A Normal Day in Trey Ratcliffs' Life

Philipp Neumann (Germany)

In view of the this year's "World Photographers Focusing on Beijing" event, 10 world-famous photographers from Germany, Japan, Serbia, France and the USA were invited to come to Beijing, creating the opportunity to discover new aspects/views of Beijing. Besides, there was also the possibility to learn from the professionals and gain insight into their daily work, by going out photographing with them.

Fortunatly, I also had the chance to spend some time with one of the photographers, called Trey Ratcliff from Texas, in the U.S.A. I was really excited in view of the upcoming day, especially because of the following two reasons.

First, I identify with Trey Ratcliffs philosophy of taking an image.

=>There has to be a story behind the picture. The picture has to tell a story, sending a message to the viewer. Consequently, the viewer will become curious and fascinated about the picture. Then, the viewer starts to interact with the picture, creating his own personal story about the picture. The pictures evokes memories. That is exactly what he also would like to do in Beijing.

Second, I am interested about his main technique of taking photos, called HDR (High Dynamic Range).

On October 1st Jesse ( Foreign Expert of ebeijing) and me met Trey Ratcliff and his assistant Woo at the Beijing Planning Museum which is located beside Tiananmen Square. There, Trey Ratcliff wanted to take pictures of the exhibition hall which features miniature model of the entire Beijing metropolitan area. Armed with his Nikon D3x, Nikon D3s and an huge tripod, he captivated everyone. I thought: "Wow, I also wanna have such an equipment" :-)!

 

When he started to take pictures inside the exhibition hall, I tried to observe every step of his proceedings to learn as much as possible. I felt like a boy who fell in love with a girl for the first time, being so curious about everything. Consequently, I had a lot of questions :-). Furtunatly, Trey was willing to answer my questions. He gave me many advices concerning photography and I tried to implement them immediatly. Afterwards we went to the Tiananmen Square to take photos of people on the street. Due to the fact that it was national day, there were many people on the street.

When we arrived at the Tiananmen Square, Trey put on his earphones to listen to some music to get in the right mood of taking pictures. The next hour we only spend time to take photos of people on the street. I was really impressed how seriously and confident Trey took all these pictures. He did not worry about rejection or about all the things that could go wrong. He just was cool :-).

Later, he gave me the advice: If you want to take a photo, and it feels right, just do it. Previously, often times, I did not pull the camera up because I was a little bit shy, maybe embarassed, or being afraid of rejection. Therefore, I tried to implement his advice and it worked (picture below)!!

For the rest of the day, we went to the egg-shaped national grand theater. The amazing architecture and the great view at night offer a lot of opportunities to take pictures. But at the same time it is very challenging to take a special picture of all these opportunities. I tried my best :-).

Now, can you imagine what is meant by: 'A normal day in Trey Ratcliffs' life' :-)? I think that for most of the people such a day would be very unnormal in regard to their daily work. But that fact is exactly what I enjoyed so much. 

The day was amazing! I would never have aspected to learn so many new things about photography. I gained some totally new impressions and experience, which also open my perspective on this type of work. I will try to expand these experience and what I have learnt to become better and better.  

                                             

[source:eBeijing.gov.cn]