Camping in Antarctica

Extreme Camping

This was by far the most extreme camping I’ve ever done. I’ve never slept inside TWO sleeping bags, one inside the next… boy oh boy… was it ever cold getting in and out of that thing. And getting dressed inside a little tent? It was so cold and difficult… holy moly I will never forget it! But it was fun having Stu as a roommate! :)

Daily Photo – Camping in Antarctica

We spent four days here in an area called the Dry Valleys on the main continent of Antarctica. Our main base was about an hour heli flight from here over at New Zealand's Scott Base. This place does not sound very remote, but often times the weather is so bad that supplies or pickups can be delayed days or weeks. We ended up needing to stay one extra night because the weather was too bad for Hef to pick us up! I actually took this on the final morning… you can see what beauty the bad weather left behind.

See that glacier in the background? It was about an hour to hike over there… a hike I made many times!

Camping in Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture11
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Along the road on the way to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco

A Long Year in Africa

So this year I spent about two months in Africa, and I feel very lucky for it! I spent the vast majority of it early in the year here in Morocco and then the second month was later in the year down in the south. What a huge place Africa is… I guess we all know it is pretty huge from the map, but when you actually get there, it’s pretty much beyond comprehension!

Daily Photo – Along the road on the way to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Here's a photo of some Moroccan men along the side of the road on the desert-side of the Atlas Mountains. The way this look was achieved is with a little bit of compression-magic. I used a 300mm lens, which made that awesome old city behind them loom large and soft. I felt lucky to have this nice arrangement of colors… the nice cool blue of their dress with the warmth of the old buildings behind.

Along the road on the way to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Massive Ice Wall Defends us all from the Wildings

Game of Thrones

Speaking of the Ice Wall… how excited are you about the new season of Game of Thrones!?! Yay!!

Daily Photo – The Massive Ice Wall Defends us all from the Wildings

I camped out in a wicked place called the Dry Valleys where countless glaciers spill into a valley… it's like nothing I've ever seen. You can walk right up and touch them… miles of face to walk in front of. I stopped to take this photo of the Howard Glacier, which loomed hundreds of feet over me. This view you see only makes up about 2% of the face of the glacier. Amazing!

The Massive Ice Wall Defends us all from the Wildings

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length19.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Isabella on the Dock

Child Photography Tip

This is a very small tip, but a good one. If you’re ever at a birthday party or a place with kids and want to get different, engaging photos, just lower yourself to their level. It seems like a small thing to do, but it makes a tremendous difference! If you think about it, 99% of photos of children are taken from above… so if you just get down low, then you’re already in that top 1% of children photos! :)

Daily Photo – Beautiful Isabella on the Dock

All of my kids are beautiful, of course, but I just happened to be sharing one of them right now! Isabella is 9 years old and I ended up having her and her little sister Scarlett for a day of photography. Tina was off doing something, so Cliff and I took the girls out on a little photo adventure with us. This is the first place we stopped while exploring new parts around Queenstown.

Beautiful Isabella on the Dock

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Girl in Antarctica

Monthly Presets Release Day!

Pop over to the store to pick up the February Presets for half price ($2.50 instead of $5) in the store. We are trying something new where the FIRST day of every month — the new presets are on sale for 24 hours. A lot of you took advantage of this on Jan 1st, so we’re keeping the party going. Today’s photo you see below was created with one of these new presets — enjoy!

Daily Photo – Girl in Antarctica

Here is Clare Beet, a scientist that was in one of our remote camps while there. It was a bitter cold day, and Clare put on her emergency coat to stay warm. I thought her light eyes against the blueness and whiteness of Antarctica looked pretty, so Stu and I took her out for a little photo session. I was also freezing while taking this! I brought the wrong gloves on this little walk, so I was bare-handed while shooting. I only had about 30 seconds worth of finger-warmth, so I had to move fast!

Girl in Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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

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