“done more to hurt the integrity of photography than anyone else in the world”

Father’s Day Deal – 20% off

Let’s say you disagree with the negative nancy below and you don’t think post-processing is the devil. And if you want to join the cause to “hurt the integrity of photography” to learn great post-processing tricks, then use “STUCKONDAD” to save 20% on the HDR Video Tutorial. (The code also works for eBooks on FlatBooks.com which may or may not be injurious to the artform of pressing a button on a chunk of iron and glass.)

What do you think of this guy?

So, I wouldn’t necessarily call this guy a “troll” — but perhaps a hobgoblin or some lesser fantasy creature that you have to defeat 10 of before reaching Level 2. I find people like this endlessly fascinating, and I enjoy observing them like mold in a petri dish.

He’s been popping around the site lately, distributing comments on the “About Me” page and countless other places. Here’s a few little jewels that he has dropped. Emphasis is my own.

…your cliched travel images and horrendous post-processing combined with your unfortunate popularity has probably done more to hurt the integrity of photography than anyone else in the world in recent years. You have made it incredibly difficult for millions of honest photographers trying to produce honest images. Please reconsider the effect you are having on photography.

And sprinkled into my India photos:

Sorry but these are all pedestrian images that tell us nothing about India. There are so many hundreds of other photographers producing interesting, informative, beautiful images of India. Don’t be fooled by Photoshop.

Daily Photo – A Dishonest Image of San Francisco

And with this image, I am once again launching full-out-assault on the hallowed traditions of photography. You know what I did with this image? I post-processed it! Oh yes, I really did. And I had so much fun doing it… at least as much fun as Dexter in his kill room.

I guess if I was to be really “honest” and take a photo of San Francisco and keep with the tradition of the greats of photography, it would have to be black and white photo, right? I mean, the world really is black and white, isn’t it? Oh wait, no… it’s in color. Wait, now I’m confused.

Oh no, look what I’ve done now. I’ve gone and upset people that think one form of artistic expression is superior to another form of artistic expression. How could I be so callous and open with my thoughts and techniques?

(and thanks everyone — pop back tomorrow for a wonderfully dishonest photo of an amazing cave in the Carribean.)

A Dishonest Image of San Francisco

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 17:35:14
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55mm (55mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

  • Beautiful shot Trey – I know people like him are losers and you can’t help but wonder what their lives are like that they get off on saying things that are untrue – you’re one of the most honest people I know!!

  • Damn, it only took you 10 kills? I think it took me like 15-20. I must be in a hell level or something 🙁

    Love the shot, and the article. I can’t wait to see the wonderfully dishonest photo of an amazing cave in the Carribean tomorrow!

  • John Cox

    “Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.”

    – Pablo Picasso

  • Don’t feed the trolls.

  • How do I know that’s even what he said?
    You augmented his words with italics.
    You augment reality with post processing.
    You augmented your families reality by moving outta Texas.

    How can I trust anything on this site?
    Then again – screw that Ludite.

  • “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

    First, Trey, I LOVE your photography.  If I were rich, my house would be a gallery full of your gorgeous landscapes, in all their post-processed glory.  

    That said, I sort of understand, not that I would ever put my feelings the way he so rudely did.  To be honest, his diatribe sounds more like a jealous rant to me.  But as someone coming off many years of manual photography, it is hard, emotionally, to deal with the new world of digital photography + post-processing because that isn’t my forte (and likely isn’t his either).  

    20 years ago, to be a great photographer, you had to be great at taking pictures with a camera.  The amount of magic that could be accomplished during processing was minimal – a great shot came from knowing your craft, not from the computer.  Now anyone with a tripod, a dslr and a half-decent understanding of composition can *seem* like a good photographer through the magic of post-processing.  For an old dog, it’s hard to deal with this change on an emotional level, because technical/computer work may not be that photographer’s strength when it comes to taking pictures.  And unfortunately we live in a post-processing world, where SOOC pics, even when they’re taken very well, come off dull and plain next to most post-processed work.  That can feel frustrating and almost unfair to someone who spent years honing their ability/talent at plain-old photography, especially when someone who is clearly as adept as you are can step into the new world of digital photography and do so well.

    BUT…and I can’t stress this enough…All the post-processing in the world cannot make a lousy shot look great.  That’s where he is 100% wrong.  Your post-processed photos are amazing, but not because of what you can do with a computer, but rather because of what you can do with a camera and enhance with a computer.  You’ve shown us your SOOC shots and without any processing at all they’re fantastic.

    There is nothing dishonest about your photography at all, in my opinion.  Your pictures are works of art, and they tell remarkable stories.  

  • Stuart Little

    I don’t think this guy knows how to use Photoshop and he is taking his frustrations out on you Trey. I admire the fact that you have actually given “guest” some air time but I don’t think in this case it will make he or she go away. So I look forward to reading what the wee shrivelled up haggis has to say next. 😉

  • Shea Goff

    I guess I like that you talk about this. It is obviously an issue or hot topic of sorts. I, for one, am only in the beginning stages of utilizing any type of post processing for my photos. After doing a wedding a couple of weeks ago and attempting to look at them for not only what I got but the potential as well it was quite overwhelming and more than a few times I had to say to myself, When does it stop?

    Of course, in the end with this, as with everything, it is a personal choice. I, for one, think your photographs are beautiful. I am inspired by the world you see and create. Thank you for doing what you do.

  • Colin Bailey

    Surely it’s down to each individual photographer how they wish to develop their own style of shooting/processing. If everyone was the same there would never be any new traditions developing.

  • Casper van Zyl

    I don’t know photoshop either but I’m here to learn and so are most of Trey’s followers.To me this is a fun blog for all to enjoy its your choice if you want to do HDR or your own thing. People do become jealous or envy others because they don’t do as well so they put the blame on others or try and run them down,SAD.             Conclusion : To his words!!! An ill man is always ill,but he is worst of all when he pretends to be a saint.   ((Malus ubi bonum se simmulat,tuncest pessimus.))

  • Casper van Zyl

    By the way the bridge is great,the traffic sure lights it up.

  • GeorgeGreen

    I have spent many hours in the darkroom doing postprocessing.  With a good negative I did many of the things I now do in Photoshop only it was more work and a lot smellier. As Ansel Adams said: Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in
    establishing tonal relationships
    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/ansel_adams.html#sL8MtkglvfQMug71.99And: The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to
    its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.

    more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/ansel_adams.html#sL8MtkglvfQMug71.99You make beautiful music Trey.

  • Post processing exists since the beginnings of photography, and traditional darkrooms aren’t less powerful than Photoshop. I don’t mean that in traditional darkrooms you can do all the things you can do in Photoshop, but the power of changing an image in extreme ways is the same.
    The mere act of framing is an alteration of reality. Black and white is an alteration (the world is in color). Shooting film is an alteration because film “interprets” colors. Every and each “top photographer” of the history has processed images, even f/64 photographers (who believed in the integrity of photography).

    I’ve written on my blog my thoughts about post processing, if you want to read more here’s the link: http://davidepetilli.com/photography/photo-editing-love-hate/

  • t_linn

    I try never to attribute motives to the comments of others but stuff like this does make you ask yourself that question, doesn’t it?  I mean, it’s fine if HDR isn’t your cup of tea but it to feel compelled to express yourself in a very unkind and absolutist way is something else.  Don’t get it.  What I do love though is that friendly generous people tend to attract other friendly generous people and…oh—who am I kidding?  This guy’s just a big ol’ dick. 

    On a different subject, this is a particularly nice shot of SF and the Bay Bridge.

  • I am first and foremost a professional musician, and then a photographer – which will explain my following parallels.

    What you do, and what he does are two different things linked by a common thread.
    It’s inappropriate to compare the ‘one-take’ recordings of the early days of sound (warts and all) to today’s almost exclusively digital, auto-tuned, clean, processed pop charts. They are different. There is room for both – but I wouldn’t consider that Britney’s latest album has somehow had an effect on the sales of the London Symphony Orchestra’s latest CD. But it’s all ‘music’ isn’t it?
    I get work because of the sound I make on my 1946 sax – if I played a different, modern sax I’d perhaps get different work, but I don’t think that would affect other sax players’ chances of getting work!

    Post-processing is part of the ‘package’ that is Trey Ratcliff – if people don’t want that, they’ll book someone else (perhaps Monkey-boy, although reading between the lines it sounds as though he may be struggling), but I don’t think that the way you shoot has had any impact on me finding work, or even artistically, as a photographer. I don’t particularly like HDR, I admire it for pushing the development of photography, but it’s not how I shoot, so I don’t. I don’t particularly like free jazz, I understand it’s importance in pushing music, but it’s not how I play – so I don’t.

    Anyway, I’m off to cook dinner – on an open fire mind you. I can’t stand what these ‘gas’ companies have done. They’ve made it incredibly difficult for millions of honest cooks trying to produce honest dinners.

  • It’s obvious the guy doesn’t have a successful photography career of his own.  Ansel Adams did post processing, he just did it in the darkroom rather than Lightroom.  Glad to see you are not worried about it, keep up the good work. 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks for the interesting comments everyone 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – if Ansel was with us today, he’d be hip deep into Photoshop! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – good analogies… and I don’t really take client work anyway, but I see what you mean! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes, it is strange that “creatives” are into “destruction” !

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks for the link Davide 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    We are simpatico, George! 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Casper 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    yes yes I agree 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – personal choice for sure

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes I have this suspicion too…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Jennifer ! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    You and me, we are like this ||  (that is two fingers, together in the air)

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Hi Trey, I posted a comment here earlier, Thanks.

  • Fraser Peek

    If you were creating over processed, horrible images then these comments MIGHT be valid – but you’re not! – and your photos have helped you to become a pioneer of ‘good hdr’ photography – viewed by millions!

    Photography is art, art is creativity, creativity means you can do what the hell you want…

    ahh i love the snobbery of the ‘honest photographer’ and their stubbornness to evolve!

  • Patrick Mc Donnell

    People like our hobgoblin forget that every choice they make on the way to their ‘straight out of the camera’ image has an interpretative effect on the outcome – digital or analog, format, lens choice, mono or colour, shutter speed, aperture and overall exposure value; each decision makes a difference to the outcome and means that if any 2 of us were to photograph a subject together our images would not be the same – even before we post processed our images to more closely meet our vision of what we each saw.
    Sour grapes make poor wine – pity the person who chooses to drink it!

  • Patrick Mc Donnell

    Oh – the image of the bridge is nice too! Like the composition!

  • Trey,
    I am shocked! Shocked I tell you!
    Shocked that you don’t get these images right straight from the camera and have to resort to “fun time” on a computer to do in a few minutes (or longer depending on the fun factor) what it would take hours in a actual color photo lab to accomplish.

    Shame on you for converting some of us into artists. Shame on you for showing us another approach to photography. And shame on your for taking pictures of pedestrians in India …pffft!

    And isn’t that stupid old Photoshop CS6 Extended just the curse of the world? My wife thinks I wasted money on that product and she is absolutely totally 100% incorrect. (Which is unusual because women are always right, that’s what she tells me). 

    And what’s worse, is shame on me for visiting your site everyday and while I am at it, curse you for reminding me that photography is fun.

    Am I allowed to call that “other guy” a jerk? Or is there some type of legals thing that can happen to me? Oh WAIT! I live in Ukraine, he couldn’t sue me for calling him a jerk, even it it goes international. So, Mr. Negative-buddy, relax, get some skills, dude it is 2012, not 1864.

  • TheBrownHornet

    “You have made it incredibly difficult for millions of honest photographers trying to produce honest images. Please reconsider the effect you are having on photography” – These are the words of a person who use to (or may still be trying) make a living by taking photos for newspapers, books, and magazines. These people take ordinary photos and create amazing stories. They generally take a photo of an old person, a starving child, or rubble and ruin, and then spin some sob story to provoke emotion. Their photo skills are average at best, yet their writing skills are excellent. These are the words of a person who likes lifeless, dull and boring photos, but loves to tell a story. I may not agree with everything you say Trey, but your photos are amazing, and I would much prefer to put something you have created on my wall, rather than read a sad story and look at sad photos. And by the sound of it…..these comments are from someone who is very jealous that your photos and teachings are much better than anything they have ever created. But who am I to have an opinion? I am a nobody hiding behind a stupid name.
    PS. Love ewes always…… It’s a New Zealand thing.

  • foosion


  • You’re a bad, bad man Trey and I hope you keep it up! 

  • each to his own – your own are great!

  • I myself makes almost all my photography “analogue”. That is : Shoot with a analogue range finder and develop the film. I then scan the frames on a dedicated filmscanner and import the files in Aperture. Then I adjust levels curves and slight sharpening.

    This is in NO WAY more real or natural than anything you do Trey or any other HDR photographer. From the moment i choose film type I start to manipulate the final result in a processing work flow. If HDRprocessing is “fake” than classic cross processing is as fake.
    I couldnt care less HOW the final result came into existence, be it from an iPhone or a M9p, I care only if I like it or not. …And your images are epic.

  • spbphoto

    If that guy thinks for a second that Ansel Adams wouldn’t be doing the same kind of post-processing for all his images he is sadly mistaking.  

  • Paul Jennings

    I don’t agree with this critic; it’s entirely reasonable to use Photoshop, etc.

    However if I do have some critisism it’s to do with the decline in the overall quality of your pictures. I started looking at your blog more than four years ago and I was very impressed with your shots. If I look back at some of those same shots I am still impressed. But a lot of your work nowadays leaves me cold. You can do a lot better. Of course, there are the occasional gems. But frankly, a lot of your “art” nowadays is pretty samey.  You take the same old shots and process in the same old way.

    The other thing that turns me off is the relentless self-promotion (and quite a bit of  name-dropping).  I mean, come on, calling your own photos “Awe Insripring Beauty..” is a bit rich. I wouldn’t even call it “art” myself. So, a bit of modesty would not go amiss. Now that you live in NZ you might find that kiwis don’t appreciate self promotion as much as americans.

    I just wish you’d make some more of the great images that I know you are capable of.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    thx for the feedback Paul…  btw, I did not personally write the copy for that text you saw – that was done by my team when they put it up on iTunes, where I think that resides…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks  – yes I don’t question the process of other artists either…

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks for the comments everyone 🙂 

  • Dear Trey,

    I’ve been following your blog and Flickr for about a year now.  I disagree completely with the “troll”.  The only problem I can see with your work is that it may inspire amateur photographers to attempt HDR photography without having the knowledge or the eye to determine how to do it correctly.  I think you have a very unique style of processing that I’ve tried to emulate and failed.  I respect those who can do HDR successfully because I know just how difficult and time consuming it can be.  There have been a few photos recently that I found to be “over-processed” and they look almost cartoonish…but, as a whole I find you to be one of my favorite photographers who I plan on following for a long time  🙂

  • Leeopold

    The troll’s an idiot. What’s he’s saying is akin to saying Thomas Kinkade ruined art with his banal and formulaic images (and Kinkade was way more influential and monetarily successful than you).

  • Justin Isaac

    I thoroughly enjoyed the approach you took to this person and feel the same way about many forms of art. Just because an artist doesn’t strike one person it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still creating. I was at your talk in Akron, Ohio at KSU not too long ago and I did a lot of thinking and changing after which helped me to not sink into thinking of my photography as solely a mechanical business and instead remember that it is my art and expression. Keep doing whatever your passionate about and I will remain a fan and enthusiastic commenter! 

  • When are you coming out of the dark, the dark room that is?

  • Great photo of the bridge in SanFrancesco!!  Thanks for sharing, have a great day, everyone!!

  • OMG, I just read this and every comment on this page. I can’t really add anything to what is said already. While I don’t like every picture you post, I certainly enjoy most of them. I know it is extremely difficult to keep up this pace of posting every day, I tried and failed (then again I have fulltime day job which takes up a lot of free time).

    Keep it up!

  • Kyle VanEtten

    Hey Trey,

    You may not get to this since this is such a busy post already did you use your signature radial blur on zoom to get the the light streaks coming off the buildings in the skyline?  Just wondering since I really like the lines it creates (although it is still dishonest and horrendous haha), I would go figure it out by myself but I don’t have a comparable shot to even try it on yet– I guess I’ll have to go do some skyline shots 🙂


  • Kyle VanEtten

    I think you still got it Trey haha, I mean Ansel Adams was the one that said if you get 12 good shots a year thats a good year and you are putting a picture up everyday, I appreciate your dedication!  I wouldn’t expect anyone to knock my socks off everyday but I am never surprised when I open stuckincustoms and that is exactly what happens very frequently! (maybe it is because i am American haha but I also have appreciated that you seem to be one of the least annoying promoters I have ever come across, I know when you reccommend things it is because you think they are worth recommending and I have not found your “self promotion” to be any different) — not that you need my approval 🙂

  • Gus

    Photography is an art. And as such, artists are free to do what they want to express their emotions and ideas.

    If you don’t like it, instead of ranting about it, you should go and create your own art style.
    Don’t liking something hundreds of others like doesn’t mean photography has been forever hurt or ruined. It only means you don’t like it. Period.

    IMO, I love your work Trey. I think the post processing brings these static scenes to life. Keep it up!

  • dspin1

    If he hates your photos, why does he keep coming back to look at them?

  • Nice photo, even if you’re doomed to rot in hell for post processing. Does this wanker think Ansel Adams didn’t post process in the darkroom? It’s just a different set of tools now, and one where sometimes we can salvage a great subject that might be otherwise lost in the abyss of less than ideal exposure, ISO, lighting, etc.

  • Eric Pearson

    What about the gal that recently got caught stealing other wedding photog’s work to use in her portfolio and start a business? I think she might have you beat, Trey.

    Did this guy leave any contact info? Did he leave you links to his work? If not, that’s a shame. If he’s got good stuff then I think he’s entitled to his own opinion, but if he’s not sharing and putting his work out there for others to judge and critique then that just doesn’t sit well with me.

    Trey, I’m not going to repeat what everyone else is saying. All I know is that your blog is one of the 4 or 5 I check religiously every morning. And, at the end of the day you’re Trey Ratcliff and he’s not.

  • Sunny Archibald

    OMG – what a pompous little person.  I suppose he/she is posting anonymously, too.  

  • Eric Larson

     Remember, too that Ansel made 24 6×7 negatives on a good day.  Oh, and he was a living light meter.

  • I do think that you sometimes WAY over process images, but other times I think they’re fantastic.  Either way, I visit every damn day.

  • mtschappat

    It’s presumptuous for people to try and say what photography is or isn’t.  I remember at the dawn of digital photography when people would say digital isn’t photography.  I’ve read the same comment about HDR.  Photography is from the Greek meaning writing with light.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s glass plates or film or a digital sensor.  It’s all writing with light.  And I think you write with light better than most

    Mike Tschappat

  • Rich McPeek

    “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder” – I really enjoy your work Trey and love the above shot! Great work! 

  • Indeed?  As one of your students, you’ve helped me join you in hurting the entire industry of photography.  To the hobgoblin, I wish to share the words of Kahn:  ” I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. “

  • Ray

    People who insist on trying to confine the artistic vision and imagination of others to a confined box that suits their personal taste must certainly suffer from some form of psychological malady.  While I may not care for every example of art I encounter, I wouldn’t be presumptuous enough to declare a certain artistic tool to be off limits.  Some people have closed minds and others have open minds; I think the most cutting-edge art comes from those with open minds.  

  • Sorry you let the troll get to you, but we all have our vulnerable moments. He is, of course, totally wrong about your photographic vision. Thank you for adding a very different and dreamlike interpretation to landscapes; please keep up the good work. Austin misses you!

  • Geoff Gill

    typical. you must be doing something RIGHT. remember this: art & creativity happening a VACUUM. there should be no democracy / crowd-sourcing. YOUR unique vision created this & people (myself included) love it. either a troll or an old-school photog who will never embrace the future.

  • There are people in this world who feel as if they need attention to get their point across, and it seems as if the only way they can “Shine in the Light” is to bash someone else’s GREAT WORK. Not only do you produce countless amazing photos, but you open yourself up to the world to ask questions, talk, and make yourself vulnerable for others to learn from. Speaking for myself, you are the MAIN REASON I started to really focus on photography. You are a terrific person, for allowing me the ability to follow in your foot steps, and attempt to absorb as much knowledge and skill I can from you. Even if I am not interning for you. From numerous web hosting videos, and blurbs regarding skills and techniques that are FANTASTIC! Please never stop, especially for people out there who cannot handle your popularity and imagination. When I get negative reviews on my images, I feel vulnerable and sad, for like a millisecond, then I get angry and start to troll on myself, but I feel as if it makes me a stronger individual and overall I harnesses that frustration and anger and it intrigues me even more to go out and be myself. 

    Once again, You Are Terrific Trey Ratcliff. I can not start to count how many people I talk about your images to, and that your the source of my motivation from the beginning. THANK YOU!

  • Tyler Hutcherson

    HOW DARE YOU INSULT THE HALLOWED TRADITIONS OF PHOTOGRAPHY! USING ANYTHING BUT COPPER FOR PRINTS IS BLASPHEMY! If you must use flash, it has to be a pound and a half of magnesium powder and potassium chlorate! Daguerreotypes forever! … if anyone is still reading feel free to look at my work too! (Warning: it contains insults to the church of ancient photography) http://www.facebook.com/tylerhutchersonphoto

  • RKuhn006

    Amost a year ago I became fascinated with learning HDR and your work was a huge influence.  I set out with my camera and took several sets, processed them and uploaded to a photography site that had a new forum for HDR.  I got totally slammed for the photos I posted.  One guy told me that I shouldn’t waste my time or other viewers’ time by posting such horrendous images.  As someone new to photography I was devastated by his and others’ comments.  That ended my experimentation with HDR.  Now I see that even the BEST get criticized so think I will join you in littering the world with wonderfully awful images! 

  • Brandon Allen

    There will always be haters, I like to think of them as motivation!

  • rlbellomy

    Trey has become an inspiration to me ever since I discovered his incredible work a few months ago; I’ve always had an interest in photography, but even more so now.  I have a renewed focus, and with each new photo I see of Trey’s, I feel challenged and inspired to improve my skills daily.  So to the hobgoblin(s) out there… there’s an old Texas saying, you’re probably “all hat and no cattle”.   

  • He must believe that the photography industry is a zero sum game. As if one photographer who is succeeding is causing someone else to fail. There are thousands of successfull photographers that use more traditional techniques. The only limits on this guys career are the one’s he’s placed on himself. Keep on lying to us @google-c1ec23de8292d904dc213eba8bf1d17d:disqus 

  • RCorrino

    Know what, even if what he says is true (which it definitely is not), so what? Did Picasso’s art “hurt the integrity” of the renaissance artists? Did Rock and Roll diminish the music of Beethoven and Bach? Did Napster hurt the music industry…… OK that last one should not be there…….

    Trey, please, continue creating these “dishonest” and “pedestrian” images. I for one will keep on looking and appreciating.

  • Lauren Smith

    I see this kind of thing in all avenues of creative endeavors. Each person gets to decide for themselves what makes them “successful” or fulfilled or whatever. If this person puts a premium on doing things in some purist/old-fashioned way, more power to them, but to criticize someone else’s work and imply they are somehow causing problems for other creative people is just silly and small-minded. As another person commented, this is not a zero-sum game. At the end of the day you really can’t fault someone for creating something that is popular, whether or not you like it. The people have spoken. Artist elites like this need to go back to the dark room and leave the modern world alone.

  • When someone loves a photo… that’s real. What does it matter how it got that way? Keep up the work Trey!

  • Eric Desgroseilliers

    I’ve been a long time follower of your work.  Although I don’t often read all your blog entries and I rarely – if ever – comment on your site, I do believe that your work is a great (and positive) influence on photography; especially my photography.
    I first learned about HDR by stumbling on one of your photos online (it is titled: The Open Road) and tracing the credited photographer to this site.  After this, I spend the next few months playing around with my camera and some software to try to recreate some of the effects you so successfully apply to your artwork.  Not being satisfied with my own results, I looked into how to improve not only my post-processing technique but also on how to use my camera and how to compose a photo.  In many ways, I credit you for helping me find the motivation for seeking out how to become a better photographer; something that has become somewhat of a passion of mine.

    Even now, I find myself coming back to this site and being amazed at your work.  I think of you as a pioneer in a new way of thinking.  I also think that despite any negative feedback you receive, or positive feedback for that matter, you should continue to do photography as you see fit only because this is what makes you happy.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks for the comments everyone – just waking up now to read through them all! 🙂

  • Where is your detractor’s wonderful examples of his work to compare? 

    Keep up the great work Trey, your images are inspiring to newbies like myself in the art!

  • Brad Sloan

    Haters gonna hate. But seriously. Make pictures however you see fit. Nobody is forcing anybody to like or dislike anything. If a trend if photography is popular, then there is probably a reason for that.

  • Your cliched posts and horrendous writing combined with your unfortunate popularity has probably done more to hurt the integrity of blogging than anyone else in the world in recent years. You have made it incredibly difficult for millions of honest bloggers trying to produce honest blog posts. Please reconsider the effect you are having on blogging.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe Daniel – yes yes…  🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I do get a certain kind of mojo from these guys, yes.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Jason 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you so much Eric 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I agree Heather! – Thanks 🙂

  • Don Denesiuk

    Haters gonna hate, trollers gonna troll. Ignore em and they’ll usually go away, all they want is some attention and want to steal some of your popularity to give them a cheap thrill. As with political discussion one cannot reason with people who’s minds are closed and locked. Art is Art. Opinions are like .. er bellybuttons yeah that’s it everybody has one. 

  • 😉

  • I wonder how many painters he has a go at for “hurting” the “integrity” of art…? After all, painters effectively paint in HDR. And if the sky is cloudy and grey most painters would paint it blue… you don’t even do that! 🙂

  • John Correa

    This has to be Alexander Safonov from Google+! I’ve had fun reading some of his long diatribes about how horrible you are and his newest obsession with the G+ SUL conspiracy. It was fun for a couple of weeks and then it just got ridiculous, I just checked his profile and it looks like his last post is a “I’m taking my ball and going home” leaving G+ post! 

    The sad thing is he takes amazing photographs, but he is totally hung up on this feeling that he isn’t in the “click” of cool G+ photogs.

    Funnily enough I just watched your last show with the amazing body painting artist and that woman that I still can’t figure out exactly how she does her photos. And watching that, shows just how much you are helping other people get exposure and really contributing to the world photographic community.

    Sorry to post his name here, but he has dozens of public posts on G+ about how much he can’t stand you, so I figure no harm done 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – I was thinking about going super-analytical with my analysis in this way…  this idea of a non zero-sum game is very hard to communicate to certain kinds of people.

  • Khush N

    Trolls will always be trolls. I guess there are those who knowing their limitations will pounce upon every opportunity to hold others back that they feel are better than them. Then again maybe they just fear the post-processing “process” because they just never got around to understanding what it all is about. Count me in as one of your fans, I get inspired every time I look at your images. Gives me something to strive for. 

  • Anyone who thinks that there has never been any post processing in photography or that it takes away from the photo is just fooling themselves.   Every image in every magazine everywhere in the world is retouched enhanced etc.   

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe thx RCorrino.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Eric – yes – glad to see you referring to the non-zero-sum game thing too

  • Trey Ratcliff

    thanks so much rlbellomy

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I do I do ! 🙂  They feed that little black core in me…  the one I referred to in the video with Scott Kelby.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Cool – glad those comments don’t affect you either! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe copper prints.. and thanks for the link!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you so much Benjamin 🙂

  • Trey, some people are envious and suck at complimenting, don’t take it too hard, those people are poor, because if you don’t see your self finding interest in one’s work, that does not mean you should criticize him and write words like these.
    As for your work I think it’s awsome, and I also think that by using HDR you give some sort of new dimension to the photo, that dimension only the human eye can see, and not even the best SLR can.
    So keep up the amazing work, and next time don’t mind those little people, they are nothing.

    -A Great fan. 

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…… and my eyes like what you’re doing.  Yeah, where’s his example of, “interesting, informative, beautiful images of India”….. NOT…..  I consider your photography and post processing a combination of two types of art.  1> Photography 2> The ability to enhance it and make it even more pleasing.   Keep up the good work Trey and thanks for making us aware of how you are ruining the world of Photography…. by not being boring.

  • While I just recently started following your work, I find it and yourself to be a great asset to photography, as a hobby and as an artform. You’ve given me the knowledge and courage to push myself a little farther outside my comfort zone and you’ve opened my eyes to the beauty that can be found in the world we see every day. 

    Screw this guy, and the troll he rode in on. Having haters just means you’re doing SOMETHING right.
    Thanks for the incredible images you share, and PLEASE keep them coming!

  • Just like each photographer has their own style of capturing and editing an image to their liking, each person on the other end views that same image differently. I never know what is going to strike a chord with people. When I post a b/w image that knocks my socks off, it only appeals to a handful. Yet, I’ll post a colorful, crisp image of one of my fuzzy paper weights, aka cats, and I’ll have an abundance of comments and <3 's. Go figure.

    Keep up your great work. It is loved by many and so far, hated by 1. Let the hater's hate. For me, they do nothing but make me a more determined and driven photographer.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks BackandBodyworks  (at first I thought it was Backend !) 

  • Steve Bunderson

    Hey big guy. Sometimes I too want to give you a wedgie….but only because you have become so darn good in such a short time.  I have been shooting as a Pro for 35 plus years and I have never seen anyone advance in popularity like you have. I am even more impressed with your ability to SEE after you have taken the photo. You see and understand what it might take to make a photo better and why some of them just don’t work. Someday I would just like to shake your hand and maybe sit and talk about “The Name of the Wind” among other things. You just keep laughing at these tired folks all the way to the bank.  Keep doing what you are doing. You can’t please everyone but those you do please are big, strong, and growing so try to ignore,(not so easy) these naysayers. Thanks for helping an old gentleman photographer learn a few things. Keep doing what you love and doing it the way that works for you. 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – well I do this as much for me as for other people who get this kind of criticism too.

  • Sounds like a nervous envious Nellie to me. Perhaps no one looks at their photos. Though I don’t believe that HDR is the B-all and end all of photography it is an interesting new dimension. One step towards the next.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – those are maybe more “dishonest” — I openly admit I post-process and love it 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Khush

  • Oh don’t mind him, he’s just stuck in customs…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe John – I don’t think it’s that guy… this guy is more measured in his bitterness.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    yes yes good point hehe… there was a lot of this in a book I read called “The Judgment of Paris”

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe Don – yes bellybuttons

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Geoff

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I will come back to Austin soon I hope Nancy!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – people not being open-minded always confuses me.

  • Tyler Fenton

    Trey, you have done more to insult the integrity of photography than anyone I’ve ever seen. There is a definition of a good photo and I know exactly what it is. I mean, seriously, who on Earth has this overrated thing called an opinion besides me? Artistic taste? Even worse.

    Seriously though, Trey, I don’t see a single image on here that’s cliched. Nor are there any that fall short of stunning. Please keep beautifying the world, to help counteract what people like this guy have done! 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe sweet Kahn 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Rich 🙂

  • Some painters are even so bad they end up with multiple exposures: just look at Picasso’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”…

  • The wonderful thing about the internet……everyone is allowed an opinion. No matter how simple and ignorant it is. Post processing digital images is a style and a choice. I happen to like spending time processing an Image I’ve taken. it’s very cathartic and gives me a greater sense of control. This Guy yearns for the days of yore when film was the standard. However I doubt he has a grasp on the concept of dark room development, as that was post processing in it’s day. Does he actually think Ansel Adams didn’t manipulate his images after they were taken? File his thoughts in the great round file under BS and be done with it. 

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – interesting how these kind of comments don’t really die off over time…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe thanks Tony! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Needs a hug no doubt (actually I have the name but didn’t post it)

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Eric – yes I know who he is but didn’t call him out or link to his stuff.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe Chris 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    I don’t know!  That bit is confusing from the return-haters.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Just art yes — it all confuses me!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes Kyle – a bit of radial blur there – you got it

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Patrick 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Gail 🙂

  • well   said    tyler  trye  go  and  upset the  world  of  photography lord  patrick of  lichfield  tried  but hey   he was   black and  white  artist  in  his  hey  days  god  rest  his  sole keep up the  good  work  of  pissing  every  one  of  trey  wooo hooooo

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Aha – well – have you seen http://www.StuckInCustoms.com/stuff-you-need ?  I’d suggest for “still subjects” that you play with the settings to see what works for you and what makes sense in day and night conditions (settings change for these)

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Justin 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes the Kinkade thing – people have feelings about that too!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Katheryn 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you Davide 🙂

  • Matt Kaiser

    Trey the Troll Slayer. Has a nice ring to it, yeah?

  • sixthcrow

    You know on Trey’s about me page, he mentions his favourite photographer….from back in the early 1900’s. I think he gets the old school idea of photography :P. 

    Trey, you get where photography came from, you understand how the camera works, what is possible. But you also have the talent with the computer, and my god, it would be a shame to keep those things separate.Not to mention, EVERY honest working wedding photographer uses photoshop or something similar. And they sell memories of that day. You create art. You’re not saying, hey HDR the national geographic, or real estate photos, or things that will give a false impression. You’re creating art. And man, being successful as an artist is still the hardest thing in the world. But hey you’re doing it. 

    Maybe this guy is just mad cause he can’t take a good shot that’s magazine worthy, and thinks it’s people using HDR that are beating him, not realizing it’s just they have better pictures? 

    Either way, keep creating Trey, we all love it.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you very much Steve – and glad you like The Name of the Wind too!

  • Mark Samuels

    I’m gratified to see how you’ve handled this troll, and with the affirmation from the many followers of your work. You’re one of my favourite artists, not just for your images but mainly for the feedback you give into your thought processes into making an image, they’ve helped me contextualize what I could see but not clearly explain. Keep up the great work.

  • It is your art, shoot what you want and process it the way you want. Don’t let the troll affect your wonderful photographs.

  • Trey, if you’re not pissing someone off along the way, you’re doing it wrong. 😉 Plain and simple you are a photographic artist. Keep doing what you do.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you Tyler — hehe – people keep making funny comments like this – but I am not sure if they are funny until I work my way through them! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thx Paul!

  • No power to the trolls! Leave ’em. No one listens nor do they read those comments. As soon as I see that on comments my eyes skip right over it….because some NUTJOB has decided to show his envious jealous personality come through. In the end…. he’s still a NUTJOB 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Hehe Josh – thx 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Mark!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks – and yes I do love Edward Curtis

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe – not bad not bad 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Dan 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes yes – just a fun technique I use…

  • rlbellomy

    your welcome… Robert

  • I think what is very important when looking at Trey’s photography is that if you strip away all that post-processing he does you would still be left with images that are beautifully composed and well thought out. Regardless of what tricks he has up his sleeve on the computer, the images would still be good if shot with that old fashioned stuff we call film. The post processing is what gives the images that “wow” factor. If you break down a Trey Ratcliff image you will probably find that a lot of pre-processing goes into his images more so than the post-processing. By pre-processing I mean scouting the best spot to take the shot, the best time of day to get the best light, choosing a lens for the shot, etc… Trey probably spends more time before the shot than after. I don’t know how you can be upset with his images if you look at it from that standpoint. Do you think Ansel Adams just walked out into nature, put his camera on a tripod, and pressed the shutter? I think not. I really feel bad for the “old school” photographers that choose not to embrace new technologies. They will ultimately fade away once all the film is gone 😉

  • I admit it.   I’m dishonest too.   Back a  million years ago when there were darkrooms, I used to do things like “dodging” and “burning” that manipulated the way the images looked.   I usually would “crop” too.   Occasionally, I would set up the fakery in advance by using flash, which made the scene look different that it did in real life.   I also sometimes used high contrast paper….

  • Keep up the good work Trey. You and 99% of the rest of us know decent photography when we see it.

    I hardly ever post process photos, but that’s out of pure laziness more than anything else… in retrospect not editing out of laziness is the true crime here.

    Someone’s obviously jealous and confused as to why their own “honest” photography isn’t getting as much attention. Who is he to decide and set in stone the definition of photography.

  • Larry Anderson

    While I was on faculty at Mississippi State University, one of my bright graduate students gave me this one-liner when a similar episode of drivel spewed forth from an individual suffering from a recto-cranial inversion: “He’ll either get over it…or die hating it.”

    So, let the writer hate in silence. Let’s not pay him any more attention. It’s almost like not wanting to shoot someone because it would be such a useless waste of ammunition! 🙂 (Some people are just a slug on the sidewalk of life!)


  • We know people like you Trey… and we’re watching you. A couple of years back, some photographic hack named Ansel Something-or-Other had this habit of chopping up his 4×5 negatives and composing prints from the best parts of each of them. Set the entire world of photography back hundreds of years. We won’t have it, I tell you… won’t have it.

  • Trey, I have no idea what that guy’s point is. Your work has absolutely NO impact on how many clients or what type of clients I get as a professional.

    Personally, I like some HDR and tire of most HDR quickly, including yours. There is no offense intended. I shoot HDR on occasion myself. In my view you are no different than, lets say Nik software, teaching people how to use a product.

    Lastly, a simple photographic technique has no impact on the “integrity” of photography. Integrity is a human trait and sometimes a failing. I believe your “integrity” is intact. You have never misrepresented your work to my knowledge. On the contrary, you promote it for what it is; HDR.

  • Wow…. someone has their underpants in a bunch.

    An “honest Photographer” producing an “honest image”? Please. Trey, your images ARE honest. You post-process and are completely open about why and how. The beautiful, deliciously saturated, high contrast images you present to the world represent how YOU see things. It is an art form. If that’s not honest I don’t know what is.

    Sounds to me more like someone is being eaten up with jealously that your images might be more compelling than his. One only has to appreciate your composition skills to see what a brilliant artist you are, with or without Photoshop.

    PS…. I love your attitude. Hobgoblin indeed 🙂

  • Jared Rogers

    Trey, your work has done more to inspire me to pursue my own aspirations than any other single artist.
    Your HONESTY that shines through your interviews, Q&A’s, and podcasts and is pretty evident. You encourage the masses to enjoy photography, art, and not pay attention to stigma’s.
    My sister and some other photographer’s I know are painfully mourning the “loss” of their “art form” somehow claiming to be purists. They think HDRI is the devil. However now that we have decent digital imaging sensors in most smartphones I’ve never seen more mass interest in “making pretty things”. I think even the non-purists like us can appreciate that the world’s a better place when people become more interested and aware of it. The world is changing. Art is changing. Appreciation for anything and everything is constantly evolving! I think some people just have trouble adapting. They’re the one’s a feel a little sorry for.

    Please keep up the great work. Keep inspiring. Someday I’m going to produce images that I can feel like are on par with you. Gotta know where the bar is! 😀

  • Strange as it may sound: Congratulations! You have haters. The next step is the petty lawsuit – then you’ll KNOW you’ve “made it”!! 

  • You know I’ve got your back no matter what. I know a whole lot of other folks that feel the same way. I feel like I’m a direct product of your influence, and couldn’t be more grateful. You’ve pointed me and others towards towards a lifestyle and a way of seeing things in different ways that I didn’t think possible before. Photography is a great excuse to travel to some where new and explore with photographer’s eyes the beautiful world around us, while having an unusual experience. Then you get to bring it home and make ART! While at the same time preserving a memory! How awesome is that? Very awesome, I say.

  • Well, photo purists will always scoff at those of us that are able to take a photo beyond what the camera produces. That will never change. I remember all the elitists complaining about HDR in general when it first became popular and to some degree, they had some good points. Take a browse through HDR on flickr. Sorry but there are really some horrendous HDR images in there.

    But, HDR done with an artistic eye can be beautiful and I think Trey has proved this. It is a style just like painting styles or design styles.

    I remember someone who tried to make themselves feel better once by claiming that if I were a good photographer, I could just use my shots straight from the camera like they did. I gave them this reply, “if you truly think your photos are the best they can be without post processing, I bet I can take your best shots, run them through PS or LR and amaze anyone who liked your original “snapshots”. Some of us are looking to create work that is worthy of hanging on a wall and some of us just want to capture the moment as the camera dictates.”

    I often wonder if these people would be so critical of Ansel Adams work too. Do they realize how much darkroom work he put into many of his images?

  • It’s not too late to atone for your sins… Go out immediately and get yourself some TMax 400 (120) and a Rolleiflex. Blind bracket your exposures and process them. Get back out to your scene before the sun moves and re-shoot with your known exposure. Glaze a glass plate with silver nitrate and bake it in an adobe oven. Let me know when you get that far and I’ll tell you what’s next. Good luck.

  • Michael_Dee

    Trey – You crack me up! I also like your photos and artistic style. And thanks for the great HDR tutorials. 🙂
    – Hope this troll wakes up soon…

  • Dennis Teel

    Personally I think he said it all, when he said “your unfortunate popularity”. Which means…..YOUR POPULAR! People like what you do. Regardless of his opinion, others obviously appreciate your work. Keep it up!!!!

  • JohnLeeNelson

    It’s time for me to come out. I never thought that post-processing and HDR would be ANY fun. I am, admittedly, a neophyte and have a while before I find my own style to grow into; However, I want to thank Trey. I’m no longer ashamed to experiment. I was used to the ‘purist’ camp – where excessive post is simply a no-no. Tone mapping? BLASPHEMY!!! Well, I’m blasphemous now – thank you Trey for showing me your light, and keep being blasphemous.

  • Hi Trey. I happened upon your website last year after taking up Photography again since laying down my Olympus OM10, 30 odd years ago. I thought your photos were out of this world, Stunning pieces of art, I loved the way you processed your images and started to learn your methods, I posted a few of my HDR photos on various social websites (Facebook, Flickr etc..) mainly to get reactions off others. I’ve now been approached by a UK magazine who have interviewed me for a feature about my HDR images and techniques, the magazine is published in the UK next week. I am writing to thank you for helping me get my foot on the bottom rung of that elusive ladder and to say to all who doubt you…. “Get a Life”. Rules are made to be broken, that goes for the so called “Rules of Photography”. The world would be a boring place if everyone produced the same photographs so you keep doing what you do, producing your amazing images so that we can all enjoy them. :o)

  • Dear Trey,
    You are such a small fry in this business of “Disrespecin de Art”. On Sunday I came across 188 terrible photos – All in one place!!
    Some guy called Atget had been taking photo’s of Paris, France. Do you know – they discovered he had even etched his name on some of the glass plates he used. He had the awesome temerity to mix silver halides with egg whites and develop his prints under NORMAL LIGHT!

    Incredible as it may seem, he also used several different paper stocks to give his pics different effects. Adding insult to injury, Adget then went on to mount his travesties on different colours of card – totally altering all but the actual shapes in the pictures.
    Museums, art galeries, cities and wealthy individuals all over the world were apparently forced to BUY his prints to protect the poor common-person-in-the-street from this depravity.

    It seems that he even corrupted other titans of the photography world (like Man Ray – who was discovered with large numbers of his prints). Worse these photographers were actually COPYING his methods and, like a modern day computer virus, this corruption spread all over the world.

    Thankfully Atget died in 1927, but the damage had been done. Companies were even formed to make cameras that ANYBODY could use! Other companies began producing different chemicals, papers – and some stuff called celuloid (or something like that). Meaning that millions of people went around putting honest photographers out of business.

    We should all lament those last years of the 19th and early years of the 20th century ……………………..
    Photography has never been the same again.

    Shame on you Trey for following such a long line of disreputable men and women and displaying all this HDR stuff and corrupting innocents like me!

  • Jon M

    He may simply be jealous at your success. That’s my guess. 😉

  • Elaine Millar

    I”m with you…love me some post processing…
    I am sure your start was a stunning “honest” (haha) photo of SF and after post processing, it is even more stunning.
    Never mind that there will always be the discussion, the argument, the angst by some who are stuck in the limited skill set prior to PS and other software. They will never experience the entire gamut of photography.

  • Just quit a local photoclub that went ballistic about processing. Assignment after assignment came out with the words “NO PROCESSING!!!!! NOR HDR!! NO ADJUSTMENTS!!!!!! And yes, the exclamation points were there. I try to show them the zone system and Adams, but they really don’t want to hear it. Love your work, been with you since the early days, and also do travel photog, but really envy you and what you’ve done.

  • OK, the guy IS a little wacky, but there is a school of thought in photography called Miksang. That’s more what the guy is referring to in terms of “pure” photography I guess. And while I can appreciate that for what it is, artistic expression is most definitely up to the artist. I think you’ve done more to inspire people to go out and improve their photography than anything. It has only increased the value not diminished it. Keep on keepin’ on!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you Jeff!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Interesting – I hear some of this in photo clubs from time to time too…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you Elaine

  • Davor Desancic

    Haters are gonna hate no matter what!
    I enjoy most of your pictures and always recommend your site to my friends if they wanna learn and check out HDR stuff. Also if you don’t like something just close your browser and move to the next site.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks for this!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Mike – good to see you here 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    It IS fun — I think it is interesting how some people think it is not fun

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Denis

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yeah – there are some bad HDRs out there… but I don’t really mind them so much.. at least people are trying and getting started…

  • Trey Ratcliff

    thx Cliff – stay awesome

  • Trey Ratcliff

    thx Jared!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe – not sure many ppl would get the hobgoblin thing!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    thx for the feedback Rick 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    That Ansel guy!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Larry – good quote there 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thx Yin!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Dodging is for the damned! 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe Russ

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you David 🙂

  • Ingvald R Ingebretsen

    Well Trey….I live in Norway and I know a thing or two about trolls… we have a lot of them running around in the mountains here 😉 and this guy is definitely a Troll!! Love your photos 🙂

  • Hi Trey, there are so many comments here I didn’t have time to get through them all. So here is my humble opinion..every once in a while someone comes along who sees the world in a different way. They shake things up…cause us to think a bit more. That would be you, and you do so in a most gentlemanly and lovely way. Thank you for your beautiful images,kind words and for showing us your unique vision the world. I for one choose to ignore those with a narrow view of the world. 🙂

  • I think your Troll doesn’t know about the concept of a Darkroom – digital or analog.

  • Do you do family portraits?

  • I really enjoy your work. I have your recent pic of Queenstown at 7:30 AM as a wallpaper for my two 23″ monitors.

  • raymond watt

    Funny! Guess you’re a celebrity now that the disturbed are starting to obsess about your success. Your photos are beautiful. And I guess after all is said and done jealousy truly makes you nasty….

  • What ever happend to “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. I’m not sure why this guy is bothering to even come on here and spend time posting negative comments. If he doesn’t like the photos then don’t come here and look at them. Wouldn’t his time be better spent looking at photos he acutally likes. Personally, I love your photos and I am so happy that I found this site. I’ve started trying out HDR photography myself. And your pictures have changed the way I look at things and what types of pictures I take. It’s like a switch flipped in my head and now I look at a scene and think “hey ,that would make a cool photo” and I look around for interesting angles and perspectives to take my shots. It’s pretty much just gotten me more fired up about photography. I tell everyone I know to come and check out your site. So heck with this guy and anyone else that doesn’t like your photos.

  • Gavin Jackson

    I wouldn’t sweat it Trey, this is just part of the Internet – I wonder if SIC needs a slashdot like moderating system so we can bury the clowns. Needless to say your work is awesome, and your contributions to the photographic community are well respected (I particularly enjoy watching the Variety Hour podcasts and get a lot out of them).

  • Hey there Trey, I took a similar shot about 2 years ago. All I’ve got to say is keep on doing what you do because you are certainly making your mark in the photography world… *Fist bump* – Cheers!


  • You know you have made it when people start hurling insults like bird seed at a wedding. Your stalker is horribly lacking in curiosity and imagination, so I guess that means you have reached Scott Bourne status. It’s not a bad place to be Trey!

  • He is another example of the many arrogant photographers who frequent the internet. They think that their way is the right, and only, way to capture images and process them (or not, as the case may be). They present opinion as fact, and are casually dismissive of others’ efforts in a way that demeans and belittles the work of others. Trey, you have enough strength and integrity to ignore people like this but, unfortunately, others don’t. People like this have done more to destroy the love of photography and its artistic endeavours by being negative and judgemental that you will ever do. Keep pushing the boundaries, Trey!

  • Steve Skinner

    I say tell ’em to put up or shut up. Put up some images for everyone to see so we can all begin to understand what honest images from an honest photographer look like. Let the masses decide if we’ve been lead astray by Trey and other HDRists.

    As with any artist, you are only as good as people say you are. I think this person probably tries really hard to produce amazing images; doesn’t succeed, and is pissed about it because it seems to come easy for you.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Trey. Lots of us dig it.

  • Keith Moyer

    It has been a while since I commented, but I still check your site almost daily.
    I have struggled with this thought myself and a few negative comments on my site (http://timetotakepictures.blogspot.com) and I think I have come to the conclusion that most reasonable people do…if you like it, it’s good. Nothing is truly “unmanipulated”.
    Even if it is straight out of the camera, the resulting image is based on the input of the photographer, ISO, White Balance, shutterspeed etc.
    I think the real thing that “old school” photographers are afraid of is twofold.
    One is change. They don’t like change. Buggy manufacturers were against the car.
    The other is the overall implementation of the internet. They don’t hold the keys to the magic formula any longer. Lots of people can shoot great pictures. The learning curve is flattening. And the time it takes to learn is shrinking.
    These people bought in to a system that no longer exists and they are very unhappy about it.

  • I bet this guy’s great great uncle told Monet through myspace that his paintings looked like mush. What’s a hater going to do? They hate. That simple. Keep up the great work and keep inspiring those of us to paint the world (photograph – writing with light) as we see it.

  • Aaron Viljoen

    Hey Trey don’t worry about it mate, you inspired me to pick up a camera after 14 years, and it’s been the best thing I ever did…. I think we all need people like this in our lives, because without them, success would not taste as sweet 😉

    As Seneca said: “The recruit turns pale at the thought of a wound: the veteran, who knows that he has often won the victory after losing blood, looks boldly at his own flowing gore…”

  • JulieWillson

    I think in some cases, it is petty jealousy. I read a post from one of you critics two or three nights ago (The night photo from Queenstown), and the dude was clearly jealous. I clicked and read through some of his responses, and can’t figure out why else he seems to carry such bitterness. I am not the greatest photographer. I carry an inexpensive T2i. I would love to have some nicer lenses than the kit lens and the nifty fifty, but I make due with what I have and enjoy taking pictures. I figure the more I photograph, and the more I study photographers I admire, the better I will get. Trey, you are one of those photographers.

  • Eric Pearson

    I agree, you made the right call. Posting his links and calling him out wouldn’t have been the thing to do here. Stay classy!

  • Tom Devey

    I can maybe somewhat see his point, though not necessarily the method in which he makes it.

    It seems to me to be somewhat analogous to the singer with a pure natural talent who has a well recognized but relatively modest career compared to the megastar who uses electronic voice processing to achieve phenomenal commercial success. If you are a fan of the pure and natural then you might not appreciate the ‘crass and commercial’.

    I’ve been around long enough to be able to recognize and appreciate both without having to denigrate one.

    In photography post processing has been done in the darkroom for many years to enhance various effects the photographer wanted to emphasize in the picture. You can do the same thing with lighting effects both in the studio and in post.

    Ultimately photography is an impression of what the photographer wants us to see in that image. Modern tools allow for a greater range of manipulation, or creativity if you prefer, to achieve that end.

  • There is a word for people like this, “pffffffft”.

  • Thats awesome! Good Job Eamonn.

  • this too is darn good!!

  • Jason Teale

    Hey Trey I just want to point out that I am rather shocked at how much time this guy spent on your site and looking at your photos to hate them so much. Strange… at any rate I wrote a longer post about it..

  • Anthony Salmon

    What we are doing today in photography ie. HDR, sharpening, noise reduction, *color enhancing, overlays, in other words post processing, has been around for many years *maybe not the color thing, in most of the old B/W darkrooms, waterbaths, warm developers, special mixes, enlarger filters etc, all amount to the same thing, Ansel Adams quest using the Zone system to find the best dynamic range of film and paper, so nothing new there. I can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    So much fuss! yes yes I agree

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe yes – very curious, jason!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    thx Nanda!

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Trey Ratcliff

    Yes – I appreciate stuff that I don’t “love” too

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Julie – and thanks for the link!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Awesome – hope you are having fun with photography!

  • Trey Ratcliff


  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Keith – and thanks for the link 🙂

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you Susan – it is taking me a while to get through all the comments too!

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Not really… I mean, I never (mega rarely) do client work.

  • Trey Ratcliff

    hehe you Norwegians !

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thank you

  • Trey Ratcliff

    Thanks Steve !

  • Theo Brookes

    Everyone has their opinion, but surely it’s a fact that no photo is ‘real’ or honest…. exposure, lens defects, aperture, shutter speed etc etc. Any photo is an impression. I like your work very much Trey because it’s not just about post processing – composition, choice of shutter speed, subject matter, lighting etc are all there. But I also like other more traditional stuff… we are so lucky to have all this technology and choice at our fingertips.

  • Screw him. He’s just one of those hypocrites who think that post processing is not photography. I get that too from some people. I just ignore them, They forget that their images are getting processed the moment they press the shutter button. I dare such people to post their pictures without making any corrections in the raw preopener. If processing is not photography, special effects in movies are a sin, sound engineering in music should be punished, and 3d in movies should be banned. Your photos inspire me greatly trey. Thanks so much.

  • Trey, I’ll be honest and say I honestly like this shot. Hehe. It’s beautiful. From one Texan to another…..git er done (and don’t pay any attention to nonsense like that). Kristi (DFW Metroplex, Texas)

  • aaronstanley

    What I find to be most humorous about the person “trolling” your site and posting negative comments is the fact that he/she has apparently visited many, if not all of your pages, in an effort to find things he or she can dislike. Whenever I come across an artist or photographer, online, that I do not appreciate, I simply leave their website with the understanding that I don’t have to like it; it’s art and art is subjective. This person obviously enjoys your work well enough to absorb image after image, hour after hour. I’d venture to say that this person may, indeed, be your biggest fan. If only they would take that inspiration and attempt to make images as fantastic as yours… or perhaps they are simply bitter because they cannot. Either way, keep up the great work Trey, you are an inspiration to us all.

  • aaronstanley

    sorry guys. I am editing this particular post as a result of accidentally posting a bit of jibberish unintentionally. (as opposed to the jibberish I usually post, intentionally)

  • Hi Tom,

    I don’t usually jump in the discussions here (don’t usually have time) but as a musician and audio engineer, and as part of Trey’s team as my “day job,” I think you’ve got a pretty apt comparison there – but I would say HDR processing is less like voice correction and more like digital recording. Back in the day, we used to use analog tape, which introduces all kinds of noise as well as limitations into the recording process. Well before I was born, we didn’t have multitrack recording, and a performance had to be spot on all the way through. Now with digital multitracks, if one musician misses a cue, we can just re-record only them performing that part again and keep an otherwise perfect performance.

    While anti-digital pundits will argue it all comes to the same, I really feel that multitrack recording is now just a fact of life for the most part, and it is acceptable because the line was still performed – just like with HDR and post-processing, usually the light and color information is actually there, but not captured due to the limitations of the camera versus the human eye. Voice pitch correction is an actual crutch and bypass of talent and skill.

    In any case, I think the point is that Trey’s site is not about journalistic photography, but rather the more artistic side of it.

    Anyway, thanks for your comment, and I’ll stick my head back in the sand now. 🙂

  • Hi Gavin,

    There is a rating system now for comments, and the Disqus system is much, much better than the old WordPress one for this as well. I know I can speak for Trey when I say that we do want there to be open discussion and critique, but Trey and the team have noticed that “negative” criticism is almost always accompanied by some kind of character attack or inappropriately hostile or harsh language. The benefits of having a community with diverse opinions outweighs the occasional one who crosses the line. Hopefully one day we’ll come to a place where people can present their differences of opinion in a respectful way!

  • Hi Adam,

    I can field this one for you – Trey very rarely engages in client work. His time is quite full these days!

  • Dave,

    Very well put. While I think Trey’s HDR and post is very tastefully done, and it’s certainly what he’s known for, in my opinion he’s a master of composition.

  • In the words of that voice in my head that will never shut up… “Create and let Create”

    photoshop and hdr to saturation sliders
    spot removal to presets and artistic filters
    quixote photographers tilting at windmills
    the real enemy is their pink ‘n black sunglasses


    Trey, have a wonderful, complaint-free day. 🙂

  • test

  • Can’t seem to post anything long 🙁

    update: I had @ Trey’s name and it wouldn’t let me, Now my comment worked 🙂

  • All I can do is laugh at this Trey.

    This was quite entertaining. Can’t believe ‘haters’ waste there time commenting. I mean hell, why even develop your negatives. Isn’t that processing your image at the get go? Or better still, all the choices of film! Kodachrome, Fuji etc. Want grain, b&w color? What the hell is the difference whether using many choices of film and chemicals or photoshop…NONE!!!

    BTW, I’m glad you’ve upset people. So did all the great painters and artists. They made people think and get out of their ‘comfort’

    zone which scares a lot of people.

    I’m glad your a ‘radical’ Trey. The world is a better place because of it; even if no one realizes it yet.

  • Gavin Jackson

    Sweet, yeah Disqus looks great, is it simply a wordpress plugin?

  • Rob Morgan

    I’ve been a photojournalist for almost 20 years one thing I know is everyone post processes their images. I enjoy checking out your blog and see what you shoot day in and day out. Your images are great keep up the good work.

  • Hey.. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. Even if it is wrong 🙂 I think the majority of your audience clearly find your work inspiring. I certainly do. Thanks for what you do and for staying about the fray.

  • Trey, you do amazing work. Period. I am a total photography n00b but your pictures inspire me. I’ve spent hours looking through your site over the past few days after a friend turned me on to it. My knowledge of photographic history and processes is next to nil, but I do know who Ansel Adams is. And I do know that part of what made his photographs so great was the way he developed and processed the film. Why processing digital images using software would be seen as inferior to film developing techniques is lost on me. I’m not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed but you do put a camera up to your eye and press the shutter button like the countless thousands of photographers have done before you, yes? Keep up the amazing work!

  • To the naysayers who spend their time trying to tear other people down please consider this:
    “When you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow and exclude people. So create.”
    — Why the Lucky Stiff

  • That’s how it interacts with the site, yes. It’s actually sort of interesting how it works – the comments still exist in the WP database, but Disqus handles the unique login and acts as a gatekeeper. So if we uninstalled Disqus, the standard WP comments are still there.

  • Paul Lovelace

    I have been an editorial photographer from the film days for over 20 years and your post processing techniques inspire me to explore HDR. Pushing the boundaries of post production was certainly around in the traditional days of photography. Look what avant-garde artists like Man Ray were doing in the early 1930’s with solarisation, where an image recorded on a negative is partially or wholly reveresed in tone!

  • Rick DeNatale

    Darkrooms, I remember those. I just wrote a bit about that myself: http://photos.denhaven2.com/Category/Thoughts-on-Raw-Processing/23561420_7NGtfc

  • You can’t please all the people all the time…but you sure can piss a bunch of them off easily enough. Good job, keep their blood pressure up, it will be good for all of us in the end !!!

  • Alan Skipp

    Well to me the main issue here is to realise that a photograph is not necessarily about capturing an accurate rendition of a scene, but about creating an image. – something that stimulates and excites. So both views are right, and neither are wong. A master photographer can create a magnificent image without post processing, but a master photographer can also create a magnificant photo with post processing – they are just different sides of the same coin. Whoever this guy is, he is misguided and has totally missed the point of photography so needs to open his mind a little. – Are we in danger of feeding the Troll here?

  • James Koolis

    Hi Trey. The mark of a great artiste is that you will pi** some people off, some will love your work, and some just won’t care. Isn’t it great, though, that your work stimulates such emotion in people? Yeah he doesn’t like your work…. too bad….. but your followers DO love your work (include me)…. Hey, here’s an idea, if he doesn’t like it…. he can always stop looking! (?) In the mean time, keep up with great work.. and there ARE some masterpieces in your portfolio. If he ignores “evils” such as The Facebook, The Twitter and The Google, they too may go away. :-/ We love ya here in Australia!

  • Art, and its methods are the domain of the artist, period. Defining art can not be done by a critic, but by the beholder of individual examples. I see art in the shadows and dappled light of the sun shining through the leaves of a tree…that art just is, created by no man and i’l not deny the right or wrong of any who may witness it to claim otherwise…that is the fluid nature of art.

    Film is an art. Digital imagery is an art. Computer enhanced imagery is an art in the same way a painting based on a photograph is also an art even though the original photograph was art it inspired the painter to to create his vision of that art in a different medium. Post processing digital imagery is an art no different than painting, save the medium is different. Children using crayons to draw stick figures is art…the crafting of an image through the eye and sensibility of the artist will always be art.

    Critics of art have their own sensibility and expectations of what art should be, in fact they are narrow minded fools who seem too think we all should share the same appreciation and tastes of the critic…in human history there have been many who felt this way, Stalin, Napolian, Hitler, Lennon, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Kim Jong II, Heusein, and many more….these people destroyed art that offended them or in some way wanted the message of select pieces of art to never exist. This doesn’t even include the art of the printed word, and the books that have been burned, banned by religions, or caused artists to spend their lives in hiding.

    Art just is. Judge if you will, but your judgement of art cannot unmake it, nor can it be claimed to not be art. Those who try are fools who may just as well rage at a mountain and claim it does not exist…

    Trey, your art is loved by millions…maybe more…but because some old fools who claim technology invalidates art are the same type of people who swore the world was flat…welcome to the world of modern art old timers.

  • steve defeo

    I think your “troll” spends a lot of time looking at houses built using modern machinery, tools and techniques, and complains that the builders are insulting the honesty of carpentry. I remember when my first autofocus camera ruined the art of photography, because old Daguerrotypes had to be focused by hand.
    Some people have ingrained ideas of what photography is and should be for. You can usually boil it down to whatever technology was available and popular on the day they became photographers. I know that I struggled mightily with digital, as I graduated from a college photography program roughly 5 minutes before digital cameras became truly viable. But, only in the last year, have I embraced it (instead of lamenting and wishing for some darkroom time), and am working on becoming digital photography “fluent.” It is all about finding one’s own vision, and using the tools available to complete that vision.
    One person documenting flood victims in Bangladesh with a Leica doesn’t lessen the vision of another shooting the superbowl with a 600mm lens. Your HDR doesn’t lessen the prior work of Ansel Adams.

    All that being said, I only have one question… “Trey, why did you f#$%ing ruin photography?!? 😉 “

  • esolesek

    Honestly, I’m a lifelong photographer and any photographer that thinks he is up there with the greats of art like Picasso, Dali, Da Vinci, etc etc etc is absolutely out of his mind. Photography is a 2d rendering of an image, while painting is 3d and as old as humanity itself, and with hard sweat, a painter can create a style that is his alone, whereas photos are never more than rearrangements of the same pixels. Man Ray, Horst, Ansel Adams, Curtis, Helmut Newton, Mapplethorpe are greats in the field that can be called artists, but as great as the artists above?

    Stop calling what you do ART. It isnt. It’s good paying quality travel photography, and I’m glad you’re making a living at it, because that is no small feat.

    The person whining about post-processing is one of the people i hate most in photography, a purist, who overrates both the fieid as art, and their personal contribution to it. War, news, and story-based photography IS the most legitimate form of photography, because travel and fashion just aren’t as important, although we can hear that argued forever. A purist thinks that sticking exactly to what came out of his camera makes it art. Whatever. Famous photographers of the past never retouched prints? GIve me a break.

    Your photography is good and you make a living at it. Well done. Who cares what some jealous troll thinks, but if your work is cliched, that’s your problem, not anyone else’s. I’m just saying that photography in general at this point is a cliche, and unless a shooter is aware of all the cliches, and actually strives to work against them, they will be a cliched shooter, but it has almost nothing to do with post-processing. Plus the idea that you are ‘ruining’ photography is particularly ludicrous since you set up your own income stream apart from the horrible stock houses that pay nothing. If anything you’re an example of a photographer making his own way, and that’s the best example.

  • Tyler, you don’t need worry about the damage. Trey Ratcliff is like “Justin Beiber” of Photography world. This style of photography will soon be cliched.

  • Paul, there is difference between photography and CGI. Trey is dangerously moving close to CGI. You can do all those post processing and choose unrealistic colors but that’s not photography. You can call yourself Illustrator or Graphic artist. But don’t call your photographer with fake pictures.

  • a brief statement from my photoblog, think it fits well:
    Discussions about the “truth” in photography are interesting, but finally useless; due to the progress in neurology during the last years, we know that our perception based on our sensorial system does not at all mirror “one” reality (I personally think this is great), instead we create our reality very individual, based on our genes, age, the process of socialization, our state of health, our expierence, emotions, feelings etc. just to name a view. Due to the plasticity of our brains our perception can change dramatically over time. Truth never is a quality of things. She refers to our perception and judgments about the things, often we miss that point. Finally it comes down to: we look with our eyes, but we see with our brains, some would say with our souls. The ridiculous “fighting” between analog and digital photographers doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t talk about faked photos, where the content is changed, to be clear. Due to my age I’ve used film, mainly black and white, for most of my life and I really appreciated it a lot, but now I enjoy the benefits of digital photography with great pleasure, as you probably do too. So let’s enjoy photography today, whatever new technology we use – keep pressing the release button, whenever you think its right.
    p.s. my english got confused by the frenchies the last 20 years..

  • Deke

    Late to the conversation here but my vote is squarely with you and your talents. Listen, the internet is big enough for all types of photography but unfortunately, some people just can’t get past themselves and feel a burning need to inject their unique perspective.. BTW, as someone who has lived in San Francisco and Marin County for years, I find this photo a romantic, inviting and a wonderful shot of the city I love. Thanks Trey.

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