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

Pete on a hike on Sawpit Gully

Taking the Sony A7r on Hikes

I’ve taken to carrying the Sony A7r and just two lenses on these hikes. I think you can take a big DSLR too, of course, but it’s so much easier to take this light little system around! I hardly even notice it’s there… almost just a fraction of my water bottle. I’ve now probably hiked 130 to 150km carrying the Sony A7r, and it never felt like a burden even once!

Sony A7r Review

Just in case you have not seen it, be sure to check out the Sony A7r Review on the site. I’m always adding new photos there! :)

Daily Photo – Pete on a hike on Sawpit Gully

This is one of my favorite hikes / running trails in the area. It's right behind Arrowtown, and it's a tough 8km up&down trail. Walking it can take about 90 mins, and a good run can be around 50 mins. That's about my record… much of it is so steep and rocky that it's basically impossible to run up unless you are one of these crazy Kiwi-running-gods, which I am certainly not! But it is a great hike that I recommend if you are ever in the area. On this day, I went with Pete (pictured) here, and Curtis, who is off to the side resting on a rock.

Just after we were done with this hike, we went over to Mt. Difficulty for a lunch a wine tasting, which is a photo you probably remember from a previous post! :)

Pete on a hike on Sawpit Gully

Pete on a hike on Sawpit Gully

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Friendly Horses in the Field

Composition Challenge

Whenever I take photos of objects that are defined by their shapes, I do my best to position my body (head) so that the objects do not overlap one another. I want each to have its own space. So, here in today’s photo, you can see the two horses with a nice separation between their heads. But you can also imagine that if I had been about 10 steps to the right or left, the heads might have overlapped one another. It’s a little thing to notice, but one of those little things that makes for a better photo.

Daily Photo – Friendly Horses in the Field

We walked through The Hills near Arrowtown one morning and went all the way down to where Max Patte's huge horses dominate one of the fields. I like how these look wooden, but they are actually made out of iron. There was a small group of us taking photos here, and we talked a little about the composition notes above, and this is what I came up with!

Friendly Horses in the Field

Friendly Horses in the Field

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/90
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length100.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Blue Door in Arrowtown

Your favorite secret pub or bar?

I guess I’ve taken to calling them pubs because everyone uses that word here… but if you have a favorite secret haunt, please be sure to share it below! :)

Daily Photo – The Blue Door in Arrowtown

My favorite place in Arrowtown?

Yes.

Should you go there?

Absolutely!

There is not even a sign for this place… you kind of have to keep walking down tiny little streets until you see a little blue door. Go inside – you must! It's probably the best secret pub in the world… It's amazing and there is an incredible fireplace that is super-cozy. It's a little bit underground too, which makes it feel ultra-cozy.

The Blue Door in Arrowtown

The Blue Door in Arrowtown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Mystery Photo – What is it?

Vertical Monitors

I’ve taken to using my external monitor and flipping it up on it’s side so that it is vertical. It’s really cool, actually! I use my main Retina Macbook here to do my editing, but the big one on my right is used for surfing the web or doing other things. It’s handy to stack things up so high, and certain websites look really incredible in that format. It’s kind of the dimensions of a mobile phone, I guess… just a huge one!

I use a cool program for the Mac called SwitchResX to help make this possible, which I highly recommend! It’s also a cool program for doing other unique resolution-things… very handy!

Daily Photo – Mystery Photo – What is it?

I had a fun processing idea on this one. I actually goofed around with it live during a class so people could see and hear my thought process. It's now so delightfully strange that I decided to make it a Mystery Photo for you to guess! :)

mystery

Mystery Photo – What is it?

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Road Through The Hills

New Category Location

If you want to see more photos from a certain category — say today and “Arrowtown” for example, just click on the little link above, and you’ll see photos from just that category!

Daily Photo – Road Through The Hills

On Thursday nights they have a curry night here at The Hills in Arrowtown. Here in the middle of the summer, the sun doesn't actually go down until 9 or 10 PM, so there is plenty of light. I usually jump into a golf cart and roll around to try to find interesting shots! Around this time of the year, the grasses start to fold into every color from yellow to red. They wave in the breeze like a slow ocean.

Road Through The Hills

Road Through The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Peaceful morning in Bendemeer

Going Paragliding

I was invited to Paragliding tomorrow. I’ve never done this before… and sorry mom, I know you read the blog. If you see a blog entry the NEXT day, then you’ll know I made it!

I’ll be up in the air, sailing over the photo you see below.

Huge Live Show with Jeremy Cowart, Lisa Bettany, and Thomas Hawk

Join me for the huge G+ Hangout show #88 with Jeremy, Lisa, and Thomas. The topic is new photo apps and more… Check your time on the event page here or mark down Thursday, 7 PM PT, 10 PM ET. The video will be live here on the blog at that time!

We’ll start out the show with the HUGE giveaway of the $1200 Quadcopter with a 14 megapixel camera that we started last week — be sure to leave a comment at on the link above to enter.

Then, during the show, we’ll talk about Jeremy’s new app, OKDOTHIS, and other photo apps and that whole space in general. Since Lisa did Camera+, well she’s kind of an expert! We’ll also all catch up, share some new photos, and, well, just kinda hangout. And, as usual, we’ll be taking live questions! These are three great photographers, and it’s always fun just to sit around and talk about photography with people like this, so I’m mega excited.

The four of us are also starting The Arcanum together, so we may touch on that too… There are applications flying in from all over the world not only to be Apprentices, but also Masters. One guy that just applied to be a Master is Benjamin Von Wong ! He’s amazing and just one example. Perhaps during the show, his name will come up and we can show his amazing portfolio at http://www.vonwong.com/

See all event info and time here. And thanks again to Peter Giordano for being our awesome host and to Dave Veffer for being our awesome beardededed producer!

Daily Photo – A Peaceful morning in Bendemeer

We headed out into the valley between the mountains of Arrowtown and Queenstown one morning. The air was crisp and clean. There was not even the slightest breeze to move the water around, so that made a countless array of perfect mirrors all over the estates. This was one of the final photos I got before a hasty exodus.

A Peaceful morning in Bendemeer Estates

A Peaceful morning in Bendemeer

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length41.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Walking Along Arrowtown Lake

Stuck on Earth now on iPhone!

This has recently been released for the iPhone! Stuck On Earth – Yay!

What’s Cool about the App?

- It brings travel planning to Google Maps or iOS Maps (even though Google maps are way cooler hehe)
- Save your trips OFFLINE so that you can access everything when you don’t have Internet
- Photo spots are ranked based on how interesting they are
- Curated human trips by local experts like +Thomas Hawk
- Top 50 suggestions to get your mind flowing about places to visit like the best Castles on earth or the best Waterfalls
- An app that gets to know you over time based on your personality. For example, it will say different things to you the 9th time you open it if you are a “Photographer” personality type

And much much more! Now, if only those recalcitrant guys at Flickr would fix their API so we could “exclude” images with certain tags, then we could make it a lot better! We’d love to exclude geo-tagged photos that have words like “model, dog, cat, etc” so they don’t show up… those don’t help! :( But you should still see mostly good photos as long as you are zoomed into a landscape-architecture-interesting area!

Daily Photo – Walking Along Arrowtown Lake

We popped out of the bus after everyone had a delightful dinner at Amisfield to see Lake Hayes. When I say “we” — this was the group of us that came for the recent workshop. Typically, I tried to get people in the habit of taking a bunch of photos quickly, then jumping back in the vehicle to go hit another spot and chase the setting sun. It’s a bit like a sport… or speed golf! It’s a great challenge to see how many good shots from different locations you can squeeze into an afternoon and evening!

Walking Along Arrowtown Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Storm Approaches the Home Through the Valley

The Next Two Workshops

I only did two in 2013, and there are only two planned for 2014. Here’s a little (WINDY!) thing we just recorded at the last one. You’re welcome to join us for one of the next two workshops here in New Zealand!

Daily Photo – Storm Approaches the Home Through the Valley

We took the whole class from the workshop out to Bendemeer Estates to get some photos. Since it is a fairly new development, it’s pretty much wide open with huge tracts of land photograph. Just towards the end, a big storm cell started to roll through the valley towards us. These are some of my favorite photography situations, mostly because they seem so unbelievable — this period when the bright sun is shining on the scene while an evil cloud, livid with storm, is making itself known for the immediate future

 Bendemeer Estates

Storm Approaches the Home Through the Valley

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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