Anyone Wanna Buy a House in Austin?


Strangest Post Ever

This might be my strangest blog post ever…  well, hey, I figured… why not?  Besides, maybe some of you want to see where I have lived for the past seven years or so…  and yes, we are moving to New Zealand.  More info on that later, I promise! 🙂

Daily Photo – Anyone Wanna Buy a House in Austin?

Contact me at wildcard (at) if you are interested in finding out more… this is just a little teaser with some photos.

It’s in a great area of the hill country, about 15 mins from downtown (with no traffic!) Austin.  The neighborhood is called Jester, and it weaves in and out of a natural preserve.  It’s mega hilly with tons of trees.  Our house, as you can see below from the backyard shot (the fourth one) backs onto a natural preserve… so there is nothing for miles and miles except for little creeks and hilly forests.

The house itself is 5 bedroom, two stories, contemporary design, with all sorts of nice-to-haves.  I’m even leaving the media room with the projector, big screen, and all that stuff.  Anyway, here are a few photos below!

First, here is a photo from the street, looking down the hill at our house on the left.

HDR Photo

Second, here is another view of the front of the house at Christmas time.

HDR Photo

Below is the family room.  The kids are not included with the house.

A Neo-Rockwellian Christmas When dad is a photographer, then there is a major degree of pressure to deliver photos on all the requisite holidays and celebrations! So, I decided to try to re-invent the family Christmas photo with HDR. Please note that many of my inventions go down in flames, but, as Winston Churchill said, “success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm”.Christmas scenes have a lot of light levels. The lights on the tree, the deep greens withn the branches, a roaring fire, lights in the room, reflections off the ornaments, and the like. It’s wild! I’m pretty sure this is why people like Christmas scenes so much - a wonderful treat for the eyes that is rich in texture and rich in light. Traditionally, it’s been very difficult to capture so much richness in a single photo, saving a lucky and heroic combination of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and lenses.The tree lights made the faces of my three stunt-children (who are also my real children) glow perfectly. No flash could have achieved this, unless you are the kind of Rambo-flash guy that would go bury one inside the tree to hit their faces from the left. But, let’s face it. That’s hard.This was a 5-exposure HDR. You will notice that I often use 5 exposures, but note I could have done it with 3 exposures at -2, 0, and +2. Some silly Nikon cameras, like the D3X I use, will not let you step by twos, so I had to take 5 at -2, -1, 0, +1, and +2. The middle exposure, from which the kid’s faces were masked in and perfectly lit, was shot at f/4 aperture, shutter speed of 1/250, 100 ISO, and at 28mm.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Fourth, here is a view off the back deck.  The first dip you see down below leads to a quaint little bubbling brook that tumbles away on rainy mornings, like when I took this photo.

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  • Shea Images

    Good luck with your New Zealand move Trey, now that you’ll be closer to Australia, maybe you can do a photowalk here sometime? 🙂

  • You won’t regret it Trey! Best country ever.

  • Cool shots of your house – yes, it is beautiful there!

  • Again, good luck with the move mate 😉

  • Casper van Zyl

    Good luck with the move,hope every thing turns out well for you and your family you have inspired many on your blog some of us may have been pests but you have handled it all with kit gloves,you are well admired by the photographic world and your followers.We that is family and I wish you the best in your new adventures and home and hope that you settle in as quick as possible so as not to miss our daly picture .Waiting in anticipation. Love the house and trees but have gotten to old to look after it all.

  • Anonymous

    Aaaand the question we’ve all been eagerly anticipating…. what is the price?

  • Jan Jílek

    Hope you’ll like it there, I’d like to visit New Zealand on my own some day. Just a small question … you are photographing places around the world but how many times did you actually move to some new place?

  • NZ will be a smart move! Good luck!!! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Looks like a beautiful house Trey – probably a bit outta my price range – but still beautiful!

    Goodluck in NZ I’d love to visit there at some point! 🙂

  • Im happy for you Trey! NZ will be killer – now of course we will expect the epic landscape shots to increase! Good luck with the sale!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I’ve never really moved to a place just to take photos there…  I’ve been here in Texas most of my life.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe – well…  I won’t put that on here….  but, you know… if people are interested and know the area, then they have a pretty good idea… and we can talk about it in email

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Wow, big step.  The other side of the world.  What is the reason to move that far away from the rest of the world????

  • William Woodward

    Congrats Trey, we’ll miss ya here in the states, but I definitely understand your move!! I love NZ and will hope to run in to you next time I’m over for a holiday!

  • Andrew White

    Great news Trey! So from a Man who’s traveled the world, you’ve chosen NZ aye? I remember talking to you about immigration (and all the red tape) down in Austin a little while back, great to hear it’s all worked out. My wife and I are moving back later this year too, been in Dallas for the past 5 years, but we’ve done our time here now : ) Let me know how things go, I’d love to catch up with you again, could even show you some cool places. Hmmm.. maybe we could do the Milford Track or something if you’re keen.

  • Wow, that’s quite a move.  Haven’t gotten to New Zealand yet but it looks like an amazing place.  Looks like your house now is in a nice location, it’s great to have the balance of living close enough to the convenience of the city while still being out where there’s nature.

  • Justice Reed

    Trey, if you are in Wellington on Feb 18, go check out Fat Freddys Drop at the waterfront, it’s gonna be huge!

  • Justice Reed

    Trey, if you are in Wellington on Feb 18, go check out Fat Freddys Drop at the waterfront, it’s gonna be huge!

  • Congrats Trey, new land new adventures.

    Your home in Austin is beautiful!!
    Why are you moving?

    How is New Zealand when it comes to homeschooling?

    Once again Congrats!

  • Jenn Oliver

    Congrats on your move! New Zealand is absolutely fantastic 🙂

  • Great idea Shea, we’d all love to see Trey do a photo walk over her in Australia. 
    Well done Trey, great move, welcome down south! I’ve visited NZ 6 times and have loved every trip. 

  • Dan Roads

    Lovely house Trey! 

    Wish you all the best for the trip, Seems to me that ALL the best photographers are at NZ, So you’ll fit RIGHT in. 🙂
    Hope everything goes smoothly.


  • Paula Maidl

    What a beautiful place to relocate to – good luck with the move!    Will we be seeing you and your lovely family on an upcoming episode of “House Hunters International”?  😉

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Trey.  Do you drive a prius, too.  It sort of looks like it in the first picture.  Good Luck in selling your home, it looks lovely!!!!!  Have a great day! 🙂

  • wbj

    Smart move Trey.  I’ve tried to move there also but the NZ government has an age restriction and won’t let my wife and I live there permanently, even though I offered to deposit enough money in a NZ bank to cover any and all expenses I might incur in the ensuing years.  Of course James Cameron just plunked down $20 million for 2600 acres so they will make an exception for him (we’re roughly the same age).  Plus he’s a Canadian, which has its advantages when moving to another former British colony.  IMO NZ needs to rethink their immigration policies.  I’d move there in a second if they’d let me and I live in one of the best cities in the USA, San Diego.

  • Rob Woodruff

    Coincidence…?  😉

  • Only today would someone try and sell their house on their photo blog!  What a time we live in…good luck on the move Trey!

  • Bo Insogna

    I love Austin!  Great House Trey!  Can’t wait to hear about New Zealand!

  • Wow your house looks great…

    ….looking forward to hearing about New Zealand?

    Good luck with the move!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been “stuck” on your blog for 2 years! Congrats on the move!  Ur house looks amazing! Good luck! 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I agree – they should be more open

  • We live in NZ and home schooled our two children.   NZ is very supportive of home schooling.

  • Trey, with all due respect, you haven’t arrived in NZ yet and already you are telling us what we should do?   Why should we be more open?   We have a beautiful country with just 4 million people and lots of wide open, unspoiled spaces.    Why should we open our doors to all and sundry and increase our population?   Surely we have a right to protect what is ours.   Would our country be as attractive to you if it had 60 million people like the UK?   Nonetheless, welcome to NZ! 🙂  

  • Very nice.  Thank you David for the answer. 

  • Anonymous

    David — You live in a magnificent country, but one that is perhaps a bit shortsighted.  I own a business that employs New Zealanders but the country refuses to let me live there for any extended length of time because I am 50+.  I don’t want anything from your government in the way of healthcare.  I can pay for that myself and have done so in the past.  Your doctors never complain when I pay by check, neither do any of the local suppliers.  Yet, I cannot stay there just because I am older.  James Cameron is welcomed, but I employ a whole lot more of your countrymen than he does. 

  • Cool place.  I love the idea of selling a house on a photo blog.  Epic idea, epic house, epic pictures as always.
    Good luck being stuck in NZ.

  • Stewart Baird

    Great news to hear your family is coming here for real.  We came here in 2000 and have loved it (I am a NZ-er my wife an American).

  • The United States, and Texas in particular, would benefit greatly from similarly restrictive immigration policies.  More power to NZ!  Don’t feel pressure to be ashamed that you value and maintain your borders, language, and culture.  People are clamoring to move there for a reason, partly because NZ has avoided becoming an open-immigration cesspit like many other parts of the former British Empire.

  • Anonymous

    Just remember this Trey: grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side of the fence.  I would certainly want to see few places on this earth (Siberia, northern Norway/Sweden, Alaska…,and yes, New Zealand ), but to live there? I don’t think so.  I will stick to my “God’s country” of Northern California.  Anyway, you and your family are young, so moving to another place to live is a nice experience. I wish you all the best.

  • Elaine Dudzinski

    So, you can’t live in NZ if you’re over 50 years old? Really? What happens if you’re living there and you go past the age of 50, do you suddenly disappear and become soylent green tablets?

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