The Grand Entrance

The International HDR Tutorial!

Here is a reminder that we have our tutorial in 3 different languages now!

Daily Photo – The Grand Entrance

This is the entryway to the Portofino Hotel at Universal Orlando. It’s a pretty posh place. I get nervous when I see young kids running around these places at full speed. I get really nervous when I see my own kids doing it!

We stayed here a few nights and it proved to be a perfect location for accessing Universal Studios. There is a little lake/canal system in the back that connects to the main park so you can take little boats back and forth. More importantly, there are a ton of interesting things scattered around for photography!

HDR Photo

Searching For Water

New Podcast Interview available

You can now listen to Digital Convergence Episode 33 – thanks again to Carl Olson for the nice interview.  Here is a snippit from his website:

In today’s episode, Trey and I talk about a wide range of topics. For filmmakers, Trey discusses his interest in how the human brain responds to high speed video. He has conducted a number of interesting experiments using low cost point-and-shoot cameras that can record video at high frame rates.

We delve briefly into the topic of HDR photography and then discuss a number of topics on the “edge” of visual arts. Trey manages to fool me into thinking he has taken up oil painting. Find out how he accomplished that!

We move on to the topic of “the decade of the artist” – how business models have changed for visual artists in the 21st century. Trey candidly talks about his business model and why he chose to go the route he did.

Daily Photo – Searching For Water

The amazing Ta Prohm ruins of Cambodia have secrets around every turn.  These enigmatic trees grow up and over everything.  I was amazed by the girth and length of this lateral root system, as the trees search everywhere for water.

I would LOVE to see a timelapse of this tree growing.  Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing in the world?  If you have ever seen a good simulation of this in video, please let me know… Some of these things we find in the real world are almost impossibly awesome.

HDR Photo

The Yellow-Eyed Penguin

Straight Outta Lightroom

I’ve use Lightroom all the time. It’s great. This shot below came straight out of Lightroom with no Photoshop adjustments at all. Lightroom is extremely powerful, and I know lots of people that use it exclusively. I do use it all the time, although mostly just to organize my photos — not edit them.

Daily Photo – The Yellow-Eyed Penguin

These are the rare yellow-eyed penguins of New Zealand.  I think they are rare.  I don’t know.  It seems like all animals are rare or endangered, so those words kind of lose their punch after a while, don’t they?  I mean, if most everything is rare, then it becomes quite common, linguistically speaking.  Anyway, they said it was rare, so there you go.

And I know why they are rare!  They just stand there.  It’s no wonder humans had a field-day on New Zealand.  These giant, meaty, tasty birds just stand around.  They are like Cheesecake Factories that are open all night and always free.  I’m sure they are pretty hard to resist when you are hungry.  Mmmm… Penguin-Flavored-Cheesecake.

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Another Summer Day in Paris

Join me in the Peachpit Photo Club!

Register now (Free!) for the Peachput Photo Club event!

If everything works out, I’ll be coming to you live from Beijing in a few days and we’ll have a nice gathering! There is a fabulous prize and I hope you all can come! All you need is your internet browser and, perhaps, a good cup of coffee or other edgy beverage.

The event is on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 from 8 to 9 p.m. ET (5 to 6 p.m. PT). See you there!

Daily Photo – Another Summer Day in Paris

I’m having an amazing time in Paris. As usual, it’s off-the-rails perfect. The weather has been remarkable, the sunsets amazing, and the chocolate flows like mana from heaven. I made it over to the Eiffel Tower for a big night of shooting, and arrived there just as the sun was setting. I have a few little special spots I like to visit around the tower that are not full of tourists and the like.

This shot looks much more delicate, perhaps, than I did while achieving it. Unfortunately, this was one of those tricky ones where the tripod legs were splayed out like a flattened armadillo. I looked beyond redonkulous while taking it… but I felt pretty good the result would work out well. As opposed to most shots, when I go into the sun and only use +3 to -3, this one was 9 exposures from +4 to -4. This helped to get some of the gentle colors under the flowers.

HDR Photo

Rainbow over the London Eye

About the Site

We have quite a nice team here that have helped out with the site. Down at the bottom of the page, we have a new footer that came with the new design. In there, I put a link to “About the Site“, where you can get some scoop on people that help us out. We have a few freelancers that you might need in the future too!

That “About This Site” page is sort of a work-in-progress… but I believe in getting some things up early and then refining over time.

HDR on the iPhone

I was recently on Leo Laporte’s show The Tech Guy — we talked all about HDR on the iPhone. I’ll link over to that podcast when it comes available. My friend Brian Matiash wrote up a little analysis on his blog that you might enjoy as well.

Daily Photo – Rainbow over the London Eye

Today I am taking a train from London to Paris, and going through the chunnel (under the English Channel) for my first time. I’m very excited about this… I love the idea of rail travel in Europe. I don’t know why this is… I do look around at the other passengers and they often seem Euro-melancholy. Maybe you know what I mean…

So, today’s shot is of the newly famous London Eye. It’s more than just a ferris wheel. I can understand why it was so controversial when it was being built. What proper city would want a carnival-esque attraction right in the middle of it all? Well, this is no regular ferris wheel. It’s at least four times bigger than most, and each capsule is like a tiny plane. Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to go inside for a ride… this was for many reasons:

  • They put a bunch of people in with you, and I fear they would all crowd to the window
  • I want to go up at exactly sunset and take an amazing photo, which would really require me to be by myself or with an assistant
  • I saw there was a special “ride” you can get that has gourmet chocolate on board. That sounded good and I wanted to plan that for a future trip!

London Eye

Wicked London

Twitter and Photography

Twitter has turned out to be a great tool for photography!  Not only did I help use it to organize the London PhotoWalk, but I also send out tweets to places like @WickedLondon and @Tate to get inside scoops on photography and whatnot.  Since these places are obviously into social media, they are often likely to respond.

Daily Photo – Wicked London

So, I just got finished watching Wicked in London.  It was a very cool experience.  I would have enjoyed getting a few more shots of the environs and actors/actresses — maybe next time!

The stage was wonderfully elaborate and fantasy-steampunk.  I didn’t expect so much steampunk stuff in my life lately…  speaking of that, I’ll have more of these sorts of photos coming from Burning Man in coming days.  When traveling on the road, it’s hard for me to get new shots up right away, but I know people enjoy seeing “live” shots that show what I am seeing on a timely basis.  It takes a lot of energy to be out shooting all day, come back, post-process, and then upload everything to the blog — but I will try to do it from time to time.

Anyway, if you get a chance to see Wicked in London, I certainly recommend it.  I won’t ruin the story for you if you haven’t seen it, but there is a surprise appearance at the end from Jar Jar Binks that is totally unexpected.

Wicked London

The Grand Pool

Great PhotoWalk in London

We had about 75 people show up and had an amazing time. Thanks everyone who came out! We totally overwhelmed security at Westminster, Parliament, and The London Eye — they had no choice but to leave us be! 🙂

Before the walk, I gave explicit instructions to the crowd on what to yell in case they are accosted by the police: “Help Help! I’m being repressed!” Then, we would all work together to tweet it out and make a big deal of it… but, in the end, no one was bothered… it’s intimidating to see 75 tripods coming your way!

Below is a shot from Steve Graham (iboogaloo on Flickr).  You can visit his blog here.

Trey Ratcliff HDR Photographer at the London Photo Walk in front of Westminster

Reminder about Categories and Previous Pages

There is a lot of content here on the site! I wanted to remind you that I do “categorize” every photo. At the bottom of this one, you will see it says things like “California” and “Hearst”. Clicking on any of those will take you to more of the same.

Also, the blog is only set up to show about 10-15 of the latest posts. With many categories, there are a lot more than that! So you can click “Previous” at the bottom to see more.

Daily Photo – The Grand Pool

I’ve already posted a few photos of the fabulous Hearst Castle indoor pool. This is the one that it is nearby, just outdoors. The thing is enormous and perfect.

I wonder if it ever gets used. So sad. Maybe they put on little pool parties here and there for the elite. Or maybe rappers rent it out and bring in a bunch of rap-video-girls to gyrate around the edges. I don’t know.

HDR Photo

Steampunk at Burning Man

HDR on the iPhone 4 with Leo

Hey everyone. Leo Laporte asked me to be on his show today (Saturday) at 11:30 AM Pacific. We’ll be talking about, among other things, HDR on the iPhone. I’ve gotten a thousand questions on twitter and everything about this… just finishing my analysis and will share it all!

Tune in on live.twit.tv to see the live video feed. See you soon!

More Burning Man to Come!

I’ve processed many photos from Burning Man. It was an amazing time, and I took a different approach. I did the usual HDR style on a few, but I also experimented quite a bit. I’ll share some of this in an upcoming post — I’m aiming to get them up sometime this week if I can! So stay tuned…

Daily Photo – Steampunk at Burning Man

I’ve always been a fan of the Steampunk genre. Have you never heard of it? I’m not sure I can explain it perfectly, but it mostly involves a parallel universe in which electricity never was invented and harnessed. The technology of steam is what continued to evolve to produce amazing machines, more sophisticated zeppelins, and fabulous gear-cog mechanisms of every size, shape, and function. Some movies that use this theme are the City of Lost Children, Sherlock Holmes, Steamboy, and more. I just finished a good book recommended by my uncle called “Boneshaker” that is also set in the milieu.

Anyway, everyone at Burning Man is in costume all the time. That’s about 50,000 people at a week-long costume party that becomes pretty intense. On the night of the actual burn of the tower (which you can see in the background), there was a little gathering of steampunk players toward the inner ring. One of the girls saw me taking photos, and came over to compare goggles for a bit. I grabbed this one of her just before it was time to return to her party.

HDR Photo

Approaching London

Enforced in London

Well I’ve already been nearly to jail twice in London. And yes, just for taking photos.

My UK friends have warned me about how insane the rules are here, and they are right! I wouldn’t mind if there was ANY logic or reason to it whatsoever. But it’s artistically and personally offensive to me.

The first time was inside the first 10 minutes of shooting in Waterloo station. A security guard came right up to me and said, “This is private property.” I said, oh, that’s nice… It’s a train station and 3,000 other people are taking cell-phone pics at 5 megapixels and up. Then he sent me to the big boss, who was busy eating dinner behind a row of monitors. I asked him if I could take photos for my blog. He said absolutely not that it is a security risk.

And then I went over to the London Eye (the big ferris wheel). Two security guards came up to me there and said, “No tripod.” I asked why, and they said it was a legal risk that if anyone tripped, they could be sued. But there was no one near me within 50 yards except for the security guards! So I took off the camera and held the tripod, asking, “Can I hold it in my left hand while taking a photo with my right hand?” He said, “Absolutely not.”

These are the two reasons I hear again and again… Security Risk OR Legal reasons… just more evidence that governments and lawyers (especially, working in concert) are inane entities.

London Photowalk Tonight!

I’ll meet many of you soon! Looking forward to it! For details, see the London PhotoWalk Facebook Event!

Daily Photo – Approaching London

Despite being accosted by imbeciles on multiple occasions, I’m still having an amazing time in London. I go out just to take photos for a few hours, and then end up staying out past midnight! This great city has been on my list for a long time… so I am happy to finally make it.

The afternoon yesterday had a typical London rainshower. But it cleared up just before sunset to reveal magnificent clouds. I crisscrossed the Thames River many times to find the right light. After the sun dipped below the horizon, the light finally fell behind Westminster with a delicate palette.

HDR Photo

A Mercedes in Paris

Renting a Car in Paris

No, I’m not renting the car below. But I am a little flummoxed. I’m taking the train from London to Paris, then spending about a week in France before going to Spain. I can’t decided if I want to go through the trouble of renting a car, or if I should just take trains everywhere. I don’t have quite as much time as I would like to explore the French countryside, so maybe I will stick with trains. My current plan is to spend some time in Paris, then go to Nimes before heading over to the Cote d’Azur. After that I’ll head to Barcelona by train for sure… but… in between, I just can’t decide.

Whenever I travel, I usually go into it with half-a-plan, as you can plainly see. I sometimes like to just figure things out on the fly and be flexible. Sometimes if things are overly planned, they lose some of the spontaneity of the adventure and the required intuitive creativity in dealing with new situations. I don’t know… maybe I am just rationalizing being a hit-and-miss planner.

Daily Photo – A Mercedes in Paris

While walking along the Champs-Élysées in Paris, I came across this really slick Mercedes dealership. I don’t even want to think about what the lease for this space is… but it is super cool.

I wonder if they would have let me walk in and take it out for a spin. I mean, you’re allowed to test-drive cars, right? I wonder if they’d be alarmed if I brought it back with a big Slurpee in the drink holder.

HDR Photo

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