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Picture this: A photo pro shows you how to get the best shots of L.A. and Burning Man

Picture this: A photo pro shows you how to get the best shots of L.A. and Burning Man
Trey Ratcliff is on a 13-stop odyssey across America with free photo walks. He'll be in Los Angeles on Aug. 22. (Mary Forgione)

Trey Ratcliff wants you to take better travel photographs. That's why the pro photographer who lives in New Zealand is crisscrossing America by bus this summer and stopping in 13 cities to lead free photography walks.

Ratcliff, 44, will be snapping images as he goes and explaining his creative process as well as offering tips on how you can improve your picture taking.

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"Everyone is welcome… from beginners to advanced photographers, from mobile phones to giant chunky DSLRs," Ratcliff says on his Photo Walk website. And you could boost your skills in time to share your summer vacation photos with the Los Angeles Times Travel section (deadline is Sept. 20).

Ratcliff began his odyssey in New York on Aug. 6 and will be in Dallas on Monday, San Antonio on Tuesday, Phoenix on Friday, Los Angeles on Saturday and San Francisco on Sept. 19. On Sept. 1, he'll be stopping at Burning Man in the Las Vegas desert too. (See video above to get a sense of what the walks are like.)

However, not everything has gone smoothly.

On his photo walk in Atlanta in Wednesday the police hassled Ratcliff and his group in Centennial Olympic Park for not having a photo permit. "Shut down by the po po in Atlanta!" he writes on his blog. (He clarifies that mobile phones are OK but "professional" photos apparently require a permit.)

Those who want to go on the L.A. walk should RSVP to the event on Facebook.

The group meets at Los Angeles Plaza Park across from downtown Union Station and walks from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. You can get in on pre-party doings from 6 to 7 p.m. or join a ticketed after-party from 9 to 11 p.m. (tickets cost $75 each).

You can follow Ratcliff's travels and see real-time photos using #TreyUSA on Twitter and other social media.

And you can enter his Put Your Best Foot Forward Photo Contest. The grand prize, sponsored in part by Ritz-Carlton hotels, is a trip to New Zealand for a "photo adventure." The winner will receive round-trip airfare to Queenstown and hotel for five nights from April 18-22.

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