Beijing Photo Walk With Trey Ratcliff

A few weeks back, I noticed an open invitation to attend a group photo outing hosted by Trey Ratcliff, owner of the photo-blog ‘Stuck in Customs’.  I was lucky enough to be able to go out last night and attend the event, which turned out to be a very cool experience.  Trey specializes in a form of digital photography known as HDR, a method by which you can transform photographs into pictures ranging from surreal to otherworldly.  To get a better idea of what I mean  (and a great description of how it is done), check out his site, Stuck in Customs.

While I have no background in HDR, I had a great time at the event, and the weather could not have been better.  I believe it was the first true blue-skied day that I have seen in about three weeks, and we were provided with an excellent sunset, a rare thing around these part.  We were asked to meet at the Beijing National Theater, a massive building that has been aptly nicknamed “the Egg”, for obvious reasons.  Trey gave a quick talk on the goals for the evening, and off we went.

I won’t say that I learned a huge amount over the course of two hours that I stayed with the group, but I will say that it was one of the best photo sessions that I have had in quite a while.  I have not had much drive to get out and shoot anything recently, but being with a large group of enthusiasts, especially those that know what they are talking about, was very refreshing, and I woke this morning with a renewed desire to see the world.

There was some speculation on whether or not we would receive any bad attention from the Man, as the location happens to be directly across the street from the Chinese equivalent of the White House and Pentagon.  A large, quickly amassed group of foreigners with cameras can raise flags in the eyes of the law.  Trey was the first to hop over the chain that runs the entire perimeter to the water around the theater, setting up his tripod right on the edge of the water.  Soon enough others were joining in, but eventually we would be asked to step back over the line.  In either case, this was no major violation, and any number of Chinese tourists were doing the same.  All in all, I think the pictures say more than I can for this post.

The weather is very nice today as well, and though I am exhausted, I have been considering going out this evening to see about getting some more shots while the light is so nice.

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