Isabella’s Jewel Box

Thanks Again Community!

(BTW, it sounds strange calling us a “community”.  I never really liked that word… it’s like we meet for Bingo at the sad community center that smells like old tapioca pudding or something…  maybe you know a better word?)

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you again for all the support, encouragement, and enthusiasm! I really enjoy reading your comments, getting your emails, tweets, FB comments and more. I feel bad I can’t respond to all of them, but I still do read them all. There is a lot, but the reading is not yet overwhelming. The responding is. Something maybe people don’t realize is that comments appear all over the site every day, even on posts that are several years old. For example, someone just dropped a note on a 2-year-old post “Girl in Qatar” looking for a penpal.

I also quite like it when people post links to their websites, their photos, or whatever they find interesting. I encourage it, and it helps YOU get to know OTHER nice people here in the community here too. I know my mom will track you down (like she did Gail) whenever you suddenly stop leaving comments. She gets worried (she called me one day and said, “Do you think Gail is sick or something?”)

If you have more ideas on things you’d like to see around here to help this process, let me know! 🙂

Daily Photo – Isabella’s Jewel Box

Up high, in one of the tallest towers of all the land, in the highest castle by the sea, sits a perfect bedroom, and it shines like the inside of a floating jewel box.

This amazing place is in one of the two peak towers atop Hearst Castle. Getting up into these rooms via tiny, twisting stairways is not the easiest thing in the world. The paths in and out of these bedrooms are almost so serpentine that they seem secret. When I was inside, I felt like I was one of the few people in the world to ever experience it.

HDR Photo

Relapse Photo – The Castle From Below

I’ve included a second photo from the outside of the castle. Towards the top, you can see the two towers, each of which contains one of these little slices of fantasy.

Hearst Castle

  • Patrick

    Beautiful (yes, I’m a sensitive man)!

  • I’d like to think that I could find amazing subjects just puttering around SoCal (and there are a few), but It looks like you gotta put the miles in for the real gems…

  • Hi Trey, I just love stopping by and be Wow’ed by your work. Very inspiring and informative. Excellent!

  • Trey,
    Thanks for all the tips and tutorials over the years. It’s appreciated more than you know.
    I often come to your site to check up on your travels and have enjoyed all that you have shared. When my creative spark has dimmed a bit I can look to you, Brian Matiash and many others for some needed inspiration. By the way beautiful interior shot above. It’s shots like these that have made me fall in love with shootng architecture.


  • Irina Zapp

    Speechless indeed, the beauty is beyond my own imagination or desire… thank you so much for sharing your amazing work.

  • I don’t think you have to be any subclass of human to appreciation truly masterful artisanship.

  • Thanks everyone… glad you like it as much as I do… 🙂

  • I love how each window came out a different hue… beautiful! Thanks for the writing too, I really enjoy seeing how you think about your work (and the comedic twists to your writing are good too).

  • Yes this place is really spectacular! I love this one in particular as it incorporates reflections which look so fabulous when combined with HDR.

    I’ve not captured many images with reflection apart from the one below – i am working on it however – it’s an example of how reflections can really add another dimension to an image.

  • Thank you as well for your site, Trey. As I mentioned in our email exchange, you and this site are a constant inspiration to me. Some days I’m tired or busy with my other job and just don’t feel like posting a photo to my site ( but then I see your daily post and am encouraged enough to get my own up. 

    Funny about your mom 🙂 My wife is the same way. I don’t get nearly as many comments at my site as you do, but my wife is always reading them and commenting when a “regular” misses a day, worrying if they are sick or ok.

    Keep up the great work!! 

  • Mike Diblicek

    Hey Trey,

    Great image today, love all that detail.
    As for the site, comments and visitors, i think it’s very much appreciated by all, even those that just stop by without commenting, it certainly is a great inspiration, and i too love reading everyone’s comments
    Firstly i love your work, it really is amazing to have the time to be able to do what you do, i really wish i had more time to devote to going out and taking some photo’s, although at the start of this year, i really started to MAKE time for this, and although i did a few HDR’s, i got hooked on Black and White, so the majority of my work is in B+W, all shot on a Canon G10 compact see here –
    Have a look at the snowscapes and landscapes folders.
    I use the Nik Software Silver Efex Pro plugin, which is excellent.

    All the best


    @ JapanDave your link should be
    (late night, maybe) : )

  • You forgot to close the parenthesis on (she called me one day and said, “Do you think Gail is sick or something?”



  • Fantastic!

  • hehe thanks, Mike. Actually typed that comment up on my iPhone4 while watching tv. I was rather impressed with myself for being able to do that… don’t know how I made that mistake. I’m going to blame the iPhone autocorrection for making the mistake. Yes, that’s it…

  • I’ve been to Hearst castle when I was a boy and took one of the general tours. This private tour through the depths of the estate are breathtaking. I would love to experience this in person some day.

  • Trey: How about “Tribe” instead of “Community”? I’m not big on that word either. Keep up the awesome work. Love it.

  • How did you get access to these rooms? I just joined this site,so know very little about you and the rest of the people who contribute.I was there MANY yrs ago and was not privy to those rooms.Pictures are Wonderful.

  • casusan

    Beautiful shot Trey! Love the title of it too!

  • Like a fairy tail 🙂

  • Fantastic. This new shot must be among the best ones you’ve made to date.

  • Thanks – I really love it too.

    Diane – I contacted the Hearst foundation for a private tour — so that helped!

  • James Carr

    Community – I like posse, cohort, cronies, henchmen, disciples, and minions.

  • Wil

    I’ve always wanted to be in a cult, can we call it a cult?!

  • From the looks on the outside, you certainly made it appear bigger on the inside. The purple windows really popped when I first saw the image.

    I was looking at your camera data on the last few images you posted, do you usually keep your white balance to auto? I always tend to change mine before the shot, but I guess it doesn’t matter if you shoot in raw.

  • George G

    Such great work! I just purchased your DVD workshop, in hopes of learning even more. I do like the term “tribe” referring to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship. Let’s see…introducing our Stuck in Customs Tribal Leader, Trey Ratcliff. Yep I like it… and nice work on building kinship among the image challenged.

  • Gail in Montana

    Yeah, I like that, we are a tribe living to look at your new photo/photos each day ;-). That is such a beautiful place, I’m glad I get to see it through your “eye” of the camera. And it is great that your Mom and I became friends when I was away that one time!!!! She mentioned that you had posted about us on one of your photos, so I read that part last night after coming home from our trip. Your Mom rocks!!!!! I just love her!!!
    OK, enough of the mushy stuff, have a great day where ever you are now, Trey. God bless you and keep you safe in your travels as you bless us with your photos!!!!

  • Alistair McNaughton

    Wonderful detail – makes you admire the workmanship of the craftsmen that built the Castle.

  • That is beautiful!!! I stop by often just to check and see where you have been. I travel often for work, but it is so exhausting that it is often work and then back to the hotel for the next day. And then I just look forward to coming home. I live vicariously through your pictures, so thank you for sharing!!!! 🙂

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