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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New York’s Central Park

Fantastic Fungi

This is a great doco about mushrooms!

Daily Photo – New York’s Central Park

Here’s a photo I recently re-worked for a show I was invited to. It’s one of my favorite images from New York and I went in to give it more of a “film” look. I tried about five different cross-processing techniques until I finally landed on this one.

New York’s Central Park

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2009-11-22 16:48:49
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Patagonia in my Hallway

Daily Photo – Patagonia in my Hallway

Since I recently converted one of my homes into an AirBnB, I decided to also make it a bit of an art gallery. I hung up about 10 photos all over the home and it was pretty fun deciding what goes where! Back in this long hallway that goes to four of the bedrooms, I decided to put up this panorama. I’m always a bit scared to get things printed because I don’t want to see any mistakes! Sometimes that happens! But, this time, it came out perfect and I’m quite happy with it.

Patagonia in my Hallway

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-12-17 03:55:43
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length22.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Passport Sunday Vanity Fair Partay!

As many of you know, I was invited by Vanity Fair and the Ritz-Carlton to do a solo show during the Oscars. A lot of work went into it, and today, if you’re a Passport Member, then you get to see some of the details behind the layout. Enjoy!

Photos from the Exhibit

Here’s a smattering of some of the photos from the big show! You’ll hear more about them in the Passport Sunday video below.


Creative Commons Noncommercial - Contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com for more info
Creative Commons Noncommercial - Contact licensing@stuckincustoms.com for more info
Copyright Trey Ratcliff www.StuckInCustoms.com

Vanity Fair Show Layout

While I was going through this process, I thought it would be interesting to record a video so you could see some of the work that went into it. Enjoy!

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Despair – What hundreds of millions of Earthlings are experiencing now…

Hey everyone! Here’s a different sort of video. A few weeks ago I started feeling a strange disquiet that transcended anxiety. Recently, I got back from a week at a meditation retreat and was able to figure a lot of stuff out! These findings have helped me overcome the seemingly intractable malaise, helped my close friends I shared it with, and maybe it will help you out too! 🙂

Most people in Earth normally never encounter this strange phenomenon… the video will give you the beginnings of a toolkit to handle it.

Here are some resources I mentioned:

David Whyte reciting a favorite poem:

And here is Whyte’s chapter on Despair from his book CONSOLATIONS:

DESPAIR

takes us in when we have nowhere else to go; when we feel the heart cannot break anymore, when our world or our loved ones disappear, when we feel we cannot be loved or do not deserve to be loved, when our God disappoints, or when our body is carrying profound pain in a way that does not seem to go away.

Despair is a haven with its own temporary form of beauty and of self compassion, it is the invitation we accept when we want to remove ourselves from hurt. Despair, is a last protection. To disappear through despair, is to seek a temporary but necessary illusion, a place where we hope nothing can ever find us in the same way again.

Despair is a necessary and seasonal state of repair, a temporary healing absence, an internal physiological and psychological winter when our previous forms of participation in the world take a rest; it is a loss of horizon, it is the place we go when we do not want to be found in the same way anymore. We give up hope when certain particular wishes are no longer able to come true and despair is the time in which we both endure and heal, even when we have not yet found the new form of hope.

Despair is strangely, the last bastion of hope; the wish being, that if we cannot be found in the old way we cannot ever be touched or hurt in that way again. Despair is the sweet but illusory abstraction of leaving the body while still inhabiting it, so we can stop the body from feeling anymore. Despair is the place we go when we no longer want to make a home in the world and where we feel, with a beautifully cruel form of satisfaction, that we may never have deserved that home in the first place. Despair, strangely, has its own sense of achievement, and despair, even more strangely, needs despair to keep it alive.

Despair turns to depression and abstraction when we try to make it stay beyond its appointed season and start to shape our identity around its frozen disappointments. But despair can only stay beyond its appointed time through the forced artificiality of created distance, by abstracting ourselves from bodily feeling, by trapping ourselves in the disappointed mind, by convincing ourselves that the seasons have stopped and can never turn again, and perhaps, most simply and importantly, by refusing to let the body breathe by its self, fully and deeply. Despair is kept alive by freezing our sense of time and the rhythms of time; when we no longer feel imprisoned by time, and when the season is allowed to turn, despair cannot survive.

To keep despair alive we have to abstract and immobilize our bodies, our faculties of hearing, touch and smell, and keep the surrounding springtime of the world at a distance. Despair needs a certain tending, a reinforcing, and isolation, but the body left to itself will breathe, the ears will hear the first birdsong of morning or catch the leaves being touched by the wind in the trees, and the wind will blow away even the grayest cloud; will move even the most immovable season; the heart will continue to beat and the world, we realize, will never stop or go away.

The antidote to despair is not to be found in the brave attempt to cheer ourselves up with happy abstracts, but in paying a profound and courageous attention to the body and the breath, independent of our imprisoning thoughts and stories, even strangely, in paying attention to despair itself, and the way we hold it, and which we realize, was never ours to own and to hold in the first place. To see and experience despair fully in our body is to begin to see it as a necessary, seasonal visitation, and the first step in letting it have its own life, neither holding it nor moving it on before its time.

We take the first steps out of despair by taking on its full weight and coming fully to ground in our wish not to be here. We let our bodies and we let our world breathe again. In that place, strangely, despair cannot do anything but change into something else, into some other season, as it was meant to do, from the beginning. Despair is a difficult, beautiful necessary, a binding understanding between human beings caught in a fierce and difficult world where half of our experience is mediated by loss, but it is a season, a wave form passing through the body, not a prison surrounding us. A season left to itself will always move, however slowly, under its own patience, power and volition.

Refusing to despair about despair itself, we can let despair have its own natural life and take a first step onto the foundational ground of human compassion, the ability to see and understand and touch and even speak, the heartfelt grief of another.

Couple in Rabat

Daily Photo – Couple in Rabat

I only spent one day in the capital of Morocco so I tried to get out there and make the most of it. I’m not sure why I went in the first place because it’s one of the less scenic towns in the country. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but I stayed out as much as I could to grab as many scenes as possible. Not long after this, I was in a car accident when my taxi t-boned another car. I got a little injured, but I could still walk. Then, all these angry Moroccans started yelling and there was a street fight. That was my cue to quickly jump out of the taxi and run away! 🙂

Couple in Rabat

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-03-01 20:57:39
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Cliff in Action!

Daily Photo – Cliff in Action!

Cliff and I had an amazing trip out to Burning Man a few years ago when we drove in his RV from Dallas. Man, that’s a long drive. I don’t know how he does it every year. I think he’s just more patient than me. Anyway, along the way, we listened to all sorts of cool spiritual people and meditation and stuff like that. That got us in the right mindset for event!

Cliff in Action!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-09-05 08:37:39
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

The Inverted Remarkables

Daily Photo – The Inverted Remarkables

This is one of those fun visual tricks I like to play from time to time. I like it takes the viewer a few seconds (or more!) to figure out what exactly is going on. When you discover the trick, I think you get a little burst of dopamine, and that’s kinda fun.

The Inverted Remarkables

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-04-30 09:30:31
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length66.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Way Over Queenstown with Over The Top

Old School Parking

Check out this video from 100 years ago where they came up with this parking technique!

video from 100 years ago shows a car with "parking assist" technology from nextfuckinglevel

Daily Photo – Way Over Queenstown with Over The Top

Isn’t that a cool golf course there on the peninsula? I reckon it’s probably one of the most unique locations for a golf course in the world. I haven’t actually played there yet, but that’s mostly because I don’t get that big a kick out of golf anymore! Maybe I’ll get back into it in a few years, but for now, I just don’t find it that enjoyable.

Way Over Queenstown with Over The Top

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-05-03 13:42:46
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length34.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Exploring Dubai at Midnight

Daily Photo – Exploring Dubai at Midnight

I walked through some open gates and started exploring this area of Dubai. It turned out that I was not supposed to be there, and the security came to get me and call the police. It got really messy. You don’t want to be in prison in Dubai… Believe me. I tried to explain that I didn’t break in and that the gates were wide open for pedestrians. I eventually showed the police the gate and said that I was just an innocent photographer. Not being photographers, the police did not understand why a dude would just wander around and take photos. I eventually convinced them, and they let me out of custody… it wasn’t easy because I have a healthy amount of disdain for authority figures whose authority is based on a fictional construct.

Exploring Dubai at Midnight

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-03-16 08:07:27
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

London Court

Passport Sunday Returns to London!

Last week Passport Members got to see the edit of a different part of London, so I wanted to use some new techniques for this week. Enjoy!

Colorful Court

This one required a bit more work than I initially thought. Fun though!

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Daily Photo – London Court

Isn’t this a wicked-looking building? At first, I thought it was some kind of evil lair. Actually, I thought that the entire time I was taking the picture until I realized it was just a courthouse that has rather gothic stylings. Well maybe it is an evil lair if the judge is kinda evil.

London Court

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2010-09-09 20:03:16
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time0.7
  • Aperture4
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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