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

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

The Spring Mountains

XBox Fitness

Has anyone tried XBox Fitness on the new XBox One? It’s cool but there are many problems! Even though my bandwidth is totally incredible, I still get “Low Bandwidth” warnings and it pauses quite a bit. Many times, I’ve lost connection and my whole workout has gone down the tubes! It’s quite demotivating for some strange reason! I hope XBox fixes that soon, or at least lets me cache everything locally.

Daily Photo – The Spring Mountains

Choppy landed here on this remote lake for a bit while I jumped out to take photos with Curtis, Luke, Pete, and Scott. It was so fun, and I felt lucky there was a bit of snow up high to give some more colors to the scene. You can also hike to this point, but while we were sitting there in the chopper, all we could think was, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

The Spring Mountains

The Spring Mountains

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Flying through the Highlands

Photomatix Upgrade Policy

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!

Flying through the Highlands

Flying through the Highlands

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Looking for a good chopper pilot in Queenstown?

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.

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Hills beyond hills over Moke Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Tips for Shooting Out of a Helicopter

How to shoot out of a helicopter

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…

NZ

New Zealand with Choppy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-6
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

#1 in the Apple Store and Now Featured!

Now Featured!

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 support@stuckincustoms.com

HDR Photo

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.

The wild forest

An endless beautiful forest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture22
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Tom with the Horse

Mid-day Update – Flickr News 1 TB free?

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!

Tom with the Horse

Tom with the Horse

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3S
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length78.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Sheep Says Baaaaa

Flatbooks Special for the month!

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!

Sheep Says Baaaaa

Sheep Says Baaaaa

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3S
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length175.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Forest on the road to Paradise

Comments while on the road

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.

Forest on the road to Paradise

Forest on the road to Paradise

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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