VR – Stuck in Customs

We Are Made From Stars – 8K 360

Welcome to a very different Machine Elf creation (This time re-rendered in 360)! All my latest ones seem to be my favorite, but this one definitely gives a new perspective on the cinematic quality and storytelling of fractals. This creation was incredibly complex and took about a month for the visuals and another month for the music from Joshua Ryan. We’ve been collaborating on this one forever and now it is finally ready for release!

This creation explores how incredible complexity and the fabric of the universe could possibly be boiled down to a few combined fractal equations. I’ve always been fascinated by the fabric of the reality around us. Maybe it’s just math, or a higher order of mathematical formulas that collide with different sorts of energies. It’s really hard to say, eh? All these Machine Elf creations explore different facets from the same jewel of the reality that is being built around us all the time.


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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Into the Night in Milford Sound

TIP: How to use the Samsung Gear 360 Camera when using any Android Phone

This was not easy to figure out! Luckily good man Stu here, my techie right-hand-man at Stuck In Customs figured all this out… here’s how you do it!

Why would you do this?

The Gear 360 can be controlled using its small LCD and the buttons on the device but some functionality available in the app isn’t available using this method.

Main Benefits of the App:

  • Only way to unlock images for processing (happens during copy from camera to handset)
  • Live view so you can see where the stitching will be and avoid it landing on key areas
  • Ability to set ISO, white balance, HDR etc
  • Fire the camera wirelessly (you can hide)

In short, the app will function just as it does on a Galaxy handset. The only thing you need to remember is NOT to transfer videos via the App. At the end of transfers the app does some encoding, it’s a drain on battery/time. Just stick the the MicroSD card to from the Gear 360 into your system and copy the videos. Load them into the Gear 360 ActionDirector (bundled with the camera) and it will unlock them for use in your editing software.

Pics, you can transfer those on the app and let them convert so you can work with them in Photoshop, Lightroom, Aurora HDR, etc.

How to install the Gear 360 App

Step 1) Use Google Play to install the Samsung Accessory Service.

Step 2) Enable Unknown Source Installs on your handset. (Settings>General>Fingerprints + Security)

Gear 1

Step 3) Download and install the Gear 360 Manager from here.

Step 4) Launch the Gear 360 App. It should run as normal. The connection initially is via Bluetooth but then it switches to its own Wi-Fi network later on.

Step 5) Switch back the unknown source option to off. (Settings>General>Fingerprints + Security)

That’s it… in theory!

I did read that on some phones if live-view or file browsing doesn’t work you may need to switch the option to for mobile data when on Wi-Fi but opinions varied. If you need it here is the option (Settings>Networks> tap the current network). You can also watch out for new versions of the modified apps over on the XDA forum. Those guys over there have done some great work to make this possible.


Have fun and be sure to share your results in our Facebook Group.

Starry Starry Night

Passport Members get to see a special 360 video below about an hour before I took this photo. Something that’s not in the video that I can tell you now – I shot this with the Leica 21mm at F/1.4. Getting as LOW as possible in that F-Stop is key for getting good star shots.

Thoughts on Failure

Here’s another 360 video I shot here in Milford Sound just as it was getting dark… Enjoy! Oh, P.S. the Timelapse video turned out to be TERRIBLE. That Samsung 360 Gear is really cool, but not so good for low-light photos.

Exclusive content for Passport members

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Daily Photo – Into the Night in Milford Sound

This is maybe my tenth trip to Milford? I always have a lovely and different sort of time there. I’ve never seen it so starry, though! I was here with my friends Mark and Curtis and the photos and wine were flowing nicely! 🙂 Curtis had suggested we go back to the room and relax for a while then come back out for the stars. I refused to follow this plan because I was afraid we’d never make it back out! But then just about 45 minutes later it was dark enough to take these sorts of photos.

Into the Night in Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-18 17:52:34
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2