An amazing meal in Hobbiton

An Older Interview You Might Have Missed

Here is a very fun episode I did with Leo Laporte!

Daily Photo – An amazing meal in Hobbiton

If you go on the tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, be sure you go on the last one of the day and stay for this dinner. It is absolutely NOT to be missed… man it was good. I ate so so so much — it was really redonkulous. And, as you can see, the view cannot be beaten!

An amazing meal in Hobbiton

An amazing meal in Hobbiton

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 7, 2014 at 8:27pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Fishing Near the Summer Palace

Another China Scene

This is a video I made when I was north of the Palace here up near an abandoned part of the Great Wall of China.

Daily Photo – Fishing Near the Summer Palace

This is a peaceful Chinese scene, don't you think? It's nice to see these kind of quaint things happening in beautiful spots like this, I think. I see a lot of people fishing all over China. Not all the scenes are quite this idyllic, believe me. But I do like to try to capture it when I can. This was shot in one of the many lakes that surround the Summer Palace.

Fishing Near the Summer Palace

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 27, 2014 at 12:14am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture8
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Beautiful Land of the Hobbits

Other Great Movie Sets?

This spot below is the Hobbiton Movie Set. But it’s not just a set. It’s a real place with gardeners and staff, and, well everything but real Hobbits. I mean, some Kiwis are quite Hobbit-like, so I guess that is something!

Anyway, are there any other movie sets around the world that are actual real-working places that maintain their fantasy-glow all around the year?

Daily Photo – The Beautiful Land of the Hobbits

What's better than an afternoon strolling around the place where the Hobbits live? I can't think of much more than this? Oh sure, maybe take a boat ride in Venice or walk on the moon… but, other than those, I think maybe this comes in a solid third place! And the best thing about it is that anyone can do this! There are many tours that go through here… they are not rushed… lots of time for photos… and if you do the last tour of the day, you can even do the amazing medieval feast at night! :)

The Beautiful Land of the Hobbits

The Beautiful Land of the Hobbits

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 8, 2014 at 11:00am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Daemon Bird

The Lightroom Tutorial

I’m glad so many people are enjoying the Lightroom Tutorial! This photo below is one of the shots that is processed during the tutorial!

Daily Photo – The Daemon Bird

This fisherman and his bird were incredible. Whichever direction his head went, so did the bird's! It was really incredible to watch. If you have the Lightroom Tutorial I mention above, be sure to watch that part where I show all the various head positions! I've never seen anything like it in my life.

For this photo, because it was so dark, I opened up my aperture all the way to f/1.4 – that really helped the light to come in and give it this feeling.

The Daemon Bird

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 4, 2014 at 12:19am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

In Bang Saray at Karma Studios

Amazing time at Karma Sound Studios

When I was recently in Thailand, I spent the week staying at Karma Sound Studios. It was really incredible and fun! What an amazing place for people to collaborate and make some great music. I met all kinds of famous Thai musicians there… it was a really kinda strange and awesome week!

Daily Photo – Down on the Pier at Sunset

This is just a short walk from the studio. The sunsets in Thailand were amazing all week. I don't know if they are always that good, but maybe! I don't think I've been in a place where I had good sunsets for an entire week. Maybe in the Caribbean? Anyway, this place was really special because of all the squid boats. I'll show you some cool shots of those as soon as I get around to processing them! :)

Down on the Pier at Sunset

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJuly 23, 2014 at 12:55am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length26.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Smiling Over the Top

The African Photo Adventure

I’m really getting excited about the African Photo Adventure. It’s happening very soon! We’re thinking about a few other big trips for 2015… be sure to check our newsletter for the latest!

Daily Photo – Smiling Over the Top

While walking down one of the busier streets in China one night, I saw this girl smiling from behind all these cups. I thought it was super funny and cute because she would just watch me as I went by. I could tell she was smiling, but I just saw her head rotating. I was cracking up and decided to turn around and take a photo!

Smiling Over the Top

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 31, 2014 at 12:10am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramShutter speed priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

Beijing PhotoWalk Recap!

Update from the Sony A7r Winner!

I received a nice note from Jack Soltysik, the winner of the Grand Prize at the Beijing PhotoWalk, a Sony A7r. (Here’s my Sony A7r Review in case you missed it!)

Got the camera! Thanks so much for the lens! I literally had the 35 arriving the same day but was able to switch It w the 55 when I saw you’d sent the 35. Thank you! That was a really nice surprise. I’ve been too busy to go shooting recently because I’m in an intensive Chinese course at Tsinghua for the rest of the summer. I wanted to say that I got a full scholarship to this course thanks to getting this camera.

The shots I take now are mostly sneaky street shots w my iphone and I wrote an essay about how, w an actual camera, I should probably be able to speak to my subjects – the essay got me into this summer semester long program w a full ride. Your photo walk really ended up having a pretty big impact for me. I can’t wait to go out shooting once I can interact w people.

I’m waiting for the release of a wider lens before I go out and try hdr work but already have travel ideas planned out for that. The camera feels great and I love the low profile. Thanks for all the extras. My friend got your HDR course which I watched recently and I especially found valuable the part about adjusting the black point in photomatix.

Anyway I can’t stress enough how much this has inspired and motivated my own work so I wanted to say thanks again for hosting the walk and for all the things that’s led to, not the least of which is friends I’ve made from hanging out w people at 798.

For those of you that are on Weibo, mine is here… my name in Chinese translates to “Special Thunder!” haha.

Trey Beijing Photowalk CN3

Some Other 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! :)

Lijiang at Night This is the old town of Lijiang, China, where I spent the week with Tom Anderson (the MySpace guy).  I think I mentioned him before.  Anyway, we got to be friends over the past several months, and we ended up spending a week together here in the south of China.Tom had first been here many years ago when he was setting up the MySpace office in Beijing.  He had great memories, and he thought it would be great for a big return now that he is getting more into photography.  So, it was definitely a week full of non-stop photography action.One late night after the sun had set, we weaved through the old streets until we found this place.  Looking up, I knew it would be a wonderful place to take a photo, so I set up for this one.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Temple of Heaven One too-early morning brought me to this very important place for the Chinese called The Temple of Heaven.  It's the most important Taoist structure in all of China and millions flock to it every year, especially during the National Holiday.  It was built in the early 1400's during the reign of the Yongle Emperor.  I was lucky to get private access in the morning during the sunrise.  After waking up in the dark at the hotel, my driver took me out to the location, where I met one of the directors while members of the military let me inside the giant doors.  Since it was a special celebration week, there were throngs of people waiting to get inside.  I'm sure they were wondering what in the heck some white dude was doing busting through the doors with a giant tripod!  I nodded to them all in a mysterious way before I went through the doors.(btw, a few questions as to whether or not I photoshopped the moon there.  The answer is no... I'm not one of those guys that will "photoshop in" something major like a moon.)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Mysterious UFO Device What do you think this structure is? There are almost an infinite number of possibilities.I was being driven around by a very nice driver with Tom and he took me through this technology park. Most of it was rather banal, but this one structure was so unusual, I had to get out and examine it. I walked around and underneath the structure to try to figure it out. I never did, so I just set up to take a photo.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

On Gossamer Wings I had spent most of the day inside the Forbidden City, trying my best to find little bits here and there.  Tiny discoveries, you know.  I was pretty tired after a day of searching, but I still had barely enough energy to keep exploring into the night.  At that point, I decided to go to another, older area of the city.There were hundreds of quaint shops, the smell of fresh food, families walking to and fro... it was all very nice.  I came to cross a little raised bridge, and I saw this woman standing there.  She was dressed in vintage Chinese grab and holding a delicate umbrella.  While talking with her friends, the light caught her umbrella just right, so I snapped a quick photo.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Birds in the Nest This is the famous “Bird’s Nest” building from the Olympics in Beijing. After the Olympics are over, these special buildings all seem a bit lonely. I know they still hold events in them from time to time, but that seems more like the exception than the rule. Also, this location is so far away from the center of the city that it is extremely inconvenient. Once you arrive to have a look, you are interested, but always thinking of getting back to the main part of the city… this gives it even more of a forlorn feeling… but maybe that is just me.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Chinese Mothership Look at this magical place in Beijing... it's on the edge of belief.I could hardly fathom the nature of this place.  I expected the lights to appear on the grid with melodic tones a mystical, alien language, like in Close Encounters.  But none of that happened...  So I just stood there for a long time, thinking about how incredible this place was... and took my time, setting up my system for a fitting photograph.Remember when we were kids, and we never finished our food, even under the threat of starving children in China?  Now, I say to my kids, you better eat your food, or else Chinese children will grow up and create an economic powerhouse.  Well too late for that!This is the amazing National Centre for the Performing Arts, or as I like to say, the 国家大剧院 -- I find that rolls of the tongue a bit easier.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Birds in the Nest This is the famous “Bird’s Nest” building from the Olympics in Beijing. After the Olympics are over, these special buildings all seem a bit lonely. I know they still hold events in them from time to time, but that seems more like the exception than the rule. Also, this location is so far away from the center of the city that it is extremely inconvenient. Once you arrive to have a look, you are interested, but always thinking of getting back to the main part of the city… this gives it even more of a forlorn feeling… but maybe that is just me.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Dinner on the Beach

Newsletter Update

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Daily Photo – Dinner on the Beach

One evening when we were there at the Four Seasons, we walked along the beach and saw this little scene unfold. It seemed like quite a civilized little spot for to have a spot of dinner. I thought about sitting down there just to see if anyone would bring me any food, magically, but I decided that would probably be in bad form.

Dinner on the Beach

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 24, 2014 at 4:42pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture16
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Riding to the Ranch

Tip: Shooting at a low f-stop in the middle of the day

I shot this photo below with the Sony A7r and the Leica 35mm all the way at f/1.4. Whenever you shoot wide-open in the daytime, often there is too much light that gets let in. I usually go into manual mode and make the shutter speed uber-fast, like 1/8000. I let the ISO float with Auto-ISO. This way, the light level is always right and the quick shutter speed ensures a sharp photo!

Daily Photo – Riding to the Ranch

Here's a photo from my recent trip to Yellowstone. I stayed at an amazing ranch there. But, in order to get to the ranch, you either have to hike for 5 hours, ride a horse for 3 hours, or take a wagon for 1.5 hours. I chose the hiking and got an early start. While walking, some of my other friends came rumbling by on the wagon, and that's when I got this photo.

Riding to the Ranch

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJuly 13, 2014 at 8:39am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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