Entering the Japanese cemetery

Meanwhile in Kyoto…

We had a film crew from Japan Daily with us at the Kyoto Photo Walk. Here is a link to their video and some photos for you.

Getting Permission to fly the quadcopter

I was really bummed out that I didn’t take the time to get permission to fly the quadcopter here. It’s probably completely impossible, but I should have given it a try, at least. Getting permission to get around the rules in Japan is almost impossible.

Daily Photo – Entering the Japanese cemetery

In this area that has these thousands of red gates in Kyoto, there are a few side-paths that go in mysterious directions. Personally, I love to be here at night because it makes everything even more mysterious. This is one of those side-paths that meanders down and eventually up into a remote bamboo forest filled with graves.

Entering the Japanese cemetery

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-07 06:21:20
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time11
  • Aperture6.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-2

Whisky Room!

Sony in Osaka

Even though I shoot quite a bit with the Hasselblad, I decided to exclusively use the Sony while in Osaka. For one thing, it has a much wider angle lens which I found very handy for the many wide-angle situations I encountered there. It’s also much faster for shooting street scenes… That Hasselblad seems to only do one frame every second or so!

Daily Photo – Whiskey Room!

Here's another shot from the Yamazuki Suntory Whiskey Distillery. This is the entrance to the whiskey tasting room and the sort of place that is impossible NOT to take a photo at. I shot this with the Sony and the new wide-angle 12-24mm (at 12mm) lens at F/10. The barrelling on the edges wasn't so bad, but you can see there is a little bit of distortion. It doesn't bother me too much though… and you may not even see it if you're not looking for it. Photographers see these sorts of things, but hardly anyone else notices.

Whiskey Room!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 06:27:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

For Relaxing Time it’s Suntory Time

Facebook Live Edit

Below is an embedded video of a live show I did on Facebook recently using Aurora HDR 2018. Enjoy! 🙂

Mac App of the Year!

Apple just named Aurora as Mac App of the Year! Join me for a live demo as I edit a single RAW photo and show off some of the new features of Aurora HDR 2018! Where are you watching from? Let us know in the comments… and let me know if you have any questions in the comments too! Grab Aurora now at https://store.stuckincustoms.com/collections/software

Posted by Trey Ratcliff on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Getting a place in Japan

My son is close to graduating high school, and he has a real interest in going to Tokyo to teach English. I think this sounds like a really fun first job, so I’ve been looking into what it takes to move there and make it happen. I have a few friends that have moved there and done the same sort of thing. We’ll probably make another exploratory trip soon to see everything that is involved!

Daily Photo – For Relaxing Time it's Suntory Time

This was taken in the amazing Yamazaki Suntory Distillery just outside of Osaka. We were invited there for a tasting and a tour. It's my second time here, and this time they let me use a tripod! Little things like this get me excited because it's really tough to get a photo like this with a handheld shot. It looks bright in here, but it's actually quite dark.

For Relaxing Time it's Suntory Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 06:46:52
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture10
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Two for Today for Tokyo!

Behind-the-Scenes for this shot

I give a handful of tips and settings info for this particular shot of Tokyo for Passport Members. Thanks again Passport Members! And don’t forget, this makes for a fabulous Christmas present for your photo friend!

The daily photo below is a detail from very close to this shot at:

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I could have broken this into three different videos, but decided to cram a bunch of tips and ideas into one. Enjoy!

I have MORE photos coming from this experience as well in coming weeks, so stay tuned!

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Daily Photo – Two for Today for Tokyo!

I was inside an office-area of Mori Tower (not the observation deck) to get this shot. In the observation tower, they have a bar or restaurant or something that covers up this view! I never understood why observation towers, 100% as far as I can tell, occlude part of the view with such pedantic services. Put those in the MIDDLE PART people, the MIDDLE PART. We are not going to the observation deck to get a wine or a croissant, we are going to get a 360 view. I'm sure this was designed by a committee, and that is why you never see a statue of a committee

Two for Today for Tokyo!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-03 01:10:21
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-4/3

Under the Bridge in Osaka

Upcoming Photo Adventure!

Join me in New Zealand for our next workshop in April. Remmber, it’s opposite-land down here, so that is our Autumn. The colors are amazing. Jump over to our workshop page to sign up!

Daily Photo – Under the Bridge in Osaka

I got a hot tip to take this photo from my friend Rene. There is this one bridge in Osaka that has this cool circle light. I wish the water would have been smoother, but the reflection still turned out pretty well. This whole area is perfect for a night of photography with a tripod… what a fun evening!

Under the Bridge in Osaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 12:53:55
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.3
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

New SmugMug Porfolios – People!

I cannot emphasize how much I think you should put your favorite photos on Smugmug! It’s just the greatest… and even if you don’t consider yourself a professional, it’s still a great way to organize your favorite 10 or 100 or 100+ photos! Hopefully, every few months you update it and have some favorite new ones. Even better, you can turn on the shopping cart and maybe someone will buy your goodies!

Anyway, I now have four, count them 1-2-3-4 portfolios on there. One of the new ones is the People & Portraits portfolio. I’m adding the 7 photos below to it and will re-rank soon!


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1/7 – I thought I’d share 7 kind of random people-photos I just took in the last three weeks in Japan. They are just fun shots of interesting people I saw here and there. Most of these are taken with the Sony A7RII with a manual 35mm f/1.4 lens. For this first one, these are just a few nutty new friends I made in the Shinsekai area of Osaka!


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2/7 – While we were out by the river in Kyoto taking photos, lots of people were on their evening walks and enjoying nature. A lot of people ride around on bikes and put adorable dogs in the baskets. I mean, a lot. This nice lady stopped by when she saw we were quite taken with her doggie. She was giggling forever while we took photos of her dog and patted it.


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3/7 – This was taken on “7-5-3 Day,” on November 15, a very special day in Japan. It’s called Shichi-Go-San (七五三) and is a right of passage for 3/5/7-year-olds. To celebrate the growth and well-being of children, parents dress them up and visit Shinto temples and go through the rituals. And they usually get a few snacks afterward, like any good kid-celebration!


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4/7. Right before the photo walk in Kyoto (thanks again for coming out for that great walk around the secretive geisha-district!), we started at an old temple. Every now and then, we would see monks scurrying about on their business here and there. The sun was going down fast and making some nice shadows here and there.


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
5/7 – In each city in Japan, we met up with local Instagram photographers. It’s Autumn season there, and everything is burning red. This one from Kyoto, shows Hikari taking a photo of more red stuff, while wearing the local koyo colors. If you want to see more, just Google “Koyo Japan” and get ready for mind blowage!


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6/7 – While in Osaka, we took a series of tubes to get to Sakai, an older part along the coast where they still make traditional samurai swords and knives in old blacksmithies. We watching this guy make a special knife specifically for cutting sashimi. He looks young doesn’t he? We asked him how old he was, and he said, “41”!


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
7/7 – We met this awesome guy while waiting for a train just outside of Osaka. He was standing on the corner and just generally being awesome. I don’t know why, but we all were drawn to his awesomeness, so we went over and started talking and taking photos. He was quite the showman, so we asked what he did (remember, hardly anyone outside of the service industry in Japan speaks English, and neither did he… but like in The Alchemist, there is really one language and you can communicate most anything to most anyone.) – Anyway, he said he plays the guitar and sings at the local zoo! He then opened up his phone and showed us a video of him rocking out to a bunch of kids. Then he started playing the air-guitar and ripping it… he was so funny. Then he got on the train from us. He sat across the way from me and I took this photo just as we pulled away from the station.

Shopping in Osaka

Reminder on Wired Artice

If you missed my interview in Wired, here is another chance to see it! Remember to try out the web version. It’s got a very slick interface!

Daily Photo – Shopping in Osaka

Wow, look at all those Chickens!This was my second time to Osaka, but my first time to see this. This scene is in the Dotombori area just after crossing one of the main bridges. It's a bit elevated here, so you can see down into this covered mall shopping area. There were so many people bustling this way and that. I zoomed all the way in to 240mm to get a bit of compression and give it this cool effect.

Shopping in Osaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-11 14:20:02
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length240.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Whale Shark in Okinawa

Some goodies coming up for our awesome Passport Members!

I’m back from Japan and ready to share a whale-load of videos, photos, and special behind-the-scenes stuff. If you are a Passport Member then you’ll get to see a whole new video here about my crazy workflow, juggling different photos, HDRing, Lightroom, and more. It is a bit of a frenzied process, as I am trying to crank out as many photos as possible in a compressed time. Anyway, that’s today’s Passport video below that will be automatically unlocked if you are a member!

Here’s a video of my somewhat crazy (but amazingly efficient) workflow now that I am back in the saddle of my studio. Apologies for the sound getting strange around the 10-minute mark! I think my mic is broken… or something. I just can’t figure it out. I’m using a pro Samson mic. Anyway, I’ll try to figure it out or get a new one!

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Daily Photo – The Whale Shark in Okinawa

As much as I don't think any creatures should be in captivity, this was still pretty awe-inspiring. On the northern tip of Okinawa is a popular aquarium. I was asked to go take photos there even though I didn't really want to. Sometimes in life, you gotta do stuff you don't wanna do, right? Well, anyway, I showed up and tried to get the best photo I could. I wasn't going to half-ass it just because I didn't want to be there. So I put Tane and Olya up there right in front of the tank as the mighty beast swam past.

The Whale Shark in Okinawa

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-17 16:06:05
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/45
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Autumn Colors at Night in Tokyo

A bit from the Tokyo Photo Walk!

What a great crowd we had out during the photo walk! I took this photo about 30 minutes after the photo walk after-party. My friends went ahead to dinner so I could wander for about an hour and take photos… I found myself here almost right away, having thought about this shot for a few days prior.

Daily Photo – Autumn Colors at Night in Tokyo

People look at you a bit strange in Tokyo when you walk down the middle of the street, but the wonderful Japanese people are so polite, they would never protest! But this was just a small street without much traffic. I find Japanese drivers to be extremely careful, anyway. These trees are beautiful in the daytime, but even better when properly lit at night.

Autumn Colors at Night in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-04 04:48:53
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time16
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1/3

A Day at Mount Fuji

Yours Truly Featured in a new Wired Article

I was honored to be interviewed about the “The Mystery of Memory” by Wired Magazine. The web interface is really cool… I’ve never seen an article displayed like that before. It’s fine on mobile, of course, but if you have a chance to see it on the web, please do! And I hope you enjoy the article.

Daily Photo – A Day at Mount Fuji

After our whirlwind Japanese photo walk and art talk tour, I decided to have some downtime at Mt. Fuji. It was a beautiful, clear autumn day. I walked here from my ryokan, and it took about 45 minutes around Lake Kawaguchiko. It was a beautiful morning… I took a few photos. Not many. But then I arrived at this strange place called the Musical Forest. I thought, I gotta go in there! After I was in and exploring a bit, I saw this charming scene with Mt. Fuji in the background.

A Day at Mount Fuji

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-19 23:07:08
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

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