The Most Beautiful Road in the World

Visit Gordon at Camera Labs!

Among other very nice local people I have met here in the Queenstown area is Gordon Liang from Camera Labs. Be sure to pop over to his site to check out some of his reviews. He’s a very nice guy and our families had breakfast together here… after talking about all his testing, he gave me some serious camera-envy!

Daily Photo – The Most Beautiful Road in the World

I found it!

I’ve looked at travel guides and driven on a ton of beautiful, scenic roads all over the world, but I think this road to Queenstown (on the way to/from Glenorchy) is the most beautiful in the world. The road winds down one side of a perfect, fjord-like lake, and every few kilometers, the mountain views change dramatically. Depending upon the time of day you travel it, the entire landscape transforms before your eyes.

Wonder what it looks like on the other side of the lake? You won’t believe that it is in the same place! See this photo called “Mountainstorm” that I took on a previous trip to this location. It was shot later in the evening, so I wasn’t able to properly capture the road that time.

What’s the prettiest road you have ever found? I’ve seen conflicting guides of the most beautiful roads in the US… I’m sure everyone has their opinion… I’d love to know what you think!

HDR Photo

The Most Beautiful Road in the World

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length44mm (44mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Green Pool of New Zealand

New Video!

When I took this photo, I also made another little behind-the-scenes video. Here it is below!

Daily Photo – The Green Pool

The northern island of New Zealand has a geothermal area in Rotorua called Wai-o-tapu that is filled with these strange places. One of the best things about these are the names… Various mysterious pits have names like the Devil’s Throat, Hell’s Gate, and Devil’s Cauldron. You don’t want to drop your cell phone in any of these.

HDR Photo

Auckland Harbor

In New Zealand!

After a crazy time in China, I am now in New Zealand for about a month.  This has been a truly adventurous trip, and it is exactly the kind of treasure I seek.  There is a part of me that always feels serene and harmonious when adventuring into the unknown.

We are looking for a new place to live, so we will be wandering around the South Island to look for some place cool. I’ll have more on an “official move” soon. People ask me all the time why I would move from USA to NZ, and I have a whole list!

And thank you for all the suggestions on where to stay in the South Island.  It’s a great list and we are still working through it! :)

Daily Photo – Auckland Harbor

When we were in Auckland last time, we had an amazing photowalk. There were so many people! A lot of us had our tripods as we moved around the city streets creating quite a spectacle. Afterward, we went to a nice little venue and I gave a talk on photography that I hope did not bore people!

During the walk, we stopped along the harbor in a few spots. There was a rotating metallic sculpture that grabbed everyone’s eye, so we popped over for a quick shot.

HDR Photo

The Yellow-Eyed Penguin

Straight Outta Lightroom

I’ve use Lightroom all the time. It’s great. This shot below came straight out of Lightroom with no Photoshop adjustments at all. Lightroom is extremely powerful, and I know lots of people that use it exclusively. I do use it all the time, although mostly just to organize my photos — not edit them.

Daily Photo – The Yellow-Eyed Penguin

These are the rare yellow-eyed penguins of New Zealand.  I think they are rare.  I don’t know.  It seems like all animals are rare or endangered, so those words kind of lose their punch after a while, don’t they?  I mean, if most everything is rare, then it becomes quite common, linguistically speaking.  Anyway, they said it was rare, so there you go.

And I know why they are rare!  They just stand there.  It’s no wonder humans had a field-day on New Zealand.  These giant, meaty, tasty birds just stand around.  They are like Cheesecake Factories that are open all night and always free.  I’m sure they are pretty hard to resist when you are hungry.  Mmmm… Penguin-Flavored-Cheesecake.

HDR Photo

The Abandoned Farmhouse

The Genuine Fractals Review

Here is a review that I haven’t mentioned in a while. It’s a handy piece of software for cleverly making photos bigger without losing resolution. See more in the Genuine Fractals Review.

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Farmhouse

This place was another one of those New Zealand fence-hoppers.

I’m never 100% sure that jumping over fences is a great move. But if the place looks abandoned, I just go for it. I don’t mean any harm…. I’m just going to take photos. So far, this has never caused me an issue (except for when I forget to check to see if the fence is electrified).

I don’t do a lot of these urbex shots, but I certainly do enjoy them. Did you know there are several forums out there that have listings of abandoned buildings around the world? They list out old abandoned hospitals, theme parks, hotels, and more creepy places like you see in zombie movies. It’s all great for photography, of course, and I think a few of my London contacts may be hooking me up with some abandoned spots around their neck of the woods.

HDR Photo

Photography podcast in the future? And… The Giant Sun Sinks into the Tasman Sea

Video from The Tech Guy

We have some fun video from the appearance on Leo Laporte‘s The Tech Guy yesterday. When I was out at Leo’s cottage a few weeks ago, he brought up the idea of doing a photography podcast on his network. I gave him the thumbs up and said I thought it sounded like a good idea! He said he wanted to put it together with me, Lisa Bettany, and Ray Maxwell. If you want to hear the latest in those discussions, fast-forward to the 12:30 mark.

Otherwise, we talk about HDR, the DVD, we critique on of his HDR shots, and this sort of thing. As far as links we mentioned, you can go to the HDR Camera Recommendations and the free HDR Tutorial.

And, after the interview, I forgot I was still on Skype!  So, he caught me carrying my computer back to the office… but I did capture some more behind-the-scenes stuff that you may enjoy…hehe.  You may enjoy seeing what happens during the commercial breaks of these shows… !

If you want to subscribe to more of Leo’s podcasts, just visit his main TWIT site. He has everything from the hit weekly show This Week in Tech that has John Dvorak as a regular to my fellow Austinite Brian Brushwood on NSFW. They have it all there!

Daily Photo – The Giant Sun Sinks into the Tasman Sea

Despite what I said in the podcast, sometimes you do want to go beyond +2 to -2 !  I can’t go through every caveat in those short soundbytes… but this exemplifies such a case.  In this photo of the sunset over the Tasman Sea, off the coast of New Zealand, I did take 7 exposures form +3 to -3.  Whenever you aim the camera right into the sun, you need to expose even more range than normal.

I am going back to New Zealand for about a month in October. It will be a blast! This time, I’ll be spending most of my time on the South Island, exploring around… I hope to bring back more wonderful finds from the wild for you!

HDR Photo

River to the Maelstrom

Flickr For Blogs & Social Media Stuff

I know that some of you are coming to OpenCa.mp to see me speak — but if you are a blogger or into social media, I highly recommend you come see Scott Kublin talk (see Scott’s session here). Just trust me on this one.

Speaking of blogging, driving traffic, and all that sort of stuff, I point you to this article on ReadWriteWeb called “Analysis: What are the Web’s Top Sources of Referral Traffic?” There is a nice mention of StuckInCustoms.com there and about how much traffic we get from Flickr alone.

FlipBoard is cool!

This is the coolest way to follow Twitter (@TreyRatcliff) and Facebook! It’s called FlipBoard for the iPad, and I have been using it quite a bit. It’s great! Basically, it is a clever way to see what is happening in Twitter in a magazine format. Whenever anyone posts a link, FlipBoard gives you a nice preview of the whole story.

I have created many Twitter Lists of good people to follow for various categories — artists, scientists, funny people, the Stuck In Customs community, and more!

Here are some photos of one of my lists called “Trey Ratcliff Curated Art” so you can see what it looks like.  There are all kinds of great sources on there like Abduzeedo, who is giving away an eBook, btw.  It very smartly builds a dynamic page based on what people put on the list!


Daily Photo – River to the Maelstrom

To honor ReadWriteWeb and its founder, the great Richard MacManus, I decided to post a new photo from his homeland of New Zealand today.

On the way to Milford Sound, there are a variety of little rivers that twist and turn into the mountains. I didn’t have nearly enough time, but I did a small amount of hiking to find some good compositions. I WILL have enough time, when I go back later in November or so of this year. Maybe I’ll spend a month or so this time, so I can really get out and do some serious hiking.

Even though I like to leave a little mystery in my photos (like that unusual maelstrom around the bend), I don’t like to have these mysteries in real life. I had to hike that direction to see what was there! And what was there? Hmm… maybe we’ll save that for a future shot!

HDR Photo

The Mysterious Stone Sphere

Torpedo Away!  London Calling!

The “Prettiest Newsletter in the World” has left the gates… All kinds of London news inside and more! Enjoy!


Daily Photo – The Mysterious Stone Sphere

This English-style garden near a smallish castle in New Zealand had all sorts of little sculptures and whatnot. This part of the day was overcast and cool, so it was nice to walk casually around with my tripod. I don’t know what this stone object was all about, but it certainly seemed photo-worthy.

I used a 14-24 lens for this shot, and I am still amazed how close I have to get to a subject to get it to fill up the frame. Usually, I have to get uncomfortably close to the subject. I suppose it’s not uncomfortable with an inanimate object, but, still…. you know what I mean if you have done this.

HDR Photo

About to Explore Milford Sound

Met Joseph Linaschke!

Yesterday I met Joseph Linascke in LA. He’s as great a guy in person as I expected. I had hosted This Week in Photography with him several months ago, and we have always been trying to get together. It was good to finally meet him in person!

Do you organize your photos on an Apple and interested in using Aperture to make the job easier? You should get Joseph’s Aperture eBook. That thing is over 100 pages long and filled with all kinds of good stuff.

Daily Photo – About to Explore Milford Sound

Milford Sound was one of the three places that everyone in New Zealand told me I had to visit. And after arriving there, I’m glad I did! It was a bit foggy and cloudy while I was there, but it made for a nice mood.  The light rain would get a bit annoying on the lens, but we all learn to deal with these little bummer things that happen.  Nothing is perfect and nothing is easy…

These days are difficult for shooting. There is sometimes not a good or obvious angle, so it takes a lot of hiking and consideration before I finally pull the trigger. I hiked all around the coast for a bit before settling on this spot. Not too long after this, I got onto a huge boat to take me out towards the ocean.  That afforded me a lot more angles and unexpected shots, which I’ll be sure to include in a future post.

Pasture Sentinel

Daily Photo – Pasture Sentinel

After I drove through Nelson, I was ripping along the highway and noticed an old farmhouse. I’m not sure how I noticed it, but the area was so different, I just had to stop. I spent 90% of my time taking photos of the farmhouse, and on the way back, I saw this tree. It stood solitary and wonderful; I had to grab a shot.

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