Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

Read the Blog Photo Tips

Best Hotel Restaurant Ever?

I redid my portfolios on SmugMug

So pop on over to my portfolio on SmugMug and you may enjoy seeing how it was re-arranged. I do enjoy going over there and tweaking it quite a bit. This one was a fairly major change, and I also added two more additional galleries.

Daily Photo – Best Hotel Restaurant Ever?

Well that's a bold statement, I guess, because there are so many great restaurants that are part of hotels nowadays. But this one is certainly the most striking and unique in many ways. This is Berner's Tavern and it's part of The London Edition hotel there. If you want to see all the details in the paintings, it's worth zooming into the full-sized version on SmugMug

Best Hotel Restaurant Ever?

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-12 17:52:33
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

New Week, More Burning Man 2017 photos!

And here we go again! Here’s a link to all the Burning Man posts here on the blog. Enjoy!


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

It was her first Burning Man and I told her she looked like a pro! I’m not sure her name… I got the contact info for her and her boyfriend, but I bet someone on the internet knows who she is.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Check out this fun new art car! There are over 100 art cars out there… some big, some tiny, and some extra-tiny like this. Even better, this one takes photos! I meant to go for a ride in it, but I never saw it again

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Carla and Kristyna, BFF. This is basically just like me and Rene, but we don’t hug like this in camp. Well, guys kinda hug when they first see one another, and then a 2nd hug a week later when they part. So, well, it’s not like us at all. It’s like us if we were girls, I guess. Okay, the more I talk about it, it’s actually a really bad analogy. Anyway, this is Carla and Kristyna. They’re super-friendly.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
A surprising, gnarly sand-twister came over the desert one day. I chased it for about three minutes. I know it sounds crazy, but they are actually fun get close too because the wind whips your bike around and you don’t have to pedal… just kind of hang on for the ride with one hand, the other one taking photos!

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
There weren’t as many sandstorms this year as most years, but it was one of the hottest in the past five. It gets depressingly hot if you just sit around the camp, so the best idea is to jump on your bike and let the afternoon winds cool you off. I did this almost every day, and found other random people doing the same sort of thing. Your camp/RV/tent can be kind of a vortex, so it’s good to get out, ride your bike, and roll around to see what you can find.

Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
A wonderful Israeli couple had just finished an acro-yoga performance for me. They were amazing and I got some great photos that I still haven’t processed. After they finished, they embraced. This was somewhere around 8:30 and E (that’s how addresses work in Black Rock City… time + letter).

A Blue, Blue Night in Tokyo

Lens Skirt

Over in my Kit.com I recommend getting this thing called a Lens Skirt because it allows you to take photos out of windows with no reflection. I use it almost all the time when shooting in cities. It’s a strange looking thing, and it sounds weird to put a skirt on your lens, but hey, my camera is in touch with its feminine side.

Daily Photo – A Blue, Blue Night in Tokyo

I got back to my hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton there in Tokyo, which happens to be in the highest building in the city. Every night, I would turn out all the lights in the room and sit on the window sill to take photos like this. They all came out great, and they look even better full-screen.

A Blue, Blue Night in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-14 14:45:03
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time24
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

In the Prison

La Conciergerie

If you go to Paris, be sure this spot is on your list to visit. It doesn’t sound that interesting to visit an old prison like this, but it’s actually pretty cool. Here’s another picture of it:

She Slept In The Prison

Daily Photo – In the Prison

When I was at La Conciergerie in Paris, I stopped in a little side-room to take a photo. This was probably six years ago, but I didn't process the photo until just recently. It was a single RAW photo and I wanted to test out the new Aurora HDR. The RAW by itself looked pretty dull, and I didn't know if it had much potential, but I think it turned out pretty well!

In the Prison

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2010-09-17 12:46:02
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Night in Feng Huang

Japan Photo Walk Events

In most of November I’ll be in Japan and I am super duper excited. It’s a great place for photos and I’m a huge fan of the culture. I’ll release more info on all of the events soon!

Daily Photo – Night in Feng Huang

I took this photo about 6 years ago. I have been thinking about going back, but I wonder if it still looks like this. Things change so fast in China and I'm afraid maybe it's lost a lot of its charm. Or maybe its overrun with tourists now. I was only there for 2 days, but now I wish I would have stayed longer because there was a lot more to shoot there.

Night in Feng Huang

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2010-10-07 11:17:21
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.5
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

More from the Moscow Underground

Textures Tutorial

I haven’t mentioned this in a long time, but I wanted to make sure you picked one up! Pop into the
store to see the Textures Tutorial

Daily Photo – More from the Moscow Underground

We had a fun day exploring Moscow with Olya. She knows the city really well and also knows the subway system. I found it completely confusing so it was great to have her running around to show us the way. I was thinking at some point she would play a joke on us and just abandon us to make us find our way home… I still wouldn't have found my way back!

More from the Moscow Underground

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-04 15:17:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Inside the Canyons

Gotham

I started watching Gotham on Netflix. It’s a really good show… I recommend it! I should put together a Netflix recommendation list sometime.

Daily Photo – Inside the Canyons

Before I visited the Slot Canyons here, I was actually very scared because I read about how many people had died inside of them. Apparently, there are flash floods that rush down here and sweep tourists down the canyon, killing many of them. It sounds like quite a way to go!

Inside the Canyons

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-08-22 18:20:54
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Amazing Rotterdam

Less than 3 days left!

The so-called 5 Day Deal now only has 3 days left. If you’re just getting started with photography, or even been at it for a while, there is more than enough in here for you to enjoy. It includes a special tutorial I made in Venice at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/5daydeal

The Netherlands

I think almost everyone ONLY thinks of Amsterdam when they go to the Netherlands, but I recommend you go here, to Rotterdam. Actually, I also recommend a trip to the Hague and Utrecht – two other beautiful places to visit!

Daily Photo – Amazing Rotterdam

I had a great time wandering around Rotterdam at night. We had a great dinner across the river and then came down to start taking photos. As is often the case with me, I wander off on my own and the team loses track of me. But that's okay… I'm fairly self-sufficient. So, along the way, I found this spot along the river. I thought the colors and shapes were amazing, so I hung out here for about 15 minutes waiting for the right moment.

Amazing Rotterdam

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-05-15 22:30:24
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Each Week, More Burning Man Photos

Hey it’s week #3, time for a new batch of cookies!

Tough Decompression after Burning Man

What is a “Decompression”? That’s challenging to describe to people that haven’t spent over a week in an environment like this. It’s not just the heat and survival-factor; it’s also a bit of a mind-shift. I think many people have experienced this in different ways, and it doesn’t need just Burning Man. It’s maybe similar to coming back for a week on an island getaway and getting back into the “real world.”

After you are at Burning Man for a few days, your mind kind of slips away into another state of being. I’m not sure how to describe it. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the drugs or anything. It’s more about being around 70,000 other artists and creatives that, by default, accept you and are non-judgmental. (Maybe this is where it differs from an island vacation where bronzed pool-boys are serving you margaritas.)

Basically, Burning Man is very egalitarian, where all are equal and everyone is giving one another gifts all the time. Random people. And back too that non-judgmental thing. It’s perhaps one of most comforting places in the world, from that perspective. You don’t even notice yourself falling into this sort of peaceful state. Imagine, living in a world where no one cared what the heck you did, what your real-life job was, and everyone, even random people, always had a hug at the ready. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to live in a world like that?

And then, immediately after leaving, you get back into the other world… back at the Reno airport were people are upset, stressed, complaining. You post stuff on the internet and then people find something to complain about, something that doesn’t fit with their particular world-view, and they need to let you know about it. Blah blah blah I could give countless examples, you get it. So then, the challenge is how to take all this open-heartedness back with you to the real world and not be beaten down. It kind of reminds me of what we do to kids. They are so open, free, and creative, and society just kinda slowly beats it out of them over time. Children at least have 16+ years to decompress, all of us leaving the desert only have a few days!

It was especially hard for me because I had to fly to Florida (INTO THE HURRICANE) to make 48 hours worth of training videos with KelbyOne. Then creating a ton of Aurora HDR 2018 training videos for Windows and Mac before launch. I powered through it, on sheer will, but I never really had the chance to re-integrate. Wow I don’t even know if I did a decent job explaining anything there, but at least a few meandering thoughts for you. Oh, forget about all that, how about some photos?!?


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
This is @mekithappen hanging out and having a happy walk. Even though it looks sunny now, not long after this a big rainstorm hit so I jumped on my bike to make it home before my wheels got all gummed up.


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
One amazing sunset I went out to visit the tree and a naval vessel, the Monaco, sailed up to visit. They seem to have a good crew on there!


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Here’s one of my favorite artworks from this year’s event. She was a giant marionette, operated by a team that would dress her in different outfits every day after she woke up. She walked, talked, and visited her favorite artworks. Even commenting on them. I remember when she visited the Tree of Ténéré, talking about its energy with a light lilted British accent. This was during Burn night, at sun…


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


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
Taking a rest in the shade around 3:30 and C. I was looking for one of my friends; he and I love going out to take photos. It’s almost impossible to make meetings there because there is no mobile service. I asked this girl where he was. She didn’t know. But I asked if I could take her photo so the trip wasn’t a total bust, and she said, YES!


Trey Ratcliff - StuckInCustoms.com - Creative Commons Noncommercial contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com
A wicked fire… Burning Man, 2017 It was really quite the Joseph Campbell quest, and it was great! I took more photos than ever before. Here’s one of the temple burning behind the Tree of Tenere. It was one of my favorite art pieces this year…

The Backyard View

Hasselblad X1D Review

If you haven’t seen my Hasselblad X1D Review, please pop on over! I’ve added some new photos recently that you may enjoy.

Daily Photo – The Backyard View

Whenever I get a new camera, I head out into the backyard to take some test photos. This is one of the first photos I took when I got the new Hasselblad X1D. It arrived at the house, and I didn't even receive the delivery until the sunset. I was so excited and I threw a memory card in there to run out and take this photo.

The Backyard View

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-30 19:51:47
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!