Flying over Perfect Lakes

Choppy at Over-the-Top

If you ever head to Queenstown and want the ultimate chopper experience, be sure to check out Choppy at Over-the-Top. She’s a good friend and an amazing pilot. Also, since she’s a photographer, she knows how to find all the best spots!

Nonstop Critiques!

We had a really fun critique session a few days ago. We selected a lot of images from Apprentices at The Arcanum and did lots of sharing!

Daily Photo – Flying over Perfect Lakes

A chopper flight (with Choppy!) from Queenstown to Glenorchy can take you over a few hidden lakes. Here is one of them, looking amazing in this strange light one afternoon. One cool secret thing about this lake is there is a tiny little hut at the end where you can stay for the night. No one lives there, but you can just hike in, bring a little dinner with you, do a little fishing, sleep and get all cozy-cozy, then wake up and hike back out. Sounds awesome!

Flying over Perfect Lakes

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Join me for a week of Photography, Yoga, Hiking, Fresh Food, and More!

Visit the Workshop page to get all the information! I’ll tell you a little about it here…

Come join me in New Zealand at this new fun workshop event here right by my home. All our other ones for 2015 are sold out, and I wanted to mix it up with a combo event like this! You guys know me… I’m quite zen (usually) and generally enjoy the meditative and creative side of photography. If that sounds like the sort of thing that might be up your chi-alley, then maybe we are simpatico! :)

It’s at this amazing yoga retreat where I have been twice called Aro-Ha, which is located about 45 minutes from my home in Queenstown on the way to Glenorchy. This particular retreat will be different than the sort of thing they normally do in that it is photography-centric.

Every day, we’ll be waking up bright and early for a morning photowalk and hike in a new and beautiful location here in the Southern Alps. We’ll come back for photo instruction and post-processing together. That post-processing party goes on for a while, only to be interrupted by daily massages (oh yes, my favorite!) and then an evening yoga class followed by more sunset photos followed by time at the spa… wow I’m getting all excited just thinking about it all! What a perfect day, and we’ll have a bunch of them back-to-back!

I wanted to try something new, and I hope you’re keen for it. Besides photography, I’m also quite into yoga and this sort of thing. Just down the road from my home in Queenstown is an amazing yoga / hiking retreat called Aro Hā. We partnered with them to bring you an awesome week of photos and fitness!

And here’s a few photos from my other visits to this amazing location…

from Trey Ratcliff at http://www.StuckInCustoms.com

Frederick Van Johnson

What’s in Trey’s Bag?

Here’s a video that we made soon after I took this photo below. You can see more (and updated stuff!) on my Camera Equipment page! :)

Daily Photo – Frederick Van Johnson

Here's my friend Fred. We were walking through the Queenstown Gardens here in New Zealand when I took this photo. It's shot with a Leica 50mm at f/1.4 on a Sony A7r. We started talking about camera gear so much that I almost forgot to take any photos! We had a great time together this week… this was just one of them! :)

Frederick Van Johnson

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

The Endless layers of the Southern Alps

Shooting in New Zealand

Here’s a little Google Glass video I made on one of the final days of a recent workshop we had!

Daily Photo – The Endless layers of the Southern Alps

I've been fortunate enough to take a variety of helicopter flights all over New Zealand. The Southern Alps, which can clearly be seen from planes on arrival into Queenstown, are staggering in their complexity and depth. It's really the layer after layer after layer of incredible peaks that always gets to me. And you think, well surely there can't be more mountains beyond those, but then you fly over them, and sure enough, there are! It's like a never ending fractal… and all very beautiful, especially when you get a bit of snow up there.

The Endless layers of the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/2000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length41.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-1

Maybe Will See you in Queenstown!

We’re looking forward to it!

Be sure to pop over to the “Workshops” page here on the site to see what is coming up next… all kinds of exciting stuff!

Daily Photo – From Deer Park Heights

Here's one of my favorite photos we took during one of our Photo Adventures here in Queenstown. I actually took it on the very first one we ever did! That was so fun; I'll never forget it. I'll also never forget how windy it was while I was taking this photo – so crazy! It was all I could do to keep my tripod from flying away, even though I think the final photo looks pretty serene!

From Deer Park Heights

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Walking down by the Beach in Queenstown

Mid-Summer Sunsets

If you’re gonna wait for the sunset at this point in the summer, you have to wait quite a while! It sets around 9:30 PM and doesn’t really get dark until around 11 PM. It always makes for a strange “Christmas” season when you are almost never in the dark… I guess I just remember a lot of general “darkness” during the holidays back when I was growing up!

Daily Photo – Walking down by the Beach in Queenstown

The beachfront in Queenstown is a quaint little place to go on a walk! The sun sets so that it blasts into the faces of everyone on the lake front, so it's almost like being at the ocean, especially because the lake is so big! Anyway, on days without clouds, I like to get behind these trees to break up the intensity of the sun a bit.

Walking down by the Beach in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Flying over Queenstown

That first Flight

Here’s a video I made of one of my flights!

Daily Photo – Flying over Queenstown

Here's a photo I took of my friend right before we both jumped off one of our first solo flights. You can actually see my house down there to the left… I'm hoping that when I get good enough that I can go take off and just land back at home. How cool would that be? I can just get Tina to drop me off at the top of the mountain on her way home, and then I can race her home in my paraglider! I'm sure my mom doesn't like this idea, but I'll go for it anyway! :)

Flying over Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Riding on the Glacier and the New Pinterest Uploads

New Pinterest Uploads!

Adding a ton of supa-fresh Pinterest-cropped works over there at http://www.pinterest.com/treyratcliff/pins/ – enjoy! I really have quite a bit of fun re-cropping my photos to fit that format in the optimal way… and the way they all fall down the page like colorful rain is trippy and fun…

Trey Ratcliff On Pinterest

Daily Photo – Riding on the Glacier

When we had the crew from The Arcanum out here not too long ago, we took an amazing ride with Choppy to this glacier. And I love the way Choppy says it — kind of like “glassssier” – so smooth, just like her! Anyway, after landing, I ran away from the heli to turn around and take this quick shot!

Riding on the Glacier

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length32.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

DJI Inspire and HDR Photos

HDR Tutorial

I know many of you already have my new HDR Tutorial, but wanted share this little promo below for all the new people that come to the blog from time to time!

First Inspire Photo

I put that photo on yesterday’s blog post – check it out in case you missed it! :)

Daily Photo – HDR Photos and the DJI Inspire

Because the Inspire gives you manual control over the camera, you can take full-on proper HDR photos!

The current version of the software I am using is a little clunky, but it is all controlled through the iPad. I can set the shutter speed or adjust the exposure compensation. I can't seem to adjust the ISO, as that seems to float, but I'm working on that. The UI controls don't always work so well, but I think they'll work out the bugs. For the photo below, I took 4 different exposures at 4 different shutter speeds. The Inspire was SO STEADY in the air that I was able to get them to automatically align very well in Photomatix. Anyway, these are early tests, but this is very encouraging!

HDR Photos and the DJI Inspire

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC350
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/240
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramNot Defined
  • Exposure Bias-2

My first photo with the DJI Inspire

First DJI Inspire HDR Photo coming tomorrow!

What’s the DJI Inspire? It’s the coolest new quadcopter (see my DJI Phantom review in the meantime) – it is a bit bigger than the last one and has an amazing system for video and photos. I’ll write a big review of it at some point here… but it shoots 4K video and streams it right back to your iPad. It shoots great photos in RAW — man it just seems to do everything! I’m just now learning how to use it, but I wanted to share a few early things here with you.

And since the camera shoots in Manual mode, I can take HDR Photos with it! I’ll post that one tomorrow! :)

Daily Photo – Morning Fog and Clouds over Queenstown, New Zealand

I had my first flight today with this incredible machine! I went out in my backyard (this is at 6:30 AM here in Queenstown btw!), and took off for the air straight away. This is a pano made out of 4 different photos. It is really fun and easy to fly — and the software is incredible. Here's one thing that surprised me: You can take photos with the camera in manual mode! How cool is that?

Morning Fog and Clouds over Queenstown, New Zealand

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC350
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO391
  • Focal Length
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramNot Defined
  • Exposure Bias

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