The Spa at Moonset

Black Truffle Sea Salt

Here’s my out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle suggestion.

Go buy a jar of black truffle sea salt and bring it to the dinner table. It’s like my favorite thing in the world. I put it on almost everything, and it really is amazing. It’s something I’ve done for the last three years, and I give it to anyone that comes over… I don’t know why I’ve never mentioned it before… but get on it! It’s kind of hard to find. High-end or gourmet grocery stores will have it, though. And I’m sure there’s places on the internet where you can order it. Anyway, it’s highly recommended. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming! :)

Daily Photo – The Spa at Moonset

Every morning I woke up at 5:30 and would walk past this spot on the way to Yoga. On this particular morning, the moon was setting slowly behind the spa. I carried my camera most everywhere (as usual). I stayed here for a bit to watch it sink down… this made me about five minutes late to the class, but I still had the same amount of meditation, I think.

The Spa at Moonset

The Spa at Moonset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.5
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

New! Trey Ratcliff’s Complete HDR Tutorial – Now Available

100% New HDR Tutorial – A full course

I’m excited to announce this and say it’s now available for download on the Complete HDR Tutorial page!

And, as a little bonus, if you’ve enjoyed one of my previous HDR Tutorials, I wanted to give you 10% off, use the coupon code “TreyNewHDR2014″!

What’s new in this video tutorial? It’s 100% new! I’ve been doing this for years and years, and I share all of my new tricks, workflow, and post-processing techniques that will give your photos a great and unique look. There is another goal in this whole course that you will come to understand as you go through it — I will help you find your own style of photography.

Free 40 minute HDR Creation Video

So you can see a little bit of what the whole thing is about, I wanted to release this full-on teaser video. Actually, it’s way more than a teaser because it shows you a ton of stuff — you’ll see what I mean! Enjoy! :)

What’s Included?

There are over 10 hours of detailed video instruction in the course. It is aimed first at beginners but there is plenty of intermediate and advanced material too. I edit a ton of photos in every possible situation: Indoor, Outdoor, Sunrise, Sunset, Mid-Day, Mixed Indoor-Outdoor, Action, Movement, People, Nature & Landscape, Architectural, Travel, and more. There are many hours of high-production quality video as you watch me set up in these conditions, and then many more hours of screen capture, as you see me edit the photos you just saw captured in the field.

Even better, you get all of my RAW files! So you can follow along, step-by-step, and see exactly how I do each and every move.

An upcoming Live Q&A and Bonus Photo Critique session

If you get it now, you’re invited to join me on Sunday, March 30th. Mark your calendars – it’s gonna be great fun!

A great prize – An All Expenses paid trip to New Zealand

Everyone who purchases a copy of the Complete HDR Tutorial prior March 30 is eligible to enter the photo contest to win an ALL expenses paid trip, valued at over $8,000 USD, to my next photography workshop in Queenstown, New Zealand on April 28 – May 3, 2014.

EVERYTHING is included — Roundtrip airfare, Luxury accommodations, Transportation, Food,and of course, you will participate in every facet of the full 5-day photography workshop taught personally by me.

Another great prize – A new Sony A7 with the 28-70mm lens!

Just like above, I’m also giving away a Sony a7 Full-frame Mirrorless Camera valued at $2,000 USD during the live event. More details on this and everything else are over on the Complete HDR Tutorial page.

Just a few of the images we work on together in the course

Daily Photo – A Pretty Afternoon in the Shire

Here's one of images from the new course. It was a perfect day with just the kind of clouds you expect floating over the Hobbiton Movie Set!

A Pretty Afternoon in the Shire

A Pretty Afternoon in the Shire

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

The Spa at Aro-Ha

Cold Dip and Hot Dip

I got into doing this cold-dip thing. You dunk your whole body in water that is just above freezing for one minute, and then you get into a hot tub or a Finnish sauna, then rinse and repeat three times. It’s kind of a sweet torture, but you sure do feel better inside after. But I’m not sure if it is just in your brain or not… it reminds me of that joke by Stephen Wright: “I love hitting myself repeatedly in the head with a hammer because it feels so good when I stop.”

Daily Photo – The Spa at Aro-Ha

Hey, that rhymes! And it's one of my favorite places after a long day of working my body and mind. This is an absolute gem of a place, by the way. It's a spa and wellness retreat in New Zealand called Aro-Ha, and it gets my absolute highest recommendation. The hiking trails are amazing, the food is super-tasty (and healthy!), and even better, you get a massage every single day. Maybe I should capitalize that. Massage Every Single Day.

In fact, right there in the hot-tub on the left (you can't quite see him) is Michel. He's was one of my favorite masseurs. He's French and his hands were like Jean-Claude Van Damme in his prime. Well, probably twice as strong. And no, he did not massage me in the hot tub, although now that I think about it, I should have asked him to! Haha oh yeah! :)

The Spa at Aro-Ha

The Spa at Aro-Ha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Amazing New eBook on Flatbooks – Highly Recommended

Creative Landscape Photography II – A Must Get!

Pop over now to get Creative Landscape Photography II! You’ll absolutely love it.

This data-packed book is filled with 95 pages of first hand knowledge. You can get an idea of the scope of the whole thing from one of the preview shots below! This book has been lovingly written by two amazing photographers and friends, Mike Langford and Jackie Renken. They’ve won all kinds of awards and stuff… anyway, it’s a real treat to get to hang out with their brains for a bit in this eBook. Enjoy!

Above: See one of Jackie’s amazing award-winning photos. Her photos alone will give you inspiration to take new sorts of photos!

Above: Look at all the stuff that is in this book! I carry a copy around on my iPad all the time!

Above: Better yet, see how all these photos were made. These two are true Masters, and I am glad they are willing to share their knowledge!

Daily Photo – Path to the Nethermountains

I wish I had read the book above before I started taking all my landscape photos! Anyway, here is a photo not too far from where Mike and Jackie live! :)

Path to the Nethermountains

Path to the Nethermountains

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length41.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

View of the Greenstone River Across Lake Wakatipu

Fine Dust off the Dart

Just down the lake is where the Dart River empties out into the lake. Like most old glacial outlets, there is a huge delta there that is covered with a fine sand. About once a month, when the wind picks up, it blows in across the lake and makes for a nice atmospheric effect across the lake. It’s almost like an alkaline-hot fog that makes things look epic. I haven’t got a photo of this phenomenon yet, but it is on my to-shoot list!

Daily Photo – View of the Greenstone River Across Lake Wakatipu

A few weeks ago, I spent many mornings looking at this view!

Every morning, the light would hit these beautiful summer mountains at low angles as the sun came up over other, nearby mountains. On this particular morning, the clouds were nice and solid and chunky, which meant they would throw hard morning shadows at extreme angles across all the mountains. It made for a neverending tableau!

View of the Greenstone River Across Lake Wakatipu

View of the Greenstone River Across Lake Wakatipu

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Perfect Horse in Field

Equine Therapy

I just heard about a woman that went to a new-agey spa (this is a serious story — just want to say this parenthetically right now!) and she opted to get one of the optional therapy-treatments. It was called equine-therapy, and she got about one inch from the eye of a horse for half an hour and they just stared at one another. This sounds like an absolutely off-the-reservation treatment — has anyone heard of this?

Personally, I would have opted for the massage-treatment (non-equine).

Daily Photo – Perfect Horse in Field

Right after another amazing 15km hike a few days ago, we saw this perfect horse just standing in a field. It held this pose the entire time. In fact, and honestly, I was not entirely sure it wasn't a fake horse. This was very confusing to me, because I couldn't figure out why anyone would put a fake horse in their yard when real ones were so readily available. I started thinking about all those wonderful scenes from the PKD book, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Perfect Horse in Field

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6400
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

The Spring Mountains

XBox Fitness

Has anyone tried XBox Fitness on the new XBox One? It’s cool but there are many problems! Even though my bandwidth is totally incredible, I still get “Low Bandwidth” warnings and it pauses quite a bit. Many times, I’ve lost connection and my whole workout has gone down the tubes! It’s quite demotivating for some strange reason! I hope XBox fixes that soon, or at least lets me cache everything locally.

Daily Photo – The Spring Mountains

Choppy landed here on this remote lake for a bit while I jumped out to take photos with Curtis, Luke, Pete, and Scott. It was so fun, and I felt lucky there was a bit of snow up high to give some more colors to the scene. You can also hike to this point, but while we were sitting there in the chopper, all we could think was, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

The Spring Mountains

The Spring Mountains

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Flying through the Highlands

Photomatix Upgrade Policy

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!

Flying through the Highlands

Flying through the Highlands

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy

More Recording Going On

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.

Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy

Walking around the wetlands of Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Looking for a good chopper pilot in Queenstown?

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.

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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