Dining at Hearst

Instagram is Fun!

I try to post a few photos on Instagram from time to time. See my Instagram photos there. Like, for example, today I posted a photo of my daughter and I backstage at the Daddy-Daughter dance… it was really great.

Daily Photo – Dining at Hearst

“You wanna see a secret passage?” the old security guard asked me.

“Are you kidding?” I asked.

And with that, he showed me how to get up into this area. It wasn’t super-duper-secret, since this is how singers used to get up high to entertain the guests below.

I’m glad I’m not one of those people that has to choose who sits where in these big banquet events. I think people in these situations really get their nose out of joint if they don’t get to sit next to so-and-so. But, if you’re hanging out and dining in Hearst Castle, you have to look pretty hard to find something to complain about! 🙂

HDR Photo

The Gate in Malibu

Live on TWIT today (Tuesday)

I’ll be on live with Leo and Lisa today at 1:30 PM PT. Tune in live at http://live.twit.tv/. I’m not sure what we’ll be talkin’ about… but something cool, no doubt.

HDR Tutorial now in SIX (!!!) Languages

Thanks again to the amazing community that has helped to get this translated far and wide. Awesome!

Welcome to the International HDR Tutorial!

Daily Photo – The Gate in Malibu

On my recent trip to California, I decided to stay in Malibu. I’ve stayed almost everywhere in the LA area, but never out here. I found a really cool place on the beach using Jetsetter.com. I’ve used that three or four times now – always with good results. The other places I used it for was London and Ibiza, and both were outstanding hotels.

One sunset, I walked over to the Malibu docks at sunset. They were pretty empty, with just a few people strolling around. And there was this nice painted gate looking so nice in the evening lights. It made for such a good pic that I took one with my phone and my D3X!

High Dynamic Range Photo

Big Sur Morning

SmugMug up to 27 Million Views!

I’ve gotten so many nice notes from SmugMug converts. I wrote my SmugMug Review about a year ago, and I’m still very happy with the transition. Already (and thanks to you!) we’ve gotten over 27 million views on SmugMug!

The SmugMug people have been very nice and seen the thousands of people we have sent over there. They gave all of you a SmugMug Coupon of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to save 20% on all the packages. Pretty good stuff I think… it’s a family-run company that loves beginner and pro photographers, so if you’ve been thinking about a new way to share your photos, give them a good look!

Daily Photo – Big Sur Morning

I had spent the entire previous day at Hearst Castle in California — all the way until the sun went down. That messed up my plans a bit to drive up Highway 1 and take in the sites with my camera. So I drove just about an hour or so north and found a little lodge right on the rocky coast. It was one of those mysterious late-night checkins where you can’t see what’s around you, but you have a feeling it’s kinda awesome. The next morning, I woke up early to see this! I hopped over a fence and hiked along the top of the cliffs to see the various views… Just as the sun was coming up, I grabbed this one from under a tree.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Army Men

Speaking of Christmas Toys…

Any great Christmas toy suggestions this year?  I’ve collected some unique toys from various countries (like, for example, these Chinese Chain-Puzzles) in my recent 80-day-around-the-world trip… but I was wondering if there was something else unique out there you all have stumbled upon?

Daily Photo – Army Men

We were walking around near some of the roller coasters in Disneyland when these army men came around the corner issuing a bunch of orders through the megaphone. Ethan and I were so surprised — I hardly had time to pull up the D3S for a quick shot!

Some of those days in Anaheim can get pretty hot… I don’t know how all these people in costumes can handle it. I guess it’s better than being one of the dress-up people in Orlando, though!

HDR Photo

Santa Monica Boulevard

Daily Photo – Santa Monica Boulevard

You know those images we all have of Los Angeles, California?  Pretty roads, lined with palm trees, people on roller skates, and convertibles driving by without a care in the world?  Well that is only about 1% of Los Angeles.  The rest, sadly is not terribly exciting.

But, why not go ahead and take photos of the top 1%?  Yes, that’s what we do as photographers.  So, this is one of those pretty bits, right near the beach in Santa Monica, one of the prettier areas of Los Angeles.

HDR Photo

The Private Library

Long-Exposure Article

When I was in Iceland with Rebekka, she set up for one of these long-bulb jobs. There was a light rain and a few drops kept getting on her lens, and the frustration ended with a wholesale slaughter of all nearby mountain-elves.

She’s gotten over it and recently posted an article on Long-Exposure Photography over at Pixiq. Follow that link to see more of her work!

Daily Photo – The Private Library

Here we are again, continuing the Hearst Castle thread. We have so many threaded stories here, yes? It’s a bit like Lost, in that there are so many story-lines that never really get resolved. Maybe at the end, we’ll all end up in a generic church together, staring at a white light out of the doors as the camera pans up and away…

There are a few libraries inside Hearst Castle, and this is the biggest. I’ve always wanted something a little like this. Maybe it doesn’t have to be quite this large, but I’d settle for a few warm shelves full of books, a reading table, and a few servants to bring me coffee.

HDR Photo

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

Play in Beverly Hills, Shop in Beverly Hills

Hollywood Adventure Redux

I did take this bigger HDR photo below during that period I mentioned in the long-form story. In case you are new to the site, you might enjoy that much longer, 3-part story from last month. To get there, just hop over to “My Hollywood Adventure.”

Daily Photo – Play in Beverly Hills, Shop in Beverly Hills

Well, those signs pretty much say it all. The city council voted down the less-popular alternatives, “Get Mugged in Beverly Hills, Get Ladyboy Hookers in Beverly Hills”. Those were right out.

While I was shooting this, a stretch limo pulled up beside me. The driver and I had a nice conversation… He had someone in the back, but the screen was up to keep out noise and wandering eyes. The driver was cool… I don’t even remember what we talked about. He was doing his thing, and I was doing my thing.

As he drove off, we exchanged the nods that two men sometime exchange when acknowledging one another’s jobs with respect.

HDR Photo

The Ultimate Carnival

Composition-on-the-scene

I did not include this photo below in my most recent eBook, but maybe I should have! It’s a pretty good example of setting up a composition on the scene… you can only do some things while there, and no amount of Photoshop can save a bad placement of the camera.

In this case, there was actually a big boring block of space in the sky. I kept moving my camera around until the string of lights ended up bifurcating the sky. Also, this gave us another leading line that stopped at a phi point, to help the eye travel around.

Frankly, I don’t like to over-analyze photos too much in text… it makes them lose their magic a little, don’t you think? But, on occasion, I will provide a little bit of play-by-play analysis!

Daily Photo – The Ultimate Carnival

I’ve been to Disney World many many times, but this is my first time as a grown-up to Disneyland. I always feel strange, by the way, calling myself a grown-up!

Disneyland has two parks on the premises. This one is from California Adventures, the second and newer park. Towards the backside, there is this perfect street, full of carnival-like activities. As most of you know, I’m a big fan of graphic design, so it was great fun to look at the delicious details in all of these signs.

HDR Photo

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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