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 Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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

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 Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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 Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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 Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture5.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length112.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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 Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

1000 Photos, 36 keepers

1000 Photos, 36 keepers

This is a 30 min preview of the 4+ hour post-processing landscape tutorial from New Zealand. We recently had people came from all over the world to spend four days taking photos. We recorded the whole thing… watch this to see what happened! :) You can get all 4+ hours at http://store.stuckincustoms.com/tutorials

Daily Photo – Waterways in the Hills

Here’s another photo from the beautiful course at The Hills here in New Zealand. They decided to make these beautiful waterways that weave in and out of the course. They are great for photography too because they always flow very slowly, so there is a nice clean reflection. Whenever I (rarely) get a clean reflection off water, I always feel like a lucky guy!

The Hills, New Zealand

Waterways in the Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

The Mighty Trees at Glen Oaks Big Sur

Stuck On Earth in Big Sur

I was able to use Stuck On Earth to find a lot of great places in Big Sur! By the way, don’t forget that you can now get it for iPad AND Android. We are glad that so many people are enjoying it! Anyway, don’t forget that one cool feature that lets you download all the photos in a given area and add them to a new trip. This came in handy here… I just kind of vacuumed up all the good spots into a “Big Sur Trip” with a single click!

Daily Photo – The Mighty Trees at Glen Oaks Big Sur

Here’s another photo from that amazing place I stayed in Big Sur. It’s called the Glen Oaks, so be sure to take a look at this place when planning a trip to the area!

It’s fun to take photos of these huge trees. The difficult thing is getting a sense of scale. So it’s good to use things in the photo like humans or houses to give everything a sense of perspective. This trick also works with caves or anything that is impressively huge in real life.

The Mighty Trees at Glen Oaks Big Sur

The Mighty Trees at Glen Oaks Big Sur

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture3.2
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Entering the Air and Space Museum

Don’t forget about Flatbooks!

Jump over to Flatbooks.com and see some of the latest offerings there! I think you’ll find something you like! :)

Daily Photo – Entering the Air and Space Museum

This was the last shot I got with my tripod at the museum before it was so rudely removed from my person by the security staff. I still get angry about this… I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. I think I get most angry because it is so illogical. Also, I get angry because a lot of this nonsense comes from lawyers, who are busy protecting themselves from other lawyers. People like me get caught up in their little war of lawsuits…

Entering the Air and Space Museum

Entering the Air and Space Museum

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Seedy Part of Tokyo

Correcting the Fisheye Lens

I took this photo with the fisheye (see my Nikon 16mm Fisheye Review) and then did the lens correction in post. What do you think? I’m pretty happy with it. I can see it’s a little wobbly in a few places, but not too bad. One problem I do notice at 100% is there is some chromatic aberration (purple and green outlines) in the corners, but that goes away as you get more to the middle. A little CA does not bother me too much, but I know it drives some people absolutely batty.

Speaking of CA…

I noticed lately that I have a lot of chromatic aberration in my glasses! When I look at bright areas in the corners of my glasses, I can definitely see it. I found this kind of mesmerizing for a while… I do it a lot now… I think it is just scientifically interesting how it prisms out the purple and green. Maybe this is why I don’t mind a little CA in the final shot… since I actually SEE it in real life with my glasses! Or maybe I am just making a lazy excuse… I can’t decide… both probably!

Daily Photo – The Seedy Part of Tokyo

Well, it’s not that seedy. I mean, it’s not dangerous. Maybe if you stay till the wee hours of the morning things might get crazy, but I don’t think so. Despite all the houses of ill-repute, there were still a ton of people walking around… all types, all ages, and everything in between.

Tokyo Downtown Crazy

The Seedy Part of Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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