No Pants Retreat!

Grab the 2015 Presets Now!

We tried a fun experiment last year where we released new presets for Lightroom every month. Now we’ve wrapped them all up into a mega package with 120 presets for 2015!

Daily Photo – No Pants Retreat!

Here's one of the many highlights of last year… we had a rather amazing photography and yoga retreat at Aro-Ha. At the end, we took everyone up in helicopters to the top of a mountain and along some glaciers to take photos and have wine! When it came time for the group photo, we all just took off our pants… great fun haha!

No Pants Retreat!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Not a Truck Commercial

I need to Explore More!

I was sitting here thinking about how I need to go explore more of the South Island (and North Island!). There are so many things to see here. Last year I travelled a lot, so when I got back home, I’d try to stay at home with the family as much as possible. Maybe this year I’ll have more time to go out and explore beautiful New Zealand!

Daily Photo – Not a Truck Commercial

I know this looks like a sponsored post or something eh? Haha… it's not. I bought this truck a few years ago when I moved to Queenstown. It's a Volkswagen! Who knew they made trucks? It's actually pretty awesome… It's all 4WD and I take it everywhere around the south island. This scene here, and the reason I am sharing it, is a typical photo session. You can drive pretty much anywhere here then just jump out when you see a good scene!

Not a Truck Commercial

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Paragliding in Queenstown!

Learning to Paraglide

Here’s a fun video I made on Day 1 of learning to fly… I kind of combined it with getting to know my new Sony A7 a few years ago! :)

Daily Photo – Paragliding in Queenstown!

Wow, I do love to paraglide here, but I've actually given it up! I took this photo on one of my last flights from the southern alps here. I did about 15 solo flights before hanging up my chute! I actually had a few friends die in sudden air-related things… made me think that, while it is certainly one of the safest air-related sports, it really still amps up the risk level! Anyway, I had a great time while it lasted, except for the extreme momentary lapses of fear!

Paragliding in Queenstown!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Hobbiton in Evening Light

A Visit to Wild Earth Wineries

This is a great winery and place to have lunch here on the South Island! One day when I was there, I flew the quad around a bit… Here’s the result! :)

Daily Photo – Hobbiton in Evening Light

Jumping from the beautiful South Island to the North Island of New Zealand, we come back to the quaint and too-perfect Hobbiton. I was lucky enough to be there right after they installed all the lights. What could be better than this? Something so scenic and relaxing… and it's all real too. I mean, there are no Hobbits or anything… but all the plants, gardens, working mead tap in the Green Dragon Inn – everything! I want to sleep here all night I think. :)

Hobbiton in Evening Light

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length29.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.7

Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown

Photo Tip – Shooting from Planes or the Air in the Daytime

My technique for shooting from the air is pretty simple. It actually took me a while to arrive at this formula, but it always seems to work. I go into Manual mode and then force my shutter speed to be extra-fast… maybe 1/1000th of a second. This ensures there is absolutely no blur. And then I let my ISO float and auto-adjust… I’ll often get my F-Stop as low as possible too so all the dirt and smudges on the window disappear. It works like 98% of the time! And, well, like the title says, this method only works in the daytime… night is a different beast.

Daily Photo – Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown

The flight into Queenstown is maybe one of the most beautiful flights in the world. This is the Crown Range here, and you can't quite see it, but there is a road there that connects Wanaka and Queenstown. It's actually the highest road in New Zealand! It gets A LITTLE icy sometimes in the winter, and they often close it down… but when it's open, the view there is as pretty as the view from this plane window!

Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraDSC-RX100M3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture4
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.1 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Pretty Colors in Queenstown Park

Oamaru

I got a nice invite to visit an incredible looking Lodge in Oamaru called Pen-y-bryn — It turns out the owner is a fan and really into photography! Sounds like its a must-visit!

Daily Photo – Pretty Colors in Queenstown Park

I have joked before about starting a second blog where I just put up the “other” photos that I never publish. I honestly actually produce over 2,000 photos a year that are, at least I think, somewhat interesting. They're not all winners by any means, but sometimes there's a little bit of awesomeness in there! Anyway, since I only publish 365 a year here on the blog in the daily post, that means I have thousands of rejects! This is one of those “rejects” that I still kinda like. I don't know what to do with all the others… maybe I'll make a Tumblr or something that is called “Trey's Rejected Photos!”

Pretty Colors in Queenstown Park

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Hiking in Queenstown

Upcoming Workshops

Don’t forget to check out our workshops page to see stuff that may magically appear there!

Daily Photo – Hiking in Queenstown

Every day at Aro-Ha we went on a different hike. This photo is a pretty big pano taken about halfway through our trek. Who's that guy? That's Mostafa! He came all the way to New Zealand to participate in our workshop from Saudi Arabia. I really enjoyed hanging out with him and talking… some of these hikes went on for hours, so it gave us plenty of time to get to know one another!

Hiking in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.7

A Day trip to Milford Sound with the Hasselblad H5D-50c and DJI X5

Another Video!

Here’s a video from just a few days ago when part of our crew went on a road trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound. I’ve been testing out the Hasselblad H5D-50c and you can see some of my shots in this video! We also had the Inspire (see my DJI Inspire One Review here on the site) with the X5 camera. We had a lot of fun with both, as you’ll see. Anyway, enjoy the video! :)

Daily Photo – Tree in Wind

And here's one of the photos I nabbed on the way… I jumped over a fence and did a little jig through a field to get to this spot.

Tree in Wind

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture32
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length50.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Merry Christmas from The Ratcliffs!

I hope you guys are having a great holiday season… here’s a few pictures of our family decorating the tree this year at home! You might see one black & white one where Isabella is on the ground taking a photo of the tree… she’s getting her Instagram on haha! :)

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

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

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

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

A Wine Day in New Zealand!

Something New!

Hey everyone… I wanted to try something new here on the blog on occasion! If you like this idea, I’ll continue posting first here to all the loyal readers that come every day!

Anyway, I got a cool new gadget called an Osmo from DJI and I’ve been using it to record a few of my days here and there. I thought it’d be cool do do a vlogging action! Anyway, here is a day that our team spent jumping around wineries and flying the quad… we left Queenstown in the morning and didn’t get home till late! :)

Note that I have since fixed many of the sound problems by using an external mike on the Osmo… more on that and a review coming! :)

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