Flying over Perfect Lakes

Choppy at Over-the-Top

If you ever head to Queenstown and want the ultimate chopper experience, be sure to check out Choppy at Over-the-Top. She’s a good friend and an amazing pilot. Also, since she’s a photographer, she knows how to find all the best spots!

Nonstop Critiques!

We had a really fun critique session a few days ago. We selected a lot of images from Apprentices at The Arcanum and did lots of sharing!

Daily Photo – Flying over Perfect Lakes

A chopper flight (with Choppy!) from Queenstown to Glenorchy can take you over a few hidden lakes. Here is one of them, looking amazing in this strange light one afternoon. One cool secret thing about this lake is there is a tiny little hut at the end where you can stay for the night. No one lives there, but you can just hike in, bring a little dinner with you, do a little fishing, sleep and get all cozy-cozy, then wake up and hike back out. Sounds awesome!

Flying over Perfect Lakes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Join me for a week of Photography, Yoga, Hiking, Fresh Food, and More!

Visit the Workshop page to get all the information! I’ll tell you a little about it here…

Come join me in New Zealand at this new fun workshop event here right by my home. All our other ones for 2015 are sold out, and I wanted to mix it up with a combo event like this! You guys know me… I’m quite zen (usually) and generally enjoy the meditative and creative side of photography. If that sounds like the sort of thing that might be up your chi-alley, then maybe we are simpatico! :)

It’s at this amazing yoga retreat where I have been twice called Aro-Ha, which is located about 45 minutes from my home in Queenstown on the way to Glenorchy. This particular retreat will be different than the sort of thing they normally do in that it is photography-centric.

Every day, we’ll be waking up bright and early for a morning photowalk and hike in a new and beautiful location here in the Southern Alps. We’ll come back for photo instruction and post-processing together. That post-processing party goes on for a while, only to be interrupted by daily massages (oh yes, my favorite!) and then an evening yoga class followed by more sunset photos followed by time at the spa… wow I’m getting all excited just thinking about it all! What a perfect day, and we’ll have a bunch of them back-to-back!

I wanted to try something new, and I hope you’re keen for it. Besides photography, I’m also quite into yoga and this sort of thing. Just down the road from my home in Queenstown is an amazing yoga / hiking retreat called Aro Hā. We partnered with them to bring you an awesome week of photos and fitness!

And here’s a few photos from my other visits to this amazing location…

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

The Incredible Ice Towers of Antarctica

Preparing for the next trips

I feel lucky to have spent about three weeks in Antarctica, and I’m also happy to be home! But I’ve got a few cool trips lined up here for Hong Kong, Berlin, and London in the next few weeks. I’ll be taking photos all along the way, of course… my backlog is filling up, but I’ll be sure to share as often as I can.

Daily Photo – The Incredible Ice Towers of Antarctica

These towers are like nothing I've ever seen. The sea ice comes in slowly to impact on the nearby volcanic island and these incredible shapes begin to form. It's the same forces in nature that create mountains between tectonic plates, but, in this case, the ice creates shapes that rock never could. I want to go in and crawl around every little glowing ice cave and see what they look like from the inside… Time to get the ice climbing gear out, even though that sounds a bit scary!

The Incredible Ice Towers of Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Frederick Van Johnson

What’s in Trey’s Bag?

Here’s a video that we made soon after I took this photo below. You can see more (and updated stuff!) on my Camera Equipment page! :)

Daily Photo – Frederick Van Johnson

Here's my friend Fred. We were walking through the Queenstown Gardens here in New Zealand when I took this photo. It's shot with a Leica 50mm at f/1.4 on a Sony A7r. We started talking about camera gear so much that I almost forgot to take any photos! We had a great time together this week… this was just one of them! :)

Frederick Van Johnson

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Another Sunset in French Polynesia

Using Mirrorless Cameras to view an Eclipse

I don’t know why this never occurred to me, but it seems like a fairly obvious thing to do! I mention using my Sony below to do this since you can look directly into the sun, but you’re only seeing an image on the sensor. I should try this with a powerful lens and tripod next time an eclipse rolls around!

Daily Photo – Another Sunset in French Polynesia

I swear. 95% of the sunsets in this area must look as amazing as this! It is just kind of a photography heaven I think! I've never seen such consistency. Also, since I now live up in the mountains, I never really get to see the sun dip below the horizon. I tend to be a _little_ more fascinated with it than normal. Another nice aspect of the whole thing is now that I am using mirrorless cameras, I can stare right into the setting sun without having to worry about damaging my eyes!

Another Sunset in French Polynesia

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture16
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length46.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

Enjoying the new Presets?

Every month on the first day in my Stuck In Customs Store here, we are releasing new presets at half price ($2.50 instead of $5)! So be sure to set a reminder in your calendar… Feb 1 is quickly approaching and the new presets are just getting bundled up for you now!

Daily Photo – Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

On the first day there, we went through survival training. This means we had to do everything from learn to dig out an ice cave, build a “kitchen” so we could make food and get out of the wind, set up emergency polar tents, get fuel into the tiny stove, sleep in emergency gear, and more. Here, in this photo, you can see the kitchen that we made and our little camp preparing for the survival night. And, at night at this time of year, it never gets dark… the final thing we did before going to sleep was put on eye-masks… otherwise the light did strange things to your mind…

Day 1 – Survive in Antarctica

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture22
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Wow! Antarctica!

An Amazing Trip

I’m just now getting back to reality, but I wanted to share some quick pictures and thoughts!

It all started with me being a bit nervous. Antarctica! Jeez… I felt like I was both unprepared and unworthy. But I kind of swallowed all that down and boarded a US military plane in Christchurch – a CL-130. That “L” means it has skis on the bottom for landing on the sea ice. That’s the first photo I have below… my view during the 10 hour flight to land towards the middle of Antarctica near Ross Island.

My home base there was to be New Zealand’s Scott Base, which is just an incredible place with a great team. This is an odd way to go, as 98% of people that visit Antarctica go on a ship, which usually leave from the tip of South America. The idea that I had a base on land for the whole time was really awesome, and it was from Scott Base that we launched for several unique locations all over the continent.

Daily Photo – Approaching the Glacier

And not too long after I landed, I went to camp out on the mainland of Antarctica in the Dry Valleys, where countless glaciers spill into the old land. One day, I did a hike away from camp across the wild bits and came up to the face of the Howard Glacier here. I was able to walk right up and touch it. It absolutely towered over me, silent and white and great.

I have a ton more photos and stories to share… I'll be sure to share them all here on the blog soon!

Approaching the Glacier

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture11
  • ISO64
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Doorways Through Time

Tony and the Diamond Mine

The night after I took this photo, I had a very strange set of things happen. The diamond mines are still very active around here, and I ended up in a bar with a guy named Tony that was the manager of the mine here. He wore a very stylish hat. Me, Rene, and Curtis all ended up back in his suite where the party started to get super, well, unreliable. We ended up getting the hell out of there, but not before Tony gave us his hat as a sign of gratitude and sorrow.

Remind me to tell the full story some time!

Daily Photo – Doorways Through Time

Here in the abandoned diamond mining town called Lüderitz, I found a cool old house where every room was painted differently. The color choices all went so nicely together, and they seem to go even better as time ticks along. You can see some of the sand that has come in from the sand dunes below at the bottom. All the rooms to the left are almost completely full of sand, and that is blocking a lot of the sand from getting in here.

Doorways Through Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture
  • ISO3200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Making Mistakes at Mount Cook

Night Photography

A while ago, I suggested that maybe I could create a night photography tutorial. I must confess that I have never actually done this. It would be a really awesome thing, but I’ve just been too busy I’m afraid! I know that sounds lame, but they actually take quite a long time to make. But, it’s still on my list for sure… never fear! Well, fear a little.

Daily Photo – Making Mistakes at Mount Cook

I made a variety of mistakes this evening. The only success was this photo!

I went here to Mount Cook with my friend Stu (who I happen to be with now in Antarctica). We decided to sleep in the back of the pickup, but it was so horribly uncomfortable that we decided to move to inside the truck halfway through the night. While transferring from the outside to the inside, I took a quick photo of the village here on the edge of this amazing mountain range at Mount Cook.

Making Mistakes at Mount Cook

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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