Chris Madison in Queenstown

Speaking of Paragliding….

Yesterday I posted a photo from a glider, so today is loosely related. I actually joined the paragliding school by mistake! My neighbor Chris walked over and said we should go do a tandem flight with a professional. Next thing I knew, we were suited up in paragliding school! He was as shocked as I was, but everything worked out in a surprisingly awesome way!

Daily Photo – Chris Madison in Queenstown

Here's my friend Chris right before take off on another paraglider flight across Queenstown. You can see the windsock behind him, fully erect, so to speak. Speaking of erections, I should tell you more about Swanny's Paragliding School! If you're ever in Queenstown, and looking for a good time, be sure to contact Swanny. The name of it is Infinity Paragliding — and on day 2, you'll actually be doing a solo flight over Queenstown. Unbelievable!

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 10, 2013 at 11:55am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Impossible Blues of Lake Tekapo

Polarized Sunglasses

If you think this lake looks like a crazy color, then you should see it through polarized sunglasses. I’m constantly amazed at the color shift when I put on sunglasses that shift the color fields around… It kind of makes me want to get a bunch of crazy filters on the front of my camera. But I’m not that into, I think… I just like capturing all the light while there from the pure whiteness of the sun. I can always goof with the colors later if I want to.

Daily Photo – The Impossible Blues of Lake Tekapo

Well when you get to see this for yourself, you'll soon discover they are not impossible! It does of course depend on the sun and some of the other ambient light, but this is a pretty standard color. It looks extra nice with those little white cliffs too. Right below them, you see something that might be beaches, but they are not… that is just some of that white chalky stuff that is being brushed back into the water.

The Impossible Blues of Lake Tekapo

The Impossible Blues of Lake Tekapo

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 5, 2014 at 11:42am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/6400
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO80
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

Many cool new things coming!

Seeing this photo reminded me of some of the new videos we are working on for you. There is a lot of amazing stuff in the works, and I am super excited!

Daily Photo – Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

When I arrived here for the Air New Zealand shoot, it was about an half-an-hour before sunrise. The sky was very light already, as you can see below. They have these little lanterns that hang down and around the Green Dragon Pub. I got in close to one to show the detail, and in the distance, you can see many hobbit holes reflected across the water.

Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

Arriving in Hobbiton in the Early Morning

Photo Information

  • Date TakenOctober 17, 2013 at 5:27pm
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

Lonely Trails

You know one of the strangest things about these hiking trails in this area of the South Island of New Zealand? They are almost entirely empty. Sometimes on hikes you go hours or all day without ever seeing another human. And they are all wonderfully maintained too… there are little bridges here and there, nicely graded paths, etc etc — they put a lot of care and work into them for something that is so rarely used… but that’s okay with me of course — I like the solitude! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

While filming the new HDR Tutorial (be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to the right to find out the scoop on that!), we hiked to the top of this trail to get this unique view. It was a moody and wet day, and everything had a very otherworldly feel about it. This shot was actually fairly difficult because I couldn't get everything in one shot. So it required some difficult vertical panorama stitching in the final result. It's never an easy combo with HDR! Anyway, all of that is seen in the new video HDR Tutorial I mentioned up there! :)

Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date TakenNovember 7, 2013 at 6:07am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Central Otago from the Air

Paragliding versus Gliders

Currently, I think I prefer paragliding to gliders. Both are awesome, of course, but I kind of like the slower speed and the openness of a paraglider. I know that people that prefer gliders like them for the opposite reason — the speed! I’ve also heard a lot of paragliders get into gliders later in their life after their knees are shot from landings! So far my knees are good… so far so good!

Daily Photo – Central Otago

What a view from the glider! I have never taken photos from a glider before, so I was very happy to see they all turned out so nice. They were all taken with the Sony A7r and the 10-18mm NEX Lens.

It's hard to believe that the landscape below just goes on and on and on for hours and hours and hours. New Zealand looks so small on the map, but when you are here, it's like a Tardis-country!

Central Otago

Central Otago

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 4, 2014 at 5:23pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Through the Forest Path

Light Trough Trees

I take a lot of photos in forests and along paths, but they don’t always turn out well. In fact, I would say that shooting in a forest is one of the hardest shooting situations ever! Everything gets really muddled up if you don’t watch out. So, to get this photo below, believe me, I had to take over 100 different ones that just came out, well, kind of “blah”!

Daily Photo – Through the Forest Path

Yesterday I showed a shot from a hike, and here is yet another one! This one is along the Greenstone river further south towards Glenorchy. It's a great walk, but you have to drive a long way before you can start it. However, even better, you can take a boat over to the start of the trail. That will save you many hours of driving time and bumpy roads. I suppose it's a bit strange to arrive at a hiking trail by boat, but it's worth it because you're so tired after this little 16km jaunt!

Through the Forest Path

Through the Forest Path

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 15, 2014 at 11:14am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture8
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Hike past Bob’s Cove

Great Walks of New Zealand

I believe there are 9 “Great Walks” here in New Zealand. These are all multi-day walks that go through some of the most epic places around here. I haven’t done any of them yet, and I was trying to decide on the first one. I hear that some of them are “old” style in that they are quite closed in and you don’t get many views. I’ve heard that others are more “modern” and allow a lot more wide-open vista views. I’ll have to do a bunch to figure out which one I like!

Daily Photo – The Hike past Bob's Cove

There's an amazing photo-stop on the way to Glenorchy called Bob's Cove. You can see it down there on the left. Believe it or not, the same water is over on the right! I'm kind of up high on a peninsula shooting back towards Queenstown. This spot is pretty easy to get to… if you just keep following the path on around, you end up in good shape for this shot! I was pretty dang wide at 13mm to get everything in.

The Hike past Bob's Cove

The Hike past Bob's Cove

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 14, 2014 at 9:19am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/750
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Running through the Macetown Ruins

Going barefoot more

I’ve never been one of those tough guys that walks barefoot everywhere. But, maybe I’m becoming more of one. There are all these little rocks around my studio, and I walk back and forth many times a day over to the main house. This is toughing up my situation… I’m starting to feel a bit more manly about this sort of thing now…

Daily Photo – Running through the Macetown Ruins

There are my two little girls peeking out the door while one of their friends runs full speed out of the old miner's hut. It's never easy to get kids to pose for anything, so you just kinda gotta go for it and see what happens. I have no idea how child photographers get kids to do anything — it seems to crazy to me! Anyway, you may remember another photo from our recent trip to Macetown… there are lots of these little ruins around that are kind of neat to explore, I suppose.

Running through the Macetown Ruins

Running through the Macetown Ruins

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

Landing on Cecil Peak

Helicopter Height Confusion

I was so excited to fly up here with Choppy. Right before we landed, I realized that I was completely confused as to how high off the ground we were. I thought we were getting close because the scale of everything looked right, but then as we kept sinking lower, I discovered I was totally wrong! I don’t know if I could ever be a helicopter pilot with such a bad sense of scale. I’m good with manmade objects, but with natural stuff, it’s kind of hard to tell when looking straight down until the very last minute (at least, for me).

Daily Photo – Landing on Cecil Peak

This is my first time up on Cecil Peak, which is one of many mountains you can see towering over Queenstown. It sits right on one of the apexes of Lake Wakatipu. Whenever I describe the shape of the lake, I always describe it like a little lightning bolt — like the scar on Harry Potter's head. This peak is right at one of those little turns and Queenstown is on the opposite side. Until you actually get up here, you have no idea how big some of these rock spires are!

Landing on Cecil Peak

Landing on Cecil Peak

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 15, 2013 at 4:56am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Stu and Hugsman Bob

Off to Morocco Soon!

I’m just finishing packing for a nice long trip to Morocco — I am so excited to see that country. I’ve never been before, so my excitement is all the way up to 11! :)

The Leica Lenses on the Sony A7r

I’ve been mentioning attaching other lenses to the Sony A7r for some time now, and here is a little video I made in case you missed it! :)

Daily Photo – Stu and Hugsman Bob

I'm really enjoying the effect you get from this 24mm at f/1.4! I haven't done a lot of shooting with it yet, but if you get some separation of your subjects from the background in terms of distance, then everything falls away with a nice bokeh. Hey that kind of rhymes. This was the Leica f/1.4 lens attached to the Sony A7r body.

And as for this photo? This is the Stu I mentioned yesterday with Bob, a local there in Saint Bathans where you can stop any time for a hug and a bit of homespun wisdom! :)

Stu and Hugsman

Stu and Hugsman Bob

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-2

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