The Dirt Road to Paradise

More from New Zealand – Forgive me!

Normally I jump around the world and post photos from many countries out of order. But, I’ve been processing SO MANY New Zealand photos that I’ve got a giant backlog that is New Zealand-heavy! So, you’ll have to give me a few weeks to post a bunch of new work from NZ… I apologize for that because I know you are used to seeing more variety. But, there are some Really Pretty Images coming up from NZ that I am so excited to publish and share with you…. like the one below today! :)

Daily Photo – The Dirt Road to Paradise

After you pass Glenorchy, the paved road continues for a while as you approach Paradise. The paved road then turns into a dirt road. At this point, many visitors turn around, which is a shame! You can keep on rolling down this road in your rental car for quite a way. There’s even a few river crossings you can make, like Arwen on horseback. You can do it! Probably. I even see giant campervans going through here… anyway, the dirt road is in pretty good condition, so don’t let that turn you back!

Paradise New Zealand

The Dirt Road to Paradise

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length85mm (85mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Abandoned North Korean Prison in… New Zealand?!?

Want to see a video?

Our team is working on putting together a video now from our time here. I don’t know how much longer it will take, but you’ll find out first if you sign-up for my Newsletter. It’s free and pretty, and we promise not to spam you!


Daily Photo – Abandoned North Korean Prison in… New Zealand?!?

I’ve always wanted to get up to this place, but it has been virtually impossible since they closed all the roads years ago.

And yes, it’s right here in Queenstown, New Zealand, atop Deer Park Heights, a huge mountain that can be seen from pretty much everywhere in the valley. It might not look like a mountain next to the Remarkables, but it is huge. Everything in New Zealand is so epic that you lose track of the scale of things. For example, did you know that they make Cinderella’s castle in Disneyworld look bigger by using a forced perspective trick by making the upper spires much smaller than they would normally be? This is what happens with the relatively “small” mountains around here. So you’ll see Deer Park Heights and think, “Oh, I could climb that thing myself!” Well, maybe you could, but you won’t make it down by nightfall.

So, WHY, I hear you wondering, is there an abandoned North Korean prison in Queenstown? It was actually built as a movie set for a movie in the 80’s by Disney. It was called “The Rescue” — and it was horrible. The plot involved a bunch of young boys who had to rescue their dads who had gotten themselves imprisoned in North Korea. I think it skipped the theaters and went straight to airplanes, along with Miss Congeniality 4.

How was I able to get up here and take about 20 new friends? I cannot say! :)

Abandoned North Korean Prison in... Queenstown New Zealand Deer Park Heights

Abandoned North Korean Prison in… New Zealand?!?

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Two Dolphins in Love in Milford Sound

Back to Normally Scheduled Broadcasting

Now that the crazy two weeks has ended, we will begin regular broadcasts of the Trey’s Variety Hour. They appear here live on the blog every Monday night at 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET. And they’re all available to watch afterwards on YouTube.com/StuckInCustoms!

Daily Photo – Two Dolphins in Love in Milford Sound

While we took the boat out of Milford towards the Tasman Sea, a pod of bottle-nose dolphins came to visit. They turned and jumped and spiraled in a double helix, twisting endlessly like a playful cyclone.

Two Dolphins in Love in Milford Sound

Two Dolphins in Love in Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.3
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Ice Bar, Below Zero

Ice Hotels

I’ve always wanted to visit the Ice Hotels (did you know there are a few now?), and after visiting this place below, I’m even more interested. I had a list of places to visit one day, but the list was getting a little long and texty. I decided to take a few hours and re-build the list on Pinterest. I’m much happier with it now… it’s very visual and a more fun way to keep a list of places to visit. Anyway, I have a special board there you may enjoy called “Oh the places I’ll go!” (there are three Ice Hotels in there!)

4.5 Mil on Pinterest

And it looks like we just passed 4.5 million followers on Pinterest! It has officially passed Google+, which is keeping close at 4.4 million. I’m actively posting on both, so thanks again! :)

Daily Photo – The Ice Bar, Below Zero

We ran around all week preparing for the event here in Queenstown. We took a break to go visit the famous Ice Bar with Eden Brackstone. Just beforehand, he had met Karen Hutton, Scott Kublin, and Curtis Simmons on the rainy streets after a chocolate blow-out at Patagonia (none of this sounds like we are actually working does it?).

Anyway, the Ice Bar was very cool. You actually drink out out of cups made of ice, and when you are done, you get to smash them like plates at a Greek wedding.

The Ice Bar in Queenstown The Ice Bar, Below Zero New Zealand

The Ice Bar, Below Zero

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Speech at SXSW in Austin, PhotoWalk, and the view from Bendemeer Estates

“A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording”

I’m giving a featured talk at SXSW – “A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording” (links to SXSW website with more info).

The day after that is a big photowalk! See All the Event Details Here.

Bring your camera (even mobile phones are cool!) and bring your sense of adventure and discovery! We’ll walk around the streets of Austin together and grab some cool photos to share with one another. If you’ve never been to one of these events before, then this is your chance. Bring a friend or bring the kids — it’s a family-friendly event and all are welcome! :)

I’ll be giving lessons and teaching how I set up for various shots. Anyone can ask me anything at any time… sort of an in-person AMA! :)

We’ll also have many great prizes and other fun announcements. More info soon!

Previous Speech on this topic

I’m going to be doing a variation on this talk that I gave at Google Zeitgeist. Here it is below!

Daily Photo – Bendemeer Estates

This is the final place we ended up on the final night of the New Zealand Photo Adventure. Thanks again everyone that came! We’ll get a group photo up very soon so everyone can see. We took it in the woolshed at the bottom of this hill… it was really a remarkable place. I should have gotten a little video of these red-gold grasses blowing in the breeze. I think Curtis Simmons got that… I’ll ask him to put it in the comments! :)

Bendemeer Estates Queenstown New Zealand

Bendemeer Estates

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

The Church of the Good Shepherd under the Stars

EXIF Info

For you camera nerds (Like me!) here is the EXIF: ISO 5000, 16mm (prime fisheye), Nikon D800, f/2.8, 25 second exposure. Remember that you can always see this EXIF info yourself by clicking through on SmugMug then clicking the little “i” to see more.

I don’t do HDR with night shots like this… there is too much star movement… and I’m not sure it would add too much. You can still get a ton of light and color (especially in a place like this) with just the RAW file.

Daily Photo – The Church of the Good Shepherd under the Stars

This is one of The Darkest Skies in the World. You may find this snippet interesting: “A delegation from the country has successfully petitioned UNESCO for the protection of ‘sky-scapes’ as well as landscapes under their World Heritage system, in order to see the status granted to the air above Tekapo and Aoraki Mount Cook.”

If you ever get to this place, you’ll be so shocked that you can see this with the naked eye! It’s certainly worth a visit…

The Church of the Good Shepherd under the Stars

The Church of the Good Shepherd under the Stars

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO5000
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

Somewhere along the coast

Problems with the Private Stuck In Customs Clubhouse?

Many of you already know that when you purchase some of the tutorials from store here (link at very top) that you get entry to the private clubhouse. Just over a month ago we switched it to a new system on Google+. If you’re having any trouble at all, be sure to contact [email protected] to make sure you get it all worked out. Humans are standing by to help! :)

Daily Photo – Somewhere along the coast

Can someone help me identify this spot? I’m so embarrassed that I have no memory of this. Usually I tag my photos with the location, but this one is completely unknown! I know it was somewhere here in New Zealand, and I took it back in 2010 during my first road trip across the whole country… but it could be anywhere!

Coast

Somewhere along the coast

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.7
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length78mm (78mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Poems in the Moonlight in Milford Sound

The Pilgrimage begins!

The event is sold out, and we have about 20 people descending on New Zealand from all around the world. I’m so excited… We have the Photography Workshops listed on that page, and you can see we don’t have any more in the works. You can always keep an eye on that page… but if you’d like to get a video of the event, sign up below to find out first!

If you want to hear about future workshops before they’re listed here and made known to the public then sign-up for our Newsletter. It’s free and pretty, and we promise not to spam you!


Scott Kublin, Karen Hutton, and Curtis Simmons are arriving here ahead of time so we can start preparing for all the festivities! I’m mega-excited! :)

Daily Photo – Poems in the Moonlight in Milford Sound

I stayed out late… way after the sun went down. The moon was out in full force, so I was getting all sorts of interesting shots. For the briefest of moments, the moon shot through one of the clouds towards one of the mountains that holds a glacier. I grabbed it as quick as I could!

Milford Sound under moonlight

Poems in the Moonlight in Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

Mount Cook along Lake Pukaki

Store with new Gear Page!

The Stuck In Customs Store is close to coming out of beta. Thanks so far for all the testing and purchases! Everything seems to be going smoothly… and glad you are excited about all the products people have been wanting for years! The Gear Section has a few goodies that have not been fully announced yet… but they are there for you to order before the formal announcement! :)

Daily Photo – The Road to Mount Cook along Lake Pukaki

These lenticular clouds are pretty rare — but not on the south island of New Zealand! This is called the land of the long white cloud… I’m not sure of that means these lenticular clouds or not. Maybe a smart reader here on the blog can tell me!

Anyway, I do love this photo… I think it is one of my new favorites…

Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki

The Road to Mount Cook along Lake Pukaki

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length92mm (92mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Foggy Road Through The Waterfalls to Milford

Always new books over at Flatbooks.com

Thanks again for trying out so many books over at Flatbooks.com! As you know, if you ever don’t like one… you can have 100% of your money back! I think this is the best way to do it… then maybe you can try another book… and just keep going till you find one you like! :) Really, it’s no problem at all to get you a refund…we have Real Humans waiting to help you out, so there is no risk.

Daily Photo – The Foggy Road Through The Waterfalls to Milford

There is a long tunnel through a mountain upon final approach to Milford Sound. The tunnel itself is unnerving because it is downhill. I’m not used to long tunnels going downhill. Anyway, after you get out, something new always awaits you. I’ve been through the tunnel 10 times now. 3 times there were clouds, and this was one of them. The good news is that the clouds mean rain, and the rain means waterfalls!

The Foggy Road Through The Waterfalls to Milford

The Foggy Road Through The Waterfalls to Milford

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO71
  • Focal Length48mm (48mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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