The Mighty Glaciers of Alaska

Meet Your Neighbor!

Haha this made my kids laugh when it appeared in the local paper. So, I now live in a small town of like 30,000 people here in Queenstown. I love it, of course, but I’m just not used to the smallish-town nature of it… that is actually why I like it! So the Mountain Scene, which is the local newspaper, sent a nice guy (Paul Taylor) over to my home to interview me. I guess he found me to be “charismatic”! hehe… anyway… most people that come to the blog a lot already know most of this stuff, but thought you’d like to see and maybe read a bit more… You can download the PDF yourself to catch up on all the local news on the Mountain Scene page — get the August 8, 2013 edition.

HDR Photo

Daily Photo – The Mighty Glaciers of Alaska

Here’s another photo from our family trip to visit the fjords of Alaska. We got in pretty close to this glacier. Any closer can get a bit scarier… but it was lovely sitting in this spot, watching the ice float around in a smooth brownian motion…

The Mighty Glaciers of Alaska

The Mighty Glaciers of Alaska

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (27mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Stuck On Earth Mac Now Avail and The Secret Underground Caves

Stuck On Earth for the Mac Now Available!

I wanted to announce this first here on the blog!

The app is FREE, so be sure to go grab it from the Mac App Store, and put in a good review for us, if I can ask you so kindly ! :)

There is also a new version of the Android and iPad versions available as well. Thanks again, and we’re continuing to update these on all fronts. Below these two screenshots are some of the cool new features for the Mac version.

StuckOnEarthMac_and_Applications

StuckOnEarthMac 2

Above: Try the DOWNLOAD ALL button in the lower left to grab all the images from the window and turn them into a new trip.

- In the background, we download all the images so that you can quickly cycle through all the images in a given area when looking at Featured Photos (the main view)

- Stretch your window as wide as you want, even 10,000+ pixels across multiple screens!

- Double click (or use two fingers up and down) to zoom in and out of the map

- Swap the view around from Satellite to Standard to Hybrid to get another view

- Start building your trips NOW for submissions for the Editor’s Pick! See below.

- Need Trip-Ideas? Easy! Just click on the HOME and go to the Featured Lists to see things like Top 50 Castles on Earth or Top 50 Secret Spots in New York City.

- Want to change your “Personality” in the app? Go to the Settings on the Home Screen (the little gear icon) or Click on the big Stuck On Earth logo in the upper right.

- Submit your trip for an Editor’s Pick! Note that we actually prefer the trip that you put together not to be your own photos so there is a better selection for other people visiting your city or a favorite spot… You can start building the trips now for submission! :)

Daily Photo – The Secret Underground Caves

Wow, what a place! It’s been a long time since I’ve ever been so transfixed by a find. I’m gonna get this exact location into Stuck On Earth very soon, but it is in an unmarked place in the valley of fire. I spent ages looking for it. I’m currently on the road and will get all the info to you ASAP!

The Secret Underground Caves

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Photomatix 5 Preview!

New Photomatix soooooon???

I wanted to announce this first on the blog since it is so cool and I was excited!

It’s not available yet – I got one early since I am in the private beta. I asked if it was okay to share a few early things (I’m not into spilling secrets), and they said it was cool — the public beta will be very soon, so no need to contact Photomatix!

I assume you know that Photomatix is a common tool I use in processing my photos. If you’ve never heard of it and want to try it, you can get it cheaper over at the Photomatix page with the coupon of TREYRATCLIFF. I also have more about it over on the HDR Tutorial here on the site.

The new Photomatix 5 will have some awesome stuff that is pretty cool. For one, the auto-align algorithm is continuing to improve. There is even an added option (as you can see below) for images that are taken on tripods. I can attest that not all images on tripods are necessarily aligned, so this is a cool tweak to the algorithm which itself has made tremendous strides even in recent point releases after Photomatix 4.

Regarding the Upgrade policy (many questions about this — this is from their website):

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).

One of the other many new features is a new algorithm called Exposure/Fusion-Realistic which looks promising. That’s all I’ll share for now, but I’ll be sure to update the reviews and everything when it is ready!

HDR Photo

HDR Photo

Daily Photo – Frolicking Horses in Iceland

Here’s one of the best situations to use Photomatix — when you are shooting a landscape scene with a lot of different light levels. In this case, it does not get much more extreme than staring right into the sun while shooting these lovely horses on a farm in Iceland.

iceland horses

Frolicking Horses in Iceland

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.7
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Amazing Auckland

For the Scholarship

I edited this photo live during the New Zealand Institute of Photographers (sounds important, doesn’t it? hehe) masterclass. I actually wanted to do the class for free, but I was told that was not good because it would make the other masters upset. Well… I thought that sounded like a silly reason, so I changed it up so that all the money raised would go to support a scholarship for students who want to join but can’t afford it.

Upcoming Events

I may have another upcoming event down on the South Island for locals… a free event. Perhaps down in Invercargill. I’ll update the blog when that happens! :)

Daily Photo – Amazing Auckland

Wow I had a great time in Auckland! I did not have a car and was booked pretty much solid with meetings or speaking engagements, so I did not get to shoot as much as I wanted. But, I did get a chance to take this photo one evening during one of the NZIPP parties. I excused myself (I was the only one at the party carrying a tripod and huge camera!) — so then I went out to get the shot… listen to music… then dropped off my camera then came back!

Amazing Auckland

Amazing Auckland

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (27mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Clouds Pulled Like Taffy

Using the NEX-7 Handheld

After using the NEX-7 during the daytime countless times off the edge of the boat, I’m now less tripod-centric for daytime shots. I don’t shoot a lot during the day, but now when I do, I’m going to not worry so much about whether or not I have a tripod. Auto-align is so good now in Photomatix… it makes me so happy. I still use a tripod a lot in low-light conditions, but it was great to shoot a bunch from the ship so I could become more comfortable with this camera in these conditions.

Daily Photo – Clouds Pulled Like Taffy

I stood on the edge of the ship as we weaved in and out of the great Alaskan fjords. This is my first time ever sailing through fjords like this (other than just one fjord in New Zealand), so it was really cool to see not only the landscape, but how the steep mountains moved and pulled the clouds into different shapes.

Clouds Pulled Like Taffy

Clouds Pulled Like Taffy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Fog Across Central Otago

The Galaxy S4 Google Edition

I recently bought this phone and I really love it. Whenever people get an Android phone, I always recommend the pure Google edition because it is generally better. It gets updates right away to the software and it doesn’t have the strange UI skin that so many manufacturers annoyingly put on top of Android.

Daily Photo – Across Central Otago

One evening I was in Tekapo and considering waiting on the sunset there. I decided to drive to Pukaki to check it out, but I stopped halfway when I saw this aqua fog roll in across the fields. I ended up spending my time in this field all the way through the darkness. The fog was very deceptive because it seemed like it was moving slowly, but it did change form and shape quite a bit.

Across Central Otago

Across Central Otago

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length120.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The City Blocks

YouTube Playlists

I was wondering if you use YouTube Playlists in your own life? I mean, even if you don’t make videos yourself, do you use it to keep track of funny or helpful videos? I have a few playlists on YouTube. Some are of my own stuff, but most are things from other people… funny videos and whatnot that you might enjoy. :)

Daily Photo – The City Blocks

While I was up on top of the few buildings in Beijing, I made special care to use my zoom lenses as well. It turned out the be a lot of fun to zoom in and find cool things that were getting lost in the wide angle. This building you see here is part of the strange overhang part — this place is known as the infamous “metal underpants.”

The City Blocks

The City Blocks

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length177.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

In the Backstreets

HDR Spotting

I’m glad so many people are enjoying HDR Spotting — it’s been a labor of love for the team, so I am honored you are choosing to share some of your images on there. It’s free to join of course… and if you choose to get the “Pro” option on there, well then you’ll be able to do some other cool things! :)

Daily Photo – In the Backstreets

I like how in the backstreets of Beijing people just kinda hang out and sit around, relaxing and thinking. I guess you don’t see that too much more nowadays. They all make for good photo subjects too. No one seems to mind, even though they may be a bit confused as to why you are taking a photo! I usually resolve the confusion by walking over to them after and showing them the photo… it makes them happy and we have a nice little interchange! :)

In the backstreets

In the Backstreets

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-5R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length136.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Another Ruined Church in Christchurch

Tripods in all the wrong places

There was a 7-foot fence all around the tower. So, it was kind of fun to take tripod, open it up, and then use IT to straddle the fence rather than myself. Also, thanks to the articulating screen, I was able to aim it downwards so I could actually see what was going on. I think this is the only time I’ve ever aimed that screen downwards! :)

Daily Photo – Another Ruined Church in Christchurch

Walking around the streets of Christchurch at night was so creepy! It was cool, because I felt totally safe, but still…so strange. There are ruined buildings everywhere and hardly anyone is around. You do absolutely feel like you are on the set of a zombie movie!

I look forward to going back and getting more photos. There’s still plenty of life in the city — many pockets of lively and interesting activity, made even more lively by the weirdness of the whole scene.

Another Ruined Church in Christchurch

Another Ruined Church 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

The prismbleed sunset

Tablets… Your thoughts?

I’m seeing a lot of reports of the Google-Android tablets really becoming a lot more popular. I do have one of the new Nexus 7′s — they are truly great. But the rest of the family still has iPads… so I am kind of on the fence right now. If you use a lot of google services and use the major apps, then the Nexus is the way to go. One thing I still like about the iPads is for the kids… there seem to be more/better apps on the iPad, but I think that advantage won’t last long. What do you think?

Daily Photo – The prismbleed sunset

Wow we got some great sunsets during those late Alaskan nights! When I looked out across the sea, there were so many kinds and temperatures of moisture, so that must have contributed… there was the cold ocean, warm mists, rolling fogs, low and high clouds, plus a mixture of a lot of moisture in the atmosphere. All together, it made for a great cocktail of prisms for the light.

Colorful Sunset

The prismbleed sunset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length117.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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