I know I mentioned the new Photomatix just two days ago, but I’ve been informed I was mistaken about the upgrade policy. Sorry about that! But, here, straight from them, is the latest upgrade policy:
“The upgrade to Photomatix Pro version 5 will be free of charge for customers who purchased a license of Photomatix Pro version 4.0 or higher through our website or authorised resellers (Photomatix Pro 4.0 was released on October 2010).”
The final Photomatix 5 should be out very very very soon — I am excited! I used it on the image below… and, well, most images you see on the site here!
Daily Photo – Flying through the Highlands
This is one of the first landings we made with Choppy on our latest helicopter tour. I swear — they are the most awesome things. I decided to reward myself with a few of these per year… the views you get are just amazing and I spend half the time being in awe and the other half recovering from the awe. Of course, I’m taking photos all the while!
I recommend Choppy! You can see more about her and Over the Top on their website!
Daily Photo – Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake
We took a helicopter ride up and around Queenstown and tried going down a few new valleys. This spot is pretty much right over Moke Lake and that tiny lake you see there is Lake Kirkpatrick. I’ve made that drive a few times below and it’s always beautiful.
I think one very unusual thing about this place is that perfectly conical mountain that is also green. When you get that kind of shape in nature, it’s rarely green — usually some kind of a dirty brown (easier to erode). But now the vegetation will help this to keep its awesome shape a long time.
I’m not at all an expert on this, but I have taken a lot of photos out of choppers, including the one below.
The two most important things to keep in mind seem to be shutter speed and window glare. Experiment with the lighting conditions before you get into the chopper and set your camera into Aperture priority (or Manual if you wanna go mega hardcore). Get the F-Stop nice and low since everything you’ll be shooting is far away and you won’t have any focus problems. Also, get your ISO around 100, but you may need to increase that if you feel your shutter speed is dragging a little. If it is super-bright, you may not want to be at the lowest F-Stop, because then everything will be blown out.
When I was doing this shoot below, I felt like the shutter was dragging a little bit, so I kept increasing the ISO. When you are in Aperture Priority, doubling the ISO makes your shutter speed drop in half.
The last thing to keep in mind is the glare. You want to minimize this of course, and it is very hard when the chopper is always turning this way and that. Just be mindful of it and get very close to the glass to minimize the effect. You can fix some of it in post, if it is not too terrible!
Daily Photo – New Zealand with Choppy
There are more valleys and rugged mountains around here than I could ever explore. I’m starting to really believe this! I know there is a lot of cool stuff around me, and, in the beginning, I had a confidence that I would be able to explore it all — but maybe not! Whenever I get up in a helicopter and fly around, I’m reminded how vast this place is. Vast and mostly empty. It’s like scary-awesome-empty… it’s really kind of a strange feeling flying over it in a way… so remote and beautiful and empty…
Grab it from the App Store here.Free! Yay! The Android, iPad, and Mac versions are now complete and new updates are going around now! Next up is Trip Syncing, so your personalized trips can go with you on any device, online or offline. Yes, you’ll be able to find all those amazing travel/photography spots you want to visit even without Internet. !! More Reviews welcome! Please, actually… don’t make me beg! Those 5 star reviews really help, and if you have any questions or problems, we have actual humans standing by to answer your email at email@example.com
In the forests of the South Island of New Zealand
You might be interested in some of the behind-the-scenes of the photo below. Enjoy!
Daily Photo – An endless beautiful forest
And here is one of the final shots from the video above.
I saw that Flickr is now giving 1 TB of storage of hi-res photos to ALL users. Wow that’s kind of an insanely high number! I’m not sure how existing pros account holders (like me) think about this, but they get grandfathered into infinite, which is a lot more that 1 TB, so that is nice. The new re-design looks nice too. Here’s my Flickr page.
I wonder if they are making this move because it “sounds” good when they know that the vast majority of users will never use that much data. So, it may not be that much of a financial hit on them for the storage space. Google recently upgraded their full-rez photo allotment too, but not nearly that high. But, on the plus side, the Google one allows infinite uploads of photos smaller than 2048×2048, which I think most photos are nowadays. My friend Thomas Hawk also has a nice article about this news from Flickr on his blog.
I still use SmugMug (see SmugMug Review) as my main place for hi-rez photos and my portfolio. Still, however, I spend most of my time on these other social networks, none of which do as good of a job as displaying my portfolio of work.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I still can’t upload full-rez images on Facebook… Sad emoticon.
Did you get the free Lightroom presets upgrade?
We recently added a free bonus package to the Lightroom presets for free. If you already bought them, then this is a free upgrade! Now, we started selling these in the “old” store, which let us send out an email to everyone. But if you got them in the New StuckInCustoms Store, then your account has been automagically updated! Just login and you can re-download the package that will have all the new goodies in there!
Daily Photo – Tom with the Horse
The first time Tom and I took photos of horses was on Oahu. This was our second horse-encounter here in New Zealand! He got up close with his fisheye while I backed up with the 70-200 f/2.8 to get this shot.
I really like those mountains behind Tom. I want to get a shot of them this winter when they are all covered in snow!
During the month of April we are going to run a 20% off Sale in April for everything on Flatbooks.com. The coupon code APRILEBOOKS is valid through April 30th.
Daily Photo – Sheep Says Baaaaa
I know I sound like a total tourist, but I still like watching sheep. Maybe because I’ve lived here less than a year, but they are still fun for me to watch. They kind of move around like lily pads on a pond, in kind of a random way. Every now and then they line up and run to one area or another, but it’s mostly random drifting. And it’s fun for me to catch the random drifting and try to compose something interesting. As more and more sheep enter the frame, it cranks up the degree of difficulty, like Olympic diving!
This week, I’m at SXSW in Austin, so it’s a bit harder for me to respond to comments on the blog. But, I still read THEM ALL. So, have no fear… when it comes to feedback and reading what you have to say, the blog is always my first stop! And yes, I will always try to respond as much as humanly possible… thanks!
Daily Photo – Forest on the road to Paradise
When you leave Glenorchy and start driving on the dirt road to Paradise, there are a few little wet forested areas that you’ll pass through. It’s worth pulling over your car and just going on a random walk. I recommend following a stream or river so you can always find your way back. Because if you get more than 100 meters from your car and you lose your way, you’ll never find your way again! The heaviness and thickness of the forest is totally confusing, and you’ll be hopelessly confused… but following a little stream is usually a good ticket to find your way back.
Normally I jump around the world and post photos from many countries out of order. But, I’ve been processing SO MANY New Zealand photos that I’ve got a giant backlog that is New Zealand-heavy! So, you’ll have to give me a few weeks to post a bunch of new work from NZ… I apologize for that because I know you are used to seeing more variety. But, there are some Really Pretty Images coming up from NZ that I am so excited to publish and share with you…. like the one below today!
Daily Photo – The Dirt Road to Paradise
After you pass Glenorchy, the paved road continues for a while as you approach Paradise. The paved road then turns into a dirt road. At this point, many visitors turn around, which is a shame! You can keep on rolling down this road in your rental car for quite a way. There’s even a few river crossings you can make, like Arwen on horseback. You can do it! Probably. I even see giant campervans going through here… anyway, the dirt road is in pretty good condition, so don’t let that turn you back!
There’s NO risk in the store… I always give back 100% if you are not mega-mega-happy! So, it would be cool if you wanted to pop into the all new Store.StuckInCustoms.com to have a quick look around! I hope you find something you like, and I’m very interested in your experience in and around the new interface.
And, since you are the first in the world to see the new store, you just may notice a few new products in there! Hmmm…. what could they be? I won’t tell, but you have to go behind the curtain to have a looksee… you will be excited!
A big thanks to the team for getting this all put together! If you have any problems, Real Human Beings are standing by to help you at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll answer any questions, big or small. Enjoy!
Daily Photo – The Horse in Paradise
Tom and I just took a drive out to Paradise, NZ (Yes, this is a real place!), just beyond Glenorchy. Along the way, we saw all kinds of amazing landscapes and dramatic animals. Here’s one of the dramatic horses, striking a pose!
I used one of my Lightroom Presets (new store link) to make this image… this one is an HDR-in-Lightroom setting called “Drama in the Center”!