Above the Wolves

DJI Quadcopter Review

Today’s photo is from one of them, so be sure to check out the DJI Phantom Review soon!

Big Arcanum Update!

Be sure to go update your Application at The Arcanum. We now have added a few new things to help future Masters find you. I know there is a HUGE number of people waiting, so the more on the ball you are, the more like you are to be chosen from the orphanage!

Here’s a screenshot of one of the new Application pages… you can see how incomplete my own application is! I’m going to update it now :)

Trey_Ratcliff___The_Arcanum

Release Notes (Thanks Tania Court!):

Grand Library – Filters

There’s two new filters in the Grand Library that are really exciting (mainly because it means some of us won’t lose that video we were watching at 3am on Saturday morning during a impromptu cohort hangout).

My History lets you see what videos you’ve watched in descending date order

My Liked Videos lets you see videos you’ve liked easily.

Grand Library – Tags

- When viewing a video, Masters and Apprentices can now edit the descriptive tags on ALL videos. We encourage you to help us add more tags / keywords to any video you watch. It will help others to find videos in the future!
- Also when viewing a video, you can now tag yourself if you appear in it (this works for both Masters and Apprentices), the new option is located just below the video on the right.
- Masters can now tag one or more Apprentices from their cohort in videos that they submit.

To make sure you’re comfortable with having videos of yourself in the Grand Library you can now choose to hide videos you’re tagged in. Go to your Profile and the new Settings tab. There you will find the a new option for the Grand Library. If you’re shy about having your critique shared then make sure you’re tagged in the videos and then choose the “No One” option under “Who can see videos I’m tagged in”.

Other Updates

We all love to spend so much time in the Grand Library that it’s easy to forget about the rest of the stuff that goes into The Arcanum process. Not so for Curtis and his team – they’re busy keeping the rest of The Arcanum processes up-to-date. Here are some of the updates to the other processes that make The Arcanum run…

– The new Settings tab also includes an option to control who can see your City/State/Country. We do not share your general location today. If we do, it will only be used to display where Apprentices are roughly located on a map, solely for members of The Arcanum
- Updates to the Application Process and Personal profile pages were made to encourage a fully complete profile. There are also new options to better define your Learning Goals as an Apprentice, or Teaching Goals as a Potential Master.

Keep in mind that all of theses updates have come as a direct response to feedback from you so please keep the comments coming and let us know other improvements you’d like to see!

Daily Photo – Above the Wolves

Here's a DJI Quadcopter shot over the amazing wolves here at The Hills near Arrowtown. It's so cool how they were distributed in this patten… this vortex of wolves. I got to meet the sculptor when I was in Beijing most recently. It was a great honor to spend time with him and share some tea! :)

Above the Wolves

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraHero3-Black Edition
  • Camera MakeGoPro
  • Exposure Time1/390
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length2.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • 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

Amazing PhotoWalk in Denver!

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 yesterday’s giveaway on the blog (Luke will contact you shortly with download details: 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

Upcoming PhotoWalks

More PhotoWalks are loosely being planned this year to include Burning Man, New York City, San Francisco, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Berlin, and Cape Town! And maybe a few other surprise cities too…

Thanks again everyone!

I really had a great time in Denver at the amazing photowalk event there! It was great to meet everyone there. I hope you had a great time. Thanks again to Justin Balog for organizing the whole thing. Here’s a photo he took just as we got started!

10557739_744584772249829_5497474333570281248_o

The Barn at Lake Hayes between Arrowtown and Queenstown

You’ve heard me mention my friend’s amazing cottage you can rent here on Lake Hayes. It’s called The Barn at Lake Hayes and you can actually see it in this photo over on the far right!

Daily Photo – The Amazing Mirror Lake

This lake is perfectly smooth maybe only one out of ten days. One day we were flying over it with Choppy from Over The Top Helicopters, and it was mirror-glass-smooth! So amazing! I asked her to take the chopper down nice and low so we could get a clean shot. I set the camera to manual mode and amped up the shutter speed to make sure I got a clean shot. Wow, what a view! I'm glad it came out as awesome in the final photo as it looked when I was there!

The Amazing Mirror Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture9
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

The Paragliding Flight School in Queenstown

Speaking of the Flight School

Here’s a full video about me learning to fly at the place depicted below! :)

Daily Photo – The Flight School Cafe

You have to come here after having Swanny all up your backside while teaching you paragliding for the day! Be sure to tell them Trey sent you! This is an amazing place for food… breakfast or lunch. You might just see me landing there… Have fun! :)

The Flight School Cafe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

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

Happy Easter from the Ratcliff Family!

Have a great Easter!

Have a good Easter, or, at least have a lot of chocolate! :) Here’s some super-fresh photos from our Easter egg hunt here today. We go up to The Hills and Sebastian dresses up as this huge bunny. The kids chase him all over the place, over the hills, through the forest, and beyond… he throws out eggs and the kids go crazy for it!

Easter-in-queenstown (37 of 180)

Daily Photo – My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

Here's my two girls, Isabella and Scarlett. They are walking through the forest here looking for any hidden Easter eggs! The colors have just started to change down here in New Zealand, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful Autumn.

My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Misty Pond in the Morning

Soggy Feet

I think this last year has been my Soggiest Foot-Year On Record.

I do end up out taking a lot of photos as usual, but there just seems to be a massive amount of soggy ground around this area lately! It has been an extremely rainy summer, which I hear is unusual around here. I’m not enough of a local to know what is normal yet!

I’ve seen some questions too about the weather here in the summer — does it get hot? No! A good summer day is usually somewhere in the 70′s, and it rarely gets above 75. There is a ton of sun, and no one even has air conditioning… whenever it gets above 75 (which is super-rare), everyone just opens their windows!

Daily Photo – Misty Pond in the Morning

Here's another scene from Bendemeer Estates between Queenstown and Arrowtown. There are about half a dozen lakes, and the morning seems to be the best time to shoot them. The air is very very still, and as soon as the sun hits them, a little mist starts to rise then slowly drift across the surface.

Misty Pond in the Morning

Misty Pond in the Morning

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x