I could go there a hundred times and always find new shots and situations.

From Milan to Moscow, Budapest to Beijing, US photographer Trey Ratcliff has being travelling the world offering free photography masterclasses in each city. As he wraps up his tour of Asia, we chat to him about his successful 80 Stays Around The World expedition with Ritz-Carlton hotels.


The Destination That Surprised Me The Most

Budapest, Hungary! When our tour bus pulled into the city I was immediately impressed with both the architecture and the atmosphere. Not only is it beautiful and peaceful, but the people are very kind and the food is incredible. Plus, there are amazing underground Turkish baths all over the city. As opposed to many other cities, I saw no police presence – just happy people strolling this way and that. Groups of people would sit in parks and share a picnic and wine. Music everywhere… it was a beautiful place and I wonder why it took me so long to visit. 



My Favourite Shot I Have Taken So Far

I have many favorites, but the one that stands out is of government housing in Hong Kong. A local friend brought to a place I would never have found on my own. There was a light rain, so I had to be quick to take the shot before the lens got too wet. I like the photo because it is a bit confusing. Counter-intuitively, it’s often more interesting to confuse the viewer than to make everything too literal.

Hong Kong


The Destination I Would Like To Go Back To

Tokyo, Japan. Not only do I love all the parts of the city for photography, but I have an equal affinity for the Japanese culture and the food. Oh, the food, don’t get me started. I can spend many days in each little mini-city inside Tokyo like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roppongi, Golden Gai, Ginza, Asakusa, and so many more.



The Most Interesting Person That I Met

I met this old-timer about an hour outside of Chengdu, China in this old tea house. He was just hanging out, having tea, and smoking from this rather elaborate pipe. It felt like it could have been from 1,000 years ago.



The Country That Gave Me Endless Photographic Opportunities

Overall, I’d say Japan. It has a great balance of big cities like Osaka to natural places like Kyoto. I could go there a hundred times and always find new shots and situations.



The Most Challenging Place To Take Photographs

Probably Moscow. Nothing bad ever happened there and I am very happy with my photos, but I was a bit worried at the time. The U.S. government knows about my travels and they assigned two undercover Marines to shadow me the whole time just in case something went awry. Nothing did. Having said all that, I loved being in Russia and seeing all the interesting people there. It’s another place I’d love to return to and take more photos!



My Top Tip For Taking Photographs In Areas Filled With Tourists

A lot of places are very touristy, so go ahead and capture them in your shot as well. There’s nothing wrong with that. One fun challenge is to try different angles and wait for people to be in interesting positions. This photo is a good example of a very touristy place, the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt.


My Plans For 2019

I’m doing a big workshop in Africa, so that should be amazing. I also have another one coming up in Queentown, New Zealand, where I live. I look forward to travelling more around New Zealand and doing exploration here. I feel bad that I’ve now lived here for about six years and there is still so much more to see!


If you missed the walking tour, you can still gather some free photography tips and tricks from Trey Ratcliff at www.StuckInCustoms.com

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