I know I mentioned the new Photomatix just two days ago, but I’ve been informed I was mistaken about the upgrade policy. Sorry about that! But, here, straight from them, is the latest upgrade policy:
“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).”
The final Photomatix 5 should be out very very very soon — I am excited! I used it on the image below… and, well, most images you see on the site here!
Daily Photo – Flying through the Highlands
This is one of the first landings we made with Choppy on our latest helicopter tour. I swear — they are the most awesome things. I decided to reward myself with a few of these per year… the views you get are just amazing and I spend half the time being in awe and the other half recovering from the awe. Of course, I’m taking photos all the while!
We still have a film crew out following me around to make future videos. Here in New Zealand, this week in fact, we are doing several different things for future videos. We’re getting better at this, and making the turnaround time faster and the quality better. Plus, it’s all very fun!
Daily Photo – Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy
There are two paths around this beautiful area – a long one and a short one. Whenever I walk over here with my family, we take the short one, but this was actually my first time taking the long path. There were so many nice photo moments, and most of them involved the path itself. I know this is one of the five things to put into your photo to make people automatically like it more! Whenever people see a path, their Pleistocene brain just likes it because it either means there is a game trail or some sign of human habitation.
I recommend Choppy! You can see more about her and Over the Top on their website!
Daily Photo – Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake
We took a helicopter ride up and around Queenstown and tried going down a few new valleys. This spot is pretty much right over Moke Lake and that tiny lake you see there is Lake Kirkpatrick. I’ve made that drive a few times below and it’s always beautiful.
I think one very unusual thing about this place is that perfectly conical mountain that is also green. When you get that kind of shape in nature, it’s rarely green — usually some kind of a dirty brown (easier to erode). But now the vegetation will help this to keep its awesome shape a long time.
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!
I have a pretty good theory about paths in photographs! Here it is. I don’t know if it is right or not… but, well, probably.
So, when a human looks at a photo of a landscape, I think part of their brains imagines themselves walking or moving from one part of the landscape to the next. They try to get a sense of the 3D-ness of the photo and wonder how long it will take to walk to some distant object, tree, mountain, etc. The more hints you can give as to the distance of objects, the better. But, one thing that people always seem to enjoy seeing is some kind of a path (or, as in the photo below, a road). This is satisfying to see because their brain likes knowing there is an easy way to get from point A to point B. It’s not something that’s on the surface of the mind, but it is deep down… and I think paths generally make a photo more interesting to the brain.
Daily Photo – The Blue
What’s the best thing about the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy in New Zealand? This view! Well, honestly, there are about 1000 places to stop, each of which is idyllic for a wonderful landscape photo, but this ONE spot is a stop I always make. It is right by the road, so it is super-convenient. It’s one of those shots that is a “lay-up” as my friend Tom likes to say!
Since I’m in the middle of yet another international trip, I thought I would share this video I made on a previous one – you may remember this! There’s also a making-of on YouTube as well that you may enjoy.
Daily Photo – And on the way to Paradise…
On the way to Paradise, New Zealand is Glenorchy. Be sure to stop here and take a walk around their new boardwalks that go out through the wetlands. You better set aside 2-4 hours, like all the “little” walks around here!
Some days have the water at a pretty high level, and you can sometimes see nice shapes like this one here.
I saw that Flickr is now giving 1 TB of storage of hi-res photos to ALL users. Wow that’s kind of an insanely high number! I’m not sure how existing pros account holders (like me) think about this, but they get grandfathered into infinite, which is a lot more that 1 TB, so that is nice. The new re-design looks nice too. Here’s my Flickr page.
I wonder if they are making this move because it “sounds” good when they know that the vast majority of users will never use that much data. So, it may not be that much of a financial hit on them for the storage space. Google recently upgraded their full-rez photo allotment too, but not nearly that high. But, on the plus side, the Google one allows infinite uploads of photos smaller than 2048×2048, which I think most photos are nowadays. My friend Thomas Hawk also has a nice article about this news from Flickr on his blog.
I still use SmugMug (see SmugMug Review) as my main place for hi-rez photos and my portfolio. Still, however, I spend most of my time on these other social networks, none of which do as good of a job as displaying my portfolio of work.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I still can’t upload full-rez images on Facebook… Sad emoticon.
Did you get the free Lightroom presets upgrade?
We recently added a free bonus package to the Lightroom presets for free. If you already bought them, then this is a free upgrade! Now, we started selling these in the “old” store, which let us send out an email to everyone. But if you got them in the New StuckInCustoms Store, then your account has been automagically updated! Just login and you can re-download the package that will have all the new goodies in there!
Daily Photo – Tom with the Horse
The first time Tom and I took photos of horses was on Oahu. This was our second horse-encounter here in New Zealand! He got up close with his fisheye while I backed up with the 70-200 f/2.8 to get this shot.
I really like those mountains behind Tom. I want to get a shot of them this winter when they are all covered in snow!
This is a common question I get. Basically, I think it is a bad idea to HDR the snow and ice part. It just looks dirty. You want it looking nice and pristine, and the HDR will add a little too much texture and grit for me. This seems to happen to an alarming degree with human skin and snow (and a few other things). Anyway, using layers and masking in Photoshop is an easy way to slice-n-dice your way out of that problem!
Daily Photo – Snow over the Creek
There is a place called Pyramid Lake just past Glenorchy that is perfectly wonderful in the winter as long as you have the traction. This shot is from the end of last winter when I caught a little bit of snow. You’ll notice I don’t have a ton of snowy shots from NZ yet, but I think I’ll get a lot more this winter. I’m really looking forward to some good snowfalls, in fact! I’m sure if you’re in the northern hemisphere that you are sick of the cold and ready for the warm… but I really am looking forward to the change!
During the month of April we are going to run a 20% off Sale in April for everything on Flatbooks.com. The coupon code APRILEBOOKS is valid through April 30th.
Daily Photo – Sheep Says Baaaaa
I know I sound like a total tourist, but I still like watching sheep. Maybe because I’ve lived here less than a year, but they are still fun for me to watch. They kind of move around like lily pads on a pond, in kind of a random way. Every now and then they line up and run to one area or another, but it’s mostly random drifting. And it’s fun for me to catch the random drifting and try to compose something interesting. As more and more sheep enter the frame, it cranks up the degree of difficulty, like Olympic diving!
For those of you that are participating in the live event in a few days (that bought the thing I mentioned yesterday on the blog), we have some surprises in store! Joining me are Karen Hutton, Scott Kublin, Lorenzo Montezemolo, Clayton Morris, and Bel Jones! They all joined me in New Zealand for the filming of this event, and they’ll share some of the things they learned as well; another perspective, if you will. I’ll have them share some of their own photos so you can see how they chose to process some of the same things in a slightly different way — it should be very educational and interesting!
Helping me out as always in the live hangout are Dave Veffer, Curtis Simmons, and Luke Lakatosh — it will be a fun get together!
Daily Photo – A Weaving Path Through the Wetlands
I’ve revisited this path in Glenorchy a few times now. You’ll see this in the new New Zealand video that is available now, by the way. I took a ton of different photos while there, but this one did not look so great in color. It was curious to me because there was something about the photo that I liked… but it looked so dull in color. And then I realized it was the shape and the contrast that was most interesting! So I decided to emphasize that with the black and white treatment using Silver Efex Pro.
This week, I’m at SXSW in Austin, so it’s a bit harder for me to respond to comments on the blog. But, I still read THEM ALL. So, have no fear… when it comes to feedback and reading what you have to say, the blog is always my first stop! And yes, I will always try to respond as much as humanly possible… thanks!
Daily Photo – Forest on the road to Paradise
When you leave Glenorchy and start driving on the dirt road to Paradise, there are a few little wet forested areas that you’ll pass through. It’s worth pulling over your car and just going on a random walk. I recommend following a stream or river so you can always find your way back. Because if you get more than 100 meters from your car and you lose your way, you’ll never find your way again! The heaviness and thickness of the forest is totally confusing, and you’ll be hopelessly confused… but following a little stream is usually a good ticket to find your way back.
Normally I jump around the world and post photos from many countries out of order. But, I’ve been processing SO MANY New Zealand photos that I’ve got a giant backlog that is New Zealand-heavy! So, you’ll have to give me a few weeks to post a bunch of new work from NZ… I apologize for that because I know you are used to seeing more variety. But, there are some Really Pretty Images coming up from NZ that I am so excited to publish and share with you…. like the one below today!
Daily Photo – The Dirt Road to Paradise
After you pass Glenorchy, the paved road continues for a while as you approach Paradise. The paved road then turns into a dirt road. At this point, many visitors turn around, which is a shame! You can keep on rolling down this road in your rental car for quite a way. There’s even a few river crossings you can make, like Arwen on horseback. You can do it! Probably. I even see giant campervans going through here… anyway, the dirt road is in pretty good condition, so don’t let that turn you back!