Lavender Fields on the way to Mount Cook

Best Lavender Fields in the world?

Where are the best lavender fields? These are the first ones I’ve seen in person, so I’m not really an expert. I was expecting some place like the Netherlands or Denmark or something… but maybe you know for sure! :)

Daily Photo – Lavender Fields on the way to Mount Cook

I started a little scene here by accident!

This lavender field is off the side of the road on the way to Mount Cook. It was so beautiful that I had to get out of my car, jump over the fence, and start taking photos. There's no gate to get in, so no one ever really pulls over. But when someone saw me do it, they did the same thing, and so on, and so on. Before long, this place was covered in people! So funny…

Lavender Fields on the way to Mount Cook

Lavender Fields on the way to Mount Cook

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Impressive Sony 55mm Prime with Lavender in the Fields

A recommended Lens

If you click up there on the top to see Trey’s Gear, you’ll see I have a bunch of different recommended lenses. One of them I used for today’s shot – the Sony 55mm FE f/1.8 lens. It’s really been quite remarkable and fun! It’s nice to have a full-frame lens like this with a great depth of field for shots of this nature (if you forgive the pun!).

Daily Photo – Lavender in the Fields

While driving up towards Mount Cook, I finally saw my first endless field of lavender. I've seen these before in photos and thought it would be fun to walk amidst them, which I then ended up doing for about an hour. I got all sorts of shots, from the close-in stuff below to wide vistas. I'll publish some of those soon as well!

Lavender in the Fields

Lavender in the Fields

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture2.4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

A One-Man Roadtrip

All About the New Stuck In Customs!

Here’s a quick video I made that talks about some of the new features around the site here. Enjoy! :)

Daily Photo – A One-Man Roadtrip

I took a very nice photo road trip up to the north for a few days recently. I was lucky with the weather, except for the time I decided to sleep outside and got rained on at 3 in the morning. That's about the worst time to get rained on, btw. I was so confused!

Anyway, there was no rain here, as you can see. If you look into the far distance, however, you can see some moisture beginning to boil over the mountains and coming my direction…

A One-Man Roadtrip

A One-Man Roadtrip

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

All-New Stuck In Customs for you!

Free “Organize Your Photos!” Giveaway Event for local camera clubs!

I’m so excited about the re-design of this website that I wanted to do a big giveaway of a video+eBook for you all! You’ve been so supportive over the years, so I wanted to do something to give back! :)

As many of you know, I’m a HUGE fan of local camera clubs that help encourage members to get better. I always do giveaways when I speak at them, so I came up with an idea that I thought would scale well! Sometimes in camera clubs, they have special giveaways, raffles, or prizes to give to members. If you belong to a local camera club and want to do one of those with “Organize Your Photos! The Three Level System” video and eBook — well, this is your chance! Even better, you’ll get a copy yourself that you can review before the giveaway so you can tell others about it!

To get a free copy of the video and eBook, just do this:

1) Post a comment below with the name / location of your photo club.
2) Email luke@stuckincustoms.com with their name and contact info.
After Luke sets you up, you’ll be able to use your account at store.StuckInCustoms.com to download the hour-long video and eBook! :)

I hope you have a great time with it! Give everyone in your camera club a high-five for me! :)

The ALL NEW Stuck In Customs!

Wow, well what has changed around here? So much! Here’s just five of my favorite new things!:

  • Totally responsive and mobile-friendly – scales to any phone and tablets in any orientation! The menus flex and change and everything
  • Randomised images on top of the homepage that auto-rotate and slide away upon scrolling
  • Mouse-rollever EXIF info. Awesome! You can also share from there.
  • Infinite scroll… scroll down forever and ever and ever! :) You can still click on categories if you want to pop to a certain location!
  • New, streamlined organization. See the menu at the top for all the goodies!

A BIG thanks to the whole team that made this happen! Let me know your thoughts — what you like or don’t like!

Daily Photo – The Clay Cliffs

If you come to the South Island of New Zealand, please don't fly from Christchurch to Queenstown — drive!

The drive is absolutely beautiful, and along the way, this is one of the stops. The Clay Cliffs take a little bit of a drive (30 mins out of the way from Omarama), but they are really worth it. There is just a short hike to get this view, and you can even get up in there and walk around inside. It's enchanting, and you may recognize these from a few scenes in LOTR.

When you take the little hike, you can bring a wide-angle lens and maybe something a little tighter, and you'll be set and ready to go!

The Grey Cliffs

The Clay Cliffs

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO71
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Driving into the far snowy hills

Two Workshops for 2014 in New Zealand

I’m reminded because THIS photo below is the first one I edited doing the post-processing bit of the New Zealand Photography Workshop. There would be ample post-prcessing time after the sunrise shoot and before the afternoon/evening shoots. A lot of time in a sweet dark room with lots of post-processing and snacks! Yay what a perfect series of days!

We only did two last year, and we only have two planned for all of 2014, so be sure to sign up. Curtis told me there were some cancellations so you can swoop in there!

Daily Photo – Driving into the far snowy hills

I took this right before the recent workshop down here in Queenstown. I went on a mini-road trip with the guys up towards Mount Cook and stopped to see this on the way. There is this lovely road that connects the two places and so many opportunities to stop and shoot. This is one of those many that I did!

Driving into the far snowy hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length70.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Cinematic Country

Thanks Balog!

Justin Balog posted a nice review of the Lightroom 4 presets — thanks for that Justin! Glad you are enjoying them.

I’m about to send out a FREE bonus pack to everyone that already bought those things… just a little nice thing… I created some new ones and thought you might enjoy them too. You can pick them up inside the Stuck In Customs store.

New HDR Tools? Or still Photomatix?

Yes, I’m still using Photomatix as my main tool! I updated the HDR Tutorial recently — you can see all the new screenshots in there.

Daily Photo – The Cinematic Country

When you drive to Aoraki Village, it can take many more hours than necessary if you like to take photos. There are literally one million places to jump out and get photos of roads and the mountain! So awesome!

Here’s a little hint if you take this road. If you walk off to the right and jump the fence, there are many little streams that are also very beautiful. No one ever walks over there… I don’t know why. Don’t let the fence stop you. No one is over there! :)

Mount Cook Road

The Cinematic Country

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length21.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Another Road Through an Endless Valley

Steam Games

I’ve been playing Left 4 Dead 2 a lot with my son. It’s good times. I’m playing Borderlands 2 on the XBox with Ethan, but it’s splitscreen and kinda crazy (but fun in co-op). But I was thinking of also getting it on Steam to play single player a bit. Other good games I’ve been playing are FTL and Civ 5 – always winners… You guys and gals playing anything lately?

Daily Photo – Another Road Through an Endless Valley

I rode down this one with Karen Hutton, Scott Kublin, and Curtis Simmons. Every five minutes they wanted to get out of the car and take a photo. I know the feeling! You see, I already have done this hundreds and hundreds of times… now I only get out on new roads or of the clouds/light is just different “enough”. It doesn’t take much, because there is a lot of variation. And, as most of you know, I’m not one to take a bunch of photos in the middle of a blue sunny day. But, on this day I was!

Road to Mount Cook

Another Road Through an Endless Valley

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Easter Weekend in New Zealand

How about a few Family Photos?

I don’t share these very much… but I thought you might like to see a new batch! I took the family on a little road trip to visit some glaciers near Mount Cook, and then we came back home to Queenstown for a little Easter egg hunt!

By the way, these are all using some NEW Lightroom presets. I know a lot of you have already purchased the existing Lightroom Presets (thanks!). I’ll be sending these out with the new batch as a FREE update for you as a little thank-you gift. :)

I’ll put a little caption abve each one. :)

Scarlett reaches up to a huge iceberg that just flipped over, after breaking off the Tasman Glacier near Mount Cook.

 

Isabella gets ready to take our zodiac over to the next iceberg.

 

Scarlett begins the Easter Egg hunt in while the wolves chase her.

 

Isabella runs across the fairway on the 18th hole to try to find some eggs in the bunkers.

 

Scarlett walks along the path near the forest.

 

Isabella shows her sister a new stash of eggs

 

Scarlett takes a break to check how many eggs she has found.

 

Scarlett runs full speed to the next woods to get more eggs.

The Valley of Mount Cook

Aoraki Village

This photo below is very close to Aoraki Village. This is a very small place at the end of a dead-end road. This idea of a village at the end of a road that is encompassed by mountains is very interesting to me! I think it’s so cool, since most places have at least two (or more) ways in and out of the town. Anyway, once you reach the end, there are two places to eat or have a snack. One of them is the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Café and Bar, named after the famed Kiwi explorer himself! :)

Daily Photo – The Valley of Mount Cook

One of the most unexplored (but easy to explore!) areas of Mount Cook is the valley. After you pass the lake, the valley opens up into a tremendous plain. There are thousands of little bits here and there to find. This is one of many gentle streams that flows across the valley floor. I walked along this one for a few kms… getting interesting shots throughout. Plus, no one is around… so, once again, you are off on your own!

The Valley of Mount Cook

The Valley of Mount Cook

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/10
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Mount Cook along Lake Pukaki

Store with new Gear Page!

The Stuck In Customs Store is close to coming out of beta. Thanks so far for all the testing and purchases! Everything seems to be going smoothly… and glad you are excited about all the products people have been wanting for years! The Gear Section has a few goodies that have not been fully announced yet… but they are there for you to order before the formal announcement! :)

Daily Photo – The Road to Mount Cook along Lake Pukaki

These lenticular clouds are pretty rare — but not on the south island of New Zealand! This is called the land of the long white cloud… I’m not sure of that means these lenticular clouds or not. Maybe a smart reader here on the blog can tell me!

Anyway, I do love this photo… I think it is one of my new favorites…

Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki

The Road to Mount Cook along Lake Pukaki

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length92mm (92mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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