Stuck in Customs – Trey Ratcliff's Travel Photography blog with daily inspiration to motivate you!

Stuck In Customs

My daily travel blog to inspire and get you motivated!

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Behind the Scenes of my New Book

Inside info in the new book… The Making Of…

Now, this may have NO interest to you at all… because it’s not even about photography… it’s about the creation process of a book. My new book, actually… so, today, for you Passport members, you get to see my towards the end-cycle of a random creative endeavor!

Passport – Book Behind the Scenes Part 1

And now for something COMPLETELY different. I’m always trying new things… I think this is very important to keep the brain plastic and always learning. I’ve never written a book of this nature before, so here is some of the behind-the-scenes stuff of the things I was working through with the book. Enjoy!

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Abandoned Ships in the South China Sea

A New Photography Podcast

There’s a new podcast kicking about that is made by Derrick Story of Skylum fame. It’s called “The Nimble Photographer” and I was on a recent episode which you can hear here!

In it, we discuss one of my more successful photography based business ideas, including how reading about a stuffed shark led me to working out how a fine art business could succeed.

Daily Photo – Abandoned Ships in the South China Sea

Now I’m not technically sure these are abandoned, but they probably are. This is near Sanya, which is an island off the SE coast of China. I flew my drone over about 50 of these ships and got in close. There was definitely nobody aboard the ships, and they don’t appear to be terribly seaworthy. If anyone else has more info on these, let me know!

Abandoned Ships in the South China Sea

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-19 18:27:25
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/470
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Art Zoo in Singapore

Hitchens

I just updated my book list over at my Kit.com to include the book by Christopher Hitchens called “God is not Great.” I listened to the audiobook, which I also recommend because he has an incredible voice too!

Daily Photo – The Art Zoo in Singapore

I was watching this all the time out of my room at the Ritz-Carlton there. I was wishing my girls were with me. This is the kind of place they would love. But, I also thought it looked like a really fun place to HDR! I’m not exactly sure what all that stadium seating is for… Maybe they clear out all the kid stuff and use that for a big outdoor performance stage.

The Art Zoo in Singapore

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-25 00:42:01
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.3
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length62.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Kuala Lumpur from the Traders Hotel Bar

Live on Video on Facebook

I should do more of these! Here’s one from a few weeks ago when I went live on Facebook to stream my screen while editing some photos. (If you click through to Facebook you can read the comments.)

Daily Photo – Kuala Lumpur from the Traders Hotel Bar

I think the bar on the top of the Traders Hotel has the best view of the Petronas Towers. I tried a few other rooftop bars in the area, but this one is still the best. While I was there, you can see that dark, foreboding Four Seasons hotel on the right. Maybe it wasn’t open yet? I can only imagine that because not many lights are on and the sign on top is not lit up.

Kuala Lumpur from the Traders Hotel Bar

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-30 02:04:27
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time4
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

White Sand Beaches in Florida

I’m Behind This Book

It’s kind of fun to check Amazon Best Seller Rankings for my new book. We are #1 in a few categories, but definitely not OVERALL Kindle rankings, which are full of some Rather Silly Sounding romance books. For example, my book is many slots behind, “The Benefits of Bad Decisions,” which has the following description:


After a bad decision lands me a role on a reality show, I expect it to be my big break as a TV star. Despite getting kicked off the first night, I land on my feet again when a talent agent who saw the show offers me an audition as back-up dancer for a popular rock band.

Knowing this could be my stepping stone is exciting, but the real thrill is watching Brody bang on his drums every night. It’s a bad idea for a dancer to hook up with a band member, but after he kisses me, I can’t stay away.

Facing the consequences was inevitable, and it only takes one scandalous mistake from my past to cause our complete destruction.

Bad decision or not, I always manage to come out on top… until I don’t.

Woman that Can Smell Parkinson’s

Not 100% of my time on reddit is wasted. It’s more like 99%, with this very interesting article as the 1% exception.

Daily Photo – White Sand Beaches in Florida

I didn’t know Florida had white sand beaches! I don’t know why it’s that surprising, I suppose… I just had never heard of it. I can’t imagine how many millions of years it takes for the ocean to beat down quartz rocks into this fine, powdery sand. Can anyone guess exactly what beach this is?

White Sand Beaches in Florida

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-21 09:18:06
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture9
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length43.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Pantheon

#1 on Amazon!

Hey thanks everyone for getting the new book! You helped get it to #1 in its category!! 🙂 It’s officially released now, and you can get the paperback version if you want that too. 🙂

Jim Gaffigan Comedy Special

Make sure you check out his new special on Netflix. This guy cracks me up…

Daily Photo – The Pantheon

Here’s the Pantheon in Rome. It’s hard to believe this building is 2,000 years old! I edited this single RAW photo using Aurora HDR 2019. This is an old photo, from probably over eight years ago. I still have SO MANY unprocessed photos, and it’s fun to go back to them now and process them using new tools.

The Pantheon

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-19 19:20:31
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Lupin Party!

Working on a sequel!

I’m excited to be working on a new project. It’s really quite tough and takes a ton of time. Anyway, this is the first “test” version I did a little over a year ago…

Daily Photo – Lupin Party!

These are my favorite sort of pest. Kiwis definitely call anything not from New Zealand a “pest,” probably including even me. There’s an area between Lindis Pass and Tekapo where you see millions of these off the side of the road. This looks like a “normal” landscape but it is actually a quadcopter panorama!

Lupin Party!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-12-21 12:55:04
  • CameraFC2204
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture3.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.6 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Chaos of Tokyo

For Passport Members, as special Tokyo Travel Vid Full of Tips!

If you’re a Passport member then today you get one of the coolest videos I’ve ever made! It took about a week to make this, shooting all over Tokyo, and I hope you enjoy it!

Awesome Tokyo Video!

Here’s a special treat for you! You get to follow me around Tokyo for a while and find out more about my mission there, creating order from the chaos!

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Daily Photo – The Chaos of Tokyo

Here’s one of the photos we’ll be releasing in Series 2 of the fine art collection. It’s one of my favorites of Tokyo because you can’t really tell it’s Tokyo!

The Chaos of 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

Autumn in Kyoto

Red Dead Redemption 2

I still give this game my absolute highest recommendation. I’ve played a ton of video games on consoles, and this one may be my absolute favorite!

Daily Photo – Autumn in Kyoto

Japanese people tend to be very close to nature. That’s part of their Shintoism, which basically equates nature with being closer to the eternal. I certainly don’t disagree with that! And this is why you see so many Japanese people out in nature, spending times with trees. During the cherry blossom season, whole families will stake out a Sakura and sit under it all day long.

Autumn in Kyoto

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-07 17:18:50
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/180
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1/3

I have a new book! Come grab it now exclusively on Amazon!

I almost called the book “How to Stay Zen on Social Media,” because that’s one of the main points! However, I decided to go with the more click-baity name of “Under the Influence – How to Fake Your Way Into Getting Rich on Instagram: Influencer fraud, Selfies, Anxiety, Ego, and Mass Delusional Behavior” … Catchy eh?

I see quite a bit of suffering out there on social media, and that’s why I wrote this book. I hope it is a fun way to open the door, if even just a little, to have people become more mindful in their daily activities. Social Media, if used wrongly, can really add to a lot of undue suffering.

Another source of suffering is some of these Instagram Influencer charlatans are using completely unscrupulous tricks to gain a big following and engagement to trick brands into giving them the seemingly ideal lifestyle that is perfectly Instagrammable. So, a lot of people suffer anxiety when they see this stuff online because they feel like losers. But that is all based on a lie, so there is zero need for you to have any internal suffering by comparing yourself to a crook.

I’ve accidentally become an expert in all these subject matters just because of the way I live my life. 90% of my income here at my company comes from fine art sales. A minority is from Influencer gigs and that is where I discovered this unfortunate underbelly of the Instagram world. I’m not writing this book because I feel like these people are taking anything away from me. They’re not.

These fraudsters have created what I call Mass Delusional Behavior. I get into that in the sections about selfies and the ego. You’ll find the book to be quite philosophical in an approachable way. You’ll see some of the traps a regular person can fall into that can lead to an empty life where you only feed the ego instead of becoming your true self. It shows there’s another path!

Whelp, I hope you love the book and find it interesting … it’s quite a little adventure! Grab it now on Amazon! 🙂 And, you can join the conversation in our new Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/UnderTheInfluenceBook/

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