Through the Valleys of New Zealand in a Chopper

Over the Top

I’ve taken a few different helicopter rides, but this one below was with Choppy from Over the Top. She’s a super-cool lady and she jams serious music through the speakers while you are flying around. She even landed on top of another mountain and brought out golf balls for us to hit off the edge… fun!

Through The Valleys Of New Zealand In A Chopper

Daily Photo – Over the Top

I’ve taken a few different helicopter rides, but this one below was with Choppy from Over the Top. She’s a super-cool lady and she jams serious music through the speakers while you are flying around. She even landed on top of another mountain and brought out golf balls for us to hit off the edge… fun!

Over the Top

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 15, 2013 at 12:52am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

View Comments

Walking down to the Lake

Free 30 minute video about these photos

I took a bunch of photos here in New Zealand – 1000 in fact! These are my favorite 36 from that grouping, and I talk through them a little bit… you’ll notice the field below in one of them! :)

Daily Photo – Walking down to the Lake

The fields around Queenstown and Arrowtown become multicolored between any shade of yellow and green. There are even orange and red… so strange and interesting that the grass itself becomes as colorful as wildflowers.

Walking down to the Lake

Walking down to the Lake

Photo Information

  • Date TakenFebruary 10, 2013 at 11:36am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

View Comments

The Barn at Lake Hayes

Great Rental Property between Arrowtown and Queenstown

It turns out that my friend (and neighbor!) here in New Zealand inherited this amazing place and has recently converted it into an amazing rental property. You can see more at The Barn at Lake Hayes website.

I offered to go take photos of the inside and outside for him so he’d have some pretty shots for the website. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out… maybe I’ll go over there for some more parties and get a chance to get more photos at sunset before things get too crazy…hehe. The last party we had over there was catered by an amazing sushi chef here in town… I’ve never seen people actually drink one of those huge bottles of sake — I thought they were For Display Purposes Only.

In case you don’t know (most people not from here do not know) — Queenstown and Arrowtown are only about 20 minutes apart. In between them is this beautiful lake called Lake Hayes. So, if you’re looking for a unique, secret little spot nestled away, then this is a great one for you! :)

Daily Photo – The Barn at Lake Hayes

I had jogged by this place many times before I figured out that my friend actually owns it! Whenever I run in a new place, I’m also kind of scouting for future photo-shoots… looking for locations and cool scenes and whatnot. This one certainly leapt out at me, so I was pleased to find out that taking a photo of it would be in my immediate future!

The Barn at Lake Hayes

The Barn at Lake Hayes

Photo Information

  • Date TakenFebruary 14, 2013 at 10:44am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture10
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

View Comments

Alone on 18

Speaking of golf…

Someone told me a stat that only 20% of people can break 100 if you are honestly keeping score. Do you think that is true? I’ve been poking around for that stat… maybe you know the one I am talking about… or know where that statistical analysis is.

Daily Photo – Alone on 18

I always have weird and surreal experiences on this golf course. Firstly, of course I take my camera ll over the place along with my clubs. There is rarely anyone else on the course. Some days they have tournaments and it fills up… but it’s mostly just empty and surreal. I also listen to strange music while I roll around, taking photos, and the stopping occasionally for some golf. When I finished here on 18 one evening, I was actually the last person even around… even that awesome clubhouse there in the distance was empty…

Alone on 18

Alone on 18

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 24, 2013 at 10:27am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

View Comments

Little Stream Through The Hills

Running out of days for Spring (In New Zealand!) discount

This is the early warning on final spots at a cheaper price on the upcoming October photography workshop here in New Zealand. That link will take you to a page with a lot more information and a video that shows more about the event. And if you already registered, well then I look forward to spending a lot of time with you here in my backyard! :)

Daily Photo – Little Stream Through The Hills

This lovely little stream curves a hundred different ways through a thousand different compositions here between Queenstown and Arrowtown. I’ve walked along only a small part of it, and I look forward to doing it a lot more. It’s here on The Hills golf course, and I’ve lost a total of two golfballs in here so far. More soon to come.

The Hills in New Zealand

Little Stream Through The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 14, 2013 at 10:21pm
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length22.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

View Comments

Karen Hutton in New Zealand

More Karen for you!

The upcoming photography workshop in October has Todd Sisson and Scott Kublin joining me. But the next one has Jason Law and Karen Hutton… so you might be seeing more of her if you signed up for that one! Watch out, or she’ll make you do p90X… some of the Karen’s pot-stirrers!

Daily Photo – Karen Hutton in New Zealand

Here’s Karen taking photos in a big field near my house one evening. If you saw the landscape video tutorial on the page here, then you’ll recognize her here from this scene! It was cool to have her and Scott and so many other people on the scene… just was a perfect night of photography! :)

Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton in New Zealand

Photo Information

  • Date TakenFebruary 10, 2013 at 11:24am
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

View Comments

Golden Tree Path

Google Science Fair

Here’s the Google Science Fair video – The Science of Photography – in case you missed it. This is very introductory… and best positioned for kids, so you may find it a bit elementary if you are more advanced! But, if you have kids that are interested in how cameras work, then this will be a good primer! :)

Daily Photo – Golden Tree Path

When I took this photo, I was very happy!

In many ways, it’s the kind of place you can easily walk through and not notice because it was on the way to somewhere else. I was trying to walk down to Lake Hayes via a new route form my house, and I saw this on the way. I feel like I’m always alert, but then sometimes I’m looking at a scene like this and I think, “Hey, I should take a photo!” Anyway, I need to get better at this sort of thing… and take more photos on the way to the place rather than the place itself.

Golden Tree

Golden Tree Path

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 3, 2013 at 5:55pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

View Comments

New Workshop in New Zealand

Just announced on the blog! Want to join me In New Zealand?

Learn more about the upcoming workshop in October or other options in 2014! Learn More About the Workshop here. We’re all really excited about this here… ! :)

A Few Favorites from New Zealand

Heck, I’ll use this as an opportunity to show you some of my favorite shots from New Zealand in case you forgot what it looked like! :)

The Golden Valleys I’ve taken to going out on random drives around New Zealand. I put on music and just follow the sun around. It ducks behind and beyond mountains and valleys, so I turn this way and that, and often get out to hike around inaccessible areas. It’s the middle of the winter here, so the sun is always quite low, so we get nice, extended sunrises and sunsets. Every now and then, the sun gets into a certain angle and everything is bathed in gold…- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Long Road to New Zealand This is one of countless beautiful roads that crisscross New Zealand.  I'm afraid I've forgotten exactly where I was when I took this photo!   I know that is very lame, but I bet people around here can help me pinpoint the area.As far as the camera settings, this is the kind of shot you can get with something called "compression," a method where you use a zoom lens and zoom in quite far.  It takes images in the distance and makes them larger than life.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

What Does The Road Look Like on the Way to Mount Cook? It looks like this. :)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Secret Pond in New Zealand This amazing little place is right by my house! It’s less than a five minute drive. I put the location in HDRSpotting above… so if you click through, you can also visit this secret spot when you come here some day!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Failed Supermoon Shot at Jack’s Point

I made a big mistake when I decided to come here to get a photo of the super moon about a week ago!

I had it all planned out, but then nothing went as planned. My Big Awesome Plan was to take a photo of the super moon and the mountains and get a reflection off the lake. Well, I was so close to the Remarkables here that the moon took about four hours after moonrise to get over them! It was pitch black by then… oh well. But, while waiting, the water calmed down nicely and I took this photo. This is an area called “Jack’s Point” — sort of a private home community and golf course. That’s the clubhouse there where you can get some great food too if you are in the area!

Carmel Dinner

Failed Supermoon Shot at Jack’s Point

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJune 23, 2013 at 1:57am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

View Comments

Abandoned Ruins in Dalefield

Sony NEX-7

You’ll recognize the photo below from the Sony NEX-7 Review here on the site! This is one of the new photos I took with the 10-18mm lens. I love that thing!

Daily Photo – Abandoned Ruins in Dalefield

This is the turn-around-point for my jogging route! I run around this area between Queenstown and Arrowtown and end up at this place. Sometimes if I am feeling more full-of-energy (rare), I’ll go a bit longer, but usually not. This is a beautiful place to loop around and begin my return-journey.

I don’t know much about this place, other than it is a bit hidden from the road. If you look for it off Speargrass Flats, then you can see it, but you’ll never notice it if you’re just driving down the road like a normal person. I’ve heard they have plays here and have had a few film crews show up. Either way, it’s cool!

THe Farmhouse in Dalefield

Abandoned Ruins in Dalefield

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 3, 2013 at 6:37pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/10
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

View Comments

Out in the Woods

From the Photomatix Presets

You may remember this shot from the sample on Trey’s Photomatix Presets. It turned out to be a perfect candidate because of the crazy amount of dynamic light. This is just about as dynamic as it gets — shooting into a very bright sun with dark, shadowy trees in the foreground.

Daily Photo – Out in the Woods

This is one of my favorite photos of an outhouse that I’ve ever taken. I’ve only taken one, by the way.

Actually, when I think about it being an outhouse, it makes it feel not so beautiful. So I just think of it like a little maintenance shed or a meditation chamber. Yes, that’s better, some sort of Scientologist meditation chamber where they measure their midichlorians.

Outhouse in the woods

Out in the Woods

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 14, 2013 at 11:23pm
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

View Comments
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