Morning Scramble in Queenstown

We’re hiring a Wizard of Web Development for The Arcanum

Come see more at http://thearcanum.com/web-development-wizard/ – maybe it’s a good fit for you? No wizard-robes required, although they are encouraged…

Appreciating Sunsets and Sunrises When I Don’t Have My Camera

Yes, I can still appreciate them, but it is a bittersweet appreciation! It’s a complex series of emotions that are in some kind of a spinning yin-yang in my mind. There’s this Brownian emotional motion that makes things all a bit weird… I don’t know if that makes sense!

Daily Photo – Morning Scramble in Queenstown

I woke up one morning while Curtis was here and there was this crazy sunrise just starting. I was still in bed (one of my favorite places on cold mornings), but I knew I had to get up. I'm usually quite incoherent after I wake up… so there were many different socks and shoes combined to get myself somewhat mobile. I scrambled around and found my tripod and camera and everything. I clumsily put on the right lens and got in position. And then I realized I had no battery. So I had to do a sprint back to my studio to get a fresh battery. That morning sprint will wake you up in a rude way, but you are certainly awake by then. Anyway, after all that mess, I got this shot. Yay! hehe…

Morning Scramble in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1.7

Looking upwards by the river

New Trick with Cameras

I figured out a new strange way to take photos with my Sony A7r — actually this will work with any camera that has a flip out screen that points at least 90 degrees upwards.

As you may have tried before you know that looking straight up with a wide angle lens often produces really interesting results. The problem is actually the “looking straight up” bit! It always hurts my neck, especially when on a tripod. So now what I do is just aim the camera straight up and walk forward behind it, normally, but I keep the screen flipped up to 90 degrees so it is right in front of my eyes. It makes it super-easy to find the shots you might normally miss!

Daily Photo – Looking upwards by the river

These trees were the first to lose their leaves this season, but I wanted to see if I could still make an interesting photo from them. That trick above helped. The colors maybe came out a bit dull initially, but I do like the way everything turned out when I added some of my Lightroom Presets to them. These are from the latest edition of the package, and I'm secretly working on a few more… will let you know!

Looking upwards by the river

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

The View from the Barn at Lake Hayes

The Barn at Lake Hayes

Don’t forget that if you come to this area here in Queenstown and Arrowtown that you should totally stay at “The Barn at Lake Hayes” — it’s just incredible there as it backs onto the shore of this majestic lake. I took this photo from there!

Daily Photo – The View from the Barn at Lake Hayes

Doesn't this view make you want to go out and do some paddle-boarding? I still haven't done it, but it looks so fun. And whenever I see people do it, they make it look so easy. Maybe it is easy! I want to try, and it's super popular around here. A lot of people even have their own paddleboards… Maybe I will borrow one and give it a whirl. It would be really cool if I could get good enough where I could take my camera out with me.

Oh, there is this one curious thing about this photo I noticed when I was done with it. It looks like there is sort of one of those glass spheres, huge, right in the middle of the photo, eh?

The View from the Barn at Lake Hayes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

High Above the Southern Alps and Tips for shooting from fast-moving vehicles

How to take photos from high-speed vehicles in the daytime

The photo below is a good example of this, seeing as it is from a helicopter! It’s best get out of Aperture Priority mode (which I contend is just fine when walkin’ around) and jump into Manual Mode. I amp up the shutter speed to at least 1/250s if not faster. This ensures there will a sharp photo, which is most important. I also drop down the F stop very low. This allows a lot of light in quickly and can get you through any dirt or spots on the window. You don’t have to worry about distant things being in-or-out of focus as long as you don’t have on some kind of a crazy 200mm+ lens.

Last, I let my ISO float (with Auto-ISO), so that I don’t have to constantly be adjusting it as the vehicle turns and there are bright bits and shadowy bits — I think it is smartest to let the computer inside the camera figure out the ISO!

Daily Photo – High Above the Southern Alps

We recently had Choppy fly us over to an amazing campsite near the Greenstone river. Along the way, we flew over these breathtaking mountains. I was taking photos like a man possessed. In addition to the tips above, I also did one other thing. I set up auto-bracketing and had it step by 1 (so it was -1, 0, and +1). I didn't do this for HDR, but just so that I would have a bit of variety in the light levels in my shots. I'm glad I did it, because sometimes the darker one is better than the 0 exposure! For this one, I set the exposure compensation down a bit, so this is actually shot at EV -0.7. It was also SUPER bright outside, so I the aperture was F/10.

High Above the Southern Alps

High Above the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture10
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

Changing Autumn Colors

Other than New England and down here, where else in the world is know for colorful and beautiful Autumns? There must be a ton of them, but I don’t hear about many of them… let us know! :)

Daily Photo – The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

I took this in the middle of the Autumn Festival here in Arrowtown, which is about 10 minutes from my home. If you're looking to come to New Zealand in the Autumn (or perhaps will join one of our workshops), then this is a highly recommended festival. It goes for the full week and is a great family event. We go every year, so maybe we'll see you down there! :)

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length250.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Way above and behind Wanaka

A great flight with Choppy!

If you ever come to the Queenstown area and want an absolutely incredible helicopter ride, be sure to contact Choppy at Over The Top. She knows all the best spots, and she’s a photographer at heart too… so she’s always thinking in those directions!

Daily Photo – Way above and behind Wanaka

Choppy told me that in the winter, people get dropped off by a helicopter here and then ski all the way to the bottom. How awesome does that sound? I guess it also sounds a bit scary… I wish I was super-good on a snowboard so that I could take all my camera stuff along… even with traveling lighter, there are still several guaranteed crashes till I get to the bottom!

Way above and behind Wanaka

Way above and behind Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Backlit Trees

When shooting in the Autumn, be sure to get lots of photos of the sun behind the trees. And if you end up doing HDR (you don’t have to), then you can even show the sun itself without things blowing out too much. Backlit leaves that are going through color changes really adds a nice X-factor I think!

Daily Photo – Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

I should get over to Queenstown Gardens more! I don't know why I don't visit more often… it's really kind of a shame! I guess, honestly, I spend so much time in front of the computer that it limits how much I am out shooting. But I also love the post-processing… ahh… well… no regrets, right? I like doing both, and I'm only one person! I do all the post-processing myself. I know some other people farm it out to others, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Anyway, when I see how pretty these gardens are in the Autumn, maybe I'll shift around some things to make it here more often!

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

The North American Circus Competition

Find out more about this Photo Contest and Competition here! I’m going to be a judge at this amazing event, and I’m really excited about it! I’ll be staying at the Four Seasons in Toronto, and maybe we can do a photowalk from there or something while I am there…

See More at http://www.circuscompetition.com/

Daily Photo – A Hobbit Hole in the Night

Here's one of the first shots of Hobbit holes at night. Everything has been freshly and delicately lit, and the entire place feels alive and mysterious! Some of the lights on the 44 holes you can't fully appreciate until you closer. From afar, they are just these mysterious little glittering jewels on the bottom of the sea.

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture4
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

From the new HDR Tutorial!

I know a lot of you have all the RAW files and the how-to video for this shot below from the new HDR Tutorial. You should share your finished images inside the Clubhouse — I’d love to see how yours turned out! :)

Night Dinner Tours in Hobbiton

They just opened this up! If you want to sign up, go to this tour page on their site.

Daily Photo – Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

There must be a few things more magical than being where the Hobbits live as night comes on, but I can't think of any right now. I took this one night after the big event with Air New Zealand and it was so amazing. I remember this pub from all the movies, and, somehow, it is even better in real life. Inside, the taps actually work as grog flows out into huge mugs. Maybe I should share a picture of that soon too!

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

New Zealand Autumn Workshop Announced for 2015

Announced here first on the blog!

We’ve only announced and planned one workshop for all of 2015 so far, and it’s going to be in the Autumn here in New Zealand! We just finished this one here, and it was absolutely amazing. The colors are just incredible. Don’t forget that Autumn here starts at the end of April, so I know it is a bit of a mind curveball!

Find out more on the New Zealand Autumn Adventure!

Daily Photo – Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

This place is just beyond belief! It's spot after spot after spot and the colors are on fire everywhere. They play so well with the blue above and the amazing quality of the light here in New Zealand. Last year I missed it because I was in China, so this was my first full proper Autumn in New Zealand and I was transfixed! You can pop over to the page above to see even more photos. And I hope you can join us for one of these events! :)

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length47.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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