Classic Fuji-san!

Searching on SmugMug

Remember that if you want to see more photos of a particular location, you can always go over to my Portfolio on SmugMug and do a search at the top. For example here is a search for Japan. It returns the photos with some sort of rank that coincides with “most popular,” although I am not sure how that algorithm works!

Daily Photo – Classic Fuji-san!

How amazing is this volcano! It's right out of a storybook. On my most recent trip, I tried out the bus system to get me out here to explore the area, I finally mastered the subway system (which took many failed attempts), but I was always a bit afraid of the bus system. Now, I haven't quite mastered that yet, but I'm on the right path!

Classic Fuji-san!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-04-14 13:21:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wild Shibuya Crossing in a Small World

Daily Photo – The Wild Shibuya Crossing in a Small World

I've been using that Insta 360 camera more and more to get video footage for Passport Members. I don't really take many photos with it. It's a bit clumsy for that. You have to triple-click the button, then hold it over your head and wait for the 10-second countdown. So, there's a lot of luck involved when trying to time a certain kind of shot. Most are total rubbish, but I thought this one turned out kinda cool.

The Wild Shibuya Crossing in a Small World

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-04-17 10:56:58
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Focal Length
  • Flash
  • Exposure Program
  • Exposure Bias

The Mystery Ceiling

Today on Passport

Usually, I give photo tips, but for today’s Passport I give some travel tips. Mostly these are travel tips in Tokyo, but the idea of exploration will work almost anywhere. You’ll also see me use the Explore for Food options using Google Maps. I use that all the time now to find tasty places to eat!

Today are some travel tips from Tokyo! I take you to a few cool places around there, show you how I find good food, show you my favorite crazy store Don Quixote, and more! It’s all in 360, so feel free to spin the camera around to watch whatever you wanna watch! 🙂

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – The Mystery Ceiling

Here's a little trick for taking photos of ornate ceilings like this. It's not actually that difficult once you know the trick. The first thing is to find the very very middle of the room. If you're a little bit off, it's tough to fix. Then, take set up your camera for a longer exposure. If you have a mirrorless camera, you can just look up and see if the exposure looks right. If you have a DSLR, do a few handheld shots and look at the results. Sure, it will be blurry, but you're just making sure the brightness is good. Last, turn on the timer (I do 2 seconds), set it on the ground, take the photo, then jump away so you are not in the shot!

The Mystery Ceiling

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-19 18:28:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Another Rainy Night in Tokyo

Movie Night Presets

Today’s photo is a good example from my new Lightroom Presets! Every night I was there, it was very rainy, so that gave me a good excuse to go out and explore. I spent most of my time in Shinjuku, mostly because of all the ambient light and Blade-Runner like signs.

Daily Photo – Another Rainy Night in Tokyo

One thing, in particular, I've noticed about Tokyo is their penchant for opaque umbrellas. I think this actually makes a lot of sense because the umbrella holder can see where they are going. I, myself, would also use an umbrella of this sort if I was not so busy taking photos of people using these sorts of umbrellas.

Another Rainy Night in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-02-02 05:22:44
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Sake for Ethan

Behind the Scenes in New Zealand

I went out on a moody day to the end of the road past Queenstown to New Zealand. In this video, I talk a little about composition and trying to create an interesting photo in these moody conditions.

Daily Photo – Sake for Ethan

When I was in Okinawa, we visited this cave network that was full of aged sake. You can buy a bottle here and store it for a number of years. I have one waiting down there for me and Ethan for when he turns 21. It seems like the perfect chance for us to make another trip to Japan together!

Sake for Ethan

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-14 19:36:41
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time45
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-2/3

The Best Sushi Dinner In Tokyo And The World

I have a friend from Japan named Sony Suzuki. Yes, that’s his real name! And he has no association with either company. Well, I don’t think so. He’s so humble and awesome that he probably started both of them.

Anyway, he invited my son and I to his famous sushi restaurant in Tokyo called Kumagai Kuon. I’ve eaten a lot of amazing sushi in my life, but this was the best, by far! Even my son, Ethan (16), who has quite the hamburger-centric palette was overwhelmed and ate every single bite.

I realized, after I had sat down, that I had been here once before with two gentlemen from Google when I was here years ago to give a speech at their HQ. I didn’t think I’d ever come back to such a place, since I thought this was only frequented by Google executives and royalty. But I was back, and man o man, was I excited.

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

The Master Craftsman and my son Ethan

There are no “menus” in these places, you see. It’s called Omakase or “trust the chef”.
Whenever there is a situation where you can trust the chef, I always trust the chef. I eat anything. Anything. I am happy I’ve reached Level 10 of 10 when eating where I can be happy and enthusiastic about any kind of food. I still have ADULT friends who are Level 3, Level 4, etc, and they just don’t eat certain things because of some reason this or that. My wife is vegan; she would not have trusted the chef. It’s fine, you vegans, do whatever you want. It doesn’t bother me. But wow, you are really missing out on indulging in the food chain at this place.

This kitchen and restaurant was built especially for this chef. It only sat eight people. There were six people dining at different times this evening along with me and Ethan. There was some famous television guy beside me with a really beautiful flight attendant and then two other women that were busy chatting to one another about work or something. I don’t know. My son knows some Japanese so he filled me in later on all their office politics. But everyone was nice. And the gentleman beside me bought me his favorite sake drink and presented his card in the most gracious possible manner.

Speaking of sake, Sony-san has this place filled up with some of the best dry sake from all over Japan. Much of it isn’t even sold publicly. They have to drive around and get it from small family distilleries and the like. I thought almost all sake tasted more or less the same until I came here. But I didn’t have too much sake, as I wanted to keep my wits about me to enjoy the 15+ courses of food!

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

Dry Sake Tasting

The chef himself was very gracious and a true artist. Before the meal, I pulled Ethan aside and suggested that he might really enjoy watch the elegance with which a true chef moves. When guys go out together, they often don’t talk much. This is a strange thing for women to understand, but it’s true. Sometimes they talk a lot; sometimes almost nothing. But, this gives a great opportunity for guys like me and Ethan just to watch the chef hone his art. Even the way that he moves the knife across a vegetable is like a tiny Cirque de Soliel.

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

Real Wasabi Root and Traditional Shark Skin Grater

Below are most of the things that were served to me. I forgot a few. I put a few captions below to explain what they are. Or, at least, in my very bad translation. I’m pretty close in most cases. Anyway, Sony did not ask me to take photos or anything; I just did this because I was so excited by the meal and experience! Some of these photos were taken with the A7r Mark 3 (See the Sony A7r Mark 3 Review here) and the others with the Pixel 2 (read the Google Pixel 2 Review here). I bet you can’t tell the difference!


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

Round 1 – Flounder + Wasabi + Rock Salt

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

Round 2 – Japanese Flyer Fish + Leeks + Liver

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

Round 3 – Seared Yellowtail + Spicy Raddish

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

Round 4 – Seared Seabass Nigiri

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

Round 5 – Soy Marinated Tuna Nigiri

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

Round 6 – Half Beak Nigiri

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

Round 7 – Squid sashimi + Horseradish + White Onion

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

Round 8 – Octopus Head + Seaweed + Fish Eggs

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

Round 9 – Tiger Prawn Nigiri

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

Round 10 – Tempura Hokkaido Ice Fish

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

Round 11 – Sea Urchin Nigiri

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

Round 12 – Gindara Fish

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

Round 13 – Fatty Tuna Nigiri

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

Round 14 – Seawater Eel Nigiri

Anyway, it’s the best sushi in Tokyo. If you’re there, treat yourself!

KumagaiKumagai

Getting Drinks in Tokyo

Passport 360 Special from Tokyo

Passport Members get back-to-back goodies… two 360 videos in two days!

Bonus Picture

This is related to the story before…

Tane’s Brother Nemo At F/.24 Alcohol Content

I made three cool 360 videos on my most recent trip to Tokyo. The first one of them is Very Passive! It’s just me and my son getting off the subway and walking around Shibuya. I tried not to talk during it just so you could see the sights and hear the sounds of Tokyo. The second you will see tomorrow!

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – Getting Drinks in Tokyo

This is one of those hundred tiny bars in Golden Gai. I think one reason we came in here is because the bartender was pretty cute. It's a shallow reason, I know, but it's as good as any. She didn't speak a lick of English, but she seemed to know the name of every cocktail, which was more than suitable for the evening. I went in here with my 17 year old son Ethan and our friend Nemo (pictured above).

Getting Drinks in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-02-02 02:46:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4
  • ISO12800
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Midnight in Tokyo

Check out the “Movie Night” Presets!

Today’s photo was edited with the new “Movie Night” Lightroom Presets, These were largely inspired by my time in Tokyo, taking street photos in evenings and throughout the night. Tokyo is one of the more Blade-Runnery cities on the planet, and I’m often inspired by movies… so this was a nice mixing of worlds for me.

Daily Photo – Midnight in Tokyo

Not only does Tokyo contain cities within cities, but also cities within cities within cities. This is the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku area of Tokyo. It's also known as a bit of the red-light district. But everything is so civilized in Tokyo that the “seedy” area is also perfectly safe and walkable. To me, it's one of the best areas to photograph because there are so many lights and a multitude of signage. I found a good spot right in the middle of the median that was a bit elevated by some shrubbery to take this photo. I stood here for about an hour waiting for a good situation.

Midnight in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-30 02:59:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length65.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Walking to Work in Tokyo

Tane in the News!

They interviewed my assistant Tane for The Flyer magazine about his new life after graduating college. It’s a good interview and a fun story. You can click and zoom in to read below.


Daily Photo – Walking to Work in Tokyo

This a very simple shot I took while walking through an office building in Roppongi. I had just come out of touring the Mori Art Museum and I was kind of in a colorful mood, I suppose. Maybe it got me in a nice little artsy mood to get some quick shots like this. It's a simple photo, but I really like it.

Walking to Work in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-30 17:01:24
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Catch the Baby!

Some cool LEDs for the Wall

Check out these triangle LEDs I found over at The Verge. I think we might get these for our Burning Man RV! That seems like a very appropriate use for them, I feel. Heck, I might get some for my studio too!

Great Japanese Commercial

Just when you thought you couldn’t make a love story out of chewing gum…

Daily Photo – Catch the Baby!

How fun is this little display? This was a piece of art in the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. After you look at it for a while, maybe you can figure out how it is done. These are all real people in these shots. It was great fun to park here for a little while and see fun stuff like this happening… chaos!

Catch the Baby!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-30 16:46:08
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length63.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!