Looking Down From the Bell Tower in Beijing

New Perspectives with Drones

I really like this top-down view that you get from drones. It’s so interesting to me… I follow a few other quadcopter photographers that do this also, and I’ve seen a few comment that it’s now “passé” — which I find to be ridiculous! I love looking at them and I think it will be a long time before I tire of it.

Daily Photo – Looking Down From the Bell Tower in Beijing

This is on the edge of one of the most famous buildings in Beijing. The building itself is great, naturally, but one of the best views is right here along this road. It’s where all the little covered bike-things line up to ferry people to and fro. I like how they are all a deep red and stand out against the greenness of the Beijing concrete.

Looking Down From the Bell Tower in Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraHero3-Black Edition
  • Camera MakeGoPro
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length2.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Walking Around Beijing

Snapshots

In writing the essence of this photo, I started thinking about the word “snapshot” — it got me to thinking… what do you think about it? Sorry for the esoteric questions, btw!

Daily Photo – Walking Around Beijing

In some ways, this photo is quite banal. In fact, I'll be honest, in Most ways. But it is kind of a snapshot of Beijing. I'm not so into “snapshots” which are kind of modern or current pictures of people and their places. I don't know if that makes sense. Probably not. But I think about this a lot when I look at old-timey photos. I'm sure they are very obvious or plain back when they are taken, but they seem so interesting when seen 30+ years later. I figure these sorts of photos probably won't hit that kind of awesome-level, because now everyone has cameras, so photos are less rare, but I do my humble best to pick out interesting slices of humanlife in places like this.

Walking Around Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Red Foggy Night in Northern China

See any typos?

You know what? I’m terrible with typos… just terrible. I make them all the time. I re-read my blog posts and I can never catch my mistakes. So, if YOU ever see one, just leave a comment! Don’t worry… it won’t hurt my feelings. Then I can just fix it right up! :)

Lake of Dreams

I just got back from another amazing Burning Man. I thought you might like to see this video called “Lake of Dreams” – it was made during last year’s burn!

Daily Photo – A Red Foggy Night in Northern China

Here, at the Great Wall of China, you get a very epic sense of the world. I've now been here four times, and every time I'm totally impressed. This is by far the most impressive section I've ever been to. I'd like to go back here, maybe even in the middle of winter when there is snow. How awesome would it be to camp out up here? It should be amazing!

A Red Foggy Night in Northern China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length46.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Fishing Near the Summer Palace

Another China Scene

This is a video I made when I was north of the Palace here up near an abandoned part of the Great Wall of China.

Daily Photo – Fishing Near the Summer Palace

This is a peaceful Chinese scene, don't you think? It's nice to see these kind of quaint things happening in beautiful spots like this, I think. I see a lot of people fishing all over China. Not all the scenes are quite this idyllic, believe me. But I do like to try to capture it when I can. This was shot in one of the many lakes that surround the Summer Palace.

Fishing Near the Summer Palace

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture8
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Smiling Over the Top

The African Photo Adventure

I’m really getting excited about the African Photo Adventure. It’s happening very soon! We’re thinking about a few other big trips for 2015… be sure to check our newsletter for the latest!

Daily Photo – Smiling Over the Top

While walking down one of the busier streets in China one night, I saw this girl smiling from behind all these cups. I thought it was super funny and cute because she would just watch me as I went by. I could tell she was smiling, but I just saw her head rotating. I was cracking up and decided to turn around and take a photo!

Smiling Over the Top

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramShutter speed priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

Beijing PhotoWalk Recap!

Update from the Sony A7r Winner!

I received a nice note from Jack Soltysik, the winner of the Grand Prize at the Beijing PhotoWalk, a Sony A7r. (Here’s my Sony A7r Review in case you missed it!)

Got the camera! Thanks so much for the lens! I literally had the 35 arriving the same day but was able to switch It w the 55 when I saw you’d sent the 35. Thank you! That was a really nice surprise. I’ve been too busy to go shooting recently because I’m in an intensive Chinese course at Tsinghua for the rest of the summer. I wanted to say that I got a full scholarship to this course thanks to getting this camera.

The shots I take now are mostly sneaky street shots w my iphone and I wrote an essay about how, w an actual camera, I should probably be able to speak to my subjects – the essay got me into this summer semester long program w a full ride. Your photo walk really ended up having a pretty big impact for me. I can’t wait to go out shooting once I can interact w people.

I’m waiting for the release of a wider lens before I go out and try hdr work but already have travel ideas planned out for that. The camera feels great and I love the low profile. Thanks for all the extras. My friend got your HDR course which I watched recently and I especially found valuable the part about adjusting the black point in photomatix.

Anyway I can’t stress enough how much this has inspired and motivated my own work so I wanted to say thanks again for hosting the walk and for all the things that’s led to, not the least of which is friends I’ve made from hanging out w people at 798.

For those of you that are on Weibo, mine is here… my name in Chinese translates to “Special Thunder!” haha.

Trey Beijing Photowalk CN3

Some Other Favorite Photos from Beijing

Here’s a collection of some of my favorite photos from Beijing. If you want to see more from China, check out the SmugMug China Search of my photos! :)

Lijiang at Night This is the old town of Lijiang, China, where I spent the week with Tom Anderson (the MySpace guy).  I think I mentioned him before.  Anyway, we got to be friends over the past several months, and we ended up spending a week together here in the south of China.Tom had first been here many years ago when he was setting up the MySpace office in Beijing.  He had great memories, and he thought it would be great for a big return now that he is getting more into photography.  So, it was definitely a week full of non-stop photography action.One late night after the sun had set, we weaved through the old streets until we found this place.  Looking up, I knew it would be a wonderful place to take a photo, so I set up for this one.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Temple of Heaven One too-early morning brought me to this very important place for the Chinese called The Temple of Heaven.  It's the most important Taoist structure in all of China and millions flock to it every year, especially during the National Holiday.  It was built in the early 1400's during the reign of the Yongle Emperor.  I was lucky to get private access in the morning during the sunrise.  After waking up in the dark at the hotel, my driver took me out to the location, where I met one of the directors while members of the military let me inside the giant doors.  Since it was a special celebration week, there were throngs of people waiting to get inside.  I'm sure they were wondering what in the heck some white dude was doing busting through the doors with a giant tripod!  I nodded to them all in a mysterious way before I went through the doors.(btw, a few questions as to whether or not I photoshopped the moon there.  The answer is no... I'm not one of those guys that will "photoshop in" something major like a moon.)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Mysterious UFO Device What do you think this structure is? There are almost an infinite number of possibilities.I was being driven around by a very nice driver with Tom and he took me through this technology park. Most of it was rather banal, but this one structure was so unusual, I had to get out and examine it. I walked around and underneath the structure to try to figure it out. I never did, so I just set up to take a photo.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

On Gossamer Wings I had spent most of the day inside the Forbidden City, trying my best to find little bits here and there.  Tiny discoveries, you know.  I was pretty tired after a day of searching, but I still had barely enough energy to keep exploring into the night.  At that point, I decided to go to another, older area of the city.There were hundreds of quaint shops, the smell of fresh food, families walking to and fro... it was all very nice.  I came to cross a little raised bridge, and I saw this woman standing there.  She was dressed in vintage Chinese grab and holding a delicate umbrella.  While talking with her friends, the light caught her umbrella just right, so I snapped a quick photo.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Birds in the Nest This is the famous “Bird’s Nest” building from the Olympics in Beijing. After the Olympics are over, these special buildings all seem a bit lonely. I know they still hold events in them from time to time, but that seems more like the exception than the rule. Also, this location is so far away from the center of the city that it is extremely inconvenient. Once you arrive to have a look, you are interested, but always thinking of getting back to the main part of the city… this gives it even more of a forlorn feeling… but maybe that is just me.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Chinese Mothership Look at this magical place in Beijing... it's on the edge of belief.I could hardly fathom the nature of this place.  I expected the lights to appear on the grid with melodic tones a mystical, alien language, like in Close Encounters.  But none of that happened...  So I just stood there for a long time, thinking about how incredible this place was... and took my time, setting up my system for a fitting photograph.Remember when we were kids, and we never finished our food, even under the threat of starving children in China?  Now, I say to my kids, you better eat your food, or else Chinese children will grow up and create an economic powerhouse.  Well too late for that!This is the amazing National Centre for the Performing Arts, or as I like to say, the 国家大剧院 -- I find that rolls of the tongue a bit easier.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Birds in the Nest This is the famous “Bird’s Nest” building from the Olympics in Beijing. After the Olympics are over, these special buildings all seem a bit lonely. I know they still hold events in them from time to time, but that seems more like the exception than the rule. Also, this location is so far away from the center of the city that it is extremely inconvenient. Once you arrive to have a look, you are interested, but always thinking of getting back to the main part of the city… this gives it even more of a forlorn feeling… but maybe that is just me.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Red Prayers

A Red Votive

I think it’s interesting how Asian cultures do the sort of thing you see below and Western cultures use votives. I think it’s also interesting how both are red. It seems to be a fairly convenient way for the masses to contribute and be part of the movement.

Daily Photo – Red Prayers

Many temples throughout China have these hanging just outside the main entrance. People that go visit buy them and write little thoughts or hopes or prayers on them and let them hang in the breeze outside.

Red Prayers

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramShutter speed priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Front Row Seat at The Buddha

Are you caught up on Game of Thrones?

I’m curious if you watch Game of Thrones. I now know a lot of people that aren’t even into fantasy fiction that are totally into that show! I’ve read the books and loved them… but also loving the show!

Daily Photo – Front Row Seat at The Buddha

This turned out to be one of the coolest areas of the Tanzhe Temple in near Beijing. This room is full of hundreds of little statues, each of which were purchased and a simulacrum of the once-living so they could be close to Buddha in the afterlife. Each one was bright and shiny and was clearly well-maintained. I took many angles of this room, and this one turned out to be my favorite. I took another from the ground level, but I felt like all the lines pointed in a better direction here.

Front Row Seat at The Buddha

Front Row Seat at The Buddha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.3
  • Aperture9
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

What’s in Trey’s Bag?

What’s in my camera bag?

I have all the gear listed here: http://www.stuckincustoms.com/camera-equipment/ ! :)
- The Sony A7r review
- Leica Lens Buying Guide

Frederick Van Johnson and I recorded this here in New Zealand recently for The Arcanum - Enjoy! :)

Daily Photo – Marching in Tiananmen Square

This was a really awesome and strangely clear day in Beijing! It's the only photo of Tiananmen Square I've ever gotten with a clear sky. It's usually kind of grey and depressing around here.

While I was taking this photo, a big group of Chinese tourists came up. They were from a very remote part of China and I think they were pretty excited to see a white person! They all got their photos taken with me… I was quite the freakshow! :)

Marching in Tiananmen Square

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture9
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

The Glow of Beijing

The Real Beijing From Above

I posted this video last month, but maybe you missed it… as opposed to the city model below, here is what it really looks like!

Daily Photo – The Glow of Beijing

I know… you are probably getting sick of seeing shots from this boringly-named “Beijing Planning Museum”, aren't you? Haha well, I keep posting them because I'm fascinated by it… I don't know why… I think I got a fresh spark because my most recent visit included a new idea to try some shallow DOF stuff at f/1.4. I think the way the buildings look in miniature at a wide-open aperture is so interesting. Anyway… don't worry… there are even MORE coming in the future!

Don't forget you can click on “China” up there in the category to see even more.

Beijing, China

The Glow of Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/25
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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