Light on the way to Milford Sound and Tiananmen Square Photography

Five Days of New Tips/Tricks Videos! Day One

Each day for the next five days, I’m gonna post a new video here on the blog! :) Let me know if you have any questions… happy to answer!

I’m here with my friend Tom in the middle of Beijing. I decided to go to Tiananmen Square for the day and take photos… here’s a little of what happened. A bunch of people came up to me that had never seen a white person before; I was like a freakshow!

Daily Photo – Light on the way to Milford Sound

One of my favorite drives is from Queenstown to Milford Sound. I've made it about eight times, and I can't wait to make more!

Here's a tip for you as far as light is concerned. Some of the best days for landscape photography are those partially-cloudy days. This is because it makes the light sift in random ways across the landscape, lighting one thing while darkening the next. This can do cool stuff, as you see below, such as light up the trees while darkening the mountain behind… it's the kind of stuff that would take you ages in photoshop (or be nearly impossible!!). So, next time you are in a partially-cloudy situation, be more patient than normal and watch the light as it sways around from one thing to the next…

This photo was taken in Lumsden, btw.

Light on the way to Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3200
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length66.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Wide-Angle Tip

If you like these kinds of shots where everything seems to be pointing towards the middle, try a wide-angle lens! I first shot this a bit tighter. It was a cool shot, but then when I put on the wide-angle everything got so much more amazing! I even sometimes forget this effect, and it’s so fun to look through a wide-angle lens and see it happen!

Daily Photo – Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Just before I took this, I was hand-feeding a puffer fish! It was one of the strangest things I had ever done. First I picked up a sea urchin off the bottom and held it loosely in my hand. Then the puffer fish came over and started tearing into it! Puffer fish don't care! It was so awesome to watching him tear it apart. They have big and hard teeth, those guys… kind of freaky really. It's the first time I've ever done anything like that.

Anyway, after feeding the fish, I looked up through the water and saw these crazy clouds. I got out of the water, nabbed my camera, and shot away!

Wild clouds in Bora Bora

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Bend at The Hills

Getting that “Sunburst”

Don’t forget that you can get this kind of a sunburst if you set your camera to f/16 or higher. I find f/16 is usually good enough. You can go higher, but then you risk seeing more of the dust and junk on your sensor, which I always find annoying to fix in post.

Daily Photo – The Bend at The Hills

The Hills golf course near Arrowtown has a bunch of these quaint irrigation streams that flow around the golf course. I've never seen any other golf course with this kind of situation. The way they all bend and weave around the course are quite picturesque! It's also super-easy to take photos there too. I pretty much just walked along this thing for an hour getting a ton of different interesting photos.

The Bend at The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

The Lines of the Sahara

Using Humans in Landscape Photos

Whenever I put a human or capture a human in a photo, I am reminded of how much it adds to the sense of scale. I’m a bit hard on myself, I suppose, because I lament that I don’t think of it more often. But then I recall that I should stop all that fretting about the past. Maybe I’ll remember to do it more in the future, maybe I won’t! It doesn’t matter.

Daily Photo – The Lines of the Sahara

One of the hardest types of photos I took while in the desert were fully zoomed in at 300mm while on camelback. The motion a camel makes is incongruous with good photo-taking. I would try to time my shutters to the strange apogees of the camel sways. I even thought about riding side-saddle. I think I saw someone do that in Lawrence of Arabia (which I've seen about 10 times), so it seemed like something that could be done. But I quickly analyzed the physics of that in relation to my torso and skeletal-photo-position and thought it would only add to chaos I was trying to abate.

The Lines of the Sahara

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture16
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Isabella on a walk

Quick Shooting Tip

See this photo below? I can’t claim credit for this idea! It came from my friend Cliff Baise. But if you get down in some grasses or thin plants and shoot with a shallow DOF (low Aperture number), then you can end up with this nice-looking effect!

The Myth of Talent

Here’s a great video by Robin Griggs Wood! She made this as her intro video for www.TheArcanum.com — it’s so awesome. I hope you like it as much as I do! 

Daily Photo – Isabella on a walk

One day we went over to Jack's Point, which is just on the other side of the lake from Queenstown. It was a cool winter morning, but the grasses were blowing in the wind like Isabella's hair. She's a very sweet girl! :)

Isabella on a walk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Arrowtown in the Autumn

Composition Tricks

Here’s a little trick with composing photos. As you know, it’s usually bad form to put major things (like the sun) in the middle of the photograph. But, if you turn the camera sideways (said in a Raising Arizona voice) into portrait mode, you can suddenly center anything and it looks good! You can imagine the photo below in landscape orientation — it would not be as compelling.

Daily Photo – Arrowtown in the Autumn

Arrowtown is so lovely! There is a huge park right by the main street and the trees go crazy in the Autumn. I kind of think this photo is cheating, because you can kind of aim your camera in any direction and just take a photo!

Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Riding to the Ranch

Tip: Shooting at a low f-stop in the middle of the day

I shot this photo below with the Sony A7r and the Leica 35mm all the way at f/1.4. Whenever you shoot wide-open in the daytime, often there is too much light that gets let in. I usually go into manual mode and make the shutter speed uber-fast, like 1/8000. I let the ISO float with Auto-ISO. This way, the light level is always right and the quick shutter speed ensures a sharp photo!

Daily Photo – Riding to the Ranch

Here's a photo from my recent trip to Yellowstone. I stayed at an amazing ranch there. But, in order to get to the ranch, you either have to hike for 5 hours, ride a horse for 3 hours, or take a wagon for 1.5 hours. I chose the hiking and got an early start. While walking, some of my other friends came rumbling by on the wagon, and that's when I got this photo.

Riding to the Ranch

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Huge Lightroom Presets Giveaway!

UPDATE: Winners Chosen, but Good News, 20% off for everyone else!

Thanks again for participating in the Trey’s Lightroom Presets giveaway yesterday! We put together a special discount code of 20% off ANY of the Presets on that page that will be good for just a few days. Just use the code “SPECIAL20” at checkout and you’ll be in good shape!

List o’ Winners!

Be sure to sign up for our free Newsletter to be informed of future contests! :) Anyway, here are the winners for the giveaway! Congrates to: Sandeep Singh Thukral, Gary Waddell, Nadja K. Rutkowski, Krishna Gandikota, Michael Ng, Grace Reutzel, David Sheehan, Shae Baxter, Natasha Khalil, James McGowan, GlenGO, Jason Morton, Skyler Ratcliff, Beth Lindley Mears, Kyle Wilson, Steven Clyde, John Scherer, Barbara Penko, Tim Drummond, and Jay Dadlani

Thanks to everyone!

When I first released these Lightroom Presets over a year ago, I had no idea how popular they would be! I had this conversation with Curtis, who runs the business side, and I told him that I really didn’t think a) that many people had Lightroom or b) would even want my presets. He literally had to force me to release them… And then they really blew up and people loved them! They’re pretty extreme and a lot of different things, for sure, but people really seem to like the presets.

So anyway, I wanted to do a new giveaway!

Giveaway Details – How to Win [Update: Giveaway has ended]

10 Free Giveaways of Volumes 1 and Volumes 2 of Trey’s Lightroom Presets! Just leave a comment below and I’ll pick 10 random winners in 24 hours!

More Presets in the future?

Also let me know in the comments if you’d like to release more new packages in the future. I actually have a ton — just need to take the time to organize and package them up! :)

My Favorite Lightroom Preset Photos

Here’s a collection of some examples of what happens with my Lightroom Presets… these are all literally one-click examples! Enjoy :)

May in Akihabara

50mm fun

On this day in Akihabara, I decided to mostly use my 50mm to see if I could capture this area in a different way. I tried many different things, but the shot below is one of my favorites. I usually don’t do set-up shots like this, but I just saw that awesome background and told May to stand right there, with her feet planted on those two spots. I got far enough away so that the bokeh was not so blurry as to not make sense. Does that make sense? hehe…

Daily Photo – May in Akihabara

While in Tokyo, four of us went to explore this awesome area of Tokyo together. It was me, Mark Louie, Brian Matiash, and May Fukuyama. Our original plan was to go to one of those crazy Maid Cafes where the girls dress up like anime characters and act totally crazy. But that plan didn't exactly work out — there is a longer story there — we did indeed find a place but the line was 45 minutes and it was filled with these really lonely looking Japanese guys, and it was simply too humiliating to stand in line there with all of them, so we skipped that and went to some confusing place with a vending machine and Brian ordered “raccoon” and I know this is a run-on sentence but that is the kind of day it was… !

May in Akihabara

May in Akihabara

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1600
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

The Path in Rabat

Reflective Path Trick

The path was already nice and shiny, but here’s a good way to get it to be extra-reflective and goody-shiny in the final photo:

1) Duplicate the layer
2) Blur the new layer on top (Gaussuan around 30)
3) Set the blend mode to Overlay (you’ll see the path get all shiny-shiny!)
4) Duplicate the bottom (original) layer again and move it to the top
5) Mask through to the reflective path!

Daily Photo – The Path in Rabat

This is the very first place I stayed when I got to Rabat, Morocco. This is the interior courtyard and it was pretty in the day, and I had a feeling it would be even better in the night. Indeed it was! I like setting up these kind of shots where the path does not go down the very center, but a bit off to the side, disappearing at the Phi point.

The Path in Rabat

The Path in Rabat

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

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