Meanwhile, in Papua New Guinea

Going to Papua New Guinea

Sometimes I’m a fan of getting a local guide, and sometimes I am not. In the case of Papua New Guinea, you should DEFINITELY get a local guide. Otherwise, you may literally get killed.

Here’s a really cool map I found on Etsy. This is a link to Conquest Maps on Etsy.

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Daily Photo – Meanwhile, in Papua New Guinea

All kids like to dress up a bit, eh? And a bit of face painting? It comes with the territory, so to speak, down here in Papua New Guinea. All members of the tribe paint and festoon themselves in the exact same manner, from child to adult. There may be a few variations in the decorations for the adults, but I could not see them.

Meanwhile, in Papua New Guinea

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-10-13 12:02:16
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • 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.

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Why isn’t Windows outpacing Apple Mac in Aurora 2018 sales?

I thought I’d write a little analysis that has more questions than answers. So, I guess it’s not really an analysis; perhaps an analysis of good questions!

I’ve speculated (with all honesty and openness) about why the adoption rate has been slower with Windows users, especially when they were so vocally angry about it being a Mac-only product for years. It’s racked up over 3 million downloads, has been used to make over 150,000,000 images (data collected anonymously), and has been a huge success in our partnership with Skylum. It’s honestly the BEST photo processing software out there to create dynamic light images. Note, although you may know, I teamed up with them to make this product. Also, note they are no longer Macphun, but now Skylum, after changing their name to indicate they are not just a Mac company. I think it’s pronounced Skyloooom or something, but all that is beside the point.

A shot of Tokyo, enhanced with Aurora HDR 2018


Two For Today For Tokyo!

Special Discount for Windows Photomatix Users

Of the various speculations below, maybe the best is #5 (in short, Windows peeps still use Photomatix because it is “good enough”) and they don’t want to spend the extra $99 on a new product. Well, let me tell you right away, that we are offering a 10% discount to existing Windows Photomatix users for Aurora HDR 2018 or my Bonus package that includes a full-length video tutorial and sample files. And, even better, if you don’t like it, you can have 100% of your money back. It’s literally a 0% downside / 100% upside deal. You don’t get those every day. So there, this is clearly logically unassailable, so go get it now!

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A Day At Mount Fuji

A pretty little scene in Japan with Mount Fuji in the background.

Now, before we get to the sales, let’s look at some hard stats.

On the blog, nearly twice as many people visit on Windows vs. Mac OS. Worldwide for desktop/laptop users, Windows has an 83% market share compared to 17% for Mac (gs.statcounter.com)

In the Stranger Things upside-down-world, Aurora 2018 is almost exactly flipped with 75% of sales for Mac and 25% for PC. Hmmm.

So I began to noodle my noodle and wonder… And I always remember on photo walks, online, and other events, people were begging me to pressure Macphun to make a Windows version. I wanted a Windows version too, since I used both operating systems.

Anyway, this led to some honest speculation. Note these are just ideas, so don’t take any offence, unless you are just one of those internet people that is sitting around waiting to be upset. If you’re one of those people, oh well.


Shinjuku!

This one is a fairly “extreme” example of the kind of dynamic light work you can do with Aurora HDR 2018. This is the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Speculations (or perhaps a combination of these reasons)

  • Mac people spend more $$ [on average] than Windows people on apps/software/hardware/phones, so the $99 is not as significant to them. I know this is the case with the Apple App Store for iOS, where the apps sell a lot better than apps for Android, per capita. (If anyone has more data on that, it would be interesting to examine, if not for simply mathematical-mental-masturbation).
  • Some Windows peeps are quicker to pirate software. I know it’s doing well in the pirate scene on BitTorrent, etc. Note that I’m not one of these anti-piracy guys… I get it. I’m the least judgmental guy in the world, just noting a natural force that is out there. Of course, the developers and I would prefer people pay for something they enjoy, but that decision is left to the individual (in my book).
  • Windows people still don’t know it’s available for Windows! I ran into a few people in photo walks in Asia that did not know this. Also, they still think “Macphun” made it, which confuses them because clearly no one with the name Macphun would make a Windows product.
  • At launch, it did not have as many features as the Mac version, but it’s well on the way to feature parity now.
  • Windows people are happy enough with Photomatix, even though yours truly can objectively say that Aurora HDR is waaaay better, like totally, dude or dudette. Perhaps a bit afraid to shell out another $99, they chose to stay with what they know. I guess there’s a bit of fear-of-change which everyone has with a great number of things in life. Anyway, to combat this, in case this is the correct speculation, we wanted to offer a sweet 10% Discount for existing Photomatix users on the stand-alone Aurora HDR or my Bonus package that includes my video tutorial. And yes, if you still don’t like it, you can have all your money back. Truly all upside for you, my fellow HDR enthusiast! Aurora has so many tools in it… you’ll just love it. Get your Aurora HDR discount code now

Okay, did you decide to go for it? Need some help getting started? Here are two free tutorials I made to get you going. You can also get the whole package which includes the Aurora HDR 2018 software + tutorial + sample files.

Anyway, maybe you fall outside of one of those speculations? I guess maybe you might just use Lightroom or something and consider that good enough. I agree Lightroom is good (I use it a lot), but I still use Aurora HDR to do about 10 things that LR can’t. Anyway, pour your heart out in the comments below and let us know! I’ll be sure to share with the development team at Macphun!


Who’d have thought this was Moscow???

Downtown Doha

Happy New Year’s Eve!

I hope you’re having a great one! As for me, I’m in a flurry of packing. It’s tough not only getting all my camera/electronic stuff together, but also for the whole family! Since stuff is sort of expensive here in New Zealand, we’re going with half-empty bags so the kids can get some clothes and stuff when they get back to Austin to visit the grandparents.

Daily Photo – Downtown Doha

I didn't get much time to shoot in the middle of Doha, Qatar, but I did get in a few shots from across the water like this. Most of my time in Doha was spent in labyrinth-like bazaars that make you forget you're in the middle of a modern megapolis. I was here with my family, and we found the whole country to be very welcoming and the people were extremely nice. I recommend a family trip here to see something a bit different! Be sure to get out to the desert too. Also, click on this category to see the other entries on Doha, as you don't want to miss that Iranian-designed restaurant that is made out of crystals.

Downtown Doha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-03 22:43:49
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length120.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Driving Off Towards Glenorchy

Screenflow Review!

If you’re interested in a quick way to edit videos or do a screen recording, be sure to check out my Screenflow Review I just finished here on the blog. I’ll embed the video from the review right here below to give you a taste!

Oldie But Goodie!

Here’s one of the first videos I made when I moved to this area about six years ago. It’s called 30 Days and 30 Nights in Queenstown. It’s pretty much the only time-lapse I have ever made. It was so time-consuming that I haven’t had time to make another one!

Daily Photo – Driving Off Towards Glenorchy

I should make this drive once a week! I don't know why I don't. It's so beautiful here and the water and sky are different enough each time to make it worth it. Also, when you get to the end of the road about 25 minutes later, there are some great spots for lunch and relaxation.

Driving Off Towards Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-10-08 07:45:04
  • CameraFC300X
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/210
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

Girls in India

More Little Girls in India

These happen to be mine! We got them some of these pretty local dresses and they were quite the hit I tell ya! 🙂

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Daily Photo – Catty Girl in India

Little girls are kind of the same all around the world, I think. Fun and fancy free! This little girl in a small village outside of Kerala was a hoot. She would just dance and pose and dance and pose. It reminded me of my little girls!

Catty Girl in India

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-07 18:23:49
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

Osaka Alive

Tip to get this Technique

To get this effect, make sure your exposure is somewhere between 1 and 5 seconds. Less or more of that is hard to make smooth. Let’s say it’s a 5-second shutter speed. Well, leave the camera alone for the first 2 seconds, then for the last 3 seconds, do a slow zoom out or zoom in to see what you get. It usually takes 10-15 tries, but you’ll get it!

Sony A7r III Unboxing!

Watch my clumsy and confused unboxing of the new beast! I’m excited by this thing! If you’re a Passport Member, you will see the video below…

This is NOT an inexpensive camera… I can tell you that for sure. Here are Amazon Links to the three things I’m unboxing: Sony A7r III Body, the 24-105mm G Series, and the 16-35mm G Series.

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Daily Photo – Osaka Alive

I have a ton of city-shots of Osaka. It definitely has that Blade-Runner feel, and I think the HDR treatment makes it even more intense. Speaking of the new Blade Runner, I really liked it! Maybe a bit long… some of the scenes played out longer than Melancholia, but still a very enjoyable flick! There's lots of interesting analysis of the movie online as well.

Osaka Alive

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 10:35:22
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Hard to Believe the Google Pixel Took this, eh?

Insta360 Camera Review

What a fun cool camera! 🙂 I just finished the Insta360 Review here on the blog. I hope you enjoy! There’s a video there and everything featuring a strange-talkin’ Russian.



Upcoming Travel Schedule!

I’m headed on a fun trip with the family again in January! We’ll be in Dallas, Austin, Denver, Sarasota, Grand Cayman, Key Biscayne, Hawaii, and then Japan again! I’ve got my cameras all dusted off and ready to go!

Daily Photo – Hard to Believe the Google Pixel Took this, eh?

Isn't it though! And this was taken with the Pixel 1; now I have the Pixel 2 and it's even better. I've challenged myself several times ONLY to use the Pixel 2 some days (btw Google is not a sponsor… I bought mine full price). Some of the photos that are coming out of it are totally unbelievable! I don't like editing on such a small screen, so I often download the images to my laptop and edit there.

Hard to Believe the Google Pixel Took this, eh?

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-28 12:03:54
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/2200
  • Aperture2
  • ISO54
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

At the Top of Mandapa

Random Button

Should we put a “Random” button on the site? This was suggested by a friend, and I think it’s a pretty good suggestion! I’ve made 365 blog posts a year for over the last ten years, so there’s a lot of randomness in there! It’s a pretty good idea I think! 🙂

Daily Photo – At the Top of Mandapa

Wow, what a crazy reserve this is! I've been to a few Ritz-Carlton Reserves, and this one was the most “vertical” of all of them. It's basically a massive temple that also happens to contain rooms where you can stay. There's not a single bad photo anyway, but some of my favorites were near the top.

At the Top of Mandapa

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-11-12 18:22:54
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.8
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

The Osaka Castle

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you from me and everyone at Stuck In Customs! 🙂

A Special Video on Christmas for…

Those of you that received the Stuck In Customs Passport for Christmas have unlocked a fun new video I made in Paris. There’s some of the behind-the-scenes and a bit of a travelogue around the city to give you some ideas. It’s a fun new style of video we are doing!

Most Impenetrable Castle?

I’m a big castlephile! I go to them all around the world, and this one is perhaps one of the most impregnable. You can’t really see it from this angle, but the moat around the outside with some sheer walls is just ridiculous. I don’t see how anyone could ever attack this place successfully back in the day.

Some fun from Paris…

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Daily Photo – The Osaka Castle

We spent a long morning meandering all around the gardens here at Osaka Castle. What an idyllic setting, eh? Actually, there are quite a few tourists, so I had to hunt around to find a place that had a good view. I had almost given up until I took a little side-path and found this perfect pond.

The Osaka Castle

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-11 04:56:18
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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