Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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The Mudmen in Papua New Guinea

Shameless Wikipedia Steal

Sometimes I make strange cultural references and send people to Wikipedia… but this time, I figure why not embed it? Today’s tribe was so interesting, I thought you might like to see the history without having to jump out!

Legend is that they were defeated by an enemy tribe and forced to flee into the Asaro River. They waited until dusk before attempting to escape. The enemy saw them rise from the muddy banks covered in mud and thought they were spirits. Most tribes in Papua New Guinea are very afraid of spirits, so the enemy fled in fear, and the Asaro escaped.

They then went into the village to see what had happened, not knowing the enemy tribesmen were still there. The enemy were so terrified they ran back to their village and held a special ceremony to ward off the spirits.

The mudmen could not cover their faces because legends say that the people of Papua New Guinea thought that the mud from the Asaro river was poisonous. So instead of covering their faces with this alleged poison, they made masks from pebbles that they heated and water from the waterfall.

The masks have unusual designs, such as long or very short ears either going down to the chin or sticking up at the top, long joined eyebrows attached to the top of the ears, horns and sideways mouths.

Daily Photo – The Mudmen in Papua New Guinea

I'm really thinking about going back to Papua New Guinea and taking some photo-friends. If you're interested, get on our Newsletter. Note we'll have to have you sign wavers out the wazoo. It's not the safest place in the world… but the photography there is amazing. You can visit the Papua New Guinea category here on the site if you want to see more photos.

The Mudmen in Papua New Guinea

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-09-13 08:48:53
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Sydney Opera House at Dusk

Upcoming Adventures

Be sure to check our “Facebook Events” to see all the upcoming photo walks! We also have our Tour Page that shows all the places we’ll be visiting! 🙂 Please come out for the free photo walks. You’re also welcome to come to the special ticketed event at the end… a great after-party where I give a little talk and we have fun together! 🙂

Daily Photo – Sydney Opera House at Dusk

Sometimes it's like cheating taking a photo of this thing eh? I mean, you just kinda aim your camera in its general direction, then it's a lock! We visited here on my most recent photo walk and we had an absolute blast… this was the ending spot. It was great to be with so many enthusiastic Australian photographers… even though they've seen this a million times, they still seem to love it!

Sydney Opera House at Dusk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-06-18 15:19:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture5
  • ISO80
  • Focal Length65.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

1.5 Mil Downloads and a Giveaway Comment-to-Win Event to Celebrate!

Happy Passport Day!

Thanks again to those of you that are Passport Members – Today you get a special 360-degree behind-the-scenes video at Milford Sound. Well, TWO videos actually! If you don’t know what “Passport” is – well it’s a simple thing… for the price of a couple of cups of coffee per month, you get extra behind-the-scenes stuff, presets, and more. Nothing has changed on the blog… still a new photo and tips every day, but now I’m able to use some cool tech to add more stuff!

1.5 Million Downloads and a Giveaway + Deals to celebrate!

1.5 million downloads for Aurora HDR! Amazing everyone… and that’s only on the Mac (wait till we release the Windows version!! yes yes… still working on it, I promise!). Anyway, to celebrate this number, we’re throwing together a fun package deal just for a short time… it’s a bundle of the software and me newest (and best) HDR Tutorial video I did with Lisa Bettany in Venice.

Giveaway Time! Just Leave a Comment for you and a friend to win!

To celebrate that crazy number of downloads, I’m giving away 5 copies of Season 1 of Becoming an Artist. We filmed the whole thing in Africa, and I think you’re gonna love it… a very personal project chockful of tips & tricks.

To win a copy for yourself and a friend, simply leave a comment below (and, well, say whatever you want!) but also be sure to mention your friend. We’ll pick 5 random winners in the next week! 🙂 Here’s the promo video:

Favorite Photos of Milford Sound

Since I use Aurora HDR pretty much every day of my life, I thought I’d share some of my favorite HDR photos from Milford Sound! If you watch the exclusive PASSPORT videos below, then you get to see how amazing these fjords are all around you! 🙂


Amazing Milford Sound with Silky Fog

 Clayton Morris from Fox News Balances The water was slowly, slowly, slowly rising one morning in Milford Sound when we were all there together. We made a desperate retreat just as things were getting a bit too late. The last one to cross was Clayton, so I spun around quickly to get this shot while he was being all Cirque de Soliel with his tripod. And no, he did not fall into the water!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Poems in the Moonlight in Milford Sound

trey-ratcliff-new-zealand-milford-sound (374 of 649)

Passport Exclusive – Tips from Milford Sound

Thanks again Awesome Passport Member! You’re the best… has anyone told you that lately? Well, now they have! 🙂 Here are two 360 videos I recently made in Milford Sound… enjoy

Exclusive content for Passport members

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Exclusive content for Passport members

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A few weeks ago on the way to Milford Sound at Lake Manapouri

Spot Location

There’s a road that’s hard to find that leads out to an old barge they used when building the hydrolics system here. Here’s the spot on Google Maps, in case you want to go yourself!

Daily Photo – A few weeks ago on the way to Milford Sound at Lake Manapouri

This was my first time at this lake… what a great spot! There are so many lakes on the South Island of New Zealand… I have a side-goal to visit all of them. Well this is another one marked off the list. My friends Mark Richter and Curtis Simmons came out this way with me… it was a great find – thanks again Mark!

A few weeks ago on the way to Milford Sound at Lake Manapouri

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-18 12:40:29
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

That Dragon in Antarctica

Dragon’s Den

I do love that show but I heard a bad story about one of the guys on there… won’t rat him out, but he really screwed over some of my entrepreneur friends. That kinda sucks… I always want to believe in the best in people, but they really toyed with this young company I know. Not so cool…

Daily Photo – That Dragon in Antarctica

Well, the title is loosely related to That Tree in Wanaka, except this one is a bit harder to reach. I thought about getting closer to it, but the ice started to crack and so did my nerves! If I had the proper ice-climbing equipment and rescue stuff, I might have. But since I was all alone, I didn't make the attempt… and I'm sure that made my mom happy. But I kept thinking about how cool it would be to ride an ice dragon! 🙂

That Dragon in Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-11 00:51:33
  • CameraILCE-7M2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length151.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-3

Exploring Tanjavur, India

Hot Tanjavur Travel Tip

Whatever you can do to get to this place, do it! There are several temples like this… it’s so beautiful and foreign. Once again,, my family and I were the only white people there! I really like these sorts of places… I remember at one time, my daughter Isabella was surrounded by a bunch of Indian kids and grownups that had never seen a white person. They were staring at her and stroking her cheek. It was really sweet (nothing creepy)… Isabella was a little freaked out of course, but I think she kinda liked it too!

You can see more from Tanjavur in a few clips in this video I made last year – enjoy!

Daily Photo – Exploring Tanjavur, India

Wow, how amazing are these temples? One thing you can't see are the dozens of monkeys running around all over the structure. It was like the monkeys were ruling this thing and simply allowing humans to walk underneath it. This is another vertirama… rather hard to put together, truth be told… all a handheld shot, believe it or not! 🙂

See more of them temples here.

Exploring Tanjavur, India

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-12-25 20:54:36
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

That Tree in Warm Light

That Tree in Wanaka

I believe this famous tree actually has it’s own hashtag. Try clicking on #ThatTreeInWanaka in Instagram to see many different versions of it!

Daily Photo – That Tree in Warm Light

Here's one of my latest iterations of the tree. I used one of our Lightroom Presets for this one in particular. Thanks again to everyone out there that has been enjoying these presets… been working on a few more, but none quite ready for release yet!

That Tree in Warm Light

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-04-02 14:57:57
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

European Photo Walk Announcement Yay!

I’m doing TEN (count ’em 10) free photo walks across Europe… also a few special day-long workshops. Wanna see the list of places? Come check out the new site at 80stays.treyratcliff.com!

See your city? Tell your friends! 🙂

These photo walks are family friendly events and all are welcome. Bring a friend or two! 🙂 Anything from a mobile phone to a DSLR will do swimmingly. I share lots of tips and tricks, do Q&A, and more… even better, we get to roam part of the city taking photos together. Come on out – I can’t wait to meet you! 🙂

Walking about the Sorbonne in the evening

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