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

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.

New Zealand Autumn Workshop Announced for 2015

Announced here first on the blog!

We’ve only announced and planned one workshop for all of 2015 so far, and it’s going to be in the Autumn here in New Zealand! We just finished this one here, and it was absolutely amazing. The colors are just incredible. Don’t forget that Autumn here starts at the end of April, so I know it is a bit of a mind curveball!

Find out more on the New Zealand Autumn Adventure!

Daily Photo – Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

This place is just beyond belief! It's spot after spot after spot and the colors are on fire everywhere. They play so well with the blue above and the amazing quality of the light here in New Zealand. Last year I missed it because I was in China, so this was my first full proper Autumn in New Zealand and I was transfixed! You can pop over to the page above to see even more photos. And I hope you can join us for one of these events! :)

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 22, 2014 at 6:08pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length47.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Back in Hobbiton to make some more videos

New Stuff in the Works!

We just finished spending time on the Hobbiton movie set where we made a lot more videos a few days ago! They’ll take a while to edit of course, but at least the sausage is in the factory! Would you all be interested in a) A Lightroom Tutorial and a b) Night Photography tutorial? Let me know! :)

24-70mm Lens

I’ve been enjoying my new Sony FE 24-70mm lens on my Sony A7r (see my Sony A7r review if you missed it). I find it gives me that middle range I have been missing. In the meantime, I’m working (SLOWLY) on the Leica lens buying guide… trying to find some good affordable options that can unlock this really cool power of the new Sony bodies… I’m trying my best to understand it all myself, and then make it understandable to you! :)

Daily Photo – The Water Mill in Repose

This might just be a perfect water mill! I actually asked them to turn off the wheel (it works and everything), because it was messing up the reflection a bit. I mean, there was still some reflection, but not nearly as clean and lovely as this. It was a bit of a hard decision to focus on just this mill, since there was this really amazing stone arched bridge right beside it. Well, in honestly, I did not decide, because I got both photos! I just happened to process this one first :)

The Water Mill in Repose

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 8, 2014 at 8:38am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

From Queenstown to Glenorchy

A behind-the-scenes video — first here on the blog

Hey everyone — I thought it would be fun to put this here first. Two days ago, I was driving back to Queenstown from Glenorchy (which is about 50 mins down the road), and the water was so smooth, I just had to jump out of my truck to take this photo! Anyway, here’s a little about the need to get down low… I make a lot of these videos for The Arcanum, but wanted to release this one here for y’all! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Crystal Lake

Those islands you see in the middle of the lake there are Pig Island and Pigeon Island. You can actually take a little kayak over there and there are huts where you can sleep for the night. No one lives there, and they just sit there empty almost all the time… I never see anyone on the lake at all… this is quite a remote area, really, even though it is quite easy to get to. This whole road to get here was only paved about 10 years ago, so it all still feels very fresh and undiscovered!

Lake wakatipu

Across the Crystal Lake

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 11, 2014 at 3:17pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

One Surprise Slot for Namibia!

An opening!

We just had my friend Javier (sadly!!) cancel for our upcoming Namibia trip, so here there is one more opening. Find out more about it on the Africa Adventure Page!

Daily Photo – Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there, including my own and Tina below, Happy Mother's Day! I took this photo yesterday when we went out on a little family Mother's Day walk around New Zealand. The youngest one, Scarlett, has run off ahead down the path… if she can't be the center of every photo, she wants no part of it! :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

On Camel, Across the Sahara Desert

Camel-Riding

I’ll tell you what… these camels are not smooth rides. It’s a like you are in a slow moving car and you keep manually readjusting your seat forwards and backwards — like 1,000 times. You know when you get into someone else’s car and you try to adjust the seat? Then you find out the lever is underneath you… then you lift it and rear back and forth violently until you find the spot? That’s exactly what riding a camel is like, except the lever is always being pulled.

Daily Photo – On Camel, Across the Sahara Desert

I absolutely loved my time in the Sahara. I did not expect the dunes to be as overpowering as they were. It was completely overwhelming, in an awesome way. Everything is so minimalist that it makes photography extra-fun and challenging. To move across this endless sea of sand — where do you aim your camera? This one I actually took while I was on a camel. Taking photos while riding a camel Is Not Easy — this I now can say with all certainty! :)

On Camel, Across the Sahara Desert

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 8, 2014 at 5:47am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Worst Thing About Mike’s Bar

More Stu in St. Bathans

I thought I might share a photo of Stu right before we went over to Mike’s Bar.

Walking on Water

Daily Photo – The Worst Thing About Mike's Bar

is Mike.

I mean, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is a great place to eat and get drinks in St. Bathans. Wait let me qualify that. It's the only place. There is a very small town, and Mike has absolutely cornered the market in these two areas, but he has yet to corner the market in grace and civility. He's got a hard edge, that Mike. I went here with Stu and ordered some drinks. This process had all the charm and trappings of trench warfare with mustard gas.

Actually, we did quite like Mike. His unwavering negativity and general disregard for any basic human empathetic standard was worthy of a grisly respect.

The Worst thing about Mike's Bar

The Worst Thing About Mike's Bar

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

The Neighborhoods of Tokyo

Tokyo has many different neighborhoods, and each one is honestly a city in itself. They are all crammed together, and each one is worth a visit. If you ever go to Tokyo, I think it’s worth staying at least a week and then hitting a different sub-city every day. Here’s a good listing of all the various neighborhoods!

Daily Photo – 荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

Here's a fun photo from my recent photowalk in Tokyo. I went there to give a speech at Google for the new “Cool Japan” marketing launch. Just beforehand, we all went on this photowalk in Asakusa.

Asakusa is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, most famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. I want you to know that I copied that previous sentence straight from Wikipedia! Haha I never do that, but I decided to this time because it felt strange just to re-arrange the sentence and pass it off as my own. That's just lazy, you know. I guess what I did was pretty lazy too.

Anyway, Asakusa is a really awesome part of Tokyo, and I had never been there before. I have to go back!

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 20, 2014 at 8:49pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x