The Rainbow Apartments

Editing a photo from Yosemite!

Here’s a how-to video where you can see me edit a photo from Yosemite. I hope you find it at least mildly interesting!

Daily Photo – The Rainbow Apartments

How amazing is this place in Hong Kong? It took me forever to find it. I almost gave up, in fact. In desperation, I found another photo of the place and started showing random Chinese people in the neighborhood. Finally, one very nice woman took me to this nondescript parking lot I would have never found! After getting to the top, I finally saw it… Thank goodness I had that idea to find this place. Otherwise I never would have found it!

The Rainbow Apartments

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-13 17:22:10
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/580
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Returning to China!

Best of Beijing

I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from Beijing here. I went there several years in a row as part of a program. I ended up getting arrested, so I haven’t been invited back. These things happen. Oh, well. At least I got some good photos!

Bustling Beijing Getting this photo was not easy at all!I knew of this area of Beijing called the CBD, or Central Business District.  I notice that they have all these catchy names here, much like the building I took this photo from: "China Merchants Building."  At any rate, I had the driver circle the business district a few times so I could find a good angle.  We found one in this building, but did not know if we could take a photo from the top floor.  Woo went in first.  This might have been a mistake because during the shoot he admitted he had a dreadful fear of heights.  But he said it in such a charming British accent I thought it could have been my subconscious.We went up to the 32nd floor.  No windows no dice.  We then went to the 31st floor, but the confused secretary would not let us through.  Then we tried 30.  The secretary said yes and let us into a boardroom, but the angle was not right and the other offices were busy.  So we went to 29.The secretary on 29 was confused so I instructed Woo to tell her, firmly, "We are with the Government."- Trey RatcliffFind out what happened here at stuckincustoms.com.

The Chinese Mothership Look at this magical place in Beijing... it's on the edge of belief.I could hardly fathom the nature of this place.  I expected the lights to appear on the grid with melodic tones a mystical, alien language, like in Close Encounters.  But none of that happened...  So I just stood there for a long time, thinking about how incredible this place was... and took my time, setting up my system for a fitting photograph.Remember when we were kids, and we never finished our food, even under the threat of starving children in China?  Now, I say to my kids, you better eat your food, or else Chinese children will grow up and create an economic powerhouse.  Well too late for that!This is the amazing National Centre for the Performing Arts, or as I like to say, the 国家大剧院 -- I find that rolls of the tongue a bit easier.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Secret Treasures of Beijing These little finds are everywhere!  Sometimes, while stumbling around from alleyway to alleyway, I appear right in the middle of these perfect little scenes.It was very close to the National Day, and crews were out freshening-up the city.  There were about four Chinese painters that were busy putting a fresh red coat of paint on this perfect little bridge.  By chance, they were just finishing up as I approached.   This little boat from the painters was pulled up beside the bridge in a wonderful way, so I set up my tripod along the bank for a photo.They all looked at me in a confused way.  They had no idea why I would want to take a photo of their little boat and the bridge.  I imagine they find this so commonplace as to be hardly worthy of a photo...  and it makes me wonder about all the non-photographers (or fans of this site) out there.  Perhaps they just go through life and don't even notice anything interesting pretty and nicely composed.  What an empty visual life this must be!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Downtown Beijing After Rain

Daily Photo – Returning to China!

I'm excited to come back to China in June. I'll be in some of the major cities, but I'm also quite excited to visit a few new spots. I'm not sure where I'll go yet. I reached out to my friend Kevin Kelly, who is quite the demigod in China, to see if he has any suggestions. I'm looking forward to trying out the new bullet train system to go far afield. Whatever happens, I'll take plenty of photos and share back here on the blog with you.

Returning to China!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2010-10-10 03:27:22
  • CameraNIKON D3S
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Returning to China!

In a Taxi in Beijing

This is kind of a funny video from a LONG time ago. It’s actually one of the first videos I ever released. I’m sorry to say that I have not improved much with my communication skills in the interim.

Daily Photo – Returning to China!

I'll be back in China for several months in June! I'll be going lots of places, but I'll start here in Beijing. Besides here, I'll be visiting the Great Wall, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Tianjin. I might also stay a few extra days and go far afield to see what I can find. I do like the big cities, but I also enjoy going way out into the hinterlands to see what I can find.

Returning to China!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2010-10-11 22:11:49
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time0.7
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length48.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Layers of Ice and Water in Antarctica

Yacht Photo Story in News.com.au

The team over there in Australia took note of my yacht photo and it’s rather curious description. So that began a nice little interview that resulted in this Click-Baity article!

Here is the photo from the article:

The Abandoned Yacht In The Middle Of Government Housing

Daily Photo – Layers of Ice and Water in Antarctica

Oh how I wish I could have taken my quadcopter to Antarctica! They gave me the big no-no on that one, unfortunately. That's a real bummer because I could have gotten so many more shots. Anyway, I was more than lucky enough to take quite a few helicopter flights, and I went photo-crazy on all of them. I negotiated for the best seat (often having to offer bottles of wine) so that I could see as much as possible. One time, I had my camera out the window and the shutter area inside the Sony broke apart. I have no idea how that happened because I thought it was air-sealed in there. Anyway, who knows… but I got this shot right before it broke apart.

Layers of Ice and Water in Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-01-20 16:09:50
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture11
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Chinese Governmental Complexity

New Zealand Fall Workshop Announced!

Be sure to check out our Workshops page to see the newly announced photo adventure in New Zealand for 2019! Fall is happening RIGHT NOW (it’s opposite from Spring in the Northern Hemisphere) and it’s a great time to check off a bucket list item. Here’s a little video about our photo adventures!

Daily Photo – Chinese Governmental Complexity

This is one of my new favorite photos and I made it by accident. I selected about 10 different images that I wanted to load into layers to re-arrange. Well, as a slip of the finger would have it, I accidentally clicked “Merge to HDR”! Naturally, nothing was aligned and everything was ghosted. It made for a very interesting montage. So then I went into it and began to do more tweaking with various colors and contrasts until I liked it even more.

Chinese Governmental Complexity

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-15 17:22:54
  • CameraFC220
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/300
  • Aperture2.2
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.344

Hong Kong on the Last Day

Show Recommendation!

I have a good show recommendation for you: Billions. I believe it’s a Showtime show… I’m excited because they are just launching Season 3!

Daily Photo – Hong Kong on the Last Day

The commute across the bay in Hong Kong on a rare foggy morning… On our last day here, we took a ferry over to Macau. Right before the ferry, we went through customs because there's still a whole process to go from Hong Kong to Macau, even though they are both technically China. I had to get a multi-pass (Fifth Element Style) entry Visa for China because I'm going in and out so much. I still find the whole customs process to be so slow, especially in light of new tech. Anyway, at least it was a pretty morning! I took this through the window from my room at the Ritz-Carlton.

Hong Kong on the Last Day

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-16 13:25:41
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length31.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Hong Kong at 240mm

De-Haze Tip

Be sure to get the latest version of Lightroom because they moved that powerful “De-Haze” slider up to the top set of tools. I use it quite a bit now, and it was definitely a lifesaver on this shot, which was originally quite hazy!

Daily Photo – Hong Kong at 240mm

This was a new area of Hong Kong for me to visit. Most people go up to “The Peak” which is on the other side of the bay. Sometimes it can take 2-3 hours to get up there because of the line. It's pretty up there, but I'm not sure it's worth the wait! Instead, I recommend going up the Kowloon side with a telephoto lens like this. You can't go wrong!

Hong Kong at 240mm

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-16 00:06:11
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length139.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Exploring the Hong Kong Opera House

Ride with me to Glenorchy (Part 2 of 4)

And following up from Part 1 of my road trip to Glenorchy is this video below, where I process the photos I took on that extremely moody and windy day!

Daily Photo – Exploring the Hong Kong Opera House

I have a trick I do in China when going into places I'm not supposed to enter. This is a good example… this is the new opera house that is still under construction. I peeked inside from the street and thought it looked incredible. There were some security guards and stuff, so I casually walked up to them and said, “Don't worry, I'm with the government.”

Exploring the Hong Kong Opera House

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-14 03:16:39
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Hong Kong Without the Haze

Using the New Lightroom

I have a love/hate relationship with Lightroom. It’s more of the latter, really, and not enough of the former. But, I do like how they moved the Dehaze tool upwards. I use it quite a bit more now! Today’s video for passport members shows the best-use-case scenarios for it.

Now that the Dehaze tool has bubbled up to the top, I’ve been experimenting with it more and more. In this video, you can see how it works SOMETIMES with these rather hazy photos from Hong Kong. Well, in some cases, it is amazing. In others, it doesn’t look so good.

Exclusive content for Passport members

Unlock Now

Daily Photo – Hong Kong Without the Haze

Of the successful de-hazing shots from Hong Kong, this is one of my favorites. I never thought I would be such a fan of government housing, but these buildings do make for a great tableau! I left a little bit of haze in there because I think it helps to add a sense of depth to the image. I had to zoom in there close to see what was happening on that sports field. At first, I thought it was baseball… but baseball is not popular in China (it is in Japan). It's two soccer fields, or football as they call it in most of the world.

Hong Kong Without the Haze

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-16 00:16:35
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length141.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

The Financial District of Hong Kong

Wild Wild Country Documentary

I just finished watching this docco on Netflix; wow was it interesting! Even though I was just a kid when this “cult” was in the news, I have no memory of it. Anyway, watching the documentary reminds me of how unorganized hippies can be. I think the original notion of the commune was actually a pretty good idea, especially because it was voluntary and self-contained.

The whole idea seems pretty Burning-Man-ish. At Burning Man, we often sit around the campfire and wonder what it would be like if “this” existed for 52 weeks rather than 1. Well, it does require a bit of organization and governance by clever people. This documentary is a really good example of a good idea with rather bad organization.

Another aspect that occurred to me is the danger of the ego of the leadership. I’ve never listened to any of teachings of their leader, as there was a scant amount in the documentary. But it’s clear that some of the leadership started to take themselves and their identity a bit too seriously and that is when everything started to unravel.

Daily Photo – The Financial District of Hong Kong

I only spent four days in Hong Kong, so I tried to be as photographically productive as possible. Being the quintessential introvert, I have chosen not to live in big cities so it's a treat when I get to visit them. Nothing wrong with living in big cities, of course, as I know extroverts get a lot of energy from cities that never sleep. I enjoy them too, but only for short visits. Hong Kong has all sorts of different districts, and this is the financial hub of it all. I've been working on this new processing technique that you see here. I'll put together a how-to video soon and share it with you.

The Financial District of Hong Kong

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-12 23:57:36
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+2

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!