Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Looking for a good chopper pilot in Queenstown?

I recommend Choppy! You can see more about her and Over the Top on their website!

Daily Photo – Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

We took a helicopter ride up and around Queenstown and tried going down a few new valleys. This spot is pretty much right over Moke Lake and that tiny lake you see there is Lake Kirkpatrick. I’ve made that drive a few times below and it’s always beautiful.

I think one very unusual thing about this place is that perfectly conical mountain that is also green. When you get that kind of shape in nature, it’s rarely green — usually some kind of a dirty brown (easier to erode). But now the vegetation will help this to keep its awesome shape a long time.

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 15, 2013 at 12:52am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Trees Behind Big Sur

New Pinterest Uploader

My friend Alexia Sinclair has released a new app for the Mac that enables you to batch upload to Pinterest… Cool! Go check out her blog to find out more!

Embarrassing moment at the Google party

You know how when you are at a party with people you don’t want to embarrass yourself? I mean, like often, this is the #1 goal of being at a party, especially if you are an introvert like me? Well here is what happened when I tried to pass some appetizers to Ron Conway and he ignored me.

All in all, this is a very strange video. The dance part is cool though! As for the dancers, they are the YouTube stars: Poreotics and Karen X. Cheng (she taught herself to dance in a year!).

Daily Photo – The Trees Behind Big Sur

There is another way to get to Big Sur that I found only because part of Highway 1 was shut down. It goes through a huge military base that is filled some very cool trees. It’s also incredibly lonely because no one ever goes that way. When I would tramp out here to get photos, I was always afraid there might be a few land mines here and there… probably not, but still, that little shadow of doubt was more than enough!

The Trees Behind Big Sur

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 26, 2013 at 5:48am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Karen Hutton in New Zealand

More Karen for you!

The upcoming photography workshop in October has Todd Sisson and Scott Kublin joining me. But the next one has Jason Law and Karen Hutton… so you might be seeing more of her if you signed up for that one! Watch out, or she’ll make you do p90X… some of the Karen’s pot-stirrers!

Daily Photo – Karen Hutton in New Zealand

Here’s Karen taking photos in a big field near my house one evening. If you saw the landscape video tutorial on the page here, then you’ll recognize her here from this scene! It was cool to have her and Scott and so many other people on the scene… just was a perfect night of photography! :)

Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton in New Zealand

Photo Information

  • Date TakenFebruary 10, 2013 at 11:24am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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The Lupins Under Wormhole Clouds

More Soundcloud Greatness

Be sure to check out BT on Soundcloud. I’m a fan of his, and I happened to send him a tweet one day while I was editing photos and listening to this. He tweeted me right back and it got meta and awesome. Anyway, check that dude out… he’s cool, like the other side of the pillow.

Daily Photo – The Lupins Under Wormhole Clouds

If anyone ever does a Google search for “The Lupins Under Wormhole Clouds” – chances are high this blog entry will turn up. I did not actually take the time to Google it myself, but I just have this general feeling…

Every now and then when you look up in NZ, you just see crazy stuff happening in the skies. It must be because the warm sea air rips over the mountains along the west coast and it makes the air and moisture do crazy things. Everything on this side of the mountain is a feast for the eyes in the sky…

The Lupins Under Wormhole Clouds

The Lupins Under Wormhole Clouds

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 5, 2012 at 11:25am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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The Train Station in Dunedin

Cruising Crazy

Do you know how much the internet on a cruise is? Oh my gosh…. it’s just offensive… Where are the Google Loon Balloons when I need them!??

Daily Photo – The Train Station in Dunedin

I’ve only spent one night in Dunedin, which is on quite far south on the South Island of New Zealand. This train station is very famous and quite beautiful. There was a crazy sunset this night, and there was no train traffic at all, so I felt pretty safe running all around the tracks and jumping up on the train cars to get direction. Actually, jumping around train cars is not very easy. It looks like it might be easy, but everything is just beyond an easy jump or an easy boost!

Dunedin Train Station

The Train Station in Dunedin

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 5, 2013 at 12:13pm
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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Old Boat by the Seashore

Customs in New Zealand

I will just complain for a moment here about Customs in New Zealand. I can’t tell you how many hours me and the team has had to spend on the phone to get stuff shipped into New Zealand. Of course, this is my first time dealing with shipping Customs… and I, regularly, weekly, literally, get stuff Stuck In Customs.

I’m constantly having to fill out forms, pay tariffs, and do all other kinds of nonsense that get in the way of the free flow of goods around the world. Of course, it’s not just New Zealand, but many countries around the world spend a lot of time slowing down commerce.

Naturally, I’m sort of a “Free to Choose” Milton Friedmaneque libertarian, who has many clever things to say about protectionism… “It protects consumers from low prices.”

Daily Photo – Old Boat by the Seashore

I was near Moeraki and taking photos at sunset. This was the only night I was there, and I was excited to eat at this legendary place I keep hearing about called “Fleur’s” — so I was extra-bummed to find out it happened to be closed on that one night in particular. What a bummer. But I walked around the back side to explore and saw this boat up by this tree…

The Old Boat

Old Boat by the Seashore

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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Updated Camera Recommendations!

Updated Camera Recommendations

Since my recent switch, I thought I should keep the whole site as consistant as possible (it’s hard with so many moving parts!) and update the camera recommendations in the Reviews section. Below is a list of cameras I recommend that should work for any skill level or budget. In addition, I have a more complete list of Camera Lens Reviews that covers all the lenses I use for my photography.

Sony NEX-3N

Good Camera: Sony NEX-3N

Priced at about $499, this Sony mirrorless camera is highly recommended if your budget is keeping you at around the $500 level.

This camera will get the job done for you, and it is an ideal entry point if you are just getting started and want to minimize the financial impact. If budget is not a concern, I suggest you jump down to the “Better” or “Best” recommendations. However, if budget is your principle concern, then no worries this Sony is the way to go! One great thing about it is that all the lenses that you get for this camera can also be used when if you decide down the road to upgrade to the Sony NEX-7 below.

Nikon D800

Better Camera: Nikon D800

Starting at $2,800 for the camera body. (don’t worry, the BEST camera, strangely, is HALF the price and six times smaller) :)

Even though I recommend the Sony NEX-7 below and use it as my main camera, I understand that we are currently in a transition period where many people like to use bigger, professional DSLRs. I used to have the Nikon D800 as my main camera, and I shot with it for over a year, so it is a system I know very well. If you are going with a big DSLR, this is the right choice! See my full Nikon D800 Review.

Best Camera: Sony NEX-7

Starting around $1,100 which includes an 18-55mm lens.

See my full Sony NEX-7 Review. I use this camera. It can be used in almost any photographic situation and is one of the best models available in this class. I use it to take photos of everything, from kids to landscapes to architecture to objects. This tiny 24 megapixel beast has a thousand other features that those clever Japanese crammed inside… see the full Sony NEX-7 Review for more information and sample photos.

Daily Photo – The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

Here’s a shot from a really great street in Beijing called “Front Gate” — it’s certainly worth a trip. I was lucky that it rained hard all morning and I really got taking photos after it stopped. When the streets are nice and wet and I am personally not getting wet – that is one of the best times!

The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

The Daytime Lights of Front Gate Street

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 28, 2013 at 12:31am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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New Workshop in New Zealand

Just announced on the blog! Want to join me In New Zealand?

Learn more about the upcoming workshop in October or other options in 2014! Learn More About the Workshop here. We’re all really excited about this here… ! :)

A Few Favorites from New Zealand

Heck, I’ll use this as an opportunity to show you some of my favorite shots from New Zealand in case you forgot what it looked like! :)

The Golden Valleys I’ve taken to going out on random drives around New Zealand. I put on music and just follow the sun around. It ducks behind and beyond mountains and valleys, so I turn this way and that, and often get out to hike around inaccessible areas. It’s the middle of the winter here, so the sun is always quite low, so we get nice, extended sunrises and sunsets. Every now and then, the sun gets into a certain angle and everything is bathed in gold…- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Long Road to New Zealand This is one of countless beautiful roads that crisscross New Zealand.  I'm afraid I've forgotten exactly where I was when I took this photo!   I know that is very lame, but I bet people around here can help me pinpoint the area.As far as the camera settings, this is the kind of shot you can get with something called "compression," a method where you use a zoom lens and zoom in quite far.  It takes images in the distance and makes them larger than life.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

What Does The Road Look Like on the Way to Mount Cook? It looks like this. :)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Secret Pond in New Zealand This amazing little place is right by my house! It’s less than a five minute drive. I put the location in HDRSpotting above… so if you click through, you can also visit this secret spot when you come here some day!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Failed Supermoon Shot at Jack’s Point

I made a big mistake when I decided to come here to get a photo of the super moon about a week ago!

I had it all planned out, but then nothing went as planned. My Big Awesome Plan was to take a photo of the super moon and the mountains and get a reflection off the lake. Well, I was so close to the Remarkables here that the moon took about four hours after moonrise to get over them! It was pitch black by then… oh well. But, while waiting, the water calmed down nicely and I took this photo. This is an area called “Jack’s Point” — sort of a private home community and golf course. That’s the clubhouse there where you can get some great food too if you are in the area!

Carmel Dinner

Failed Supermoon Shot at Jack’s Point

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 23, 2013 at 1:57am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Umbrella in the Sun

Upcoming Show

We have a very fun upcoming show (Monday, 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET) where we talk to a bunch of different authors on Flatbooks.com. I’ve asked them all to come prepared with a bunch of different tips and tricks from their respective eBooks, so it should be quite educational! :)

Daily Photo – Umbrella in the Sun

Tokyo has so many neighborhoods! There are dozens and dozens, each one like its own mini-city with its own culture and memes. This one (I’m afraid I’ve forgotten the name) is filled with an older, traditional feel. It’s not uncommon to see women come out and walk the street in traditional dress.

Walking in Japan

Umbrella in the Sun

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 16, 2013 at 8:48am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture5.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length112.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Wild Tokyo Streets and Project Loon from Google

On This Week in Tech talking about Google X Loon Balloons, Sony NEX-7, etc

I joined from Christchurch a few days ago to talk with Leo and the gang about what happened behind the scenes at the Google launch of Project Loon in New Zealand. Here’s the full article on StuckInCustoms.com about the Google Internet Balloon launch.

Daily Photo – Wild Tokyo Streets

Here’s the wild Tokyo streets not far from Roppongi. It turns out this tiny little spot is safe to stand in. I think. Well, it probably wasn’t, but those little lines gave me some sense of safety. Either way, I took all the shots and got out of here quickly!

You can see Don Quixote there on the left. It’s a very popular store in Tokyo and they have everything! They have t-shirts, shaving cream, kid toys, and adult toys. Those last two categories are quite different.

Tokyo Streets

Wild Tokyo Streets

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 11, 2013 at 6:53pm
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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