At first glance, this photograph would leave many scratching their heads — how could a massive superyacht be dumped in the middle of skyscrapers in a concrete jungle?
Where, why, and how?
This dizzying photograph was taken by famous photographer Trey Ratcliff in Hong Kong. The 47-year-old New Zealander used a drone to fly over one of the world’s biggest cities to capture the remarkable sight.
Trey, who created the travel blog StuckInCustoms.com which has amassed more than 16 million social media followers, teased his readers by publishing the image along with this intriguing caption: “The abandoned yacht in the middle of Government housing”.
He wrote: “How wild is this scene? This is the kind of thing that gets me so excited about Drone photography! I feel like a little kid, having so much fun seeing these sorts of things like a bird.”
But eager eyes spotted that the “yacht” was actually an oddly shaped shopping centre located in Hong Kong.
The Whampoa cruise ship shopping centre was build in Whampoa Docks, one of Asia’s busiest shipyards which was bombed during World War II and then transformed into private housing in 1985.
The massive 109m-long ship houses theatres, shops, restaurants and even a small theme park.
Trey, who lives in Queenstown, New Zealand with his wife and three children but travels frequently for his work, told news.com.au of the image: “I did indeed take this with a drone.
“I’m very interested in the way things look from above, I find it mesmerising.
“Anyway, insofar as the use of artifice in your craft is noble, this is indeed shaped like a yacht, but it is in fact not a yacht. Well, at least not a seaworthy one. It’s actually a somewhat garish Chinese shopping mall.
“I like to have fun with my titles and descriptions to make people wonder more about the world.”
The self-taught photographer said there was quite a lot of planning that went into taking such a jaw dropping snap.
“I do quite a bit of drone photography and videography,” Trey said. “The biggest challenge is visualising the final shot before you take off. Since we’re land-based mammals, it’s really hard to imagine what birds see. I’m getting better and better at it.
“I’m always looking for unique sights that are both captivating and confusing. I notice that photos that are confusing are often the most interesting. It’s a counterintuitive truth in a world where all cameras are good enough to create something dreadfully literal.
“These shots do take planning. The time of day and the sun angle is very important for shots from above. You also have to take into consideration the heights of the buildings, safety precautions, and more.”
Even more impressive is the fact that Trey was born blind in one eye and had “terrible” vision in the other eye, but that didn’t hold him back and now he calls it “the gift”. What’s more, he wasn’t always a budding photographer.
“My background is computer science and math. I didn’t get my first camera until about 11 years ago, and then I fell in love with photography, quit my job, and started travelling the world.”
He list his favourite places as New Zealand, Japan and the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, United States.
His rise to fame has been far from easy.
“I started to get a lot of hate from photographers, and ignored it,” he said in a TED talk. “The reason they don’t like it is that I post-process my photos which is supposed to be the devil … Not only do I post-process my photography but I do it unapologetically and openly, I love it — it totally makes me happy.”
So he learnt to ignored the haters, which has became one of his best skills.
His top tip to travellers?
“My advice, really, is to take photos for yourself. Don’t take them to impress other people,” Trey said. “It’s the same reason for reading books. Some people read books so they can be interesting at dinner parties.
“The right kind of reading is reading so you are interesting to yourself.”