Low Mist in Mackenzie Country

Coming to New Zealand?

As you know, we have one or two workshops a year here in New Zealand (click on the store up there at the top), but if you are coming on your own and have never been before, here is some advice. New Zealand is big. Way bigger than you think. Many people come for 3 weeks and really spend quite a bit of time driving if they are trying to visit both the north and south island. My advice is just to stick to the south island. That is where I live, and if you are into dramatic landscapes, it honestly doesn’t get any better.

Daily Photo – Low Mist in Mackenzie Country

While I was working with the Google team, taking photos of the Loon project, I went out one evening to see this. It is very close to Tekapo, where all the Google Loon Balloons were launching from. Sometimes right before dusk there is a nice inversion layer that makes everything extra-dreamy.

Low Mist in Mackenzie Country

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/25
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length95.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Frozen Grasses

Strange Visual Phenomenon?

What is the strangest visual thing you’ve ever seen? This little scene I describe below is one of them.

Daily Photo – The Frozen Grasses

About five seconds after I took this photo below, the sun came up over a mountain and made everything start to crystallize. The sun gave every little bit a different color of the rainbow. What was even more fascinating was while walking along the path with the sun, there was a moving set of rainbow drops everywhere. It looked like a thousand sparkling diamonds… never seen anything like it!

I tried to take a photo of it, but it just didn't work out right… You kinda had to be there! That’s a terrible thing to say, I know… but maybe I’ll get better and can figure out a way to capture it next time!

The Frozen Grasses

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length33.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

The Surprise Lake on Hole 1

Speaking of Portal

Any of you fans of that game Portal? Are they going to make a new one sometime soon I hope?

Daily Photo – The Surprise Lake on Hole 1

A few weeks ago we had an amazing amount of rain in Central Otago. The day it cleared up, I went over to The Hills to take photos with my friends Maura and Cliff. We walked around all over the place and I was surprised to see these lakes that formed all over the place. I’m always a sucker for a clean reflection. It reminds me of a secret portal to the mirror-world.

The Surprise Lake on Hole 1

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2500
  • Aperture4
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2.3

The Earthmelting Truck

Grunge HDR

If you’ll notice, I haven’t been doing much grungy HDR stuff lately. I never did that much back in the day, but I did dabble in it. I could do more, I suppose, but I don’t really seek out all those abandoned kinda places. I don’t know why. I know some people really like that, and that’s cool. But I do find I end up going to pretty, beautiful places rather than rundown grungy places. I’ve never really thought about this until I wrote this paragraph, but it is an interesting thing I am noticing.

Daily Photo – The Earthmelting Truck

We recently found a new place thanks to a hot tip. This amazing truck that is being swallowed by the earth is about 30 minutes past Glenorchy on the way to Kerloch (I think I've spelled that wrong — my apologies). If you start looking along the side of the road for a dilapidated shack, then you’re on the right track. It’s just past a very tiny bridge. You can just park there and walk to the back side to get a view of this. The people that lived in that house didn't seem to mind that I was in their back yard.

The Earthmelting Truck

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Late Morning at Mitre Peak

Edited with Macphun

This photo below is one of many I have done lately with Macphun software. See more in my .

Daily Photo – Late Morning at Mitre Peak

If visiting Milford Sound, one great piece of advice is not to go all the way to the water’s edge at low tide. Some of the best shots are from the still reflection shots of the puddles that form from the retreating water. There are hundreds of these little pools. Some are clear without rocks and others have rocks. I decided to move around until I found a nice sequence of them.

Late Morning at Mitre Peak

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/10
  • Aperture18
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length44.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Another Amazing Sunset at Bendemeer

Burning Man

Here’s a new video I made from Burning Man. How did I make the animations? Check out the Animoto Review here on the site.

Seeing Nature for What it Is

Sometimes while I’m taking peaceful sunset photos like this, I feel like I can see the matrix for what it is. It’s quite meditative and creative. I think more and more people are discovering some of these secrets of the Earth through photography. Maybe you know what I mean.

Daily Photo – Another Amazing Sunset at Bendemeer

This is a new housing development area near Arrowtown and Queenstown. They have huge tracks of land (to use a Monty Python reference from yesterday) and there are hardly any houses built there yet. That makes it kind of awesome and perfect for photography. When the grasses get long in the late summer, they blow in the wind. It’s almost like you can see the wind itself while standing there.

Another Amazing Sunset at Bendemeer

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Above the Wolves

DJI Quadcopter Review

Today’s photo is from one of them, so be sure to check out the DJI Phantom Review soon!

Big Arcanum Update!

Be sure to go update your Application at The Arcanum. We now have added a few new things to help future Masters find you. I know there is a HUGE number of people waiting, so the more on the ball you are, the more like you are to be chosen from the orphanage!

Here’s a screenshot of one of the new Application pages… you can see how incomplete my own application is! I’m going to update it now :)

Trey_Ratcliff___The_Arcanum

Release Notes (Thanks Tania Court!):

Grand Library – Filters

There’s two new filters in the Grand Library that are really exciting (mainly because it means some of us won’t lose that video we were watching at 3am on Saturday morning during a impromptu cohort hangout).

My History lets you see what videos you’ve watched in descending date order

My Liked Videos lets you see videos you’ve liked easily.

Grand Library – Tags

– When viewing a video, Masters and Apprentices can now edit the descriptive tags on ALL videos. We encourage you to help us add more tags / keywords to any video you watch. It will help others to find videos in the future!
– Also when viewing a video, you can now tag yourself if you appear in it (this works for both Masters and Apprentices), the new option is located just below the video on the right.
– Masters can now tag one or more Apprentices from their cohort in videos that they submit.

To make sure you’re comfortable with having videos of yourself in the Grand Library you can now choose to hide videos you’re tagged in. Go to your Profile and the new Settings tab. There you will find the a new option for the Grand Library. If you’re shy about having your critique shared then make sure you’re tagged in the videos and then choose the “No One” option under “Who can see videos I’m tagged in”.

Other Updates

We all love to spend so much time in the Grand Library that it’s easy to forget about the rest of the stuff that goes into The Arcanum process. Not so for Curtis and his team – they’re busy keeping the rest of The Arcanum processes up-to-date. Here are some of the updates to the other processes that make The Arcanum run…

– The new Settings tab also includes an option to control who can see your City/State/Country. We do not share your general location today. If we do, it will only be used to display where Apprentices are roughly located on a map, solely for members of The Arcanum
– Updates to the Application Process and Personal profile pages were made to encourage a fully complete profile. There are also new options to better define your Learning Goals as an Apprentice, or Teaching Goals as a Potential Master.

Keep in mind that all of theses updates have come as a direct response to feedback from you so please keep the comments coming and let us know other improvements you’d like to see!

Daily Photo – Above the Wolves

Here's a DJI Quadcopter shot over the amazing wolves here at The Hills near Arrowtown. It's so cool how they were distributed in this patten… this vortex of wolves. I got to meet the sculptor when I was in Beijing most recently. It was a great honor to spend time with him and share some tea! :)

Above the Wolves

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraHero3-Black Edition
  • Camera MakeGoPro
  • Exposure Time1/390
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length2.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Isabella on a walk

Quick Shooting Tip

See this photo below? I can’t claim credit for this idea! It came from my friend Cliff Baise. But if you get down in some grasses or thin plants and shoot with a shallow DOF (low Aperture number), then you can end up with this nice-looking effect!

The Myth of Talent

Here’s a great video by Robin Griggs Wood! She made this as her intro video for www.TheArcanum.com — it’s so awesome. I hope you like it as much as I do! 

Daily Photo – Isabella on a walk

One day we went over to Jack's Point, which is just on the other side of the lake from Queenstown. It was a cool winter morning, but the grasses were blowing in the wind like Isabella's hair. She's a very sweet girl! :)

Isabella on a walk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Arrowtown in the Autumn

Composition Tricks

Here’s a little trick with composing photos. As you know, it’s usually bad form to put major things (like the sun) in the middle of the photograph. But, if you turn the camera sideways (said in a Raising Arizona voice) into portrait mode, you can suddenly center anything and it looks good! You can imagine the photo below in landscape orientation — it would not be as compelling.

Daily Photo – Arrowtown in the Autumn

Arrowtown is so lovely! There is a huge park right by the main street and the trees go crazy in the Autumn. I kind of think this photo is cheating, because you can kind of aim your camera in any direction and just take a photo!

Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

An amazing meal in Hobbiton

An Older Interview You Might Have Missed

Here is a very fun episode I did with Leo Laporte!

Daily Photo – An amazing meal in Hobbiton

If you go on the tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, be sure you go on the last one of the day and stay for this dinner. It is absolutely NOT to be missed… man it was good. I ate so so so much — it was really redonkulous. And, as you can see, the view cannot be beaten!

An amazing meal in Hobbiton

An amazing meal in Hobbiton

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x