Walking Along Arrowtown Lake

Stuck on Earth now on iPhone!

This has recently been released for the iPhone! Stuck On Earth – Yay!

What’s Cool about the App?

– It brings travel planning to Google Maps or iOS Maps (even though Google maps are way cooler hehe)
– Save your trips OFFLINE so that you can access everything when you don’t have Internet
– Photo spots are ranked based on how interesting they are
– Curated human trips by local experts like +Thomas Hawk
– Top 50 suggestions to get your mind flowing about places to visit like the best Castles on earth or the best Waterfalls
– An app that gets to know you over time based on your personality. For example, it will say different things to you the 9th time you open it if you are a “Photographer” personality type

And much much more! Now, if only those recalcitrant guys at Flickr would fix their API so we could “exclude” images with certain tags, then we could make it a lot better! We’d love to exclude geo-tagged photos that have words like “model, dog, cat, etc” so they don’t show up… those don’t help! 🙁 But you should still see mostly good photos as long as you are zoomed into a landscape-architecture-interesting area!

Daily Photo – Walking Along Arrowtown Lake

We popped out of the bus after everyone had a delightful dinner at Amisfield to see Lake Hayes. When I say “we” — this was the group of us that came for the recent workshop. Typically, I tried to get people in the habit of taking a bunch of photos quickly, then jumping back in the vehicle to go hit another spot and chase the setting sun. It’s a bit like a sport… or speed golf! It’s a great challenge to see how many good shots from different locations you can squeeze into an afternoon and evening!

Walking Along Arrowtown Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-10-31 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Flying through the Highlands

Photomatix Upgrade Policy

I know I mentioned the new Photomatix just two days ago, but I’ve been informed I was mistaken about the upgrade policy. Sorry about that! But, here, straight from them, is the latest upgrade policy:

“The upgrade to Photomatix Pro version 5 will be free of charge for customers who purchased a license of Photomatix Pro version 4.0 or higher through our website or authorised resellers (Photomatix Pro 4.0 was released on October 2010).”

The final Photomatix 5 should be out very very very soon — I am excited! I used it on the image below… and, well, most images you see on the site here!

Do you primarily use a Mac to edit your photos? If so, then check out Aurora HDR Pro! I worked with Macphun for over a year to build the ultimate HDR software!

Daily Photo – Flying through the Highlands

This is one of the first landings we made with Choppy on our latest helicopter tour. I swear — they are the most awesome things. I decided to reward myself with a few of these per year… the views you get are just amazing and I spend half the time being in awe and the other half recovering from the awe. Of course, I’m taking photos all the while!

Flying through the Highlands

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-11-05 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Storm Approaches the Home Through the Valley

The Next Two Workshops

I only did two in 2013, and there are only two planned for 2014. Here’s a little (WINDY!) thing we just recorded at the last one. You’re welcome to join us for one of the next two workshops here in New Zealand!

Daily Photo – Storm Approaches the Home Through the Valley

We took the whole class from the workshop out to Bendemeer Estates to get some photos. Since it is a fairly new development, it’s pretty much wide open with huge tracts of land photograph. Just towards the end, a big storm cell started to roll through the valley towards us. These are some of my favorite photography situations, mostly because they seem so unbelievable — this period when the bright sun is shining on the scene while an evil cloud, livid with storm, is making itself known for the immediate future

Storm Approaches the Home Through the Valley

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-11-02 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wine Barrels at Gibbston Valley Winery

A great Wine Tour!

If you’re looking for a good wine tour here in the south island of New Zealand, I recommend Appellation Central Wine Tours! Even though I live here, this was still a great way to do it. Philip showed us a bunch of great wineries with a stop for an incredible lunch. I took a ton of photos that day… here is one of them below!

Daily Photo – The Wine Barrels at Gibbston Valley Winery

This is a cave that was dug into 80 meters into the side of the mountain here in Gibbston valley. It keeps the wines at a constant 12-14°C (53.6-57.2°F) without the need for any other refrigeration. Even better, these kinds of places were made for photography! I got a few different angles… they are all interesting, but thought I would post this one first.

The Wine Barrels at Gibbston Valley Winery

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-11-07 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time13
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Coming around for a snack at The Hills

Doing a search on the New SmugMug

I’m really enjoying searching on the new SmugMug! You can see the search box I added there at the top of my portfolio. Here is a sample search from Arrowtown (for more like the photo below). Here is a sample search for mountain. And here is one for Iceland!

Daily Photo – Coming around for a snack at The Hills

Here’s one of the last holes I play sometimes before giving up on The Hills. Usually, by the time I get to this hole, I’ve realized that I’m just really having a bad day of golf and I should really just get back to the ranch instead. Admittedly, I don’t have the perseverance with golf that I do with a few other things like photography. It’s probably related to my extreme level of incompetence with golf and the very slow learning curve. I prefer things like photography, where there is a faster reward cycle in the learning curve. This is why I usually stopping playing on the golf course and then start taking photos of it for fun instead!

Coming around for a snack at The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-01-14 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length19.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Landscape Tutorial Now Available for sale on YouTube

Announcement!

YouTube has enabled “rentals” now, but we turned it on so that when you rent something, it lasts forever. You guys are the first to see this, and I look forward to your feedback. Below, I have put up the first three, although there are six in the series. You can see the whole PlayList Here. The first two are live action stuff from the field, and the rest are all about the post-processing.

Note that it is only available in 11 countries! That’s not our fault… It must have to do with legal licensing at YouTube. Oddly, it’s not available in New Zealand even though it is a New Zealand tutorial!

Landscape Photography Tutorial (New Zealand) – Part 1: Shooting Landscapes I

Landscape Photography Tutorial (New Zealand) – Part 2: Shooting Landscapes II

Landscape Photography Tutorial (NZ) – Part 3: Post Processing I

Air New Zealand Photoshoot – Sneak Preview

Visiting Middle Earth and Bilbo’s Home in Hobbitton with Air New Zealand

Here’s an official unofficial sneak peak at one of the new photos from my über secret event with Air New Zealand.

Air NZ contacted me to shoot their new ad campaign, but I told them I really have no idea what I’m doing and probably wasn’t the best choice. I did! Regular readers of the blog here know that I’ve always said “no” to client engagements. There is nothing wrong with them — I just simply choose to shoot whatever I want and own all the photos. Normally, really, I’m a travel and landscape photographer. I don’t even know what happens at client shoots for products or services or whatever. I told them this repeatedly, but they kept at it until we finally came to something that would work. Air New Zealand is famous for their crazy safety video briefings, so I had a good vibe on the whole sitch.

We have an amazing behind-the-scenes video here from the Hobbitton Movie Set for this shoot that will be available soon made by the great Bel Jones. Be sure to check back here or sign up for the newsletter to see when that is available.

A Nightlong Day

a nightlong day - trey ratcliff for airnz

In this photo, I wanted to create something magical in front of Bilbo’s home in Bag End in Hobbiton. These flights to New Zealand are long, and day blends into evening which blends into night. It’s all a blur of movies and drinking and being served and thinking about landing in New Zealand.

So, on the right are two daytime passengers plopped into the anachronistic space seat whilst reading a medieval scroll of the inflight entertainment in a nod to the contract that Bilbo had to sign. On the left, descending from the the night and the warm Hobbit hole, is a rather studly flight attendant partially clad in leather armor and +1 Gauntlets of Riesling. Between them, the night flows into the day with a glow of evening and dusklight. I drove the image to be on that veil between fantasy and reality, but just on the one side of the veil that felt right. Technically, it was composed of over 45 photos taken at different parts of the day from the exact same location. It was all fused together using HDR and some of this crazy stuff I do… you can see more in the HDR Tutorial here on the site.

There are a great many more stories and a lot more how-to, but all that will come in time here to the website. I’d also like to thank Bel Jones and Jenna Young for all the great help!

Other Controversy and Consternation

I’ll also share in the future many more stories and reactions to the whole scenario. For one thing, I showed up on the set with 20 people while wielding my tiny Sony NEX-7 (see my Sony NEX-7 Review) instead of the giant DSLR system they were expecting. What were the reactions from the ad agency, the marketing group, creative directors, etc etc? What was it to shoot like on my first client job? Would I ever do anything like it again? What happened that I would have never expected?

Happily, Air New Zealand was thrilled with all the photos I submitted. I knew they wanted me for artistic reasons, so I took the style in the direction it felt like it needed to go. They were great partners, and I felt honored be have a short time among such excellent and admirable hobbits. 🙂

Teaser for future photos

I’ll leave you with this little teaser photo below for future shots… Here is one of the flight attendants we dressed up like an elf. I took this quick photo while waiting around for make-up and costumes to get everyone ready for another scene that featured Elves and Hobbits. She is 25% Maori, which is the indigenous people of New Zealand. One awesome thing about Air New Zealand is that they use all real Flight Attendants in their ads and videos.

http://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Misc/Reviews-1/i-sqWwS4K/A

Google Science Fair highlight

Short snippet on perceptive radius

Here’s one of the questions answered from the Google Science Fair. The full video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t222tH_28M4

Daily Photo – Waterfall over the grave in Milford

This is Bowen Falls in Milford Sound, and right at the bottom is a very old grave that you can hike to. It’s not an easy hike, but you can get there if you are crafty. It’s the grave of William Ward Rathbun, and there is an old iron fence that is falling apart around it. It’s all very scenic and grave-y.

Waterfall over the grave in Milford

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-10-27 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy

More Recording Going On

We still have a film crew out following me around to make future videos. Here in New Zealand, this week in fact, we are doing several different things for future videos. We’re getting better at this, and making the turnaround time faster and the quality better. Plus, it’s all very fun! 🙂

Daily Photo – Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy

There are two paths around this beautiful area – a long one and a short one. Whenever I walk over here with my family, we take the short one, but this was actually my first time taking the long path. There were so many nice photo moments, and most of them involved the path itself. I know this is one of the five things to put into your photo to make people automatically like it more! Whenever people see a path, their Pleistocene brain just likes it because it either means there is a game trail or some sign of human habitation.

Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-02-07 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

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

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-01-15 00:00:00
  • 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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