Learning from Trey Ratcliff
Trey Ratcliff is a renowned photographer who specializes in stunning High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography.
He is not only a reliable source of information on how to use HDR to capture the moment in all its glory: he is a master at capturing it in all its meaning as well.
By combining his unique understanding and skill set, Ratcliff imbues his work with a deeply emotional sense of belonging in the world. His work often features richly colored depictions from nature and life around the globe.
More than a photographer, Ratcliff also enjoys mathematics, philosophy, anthropology, drawing, painting, and just about any creative engagement with life. It is the combination of these various interests that brings his work to a level of expression that goes beyond a photograph.
And that is what we can learn from Trey Ratcliff: how every part of who we are becomes critical to what we do. Through knowing himself, he can share his vision of life and people.
Below is an image that was taken by Ratcliff in New Guinea. The real power of this picture is the expression in the eyes of the subject.
Success Depends on More than Gumption
We’ve all heard the clichés:
- Failure is just a stepping stone to success.
- Your determination is the driving force behind meeting your goals.
While both of these things are true, there’s more to it than that.
- How do we keep going in the face of failure?
- Where does determination come from?
- Why do some people manage to push through failure while others give up?
Answers to these questions have been provided in many different ways. Psychology touts the importance of mindset, but how do we keep a positive mindset when setbacks surround us? The answer is simple: we have to believe in what we’re doing.
Trey Ratcliff has had an extraordinary amount of success in his career:
- He was the first photographer to have an HDR photograph displayed in the Smithsonian.
- His photography website StuckInCustums.com is the number one stop for professionals and hobbyists alike.
- He has garnered a huge following across the digital landscape.
- He has spoken at TEDx conferences and Google’s Zeitgeist Americas, and his blog posts tend to spark quite the discussion.
Looking in from the outside, it would seem that his rise to success was smooth and almost magical. The image below might even prompt you to ask if Ratcliff is a wizard and a very classy one at that.
However, his rise to fame has not come without resistance.
In fact, Ratcliff has a handicap that makes his success even more surprising: he grew up being blind in one eye.
When You Love What You Do, Nothing Will Stop You
Ratcliff’s enthusiasm for his work is obvious from his website and social media pages. His stunning images are coupled with brilliant discussions from the photographer that provoke deep thoughts on life and the nature of humanity. This comes across in how he paints a scene with his camera lens, and it is essential to his success.
There are a lot of amazing photographers in the world. Much like Cassandra De Pecol (read our post about her here), Ratcliff’s work stands out from the rest, precisely because it supersedes photography. Pecol’s ultimate goal is to promote peace through sustainable tourism, and her photography reflects that.
In the same way, Ratcliff’s photography reflects the search for deeper meaning which all of us undergo in our lifetimes. Both photographers promote peace and a better world through their efforts, and this commonality seems to exist between all those who choose to engage with the world by first getting to know the self.
The image pictured below conveys the essence of this sentiment, caught in the rosy-golden glow of daybreak on the waters of Southern China.
That’s how you find what you love. Look for all those little pieces of who you are and, over time, the sum parts will come together to create a new understanding of yourself and the surrounding world. From there, you will begin to see how you can share your unique vision.
Trey Ratcliff & HDR Photography
Ratcliff has devised some tips and tricks that will help anyone learn to take stunning HDR photographs. His ability to put things together has led to a new way of doing things, and he shares this knowledge on his website.
To date, he has photographed some of the world’s most beautiful locations. From Antarctica to New York City, Ratcliff’s portfolio paints the world with his images. He has learned something every step of the way, and his guides reflect that.
You simply have to be willing to take the greatest journey a person could ever undergo: the path from who you believe yourself to be to who you truly are.
Are you ready for the journey?
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