The Worst Thing About Mike’s Bar

More Stu in St. Bathans

I thought I might share a photo of Stu right before we went over to Mike’s Bar.

Walking on Water

Daily Photo – The Worst Thing About Mike's Bar

is Mike.

I mean, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is a great place to eat and get drinks in St. Bathans. Wait let me qualify that. It's the only place. There is a very small town, and Mike has absolutely cornered the market in these two areas, but he has yet to corner the market in grace and civility. He's got a hard edge, that Mike. I went here with Stu and ordered some drinks. This process had all the charm and trappings of trench warfare with mustard gas.

Actually, we did quite like Mike. His unwavering negativity and general disregard for any basic human empathetic standard was worthy of a grisly respect.

The Worst thing about Mike's Bar

The Worst Thing About Mike's Bar

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

No Horses Around

The free 40 minute teaser video!

Just in case you missed it when this was released a few months ago, here is a 40-minute video that shows how I make these kind of images. Enjoy! :)

Daily Photo – No Horses Around

Here's another photo from one of my trips to the Hobbiton Movie Set — what a treasure trove of photos. Those of you that got the new HDR Tutorial saw how much fun I had creating this photo in particular. Actually, we had to re-shoot this scene twice because as soon as we got out here, we realized Bel didn't ran out of batteries! She had to go all the way back to the Green Dragon to get some more… and Hobbiton is a bit spread-out — not like your typical movie set. But there are many things about this place that are not like a real movie set… it's too good to be true, but it is! :)

No Horses Around

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

One of the many edited photos

If you got the New HDR Tutorial, then you have all the RAW files for this photo and can go through it with me! This one was a fun one to work on because there were many options in the processing. I chose to keep it pretty dark and moody on the inside, although I could have had everything perfectly lit. This is maybe one of the coolest things about HDR – is that it gives you more options for how to interpret the light in the scene.

Daily Photo – Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

I spent many hours inside of Bilbo's Hobbit Hole! The first day I stayed in here for quite a while to duck out of the rain. It was when I was there for the Air New Zealand shoot and a strange storm came through. The hobbit holes were the safest and driest place to be! I was actually in here with the whole crew and many flight attendants for the duration. While I was stuck in here, I took this photo of one of them who we dressed up like an elf!

Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

Inside the Hobbit Hole of Bilbo Baggins

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Ever-winding River

This spot on Google Maps

If you look at this Google Map, you can perhaps spot where the photo below was taken! :) It’s a bit prettier even if you click on the “Earth” view in the lower left!

Answer: Here is the exact bridge where I took the photo! :)

Daily Photo – The Ever-Winding River

There's this amazing man-made river here in New Zealand. It's used for irrigation, and as far as I can tell, the water flows south from Lake Pukaki down towards the south. The water that comes out of that lake is this amazing unholy blue, and it looks so perfect and strange as it flows in these smooth lines and curves on the way to the south. And then, when the sun is setting, the color becomes somewhere between blue and rainbow.

The Ever-Winding River

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Autumn in Queenstown, Speargrass Flats Road

First on the blog – What does the fall look like here?

I wanted to release this video here first to you all… just a little segment of my day — what I saw yesterday. So I’ve been going out every day here to take photos. I’ve gotten some great ones, but then I realized one of the best things about the Autumn here is the soft movement of everything. So I set my Sony A7r to video mode to get a few scenes from the day. There’s no instruction or anything —- and you might even find it rather boring! Also the audio is not so great because of the wind. Sorry about that! Haha… anyway, you can at least see a bit of what I saw yesterday.

Daily Photo – Autumn in Queenstown, Speargrass Flats Road

This is a lovely road here in my neighborhood called Speargrass Flats. I was just here yesterday when I took this photo. It's where I go on my jog, and very close to my turnaround point. What a great place! I love the feeling of running through here while listening to music. And just now, everything has started to change colors… and it is so beautiful!

Autumn in Queenstown, Speargrass Flats Road

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

Happy Easter from the Ratcliff Family!

Have a great Easter!

Have a good Easter, or, at least have a lot of chocolate! :) Here’s some super-fresh photos from our Easter egg hunt here today. We go up to The Hills and Sebastian dresses up as this huge bunny. The kids chase him all over the place, over the hills, through the forest, and beyond… he throws out eggs and the kids go crazy for it!

Easter-in-queenstown (37 of 180)

Daily Photo – My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

Here's my two girls, Isabella and Scarlett. They are walking through the forest here looking for any hidden Easter eggs! The colors have just started to change down here in New Zealand, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful Autumn.

My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Ruins of Macetown

Landscapes at f/1.4

I’ve been using these Leica lenses more and more. And, by the way, they don’t have to be very expensive. There are many shades of grey. For example, there is a whole line of Leica M lenses that are very affordable. Anyway, I don’t shoot a lot of landscape type shots at this kind of aperture, but I am experimenting more and more. Like, for example, today’s photo is kind of cool with this situation, and I’m not sure it would be any better another way around…

Daily Photo – The Ruins of Macetown

If you go past Arrowtown down a rather rough dirt road and cross the river about 15 times, you get to an old abandoned mining town called Macetown. The school hikes the kids there every year and it's kind of a destination. I don't know why it is a destination though. On the day we went, it was rainy and cold and I found much of it to be rather dreadful, even though I tried to have a good attitude. Or, at least, an attitude of acceptance, which sometimes helps. Anyway, I did manage to take a few photos while there, and here is one of them near the end of our quarry.

The Ruins of Macetown

The Ruins of Macetown

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

Beginning another hike

Your Favorite Hiking Trails?

What is the best hike you’ve ever done? I’m not exactly some kind of a super-hiker, but I think now the best one was last week along the Greenstone River near Glenorchy.

Daily Photo – Beginning Another Hike

Yesterday I mentioned one of the long hikes, and here we are starting out on another one. That's Bel and Bas there, leading the group. Every day for a week, we did a 10-16km hike through some of the most beautiful trails in the world. This was part of my week at Aro-Ha, which was absolutely fantastic. I could not recommend it any more!

The whole time I took my Sony A7r with me, and I grabbed a ton of photos. I'm just getting through processing them right now. Here's one of the ones taken with the 55mm F/1.8.

Beginning Another Hike

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO80
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Misty Pond in the Morning

Soggy Feet

I think this last year has been my Soggiest Foot-Year On Record.

I do end up out taking a lot of photos as usual, but there just seems to be a massive amount of soggy ground around this area lately! It has been an extremely rainy summer, which I hear is unusual around here. I’m not enough of a local to know what is normal yet!

I’ve seen some questions too about the weather here in the summer — does it get hot? No! A good summer day is usually somewhere in the 70′s, and it rarely gets above 75. There is a ton of sun, and no one even has air conditioning… whenever it gets above 75 (which is super-rare), everyone just opens their windows!

Daily Photo – Misty Pond in the Morning

Here's another scene from Bendemeer Estates between Queenstown and Arrowtown. There are about half a dozen lakes, and the morning seems to be the best time to shoot them. The air is very very still, and as soon as the sun hits them, a little mist starts to rise then slowly drift across the surface.

Misty Pond in the Morning

Misty Pond in the Morning

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

24 Hours Till the Big Event!

New HDR Tutorial Live Event Soon!

For everyone who has grabbed the new Complete HDR Tutorial, I’m looking forward to seeing you in the live event soon! We’ll pick the winners for the trip to New Zealand, the new Sony A7, and the 10 free copies of Nik Software. In addition, of course I’ll be doing some live demos, critiques, and have lots of other fun stuff lined up for the Q&A session. All the details are there in the link above. I’m really looking forward to it! :)

A little 40 min tutorial

Here’s a good little preview of the full thing! It’s about 40 mins long, but the full course is 10 hours.

Daily Photo – Exploring the Hobbit Holes

Here's one of the new photos that is edited in the full course. I took a ton of photos while on the Hobbiton Movie Set, and this was one of my favorites. If you ever make it there, actually, you'll see that pretty much all of the 40 Hobbit holes are just this picturesque!

Exploring the Hobbit Holes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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