Isabella on the Path and Pandacraft!

Speaking of Isabella – how to make rubber-band jewelry

Here’s a cute video my daughter made… and there’s a little surprise grammar lesson at the end by the panda on her left! :)

Daily Photo – Isabella on the Path

We had a great overnight camping trip out past Glenorchy by the Greenstone River. Well, it was not really pure full-on camping because there was an old house there that we slept inside. We headed out on a few little hikes here and there, and on the way, I stopped to take this photo of Isabella. I asked her to stand right in the middle, so while she was looking down to get herself in the middle, I snapped this one.

Isabella on the Path

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length47.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1

The Paragliding Flight School in Queenstown

Speaking of the Flight School

Here’s a full video about me learning to fly at the place depicted below! :)

Daily Photo – The Flight School Cafe

You have to come here after having Swanny all up your backside while teaching you paragliding for the day! Be sure to tell them Trey sent you! This is an amazing place for food… breakfast or lunch. You might just see me landing there… Have fun! :)

The Flight School Cafe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

Way Over Wanaka

Borders on Photos

I don’t usually put borders around my photos. I don’t have anything necessarily against borders (as long as they are not too garish). But my friend Jackie Ranken made a good point about them — that they help define the borders of a photo when shown on a black screen when projecting. I think a lot of people also look at them full screen on their computers or TVs with a black background, so it is nice to have that sharply designed border there.

Daily Photo – Way Over Wanaka

We had an amazing helicopter flight over the Southern Alps and ended up flying over some mountains near Wanaka. They were covered in a fine fog and mist and looked absolutely epic. I took dozens and dozens of shots. This is one of the first that I have processed, and I love the way it turned out in black and white.

Way Over Wanaka

Way Over Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length44.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Walking to Glacier Isobel

Environment-sensitive Quadcopters

I’ve been thinking how awesome it will be when quadcopters have built-in lidars so they can sense when objects are nearby and automatically avoid them. My vision is not that great (since I only see out of one eye), and so sometimes it hard for me to have depth perception once I lose parallax. Anyway, I’m looking forward to that collision-avoidance soon!

Daily Photo – Walking to Glacier Isobel

Here's my friend Curtis walking towards Glacier Isobel there in the distance. We landed the chopper (with Choppy!) about 100 meters behind us and we walked up as close as we could. Well, we didn't actually get that close because there was a super-steep cliff where we called it quits.

I came to this place back in the summer, and the ground was covered in these bright red tussocks. But now in the Autumn when it starts to snow, it looks like a totally different place!

Walking to Glacier Isobel

Walking to Glacier Isobel

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

Morning Scramble in Queenstown

We’re hiring a Wizard of Web Development for The Arcanum

Come see more at http://thearcanum.com/web-development-wizard/ – maybe it’s a good fit for you? No wizard-robes required, although they are encouraged…

Appreciating Sunsets and Sunrises When I Don’t Have My Camera

Yes, I can still appreciate them, but it is a bittersweet appreciation! It’s a complex series of emotions that are in some kind of a spinning yin-yang in my mind. There’s this Brownian emotional motion that makes things all a bit weird… I don’t know if that makes sense!

Daily Photo – Morning Scramble in Queenstown

I woke up one morning while Curtis was here and there was this crazy sunrise just starting. I was still in bed (one of my favorite places on cold mornings), but I knew I had to get up. I'm usually quite incoherent after I wake up… so there were many different socks and shoes combined to get myself somewhat mobile. I scrambled around and found my tripod and camera and everything. I clumsily put on the right lens and got in position. And then I realized I had no battery. So I had to do a sprint back to my studio to get a fresh battery. That morning sprint will wake you up in a rude way, but you are certainly awake by then. Anyway, after all that mess, I got this shot. Yay! hehe…

Morning Scramble in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1.7

Looking upwards by the river

New Trick with Cameras

I figured out a new strange way to take photos with my Sony A7r — actually this will work with any camera that has a flip out screen that points at least 90 degrees upwards.

As you may have tried before you know that looking straight up with a wide angle lens often produces really interesting results. The problem is actually the “looking straight up” bit! It always hurts my neck, especially when on a tripod. So now what I do is just aim the camera straight up and walk forward behind it, normally, but I keep the screen flipped up to 90 degrees so it is right in front of my eyes. It makes it super-easy to find the shots you might normally miss!

Daily Photo – Looking upwards by the river

These trees were the first to lose their leaves this season, but I wanted to see if I could still make an interesting photo from them. That trick above helped. The colors maybe came out a bit dull initially, but I do like the way everything turned out when I added some of my Lightroom Presets to them. These are from the latest edition of the package, and I'm secretly working on a few more… will let you know!

Looking upwards by the river

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

The View from the Barn at Lake Hayes

The Barn at Lake Hayes

Don’t forget that if you come to this area here in Queenstown and Arrowtown that you should totally stay at “The Barn at Lake Hayes” — it’s just incredible there as it backs onto the shore of this majestic lake. I took this photo from there!

Daily Photo – The View from the Barn at Lake Hayes

Doesn't this view make you want to go out and do some paddle-boarding? I still haven't done it, but it looks so fun. And whenever I see people do it, they make it look so easy. Maybe it is easy! I want to try, and it's super popular around here. A lot of people even have their own paddleboards… Maybe I will borrow one and give it a whirl. It would be really cool if I could get good enough where I could take my camera out with me.

Oh, there is this one curious thing about this photo I noticed when I was done with it. It looks like there is sort of one of those glass spheres, huge, right in the middle of the photo, eh?

The View from the Barn at Lake Hayes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

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