High Above the Southern Alps and Tips for shooting from fast-moving vehicles

How to take photos from high-speed vehicles in the daytime

The photo below is a good example of this, seeing as it is from a helicopter! It’s best get out of Aperture Priority mode (which I contend is just fine when walkin’ around) and jump into Manual Mode. I amp up the shutter speed to at least 1/250s if not faster. This ensures there will a sharp photo, which is most important. I also drop down the F stop very low. This allows a lot of light in quickly and can get you through any dirt or spots on the window. You don’t have to worry about distant things being in-or-out of focus as long as you don’t have on some kind of a crazy 200mm+ lens.

Last, I let my ISO float (with Auto-ISO), so that I don’t have to constantly be adjusting it as the vehicle turns and there are bright bits and shadowy bits — I think it is smartest to let the computer inside the camera figure out the ISO!

Daily Photo – High Above the Southern Alps

We recently had Choppy fly us over to an amazing campsite near the Greenstone river. Along the way, we flew over these breathtaking mountains. I was taking photos like a man possessed. In addition to the tips above, I also did one other thing. I set up auto-bracketing and had it step by 1 (so it was -1, 0, and +1). I didn't do this for HDR, but just so that I would have a bit of variety in the light levels in my shots. I'm glad I did it, because sometimes the darker one is better than the 0 exposure! For this one, I set the exposure compensation down a bit, so this is actually shot at EV -0.7. It was also SUPER bright outside, so I the aperture was F/10.

High Above the Southern Alps

High Above the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date TakenNovember 5, 2013 at 5:31am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture10
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

Changing Autumn Colors

Other than New England and down here, where else in the world is know for colorful and beautiful Autumns? There must be a ton of them, but I don’t hear about many of them… let us know! :)

Daily Photo – The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

I took this in the middle of the Autumn Festival here in Arrowtown, which is about 10 minutes from my home. If you're looking to come to New Zealand in the Autumn (or perhaps will join one of our workshops), then this is a highly recommended festival. It goes for the full week and is a great family event. We go every year, so maybe we'll see you down there! :)

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 30, 2014 at 4:23pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length250.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Way above and behind Wanaka

A great flight with Choppy!

If you ever come to the Queenstown area and want an absolutely incredible helicopter ride, be sure to contact Choppy at Over The Top. She knows all the best spots, and she’s a photographer at heart too… so she’s always thinking in those directions!

Daily Photo – Way above and behind Wanaka

Choppy told me that in the winter, people get dropped off by a helicopter here and then ski all the way to the bottom. How awesome does that sound? I guess it also sounds a bit scary… I wish I was super-good on a snowboard so that I could take all my camera stuff along… even with traveling lighter, there are still several guaranteed crashes till I get to the bottom!

Way above and behind Wanaka

Way above and behind Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 3, 2014 at 11:44am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Backlit Trees

When shooting in the Autumn, be sure to get lots of photos of the sun behind the trees. And if you end up doing HDR (you don’t have to), then you can even show the sun itself without things blowing out too much. Backlit leaves that are going through color changes really adds a nice X-factor I think!

Daily Photo – Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

I should get over to Queenstown Gardens more! I don't know why I don't visit more often… it's really kind of a shame! I guess, honestly, I spend so much time in front of the computer that it limits how much I am out shooting. But I also love the post-processing… ahh… well… no regrets, right? I like doing both, and I'm only one person! I do all the post-processing myself. I know some other people farm it out to others, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Anyway, when I see how pretty these gardens are in the Autumn, maybe I'll shift around some things to make it here more often!

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 29, 2014 at 9:47am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

The North American Circus Competition

Find out more about this Photo Contest and Competition here! I’m going to be a judge at this amazing event, and I’m really excited about it! I’ll be staying at the Four Seasons in Toronto, and maybe we can do a photowalk from there or something while I am there…

See More at http://www.circuscompetition.com/

Daily Photo – A Hobbit Hole in the Night

Here's one of the first shots of Hobbit holes at night. Everything has been freshly and delicately lit, and the entire place feels alive and mysterious! Some of the lights on the 44 holes you can't fully appreciate until you closer. From afar, they are just these mysterious little glittering jewels on the bottom of the sea.

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

A Hobbit Hole in the Night

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 7, 2014 at 7:30pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture4
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

From the new HDR Tutorial!

I know a lot of you have all the RAW files and the how-to video for this shot below from the new HDR Tutorial. You should share your finished images inside the Clubhouse — I’d love to see how yours turned out! :)

Night Dinner Tours in Hobbiton

They just opened this up! If you want to sign up, go to this tour page on their site.

Daily Photo – Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

There must be a few things more magical than being where the Hobbits live as night comes on, but I can't think of any right now. I took this one night after the big event with Air New Zealand and it was so amazing. I remember this pub from all the movies, and, somehow, it is even better in real life. Inside, the taps actually work as grog flows out into huge mugs. Maybe I should share a picture of that soon too!

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

Hobbiton and the Green Dragon Pub in the evening

Photo Information

  • Date TakenOctober 19, 2013 at 7:07am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

New Zealand Autumn Workshop Announced for 2015

Announced here first on the blog!

We’ve only announced and planned one workshop for all of 2015 so far, and it’s going to be in the Autumn here in New Zealand! We just finished this one here, and it was absolutely amazing. The colors are just incredible. Don’t forget that Autumn here starts at the end of April, so I know it is a bit of a mind curveball!

Find out more on the New Zealand Autumn Adventure!

Daily Photo – Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

This place is just beyond belief! It's spot after spot after spot and the colors are on fire everywhere. They play so well with the blue above and the amazing quality of the light here in New Zealand. Last year I missed it because I was in China, so this was my first full proper Autumn in New Zealand and I was transfixed! You can pop over to the page above to see even more photos. And I hope you can join us for one of these events! :)

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date TakenApril 22, 2014 at 6:08pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length47.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Back in Hobbiton to make some more videos

New Stuff in the Works!

We just finished spending time on the Hobbiton movie set where we made a lot more videos a few days ago! They’ll take a while to edit of course, but at least the sausage is in the factory! Would you all be interested in a) A Lightroom Tutorial and a b) Night Photography tutorial? Let me know! :)

24-70mm Lens

I’ve been enjoying my new Sony FE 24-70mm lens on my Sony A7r (see my Sony A7r review if you missed it). I find it gives me that middle range I have been missing. In the meantime, I’m working (SLOWLY) on the Leica lens buying guide… trying to find some good affordable options that can unlock this really cool power of the new Sony bodies… I’m trying my best to understand it all myself, and then make it understandable to you! :)

Daily Photo – The Water Mill in Repose

This might just be a perfect water mill! I actually asked them to turn off the wheel (it works and everything), because it was messing up the reflection a bit. I mean, there was still some reflection, but not nearly as clean and lovely as this. It was a bit of a hard decision to focus on just this mill, since there was this really amazing stone arched bridge right beside it. Well, in honestly, I did not decide, because I got both photos! I just happened to process this one first :)

The Water Mill in Repose

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 8, 2014 at 8:38am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length39.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

From Queenstown to Glenorchy

A behind-the-scenes video — first here on the blog

Hey everyone — I thought it would be fun to put this here first. Two days ago, I was driving back to Queenstown from Glenorchy (which is about 50 mins down the road), and the water was so smooth, I just had to jump out of my truck to take this photo! Anyway, here’s a little about the need to get down low… I make a lot of these videos for The Arcanum, but wanted to release this one here for y’all! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Crystal Lake

Those islands you see in the middle of the lake there are Pig Island and Pigeon Island. You can actually take a little kayak over there and there are huts where you can sleep for the night. No one lives there, and they just sit there empty almost all the time… I never see anyone on the lake at all… this is quite a remote area, really, even though it is quite easy to get to. This whole road to get here was only paved about 10 years ago, so it all still feels very fresh and undiscovered!

Lake wakatipu

Across the Crystal Lake

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMay 11, 2014 at 3:17pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

One Surprise Slot for Namibia!

An opening!

We just had my friend Javier (sadly!!) cancel for our upcoming Namibia trip, so here there is one more opening. Find out more about it on the Africa Adventure Page!

Daily Photo – Happy Mother's Day!

To all the moms out there, including my own and Tina below, Happy Mother's Day! I took this photo yesterday when we went out on a little family Mother's Day walk around New Zealand. The youngest one, Scarlett, has run off ahead down the path… if she can't be the center of every photo, she wants no part of it! :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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