Ethan in Glenorchy

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Daily Photo – Ethan in Glenorchy

Here's a picture of my son walking through the wetlands of Glenorchy. We had a nice family hike there on Mother's Day, and I liked the way he stood out in these yellow grasses… he kind of looks like a human in the wild… a creature of New Zealand… his gait kind of reminds me of that old video footage of a sasquatch! :)

Ethan in Glenorchy

Ethan in Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Through the Wetlands

A Top 10 Hike

If you come to the Queenstown area, be sure to hit this hike in Glenorchy. I need to make a list of the top 10 hikes around here… oh but if I had the time to make all the lists I wanted to make and do all the things I wanted to do!

Daily Photo – Through the Wetlands

We were here early one morning. The most amazing thing happened, although you can't see it in this photo. The sun came over the mountain and started hitting all the millions of ice crystals that covered the morning grasses. It created a myriad of rainbows – like a thousand glittering jewels – I'll never forget it. I took some more pictures of this… I will see if I can re-capture the mood. Until then, a study of the light and shapes and the path…

Through the Wetlands

Through the Wetlands

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 1, 2014 at 9:58am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Denver PhotoWalk & Taking a break on the hike

Denver PhotoWalk!

I need a Denver Expert to help me plan a route and stuff! Any volunteers?

I’ve never done a PhotoWalk in Denver and I am excited! I’ll be there (by accident via a long international connection from Yellowstone to Bangkok) for about 10 hours, and I thought it would be fun to come see the city, take photos, and meet you all! Let’s do it…

For the LATEST EVENT INFO, check this Google+ Event page!

Date: Saturday, July 19
Time: 6PM
Location: TBD
Route: TBD! :)
Cost: Free
What Levels are invited? All levels, from Beginner to Advanced, from Mobile Phones to DSLRs!
Prizes: Yes! I’ll give away a free copy of my latest Lightroom Presets to everyone who shows up! :)
Family Friendly? Yes, bring the kids!
Afterparty? Probably! TBD!

If you’ve never been to one of these, they are very fun! I’ll be setting up in various locations to take photos. I’ll talk through all my settings. I’ll talk about compositions or ideas… I also talk a lot about shots that I don’t take and why I don’t take them… anyway, I’m there for questions or, well, anything!

Fake Reflection Shots

I never fake my reflection shots, and here is a good way to tell. Now, even before telling you this, I suppose, naturally, it is possible to fake it the way I am telling you, but it is just a lot harder, I guess! Anyway, if you look at all the structures above the water, you’ll see that not all of them are in the reflection because of my angle. As just a little example, you can see all the mountains in the top, but not in the bottom. If you ever see EXACTLY the same thing, either it is faked, or the camera has to be like one inch above the water!

You can also see this effect in a previous photo I posted while over Lake Hayes. Just click on the “New Zealand” link above in the category to find that one! :)

Daily Photo – Taking a break on the hike

While at that amazing retreat called “Aro-Ha” here near Queenstown, we'd take amazing hikes every day… and had so much fun! Here, we stopped for a little break by this perfect little pond. It's amazing to me how many picture-perfect spots are all over the landscape here… I'll never get used to it!

Taking a break on the hike

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 18, 2014 at 9:03am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Isabella on the Path and Pandacraft!

Speaking of Isabella – how to make rubber-band jewelry

Here’s a cute video my daughter made… and there’s a little surprise grammar lesson at the end by the panda on her left! :)

Daily Photo – Isabella on the Path

We had a great overnight camping trip out past Glenorchy by the Greenstone River. Well, it was not really pure full-on camping because there was an old house there that we slept inside. We headed out on a few little hikes here and there, and on the way, I stopped to take this photo of Isabella. I asked her to stand right in the middle, so while she was looking down to get herself in the middle, I snapped this one.

Isabella on the Path

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 27, 2014 at 2:49pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length47.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1

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 TakenNovember 5, 2013 at 5:31am
  • 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

Way above and behind Wanaka

A great flight with Choppy!

If you ever come to the Queenstown area and want an absolutely incredible helicopter ride, be sure to contact Choppy at Over The Top. She knows all the best spots, and she’s a photographer at heart too… so she’s always thinking in those directions!

Daily Photo – Way above and behind Wanaka

Choppy told me that in the winter, people get dropped off by a helicopter here and then ski all the way to the bottom. How awesome does that sound? I guess it also sounds a bit scary… I wish I was super-good on a snowboard so that I could take all my camera stuff along… even with traveling lighter, there are still several guaranteed crashes till I get to the bottom!

Way above and behind Wanaka

Way above and behind Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 3, 2014 at 11:44am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

From Queenstown to Glenorchy

A behind-the-scenes video — first here on the blog

Hey everyone — I thought it would be fun to put this here first. Two days ago, I was driving back to Queenstown from Glenorchy (which is about 50 mins down the road), and the water was so smooth, I just had to jump out of my truck to take this photo! Anyway, here’s a little about the need to get down low… I make a lot of these videos for The Arcanum, but wanted to release this one here for y’all! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Crystal Lake

Those islands you see in the middle of the lake there are Pig Island and Pigeon Island. You can actually take a little kayak over there and there are huts where you can sleep for the night. No one lives there, and they just sit there empty almost all the time… I never see anyone on the lake at all… this is quite a remote area, really, even though it is quite easy to get to. This whole road to get here was only paved about 10 years ago, so it all still feels very fresh and undiscovered!

Lake wakatipu

Across the Crystal Lake

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 11, 2014 at 3:17pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

One Surprise Slot for Namibia!

An opening!

We just had my friend Javier (sadly!!) cancel for our upcoming Namibia trip, so here there is one more opening. Find out more about it on the Africa Adventure Page!

Daily Photo – Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there, including my own and Tina below, Happy Mother's Day! I took this photo yesterday when we went out on a little family Mother's Day walk around New Zealand. The youngest one, Scarlett, has run off ahead down the path… if she can't be the center of every photo, she wants no part of it! :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Beginning another hike

Your Favorite Hiking Trails?

What is the best hike you’ve ever done? I’m not exactly some kind of a super-hiker, but I think now the best one was last week along the Greenstone River near Glenorchy.

Daily Photo – Beginning Another Hike

Yesterday I mentioned one of the long hikes, and here we are starting out on another one. That's Bel and Bas there, leading the group. Every day for a week, we did a 10-16km hike through some of the most beautiful trails in the world. This was part of my week at Aro-Ha, which was absolutely fantastic. I could not recommend it any more!

The whole time I took my Sony A7r with me, and I grabbed a ton of photos. I'm just getting through processing them right now. Here's one of the ones taken with the 55mm F/1.8.

Beginning Another Hike

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 17, 2014 at 8:39am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO80
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Docks at Glenorchy

Trying the 70-400mm Alpha Lens

Here I tried using the Sony Alpha Adapter on the A7r with the 70-400mm lens. I backed up quite a bit away because I wanted to get the compression thing working. It worked pretty well, but I was kind of ridin’ dirty with the way I attached it to my tripod. If you don’t know, these big lenses have their own little tripod attachment because they become the new center of gravity. But the foot of the tripod attachment is approximately the exact same width as the standard shoe-size that attaches to most tripod heads. But it doesn’t have those little ridges that secure it inside, so actually attaching it to your tripod head is a mistake! I don’t know why they made it so similar… I imagine that a lot of people have broken lenses because of this! Anyway, for this shot, I didn’t have another little shoe to attach, but I decided to go for it anyway. I KNEW that it wasn’t really attached, but I still put it in the tripod head just to keep it balanced. This worked out pretty well while I was taking the photos, but then I jerked it a little bit and it fell right off! Luckily I had the strap around the back of my neck, so the only thing that got hurt was my pride and my stomach when the lens swung down with full force!

Daily Photo – The Docks at Glenorchy

This is one of the most famous little landmarks in the small town of Glenorchy. There is a dock here that juts out into Lake Wakatipu, and it ends up being a little destination for most people who first visit the area. In a way, I suppose, it's kind of the “end of the road” because there are not really many paved roads that continue on past Glenorchy. Whenever you have these old fjord-based road/lake/river networks, you end up with these sorts of towns that are formed at a terminus. It is a strange feeling, and I know I've commented on it before — but this idea that there is a town with only one road into it. It's kind of a comforting, albeit discomforting, sensation.

The Docks at Glenorchy

The Docks at Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date TakenFebruary 4, 2014 at 9:43pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length150.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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