Photo Software – Stuck in Customs

Passport Sunday Fun!

Today’s video for Passport Members is a quick and dirty edit from a single RAW file that I think you’ll really like. I was pretty sure that this overexposed photo was a goner, but I was shocked at what Aurora HDR did to it!

The Overexposed Pirate Ship

I use Aurora HDR so much and I’m often surprised how I am still amazed by it. I almost just deleted this photo altogether. It was completely overexposed but somehow Aurora just made it look perfect! Enjoy!

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Pittsburg from Above

Daily Photo – Pittsburg from Above

When people ask me which city I was most surprised by during my trip to the US, I always say Pittsburg! I had no idea how beautiful it was. Anyway, it gave me another chance to experiment with a new technique, which you can see in today’s photo. Now, when I take cityscape shots, I purposefully cut off the top of the buildings so you can’t quite tell what city it is. From sharing travel photos from so many places around the world, I notice people really enjoy trying to guess where a place is. Showing the whole skyline, therefore, makes the photo a bit more predictable and boring!

Pittsburg from Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-08-04 19:01:50
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture4
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length86.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Baobab Trees of Madagascar

Luminar 4

Today’s photo reminds me that I used it as an example to show some of the new features of the new Luminar. There are about 20-30 different skies you can automatically swap out. One of the cooler aspects of the tool is that if you choose a sunset sky, it actually changes the tone of everything not in the sky as well. It’s adjustable so you can make it look incredibly realistic.

Baobab Trees of Madagascar

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The Amazing Organ at Notre-Dame in Montreal

Passport Freebies!

I wanted to give you two free videos that we released to Stuck In Customs Passport Members earlier this year! This is obviously an incentive to get you to join. When you do, you’ll get fresh videos every Sunday! Also, I’d appreciate your support… it keeps the website going and we can keep feeding the machine! 🙂


Daily Photo – The Amazing Organ at Notre Dame in Montreal

This organ is one of the only organs the Catholics are allowed to touch and look at during services. I have all sorts of ways I poke fun at the Catholics… probably because I went to an all-boy Jesuit school for four years where they tried to brainwash me. But, it didn’t work! However, having just poked more fun at them, I do actually have a decent amount of respect for the Jesuits. They at least have a lot of critical thought and philosophy that makes up the backbone of their teachings. There are a few logical fallacies here and there where it breaks down for me. But hey, that’s just me. I want to go back and do some DMT with some of my old teachers to see what they think.

The Amazing Organ at Notre Dame in Montreal

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-07-27 08:12:30
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.3
  • Aperture5
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Luminar 4 Approaches

Pre-Order Luminar 4 with AI Skin Enhancer and Sky Replacement

Well, Luminar 4 is now ready for pre-order and it looks like they’re really going for Adobe’s throat! It already had a ton of features and tools that are sorely lacking in Lightroom. This one has a bunch of new tools that are pretty wicked-smart and fast!

One is the AI Sky Replacement. Below is a picture I took of those famous Baobab trees I visited last week in Madagascar. I went all the way to Madagascar and the sky was so boring… what a bummer! Anyway, this AI Sky replacement is pretty rad because there are a ton of different ones to choose from (or use your own), and it’s a simple one-click operation. Besides blue skies, it’s also easy to choose from a ton of sunsets and other dramatic skies. You can make a few other adjustments too as you can see in the screenshot.

The second cool feature is the AI Portrait stuff. It’s pretty amazing how simple it is to change someone’s face – either a little or a lot. Some people like their faces to get a bit of fluff and others don’t. Who am I to judge? In the example below, this was actually a picture of the Unabomber that I turned into my previous assistant Tane. You can see all the sliders on the right. It’s really quite incredible.. and if you’re a portrait kinda person, don’t miss it!

The third sweet tool is the AI Structure enhancer. The cool thing about it is that it doesn’t make any adjustments to humans in the scene. AI Structure can really make textures and other elements “pop” without making the humans in the scene look overly sharp, gritty, or illustrative. As you can see in the screenshot below (another one I took a few weeks ago in Zimbabwe), it’s just two simple sliders!

Grab it here today for a discounted price before it launches in November.

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Textures of the Li River

Textures Tutorial

Today’s photo uses one of my favorite techniques! Make sure you pick up my Textures Tutorial in the store. It comes with a ton of textures that you will love too!

Daily Photo – Textures of the Li River

Finally, something not from the USA! I’ve been sharing a ton of photos from my USA tour recently… mostly because I’ve been away from home in NZ for three months and don’t have access to my mother lode of photos! I edited this photo for a few hours on the plane. I love using textures… I hope you try out the tutorial above and enjoy it too!

Textures of the Li River

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2014-06-04 00:19:05
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Queenstown Morning

Aurora Promo Video

Just in case you don’t have the new Aurora for Mac of PC, here’s a little promo video I made for it!

Daily Photo – Queenstown Morning

I was down by the docks at Lake Wakatipu one morning and I was greeted with this rather amazing sunrise! I didn’t have my tripod with me, but I squeezed off three quick brackets to get this scene. It was edited in Aurora HDR 2019… man, that program is amazing. And I’m not just saying that because I helped make it with the team from Skylum!

Queenstown Morning

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-07-04 08:09:14
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length21.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Shopping Street in Hong Kong

Luminar and Looks

I recently made some videos that show off Luminar and my Luminar Looks. By the way, they are called Looks now… not presets, but I still say it wrong all the time.

Daily Photo – Shopping Street in Hong Kong

Here’s a fun new photo I’m quite happy with! I took it about half a year ago when I was in Hong Kong, but haven’t processed it until recently. I used one of my Luminar presets from above!

Shopping Street in Hong Kong

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-14 23:46:59
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length82.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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My New Origin PC!

The amazing team over at Origin PC custom-built me a new PC! I was soooooo excited to receive it! Here is my rather random and silly unboxing video. It’s probably the WORST unboxing video they have ever asked someone to do. But, nevertheless, I finally got it done and I absolutely love the system.

This machine is screamingly fast, and it was a great move to put my main Lightroom library on here. It’s great to have my ~800K photos all in one place with no external drives (except for backups). And the speed… the SPEED! It’s so fast that not even the sloppy programming of Adobe Lightroom can slow it down!

Here’s the 360 video of the unboxing (you can move the camera around). I’ll put the specs below!

ORIGIN PC M-Class Desktop (Black)

  • 850W EVGA SuperNOVA G3 PSU
  • Blue Individually Sleeved Cables
  • Supermicro X11SRM-F Motherboard
  • Intel Xeon W-2145 8-Core 3.7GHz (4.5GHz TurboBoost)
  • ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • 64GB SUPERMICRO DDR4 2666MHz ECC Registered (2 x 32GB)
  • MS Windows 10 Pro
  • 500GB Samsung 860 EVO Series SSD
  • 1TB Samsung 860 EVO Series SSD
  • 12TB BarraCuda Pro Seagate SSHD
  • 12TB BarraCuda Pro Seagate SSHD
  • …and some LED lighting.



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Ginzan Onsen

Passport Sunday Freebie!

Today I’m sharing a free Passport video with everyone. If you’re a Passport Member, then you get access to over 100 of these videos and a new one every Sunday! Some of my favorite ones are the six videos I released from Antarctica where you get to see all sorts of behind-the-scenes tomfoolery!

How To Video from Ginzan Onsen

Here’s a video I recently made that shows how I edited a photo from a location very close to where I took today’s daily photo. Of course, I used Aurora HDR 2019 to do all the editing.

Daily Photo – Ginzan Onsen

I came to this place with one of my worst plans, but it totally worked out!

Planning for this Japan trip was very difficult because I was going to many remote towns that a) do not take online booking b) where I stay in small hotels where no one speaks English. This makes getting reservations directly almost impossible!

I tried to get reservations via the bilingual concierge at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo, and even though he was very resourceful, he said it was 100% booked. But I decided to go anyway and knock on every door of every ryokan until I found a room. I knew it would be hard because nobody speaks English in these places. Anyway, after I knocked on the door of ryokan #4 I finally found a room! Even better, they had private baths fed by all the steaming water from the nearby hot springs. It was incredible to be soaking in steaming hot mineral water while watching snow fall all around me.

Ginzan Onsen

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2019-02-18 22:03:16
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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