Inside the Secret Base

Interview on Chinese TV

Hehe this was a crazy scene… I don’t even really know what happened the entire time… I spoke very slowly, btw, so that they could translate.

Daily Photo – Inside the Secret Base

If I had a team of superheroes, this is where we would meet. I have no immediate plans for this, but I’ve been looking for a good spot just in case this happens. The only problem with this particular spot is that it is owned by a government-owned broadcasting company in China. I don’t know how I could possibly talk them into selling it to me.

On the bottom level, there was a very serious looking military-style guard. I tried to take a photo of him with my Google Glass, but he waved no, so I just winked. :)

Inside the Secert Base

Inside the Secret Base

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 25, 2013 at 10:01am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time10
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Classical Chinese Shoes

Cool Camera Clip? Yes!

I saw this Kickstarter for this Capture Camera Clip v2. Man, that thing looks pretty slick! I’ve seen many versions… and this one looks interesting.

Daily Photo – Classical Chinese Shoes

I don’t know much about women’s shoes. I’ll openly admit that. So, I don’t really know much about these either except that they are really interesting and must be hard to walk on! It’s an older style, obviously, and I wonder if Chinese ladies used to walk on these all the time in the olden days. I bet smart people in the audience will know, however! :)

Shoes

Classical Chinese Shoes

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 27, 2013 at 8:44am
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Boxes Forever

Looking for good internet videos?

Sure… nothing wrong with a little internet-distraction right? Well whenever I need some new sure-thing videos, I go to the “Top for the Month” area of reddit. There’s all kinds of stuff in there too… you can add this to your internet wheelhouse! :)

Daily Photo – Boxes Forever

I see scenes like this and it is both awesome and depressing. Everyone seems so cramped up. Maybe it’s not as bad as it looks… maybe the compression of the lens makes it seem worse than it is… like an ant colony… like bees in a hive.

Vertical City

Boxes Forever

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 25, 2013 at 9:18am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length122.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Into the Night

Anyone listen to Soundcloud?

I’ve been listening quite a bit… if you have any recommendations, let me know! I’ve been listening a lot to a cello player I like named Philip Sheppard — check him out! :)

Daily Photo – Into the Night

The restaurants all closed early in this area of Beijing, but the lights stayed on. So that was the perfect time to get some shots of the scene without a bunch of people in the frame mucking it up.

I can’t tell you how many hours of my life I spend waiting for people to get out of the way. I mean, it’s not a horrible thing… because at least I’m usually in visually interesting people while waiting on people! :)

Beijing Night

Into the Night

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 28, 2013 at 10:30am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Tiny Shrine in the Hills

Any Fringe Lovers

I’ve been enjoying catching up on all the Fringe episodes. Man, anything JJ Abrams does — I’m into it… I wonder what his next project will be? Whatever it is, I’ll go see it! :) There are not many automatic-people like that in my life. The only two others I can think of are Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan.

Daily Photo – The Tiny Shrine in the Hills

It was a short hike to this tiny temple from the ancient village of Cuandixia, or 爨底下村, as I like to call it . I find that latter name flows off the tongue easier.

This area was quite nice because it was a bit out of the way, and no one was around by me and Tom. It proved to be one of the better shots of the whole village. I had a bit of trouble finding good shots while actually inside the village.

Small Village in China

The Tiny Shrine in the Hills

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 29, 2013 at 8:08am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

中文名就叫特雷,特好记。And the Drum Tower.

A Welcome, and my Favorite Photos from China

Here is a rediculous video… you can see me struggling I think! hehe… but it was fun to make… and I ended it with some of my favorite photos from China.

http://weibo.com/3566761121/ ! 中文名就叫特雷,特好记。我真的真的很喜欢中国。它是这样一个令人难以置信的美丽的地方,当我有时间的时候我都会持续来中国,它每次总给我不一样的灵感。

Music from BT, Matt Hales, and Tony Awake is on Soundcloud here! :)

Daily Photo – The Drum Tower

Here is one of my favorite images from China. I can still hear the Kublai Khan beating the enormous drum inside to call his soldiers near… This temple sits in the Inner City to the north of Di’anmen Street.

The Drum Tower

The Drum Tower

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

More Beijing at Night

Tip for Noise at Night

I’m getting re-used to APS-C sensors! Man, you really gotta keep that ISO at 100 to keep the noise to an absolute minimum. The noise is barely visible at 100, but it is definitely there. A little nudge of the Noise Reduction slider in Lightroom will take care of it though. Easy Peazy!

But, if you crank the ISO up to 400 or higher, there may indeed be too much noise for LR to fix for you. Noiseware can still help you out, but that’s an extra plugin you’ll need… here’s the Noiseware Review on the site for you.

Daily Photo – More Beijing at Night

I usually don’t do this – post photos of a similar subject matter within the same week, but I thought I would show you another angle of the same place at night. Remember that “bakery” shot from a few days ago? This is basically the same spot (you’ll recognize it) much later 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!

Beijing Street

More Beijing at Night

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 28, 2013 at 10:23am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Sprawling City

Astronaut Ron Garan

Ron Garan talks with kids at Queenstown Primary School in New Zealand about space travel. He takes all kinds of questions from the kids about what it is like to live and work in space.

P.S. If you look close, you can see my son there in Google Glass :)

I broke a promise.

I made a promise to myself that I would never watch a time travel movie with Jason Priestley, and I broke it. I felt like I needed to tell someone… Man, am I ever sorry I broke that promise.

Daily Photo – 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…

The Sprawling City

The Sprawling City

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 25, 2013 at 9:48am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Updated Camera Recommendations!

Updated Camera Recommendations

Since my recent switch, I thought I should keep the whole site as consistant as possible (it’s hard with so many moving parts!) and update the camera recommendations in the Reviews section. Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.

Sony NEX-3N

Good Camera: Sony NEX-3N

Priced at about $499, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at around the $500 level.

This camera will get the job done for you, and it is an ideal entry point if you are just getting started and want to minimize the financial impact. If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony NEX-7 below.

Nikon D800

Better Camera: Nikon D800

Starting at $2,800 for the camera body. (don’t worry, the BEST camera, strangely, is HALF the price and six times smaller) :)

Even though I recommend the Sony NEX-7 below and use it as my main camera, I understand that we are currently in a transition period where many people like to use bigger, professional DSLRs. I used to have the Nikon D800 as my main camera, and I shot with it for over a year, so it is a system I know very well. If you are going with a big DSLR, this is the right choice! See my full Nikon D800 Review.

Best Camera: Sony NEX-7

Starting around $1,100 which includes an 18-55mm lens.

See my full Sony NEX-7 Review. I use this camera. It can be used in almost any photographic situation and is one of the best models available in this class. I use it to take photos of everything, from kids to landscapes to architecture to objects. This tiny 24 megapixel beast has a thousand other features that those clever Japanese crammed inside… see the full Sony NEX-7 Review for more information and sample photos.

Daily Photo – The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

Here’s a shot from a really great street in Beijing called “Front Gate” — it’s certainly worth a trip. I was lucky that it rained hard all morning and I really got taking photos after it stopped. When the streets are nice and wet and I am personally not getting wet – that is one of the best times!

The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 28, 2013 at 12:31am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Birthday Contest on Weibo

Upcoming Astronaut Hangout in Queenstown!

See the event here. It will be live on video too! The great astronaut Ron Garan will be beaming into Queenstown Primary School (into Mr. Brown’s room!) here in New Zealand this week. Check the event for the time near you, and gather the kids and get your space-questions ready! :)

7-7-71 – Lucky Chinese Birthday – 中文名就叫特雷,特好记。

Jump on over to Weibo at http://weibo.com/treyratcliff to participate in a special birthday event! :)

中文名就叫特雷,特好记。我真的真的很喜欢中国。它是这样一个令人难以置信的美丽的地方,当我有时间的时候我都会持续来中国,它每次总给我不一样的灵感。

I’m told that 7 is a super-lucky number there, so maybe my birthday of 7-7-71 is super-duper lucky! :) Pop on over there to check out the new contest we are running for the day. Note, you’ll only be able to see what’s happening if you have a Weibo account, which doesn’t make a lot of sense if you spend a lot of time doing Chinese-related stuff! :)

Daily Photo – The Corner Store in Old China

When I walk down some of these streets and see these places that sell exotic foods when you walk up to the window — it is hard to pass them all by. When I do go up there, I tend to just pick totally random things… I give them a random amount of money, and then there is a random adventure in my mouth.

It’s quite the opposite of going up to a European bakery where you know what you are gonna get. I like both, even though I sometimes get burned in these Chinese places when I get something that is a little too crazy for my palate.

Old China

The Corner Store in Old China

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 28, 2013 at 1:30am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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