Movie Night Preset Pack!

My new preset pack is out, and here are some example photos. It’s called the “Movie Night” preset pack because these are all inspired by film shots, particularly at night. It comes with 15 different presets. Grab the new preset pack here!

These are a mix of presets between extremely dramatic and some a bit more subtle. A good all-rounder for a subtle effect is “A Sundipped Flaxenpony” and a more extreme one, one of my favorites, is entitled “Surprise Bluejob”, which will give you that blue and orange feel that sometimes works great. Don’t forget to try “Nightman Daymon” or maybe your photo calls for the sweet sound of the “Legendary Plop”. There’s also a Black & White preset you can’t miss called, “Luke Milksquirter”.

Here are some examples! I took all these over a 24 hour period in Tokyo.


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com

Self-Portrait with Ethan and Dad

Interesting Facebook Video

It’s hard to explain how unusual Japan is! I mean, I love all the quirkiness, and I thought this video was quite interesting. They spend most of their time in Harajuku, which is one of my favorite places to visit.

It talks about an emergent phenomenon there called yami kawaii. I have seen this in several places and always wondered what was going on. Now I get it.

Daily Photo – Self-Portrait with Ethan and Dad

I don't do a lot of selfies, but I thought of this at the last second. Believe it or not, this is just a single photo! I won't tell you immediately how I did it, because I think it's kind of fun to guess! I will give you a hint, however. We were at the Mori Museum in Tokyo when we took this, to fit into today's Japanese theme.

Self-Portrait with Ethan and Dad

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-30 16:34:22
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Shopping in Osaka

Common Tourist Scams

I usually waste a bit of time each day on Reddit, but it turns out that it’s not always a waste of time! I found this cool infographic that is full of common tourist scams. Since I travel a lot, I’m pretty aware of most of these, but some were even new to me!

Of course, this is not meant to make you scared of traveling or anything, just something to simply be aware of. And, I would say that most countries are perfectly safe, but some countries may use ALL of these scams! 🙂



Daily Photo – Shopping in Osaka

Wow Japanese people love to shop! There is nonstop shopping all over the place, but especially in this district here called Dotonbori. The exact area of Dotombori is hard to define, but it covers many city blocks. It's so big, in fact, that I didn't even find this vast area until my fourth visit here!

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

Shinjuku from the Movie Theater

How-to Video

Here is a video that shows how I used a little-known feature in Aurora HDR 2018 to produce this image. Enjoy!

Remember, if you are a Passport Member I release at least one new video like this a week! 🙂

Daily Photo – Shinjuku from the Movie Theater

Here's the final photo from the video above. If you want to get to this location, it's really easy! When you are in Shinjuku, go to the big movie theater there with the Godzilla on top. You can't miss it! When you go in, head up to the third floor with the elevator or escalator. There are huge windows here (clean windows) that give you this cool view right down one of the craziest streets in Tokyo. I shot this at about 70mm to give more of a compressed feel.

Shinjuku from the Movie Theater

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-30 02:43:03
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture4
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length59.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Little Girl in Okinawa

A Quick Edit of a Drone Photo

Here’s a video I made showing an edit of a drone photo from Waiheke. I edited it using Aurora HDR 2018 and you can see a few little tricks in the video below!

Daily Photo – Little Girl in Okinawa

We didn't get much beach time on Okinawa, even though the place is packed with beaches! Most of our time was spent in the inside parts of the island. Most Japanese think of the mountains and hills for vacation and not-so-much the beach. Anyway, as soon as we made it out here, I saw this cute little girl playing in the sand.

Little Girl in Okinawa

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-15 18:57:12
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A Rare Set Up Shot

2018 Looks Busy!

This year I’ll be on a plane a lot going to all sorts of places. My year is only half-booked, but I’ll tell you where I’m off to. The rest of the time, I expect to be back home in New Zealand, editing photos like a madman! Here’s the list: Hawaii, Denver, Dallas, Austin, LA, SF, Key Biscayne, Grand Cayman, Langkawi, Tokyo (again!), Hong Kong, Singapore, Burning Man, Koh Samui, plus 6 new places in China starting in Sanya, Beijing, and Shanghai!

Daily Photo – A Rare Setup Shot

On the Osaka photo walk, we had a fellow photo walker that was also a model! She liked to pose, so we all made good use of this. I was having trouble finding a good spot for her until we came across this really techno-looking building here where the bridge was lit up from underneath. I had her strike a pose while the rest of the photo walk group took photos, well, like Japanese tourists! After this, we all went back to the Ritz-Carlton for a wine party in the garden – how fun!

A Rare Setup Shot

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-11 10:15:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Musical Forest Near Mount Fuji

Adding to my Playlists!

One of my favorite new Spotify Playlists is Feelin’ Burny Afterny. It’s a very stupid name, I agree. But I put together the playlist to remind me of the kind of music I like to listen to at Burning Man in the middle of the afternoon.

Daily Photo – The Musical Forest Near Mount Fuji

When I travel to a new area, I usually like to jump on Google Maps and try to find interesting perspectives. I looked at the map and saw that over on the other side of the lake was this place called The Musical Forest. I thought it sounded absurdly Japanese, so I knew it was a place I had to go to! I was a bit worried it might just be for children or something… but I was wrong. It looked like this!

The Musical Forest Near 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

Kobe, Japan

Thoughts on shooting from atop the gondola in Kobe

A few weeks ago, I shared the first Kobe, Japan video with Passport Members. Today, I’ll post the next one!

In Part 2 of 2 (view part 1 here) from Kobe, Japan, I’ll show you my camera settings and composition for a sunset photo from high atop a gondola.

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Daily Photo – Kobe, Japan

I'll give you a hot tip when going to visit Kobe. Usually, before I hit a new place, I Google the name of the place. In this case, I Googled “Kobe,” who is apparently some kind of a basketball player or something? Well, after looking at about 1,000 photos of this so-called “Kobe,” I was thinking, man, this guy REALLY likes Japan. He also appears to play a lot of basketball there. So, you can imagine my surprise when I showed up, and Kobe was actually full of Japanese people, none of whom who I saw playing basketball.

Kobe, Japan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-12 10:19:38
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time3.2
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length98.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Bird’s Eye View of Tokyo

Quick Haze Tip

If you’re taking a city photo and it’s one of those bright, humid days, often times everything looks all white and washed-out. To get rid of that, I do two things. First, I use the final tool along the right side in Lightroom to decrease the haze. Second, I take it into Aurora and increase the HDR Enhance as well as the contrast. It worked great with today’s photo. The original one was quite washed out and boring!

Daily Photo – Bird's Eye View of Tokyo

Here's a shot looking almost straight down from the Skytree in Tokyo. There is one very cool design element to this building in that you can actually look about 45 degrees downward from the top. Normally in these observation towers, you can only look straight out the window and “kind of” downward. But here, the viewing area lets you look over the edge and through angled windows so looking almost straight down is easy. There's even a little glass walkway that is pretty cool, as long as you are not afraid of heights!

Bird's Eye View of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-01 06:14:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Exploring Shinjuku

Staying extra-safe in Japan

Japan is a wonderful and safe place with one exception. While in Tokyo, don’t take the advice or invitations of any Nigerians standing outside of clubs. There are less than there used to be, and they’re usually around Roppongi. The worst case scenario is not that you’ll get hurt or anything, but they’ll get you into some situation where they take a bunch of money or charge a lot on your credit card. It’s never happened to me, but I know it happens.

Daily Photo – Exploring Shinjuku

All of Tokyo is incredible to shoot, but if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of the lights, neon, commercialism, then head over to Shinjuku. The whole area is great, but it's fun to get lost and zigzag down random streets and see what you can find. It's always on the must-visit list for me. This sub-area of Shinjuku called Kabuchiko is especially interesting. It's also kind of the “red light district” of Tokyo, but, as with all things in Japan, it's perfectly safe.

Exploring Shinjuku

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-02 05:58:40
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1/3

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