Queenstown from a Quadcopter

The New DJI Inspire

This is an incredible machine! I simply love taking it up for a little in-air photo adventure. I’m still getting my head around all the amazing photo opportunities it creates… really amazing! I don’t have a review of it on the site yet, but I will soon.

Daily Photo – Queenstown from a Quadcopter

For this photo, I took about 5 or 6 shots, each one slowly rotating the quad. I get live feedback on my iPad, so I always know what I am shooting. I then stitched them together in Photoshop, and, voila! It's really easy and fun… I don't do a lot of panoramas, but it's actually quite easy… maybe with this new DJI Inspire setup, I'll try it some more!

Queenstown from a Quadcopter

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC350
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramUnknown (58655)
  • Exposure Bias

Beautiful Isabella on the Dock

Child Photography Tip

This is a very small tip, but a good one. If you’re ever at a birthday party or a place with kids and want to get different, engaging photos, just lower yourself to their level. It seems like a small thing to do, but it makes a tremendous difference! If you think about it, 99% of photos of children are taken from above… so if you just get down low, then you’re already in that top 1% of children photos! :)

Daily Photo – Beautiful Isabella on the Dock

All of my kids are beautiful, of course, but I just happened to be sharing one of them right now! Isabella is 9 years old and I ended up having her and her little sister Scarlett for a day of photography. Tina was off doing something, so Cliff and I took the girls out on a little photo adventure with us. This is the first place we stopped while exploring new parts around Queenstown.

Beautiful Isabella on the Dock

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8000
  • Aperture
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Flying over Perfect Lakes

Choppy at Over-the-Top

If you ever head to Queenstown and want the ultimate chopper experience, be sure to check out Choppy at Over-the-Top. She’s a good friend and an amazing pilot. Also, since she’s a photographer, she knows how to find all the best spots!

Nonstop Critiques!

We had a really fun critique session a few days ago. We selected a lot of images from Apprentices at The Arcanum and did lots of sharing!

Daily Photo – Flying over Perfect Lakes

A chopper flight (with Choppy!) from Queenstown to Glenorchy can take you over a few hidden lakes. Here is one of them, looking amazing in this strange light one afternoon. One cool secret thing about this lake is there is a tiny little hut at the end where you can stay for the night. No one lives there, but you can just hike in, bring a little dinner with you, do a little fishing, sleep and get all cozy-cozy, then wake up and hike back out. Sounds awesome!

Flying over Perfect Lakes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Join me for a week of Photography, Yoga, Hiking, Fresh Food, and More!

Visit the Workshop page to get all the information! I’ll tell you a little about it here…

Come join me in New Zealand at this new fun workshop event here right by my home. All our other ones for 2015 are sold out, and I wanted to mix it up with a combo event like this! You guys know me… I’m quite zen (usually) and generally enjoy the meditative and creative side of photography. If that sounds like the sort of thing that might be up your chi-alley, then maybe we are simpatico! :)

It’s at this amazing yoga retreat where I have been twice called Aro-Ha, which is located about 45 minutes from my home in Queenstown on the way to Glenorchy. This particular retreat will be different than the sort of thing they normally do in that it is photography-centric.

Every day, we’ll be waking up bright and early for a morning photowalk and hike in a new and beautiful location here in the Southern Alps. We’ll come back for photo instruction and post-processing together. That post-processing party goes on for a while, only to be interrupted by daily massages (oh yes, my favorite!) and then an evening yoga class followed by more sunset photos followed by time at the spa… wow I’m getting all excited just thinking about it all! What a perfect day, and we’ll have a bunch of them back-to-back!

I wanted to try something new, and I hope you’re keen for it. Besides photography, I’m also quite into yoga and this sort of thing. Just down the road from my home in Queenstown is an amazing yoga / hiking retreat called Aro Hā. We partnered with them to bring you an awesome week of photos and fitness!

And here’s a few photos from my other visits to this amazing location…

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Frederick Van Johnson

What’s in Trey’s Bag?

Here’s a video that we made soon after I took this photo below. You can see more (and updated stuff!) on my Camera Equipment page! :)

Daily Photo – Frederick Van Johnson

Here's my friend Fred. We were walking through the Queenstown Gardens here in New Zealand when I took this photo. It's shot with a Leica 50mm at f/1.4 on a Sony A7r. We started talking about camera gear so much that I almost forgot to take any photos! We had a great time together this week… this was just one of them! :)

Frederick Van Johnson

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Making Mistakes at Mount Cook

Night Photography

A while ago, I suggested that maybe I could create a night photography tutorial. I must confess that I have never actually done this. It would be a really awesome thing, but I’ve just been too busy I’m afraid! I know that sounds lame, but they actually take quite a long time to make. But, it’s still on my list for sure… never fear! Well, fear a little.

Daily Photo – Making Mistakes at Mount Cook

I made a variety of mistakes this evening. The only success was this photo!

I went here to Mount Cook with my friend Stu (who I happen to be with now in Antarctica). We decided to sleep in the back of the pickup, but it was so horribly uncomfortable that we decided to move to inside the truck halfway through the night. While transferring from the outside to the inside, I took a quick photo of the village here on the edge of this amazing mountain range at Mount Cook.

Making Mistakes at Mount Cook

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time30
  • Aperture
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Endless layers of the Southern Alps

Shooting in New Zealand

Here’s a little Google Glass video I made on one of the final days of a recent workshop we had!

Daily Photo – The Endless layers of the Southern Alps

I've been fortunate enough to take a variety of helicopter flights all over New Zealand. The Southern Alps, which can clearly be seen from planes on arrival into Queenstown, are staggering in their complexity and depth. It's really the layer after layer after layer of incredible peaks that always gets to me. And you think, well surely there can't be more mountains beyond those, but then you fly over them, and sure enough, there are! It's like a never ending fractal… and all very beautiful, especially when you get a bit of snow up there.

The Endless layers of the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length41.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Maybe Will See you in Queenstown!

We’re looking forward to it!

Be sure to pop over to the “Workshops” page here on the site to see what is coming up next… all kinds of exciting stuff!

Daily Photo – From Deer Park Heights

Here's one of my favorite photos we took during one of our Photo Adventures here in Queenstown. I actually took it on the very first one we ever did! That was so fun; I'll never forget it. I'll also never forget how windy it was while I was taking this photo – so crazy! It was all I could do to keep my tripod from flying away, even though I think the final photo looks pretty serene!

From Deer Park Heights

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Walking down by the Beach in Queenstown

Mid-Summer Sunsets

If you’re gonna wait for the sunset at this point in the summer, you have to wait quite a while! It sets around 9:30 PM and doesn’t really get dark until around 11 PM. It always makes for a strange “Christmas” season when you are almost never in the dark… I guess I just remember a lot of general “darkness” during the holidays back when I was growing up!

Daily Photo – Walking down by the Beach in Queenstown

The beachfront in Queenstown is a quaint little place to go on a walk! The sun sets so that it blasts into the faces of everyone on the lake front, so it's almost like being at the ocean, especially because the lake is so big! Anyway, on days without clouds, I like to get behind these trees to break up the intensity of the sun a bit.

Walking down by the Beach in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Twisting in the Wind

Behind the Scenes Video

Here’s a cool video I took while inside the glider and taking photos. I used Google Glass to make this, which comes in really handy for these sorts of things!

Daily Photo – Twisting in the Wind

This is a perfect situation for an ultra-wide angle lens! The downside to these lenses is that it really warps and stretches the very edge of the photo. You can see how I compensated for that here by simply cropping that warped part out! Yes, I lost a little of the photo, but you don't really have to show everything to give the viewer the impression of what is happening beyond the edges of the frame.

Twisting in the Wind

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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