Beijing PhotoWalk 2014! Join me soon on May 28 at 6 PM! Win a Sony A7r!

Many more PhotoWalks This Year Planned

I’m in the loose planning of many more PhotoWalks. Watch for dates in San Francisco, Dallas, New York City, Toronto, Burning Man, London, Berlin, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and maybe more. These are always free events, and for those of you that have been, you know how much fun they are! :)

Win a Sony A7r!

For this amazing event in China below, I’ll be giving away a Sony A7r, which is the same camerea I use! See my Sony A7r Review, recently updated, to find out more about it.

Winner announced!

The winner for the Sony A7r from the Beijing Photowalk is Jack Soltysik! There were MANY amazing photos taken on that afternoon, evening, and night… and I really enjoyed looking at them. And here’s the thing… Jack used an iPhone to take his photos! So I think he’ll really be excited about this new camera.

Here’s Jack Soltysik’s Tumblr page… at last count, the photos from the event were on Page 6 at Jack Soltysik.

Beijing PhotoWalk

I’ll see you in the 798 Creative Space on May 28 at 6PM. Bring your camera, bring your family, bring your love of photography. This is a free event, and everyone is invited!

When there, we’ll weave through the streets of the 798 (one of my favorite areas!) and I’ll be setting up to take a number of shots. I’ll talk through my photos, settings, etc etc, and you are welcome to come ask me any question any time.

Day: May 28
Time: 6PM
Location: 798 Creative Square – http://goo.gl/3Mmxo6 (more below)
Location Photos on Google Maps: http://goo.gl/2iNDkY
Length: At least an hour or two… or as long as you want! :)
Unofficial Afterparty: Yes, at a secret location that is not so secret any more (see below)
Prizes: Grand Prize – a Sony A7r, the same camera I use!
Hashtag for event: #BeijingPhotowalk2014

There’s more information on the Google+ event page and the Facebook event page.

Special Guest – Ms. Leona Yayan Xu

We’ll also be joined, all the way from Shenzhen in the Guangdong province, by Ms. Leona Yayan Xu ( her Weibo at http://weibo.com/p/1005051861918502 ) our famous model for the night! I’m going to bring her some goodies from all the way from New Zealand from Diamond — my friend here in Queenstown makes this new baby formula, so I thought I’d bring her some for her new baby!

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

HDR Photo

Bonus Special Guest – Liu Ruowang

I feel so lucky that we’ll also be joined by the famous Chinese sculptor Liu Ruowang! You can see more about him at http://www.liuruowang.com/ — you all may remember some photos I’ve taken of those amazing wolves in New Zealand — that happens to be one of his sculptures!

Unofficial After-Party

The after party is a great place for everyone to buy their new friends drinks and share photos on the back of their cameras. It’s a proper photo-geek-fest!! :)

Cafe LAS 798
D-09-2, 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu
酒仙桥路4号798艺术区D-09-2号

Trey Beijing Photowalk CN3

Some 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! :)

Secret Treasures of Beijing These little finds are everywhere!  Sometimes, while stumbling around from alleyway to alleyway, I appear right in the middle of these perfect little scenes.It was very close to the National Day, and crews were out freshening-up the city.  There were about four Chinese painters that were busy putting a fresh red coat of paint on this perfect little bridge.  By chance, they were just finishing up as I approached.   This little boat from the painters was pulled up beside the bridge in a wonderful way, so I set up my tripod along the bank for a photo.They all looked at me in a confused way.  They had no idea why I would want to take a photo of their little boat and the bridge.  I imagine they find this so commonplace as to be hardly worthy of a photo...  and it makes me wonder about all the non-photographers (or fans of this site) out there.  Perhaps they just go through life and don't even notice anything interesting pretty and nicely composed.  What an empty visual life this must be!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Sprawling City I’m experimenting with this style of city photography. I like this idea of reflection that is imperfect. I shot this from the top of one of the only television stations in Beijing. It was a perfect night without any wind. There was a lot of pollution, so the warm city lights cast a red glow into the ether…- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Rickshaws at the Drum Tower I've visited Gǔlóu many times and never taken a photo.  I just couldn't figure one out.And then, this most recent trip, I walked around the tower several times until I finally got an idea.This is the giant drum tower built about a thousand years ago by Kublai Khan.  An enormous drum rests in front, and it was beat rhythmically to announce meetings. The temple sits in the Inner City to the north of Di'anmen Street.- Trey RatcliffRead more, including a preview of an exciting announcement, here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

More Beijing at Night This was another one of those cases where I was not quite used to the 10-18mm lens. I normally walk RIGHT to the spot I want to be in then pop the 14-24 on my Nikon and fire away. But now, I’m always off by a few steps with the NEX-7! But, I quickly re-adjust then shoot. If you have shot with a wide angle lens, then you may know about this concept of picturing things from that vantage before you even do it! - Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Chinese Technopolis How boring does the "Beijing Planning Museum" sound?  Very!How surprisingly awesome is the "Beijing Planning Museum"?  Very!The museum features a few giant city-models.  And I mean GIANT!  You can get a sense of the size of this thing by looking at the waist-height red rope around the outside.  Not only is this a fully detailed model, but each of the buildings light up individually in a cascade, corresponding to a dreamy Chinese voiceover.  The voice describes each sector of the city and what makes it unique.  There is music playing in the background that I could have sworn was the same music as "Jurassic Park", so that was a very strange addition to the scene.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Painted Face in China I was walking along outside the Forbidden City trying to find a special entrance, and I saw these guys sitting on a bench. It was so interesting and amusing… I dropped down on a knee to take a quick photo while things were perfectly strange. What do you think is going on in this photo?- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Gateway to the Temple of Heaven I had an amazing opportunity in Beijing to get private access into the Temple of Heaven one morning.  Well-costumed officials from the government met me before sunrise just outside the gates, where hundreds of early risers were already outside doing exercises and preparing for a national holiday.  The nice men pulled out ornate keys and opened up the private doors to let me in.  I had about 90 minutes to take photos of everything as the sun rose.  It was a great day of shooting!This is one of those places that has many perfect lines, shapes, and other interesting angles for composing photos.  It's almost impossible to take a bad shot!  There were nice clouds and nice light on this cool morning, so I considered myself very lucky in many regards!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Downtown Beijing After Rain Just about the only time you get a break from the smog is after a good rain. I’m sure all that nonsense just ends up down on the ground and soaks slowly into the groundwater.Anyhoo, this is the CBD (Central Business District) of Beijing. And yes, I took this with the Sony NEX-7. I’m working on that other piece I mentioned above and will put it up on the blog soon!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

A Street Scene from Beijing

On Karen’s Blog

Karen has written something very cool over on her blog about The Arcanum. Go check it out!

Shooting in the rain

It goes against every instinct of mine to go out and take photos in the rain. It’s literally something I have to force myself to do because I know how interesting streets and places with people can be when there is a bit of rain splashing about. I usually always come back with at least one or two keepers, and that makes me thankful I forced myself to do it. I’m hoping some day that my instincts flip around the other way and I no longer have to force myself! :)

Daily Photo – A Street Scene from Beijing

This is one of my favorite new areas of Beijing. Even though I've been to Beijing four times or so, it was my first time to this area. I was also lucky that it was raining, so it was even more interesting. This is a very old part of the city that was razed and widened during the Olympics. I actually have no idea what is original and what is rebuilt… although I have a sneaking suspicion that none of it is original.

A Street Scene from Beijing

A Street Scene from Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Charming Streets of Lijiang

New Alexia Sinclair video

Here’s a new video from my friend Alexia. She really hit it out of the park with this one! I’m so glad she’s one of the Masters over at The Arcanum!

Daily Photo – The Charming Streets of Lijiang

All the streets in and around this town in southern China are amazing and full of life right before closing, and then everything goes quiet and dead. It's so strange… it reminds me of those time-lapse photos where you see flowers open up when the sun comes up then close down as the sun sets.

The Charming Streets of Lijiang

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture4.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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

Reflections of Old China

Reminder about the New Smugmug Look

I’m still so happy with my new SmugMug portfolio. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out my Smugmug Review here on the site!

Daily Photo – Reflections of Old China

I love these old parts of China that could be from almost any period in history. The riverside part of Feng Huang is a bit like this, so it is one of my favorite areas to photograph. I really need to go back… I’m looking forward to returning and re-imagining these places with new equipment. And maybe the weather patterns will be better, but I usually doubt it in China where it is commonly grey and morose in the sky!

Reflections of Old China

Reflections of Old China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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