The Grand Pool

Great PhotoWalk in London

We had about 75 people show up and had an amazing time. Thanks everyone who came out! We totally overwhelmed security at Westminster, Parliament, and The London Eye — they had no choice but to leave us be! :)

Before the walk, I gave explicit instructions to the crowd on what to yell in case they are accosted by the police: “Help Help! I’m being repressed!” Then, we would all work together to tweet it out and make a big deal of it… but, in the end, no one was bothered… it’s intimidating to see 75 tripods coming your way!

Below is a shot from Steve Graham (iboogaloo on Flickr).  You can visit his blog here.

Trey Ratcliff HDR Photographer at the London Photo Walk in front of Westminster

Reminder about Categories and Previous Pages

There is a lot of content here on the site! I wanted to remind you that I do “categorize” every photo. At the bottom of this one, you will see it says things like “California” and “Hearst”. Clicking on any of those will take you to more of the same.

Also, the blog is only set up to show about 10-15 of the latest posts. With many categories, there are a lot more than that! So you can click “Previous” at the bottom to see more.

Daily Photo – The Grand Pool

I’ve already posted a few photos of the fabulous Hearst Castle indoor pool. This is the one that it is nearby, just outdoors. The thing is enormous and perfect.

I wonder if it ever gets used. So sad. Maybe they put on little pool parties here and there for the elite. Or maybe rappers rent it out and bring in a bunch of rap-video-girls to gyrate around the edges. I don’t know.

HDR Photo

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Isabella’s Jewel Box

Thanks Again Community!

(BTW, it sounds strange calling us a “community”.  I never really liked that word… it’s like we meet for Bingo at the sad community center that smells like old tapioca pudding or something…  maybe you know a better word?)

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you again for all the support, encouragement, and enthusiasm! I really enjoy reading your comments, getting your emails, tweets, FB comments and more. I feel bad I can’t respond to all of them, but I still do read them all. There is a lot, but the reading is not yet overwhelming. The responding is. Something maybe people don’t realize is that comments appear all over the site every day, even on posts that are several years old. For example, someone just dropped a note on a 2-year-old post “Girl in Qatar” looking for a penpal.

I also quite like it when people post links to their websites, their photos, or whatever they find interesting. I encourage it, and it helps YOU get to know OTHER nice people here in the community here too. I know my mom will track you down (like she did Gail) whenever you suddenly stop leaving comments. She gets worried (she called me one day and said, “Do you think Gail is sick or something?”)

If you have more ideas on things you’d like to see around here to help this process, let me know! :)

Daily Photo – Isabella’s Jewel Box

Up high, in one of the tallest towers of all the land, in the highest castle by the sea, sits a perfect bedroom, and it shines like the inside of a floating jewel box.

This amazing place is in one of the two peak towers atop Hearst Castle. Getting up into these rooms via tiny, twisting stairways is not the easiest thing in the world. The paths in and out of these bedrooms are almost so serpentine that they seem secret. When I was inside, I felt like I was one of the few people in the world to ever experience it.

HDR Photo

Relapse Photo – The Castle From Below

I’ve included a second photo from the outside of the castle. Towards the top, you can see the two towers, each of which contains one of these little slices of fantasy.

Hearst Castle

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Slipping into the Pool

Great Photo Contest!

There is a great new photo contest I encourage all of you to join!  Get the details on the OpenCa.mp page!

The prize is a fantastic metal print from Image Wizards.  I’ve had many things printed there, and you will be amazed.  Really.  I’ll be one of the judges along with Frederick Van Johnson.  So, if you don’t like the choice in the winners, please blame Frederick Van Johnson.

Daily Photo – Slipping into the Pool

This vast indoor pool at Hearst Castle is just about perfect.  The only thing that would have been more perfect is if I was actually inside of it!  If I wasn’t such an honorable guy, I would have stripped down and jumped in for a bit.  It would have taken at least 15 minutes for security to get me out of there.  But it would have been a sweet sweet 15 minutes.  I could just say that I lost my mind for a bit…  like Hearst Castle was Shutter Island and I was a bit loopy because of the drugs.

A friend was looking at my other photo of this pool (You can access it by clicking on the Hearst Castle category below.  He remarked that he thought it was a slick, reflective floor and not a pool!  I had never thought of it like that, but then I noticed… and I could also see it like that.  A bit like a Necker cube!

HDR Photo

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Sunset at Hearst Castle

New Book on Book List!

As some of you know, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Matt Ridley and his wife, Anya Hurlbert. I knew of Matt previously because I’ve always been a fan of his unique science/genetics books; these have delightful and unexpected hooks into economics, anthropology, history, and critical thinking. And then I found out his wife was also of a different sort of scientist, with a concentration in Visual Neuroscience. If you saw my Google Talk, then you’ll know that is also a big interest area for me! Follow her link above if you want to read more.

Matt has a new book that just came out called “The Rational Optimist“. If you want a taste of it, read Matt’s recent Wall Street Journal article.

Anyway, here on the site, I have “Trey’s Book List“, that has all sorts of suggestions. There is surely something for everyone in there!

Bonus Book Suggestion!

I just finished listening to the Audio Book of Daemon. You gotta get it! I haven’t heard anything this good in a while… and, as opposed to most books, I really do recommend the audio version. Jeff Gurner does an amazing job with the voices, and hearing the computer voices talk is more than entertaining! The author, Daniel Suarez, really knows his stuff. And, I would not be surprised if he has read some of Matt Ridley’s books — particularly “The Red Queen”.

Daily Photo – Sunset at Hearst Castle

Maybe people in California get spoiled by good sunsets. Not living there, I don’t know! But, when you are sitting up high on a mountain, in a castle-mansion, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, how could you not get spoiled?

And this isn’t even the main castle. This is just one of the guest-houses. Hearst had several guest houses there, each one as stunning as the next.

If you are enjoying these Hearst photos, I’ve now published six so far. You can see all the Hearst Castle Photos. Note: These are also accessible via the “Categories” down on the right side of the page.

HDR-Photo

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Hearst Castle in San Simeon

Any Problems with New Server?

We’ve recently moved over the entire website to the Rackspace Cloud.  This was done because our traffic is growing like crazy, and we wanted things to be nice and speedy for everyone.  Also, from time to time, Twitter can cause big surges in traffic that brought the whole thing to a grinding halt.

Let me know if you see anything is awry.  It’s hard for me to test anything, and there are always niggling little problems…  Like, for example, I found out that Firefox didn’t work because of some silly Facebook <iframe> code that still broke it even though it was commented out!

I’ll put together a full review on Rackspace soon enough… along with a whole list of all the backend stuff that keeps the site humming along.  I know we have lots of technical people that come to the site, and we all like geeking out about the specs and “how things work”!

Daily Photo – Hearst Castle in San Simeon

Did you know that Hearst Castle is only a few hours north of LA? If you ever end up in LA for a trip, be sure to set aside a few hours for a trip up to see this place. After you get out of the LA city-scape-area, the terrain totally changes – so does the “feeling”.

Towards the end of the day, all the tourists had left. I had an escort with me for most of the day. This gentleman was a retired LAPD officer who spends a few days per week working up at Hearst Castle. There are several of these guys and gals that help keep the place secure. They take the job pretty seriously, as you would expect from any LAPD-type. After a few hours, I was able to wear them down with humor. I found they responded very well to anti-lawyer humor, btw. So keep that one in mind in case you ever get in a pinch.

Everyone there was extremely nice, and I loved the opportunity to capture Hearst as it is meant to be captured. I kept returning to this fountain time and time again — until the skies and light was just right…

Hearst Castle

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