London PhotoWalk! Feb 14, 3 PM

Join Me in London for a fun and free photowalk!

The last one we did 5 years ago in 2010 was Absolutely Amazing, and I want to do it again with y’all! I am SO Excited for this event. It will be quite strange to come back from the remote bits of sensory-deprived Antarctica to the opposite-world of sensory-overload London!

If you’ve never been to a photowalk before, no worries. Come, bring a friend or your family, get a camera in everyone’s hands, and yes, mobile phones and things like this are perfectly fine! :) We’ll combine this one with a really fun photo contest, and there are more details on that below.

TWO Grand Prizes! Stuck in Customs Shopping Spree and a DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter!

At first, we were just giving away a bunch of Shopping Sprees inside the Stuck In Customs Store, but now we are also giving away a DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter too!

I absolutely LOVE taking photos with this amazing machine… it’s so cool to use that XBox controller thing to finely control the camera and get compositions that have otherwise always been impossible. Finally, all these years of playing video games has paid off! Anyway, I’m MEGA excited to give it to one of you in London during the PhotoWalk. More details on how to win below! :)

The deets

Google+ Event Page

Facebook Event Page

Hashtag: #TRLondon2015

Time Start: Saturday, February 14, 3 PM

Time End: Probably around 6 PM at a pub where we can all buy drinks, hang out, etc. We can keep on taking pictures in the bar! haha :)

Location: South Bank right outside the National Theatre (Google Map and How to get to the National Theatre)

Location End: Slug and Lettuce Bar – http://goo.gl/djxIMK

Route: http://goo.gl/SwJMRm

Plan: I’ll say hello to everyone and give everyone some artistic and technical goals for the day. I’ll talk through my camera setup and discuss the whole plan for the evening. Then we’ll all walk around like a huge centipede to find our photographic muses for the day! I’ll stop 5 or so times and we’ll all congeal into a slime-mold at which point I’ll set up for a formal shot and talk about my settings, framings, what I’m trying to communicate with the shot, etc. You are ALWAYS welcome to ask me questions any time… Please don’t hesitate! :)

GRAND Prize – 5 Unlimited SIC Shopping Sprees!

Everything in the new Stuck In Customs store that is downloadable can be yours! (A total value of $3,000 USD)

How to Win the Shopping Spree? Take an interesting photo of one or more fellow PhotoWalkers and then post it to any social media channel with the #TRLondon2015 hashtag. Be creative and try new things! Get close, get far, get low, get high (hehe), get interesting subject matter in the background, etc. Have fun with it — you can take and post and share as many photos as you like! Of course, all the time we’ll be taking photos of other things too, the amazing buildings, landscapes, bridges, and the like, but only the photos of fellow PhotoWalkers will be eligible for the prize. I know photographers often really enjoy taking “street photos” of other people but sometimes can be a bit shy or afraid to ask. Well not here, you all have permission…it’s open season! :)

How will I choose the 5 winners for the Shopping Spree? I’ll scan all social media about a week after the event for that #TRLondon2015 tag and choose 5 of the photos that I think are the most interesting! Each winner will get an Unlimited Shopping Spree in the new Stuck In Customs store.

GRAND, Grand Prize – DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter!!!

We are giving away a brand new DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter. This thing is amaze-maze! Imagine 4K video, 12mp camera, real-time pilot app, vision positioning system and so much more! ($2,900 USD value)

How will I choose the winner for the DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter? I’ll look for the same #TRLondon2015 hashtag on social media (see above) and I’ll choose the image that SURPRISES me most! So, a bit tricky there, yes? What will surprise me? I don’t know — that is the very nature of surprises. But I know for sure that one of you will really surprise me with a photo I did not expect… it’s really anyone’s game. And, often times, it is total beginners that surprise me with something I would have never considered… it can be a mobile phone shot, or, well anything!

Photos from the first London Photowalk!

Images from the Trey Ratcliff HDR Walk

Photowalk London

HDR Photo

Some of my favorite photos from London – I can’t wait to get back!

Grey London in ColorIt's so hard to carry a tripod with a big camera AND an umbrella.  The number of ways you can severely pinch yourself must be in the thousands.There is the right-hand-hold-the-umbrella-and-camera-together method.  This keeps the left hand free to zoom, but there is no hand left to secure the ballhead.  So, that only kinda works, but you have to do the strange reach-around.  It's about as much fun as using your left hand to get exactly 45 cents out of your right pocket.Another method is using your neck to secure the umbrella, but that gets out of control very very quickly in the wind.  The last method is usually the one I do -- and that is just to let myself get soaked.  I feel only a tiny bit miserable, but I can sometimes be so focused that I can push that discomfort away while I'm focused on the photography bit.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Approaching London The afternoon yesterday had a typical London rainshower.  But it cleared up just before sunset to reveal magnificent clouds.  I crisscrossed the Thames River many times to find the right light.  After the sun dipped below the horizon, the light finally fell behind Westminster with a delicate palette.- Trey RatcliffRead the rest here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Old London From Above It's a long walk to the top of St. Paul's.  And by long walk, I should throw in that there are a lot of stairs.  But, after you finally arrive, you're greeted by a wonderful view of the city.  As long as you don't have too much of an issue with heights, you'll be in for a treat.Even though I saw all sorts of stuff while I was up there, I enjoyed working on this photo too.  I was able to zoom into 100% and look at all the details and little buildings/bridges/shops once again.  It reminded me of walking around many of them at ground level.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The London Underground - Piccadilly Piccadilly Circus is one of the most popular places in London for tourists.  I don't like to always hit all the obvious places, but, then again, I kind of have to hit the obvious places, yes?  So, when I went to this famous spot, I tried my best to find some interesting angles and compositions.This was a standard HDR shot - five exposures from -2 to +2.  To fix the ghosting problem with the people, I did the same thing I always do!  I think that's on page 2 or 3 of the HDR Tutorial...  (maybe that is the #1 Question about HDR!)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Rainbow over the London Eye Today's shot is of the newly famous London Eye.  It's more than just a ferris wheel.  I can understand why it was so controversial when it was being built.  What proper city would want a carnival-esque attraction right in the middle of it all?  Well, this is no regular ferris wheel.  It's at least four times bigger than most, and each capsule is like a tiny plane.  Sadly, I didn't have a chance to go inside for a ride...   - Trey Ratcliff Find out why here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Sunday Brunch in London I don't know London very well at all.  I can't ever decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing.   It's just a thing, I suppose.  And it's neither nor.While walking through the streets you come across places that you should probably know what they are.  Or maybe you see a charming old pub and you just assume that it's quite famous.  But I don't know.  I can't tell one thing from the next...But I did see this little restaurant one morning.  The outside was covered in ivy and flowers, and this old couple was sitting outside on the bench.  I don't know why I set up for a picture...  it was both mundane and not.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Art Hangar The Millennium Bridge crosses the Thames and terminates here, at the Tate Museum.  They don't like you to take photos in here.  Heaven forbid someone should make art in a museum.I mean really... isn't it insulting?  Who runs the committee at the Tate that decides, "Oh, we mustn't let people take photos in this part of the museum.  They might be making art!  What possible reason would they have?  Quite nefarious, no doubt!"Anyway, I find it insulting how these museums treat me like a child.  I hope they secretly have somewhat empty lives... and perhaps when they are in some ultra-modern part of the museum and prattling on about the hidden meaning of clump of steel and fluff... that they secretly know they are just spouting a bunch of nonsense in a grandiose effort to placate other fakers around them.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Wicked London So, I just got finished watching Wicked in London.  It was a very cool experience.  I would have enjoyed getting a few more shots of the environs and actors/actresses -- maybe next time!  The stage was wonderfully elaborate and fantasy-steampunk.  I didn't expect so much steampunk stuff in my life lately...  - Trey Ratcliff Read the rest of this entry here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Flying over Perfect Lakes

Choppy at Over-the-Top

If you ever head to Queenstown and want the ultimate chopper experience, be sure to check out Choppy at Over-the-Top. She’s a good friend and an amazing pilot. Also, since she’s a photographer, she knows how to find all the best spots!

Nonstop Critiques!

We had a really fun critique session a few days ago. We selected a lot of images from Apprentices at The Arcanum and did lots of sharing!

Daily Photo – Flying over Perfect Lakes

A chopper flight (with Choppy!) from Queenstown to Glenorchy can take you over a few hidden lakes. Here is one of them, looking amazing in this strange light one afternoon. One cool secret thing about this lake is there is a tiny little hut at the end where you can stay for the night. No one lives there, but you can just hike in, bring a little dinner with you, do a little fishing, sleep and get all cozy-cozy, then wake up and hike back out. Sounds awesome!

Flying over Perfect Lakes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Join me for a week of Photography, Yoga, Hiking, Fresh Food, and More!

Visit the Workshop page to get all the information! I’ll tell you a little about it here…

Come join me in New Zealand at this new fun workshop event here right by my home. All our other ones for 2015 are sold out, and I wanted to mix it up with a combo event like this! You guys know me… I’m quite zen (usually) and generally enjoy the meditative and creative side of photography. If that sounds like the sort of thing that might be up your chi-alley, then maybe we are simpatico! :)

It’s at this amazing yoga retreat where I have been twice called Aro-Ha, which is located about 45 minutes from my home in Queenstown on the way to Glenorchy. This particular retreat will be different than the sort of thing they normally do in that it is photography-centric.

Every day, we’ll be waking up bright and early for a morning photowalk and hike in a new and beautiful location here in the Southern Alps. We’ll come back for photo instruction and post-processing together. That post-processing party goes on for a while, only to be interrupted by daily massages (oh yes, my favorite!) and then an evening yoga class followed by more sunset photos followed by time at the spa… wow I’m getting all excited just thinking about it all! What a perfect day, and we’ll have a bunch of them back-to-back!

I wanted to try something new, and I hope you’re keen for it. Besides photography, I’m also quite into yoga and this sort of thing. Just down the road from my home in Queenstown is an amazing yoga / hiking retreat called Aro Hā. We partnered with them to bring you an awesome week of photos and fitness!

And here’s a few photos from my other visits to this amazing location…

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The Incredible Ice Towers of Antarctica

Preparing for the next trips

I feel lucky to have spent about three weeks in Antarctica, and I’m also happy to be home! But I’ve got a few cool trips lined up here for Hong Kong, Berlin, and London in the next few weeks. I’ll be taking photos all along the way, of course… my backlog is filling up, but I’ll be sure to share as often as I can.

Daily Photo – The Incredible Ice Towers of Antarctica

These towers are like nothing I've ever seen. The sea ice comes in slowly to impact on the nearby volcanic island and these incredible shapes begin to form. It's the same forces in nature that create mountains between tectonic plates, but, in this case, the ice creates shapes that rock never could. I want to go in and crawl around every little glowing ice cave and see what they look like from the inside… Time to get the ice climbing gear out, even though that sounds a bit scary!

The Incredible Ice Towers of Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Frederick Van Johnson

What’s in Trey’s Bag?

Here’s a video that we made soon after I took this photo below. You can see more (and updated stuff!) on my Camera Equipment page! :)

Daily Photo – Frederick Van Johnson

Here's my friend Fred. We were walking through the Queenstown Gardens here in New Zealand when I took this photo. It's shot with a Leica 50mm at f/1.4 on a Sony A7r. We started talking about camera gear so much that I almost forgot to take any photos! We had a great time together this week… this was just one of them! :)

Frederick Van Johnson

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Another Sunset in French Polynesia

Using Mirrorless Cameras to view an Eclipse

I don’t know why this never occurred to me, but it seems like a fairly obvious thing to do! I mention using my Sony below to do this since you can look directly into the sun, but you’re only seeing an image on the sensor. I should try this with a powerful lens and tripod next time an eclipse rolls around!

Daily Photo – Another Sunset in French Polynesia

I swear. 95% of the sunsets in this area must look as amazing as this! It is just kind of a photography heaven I think! I've never seen such consistency. Also, since I now live up in the mountains, I never really get to see the sun dip below the horizon. I tend to be a _little_ more fascinated with it than normal. Another nice aspect of the whole thing is now that I am using mirrorless cameras, I can stare right into the setting sun without having to worry about damaging my eyes!

Another Sunset in French Polynesia

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture16
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length46.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

Enjoying the new Presets?

Every month on the first day in my Stuck In Customs Store here, we are releasing new presets at half price ($2.50 instead of $5)! So be sure to set a reminder in your calendar… Feb 1 is quickly approaching and the new presets are just getting bundled up for you now!

Daily Photo – Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

On the first day there, we went through survival training. This means we had to do everything from learn to dig out an ice cave, build a “kitchen” so we could make food and get out of the wind, set up emergency polar tents, get fuel into the tiny stove, sleep in emergency gear, and more. Here, in this photo, you can see the kitchen that we made and our little camp preparing for the survival night. And, at night at this time of year, it never gets dark… the final thing we did before going to sleep was put on eye-masks… otherwise the light did strange things to your mind…

Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture22
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Wow! Antarctica!

An Amazing Trip

I’m just now getting back to reality, but I wanted to share some quick pictures and thoughts!

It all started with me being a bit nervous. Antarctica! Jeez… I felt like I was both unprepared and unworthy. But I kind of swallowed all that down and boarded a US military plane in Christchurch – a CL-130. That “L” means it has skis on the bottom for landing on the sea ice. That’s the first photo I have below… my view during the 10 hour flight to land towards the middle of Antarctica near Ross Island.

My home base there was to be New Zealand’s Scott Base, which is just an incredible place with a great team. This is an odd way to go, as 98% of people that visit Antarctica go on a ship, which usually leave from the tip of South America. The idea that I had a base on land for the whole time was really awesome, and it was from Scott Base that we launched for several unique locations all over the continent.

Daily Photo – Approaching the Glacier

And not too long after I landed, I went to camp out on the mainland of Antarctica in the Dry Valleys, where countless glaciers spill into the old land. One day, I did a hike away from camp across the wild bits and came up to the face of the Howard Glacier here. I was able to walk right up and touch it. It absolutely towered over me, silent and white and great.

I have a ton more photos and stories to share… I'll be sure to share them all here on the blog soon!

Approaching the Glacier

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture11
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Doorways Through Time

Tony and the Diamond Mine

The night after I took this photo, I had a very strange set of things happen. The diamond mines are still very active around here, and I ended up in a bar with a guy named Tony that was the manager of the mine here. He wore a very stylish hat. Me, Rene, and Curtis all ended up back in his suite where the party started to get super, well, unreliable. We ended up getting the hell out of there, but not before Tony gave us his hat as a sign of gratitude and sorrow.

Remind me to tell the full story some time!

Daily Photo – Doorways Through Time

Here in the abandoned diamond mining town called Lüderitz, I found a cool old house where every room was painted differently. The color choices all went so nicely together, and they seem to go even better as time ticks along. You can see some of the sand that has come in from the sand dunes below at the bottom. All the rooms to the left are almost completely full of sand, and that is blocking a lot of the sand from getting in here.

Doorways Through Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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