Trey Ratcliff – London photo Walk (80 Stays around the world)

A stop motion I created of the evening walk around the park.

I have been following Trey on his blog for a few years now and when the opportunity arose to do a photo walk with him in London I jumped at the chance.

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I managed to sneak in between the masses and grab a selfie with Trey.

A brief overview on Trey. He was born in the US but now lives with his family in New Zealand. He has gazillions of followers on the web. He was born blind in the right eye and has a degree in Computer Science and Math. You can read all about him and his travels on his blog at StuckInCustoms.com. He’s best known for his vivid HDR Photography. He’s into meditation and yoga and is a genuinely a really humble, approachable nice chap. He has partnered with a number of companies to produce various products such as Peak Design helping to created amazing camera bags. He has created his own software, presets, apps and organises photo walks all over the world just to call out a few of his many talents.

I have never done a photo walk before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. None the less I was pretty excited about the prospect. The London walk was to take part in Hyde Park on the north side of the Serpentine lake. The pre-party get-together kicked off at 18.00 and the walk itself was due to start at 19.00, finishing around 21.00. There was an after party at a nearby pub if you were lucky enough to buy a ticket in time, which I had, and was very much looking forward to it.

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Find the bus and ye shall find Trey. Easier said than done when my mad map reading skills went walk about!

I got to Hyde Park in plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere and build up to the walk. After a bit of a dodgy start to the weather in the morning and early afternoon, by the time I arrived in London, the clouds and greyness had dissipated leaving a beautiful summers evening. A blue sky, warm and snugly temperature and a beautiful amber glow surrounded the park. However I managed to get off a tube stop too early and completely got disorientated trying to navigate my way by using a combination of a printed off map, a poor GPS signal on my mobile phone and not having a precise location as to where we were all supposed to meet (apart from a message on the site to say look out for a large branded bus with 80 Stays Around the World with Trey Ratcliff plastered over one side). Boy did I get lost, and what reserve time I had to enjoy the build up to the event quickly evaporated as I tried this way and that way to find the starting point! I had one final go and by chance rather than by skill I found the holy grail that was the bus! As soon as I saw the bus I saw the hundreds of other people gathered across the other side of the road milling about and I knew that was where I was supposed to be.

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I’m surprised Trey has a hand left after an incredible meet and great at the start to the photo walk.

Instead of me turning up relaxed and calm, I was knackered, hot and sweaty. Thankfully there were two girls from Air New Zealand (one of the sponsors of the walks) handing out water and chocolate to the gathering crowd. There must have been a good couple of hundred people gathered for the walk. Talk about a diverse  bunch. There were all ages, nationalities, genders, ethnicities etc. It was impressive to witness how popular Trey is over such a diverse and wide ranging audience of following photographers and fans. It was also as impressive to see just how much gear some people had brought with them! I decided to travel light and only brought my favourite pocket travel camera – the Sony RX 100IV to capture the action. I saw one person carrying a tripod, mono-pod a large backpack, at least two DSLR cameras with a 70-200mm and a 24-70mm lens.

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A final word from Trey as he addresses the eagerly awaiting audience before the off.

There were the usual camera brands on display from Canon and Nikon and I was surprised to see just how many Sony cameras were on show. From the small compact ones like mine to the full frame DSLR versions giving Canon and Nikon a run for their money. I saw a couple of nice Fuji’s and GoPro’s, about one Olympus, a Lomography La Sardine 35mm film camera and a number of video cameras. Accessories wise, there were lots of tripods, mono-pods, cable releases, camera bags/shoulder bags and slings (I noticed some very nice ones from Peak Design and the new models they released late last year and I’m really happy to say that I bought the 30L backpack, charcoal version and am delighted with it). I saw a lot of people were using the Peak Design Capture clips to hold their cameras. The device simply clamps to any strap such as a rucksack arm or belt. There is a quick release plate that screws onto a camera body and then into the clamp. When you need to get to your camera you simply press a quick release button to free your camera ready for action in an instant.

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Who’s taking a picture of who? I’m taking a picture of them, taking a picture of him.

Trey did an epic meet and great with the large crowd for about an hour and I managed to sneak in there to say a quick hello, press some flesh and grab a selfie for the blog.

Nineteen hundred hours and it was time for the Photo Walk. Trey jumped up onto the back of a custom built adult tricycle and with the help of a microphone and PA system addressed the eagerly awaiting audience.

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And we’re off, a merry band of happy snappers making our way around the stunning Serpentine taking pictures as we go.

He was a great presenter and possesses a fantastic voice for speaking giving us an idea of what to expect, what we should do and a bit about himself and his philosophies. Before long we were off on our walk heading north west following the edge of the Serpentine lake. It was fascinating to observe people taking pictures of all sorts of things with a huge variety of lenses and cameras. Every so often we would stop, regroup and Trey would give us a photographic tip, an observation, an insight or a story. It was a lovely walk on a fantastic evening and for two hours we rambled around the park taking pictures until dark.

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We finished our walk with a beautiful sunset.

We finished the walk shortly after nine and the people who weren’t going on to the after party said their farewells and disappeared into the night while the rest of us went on to a small pub a short distance away for the after party.

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The after party in a local pub. A great chance to meet other like minded photographers. Get to chat to Trey and hear him talk about his fantastic photographic journey so far.

I was thirsty and a tad dehydrated after my travels and all my walking so I didn’t need any encouragement to head for the bar. A pint of Guinness and a slice of pizza and my energy levels were back up to normal. Space was tight and cosy as more people arrived and the noise levels and body heat started to rise. It was a great opportunity to meet and say hello to like minded photographers and I had some great conversations with a diverse group of people. Before long Trey made his way to the front of the room beside a large TV screen to talk to us about his background, his photography style and techniques and life philosophies while showing us a selection of his images he had taken over the years.

All in all it was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Trey was a great host and came across as a genuinely caring, sharing top bloke and photographer. If you ever get a chance to meet him or attend one of his photo walks around the world I would highly recommend it.

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