Easter Weekend in New Zealand

How about a few Family Photos?

I don’t share these very much… but I thought you might like to see a new batch! I took the family on a little road trip to visit some glaciers near Mount Cook, and then we came back home to Queenstown for a little Easter egg hunt!

By the way, these are all using some NEW Lightroom presets. I know a lot of you have already purchased the existing Lightroom Presets (thanks!). I’ll be sending these out with the new batch as a FREE update for you as a little thank-you gift. :)

I’ll put a little caption abve each one. :)

Scarlett reaches up to a huge iceberg that just flipped over, after breaking off the Tasman Glacier near Mount Cook.

 

Isabella gets ready to take our zodiac over to the next iceberg.

 

Scarlett begins the Easter Egg hunt in while the wolves chase her.

 

Isabella runs across the fairway on the 18th hole to try to find some eggs in the bunkers.

 

Scarlett walks along the path near the forest.

 

Isabella shows her sister a new stash of eggs

 

Scarlett takes a break to check how many eggs she has found.

 

Scarlett runs full speed to the next woods to get more eggs.

Rowboat at the Still Lake

Exciting!

Thanks again for all the enthusiasm about the new video that you can sign up for now on the Landscape and Travel Photography Tutorial: New Zealand page! You can probably get the idea there that this thing is super-high quality. And, you’ll get to watch me do all kinds of hi-rez edits of many photos, including the one I am posting below today! :)

Daily Photo – Rowboat at the Still Lake

We walked around The Hills one morning, and we came to this place after the sun was beyond its “sunrise” phase. The sky was the peaceful morning infinite blue and the water was still as ice. There were many good angles to shoot across this peaceful scene, and most of us chose this view! :)

It was cool to do this and be with so many other nice photographers that were taking similar shots. I liked seeing their versions as well.

Anyway, if you end up getting the video series mentioned above, you’ll get to see me edit this photo from beginning to end! :)

The Hills

Rowboat at the Still Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-3

New Zealand Video Tutorial – Post-processing and Landscapes Galore!

It’s finally ready for pre-order!

Pop over to the new Landscape and Travel Photography Tutorial: New Zealand to sign up! Sign up now, and you get several goodies… you’ll save $20 and you’ll get to join a private video Q&A group after launch.

This is really the coolest video we’ve ever made. I think you’ll find the quality and the content to be second-to-none. Really. Just by watching this preview below you’ll get a great idea of the content. Basically, you get 2.5 hours of post processing and an additional 1.5 hours of live-action footage, following me around while I set up for photos.

And… there is the new puppy in the beginning! hehe :)

Meanwhile, in New Zealand

Get the new Newsletter New Zealand video news

Sign up below… a new video will be available soon. You’ll see it first! :)


Me at the North Korean Prison

Here’s a photo below of me at a North Korean Prison in Queenstown, New Zealand. It’s a movie set, you may recall! This photo was taken by Karen Hutton…

You’ll see a lot more crazy action from this movie set in the upcoming videos… really, this is one of the coolest sets of videos we have made – I can’t wait for you to see them!

Daily Photo – The Gardens of Queenstown

The class took a nice stroll through these gardens. I challenged people to try to get five different photos of this bridge, and this was one of mine.

The actual shot I took was much bigger, but I decided to crop down in post to focus on the water. I liked the way they all looked like brush strokes. It made me begin to understand why Monet spent so much time trying to capture the strange light that comes from water and plants.

Queenstown Gardens

The Gardens of Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length58.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Across the Little Lake at Sunset

Karen’s Vita-Mix

When Karen Hutton came to stay with us in New Zealand for about two weeks, she brought her Vita-mix. We liked it so much that we bought it from her. This was fine with Karen because, for some reason, she had three of them. Anyway, it’s a pretty cool thing… and I like it better than juicers because you get all the little bits of the veggies in there too. It even works pretty well in tricking the kids into adding more veggies into their daily regimen. If we could just somehow make them less “green”, then there’d be less ‘splainin to do.

Daily Photo – Across the Little Lake at Sunset

Here’s a little tip for shooting and getting those sun rays that burst out like that. So, you may have heard that you can set your f-stop as high as it can go… say, f/22 or something. But, you actually don’t have to go quite that high. The bad part about maxing it out is that you’ll see all the dust on your sensor and all the little bits on your lens. That takes a long time in post to clean up. Instead, try around f/16 or f/14… you can still get that nice effect without all the junk getting in the way! :)

Across the Little Lake at Sunset

Across the Little Lake at Sunset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

NPS Australia is Absolutely Awesome

NPS Australia is a model for the other NPS branches

Nikon is a confusing company. The way the NPS (Nikon Professional Services) territories have been separated by the Japanese-corporate-groupthink causes a lot of confusion. I know it’s “just the way they do things,” but that is a sorry excuse from an old-style company that refuses to change and be more like, well, Apple. The way products are sold with distributors and middlemen that create this “grey-market” is absolutely perplexing to the well-meaning customer. I never get a “grey-market” iPad. Wherever I buy an MacBook, for example, I can take it into any Apple store around the world and get it fixed.

A few months ago I wrote a blog entry called “Bad Experiernce with Nikon Professional Services“. I’ve now put an update at the top of that blog entry with this sweet “exception” about NPS Australia!

If NPS does decide to change things up, they should put the team from NPS Australia in charge of the whole shootin’-match. These guys are awesome.

Thanks to my friend Alexia Sinclair and her new husband James, they hooked me up with NPS Australia while I was there with Tom. I had a problem with my 14-24mm lens. It would not reset the aperture between shots. The NPS Australia team got the lens, fixed it, and cheerfully delivered it to me in Melbourne a few days later. This is of course exactly what I would expect from a Professional Services organization. Compare this to dozens of multi-paragraph emails and countless confusing phone calls with other NPS branches, and, well, you get the picture.

(and thanks to all the other Big Camera Companies that contacted me during this dark period in my life… but I’m still staying with Nikon for now… your Australian outfit saved the day!)

Daily Photo – Through The Mists of Milford Sound

The mornings are the best in Milford Sound, I think. I’ve been here about seven times now. Even though I had one amazing sunset, I think that the mornings tend to have better luck for photos. Note this is all anecdotal, and I’ll be more sure after I visit 100 times, which I plan to do, by the way! It’s only a few hours from my home… I really have no excuse, do I?

Through The Mists of Milford Sound New Zealand

Through The Mists of Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Forest on the road to Paradise

Comments while on the road

This week, I’m at SXSW in Austin, so it’s a bit harder for me to respond to comments on the blog. But, I still read THEM ALL. So, have no fear… when it comes to feedback and reading what you have to say, the blog is always my first stop! :) And yes, I will always try to respond as much as humanly possible… thanks! :)

Daily Photo – Forest on the road to Paradise

When you leave Glenorchy and start driving on the dirt road to Paradise, there are a few little wet forested areas that you’ll pass through. It’s worth pulling over your car and just going on a random walk. I recommend following a stream or river so you can always find your way back. Because if you get more than 100 meters from your car and you lose your way, you’ll never find your way again! The heaviness and thickness of the forest is totally confusing, and you’ll be hopelessly confused… but following a little stream is usually a good ticket to find your way back.

Forest on the road to Paradise

Forest on the road to Paradise

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Valley of Mount Cook

Aoraki Village

This photo below is very close to Aoraki Village. This is a very small place at the end of a dead-end road. This idea of a village at the end of a road that is encompassed by mountains is very interesting to me! I think it’s so cool, since most places have at least two (or more) ways in and out of the town. Anyway, once you reach the end, there are two places to eat or have a snack. One of them is the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Café and Bar, named after the famed Kiwi explorer himself! :)

Daily Photo – The Valley of Mount Cook

One of the most unexplored (but easy to explore!) areas of Mount Cook is the valley. After you pass the lake, the valley opens up into a tremendous plain. There are thousands of little bits here and there to find. This is one of many gentle streams that flows across the valley floor. I walked along this one for a few kms… getting interesting shots throughout. Plus, no one is around… so, once again, you are off on your own!

The Valley of Mount Cook

The Valley of Mount Cook

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/10
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Thanks again to everyone for the amazing New Zealand Photo Adventure!

Will we plan more?

Maybe! Sign up at the top of the Photography Workshops page to be the first to find out!

A Huge Thanks!

Above you can see everyone that joined us… and our final night together at Bendemeer Estates (also below in the daily photo!) and the Woolshed.

Besides my team of Curtis Simmons, Karen Hutton, and Scott Kublin, I’d also like to thank, in no particular order, Touch of Spice, Artisan Catering, Hilton Queenstown Hotel, Tours and Travel New Zealand, The Hills Golf Club, Milford Sound Lodge, and Southern Discoveries!

Just below is a photo of one of the fire dancers that performed for all of us one evening.

Fire Dancer in New Zealand This is a photo of one of the fire dancers that performed for all of us one evening at the New Zealand Adventure workshop!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – The Fields of the Queenstown Valley

See that cloud up there? It’s called a “Lenticular” cloud, and they seem to pop up down here every so often. I have never seen them before I moved here, but this is my first time living in a mountainous environment. Maybe you can tell me if these are common in rocky, mountainy areas!

The Fields of the Queenstown Valley Bendemeer Estates Woolshed Arrowtown

The Fields of the Queenstown Valley

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Brushing a Miniature Horse

To Share Your Own Photos with the Community

Don’t forget about the free Stuck In Customs Community on Google+ ! It’s a great place to share your photos and see other photos from regular visitors to the website here! :)

Daily Photo – Brushing a Miniature Horse

We took another trip out to Kerry & Simon Brackstone’s farm in Gibbston with the kids. My two girls, Isabella and Scarlett, love that miniature horse! They spent a very long time brushing it… apparently this is something that all little girls enjoy doing. We always hold this out as a carrot for them if they are being good, and they they can hold out a carrot for the miniature horse, and it will be a neverending circle of carrot-based incentives.

Brushing a Miniature Horse

Brushing a Miniature Horse

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (27mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, auto mode
  • Exposure Programnormal program
  • Exposure Bias

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