The Barn on Lake Hayes from the Trail

Best Bach in the Queenstown Arrowtown Area

If you’re coming to this area where I live and don’t want to stay in a bigger hotel (like the Hilton, I recommend, btw if you want that big new hotel experience), then I recommend you stay at this amazing secret place on Lake Hayes. It’s called The Barn on Lake Hayes, and it’s absolutely awesome. If you’ve never been to this area (coming from out of the country), then this is very centrally located and you’re right in the middle of everything even though it is wonderfully secluded.

Daily Photo – The Barn on Lake Hayes from the Trail

Here is another photo of an awesome find on Lake Hayes here beside Arrowtown and Queenstown in New Zealand. I saw this the first time I went on a run around a lake, and you can imagine my surprise when I found out it is owned by my friend! Now I can kind of come and go as I please… unless there is a guest there, of course! πŸ™‚

The Barn on Lake Hayes from the Trail

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-02-14 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture9
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Horses Alive

New Workshops 2014 in New Zealand

Be sure to check out the New Zealand 2014 Workshop schedule — there are just two planned for 2014, so come join me. We always end with a big dinner at my house — a grand event! No tux required.

Upcoming Company Trip

We have sort of a new annual tradition around here. We’re not a big company here at Stuck In Customs – quite small, really. But there is a great team of people here that help us out. This year, we’re bringing a handful of people out to visit me here in Queenstown (last year was Virgin Gorda). Among the many curious activities that we will engage in is a golf outing here at this place below. So, it’s very possible that between golf and wine that response times from our team will be a little slow — our apologies – things will get back to normal after we all get back to our own homebases… or… maybe I can just convince everyone to move here!

Daily Photo – Horses Alive

I’ve taken to taking two bags with me when I golf – my golf bag and my camera bag. Even though this is very strange, it’s okay because I’m usually alone! This golf course at The Hills in Arrowtown is crazy-beautiful. Actually, I bet there are many beautiful golf courses in New Zealand — I don’t quite have enough golf-course experience here. So, I’ll gladly be taking both bags with me to all golf courses.

Horses Alive

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-03-24 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Tips for Shooting Out of a Helicopter

How to shoot out of a helicopter

I’m not at all an expert on this, but I have taken a lot of photos out of choppers, including the one below.

The two most important things to keep in mind seem to be shutter speed and window glare. Experiment with the lighting conditions before you get into the chopper and set your camera into Aperture priority (or Manual if you wanna go mega hardcore). Get the F-Stop nice and low since everything you’ll be shooting is far away and you won’t have any focus problems. Also, get your ISO around 100, but you may need to increase that if you feel your shutter speed is dragging a little. If it is super-bright, you may not want to be at the lowest F-Stop, because then everything will be blown out.

When I was doing this shoot below, I felt like the shutter was dragging a little bit, so I kept increasing the ISO. When you are in Aperture Priority, doubling the ISO makes your shutter speed drop in half.

The last thing to keep in mind is the glare. You want to minimize this of course, and it is very hard when the chopper is always turning this way and that. Just be mindful of it and get very close to the glass to minimize the effect. You can fix some of it in post, if it is not too terrible!

Daily Photo – New Zealand with Choppy

There are more valleys and rugged mountains around here than I could ever explore. I’m starting to really believe this! I know there is a lot of cool stuff around me, and, in the beginning, I had a confidence that I would be able to explore it all — but maybe not! Whenever I get up in a helicopter and fly around, I’m reminded how vast this place is. Vast and mostly empty. It’s like scary-awesome-empty… it’s really kind of a strange feeling flying over it in a way… so remote and beautiful and empty…

New Zealand with Choppy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-08-14 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Taking the Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station

Into Old Ships?

If you’re really into ships, you may enjoy reading more about the TSS Earnslaw on this page.

Daily Photo – Taking the Earnslaw to Walter Peak

This great old steamer ship was originally commissioned in 1911. It’s a regular sight on the lake here in Queenstown, going back and forth between Queenstown and Walter Peak High Country Farm. Back in the day, it used to take gold down to Kingston. I’ve actually never been on it! This is something I’ll remedy soon. I have flown over it in a helicopter a few times, and on this particular day, I got a shot of it as it was pulling into Kingston…

Taking the Earnslaw to Walter Peak

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-08-15 00:00:00
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture5
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

#1 in the Apple Store and Now Featured!

Now Featured!

Grab it from the App Store here.Free! Yay! The Android, iPad, and Mac versions are now complete and new updates are going around now! Next up is Trip Syncing, so your personalized trips can go with you on any device, online or offline. Yes, you’ll be able to find all those amazing travel/photography spots you want to visit even without Internet. !! πŸ™‚ More Reviews welcome! Please, actually… don’t make me beg! Those 5 star reviews really help, and if you have any questions or problems, we have actual humans standing by to answer your email at [email protected]

HDR Photo

In the forests of the South Island of New Zealand

You might be interested in some of the behind-the-scenes of the photo below. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – An endless beautiful forest

And here is one of the final shots from the video above.

An endless beautiful forest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-02-05 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Conversation on Google+ Series

A unique event with Google!

The Google team contacted me to do this new kinda thing… looks like fun! Here’s the blurb before and a little video to tell you more about it. πŸ™‚

This week, the HDR Photography Community (http://goo.gl/HiXlKG) is pleased to host a Conversation on Google+ with Trey Ratcliff about the stories behind photos! This unique partnership with Google is part of the Conversations on Google+ series, which involves thought leaders hosting online educational conversations in vibrant Google+ Communities culminating in well-produced Hangouts On Air.

To participate, share your most unique photographs and the stories that inspired them in the “Trey Ratcliff Conversation” category with the #TreyConvo inside the HDR Photography community at http://goo.gl/HiXlKG . To participate, post your memorable photos and the moments that made them unique. Trey will select the most insightful and interesting photographers to join him in a Hangout On Air on 10/4 at 2 PM PST.

Daily Photo – The Fields Along the Lake in Queenstown

I’m excited for everyone to come into Queenstown for the big event! This is the first place I took Curtis, Karen, and Scott after we arrived. It’s along Jack’s Point right down by the lake. It was actually one of the first time I took my truck a little bit off road too!

The Fields Along the Lake in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-02-03 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/2500
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Amazing Auckland

For the Scholarship

I edited this photo live during the New Zealand Institute of Photographers (sounds important, doesn’t it? hehe) masterclass. I actually wanted to do the class for free, but I was told that was not good because it would make the other masters upset. Well… I thought that sounded like a silly reason, so I changed it up so that all the money raised would go to support a scholarship for students who want to join but can’t afford it.

Upcoming Events

I may have another upcoming event down on the South Island for locals… a free event. Perhaps down in Invercargill. I’ll update the blog when that happens! πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – Handheld Glacier

Here’s a handheld glacier shot I took with the NEX-7 a few weeks ago. How old is that camera now? About a year and a half old? I dunno… anyway, I can’t wait to see what this new Sony can do… Moore’s Law in Effect! Yay! πŸ™‚

Handheld Glacier

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-08-12 05:57:29
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (27mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Valleys on the Way to Milford Sound

Landscapes and Time

It’s hard for me to picture this before erosion filled in this valley and made it a flat floodplain. I know the geological history and what it theoretically looked like, but it’s so hard to picture things on a geological scale. I think people that can do that must have interesting brains! I used to have a double-major in geophysics, so I’ve always been interested in geology, but just not very good at imagining the time aspect of it…

Daily Photo – The Valleys on the Way to Milford Sound

There are approximately 4,000 places to stop on the drive from Te Anau to Milford, and this is one of them. It’s kind of a must-stop! The scene is crazy-powerful, and it changes throughout the day. I’ve noticed sometimes in the morning it is foggy and hard to see, but it’s still interesting even then. When planning car-trips in New Zealand, it’s best just to add a few extra hours into the experience!

The Valleys on the Way to Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-02-09 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length125.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Through the Valleys of New Zealand in a Chopper

Daily Photo – Over the Top

I’ve taken a few different helicopter rides, but this one below was with Choppy from Over the Top. She’s a super-cool lady and she jams serious music through the speakers while you are flying around. She even landed on top of another mountain and brought out golf balls for us to hit off the edge… fun!

Over the Top

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-01-15 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Walking down to the Lake

Free 30 minute video about these photos

I took a bunch of photos here in New Zealand – 1000 in fact! These are my favorite 36 from that grouping, and I talk through them a little bit… you’ll notice the field below in one of them! πŸ™‚

Daily Photo – Walking down to the Lake

The fields around Queenstown and Arrowtown become multicolored between any shade of yellow and green. There are even orange and red… so strange and interesting that the grass itself becomes as colorful as wildflowers.

Walking down to the Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2013-02-10 00:00:00
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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