Bustling Beijing

Thanks again Beijing!

When I called for some assistants here on the blog to help me out in China, I did not expect so many people to contact me! Thanks again for all the emails. I’m not sure I was able to contact everyone back, but I did my best. I ended up with a great gentlemen who was already at the airport with a driver holding my name card! His name is Woo and he’s studying international relations. His English accent is extremely-proper British, so it’s a bit like having a non-stop Jeremy Irons voiceover. He’s been great… even though I think I am wearing him out.

Daily Photo – Bustling Beijing

Getting this photo was not easy at all!

I knew of this area of Beijing called the CBD, or Central Business District. I notice that they have all these catchy names here, much like the building I took this photo from: “China Merchants Building.” At any rate, I had the driver circle the business district a few times so I could find a good angle. We found one in this building, but did not know if we could take a photo from the top floor. Woo went in first. This might have been a mistake because during the shoot he admitted he had a dreadful fear of heights. But he said it in such a charming British accent I thought it could have been my subconscious.

We went up to the 32nd floor. No windows no dice. We then went to the 31st floor, but the confused secretary would not let us through. Then we tried 30. The secretary said yes and let us into a boardroom, but the angle was not right and the other offices were busy. So we went to 29.

The secretary on 29 was confused so I instructed Woo to tell her, firmly, “We are with the Government.”

After that, we rushed in to set up, since the light was fading. People in the office were having some sort of light party at the end of the workday and were very confused by our presence. While I was setting up, Woo gave them the full story about how this was for an organization that had approval from the government and we were trying to get a fun shot of the city, etc etc. And then he pulled out my iPad to show the managers some of my work. Then they all got excited and came over to get their photos taken with me. All of that was fine and well, but I had to convince them to stop doing that and turn off all the lights because the reflections were killing me.

Bustling Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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  • casusan

    Awesome shot Trey! I haven’t seen you shoot a night city shot in awhile and this one is super good!
    Hilarious story – I feel sorry for Woo – you’re leading him astray!

  • Gernot

    hehe trey, that is china. either you have guanxi (??) or the government is your backup to open doors πŸ˜€
    excellent shot!

  • Richard (oldhickory)

    Wow… that is a winner! Just beautiful.

    Classic.

  • yea…. this is top fav of yours ever taken…

  • Thank you!

    Well, I was pretty lucky since Beijing has those “lighted street-outliners” which are totally badass.

  • Rimmer

    Very nice shot.

  • Awesome shot Trey and funny story :-)))

  • Absolutely terrific! Your night shots of the cities you visit are superb.

    Funny you should post this one today though as I was looking at some of your old ones from Chicage last night (while trying to avoid the dreadful ‘X-Factor’ on TV). Some of them are like this – i particularly loved the ones from the park with the face on the big screens. I noticed that very few of them had any comments on them – which made me a little confused and sad given they were such cool pictures. I loved looking through them so i think it would be cool if you dusted off a few of those gems and got them posted again.

  • SUPER AWESOME! Totally well worth the trouble you had to make this image πŸ™‚

  • Such a eclectic combination of colours. This photo just works and really pops out of the screen. I quite like the fact that you can also see tiny people when you zoom right in!

  • Tony Isaac

    Superb shot, what settings did you use for the initial shot?

  • Gail in Montana

    Great city scape and funny story, Trey. I enjoyed reading it!!! Happy Sunday, have fun. πŸ™‚

  • David Robillard

    Wow! Might be one of your best.–Dave

  • Ash

    Great shot, was veiwing at original size and noticed you may have used some technique on the trees. they are not quite as sharp as the rest of the image ie cars etc. did you mask them with a heavier blur, or is that how they came from the camera (with the longer shutter speed).

    Also, when are you coming to Australia? seems like you been just about everywhere else, and we have so much to offer for landscape photography, maybe too much…

    keep up the great work.

    ASH

  • Derek

    Beautiful shot Trey! This is definitely one of my favorites, great job and keep up the good work!

  • Dayton

    Great picture and funny story πŸ™‚

  • Great shot Trey. I love how you get your night shots through glass so sharp. I recently posted about the problems I had with glass in Melbourne trying to get a night time shot from the top of an observation tower. I guess I’m not as lucky as you to be able to get all the lights off at your chosen location.
    http://www.waitingforvisas.com/?p=190
    Looking forward to some more of your China work as I’m heading there next week for a month or so.

  • Amazing shot, amazing story. One of your very best.

  • PeterG

    The visual style, lighting and the shapes of the buildings, immediately made me associate with the opening sequence of Blade Runner. Terrific shot!

  • really… this is one of your best, congratulations!

  • Absolutely stunning picture..
    I think this s like mentioned above.One of your very best!

  • Ok, this might be my favorite Trey Ratcliff image of all time. You can view the image at full res and just see so much, and in a wonderful, painterly way. This is truly a remarkable work.

  • Ali

    This is just…wow!

  • This is funny story, Trey. You know, how to get around the administrative workers, he, he…
    Photo is amazing, you did that through glass?! OK, without lights it is easier.
    Did you plan, that you will get such good composition from the city on that side of building, Trey, or was that pure luck?

  • Peter Gorges

    Trey, I’d say this is your most impressive photo so far, and I love the story too. I know you’ve done shots that were harder to get, but this one keeps blowing me away. I want that to be the wall of my music studio, backlighted, with city sound πŸ˜‰

  • Connor

    Hey Trey, this photo is stunning. One of the best I have seen in a long time! How long was the exposure? Did you put this picture through Topaz at all? Thanks!

  • OldDogNewTrick

    You did a great job shooting through the boardroom window.

    I am going to try your “I’m from the government” line sometime soon and will blame you if it goes horribly wrong.

    πŸ™‚

  • Salah

    Fantastic shot

  • that’s why should always bring some duct tapes and a small piece from black garbage bag to wrap around the lens and tape it to the window glass to kill the reflection!

    nice story Trey. if I was going there, no matter what I show to them in my iPad, they will not let me in.. (i’m chinese). haha!

  • Wow! What a shot! Superb πŸ™‚

  • Anders K

    Spectacular!
    It reminds me a bit of the old Disney movie “Tron”… Tron Ratcliff? πŸ˜‰

  • Patrick Ahles

    Oh, I love this one!

  • Dad’s Dad

    Hey Boom-Great picture-very Bladerunner. From the snippit it sounds like you may have picked up some of my bad traits. Fun and works most of the time. Will tell you some stories where it didn’t work out so well. Love,
    Dad

  • hehe thanks all…

    Anders – yes kind of tron-like !

    Tony – yes I did that sort of thing too – had an extra shirt that I used to block a tiny bit of extra light!

    Connor – no- straight HDR with cleanup like I usually recommend… 5 exposures – longest at 30s

    Ash – I do need to get to Aus !! it’s on my list mate !

  • Great shot!

  • Hi Trey,

    Could you please provide more details about this one? Like ISO, aperture and how many exposures were taken? Thanks a lot, and congratulations. This is really one of your best so far.

    Best regards,

    Igor

  • Gordon

    That’s a wonderful shot, I walk this intersection twice or three times a day when I’m in Beijing. There are so many beautiful places there to photograph, wish I had your talent!

  • Awesome location, looks like it was worth the headache

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  • Nice story. Getting to the top of skyscrapers is an ongoing hobby/adventure/pursuit of mine. Not always successful, but when you get the shot, it feels great!

  • Mt first thought was Blade runner when i saw this one, this image really has that futuristic look that i love so much.

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