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Old 01-11-2013, 08:26 AM   #1
PrincessInOz
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"Stuck in Customs" - Trey Ratcliff PhotoWalk

Today, I went on a photo walk with blogger, photographer and author Trey Ratcliff.






Arguably one of the world’s best HDR photographer, the photo walk had been posted on Google +. A nice intimate photowalk with Trey, me and about 397 other photo nuts in Melbourne (397 is the number of people that had accepted to attend on Google + the last time I looked!).






As I knew someone who knew someone who knew one of the Google + helpers, I have it on very good authority that this Melbourne is easily the biggest photo crowd Trey has attracted on any of his walks around the world. Ever! That makes me part of a new world record!

To back this inside information up, Trey did tell us that we were the largest group he’s ever walked with; larger than Sydney, London and Paris. He mentioned this at the same time he was telling us about his gear. He’s shooting with a Nikon D800 and a wide angle lens; plus a Sony Nex; and I believe that’s a Carl Zeiss lens. I definitely remember him saying that it is a f/1.2. (Or was that a f/1.4???)






Trey was amazingly gracious with us, his time and his information sharing. He told us that we could walk up and talk to him at ANY time……and quite a few in the crowd took him up on the offer. I don’t think that he managed to walk more than 1 step before someone else would ask if they could grab a picture with him.




So…….what did I learn?

Firstly – the disclaimer. I’ve been taking pictures for about 2.5 years now. I think I now know how to spell HDR. But whilst I can spell HDR, I have not yet dabbled in the world of post processing…..yet. So bear that in mind when you read the below.


Trey always starts off with settings of ISO 100, f/8 – 22; and takes his pictures for HDR from -3 to +3 EC. He normally ends up with a set of 7 pictures. And as he has a timer device set up on that Nikon, the timer does all 7 shots (at the various time settings) with the push of one button. In fact, he said that he pretty much shoots in ISO 100 all the time.

Trey talked about what would make a good HDR picture. Here…he’s chosen that bronze statue because in the orange light of sunset, the HDR composite would highlight the different burnishes of the bronze. He also mentioned that in this current setting at this particular time, there we heaps of shadow and light differences, which would be accentuated in intensity during post processing.







At the next stop, Trey talked about what he looks for when framing a shot. He likes street photography, particularly where there is architectural interest. At this setting, he liked the triangle shapes of the buildings. The lesson was at this stop was not just about the framing. It was also about whether the light conditions would make a good HDR picture or not. I’ve tried to take this picture to demonstrate the point Trey was making.






There is high light and shade in the setting; which was one of the things Trey looks for. Plus he’s already pointed out that he likes the shape the buildings make. But Trey didn’t take the shot here. The reason was that he knew that when he went back to look at the shot, the HDR image would be brilliant on the right side of the setting; but there would be a very dull spot on the left side of the setting. For Trey, the picture would appear to be unbalanced.



I mentioned that Trey was incredibly gracious and generous with his sharing. At each stop, he would offer us the privilege of staring down his camera and checking out what he sees.






I just have to digress here and share! It was at this point in the walk that Trey and I moved from casual walkers to sharing drinks.

It had taken us about an hour to get to this point and it turns out Trey was human afterall. He was thirsty. So, he asked if anyone had some water with them. In that crowd of over 350 people, it turns out that I was the only one that had brought a bottle of water with me. I had found some time to slip into a 7-11 store just before the walk and had purchased a brand spanking new bottle of water. And as luck would have it, I hadn’t touched the bottle.

So, I handed the bottle of water to him and he literally gulped down the entire bottle without drawing breath! The graciousness of the man was such that he asked my name and to thank me for the water beforehand.
After he's taken his drink, he then offered to buy me a drink in return....in any city!
So, Trey and I have a date for a latte in New York; and he’s buying! We didn’t settle on a year…..but I’m sure that in another lifetime, we’ll have that latte. You know….he thanked me again a little later in the walk AND remembered my name when he got the chance to do so.



Back on the walk. This busker was drawing a picture using chalk on the concrete. If you take a picture of his and/or his drawing, please put some money in the hat. He made a killing this night!
Trey is also interested in people pictures and uses that Nex specifically for that purpose. And as about 300 other people were taking pictures of Trey taking a picture of the busker at work, there was quite a flurry of money being left in that hat!






I suspect that there may be a few people in Melbourne shopping for Nex cameras shortly!


At this stop, Trey talked about what he does for post processing. He will use items from the different settings to get a final look that he’s happy with but he does not cut and paste any items into a setting that was not originally there; e.g., the moon.






He was talking about this because he was looking to take a picture of flames, which was expected out of those blocks.







But it was a total fire ban day in Melbourne today….thank goodness someone of the 350 remembered!





It was at this point that I called it a night. The group was still moving on the walk and I needed to head home (it had been a long day at work!).




I learnt heaps!


Some other vignettes to share:

1. Trey talked about how photographers are pretty solitary creatures that spend all their time on-line. He encouraged us to seek out other solitary creatures and go on photowalks together so that we could learn off each other.
I'd like to think that our little community here does the photowalks in this 2D world by sharing our pictures and being generally helpful to each other.



2. As a blogger, Trey gets the full gamut of comments whenever he posts his pictures. He said that we should expect the same wherever we choose to load and share our pictures. For any of the negative comments or the ones that came across as condescending, we could choose to be insulted by it or choose to ignore it. Afterall, the comments are coming from strangers on the internet and there is nothing wrong with ignoring comments and viewpoints that we just different to your own.
Definitely something for me to keep in mind.


3. Trey advised that if in doubt, look for someone with a bigger camera than you and ask them questions. Anyone with a bigger camera will either know what they are doing and be able to help you; or have completely overbought. In either case, you won’t know any different.






I will be keeping an eye on Trey’s blog site over the coming days to see what shots he posts up. It was certainly great seeing how he sets up and to share a brief insight into his world and thoughts. And I will have the delicious thought of sharing a latte with Trey in New York in some year……some time!



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Old 01-11-2013, 09:02 AM   #2
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Sounds like a wonderful event. LOL, I can't even imagine 350 photographers walking in a group. It's always great to have fun while learning. (And thanks for the tip to bring a bottle of water if ever at an event with someone famous. LOL)

I did my first photo walk earlier this year, the Kelby Worldwide. It was a very small group of only 7, and it's amazing how close that little group has become since the walk. None of us had ever met one another before that day. Now, we're constantly talking about photography on Facebook and have even gathered at Starbucks a few times.

I actually added Trey to the blogs I follow at our last Starbucks gathering as a result of one of their recommendations.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing this great story!

Stories like this make it easy to see why Trey Ratcliff is quickly becoming the most recognizable name in photography.

While I'm not always a fan of his photos (although I think most of his recent stuff is excellent), I regularly read his blog for his personality and photography business savvy. He seems like a genuinely nice guy with an incredible amount of business acumen that he doesn't mind sharing.

Some of his opinions on where photography is going are controversial (controversy helps draw an audience!), and his business advice is definitely not for everyone, but it's great to see a photographer who is also a thinker. It's also great to hear from a fresh voice in photography who understands how the game is evolving.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:09 PM   #4
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I'm glad you had a nice time. Trey has always been friendly and is a good guy. I first met him at an HDR workshop he held in Tampa. He was in Orlando when he wanted that Sony NEX-7 and asked me where to find one. I met him over at the mall with a Sony store (along with Disney cast member Keith Barrett and Gilmar Smith). There's a shot of me and Gilmar on his page discussing the NEX-7, and one of him that I took with it.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable on a photo walk with hundreds of people, though. Actually, I'm sure I wouldn't be comfortable in that kind of crowd. That's me, though.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:43 PM   #5
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That sounds like such a great experience!
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdsOfPreyDave View Post
Sounds like a wonderful event. LOL, I can't even imagine 350 photographers walking in a group. It's always great to have fun while learning. (And thanks for the tip to bring a bottle of water if ever at an event with someone famous. LOL)

I did my first photo walk earlier this year, the Kelby Worldwide. It was a very small group of only 7, and it's amazing how close that little group has become since the walk. None of us had ever met one another before that day. Now, we're constantly talking about photography on Facebook and have even gathered at Starbucks a few times.

I actually added Trey to the blogs I follow at our last Starbucks gathering as a result of one of their recommendations.
If I've passed on the water tip, then my mission in life if complete!


I almost didn't go. The day started out hot and got hotter. We had temperatures in the high 90's at 2 pm and then the cool change came in. We were walking in temps of low 70's. I figured that I would head to the meeting spot and see how things panned out. Afterall, I do choose to live in the bottom end of the world and opportunities like this do not come along often.

The company I work for has a photography group on our internal Yammer. It's been great connecting with other like-minded people. I might do the Kelby Worldwide next year. Seems like you got in with a great bunch last time.



Quote:
Originally Posted by WDWFigment View Post
Thanks for sharing this great story!

Stories like this make it easy to see why Trey Ratcliff is quickly becoming the most recognizable name in photography.

While I'm not always a fan of his photos (although I think most of his recent stuff is excellent), I regularly read his blog for his personality and photography business savvy. He seems like a genuinely nice guy with an incredible amount of business acumen that he doesn't mind sharing.

Some of his opinions on where photography is going are controversial (controversy helps draw an audience!), and his business advice is definitely not for everyone, but it's great to see a photographer who is also a thinker. It's also great to hear from a fresh voice in photography who understands how the game is evolving.
WDWFigment - I'll admit to the same thing. I can see the art in his pictures (and what fantastic art it can be) and I really respect his talent to see the world through his camera lens and colour palette. It might not be my thing just yet; but that's more about me than anything else.

As a hobby photographer, I was really interested to see how he set up his camera and what his thought process was when looking at a scene. I may not dabble in HDR; but the opportunity to see someone like him in 3D and listen to him breakdown his thoughts was invaluable.

BTW - I do occassionally lurk into your blog, that cannot be mentioned. Really enjoy it!



Quote:
Originally Posted by wbeem View Post
I'm glad you had a nice time. Trey has always been friendly and is a good guy. I first met him at an HDR workshop he held in Tampa. He was in Orlando when he wanted that Sony NEX-7 and asked me where to find one. I met him over at the mall with a Sony store (along with Disney cast member Keith Barrett and Gilmar Smith). There's a shot of me and Gilmar on his page discussing the NEX-7, and one of him that I took with it.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable on a photo walk with hundreds of people, though. Actually, I'm sure I wouldn't be comfortable in that kind of crowd. That's me, though.
Lucky you being friendly with such a genuinely nice and humble guy.

I did have my doubts about a photowalk with so many people. Like you, it's not really my idea of a photowalk. But I figured that it was a good opportunity to just go and see how it panned out. As a hobby photographer, I viewed it as an opportunity to learn from one of the world's best. And it was free; in the open and I could bail out at any time. If I didn't make the effort, then it could have been a missed opportunity.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tlcmommyx4 View Post
That sounds like such a great experience!
Yes, it was. I spoke to a couple of people around me and it seemed like there were the full range of cameras in attendance.....mobile camera takers through to high end full frame.

Even found someone in the crowd that I kinda sorta knew from 5 years ago. She was the someone who knew someone who worked with Google+. So, it was nice chatting with her and the Google+ organizer.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Lucky you being friendly with such a genuinely nice and humble guy.

I did have my doubts about a photowalk with so many people. Like you, it's not really my idea of a photowalk. But I figured that it was a good opportunity to just go and see how it panned out. As a hobby photographer, I viewed it as an opportunity to learn from one of the world's best. And it was free; in the open and I could bail out at any time. If I didn't make the effort, then it could have been a missed opportunity.
Oh, don't read too much into that. I've only run into Trey two or three times. He's a nice guy and very talented. I enjoy his photos and reading about his travels as much as anyone else.
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