Boats in waiting

SmugMug Review

Don’t forget to go check out the SmugMug Review — I’m adding to it all the time!

Daily Photo – Boats in waiting

Along Beihai Park in Beijing is a collection of boats that wait for passengers. Some of the touring companies are so strange. I walk by these, and there is absolutely no one there. It’s not staffed and I’ve never actually seen anyone in a boat. If I wanted a boat ride, I would have no idea how to go about getting one! This is one of the strange things about some of the consumer-facing operations that are still under the full domain of the government — general confusion! Many (probably most that you see in public areas) are not under the thumb of the government, so they operate in the way you’d expect a normal business to operate…but not these boats… oh no, there’s no way you’re getting on them!

Boats in waiting

Boats in waiting

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Asian Blade Runner

I need a life-sized sheep that is not real

Does anyone in Queenstown know where I can get a full-sized or nearly-full-sized sheep? I need it for this Rather Strange Charity Thing I committed to with Patrick Rothfuss. Here’s a link right to the fundraising page.

Philip K. Dick Books

What’s your favorite? I’m on a new PKD kick thanks to a new friend. He is recommending book after book, and I am drinking them all in voraciously!

Daily Photo – Asian Blade Runner

Speaking of PKD, the Blade Runner city was based on Los Angeles, but I think it is probably the asian cities that are more likely to move into that future. Whenever we hit that, “Okay, this is absolutely Blade Runner” moment will be from some place like this. For example, this is Beijing. And it’s kind of a tight race between here, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and maybe a few others. Which city will be the first to escalate itself to this sci-fi ending???

Asian Blade Runner

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length83.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A quick pose between servings

Funny Amazon Reviewer

Okay I figured out that the Kleenex review was a fake, written by this guy who has 1,000 AMAZING reviews that are totally off the hook… haha man that guy is great. I wonder if there is a book that is a collection of these!

Daily Photo – A quick pose between servings

While in Beijing, we had this richly decorated waitress that would bring us serving after serving! It was non-stop food. She was dressed in such an ornate outfit (see those shoes?), and she was a fun subject for photos. When she was going back and forth between bringing me the food, I jumped out to take a photo. She saw me, and made a quick fun pose!

A quick pose between servings

A quick pose between servings

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture5
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length78.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Long Bridge to the Ancient Island

If I go to Beijing

I’m going to take drones. This will no doubt freak out the Chinese people. I wonder what they will think? I think we kind of take it for granted here in the Western world, but I have a feeling that they will just stare at it and wonder. Plus, these DJI Drones are super-noisy and scary-sounding. I don’t know what the Chinese government will think, either… so whenever I am approached by a policeman, I just say that I am with the Chinese government and it would best if they just left me alone. I’m not sure this is the best policy, but it has worked every time so far!

Daily Photo – Long Bridge to the Ancient Island

This was a new find in Beijing. I had never been out to this little island before — Beihai Weizhou Island. There are several long bridges that get to the island, and they are all an equally long walk. I guess that is one thing I notice about Chinese attractions — they all involve long walks! I mean, I’m not complaining… but I’m walking around these places carrying all my stuff and then the thought always strikes me, “My God! I’ve been walking forever!”

Beihai Weizhou Island

Long Bridge to the Ancient Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.3
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length80.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Parallel Universe In China

Should I go back to China?

XI got an offer to come back to China again from the government. They are always very nice to me. They give me a driver, an assistant, and a translator, and I have carte blanche to go anywhere and shoot anything. The only thing they ask for in exchange is a few dozen photos that they can use also, but I still own all the rights. It’s a pretty good deal, I say! Plus, I simply like having all the access and freedom, which you don’t otherwise have in China! But, the pollution always gets me down so much… I don’t know if I want to go subject myself to another week of that. I’m completely undecided.

If I go, I was thinking of taking a few drones and going drone-photo-crazy in China. I think that could be a pretty unique thing to do… but I wonder if my drones would shut down in the polluted skies and drop like birds from a horror movie!?!

Daily Photo – Parallel Universe In China

Whenever I visit China, it’s a bit like when crew members of the NCC-1701(n) would visit the Klingon home world. Everything is so foreign and isolated that everything feels a bit “off.” But then I go into a shopping mall like this and I get back into parallel-universe mode. The whole scene seems strangely familiar, but also a little bit “off.” It’s like I am out of phase with time or something. I enjoy it, am observant, take photos, eat snacks, and all the normal kinds of things I do, but I have never felt totally in vibrational sync in these sorts of places. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you or not, but maybe.

Mall in China

Parallel Universe In China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Temple in the Trees

Better by Design CEO Summit 2013: Trey Ratcliff – Disruption through Visual Design

Below is a talk that I recently gave up in Auckland at the Better By Design conference that is put on by Icebreaker and Jeremy Moon. It is a private function that has about 400 CEOs from the biggest New Zealand companies that attend. It’s a really fun and thought-provoking two days where everyone is challenged to evolve design and design thinking.

Check out Bokeh

My friend Michael Zhang just launched a new app called “Bokeh” — follow that link to find out more! Also, here is a direct link to it in the App Store.

Daily Photo – Temple in the Trees

It was a hot and humid day in Beijing. I was getting a bit tired around mid-afternoon, but I still had that itch to take photos, you know? I found my way into this temple complex here that was covered with trees. I mostly hung out under the trees for an hour or so to recoup… and, whilst in recoup, I took a few photos like this! :)

The Temple

Temple in the Trees

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

The Mysterious Table and Don’t Forget about the Contest!

Don’t forget you can win a Quadcopter with a camera!

Be sure to pop on over to This Post from a few days ago and enter a comment to win this awesome thing you see to the right. I have one on the way, and I am so excited! It’s called the Phantom 2 from DJI, and it looks pretty incredible. It even has a 14 megapixel camera, which is not too shabby. I’m starting to think about some crazy photos and videos I can shoot with it!

And Speaking of Drones…

Amazon just announced they are working on some package delivery drones. They look like they’re pretty far into testing them! You can see this rather amazing video over on the right… whoa… I wonder how long before we just see drones all over the skies… probably not too long if this looks to be happening. I’ll probably order all kinds of useless stuff just so I can see the drones come over again and again!

Daily Photo – Secret Photo Day

Can anyone tell me where this amazing place is located?

I found it on a recommendation from Sir Richard Taylor (the gentleman from Weta Workshop), and he told me it was absolutely crazy inside. He was right! There are so many crazy pieces of art, every chair is unique, and, well, the list goes on and on. I think there are over forty rooms, and they are all different. This is just one of them!

The Crazy Chinese Table

Secret Photo Day

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Looking down on Beijing

China Next Year?

I’ve gone to China every year for the last four or five or so. But I may skip it this time. The pollution in the cities is so bad that it literally makes me not feel good towards the end of the trip. Of course when I arrive, I am so excited to go! And I keep that excitement for a long time… but then the last few days I’m just dragging… it’s too much for me… so maybe I will fill that hole with something else – maybe like just staying at home in New Zealand where there is negative pollution! :)

Daily Photo – Looking down on Beijing

Here is a view of the master-planned roadway system from the top of one of Beijing’s tallest buildings in the CBD (Central Business District). I notice something funny about the way Chinese governments name areas. They are always so literal and formally translated that there is no magic in the names. One building might be called “Tower of Office” and another would have the name “Newspaper Building”.

Looking down on Beijing

Looking down on Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length84.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Questions Answered Regarding the switch from Nikon to Sony

Questions about switching from Nikon to Sony – Jump to the answer!

I’m not going to embed the video here, because the Q&A Interface won’t work right, so Go Watch The Video Here.

After you press click on the link above and press play, , you can click on the questions on the right to jump forward to the answer! Actually, this is REALLY COOL that you can do this… this Q&A layer on top of YouTube is really slick!

If you want to know more, go ready my Sony NEX-7 Review.

Some of you may have already seen some of this, but if not, once inside, here are some of the questions & answers you can jump to!

- How are you able to get the quality of images you are getting with such a tiny camera?

– What was the impetus behind you deciding to try switching to the NEX?

– Why go with the NEX / APS-C size sensor? Why not go down to the Micro Four Thirds format with a slightly smaller sensor but with a better lens selection?

– What about photographers with clients? Is the perception of carrying a big camera vs small camera an issue?

– Bokeh…Talk about the differences there.

– What are the quality trade-offs?

– Durability…what are some of the differences there?

– I’ve noticed a different look to your edits since you’ve started using the mirrorless system. Is this intended or just the way your photos have come naturally?

– Did you find yourself shooting more with the NEX once the firmware update for auto bracketing was released?

– Trey, in your article, you stated you use the NEX6 for day to day and the NEX7 for your epic landscapes. Do you find the NEX7’s slow focus the cause for that?

– How do you carry your gear?

– Going back to your Nikons, with companies releasing adapters for lenses for other brands, do you see yourself grabbing a Nikon to NEX speedbooster to use your lenses on your NEX system?

– In your article you mentioned apps on the Sony. Do the new Android cameras like the recently announced Samsung NX1000 excite you in that department?

– Parting thoughts. Regarding advanced amateur photographers, what would you advise them if they’ve already spent thousands on DSLR gear or not , should they switch to mirrorless?

and lastly but not leastly:

– What would you rather photograph – Tennis or Water Polo?

Daily Photo – NEX in China

Here’s another photo I took while in China when in the middle of my Sony NEX experimentation. We went to an older area in the middle of Beihei to see this ancient scene, like time had stopped hundreds of years ago…

China Girl

NEX in China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length65.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Giant Buddha

Extra Info!

I don’t usually get all wikipedia-ish on the blog… but I did look up more things about this most fascinating statue.

Maybe the coolest thing is that 8 meters (over 25 feet!) of this statue are underground, buried, and never seen! It was carved out of a single trunk of white sandalwood, and 18 meters of it stick up above ground. It’s from 1744 and it took over three years to ship the trunk to Beijing! There were over 8 million taels of silver spent to build it and 1800 meters of yellow satin to make the kasaya… amazing!

Daily Photo – The Giant Buddha

This thing was a pleasure to photograph! While I was in this temple, monks were taking huge long red sashes and walking around the upper areas and draping them around different parts of the enormous statue. It was all in slow motion and most interesting!

Buddha Lama

The Giant Buddha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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