The Giants in the Muir Woods

The Auckland Photowalk

I knew a Type A personality would come along and create a Flickr Group for the Auckland Photowalk. Thanks for that – there is the link for everyone else that has yet to discover it. I am so lame and slow – it takes me a long time to process photos, but I will ! Thanks again everyone for the walk, the talk, and the pizza! I’d also like to thank Vivian Ho and Virginia Mui for helping me out with the whole event!

Christchurch Event Soon!

On the heels of the north island, the photowalk is moving to the south island and Christchurch on March 4. This talk will be a high-class event, complete with Wine and Cheese… but of course! 🙂

Daily Photo – The Giants in the Muir Woods

When I was in California recently, I left Leo Laporte’s cottage to take some photos of the Muir Woods. If you have never been here, it’s a must!

Did you know this is where they filmed that speeder scene from Return of the Jedi? Very cool. I did not see any Ewoks in the forest, nor did they try to trip me by making me roll my robo-angle on strategically-placed logs. Those Ewoks… so small, crafty, and flammable.

5 Great Twitter Contests

The Best of Breed

If you have some more ideas, Tweet me at @TreyRatcliff!

I’ve been asking all my social media pals, photographer-friends, and others about some of the most successful and fun Twitter contests that have been run.  I was sitting down with my publisher at @Peachpit, because we need to Give Away a few copies of “A World in HDR“.  While we thought of a few ideas, I thought we would open it up the Internet to see what we can find!

Frankly, and this might offend some people, I think that straight give-aways are crass and obvious.  I think it can get you followers, but I can argue those are ill-gotten followers.  You may disagree.

I think there are more fun, engaging, and productive ways to run Twitter contests.  So, to that end, I’ve assembled some of the best below.  If you have MORE, drop me a note in the comments, and I’ll do a redux soon! 🙂  Also, please, tell me your favorite contest idea and we can try to do something similar for the new book!  I’ll probably have @Peachpit run the contests, since I don’t want to Tweet about give-aways once an hour on my personal Twitter account (@TreyRatcliff). Besides, you guys should follow Peachpit anyway, since they are a good company that publishes fantastic books.

1)  The Michelle

  • So named, because it is the idea of Michelle Greer, a clever Twitter user and social media smarty-pants at Rackspace.
  • We pick a non-photography related blogger who frequently uses pictures in their posts to act as a judge (who’s interested??)
  • Judge announces a theme for the day (Landscape, architecture, etc) and announces via Twitter.  We’ll get that Retweeted widely and repeatedly.
  • Contestant picks a photo that fits the theme, “Hey @TreyRatcliff and @Peachpit, this #hdr is inspiring (link).”  Note this does not have to be MY photo…it can be yours, or anyone’s!
  • Judge picks the winner and uses it on their blog with attribution.  Winner gets a the prize!

Why I like this idea:

  • People get to find and share great art online
  • People get to discover new photographers and new sites that feature them
  • I’m a big fan of Creative Commons (all my work is CC, no Commercial Use allowed without contacting us first).  I think bloggers out there should know about all the beautiful photos from photographers that are available.  And photographers who believe in creative commons LOVE to be featured on blogs.
  • Everyone likes eye-candy on Twitter!

2)  The Trivial

  • Thanks to Eugene, a frequent guest on this site!
  • Send people on a scavenger hunt through a particular website to find something hidden
    • For example, we could ask, “How many nights in a row was Trey forced to eat borscht cooked by three Russian women in Argentina?”
  • The contest judge accepts tweets with real, creative, or funny answers.
  • The winner is selected randomly amongst those that got the right answer in 24 hours.

Why I like this idea

  • It’s fun and game-like
  • People get even more engaged in a website and might find some hidden gems
  • You have 24 hours to play, and you don’t have to be “quick on the draw”

3)  The Macleod

  • A frequent guest of the site, Barbara Youngleson, brought this one up.  Thanks Barbara!
  • This idea appears to have come from Hugh Macleod, the clever cartoonist and consummate cooligan
  • It works like this (more or less):
    • Purchase a book by any means, and send the PO over Twitter
    • A limited number of winners are chosen
    • Receive a second book, signed, for free.  Give one to a friend!

Why I like it:

  • It is non-pushy
  • It rewards people that are real-enough fans to buy the book in the first place!  Hehe.
  • Hugh did it, so it must have some coefficient of cool

4)  The Threadless

  • This idea is being successfully executed at Threadless.com
  • If you see a Tweet you like, you can submit it to the contest
  • It is then voted on by the Threadless community
  • The best Tweets end up on T-Shirts and the Tweet author gets sweet cash.

Why I like it:

  • It’s incredibly fun and engaging.
  • It’s super-viral.  I found out about it because someone nominated one of my Tweets: “If I get another dog, I shall name him ‘ROFL’.”
  • Threadless is cool, and it is fun to be associated with a cool brand.

5)  The Moonfruit

  • Moonfruit (a website buildin’ company) ran a good promotion where you can use the hashtag #moonfruit in any kind of Tweet
  • They selected a random person every day and gave away a MacBook Pro
  • It resulted in the #moonfruit hashtag being a trending topic and gaining over 30,000 followers

Why I like it:

  • It was very easy to enter
  • It was viral because you wonder why your friends are all talking about Moonfruit!

Today’s Photo – The Bar at Dosa in San Francisco

The photo today was taken at an awesome Indian restaurant in San Francisco called “Dosa”.  The manager was nice enough to allow me to move around and take a few photos after dinner.  I was dining with the marketing and PR team from Peachpit (@Peachpit), who is publishing the book.  Taking roll-call, we had Scott Cowlin (@ScottPeachpit), Sara Jane Todd (@SaraJaneTodd), and Laura Pexton (@Laura7).  We sat around all night talking about having some fun Twitter contests for people to give away books… so here we are, and you get to vote on your favorites!

5 Great Twitter Contests

A Mini-Land of San Francisco

Everyone always seems to like San Francisco, eh? It’s one of those places that people either have fond memories of, or an ongoing feeling like they need to go there.

I know some photographers are probably familiar with this tilt-shift type of shot. For those of you not familiar with it, there is a way to take photos and convert them into something that looks like a miniature. You can do it in-camera with a certain kind of lens, or afterwards with some post-processing. I don’t do a lot of tilt-shift stuff, but I thought I would share this one! 🙂

The Mini-Land of San Francisco

Little Italy

This was taken in North Beach, the Italian section of San Francisco. I thought this cool corner spot was a lot like a smaller version of the Flatiron building in New York. That reminds me… I have a cool shot of that I need to find and upload. I didn’t stop in this cafe below… but it looked like a nice place to hang out.

Little Italy

San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate

The weather in San Francisco was not the most cooperative for every kind of picture I wanted to take, but I did come away with a few interesting ones. I went a little Orton on this one, but I like the the results and the colorful glowing houses dotting the coast.

San Francisco Bay and The Golden Gate

San Francisco Flyby in HDR

Whenever I shoot San Francisco, I think it JUST might be the very last shot before the big one hits. They say they pyramidal Transamerica building is fairly earthquake-proof, but I don’t really believe it.

I think if there was a big one, I would just climb out the window and slide down the outside, just in case. That seems like a pretty solid plan.

San Francisco Flyby

I Heart San Francisco (and MyBlogLog too)

I have just joined MyBlogLog, so feel free to click here to join my community.

I had to spend about $300 in order to pay all the homeless people to get out of the way of this shot, but I think it was well worth it.

I like how cities are doing this artistic stuff and contracting with local artists. I’m not a fan of tax-supported public art, however. I heard that in Iceland that if you are a recognized, but unemployed artist, that the government will actually give you a regular stipend. Anyway, I digress.

Each corner of Union Square here in San Francisco had some uniquely painted heart. I thought this one was the coolest with the sky that day, so I had to grab a shot.

I Heart San Francisco

The Eve Online Goth Vampire Party at GDC

I am here in San Francisco for the Game Developer’s Conference. Believe it or not, I’ve had over 45 meetings so far and it’s only four days into the event. I’m so tired that I could barely even refuse when my friends at CCP Games in Iceland invited me to their little party tonight after dinner. Little did I know *what* kind of party it would be.

I show up, and it turns out that I am suddenly in this goth-vampire club in SOMA and the CCP guys have called in the cavalry of SF goth girls, vampiric wraiths, suicide girls, and the kind of people that sleep on leather sheets. I honestly don’t know where they found these people or where they were able to purchase insurance for this event.

Screaming Pain
The party was to celebrate Eve Online and its amazing success with over 180,000 players. They are also making a new announcement soon about something new they are doing (did they announce it somewhere)? Hilmar could have just thrown a little party in his hotel room and we could have ordered room service and had pillow fights, but he went with Reynir’s suggestion and decided to get whipped by women with a lot of iron in their blood.

I did not stay for too long because I started seeing strange things that can only be described properly with grunts and wild gesticulations. It shocks me how much these Nordic types can drink. The drinks were free, so it was like a non-stop Italian soccer match around the bar. None of them understood why I just ordered a Sprite. They looked at me like I didn’t like rotten shark.

Below you can see Reynir, the founder and visionary of Eve, with the dark hair. You can also see Hilmar, the CEO of CCP, with the sadistic faces and shock of red hair.

Reynir at the Eve Online GDC Party

Below you can see Hilmar taking out years of frustration on Reynir. It was all in good fun until he sucker-punched him in the kidneys.

Hilmar takes out years of agression on Reynir

You may think that the face below is of Hilmar in pain, but this is how Hilmar usually looks. This is my payback to Hilmar for forcing me to eat Rotten Shark and Lamb Heart in Iceland.

Hilmar takes his medicine

This is Reynir

All of this reminds me of my time in Iceland (other Iceland pics here), where I had a great time visiting their studio and the city. I think I know where they get their unique vision; everything there is so isolated from the self-replicating creative patterns in the rest of the world. Plus, they are surrounded by unique Eve-like architecture like the building below. How can you not want to make cool games when you have stuff like this you see every day?

The Wrath of the Norse Gods

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