Passport Vault – Page 13 – Stuck in Customs

Passport Vault

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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

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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

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Yosemite in the Morning

Another How-To Video

A HUGE thanks again to those of you that signed up for Passport! Today, I have another video where I show a breakdown of how today’s photo came to be. Enjoy!

Yosemite in Aurora

Enjoy this video… it shows how I use layers in Aurora! 🙂

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Daily Photo – Yosemite in the Morning

I took this on New Year’s Morning, several years ago when we had a fun photo walk in Yosemite. You all know I hate waking up early, but I was more than happy to arrive at this beautiful spot. All in all, I still recommend Yellowstone over Yosemite, but there are a few amazing spots in Yosemite you gotta hit! 🙂

Yosemite in the Morning

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-01-01 10:01:04
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.5
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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The Lupins in Spring

A special day in Tekapo (more for Passport members)

Want to see how today’s photo was processed? I do the whole thing from beginning to end… it was kind of a challenging photo, I’ll be honest. Anyway, you’ll see the bonus material at the bottom of this blog post if you’re a Passport Member and THANKS again for all your support! 🙂

A very in-depth post-processing of the Tekapo Lupins

So, this is kind of a long video, but it’s one of the most in-depth post-processing videos I’ve ever made for you, awesome Passport member. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

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Daily Photo – The Lupins in Spring

This is a new favorite photo of Tekapo! I had a lot of trouble figuring out what composition to use and how to process it (you’ll see in the how-to video below), but I’m very happy with the result. Can you believe a lot of locals in New Zealand find this lupin flower to be a pest and a nuisance? I’ve been trying to collect more and more and plant them at our home! I think they are very pretty! 🙂

The Lupins in Spring

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-12-05 11:17:16
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Over the docks in Glenorchy

On the Way To Earnslaw Burn – And New Passport Video!

Lucky you if you’re a Passport Member as you get two videos two days in a row. This one is another amazing one – I have a patron who has paid a Rather Significant amount of money for me to take some photos (today’s Daily Photo is NOT one of them… just a quick shot I took on the way there). Anyway, this is Part 2 of 3 of more behind the scenes stuff. If you saw Part 1, you got to see me and the crew out on an overnight camping trip where I was trying to get the shots… been working on this project for about a year! Now it’s all finally coming together.

Earnslaw Burn Continued…

And in our on-going saga to get some good photos from Earnslaw Burn, here is Part 2, where you can see the resulting photos. Which ones are your favorite? I’ve now flown out to visit the patron in Austin to see his!

I’ll put Part 1 below Part 2 in case you missed that… It’s a great video too – check it out!

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Daily Photo – Over the docks in Glenorchy

On the way from Queenstown to Earnslaw Burn, you pass over this nice dock that shoots out into that turquoise water in Lake Wakatipu. I’ve taken heaps (that’s a word they use a lot here in New Zealand) of photos from ground level, so it was great to get up in the air to get a different perspective.

Over the docks in Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-11-23 14:51:21
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length3.6 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Bowen Falls and Milford in Black and White

Milford 360 Behind the Scenes

I made a 360 video for Passport Members that shows what it looks like just after you emerge into the fjord side of the tunnel. Normally there are lots of waterfalls and it is rainy, this time, the weather was perfect! Anyway, enjoy… and let me know if you like these 360 videos and I can make more.

360 Video of the fjord side of the Milford Sound tunnel

Hello, Brave Passport Member! Here’s another 360 video for you! I’ve been watching these both in YouTube and with my Google Daydream… pretty cool, eh?

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Daily Photo – Bowen Falls and Milford in Black and White

This is a little black and white study across the sound facing Bowen Falls. It’s illegal, I think, but you can scramble around a wall down by the rocks (quite dangerous) and follow a path back there to an old grave. It’s pretty back there but hard to get a photo because of all the spray that comes off the waterfall.

Bowen Falls and Milford in Black and White

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-10-27 06:36:03
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Focal Length
  • Flash
  • Exposure Program
  • Exposure Bias

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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.

Gear2

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.

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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

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Last Ones Out of the Ocean in Naples

Fasting Time

I ate and drank so much on my 60-day trip around the world that I added a few LBs! You may remember one point in Grand Cayman where I gained Many Pounds in just a few days. Yes, that was an all-time low. Rock bottom. Anyway, now that I am home I just finished a 3-day fast and am going 0-carb for a few weeks to reset the system. In general, I’m enjoying being a human except for that bit! 🙂

Special Bonus Passport Stuff

Oh, today has more behind-the-scenes stuff for Passport Members at the bottom of this post!

Tips and Tricks from the beach in Naples

Here are some tips and tricks I shot for you while on the beach… It was this same evening, I believe.

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Daily Photo – Last Ones Out of the Ocean in Naples

Here are my two lovely daughters (not screaming at one another for once!) coming out of the water at the end of the day. This was their saddest time, when the mean parents made them come out of the ocean to go inside and get ready for dinner. Two little water-bugs, I tell ya! 🙂

Last Ones Out of the Ocean in Naples

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-04 06:46:09
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length42.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

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Don’t miss the new HDR Tutorial

One of the first few lessons was shot right here inside this amazing church in Venice with Lisa Bettany. We had great fun in here… and no one ever stopped us for our tripods. See more in the All-New HDR Tutorial!

Did you know as a Passport Member you have full access to the New HDR Tutorial? (Both the Mac/Aurora and Windows/Photomatix versions) Here’s the lesson shot in San Rocco that I refer to above. Click Here if you want to see all the lessons in our Table of Contents!

MAC/Aurora Version


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Windows/Photomatix Version

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Daily Photo – Lisa Bettany in San Rocco

You may remember this scene from the new HDR Tutorial. Lisa Bettany, pictured in an inappropriate church-pose, is pictured here trying to get a very low-angle shot of this place. I still haven’t seen how it turned out… that reminds me, I should ask! I’ll link here if she has posted it! 🙂

Lisa Bettany in San Rocco

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-28 12:18:26
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time3.2
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Gardens of Bangalore

Random Tip 3/3

I’m gonna start a new tradition on 3/3 where I give you three random tips. This tradition will go swimmingly until NEXT 3/3 when I will forget all about it. First up…

How do you insert 360 metadata into a Photo

I’ve been using my Panono to make 360 photos. It works great, and when I download from the Panono site, it’s ready to upload to FB and it will recognize it as a 360 file. However, you may see in this Photo of the Baths that I went into Photoshop and erased myself. That deleted all the 360 data. So how to get it back in? My man Stu and I looked into it and here’s how you do it.

There are a few ways to inject 360 information into an image which has lost it during post processing. More technical people can use ExifTool, a command line tool. There is also http://thexifer.net/ an online service which allows you to upload an image and edit the data. By far the easiest though is a local application such as Exif Pilot ( http://www.colorpilot.com/exif.html ). Simply open Exif Pilot, navigate to/select your image and then click “Edit EXIF/ITPC.”

Click the PhotoSphere tab and set the “panorama projection type” to “Equirectangular”. Click “ok”.

Tip 3 is in Passport Section

I added a video for Passport Members but I can give you the skinny here… Tip 3 is all about Google Fi my new Mobile Phone service! Note it’s not a paid placement and I pay full price for everything… but I love it!

Google Fi Tip

And here’s Tip #3! Like I said above, this is not a paid thing from Google or anything… I just love Google Fi! What is it? It’s a new sim card/mobile service that automagically connects to the fastest mobile service in any country around the world. You only pay Google, then they turn around and pay the other services… and any “extra” data you buy that is not used through Google is refunded to you at the end of the month. What mobile phone company does that? NONE! It was not around when I went here to India (today’s photo), but I know it works now… I’ll use it when I go back!

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Daily Photo – The Gardens of Bangalore

This was my first time in Bangalore, India. What a cool city… I took my family to their first Bollywood movie and then we walked through the gardens and danced around a grapefruit tree just like in the movie! Not long after this, we boarded a train for a week to explore the countryside. What an adventure!

My 2nd hot tip is if you’re in a Crazy Big City with chaos all around and you find it photographically overwhelming, find some parks. All the green and nature will calm you down… and give you a chance for some more relaxed photography.

The Gardens of Bangalore

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-04 13:32:30
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture4
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Amazing Milford Sound with Silky Fog

First 360 Passport Video

Hey for those of you that get Passport Access, you’ll get to see my first ever 360 video! It’ll be at the bottom of this post for you if you’re logged in. You can watch in YouTube or Google Daydream/Cardboard, or whatever! In the video, I shoot it at night down on the water… but I actually shot the photo below with a quadcopter the next morning. I have a cool night shot that I’m still working on and will post in coming weeks.

My first 360 Video!

Enjoy my first ever 360 video with tips and thoughts. I hope you enjoy! Any questions, leave in the comments as usual! 🙂

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Daily Photo – Amazing Milford Sound with Silky Fog

Some friends and I just made the trek down to Milford Sound for a little photo getaway. you NEVER know what the weather is gonna be like down there. We had good karma I suppose and ended up with incredible weather! It was a great road trip… great tunes, good friends, good wine, and good snacks! Oh, and a few good photos here and there too… a lot more to edit! Oh btw, that is the famous Mitre Peak there on the right sticking out through the clouds.

Amazing Milford Sound with Silky Fog

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-02-19 09:38:55
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

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