Walking Blind through China

Amazing New eBook!

Check out FlatBooks.com to see “Photographing the Fourth Dimension – Time” from Jim Goldstein.  I think you’ll love it…  And, I hate to say judge a book by its cover – but – go ahead! :)

Lijiang is a Photo Holiday!

This turned out to be an amazing place for photos! If you’d like to see all the photos from this area, click on the Lijiang Category here or at the bottom of the post.

Daily Photo – Walking Blind through China

As Tom Anderson and I were leaving the old area of Lijiang one evening, we saw these two coming towards us in the opposite direction. One of them was blind (perhaps both), and one played a small stringed instrument while the other held out a bowl for donations.

I squatted down and waited for them to enter a little pool of light from a nearby shot before I took the photo. And then I walked over and put a little donation in the bowl.

Monkey Monkey

Google Currents

Have you installed Google Currents on your Android device or your iPad? It’s pretty cool. If you add me in both places – both as a “Curator” and as in the Lifestyle category, then you can get my stuff ahead of time!

Daily Photo – Monkey Monkey

This might be the dumbest name for any photo ever, but all bets are off with these snow monkeys.

Did you know that Nolan Ryan from the Texas Rangers has a bunch of snow monkeys in South Texas? Oh yes, listen here. Really – listen! :)

Monkey MonkeyThis might be the dumbest name for any photo ever, but all bets are off with these snow monkeys.Did you know that Nolan Ryan from the Texas Rangers has a bunch of snow monkeys in South Texas? Oh yes, listen here. Really - listen! :)- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Mark Zuckerberg

Final Prints for 2011

[UPDATE - Sold Out] – Speaking of today’s photo… I should let you know there are only a few Prints left for this Limited Annum series 2011. There are 12 days remaining!

Daily Photo – Zuck In Customs

I was able to have a bit of personal time with Mark Zuckerberg, who turns out to be a fan! I could not believe it when I saw a kind email from him… I had to look a few different times to see if one of my friends was playing a practical joke on me… Anyway, we meet this week here in California at the FB HQ and had a bit of personal time. I won’t go into the nature of the conversation because it was, well, personal — but I really had a nice time.

Obviously, I’m a fan of Facebook too, and these things tend to be a digital manifestation of somebody’s spirit. So, from that aspect before we met, I had attempted to reverse-engineer the man behind the product as sort of a mental exercise. And then when I met him, it was interesting to see all the various aspects of a person and how they differ from their magnum opus.

Here is Mark holding his rare print…

HDR Photo

As for this photo below, I grabbed it when we left his office to go down to join in the fun of the Hackathon.

HDR Photo

New eBook!

New eBook – Square

We have a great new eBook – it’s beautiful, educational, and fun. I think you’ll get a lot out of it. Pop over to Flatbooks.com now to get a copy and download immediately!

Here’s what’s inside:

- Learn the history of the square format
- Learn to capture for square and edit with square in mind
- Tutorials for Cropping, Making Vertoramas, and adding borders to your images
- Read an interview case study with Matt Toynbee
- Learn about Holga lenses
- 50+ Pages

Other New Flatbooks Authors

There are so many things happening with Flatbooks.com that I can barely keep up! We have Ben Wilmore writing a new book which should be done pretty soon. Besides Ben, we have all kinds of people writing them now, like Lisa Bettany, Jessica Ambats, Jaime Ibarra, and several others.

And don’t forget about Ron Martinsen’s eBook on Printing, which is another new release.

Daily Photo – Girl Outside Restaurant

I normally don’t re-process photos. Most of you may know this about me. But, I went over to have a little session with Jaime Ibarra (at the same time I talked him into writing an eBook for us!), and I took a few photos with me to work on. This is one of them. He has a very interesting technique, and I thought this would be a good candidate.

I found this girl sitting outside of a restaurant. There’s a dead time around 3 to 4 PM… to late for lunch and too early for dinner. I suppose she worked in the restaurant and was just taking a break…

HDR Photo

Man Sketching in Uzès

2-3 years without a miss!

Publishing a new photo every day is really hard! 4-5 years ago I would miss 5-10 days out of the year, but I think I’ve been pretty solid for the last 2-3 years. Sometimes, I miss the midnight deadline that is self-imposed, but I always get one up before the following midnight. But, it’s no problem, really… obviously I enjoy doing it! :)

Daily Photo – Man Sketching in Uzès

After spending the day walking around the old market, I started to walk back to where I started. Weaving through small alleys, I would occasionally enter larger courtyards. In one of them, I saw this man, sitting on a step, and sketching the scene.

When I took the photo, he looked up and gave a little smile, then went back to his business.

Man Sketching in UzèsAfter spending the day walking around the old market, I started to walk back to where I started. Weaving through small alleys, I would occasionally enter larger courtyards. In one of them, I saw this man, sitting on a step, and sketching the scene.When I took the photo, he looked up and gave a little smile, then went back to his business.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Little Girl in China

Facebook Subscribe

I also post photos over on Facebook, and now you can click the “Subscribe” button there. For those of you that already have – thanks! And thanks for all the shares on there… it is still one of the most viral things around.

Daily Photo – Little Girl in China

Chinese kids can be awfully cute. I don’t know why this is… maybe because they are just kinda different… I can’t put my finger on it. They kind of remind me of really cute pets… that is a strange thing to say, but maybe you know what I mean. Anyhoo, I’ve been processing with a few new techniques, and this is one of the results…

HDR Photo

Painted Face in China

A raging Android and iPad/iPhone Discussion!

The new app Stuck On Earth accidentally set off a firestorm on Google+ the other day! See the article here. Here is a snippet of the beginning below:

Are Android people easier to anger than iOS people? (Or is it just me?)

So, yesterday, we announced +Stuck On Earth, and the first version is only iPad. Yes, we have plans to build Android, web, iPhone, etc in the future, but the kind of comments I got were often downright angry. !! It was so surprising.

I got comments like, “NO Android App available? Marketing Fail.” and “Android!!!!”

Now, maybe I am just too sensitive about this because it is my baby… and I’ve worked so hard on it and put so much love into it… I can barely stand the slightest critical comment. It eats right into my soul. I dunno… maybe some of you know what I mean.

Now, I can tell you with ontological certainty that making a quality app is HARD. It takes a long time and is expensive. Remember, by the way, this app is free. Ask +Kevin Rose about building apps. I’ve never met that guy, but I know he puts as much love into his work as I do…

When I gave a sneak peak a few weeks ago at the +Jason Calacanis LAUNCH event (where we were awarded Audience Winner! thx!), I was up there on stage by the eHarmony guy. Their app is equal in quality and polish to ours, and Jason speculated that it could have cost over $1 million, and I don’t doubt it!

Daily Photo – Painted Face in China

I was walking along outside the Forbidden City trying to find a special entrance, and I saw these guys sitting on a bench. It was so interesting and amusing… I dropped down on a knee to take a quick photo while things were perfectly strange. What do you think is going on in this photo?

Painted Face in China I was walking along outside the Forbidden City trying to find a special entrance, and I saw these guys sitting on a bench. It was so interesting and amusing… I dropped down on a knee to take a quick photo while things were perfectly strange. What do you think is going on in this photo?- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

New eBook on Printing for you!

New eBook on Printing!

Want to know more about printing? We have a new ebook from Ron Martinsen that I am happy to announce. Not only is this eBook helpful and full of practical tips, but it’s also very beautiful. It’ll look great on your computer or iPad. Pop over to www.Flatbooks.com and you can see it there on the front page!

Daily Photo – Sunflowers

So is it a weed or is it a flower? I am sure people in the plant-community get as exercised discussing these categorizations as I do about talking about categorizing photography. You would not believe the millions of words and sentences wasted discussing photography and how to categorize one type of photo. I can only assume the same thing happens in the flower/botany community!

I got this one with my friend Scott Kublin one day in the south of France. We had Fabien (the website designer) pull over on a tiny little road so we could pop out and get some sunflower photos. I think he almost got rear-ended while waiting on us, so he had to pull away then circle back to get us! On the second drive-by, he started honking so we had to run and dive into the car like it was an action movie.

Sunflowers So is it a weed or is it a flower? I am sure people in the plant-community get as exercised discussing these categorizations as I do about talking about categorizing photography. You would not believe the millions of words and sentences wasted discussing photography and how to categorize one type of photo. I can only assume the same thing happens in the flower/botany community!I got this one with my friend Scott Kublin one day in the south of France. We had Fabien (the website designer) pull over on a tiny little road so we could pop out and get some sunflower photos. I think he almost got rear-ended while waiting on us, so he had to pull away then circle back to get us! On the second drive-by, he started honking so we had to run and dive into the car like it was an action movie.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Stuck in Taxi in Beijing

Stuck in a Taxi

Here is a little video I made in the back of a taxi in Beijing so you can see a fairly typical situation!

Daily Photo – The CNCC

Here is the convention center in Beijing at Dusk. They call it the CNCC. I don’t know what that stands for, but I can guess what two of the C’s mean.

This is a strange thing I have noticed about Beijing. Many people speak in abbreviations. I had many people tell me of the CNCC like it was something I knew perfectly well. I would just end up nodding because when I would ask for what it stood for, they were confused.

“You should go to the CNCC!” they say.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“Oh, you know! It’s the CNCC!” they respond.

The CNCCHere is the convention center in Beijing at Dusk. They call it the CNCC. I don't know what that stands for, but I can guess what two of the C's mean.This is a strange thing I have noticed about Beijing. Many people speak in abbreviations. I had many people tell me of the CNCC like it was something I knew perfectly well. I would just end up nodding because when I would ask for what it stood for, they were confused."You should go to the CNCC!" they say."What's that?" I ask."Oh, you know! It's the CNCC!" they respond.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest and see a video of a fairly typical situation in a Chinese cab here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

5 More Tips for Photographing People

Always Refining

I went back and read my previous Top 5 Tips here, and I realized a few of them could be improved… and I also rewrote everything… This is one of the good things about having a blog — I can always change my mind like a woman. (I see the benefits, now).

5 More Tips for Photographing People

I hope they help!

1) If you prefer to take photos of people as they are acting naturally, go ahead and take the photo before they notice you. You are a photographer, and this is you. You capture life… if you see something interesting whether it is a landscape, a pile of peaches, or a person that strikes your fancy, go ahead and do it. If you like and it is convenient, you can always go show them the photo after you are done. I do this whenever it makes sense, and I have a nice little interchange with the person.

2) Keep an extra camera ready for people shots. When walking the streets, I normally have my “big” camera ready to go for city landscape shots. My tripod is on. My wide-angle is on. It’s in that “mode.” If I am going to have to switch lenses, it will take forever, and the moment will be lost. So, I carry a second camera on a sling around my shoulder for people shots. On that camera, I have an 85mm or 50mm prime lens. Now, you don’t have to have this exact setup by any means, but having ANY kind of second camera for people shots is recommended.

2b) I find that the 85mm prime keeps me outside something I call the radius of intimacy. That is, when you use a 50mm, you are so close that people often stop acting naturally, unless they are a professional model or a natural thespian.

3) If they ARE likely to notice you, be confident and deliberate, softly asking permission with your eyes. This is a very subtle and hard thing to explain. I usually raise my eyebrows while I raise my camera, clearly indicating, “I’m about to take a photo. Everything is okay.” If they don’t want you to, they will make it clear. Usually, they say it’s just fine. People like to be thought of as interesting.

4) If they are very close, I ask permission out loud. Often times, I don’t want them to pose… so I say something (smiling!) like, “You look very interesting — can I take a photo?” Once they say yes (98% of the time they do), I usually ask them not to pose and carry on about their business. Then I start taking a bunch of photos and enjoy the pressure of capturing the moment.

5) Don’t be shy! If you feel overly shy, it may be a larger indication that you are letting fear motivate you rather than the opportunities that life provides. So, if you feel doubt or fear, just try to channel me and be brave and forthright.

Daily Photo – Old Woman in Beijing

I spotted this old woman walking along the outside of the Forbidden City. Just like above, I took photos without any hesitation before she noticed what was going on. I shared the photo with her after, and we had a nice little moment.

HDR Photo

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