No Horses Around

The free 40 minute teaser video!

Just in case you missed it when this was released a few months ago, here is a 40-minute video that shows how I make these kind of images. Enjoy! :)

Daily Photo – No Horses Around

Here's another photo from one of my trips to the Hobbiton Movie Set — what a treasure trove of photos. Those of you that got the new HDR Tutorial saw how much fun I had creating this photo in particular. Actually, we had to re-shoot this scene twice because as soon as we got out here, we realized Bel didn't ran out of batteries! She had to go all the way back to the Green Dragon to get some more… and Hobbiton is a bit spread-out — not like your typical movie set. But there are many things about this place that are not like a real movie set… it's too good to be true, but it is! :)

No Horses Around

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

One of the many edited photos

If you got the New HDR Tutorial, then you have all the RAW files for this photo and can go through it with me! This one was a fun one to work on because there were many options in the processing. I chose to keep it pretty dark and moody on the inside, although I could have had everything perfectly lit. This is maybe one of the coolest things about HDR – is that it gives you more options for how to interpret the light in the scene.

Daily Photo – Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

I spent many hours inside of Bilbo's Hobbit Hole! The first day I stayed in here for quite a while to duck out of the rain. It was when I was there for the Air New Zealand shoot and a strange storm came through. The hobbit holes were the safest and driest place to be! I was actually in here with the whole crew and many flight attendants for the duration. While I was stuck in here, I took this photo of one of them who we dressed up like an elf!

Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

24 Hours Till the Big Event!

New HDR Tutorial Live Event Soon!

For everyone who has grabbed the new Complete HDR Tutorial, I’m looking forward to seeing you in the live event soon! We’ll pick the winners for the trip to New Zealand, the new Sony A7, and the 10 free copies of Nik Software. In addition, of course I’ll be doing some live demos, critiques, and have lots of other fun stuff lined up for the Q&A session. All the details are there in the link above. I’m really looking forward to it! :)

A little 40 min tutorial

Here’s a good little preview of the full thing! It’s about 40 mins long, but the full course is 10 hours.

Daily Photo – Exploring the Hobbit Holes

Here's one of the new photos that is edited in the full course. I took a ton of photos while on the Hobbiton Movie Set, and this was one of my favorites. If you ever make it there, actually, you'll see that pretty much all of the 40 Hobbit holes are just this picturesque!

Exploring the Hobbit Holes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

Many cool new things coming!

Seeing this photo reminded me of some of the new videos we are working on for you. There is a lot of amazing stuff in the works, and I am super excited!

Daily Photo – Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

When I arrived here for the Air New Zealand shoot, it was about an half-an-hour before sunrise. The sky was very light already, as you can see below. They have these little lanterns that hang down and around the Green Dragon Pub. I got in close to one to show the detail, and in the distance, you can see many hobbit holes reflected across the water.

Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Inside the Green Dragon in Hobbiton

Organize Your Photos!

Today’s photo may remind you of the opening, rather hot scene from the “Organize Your Photos!” promo! Here it is again in case you missed it.

Daily Photo – Inside the Green Dragon in Hobbiton

Here is a rather amazing place on the Hobbiton Movie Set — inside the Green Dragon after night has fallen. There is a roaring fire, and I mean absolutely roaring! You may remember this fire as being the thing behind me in the intro to the “Organize Your Photos!” tutorial. Man, that thing was so hot behind me, it almost melted me and that dang cat. Of course, Pickles just sat there, taking it all in stride!

Inside the Green Dragon in Hobbiton

Inside the Green Dragon in Hobbiton

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.5
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Hobbiton in the Morning

More Behind-the-Scenes Videos on the way

We have a brand new behind-the-scenes video in the works! I did a ton of shooting here in Hobbiton. It’s all under production, and I’m excited to release it soooooon. Thanks for coming back here often, btw… I’ll keep trying to keep things fresh for you! A new photo (maybe, hopefully, with a bit of inspiration) every day! :)

Daily Photo – Hobbiton in the Morning

It was a lovely and peaceful morning in Hobbiton. There was a light mist on the pond and the only sound was the gentle water mill churning through water. You can see it there on the left side. I can’t wait to go back here in explore more!

Hobbiton

Hobbiton in the Morning

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole at Bag End

New eBooks, fresh for the holidays!

I think you’ll like seeing some of the latest offerings from over at FlatBooks.com !

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Daily Photo – Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole at Bag End

One brisk evening on the North Island of New Zealand, I was on the Hobbiton Movie Set and I was able to take a photo of Bilbo’s home as the day fell away and the warm lights came on. I was completely transfixed by this day. I had spent the entire day there, from 5 AM until late into the night (and well beyond this). A few little rainstorms came and went throughout the day, dropping fresh, glowing rain all over the 40+ hobbit hole-homes there. I spent some time here inside Bilbo’s hole during those times… just sitting there, watching the rain fall across Hobbiton.

Bilbo's Hobbit Hole at Bag End Hobbiton

Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole at Bag End

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time5
  • Aperture5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Air New Zealand Photoshoot – Sneak Preview

Visiting Middle Earth and Bilbo’s Home in Hobbitton with Air New Zealand

Here’s an official unofficial sneak peak at one of the new photos from my über secret event with Air New Zealand.

Air NZ contacted me to shoot their new ad campaign, but I told them I really have no idea what I’m doing and probably wasn’t the best choice. I did! Regular readers of the blog here know that I’ve always said “no” to client engagements. There is nothing wrong with them — I just simply choose to shoot whatever I want and own all the photos. Normally, really, I’m a travel and landscape photographer. I don’t even know what happens at client shoots for products or services or whatever. I told them this repeatedly, but they kept at it until we finally came to something that would work. Air New Zealand is famous for their crazy safety video briefings, so I had a good vibe on the whole sitch.

We have an amazing behind-the-scenes video here from the Hobbitton Movie Set for this shoot that will be available soon made by the great Bel Jones. Be sure to check back here or sign up for the newsletter to see when that is available.

A Nightlong Day

a nightlong day - trey ratcliff for airnz

In this photo, I wanted to create something magical in front of Bilbo’s home in Bag End in Hobbiton. These flights to New Zealand are long, and day blends into evening which blends into night. It’s all a blur of movies and drinking and being served and thinking about landing in New Zealand.

So, on the right are two daytime passengers plopped into the anachronistic space seat whilst reading a medieval scroll of the inflight entertainment in a nod to the contract that Bilbo had to sign. On the left, descending from the the night and the warm Hobbit hole, is a rather studly flight attendant partially clad in leather armor and +1 Gauntlets of Riesling. Between them, the night flows into the day with a glow of evening and dusklight. I drove the image to be on that veil between fantasy and reality, but just on the one side of the veil that felt right. Technically, it was composed of over 45 photos taken at different parts of the day from the exact same location. It was all fused together using HDR and some of this crazy stuff I do… you can see more in the HDR Tutorial here on the site.

There are a great many more stories and a lot more how-to, but all that will come in time here to the website. I’d also like to thank Bel Jones and Jenna Young for all the great help!

Other Controversy and Consternation

I’ll also share in the future many more stories and reactions to the whole scenario. For one thing, I showed up on the set with 20 people while wielding my tiny Sony NEX-7 (see my Sony NEX-7 Review) instead of the giant DSLR system they were expecting. What were the reactions from the ad agency, the marketing group, creative directors, etc etc? What was it to shoot like on my first client job? Would I ever do anything like it again? What happened that I would have never expected?

Happily, Air New Zealand was thrilled with all the photos I submitted. I knew they wanted me for artistic reasons, so I took the style in the direction it felt like it needed to go. They were great partners, and I felt honored be have a short time among such excellent and admirable hobbits. :)

Teaser for future photos

I’ll leave you with this little teaser photo below for future shots… Here is one of the flight attendants we dressed up like an elf. I took this quick photo while waiting around for make-up and costumes to get everyone ready for another scene that featured Elves and Hobbits. She is 25% Maori, which is the indigenous people of New Zealand. One awesome thing about Air New Zealand is that they use all real Flight Attendants in their ads and videos.

rosanna1

Moving to New Zealand

Why Did I Move to New Zealand?

There’s a long story to it all… but I think you can see a lot of the reasons in the video below.

By the way, if you are looking to buy a house here and need a recommendation, contact me via support@stuckincustoms.com and the team will get you to me. I can make an excellent recommendation for you!

This video was made with Animoto!

I used a cool online thing called Animoto to make this video. I also wrote up a full Animoto Review here on the site.

You can also use the Animoto Coupon Code of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to get 2 months free with a pro account… thanks for the team there for providing that for us!

New Video – Turning to Peace in New Zealand

It’s a hi-rez video… I recommend listening with earphones or good speakers too – enjoy :)

From Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole

The Hobbit in New Zealand

It’s funny that I happen to be in New Zealand while all the financial wrangling about The Hobbit movie’s future. It’s all they talk about on the local news and the radio!

I only have a cursory understanding of what is going on, but I believe it had something to do with the unions, and the movie studio was getting a bit worried about committing a bunch of money to something unstable. At the last second, the NZ gov’t jumped in to toss $10mm in guarantees into the deal to ensure that the 2-part movie is made here.

Daily Photo – From Bilbo’s Hobbit Hole

When I was in a little town called Matamata, which Peter Jackson’s team selected as the perfect place for Hobbiton, I was lucky enough to receive a private tour from Ian Brodie (see Hobbiton Tours for more info!). Ian is also quite the HDR enthusiast (see Ian’s Photo Website), so it was great to spend several hours with the guy! I put a video of us together below… and we talked a bit about taking photos of the party tree.

After that, we got to adventure inside of Bilbo’s actual hole! Cool! I turned around to take a photo from the inside out. The huge tree there is the famous party tree, where Bilbo had his birthday party with Frodo before he slipped on the ring.

HDR Photo

Video – HDR in Hobbiton

I took this video earlier in the year with Ian. You can take the tour too! Just go visit Hobbiton Tours, and be sure to say hi to Ian if you see him while running around Hobbiton!

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