The Mysterious Table and Don’t Forget about the Contest!

Don’t forget you can win a Quadcopter with a camera!

Be sure to pop on over to This Post from a few days ago and enter a comment to win this awesome thing you see to the right. I have one on the way, and I am so excited! It’s called the Phantom 2 from DJI, and it looks pretty incredible. It even has a 14 megapixel camera, which is not too shabby. I’m starting to think about some crazy photos and videos I can shoot with it!

And Speaking of Drones…

Amazon just announced they are working on some package delivery drones. They look like they’re pretty far into testing them! You can see this rather amazing video over on the right… whoa… I wonder how long before we just see drones all over the skies… probably not too long if this looks to be happening. I’ll probably order all kinds of useless stuff just so I can see the drones come over again and again!

Daily Photo – Secret Photo Day

Can anyone tell me where this amazing place is located?

I found it on a recommendation from Sir Richard Taylor (the gentleman from Weta Workshop), and he told me it was absolutely crazy inside. He was right! There are so many crazy pieces of art, every chair is unique, and, well, the list goes on and on. I think there are over forty rooms, and they are all different. This is just one of them!

The Crazy Chinese Table

Secret Photo Day

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Air Force Museum in Christchurch

Flying from China to Sydney

Here’s a little video I made that shows the view out the window while landing in Sydney and then a slideshow from some photos from China. The looking-out-the-window bit is kinda boring for some people I guess… but I always stare out the window like a little kid whenever I land anywhere! :)

Loon Recap

This photo below from the Air Force Museum was taken during my Google Loon Balloon adventure. The big unveiling was here in a huge theater. While everyone was getting set up, I was walking around taking a few photos. Anyway, in case you missed that Loon Balloon thing, here is a video below that shows a bit about it! :)

Daily Photo – The Air Force Museum in Christchurch

This is only the second airplane museum I have been to other than the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. It reminds me that I should go more often, because they are always awesome. This one had particularly cool lighting, which I’m always a sucker for! There’s also something very cool about seeing airplanes indoors — I’m not sure why that is other than just the pure novelty of it!

The Air Force Museum in Christchurch

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time10
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Flying through the Highlands

Photomatix Upgrade Policy

I know I mentioned the new Photomatix just two days ago, but I’ve been informed I was mistaken about the upgrade policy. Sorry about that! But, here, straight from them, is the latest upgrade policy:

“The upgrade to Photomatix Pro version 5 will be free of charge for customers who purchased a license of Photomatix Pro version 4.0 or higher through our website or authorised resellers (Photomatix Pro 4.0 was released on October 2010).”

The final Photomatix 5 should be out very very very soon — I am excited! I used it on the image below… and, well, most images you see on the site here!

Daily Photo – Flying through the Highlands

This is one of the first landings we made with Choppy on our latest helicopter tour. I swear — they are the most awesome things. I decided to reward myself with a few of these per year… the views you get are just amazing and I spend half the time being in awe and the other half recovering from the awe. Of course, I’m taking photos all the while!

Flying through the Highlands

Flying through the Highlands

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

The Beauty of Zion and Photomatix Betas

The New Photomatix

If you’ve already bought Photomatix (or, if not, visit the Photomatix page and use the coupon code “TREYRATCLIFF” to save 15%) then you should be trying out the new beta! It’s really awesome. I used it to make this image below from Zion National Park. I keep forgetting to go to the beta page and get the newest version. They seem to release them on a fairly regular basis. There are so many changes that it is hard for me to keep track of it all, but I do no each subsequent version gets better and better.

Multi-Language Versions of the HDR Tutorial!

And speaking of Photomatix and HDR, we’re always adding new versions… here is the latest list.

HDR Tutorial (English)
باللغة العربية HDR دورة ال
HDR Tutoriál v českém jazyce
HDR handleiding in het Nederlands
Tutoriel HDR en français
HDR-Kurs auf Deutsch
Tutorial HDR in italiano
日本語版HDRチュートリアル
Tutorial HDR em Português
Пособие по HDR по-русски
Tutorial HDR en Español
or Contact us to help with translations.

Daily Photo – The Beauty of Zion

Here’s one of the first photos I got while rolling into Zion National Park. It was my first time to ever visit the park, so I was completely transfixed and blown away. It wasn’t that I had low expectations — it’s that I had NO expectations. But it was so colorful and full of trees and little rivers and everything… it was like being inside of a painting. Sorry it took me so long, Utah! :)

The Beauty of Zion

The Beauty of Zion

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

The Wine Barrels at Gibbston Valley Winery

A great Wine Tour!

If you’re looking for a good wine tour here in the south island of New Zealand, I recommend Appellation Central Wine Tours! Even though I live here, this was still a great way to do it. Philip showed us a bunch of great wineries with a stop for an incredible lunch. I took a ton of photos that day… here is one of them below!

Daily Photo – The Wine Barrels at Gibbston Valley Winery

This is a cave that was dug into 80 meters into the side of the mountain here in Gibbston valley. It keeps the wines at a constant 12-14°C (53.6-57.2°F) without the need for any other refrigeration. Even better, these kinds of places were made for photography! I got a few different angles… they are all interesting, but thought I would post this one first.

The Wine Barrels at Gibbston Valley Winery

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time13
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Looking down on Beijing

China Next Year?

I’ve gone to China every year for the last four or five or so. But I may skip it this time. The pollution in the cities is so bad that it literally makes me not feel good towards the end of the trip. Of course when I arrive, I am so excited to go! And I keep that excitement for a long time… but then the last few days I’m just dragging… it’s too much for me… so maybe I will fill that hole with something else – maybe like just staying at home in New Zealand where there is negative pollution! :)

Daily Photo – Looking down on Beijing

Here is a view of the master-planned roadway system from the top of one of Beijing’s tallest buildings in the CBD (Central Business District). I notice something funny about the way Chinese governments name areas. They are always so literal and formally translated that there is no magic in the names. One building might be called “Tower of Office” and another would have the name “Newspaper Building”.

Looking down on Beijing

Looking down on Beijing

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length84.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Endless Skies

Teaching my little girl to ride a bike

I just did this yesterday and decided to record it with Google Glass. I wish I had this for my Ethan when I taught him about five years ago!

Your Desktop Wallpaper

I actually liked this photo so much I made it my new background, but I change it out at least a few times per week. How often do you change yours? (your wallpaper, that is)

By the way, you are of course welcome to grab any of my photos and use them as background photos. Just pop through to the SmugMug site and select Download. Enjoy! :)

Daily Photo – The Endless Skies

I’ve only taken two Disney cruises, but I’ve developed one good habit. Note it is only one. Anyway, it is getting up around 4 AM on the last day to take photos as we roll into port. I woke up extra early and took out both my cameras (the NEX 7 and 6) to collect as many photos as I could. I took a ton! In fact, I blew through an entire card and had to pop in a backup!

The Endless Skies

The Endless Skies

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Crossing the road in Roppongi

How I get light trails

I’ve taken to putting my NEX-7 into Manual mode AFTER I get my HDR sequence. Manual mode is pretty easy to get into on the NEX. After I’m in there, I just keep playing with the Aperture and the Shutter Speed until I get the length of the light trail exactly how I want it. I keep the ISO down at 100 (unless there is strange lighting) — so that keeps the noise down. It all depends on the speed of the traffic, so there is no rule of thumb. The best rule of thumb is just a lot of experimentation and then looking at the results!

If you want the light trail to be longer, just make your f-Stop a bigger number, which will allow you to increase your shutter speed without the rest of the photo getting too bright.

Daily Photo – Crossing the road in Roppongi

This area of Tokyo is great for photography, but it can be a little scary. I’ve been here about five times over five different years, and the kind of people that hang out there keep changing. There are a lot of international people, which makes it interesting… but there is always a bit of a dangerous edge there. Several years ago, every corner had these scary Nigerians who looked mega bad-ass and they would just kind of glare at you… they were involved with some sketchy clubs and whatnot… It always made me mega uncomfortable. Generally, I don’t like people glaring at me, especially when they are huge Nigerians. Call me crazy.

Crossing the road in Roppongi

Crossing the road in Roppongi

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.8
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Driving through the Desert – Destination Vegas

How to get a red road at night

Usually I light up the road at night with my headlights, but I figured out this strange trick by accident! I was parked, facing the other way, and the tail lights were illuminated because the headlights were on. There was barely any red visible on the road itself, but the long exposure ended up making everything on the ground and walls a wondrous red!

Daily Photo – Driving through the Desert – Destination Vegas

Here is another recent photo from my trip to the desert. This was a very long exposure from a beautiful road in the Valley of Fire. Those glowing lights in the far distance? Those are the lights of Las Vegas, plainly visible even though it is still 60 miles away!

Driving through the Desert - Destination Vegas Valley of Fire

Driving through the Desert – Destination Vegas

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Clubhouse at Jack’s Point in Queenstown

What is Uber?

I know some people in big US cities already know what Uber is, but I was so excited to finally use it, being an outsider…

I tried to use it a few months ago in Vancouver, but it was outlawed there! :( Instead, I had to take a taxi with my family — wait – let me modify. No, I couldn’t. I was leaving the Ferry Building with my wife and three kids, but the taxi would only let four people in the taxi! Madness. So, I walked back to the hotel while they rode. This was confirmed when I got to the Four Seasons and they said they are not allowed to put five people in a taxi. These unions drive me nuts…

And, actually, speaking of unions, when I got this Uber below, the driver asked me to sit in the front seat with him because I was being dropped off at the airport. He showed me a ticket he had just gotten from a policemen because they have made it illegal for Uber to drop off at SFO. Crazyness!

Daily Photo – The Clubhouse at Jack’s Point in Queenstown

I went with my friend Eden to shoot the supermoon one night over in Jack’s Point. I thought it was a great idea, but it turned out to be a horrible idea because the mountains are so dang high that it took forever to crest! Anyway, while we were waiting, we got lots of chances to shoot around Jack’s point, including this one of the clubhouse at the end of the lake… it’s a great restaurant — I always have wonderful food whenever I go there!

Jack's Point in Queenstown

The Clubhouse at Jack’s Point in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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