After a 10+ hour plane ride on that LC-130 on the right, we landed on those skis you see beneath the plane on the ice shelf. It wasn’t the smoothest landing in the world. We didn’t have windows by the seats (we were strapped into the walls like GIs about to parachute into France on D-Day), and the pilots later told me we landed so hard the tips of the wings almost hit the ground. Fun!
Anyway, after we got off, we boarded one of the largest land vehicles in existence. As you can see, it has the name “Ivan the Terra Bus.” Thank God it had a heater in there, because it was a little colder than I expected, and I expected a lot of cold.
I probably stayed at least four weeks at the amazing Hotel O’lorogio in Venice. It’s a great place and the team there is amazing. Wow, what a fun time! Anyway, there was basically only one way back to the hotel, and it was over a small bridge that gave this view. One evening, I stopped to take my time and capture this scene.
I think this is my new favorite area of Tokyo! It’s close to Shinjuku and it’s composed of about 3 small streets (almost alleys), and each one has about 30 bars jammed into it. But most of the bars only seat like 7-9 people. It’s so cool! Some disappear up into dark stairs and the great unknown. Some bars are quite old, and you can go there if you’re a regular, and buy a big bottle of sake and they will just label it and leave it there for you, every time you come back. I’ve only visited two bars here, but I’m about to up those numbers when I go back.
I have a lame confession to make about this photo. I was too tired to get to the top of the sand dune to take this photo from the top. I mean, it was absolutely huge. I set out with the best of intentions. It must have been 400 feet high. That may not sound high, but it is effectively almost 1000 feet because every step up makes your feet slide down just about as far as you just ascended! I went right up the spine of the dune so I could put a foot on each side, but the sand was so impossibly soft and fluid that it was almost useless. So I eventually just gave up and thought, “You know what? The sunset will be good enough from right here!”
I’ve spent a number of years building a massive library of photography presets, video tutorials and eBooks and more which sell for well over $750 if added together. Now, for a short time, you can get all of them in one mega bundle for just $24.99 (the normal-ish price for one preset pack). After a limited time, this will rise to $49.99 and then maybe after that they’ll all disappear from the store forever. So get them while you can!
As always I’ll be throwing in my RAW files with the tutorials so you can follow along and also bundled in there are things like my high-res textures which you can use as you please for post-processing. Maybe you’ll find a few surprises in there too. So, check out the link for a detailed rundown of the contents before they disappear forever.
Sydney, Australia is just a short flight from New Zealand where I live. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s still 4 hours, but everything else is 10+ hours from New Zealand.
There is an area called The Rocks that is one of the oldest areas of Sydney, and this is just a short walk away. I love this photo because it causes confusion the first time you see it. I try to do this sometimes with my photos where I attempt to cause the viewer to wonder exactly what they are seeing. After a few moments, they slowly figure it out and that gives them a little squirt of dopamine.
Well, I’ve been going a little crazy with this unusual form of “photography” where I sit behind a computer without a lens rather than a computer with a lens. I’ve always thought about my high-end cameras as computers that just happen to have a lens attached. Most of the smarts are inside the camera, and most of the “visions” of the photo come from my mind. The only shortcoming to that is I actually have to get my body to a location in a time and place to make it happen. Please note I still love regular photography, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. But I do quite like the idea of just visualizing very interesting images and communicating with an artificial intelligence to describe the kind of shot I’d like to see.
I went through a similar thought process when I started drone photography. I was basically holding a computer in my hands with a screen, and I would tell the drone where to go. The lens did not have to be a few inches from my head. That opened up a 180 degree hemisphere of 2-4km around me where I could take almost any photo I wanted. Now, with AI, it’s kind of the next-level, where the lens is actually inside the computer.
I’m a very visual person (in my head too), so I spent a long time doing a “dance” with an AI so that we could understand one another better. There have been many failures, but here are some of the successes. I recently did two other posts:
BTW, I started up a new AI Instagram @Trairatcliff account so I could keep my main Instagram more with traditional photography. Be one of the first to join! And tell your friends, but only the cool ones… not the energy vampire friends you are trying to get rid of. 🙂
After those initial mini-projects, mentioned in the post above, I am finally figuring out how to get realistic-looking people at Burning Man wearing rather amazing costumes.
I’m using Midjourney version 4 for these, although I play with all the AI tools. It’s a command-line interface via Discord to communicate with the AI. Here is a sample query for one of the photos. If you haven’t used Discord, this will look confusing. Even if you are an expert at Discord (like me!), well, it still takes a while to get the hang of it. I should make a tutorial or something. Anyway, here is the sample query:
And here are 32 of my favorite creations so far. Note that some of the costumes are a bit over the top, but I kinda like that. I did photos in all sorts of different weather situations, day, night, males, females, many moods and temperatures. It was great fun to experiment with. Enjoy!
This is the second in a series of mind-bending imagery, all created by an AI I’ve been working with. The first article explored art installations at Burning Man that do not exist and talks a little about how artists can team up with AIs in fun, inspiring, and innovative ways.
I went to Papua New Guinea several years ago and I was so amazed by seeing so many different types of tribes (see my Original Photos Here). I found their customs and the way they decorated themselves to be mesmerizing. There are still many undiscovered villages in Papua New Guinea as well, so I decided to make that a theme here.
I used some of my images as reference and for many of these queries to the AI, I used “in the style of Trey Ratcliff.” Luckily, because I’ve uploaded so many “people” photos to the internet over the past 15 years, the AI can kind of figure out my style. For these, I did many different switches and adjustments on the types of images. Male to female, age 8 to 80 to see all the variations. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did creating them!
It was quite rainy in Singapore while we were there, but it made for some great photos and reflections. This is the Esplanade Theater, and a lot of the locals think it looks like a durian, possibly one of the worst fruits that ever evolved. This affronting fruit must have somehow stayed in the food chain thanks to monkeys or something. But, I actually know a few humans that like it. It smells so bad to most people that it is banned in hotels and airplanes.
My Singaporean and Malaysian friends are constantly trying to force me to enjoy durian. They give me deep-fried durian, durian ice cream, durian yogurt, and durian candy. It’s all horrible and I can barely keep myself from vomiting and it just makes them laugh. At some point, I’ll figure out their tricks.