The Haunting

Coming soon – Secret Fireworks Spot!

When I spent the day with Robert Scoble at Disney World, we were lucky enough to have a personalized tour from Keith Barrett. Keith showed me a secret spot to shoot the fireworks — very cool! I’m still working on that photo, but I will release as soon as I am done… it was a very challenging shot.

Daily Photo – The Haunting

And here is yet another from Disney!

So, I was sitting there in the Tower of Terror taking photos inside the first room into which the group is ushered. It’s the one where they show that Twilight Zone clip. Anyway, I just stayed in there as five groups came in and out, trying to get a photo. Eventually, the cast member asked me (in a nice way) what I was doing. I told her that I thought the room was awesome and I was capturing it for my blog. She seemed curious, so I whipped it out (my iPad).

She started going through my photos and was very excited. And then she told me to follow her, and she opened up the little gate that gave me full access to the lobby itself. I grabbed many photos, and here is one of them…

The HauntingAnd here is yet another from Disney!So, I was sitting there in the Tower of Terror taking photos inside the first room into which the group is ushered. It’s the one where they show that Twilight Zone clip. Anyway, I just stayed in there as five groups came in and out, trying to get a photo. Eventually, the cast member asked me (in a nice way) what I was doing. I told her that I thought the room was awesome and I was capturing it for my blog. She seemed curious, so I whipped it out (my iPad).She started going through my photos and was very excited. And then she told me to follow her, and she opened up the little gate that gave me full access to the lobby itself. I grabbed many photos, and here is one of them…- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Fireplace in the Tower of Terror

 

Lou Mongello

HDR Photo
Lou, waiting to get on the Toy Story ride with us…

While at Disneyworld, I ended up meeting Lou Mongello, a very interesting guy that is Disney’s biggest hardcore fanboy! Note that I say that with the ultimate respect, because he has built his love of something into quite an empire! Now he runs WDWRadio.com, has podcasts/apps, and more!

Robert Scoble interviewed Lou while we were there together. Watch, and you’ll see all kinds of tips! Thanks again Keith Barrett for setting everything up.

Disney Shots

We have a category system here on the site, so if you want to see all of them, check the “Disney Category” at the bottom of this post. Once you get to the bottom of the page, click “PREVIOUS” and you’ll get another pagefull…

HDR Photo
Keith grabbed this photo while I was setting up in the lobby area…

 

Daily Photo – The Fireplace in the Tower of Terror

I’ve always wanted to get “behind the velvet rope” and take proper photos of this area, and it finally happened!

This lobby was richly decorated to look like an old, classic Hollywood hotel that has been left alone to slowly deteriorate. Although this angle in particular does not show the decay, future ones will… Also, a future one will include the full story of how I got behind the velvet rope — you won’t believe it!

The Fireplace in the Tower of TerrorI've always wanted to get "behind the velvet rope" and take proper photos of this area, and it finally happened!  This lobby was richly decorated to look like an old, classic Hollywood hotel that has been left alone to slowly deteriorate. Although this angle in particular does not show the decay, future ones will... Also, a future one will include the full story of how I got behind the velvet rope -- you won't believe it!- Trey RatcliffRead the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Best of NASA, and New HDR Tutorial soon!

Announcement!

We already have the very popular HDR Tutorial here on the site that shows you how to make these sorts of photos. But, I thought you’d like to know that I’m going to update the whole thing and show you how I made the first space shuttle shot below. I like to update the tutorial every three months or so, but this one will have many excellent updates… so get ready for that!

Best of NASA

I’m sad the Space Shuttle program is ending, but NASA says it’s not the end of human spaceflight for the US. Since I was lucky enough to be invited by NASA, I got to go into a cool area to see some of the next-generation capsules they’ll be putting atop new rockets.  I didn’t know if I was allowed to get photos or not…  but I will talk to them and see if we can arrange something special in the future.

Anyway, I wanted to put some of my favorite NASA shots below for you… sort of a celebration of awesomeness.

HDR Photo

I felt lucky to be one of the last people to get a NASA escort out to the launch pad, on this final night for the Space Shuttle program and the Atlantis. It was truly beautiful evening, and things were peaceful and calm. I felt like I had a personal moment with the mighty rocket… I’ll never forget it.

 

The Mighty Rocket Awaits Today I had a great day at NASA.  I've come back to the space coast in Florida to see the space shuttle Endeavor blast off, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.Around noon, I was invited out with a group of other Twitter peeps to see the RRS Rollback event.  This is the slow-motion but exciting time when they peel away to the Rotating Service Structure to reveal the shuttle.  It was so awesome that I almost forgot to send a tweet. - Trey Ratcliff Read more here at stuckincustoms.com.

There is an important retraction event that takes place about 24 hours before the actual launch… it is a special time… I think of it like an athlete taking off his sweats before an Olympic event.

 

HDR Photo

NASA also has all sorts of these awesome “relics” laying around, just generally sitting there and being awesome.  But, the Saturn V is already impossibly awesome.

NASA
18 minutes till the launch. Newsmen from around the world go live while they go through their Ron Burgundy vocal preparations.

HDR Photo
Both launches saw incredible storms hit the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) a day before the planned launch. This one rolled in the first time I visited NASA… I’ll never forget it because I was standing by Levar Burton and a NASA gal came out and said, “We have a Level 2 lighting alert! You have to get inside!” To this, Levar Burton asked, “Is that anything like a Level 3 Diagnostic?”

Space Shuttle

This is my favorite shot of Endeavor as it wormholed into the low cloud layer. It was still accelerating at this point, so it looked like the cloud literally “sucked” it up.

The Shuttle Rips Space/Time at the End of an Era

 

After the Shuttle Atlantis

HDR PhotoI had a great day at NASA. I haven’t slept much… I’m really on fumes at this point. But it was all worth it and a very nice experience all around.

After the shuttle went off and broke through the clouds, I turned around for a while to collect my thoughts… Unbeknownst to me, my friend Stu Maschwitz (from Prolost.com) took this photo of me… I don’t post a lot of these, but thought you might like to see it… BTW, Stu’s wife is making some awesome shuttle tees that are stylish and unique…might be worth a look if you are a fan of all this space stuff like me!

Robert Scoble also posted a photo of me before the launch itself. He ended up with a nice shot too… I told him right where to stand, and he was so excited when he got the shot! Haha it was hilarious because he came running across the field, waving his laptop in the air yelling, “I love you Trey! I love you Trey!” Hehe…but, besides the good advice on the spot, he still got a great shot at 400mm on his own.

Daily Photo – The Shuttle Rips Space/Time at the End of an Era

I’ll try to describe the sound.

Since this is as close as you can get, and this is 3 miles away, it takes a while for the sound to get to you. And it does rush across the water in a rumbling, tumbling way like you might expect. But then, after that, something other than sound starts to come across the water. It’s a series of concussive waves that vibrate your entire skeleton and thrum through your soul. It’s not a steady din of vibration, but a violent staccato rhythm of unseen forces that cause a tremulous cadence around and through your chest.

This is the final space shuttle launch of our lives. And so we could not help but be reminded of this finality when this unearthly sound combined with the final sight of the lonely craft arcing away into space.

HDR Photo

Final Night of the Space Shuttle

 

Today: Google+ Hangout Live from NASA at 11:15 EST

Join me on Google+ today at exactly 11:15 AM when I’ll be doing a LIVE Video Hangout. Only a limited number of people can get in, so be ready to click to join the hangout! New to this stuff? Here are some video hangout tips I made.

Yesterday I did a very cool live broadcast video hangout from NASA with Google+. We had people from all over the world connecting while I was on video on my laptop approaching the launch pad. We all went through a few levels of security together (I made everyone be quiet), then we approached the VAB, saw some of the media center, before finally getting to the launch pad. I’ll do another live Google+ Hangout tomorrow during my setup and you guys can ask questions…or just…hangout!

Interview with Scoble

Robert Scoble is here with me at the NASA event (along with many other people). After a little #NASATweetup session yesterday, he grabbed me for a quick interview about photography (click link to listen), and how I was planning to this trip in particular. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Final Night of the Space Shuttle

I was completely soaked after laying in mosquito-invested waters for an uncomfortably long time. At one point, a concerned French news reporter came up to me and said, “Excuse me, but you’re quite covered in bugs.” It must have been pretty bad for him to come over and say that… I think perhaps he thought I was dead because I stayed in the same position for so long, trying to zen-focus on the shot.

This is the Space Shuttle Atlantis, in case you do not know. It’s also the final space shuttle launch, ever. So, it’s incredibly special, and I’m happy I got to spend time with the ship on its final night.

HDR Photo

Bonus Photo – The Countdown Clock at Sunrise

And this is the famous countdown clock. Scott Kublin and I woke up before 5 AM to start setting up our remote cameras. One of them Leo Laporte Fed-exed to me overnight so we could have time to set it up… we put those inside the blast zone and set them up to automatically fire at the launch. We made a behind-the-scenes video to show how everything was done… it will be edited and shared soon… but, in the meantime, here is what I saw first thing in the morning upon arrival to NASA.

The Countdown Clock at Sunrisethis is the famous countdown clock. Scott Kublin and I woke up before 5 AM to start setting up our remote cameras. One of them Leo Laporte Fed-exed to me overnight so we could have time to set it up… we put those inside the blast zone and set them up to automatically fire at the launch. We made a behind-the-scenes video to show how everything was done… it will be edited and shared soon… but, in the meantime, here is what I saw first thing in the morning upon arrival to NASA.- Trey RatcliffRead the whole entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Test daily photos – 1

Blurb number 1

Test daily photos – 1

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/3.5
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length50mm (50mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASA

 

Want to follow the pre-launch activities?

Follow me @TreyRatcliff and the #NASATweetup hashtag on Twitter.

Also, Robert Scoble (and many others) will be with me at the launch, and I figure we’ll be using Google+ quite a bit too to post updates, photos, and the like, so that’s another fun place to watch.

Daily Photo – Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASA

I was in the Tweetup tent doing something terribly important but completely inscrutable when Stu Maschwitz came in and told me that the storm clouds were breaking upon our shores. So I got my little rig and went outside to see the matter.

We get these kind of huge powerful summer clouds in Texas too. The kind that roll in on a too-hot day and you have a feeling that something powerful is a-comin’. You tie down the cows and take the favorite sheep down to the basement because it’s gonna be a long night…

The sun darted in and out of the clouds, and I grabbed it just as it peeked through a small hole it tore in the thunderhead.

Sun Busting Through Stormclouds at NASAI was in the Tweetup tent doing something terribly important but completely inscrutable when Stu Maschwitz came in and told me that the storm clouds were breaking upon our shores.  So I got my little rig and went outside to see the matter.We get these kind of huge powerful summer clouds in Texas too.  The kind that roll in on a too-hot day and you have a feeling that something powerful is a-comin'.  You tie down the cows and take the favorite sheep down to the basement because it's gonna be a long night...The sun darted in and out of the clouds, and I grabbed it just as it peeked through a small hole it tore in the thunderhead.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Endeavor Lifts Off

 

OTW To Florida

I’m coming in for the final shuttle launch and I heard about a secret thing… Nikon has a special room/building at NASA that is full of lenses and all kinds of awesome stuff! I just need my NPS (Nikon Professional Services) card and I can be a kid in a candy store. Now, all of this sounds way too good to be true, but I’ll swoop in there to get the full scoop and let you know. (I even heard they have a 1200mm prime laying around!)

Daily Photo – The Endeavor Lifts Off

So, when I took this, I was using two different cameras. The first one was my D3X with the 28-300mm lens on a tripod, and that is how I got this one. It’s an HDR from a single RAW.

Not long after this, the buffer filled up and it started to shoot slowly, so I went to my second camera around my neck, the D3S with a 50mm prime. And I got the second shot below.

The Endeavor Lifts OffSo, when I took this, I was using two different cameras. The first one was my D3X with the 28-300mm lens on a tripod, and that is how I got this one. It’s an HDR from a single RAW.Not long after this, the buffer filled up and it started to shoot slowly, so I went to my second camera around my neck, the D3S with a 50mm prime. And I got this shot.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest of this entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Space Shuttle

 

Girl In Ocean

 

Big Lenses

Are you the type of person that uses big lenses a lot? I admire you! I don’t…and after lugging this 600mm around for a while, I really got a good sense of what some of the hardcore bird/animal photographers do…

Daily Photo – Girl in Ocean

I got this 600mm from BorrowLenses.com to take photos of the shuttle on my first trip. Since the shuttle didn’t take off, Scott and I decided to go to the beach and take photos of girls from a distance like real creeps. I openly admit it… we looked downright creepy up there with two huge lenses, peering in every which direction until we saw something interesting.

Then I saw this gal splashing around in the waves with her friends… seemed like a good subject so I took a few shots. With the 600mm I was so far away, that she would have had no idea I was taking them. This made it all feel even more sketchy, but, you know, having said all that, I’m quite happy with the shot.

Girl in OceanI got this 600mm from BorrowLenses.com to take photos of the shuttle on my first trip.  Since the shuttle didn't take off, Scott and I decided to go to the beach and take photos of girls from a distance like real creeps.  I openly admit it... we looked downright creepy up there with two huge lenses, peering in every which direction until we saw something interesting.  Then I saw this gal splashing around in the waves with her friends... seemed like a good subject so I took a few shots.  With the 600mm I was so far away, that she would have had no idea I was taking them.  This made it all feel even more sketchy, but, you know, having said all that, I'm quite happy with the shot.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Shuttle Prepares

Another Shuttle Launch

I’m so excited to be going back for the final launch of the Atlantis! It’s all so awesome… and, even be there, it will be during my 40th birthday. Even though my happenstance revolutions around the sun at 1 AU are a completely arbitrary measurement of age, it’s the one we all use, so there ya go.

Gordon’s Launch Experience

My friend Gordon Laing from CameraLabs.com made his own video when we were out there together, which he recently entered into the Queenstown Film Festival. It’s pretty cool – because he’s a friend, we stayed in the same hotel, and so on… the only difference is that I flew back for the actual launch while he watched from New Zealand. See his video here.

Daily Photo – The Shuttle Prepares

On the day before the launch, I was ushered out a few football fields away from the shuttle. It was surreal being so close, even though I wanted to be closer…closer…closer…. but the 28-300 (See the Nikon 28-300 Review) was plenty lens enough to get in tight so you can see all the details of the shuttle and the launch facility skunkworks…

See all my NASA shots here…

The Shuttle PreparesOn the day before the launch, I was ushered out a few football fields away from the shuttle.  It was surreal being so close, even though I wanted to be closer...closer...closer....  but the 28-300 (See the Nikon 28-300 Review) was plenty lens enough to get in tight so you can see all the details of the shuttle and the launch facility skunkworks...See all my NASA shots here...- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Mighty Rocket Rests

The Google +1 Button


This is Google’s new thing…. if you trust this site and like it, go ahead and click the +1. It’s like the Facebook Like, except it will help with search results! (or something)

Daily Photo – The Mighty Rocket Rests

I had some time during the day while at NASA to visit the Kennedy Space Center. Inside was the insanely huge Saturn V rocket. It’s one of those things that would hurt like hell if you dropped it on your toe.

The shuttle only has one more launch before it is forever mothballed, like this… The final launch of the Atlantis is on July 8, the first day of my 40th revolution around the sun. That’s kinda cool I think…

HDR Photo

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