Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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Flying Over the Southern Alps

Coming up on Holidays Season!

If you’re looking for some Goodies, Gadgets, Photo Stuff for the Holidays, visit my visual Kit.com! It’s kind of a fun way to visually see things and better than a text-list. Not that material things will make you happy or anything, but maybe some of the gadgets and goodies can help fuel your creativity.

Daily Photo – Flying Over the Southern Alps

I took this photo while flying on a helicopter out to work on a photo project for a patron. That project took over a year or so to complete, so I ended up doing a lot of these flights. This one was in the middle of winter because I wanted to shoot the Earnslaw Burn in the winter. My shot came out kind of boring, but maybe the most interesting was this one while I was on the way there!

Flying Over the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-10-12 11:11:54
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length101.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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

That time we lost a quadcopter

The Eventful Landing

Related to the story below…

Daily Photo – That time we lost a quadcopter

Well, there was never really ONE time, there have been many. But this one, I can say honestly, was not my fault. We had the DJI Inspire up. It was an early demo model and we never really had great firmware for it. We were going to fly towards the windmills, but about 2 minutes into the flight, we lost control. I mean, literally. We could not see it, but it was still broadcasting a live feed with GPS. It took another half hour, but apparently, it went about 10 miles away and landed itself perfectly. One strange thing, however, it landed right beside by a dead cow… I assume the death of the cow was not related to the quadcopter, but I cannot be sure.

That time we lost a quadcopter

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-12-21 05:02:30
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length65.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Place We Broke Nothing

Venice Photo Tutorial

Here’s A LINK to the video tutorial we made while in Venice. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – The Place We Broke Nothing

I was convinced that we would walk out of here and have to owe thousands of dollars. This is a crystal shop in Murano near Venice, and we took our whole workshop here. We saw one of those glass-blowing demonstrations, which was awesome, and then we went into this crystal shop. We all had these giant backpacks and tripods, and I was sure we'd knock over some enormous art piece, but all emerged unscathed.

The Place We Broke Nothing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-05-09 18:04:52
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

More Passport Antarctica Love

Last week we released the first Antarctica video exclusively for Passport Members. In this one, you see me in survival training, digging an ice cave, and getting rested up for some photography the next day!

More Antarctica Photos

And staying in the spirit of it, here are some more favorite photos from Antarctica!

The Smoothness Of Antarctica

a silly place where penguins would steal rocks and orcas would eat penguins

Alone in the Vast Expanse of Antarctica

Hacking through the Ice

Minecraft: Antarctica Edition

And here you go, enjoy!

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Entering the Japanese cemetery

Meanwhile in Kyoto…

We had a film crew from Japan Daily with us at the Kyoto Photo Walk. Here is a link to their video and some photos for you.

Getting Permission to fly the quadcopter

I was really bummed out that I didn’t take the time to get permission to fly the quadcopter here. It’s probably completely impossible, but I should have given it a try, at least. Getting permission to get around the rules in Japan is almost impossible.

Daily Photo – Entering the Japanese cemetery

In this area that has these thousands of red gates in Kyoto, there are a few side-paths that go in mysterious directions. Personally, I love to be here at night because it makes everything even more mysterious. This is one of those side-paths that meanders down and eventually up into a remote bamboo forest filled with graves.

Entering the Japanese cemetery

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-07 06:21:20
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time11
  • Aperture6.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-2

Whisky Room!

Sony in Osaka

Even though I shoot quite a bit with the Hasselblad, I decided to exclusively use the Sony while in Osaka. For one thing, it has a much wider angle lens which I found very handy for the many wide-angle situations I encountered there. It’s also much faster for shooting street scenes… That Hasselblad seems to only do one frame every second or so!

Daily Photo – Whisky Room!

Here's another shot from the Yamazaki Suntory Whisky Distillery. This is the entrance to the whisky tasting room and the sort of place that is impossible NOT to take a photo at. I shot this with the Sony and the new wide-angle 12-24mm (at 12mm) lens at F/13. The barrelling on the edges wasn't so bad, but you can see there is a little bit of distortion. It doesn't bother me too much though… and you may not even see it if you're not looking for it. Photographers see these sorts of things, but hardly anyone else notices.

Whisky Room!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 06:27:26
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Jogging in Millbrook with my Pixel Phone

The Pixel 2 XL

I love this new Pixel phone from Google. I’m thinking about writing a longer form article about what it means for photography going forward… I just need a bit more time to write and think about it!

Daily Photo – Jogging in Millbrook with my Pixel Phone

This is a shot made from two different photos from my Pixel 1 phone. Now I'm actually using the Pixel 2, but I took this a few months ago. One great thing about Google photos (they are not a sponsor or anything), but whenever you take multiple photos and overlap them, the Google server will automatically build a panorama for you. So, after this, I just downloaded the new photo then made some adjustments in Aurora HDR.

Jogging in Millbrook with my Pixel Phone

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-29 17:45:37
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/1700
  • Aperture2
  • ISO52
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

For Relaxing Time it’s Suntory Time

Facebook Live Edit

Below is an embedded video of a live show I did on Facebook recently using Aurora HDR 2018. Enjoy! 🙂

Mac App of the Year!

Apple just named Aurora as Mac App of the Year! Join me for a live demo as I edit a single RAW photo and show off some of the new features of Aurora HDR 2018! Where are you watching from? Let us know in the comments… and let me know if you have any questions in the comments too! Grab Aurora now at https://store.stuckincustoms.com/collections/software

Posted by Trey Ratcliff on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Getting a place in Japan

My son is close to graduating high school, and he has a real interest in going to Tokyo to teach English. I think this sounds like a really fun first job, so I’ve been looking into what it takes to move there and make it happen. I have a few friends that have moved there and done the same sort of thing. We’ll probably make another exploratory trip soon to see everything that is involved!

Daily Photo – For Relaxing Time it's Suntory Time

This was taken in the amazing Yamazaki Suntory Distillery just outside of Osaka. We were invited there for a tasting and a tour. It's my second time here, and this time they let me use a tripod! Little things like this get me excited because it's really tough to get a photo like this with a handheld shot. It looks bright in here, but it's actually quite dark.

For Relaxing Time it's Suntory Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 06:46:52
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture10
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Antarctica Videos!

We’re about to launch several videos that I made while in Antarctica to Passport Members. I think you’ll really enjoy them. I’m getting started with kind of a fun one today, getting outfitted by Antarctica New Zealand in all our Emergency Conditions Weather Gear. It is NOT EASY to wear all this stuff and take photos at the same time, I assure you! I felt a bit like a space-man or something! You’ll see me up in the cockpit of the C-130 on the way in, trying to get a few decent photos!

First, here’s the new “Promo” video we made for potential Passport Members

Some favorites from Antarctica!

To celebrate some of this fun Antarctica news, here’s a few photos from the several weeks I spent there!

Approaching the Glacier

Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

Digging In For The Winter

Mount Erebus from the Air

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