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

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

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

High Above Tokyo

Random Fun from Japan

Here is a collection of RANDOM Instagram (follow me at @TreyRatcliff) stories I posted while in Japan. Thanks Stu for putting these together!


//Also make this Public on YouTube

De-Haze Tip

Sometimes if I’m working on a hazy photo, I’ll first do the “Dehaze” in Lightroom before exporting as a TIFF file. After that, I bring it into Aurora HDR as a single file then commence the HDR edit!

Daily Photo – High Above Tokyo

I took this from inside the SkyTree, which is an absolutely enormous tower in Tokyo. In all honesty, I think it's just a little toooooo tall! At least in the daytime when things are hazy, it's hard to get a good shot. I really had to run this one through Aurora to get any kind of pop out of it.

High Above Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-01 06:14:01
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • 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:

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

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

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!


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


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


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


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


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

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

The Flow of Tokyo at Night

45 Minutes in Shibuya

Speaking of this amazing intersection, here is a 45-minute video of a random walk around this area.

Daily Photo – The Flow of Tokyo at Night

On our last night in Tokyo, we started roaming around Shibuya to see what we could find. I ended up on one of the busiest streets then set up for a long exposure. Luckily, my family was more than patient enough to wait around for me to get these photos… but everyone was getting a bit hungry, so we headed off to find some burgers!

The Flow of Tokyo at Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-16 14:06:55
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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