Lamps in Marrakech

What is a critique like in The Arcanum?

As you may know, we are currently in an early testing phase of The Arcanum, but one question we often get is “How do critiques work?” Well here is a how-to video of everything that happens up to and including the critique. Another cool thing about these is that every single critique is saved on YouTube and submitted to the Grand Library inside… so you can just sit there and watch critiques all day if you like!

This video comes from the Arcanum Leveling Guide for levels 1-10.

Daily Photo – Lamps in Marrakech

This is a good example of why it's nice to have a fast, prime lens at dark situations! Many experienced people will already know this, but I'll explain it for those that don't! When you shoot at night, it's hard to get a lot of light into the camera quickly to make a good photo. But if you have a wide open aperture, in this case, f/1.4, you can take very fast shots that are not blurry without too much noise. The other nice side-effect (or maybe even, the main-effect) is that you get this nice depth-of-field effect where only one bit is in focus as the foreground and background fade away into bokeh.

Lamps in Marrakech

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 13, 2014 at 8:26am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Berber Man in Morocco

Getting No for an answer in travel photography

Morocco is one of the hardest places to take photos of people. I got a lot of mean looks and countless outright No’s! But I didn’t let it slow me down. I didn’t let the rejections add up… and kept at it… and glad I did, otherwise I never would have gotten this photo below. He was so happy and interested in getting his photo taken!

Worth the full rez

This one is worth seeing the full-rez version! Don’t forget you can zoom into them on SmugMug and even download the full-rez version yourself. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Berber Man in Morocco

I spent many great hours with this gentleman. He was very nice and spoke perfect English. You may remember another photo I published a month ago when he was wearing Google Glass! :) I took this photo outside in the streets of Chefchaouen, and I used a Leica 50mm prime at f/1.4 on the Sony A7r.

Berber Man in Morocco

Berber Man in Morocco

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 17, 2014 at 5:49am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

KLIA Airport, a few minutes ago.

Happy Birthday Bianca!

Happy birthday to my awesome sister Bianca!

Comments Fixed!

Errrrrrr I think! Email me if it is not the case!

A few minutes ago in Kuala Lumpur

Here’s a video and a photo I literally made less than 30 minutes ago… I wanted to put it here on the blog first. Enjoy! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel Here.

Daily Photo – KLIA Airport

I love Kuala Lumpur! I don't know if you care for the sorts of videos above where I just kind of ramble… stream of consciousness… I wonder if you find it boring or just-above-mildly-entertaining! Let me know! That is, if the commenting is working again on the blog… Curtis will let me know when it is working, and I'll let you know ASAP! Sorry about the tech difficulties! :)

KLIA Airport

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 23, 2014 at 1:05pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO4000
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Chinese Megamalls

Best Mall in the world

What is the most interesting or beautiful mall you have heard of? There are many out there now… This one below is filled with all kinds of crazy sculptures (although you can’t quite see them in this photo).

Daily Photo – Chinese Megamalls

These malls all seem very parallel-universe to me. It's strange to walk around and see all the shopping-mall-trappings of the western world but with a Chinese twist on the whole thing. And to see it covered in Chinese people is also something I'm not used to. I'm sure they are used to it of course… and I am sure the opposite is totally true, maybe even more poignant because 98% of Chinese never even leave their own country.

Chinese Megamalls

Chinese Megamalls

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 26, 2013 at 6:06am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Woman in Fes

Comment Problems

We’ve been having tech problems — we’re trying to figure it out now! Apologies!! :(

Most exotic clothing?

What culture would you say has the most beautiful clothing? I can’t say I know for sure. Maybe it is some remote tribe or distant Asian province. I didn’t really think about this too much until I was in Morocco and started looking at how interesting the outfits were — and all the variety therein.

Daily Photo – Woman in Fes

When I am in places like this and everyone is in rich, colorful outfits, it kind of makes me wish the whole world was like this! Wouldn't it be cool if everyone was dressed exotically all the time? I guess you'd have to rotate the cultural styles every year or so… because I doubt any culture considers itself to be exotic. But this plan would require everyone to be constantly buying new clothes as the rotation period comes around. On second thought, it is a terrible idea (but not my worst).

Woman in Fes

Woman in Fes

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 13, 2014 at 6:22am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3200
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Watching a movie on the cruise

Your favorite Disney movies?

What are some of your favorite disney movies? I think one of them for sure has to be this one in the image below. I remember when I first saw the previews for it… I was so surprised that Disney was going to make a movie like this… and I was happy it turned out to be great.

Daily Photo – Watching a movie on the cruise

What a great place to watch a movie! This is on the Disney Alaska Cruise, and it did get a little cold around this time of night, which is probably why you don't see many people watching the movie. It was a bit lonely. But, of course, with a sunset like that, you know I am not watching the movie either!

Watching a movie on the cruise

Watching a movie on the cruise

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJuly 18, 2013 at 5:24pm
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length17.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

The North American Circus Competition

Find out more about this Photo Contest and Competition here! I’m going to be a judge at this amazing event, and I’m really excited about it! I’ll be staying at the Four Seasons in Toronto, and maybe we can do a photowalk from there or something while I am there…

See More at http://www.circuscompetition.com/

Daily Photo – A Hobbit Hole in the Night

Here's one of the first shots of Hobbit holes at night. Everything has been freshly and delicately lit, and the entire place feels alive and mysterious! Some of the lights on the 44 holes you can't fully appreciate until you closer. From afar, they are just these mysterious little glittering jewels on the bottom of the sea.

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 7, 2014 at 7:30pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture4
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Grand Prize Announced – the Sony A7r!

I’m giving away my camera in China!


I just updated my Sony A7r Review here on the site with new data, photos, and more. It will give you a good backgrounder on the camera if you don’t know much about it. I also updated all the Camera Recommendations with new links, data, reviews, and more.

More on the PhotoWalk

I updated the PhotoWalk information here on the site with the new information including a special guest star!

Some favorite photos from China

-The Great Wall of China-Wow I was alone here. As I walked along this ancient, original stretch of the Great Wall, I felt the ghosts haunting the old towers and little enclaves.I finally found an extremely remote part that is far enough away from civilization to stay pure. The ruins of the wall in this area has been overgrown with vegetation. When you walk along the top, you have to snake your way between huge bushes and all sorts of trees. Stairs and parts of the walkways have crumbled away in the past thousand years. The old towers are slowly fragmenting as lichens and moss cover parts of the stone that are decaying away.This has only reminded me that the main tourist part of the Great Wall is a very tiny stretch that has been re-built in recent years… so it is all fake and kind of Disney-wall. I don’t think I like that…That day I walked from tower to tower, looking at the sinuous wall as it snakes over the mountains. It’s so huge that I won’t even begin to come up with analogies… but, speaking of snakes, a family here told me to watch out for them. I kept that in mind as I hiked back in the pure black of night. I had a little flashlight to keep me company, along with my music. I didn’t see any snakes, and I didn’t fall down, so all together it was a great day and night.

Night Settles In Feung HuangThere is a general poetic peace when it begins to go dark outside and the town comes alight with shopkeepers and villagers come out to turn on the lights.  If you look around, you can see them popping on, one at a time, like little fireflies coming out to play for the evening.This area is no different, and it's made even more magical by the little river that flows through the middle of it all.  And then you are faced with all these nice decisions... where to eat?  where to drink?  where to find an inn for the night?  - Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Nameless Pagoda SleepsTom and I visited this Pagoda late one evening in Li Jiang. There was zero wind, so the perfect reflection made us happy. The thing that did not make us happy was having to get on the ground with our tripods in the lowest position. I do try to avoid getting on the ground as often as possible… but when the scene is right, I guess I have no choice!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the entire post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Hong Kong from the Peak on a Summer's Night If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!I had a long day waking up at 5 AM to take a series of subways and trains up to Shenzen for some meetings. I had a Chinese VISA, which you don't need to get into Hong Kong, but I had to use to cross the official Chinese border after getting off the train. I didn't realize that it was a one-time use VISA, and I had to go to Shanghai the next day. This caused a lot of problems with the Chinese officials, a body of government with which I do not enjoy causing problems.Anyway, after I got back to Hong Kong after a day in Shenzen, I was hot and sweaty and in the sort of meeting clothes that aren't great for being hot and sweaty in. But, everything about Hong Kong was still awesome and I had too look hard for things to complain about. The sun was setting, and I made it up to The Peak just in time for a shot.This was a 5-exposure HDR shot at 100 ISO, and, of course, a sturdy tripod to get all the lights as steady as possible.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Boat in Feng HuangIt was a cool and calm afternoon in the ancient and impossible town of Feng Huang. It's an old town, wreathed in many legends.On the old river, you can occasionally see a boat passing here and there. The boatmen come in all shapes and sizes, but many wear the same hat and style. It is absolutely like a warp of time...- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Morning Fisherman Now, getting to this place was not easy!I arrived about 1 AM at a tiny family-run inn by the river.  I was meeting a local guide at 5 AM, so I didn't get a lot of what I would call "quality sleep".  Anyway, I got up very early and went downstairs in pitch black.  There seemed to be a big white cloth box I had to go around to find the front door.  My guide was outside.  The door was locked and we could not figure out how to get it open.  Everyone at the little inn was sound asleep and I was totally confused.  Then, from inside the big white box, a body flew out of it!  There was a 60-year-old Chinese guy inside that was sleeping until I woke him up with all my lock-manipulations.  His naked limbs in the white sheets scared the bejeezus out of me and woke me right up!And then we were on the river about 5:15.  It was still completely dark outside.  And I mean COMPLETELY DARK.  It was a thin bamboo raft with an outboard motor.I turned around to ask my guide, "How the heck does the boat driver know where he is going?!?"He calmly said, "Oh, no worry.  The river is very wide."I not-calmly said, "Well, that's great and everything, but I can't even see the edge to the river!"He calmly said, "But it is so wide."This line of questioning was not getting me anywhere, so I just decided to sit back and enjoy my possible last moments on Earth.  Then the sun started to rise, and we moved the boat over to the best bank for the angle.Want to hear something amazing about these fishermen?  You won't believe it... but maybe others can confirm this! The fishermen use these two trained cormorant birds that have their throats tied.  The birds dive into the water, eat a fish, but then can't swallow it because of the rope.  The fisherman rudely pulls the fish from the bird's throat and drops it into that basket behind him.  The bird then goes over to a tiny keyboard and sends out the tweet, "WTF".- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Dark and Light in LijiangHere’s a photo that I edited live during the class a few days ago. The motions I went through are also inside of one those “Trey’s Lightroom Presets” I mentioned a few days ago… you can do so much in Lightroom nowadays that it is kind of scary!This is one of the main streets in the city of Lijiang. During the day, it looks quite traditional, but at night, everything lights up and becomes wonderfully alive.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the entire post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

From the new HDR Tutorial!

I know a lot of you have all the RAW files and the how-to video for this shot below from the new HDR Tutorial. You should share your finished images inside the Clubhouse — I’d love to see how yours turned out! :)

Night Dinner Tours in Hobbiton

They just opened this up! If you want to sign up, go to this tour page on their site.

Daily Photo – Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

There must be a few things more magical than being where the Hobbits live as night comes on, but I can't think of any right now. I took this one night after the big event with Air New Zealand and it was so amazing. I remember this pub from all the movies, and, somehow, it is even better in real life. Inside, the taps actually work as grog flows out into huge mugs. Maybe I should share a picture of that soon too!

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

Photo Information

  • Date TakenOctober 19, 2013 at 7:07am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

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