is some data that I got from this article at Les Braves Memorial of Omaha Beach.

Les Braves is a war memorial that is located on the shores of Omaha Beach in the village of St. Laurent-sur-Mer in Normandy, France and commemorates the fallen American soldiers, of World War ll who have lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, June 6th 1944.

The memorial represents three elements: The Wings of Hope, Rise Freedom, and the Wings Of Fraternity. French sculptor Anilore Banon, created the monument in 2004, commissioned by the French government to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion Of Normandy. In the center, there are seven stainless steel columns and a group of five columns that curve upwards, two columns stand upright, with the tallest reaching 30 feet. Stainless steel wings gracefully stand on both sides.

Intended only as a temporary art piece, the sculpture still stands on the shores of Omaha Beach widely due to public interest and petition. The sculpture has been described as a blend of art and nature and has been able to withstand the forces of nature surprisingly well.

Daily Photo – The Beaches of Omaha

I woke up with quite a hangover here in Omaha beach. We had spent the previous evening at Mont Saint Michel doing a rather significant amount of wine-drinking and taking photos. I still can't believe my photos there turned out so well. Anyway, we drove overnight to Omaha beach. The bus just kind of rocked me to sleep… and then when it finally stops, I know we are at a new location! So I dusted myself off and jumped outside with my camera to see this amazing sculpture.

The Beaches of Omaha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-11 08:45:04
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Bridge of Locks in Paris

Collective Consciousness

I’m a big believer in the super-organism of humans coming together with tech and AI. Here’s an interview with Dan Brown about Collective Consciousness

Turning to the future, Brown said technological change and the development of artificial intelligence would transform the concept of the divine.

“We will start to find our spiritual experiences through our interconnections with each other,” he said, forecasting the emergence of “some form of global consciousness that we perceive and that becomes our divine”.

Daily Photo – The Bridge of Locks in Paris

This is Marin, the daughter of my friend Serge Ramelli with an umbrella, looking forlorn and sad during our photo walk in Paris. She's not, of course, she's just acting. But, if you were feeling forlorn and sad on a rainy day, this would definitely be the best place to be. You can come here and see all the locks that represent people's love, half of which has deteriorated into a bitter romance that would make for a great reality show. That's what she's thinking about here: a very low-quality reality show about one of those locks that did not turn out so well. Maybe a bit cynical, but, well, you know.

The Bridge of Locks in Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-07 19:26:24
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

In the Prison

La Conciergerie

If you go to Paris, be sure this spot is on your list to visit. It doesn’t sound that interesting to visit an old prison like this, but it’s actually pretty cool. Here’s another picture of it:

She Slept In The Prison

Daily Photo – In the Prison

When I was at La Conciergerie in Paris, I stopped in a little side-room to take a photo. This was probably six years ago, but I didn't process the photo until just recently. It was a single RAW photo and I wanted to test out the new Aurora HDR. The RAW by itself looked pretty dull, and I didn't know if it had much potential, but I think it turned out pretty well!

In the Prison

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2010-09-17 12:46:02
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The old dining cottage in Mont St. Michel

Tip for Quadcopter shots

I recommend making your HDR from a single RAW file. I no longer do multiple brackets for quadcopter shots for the simple reason that it adds more noise.

Daily Photo – The old dining cottage in Mont St. Michel

Oh my gosh – how much do you want to go in there and eat some fresh, warm French food and drink wine? I'm sure they were all loving it… I like how the guy on the 2nd floor appears to be taking a photo of my quadcopter! I got quite a cool video (if I do say so myself), doing a vertical rise from here all the way to the spire on top of the monastery. I'll share that soon.

The old dining cottage in Mont St. Michel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-10 21:04:09
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The American Cemetery in Normandy

Phone Panorama Tip

When I took this photo, I used my Google Pixel phone because I forgot to put a memory card in my Hasselblad like a big dummy! But, I think it turned out pretty great anyway. I took about 6 photos while holding the phone upright. I did a lot of overlap so that Google would automatically build a panorama on the backend. Later, when I got to the hotel, the panorama had already been made in Google Photos, so I simply downloaded it and made adjustments in Lightroom and Aurora HDR

Daily Photo – The American Cemetery in Normandy

After leaving Mont Saint Michel, our bus stopped to visit the famous Omaha beach before coming here. It was quite moving, as you might expect. The design was very interesting too. In this photo, it looks like there is a perfect grid of white crosses for as far as the eye can see. But there were many little gaps for trees and other designs. Also, if you look closely, not everything is a cross; some are stars of David.

The American Cemetery in Normandy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-11 10:18:37
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture2
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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