The View from Deer Park Heights in New Zealand

Want to join me in New Zealand?

The team put together an amazing New Zealand Adventure for you. Join me as early as October (which is Spring here!) or into 2014. It’ll be great! 🙂

Daily Photo – New Zealand Deer Park Heights

I’ve always wanted to get up here to take a photo! They unfortunately closed it down a few years ago to public access. When you look at the hill, it looks pretty easy to climb, but man, it isn’t. I did get permission to get up here, but it wasn’t simple.

Towards the end of the night. I decided to do some long exposures to get the traffic as it wove around the roads. There really wasn’t much traffic… just one bus that was coming over to pick us up… but I did several exposures of it as it moved down the road and combined them all into one.

New Zealand Deer Park Heights

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time2
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

New Workshop in New Zealand

Just announced on the blog! Want to join me In New Zealand?

Learn more about the upcoming workshop in October or other options in 2014! Learn More About the Workshop here. We’re all really excited about this here… ! 🙂

A Few Favorites from New Zealand

Heck, I’ll use this as an opportunity to show you some of my favorite shots from New Zealand in case you forgot what it looked like! 🙂

The Golden Valleys I’ve taken to going out on random drives around New Zealand. I put on music and just follow the sun around. It ducks behind and beyond mountains and valleys, so I turn this way and that, and often get out to hike around inaccessible areas. It’s the middle of the winter here, so the sun is always quite low, so we get nice, extended sunrises and sunsets. Every now and then, the sun gets into a certain angle and everything is bathed in gold…- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Long Road to New Zealand This is one of countless beautiful roads that crisscross New Zealand.  I'm afraid I've forgotten exactly where I was when I took this photo!   I know that is very lame, but I bet people around here can help me pinpoint the area.As far as the camera settings, this is the kind of shot you can get with something called "compression," a method where you use a zoom lens and zoom in quite far.  It takes images in the distance and makes them larger than life.- Trey RatcliffRead more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

What Does The Road Look Like on the Way to Mount Cook? It looks like this. :)- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

The Secret Pond in New Zealand This amazing little place is right by my house! It’s less than a five minute drive. I put the location in HDRSpotting above… so if you click through, you can also visit this secret spot when you come here some day!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – Failed Supermoon Shot at Jack’s Point

I made a big mistake when I decided to come here to get a photo of the super moon about a week ago!

I had it all planned out, but then nothing went as planned. My Big Awesome Plan was to take a photo of the super moon and the mountains and get a reflection off the lake. Well, I was so close to the Remarkables here that the moon took about four hours after moonrise to get over them! It was pitch black by then… oh well. But, while waiting, the water calmed down nicely and I took this photo. This is an area called “Jack’s Point” — sort of a private home community and golf course. That’s the clubhouse there where you can get some great food too if you are in the area!

Failed Supermoon Shot at Jack’s Point

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

特雷 Entering Weibo! Plus Jack’s Point in Queenstown

特雷 is entering the Weibo-universe

Attention Chinese friends: 特雷 is entering the Weibo-universe!
 
大家好!For the avid Sina Weibo-users among you, I have just set my first steps in the magical Weibo microblogging land, so you can follow me there! 中文名就叫特雷,特好记。我真的真的很喜欢中国。它是这样一个令人难以置信的美丽的地方,当我有时间的时候我都会持续来中国,它每次总给我不一样的灵感。
 
Add me on http://weibo.com/3566761121/ or by scanning the QR code below with your Chinese-world-scanning-device! 🙂

Daily Photo – Jack’s Point in Queenstown

I went out with Eden Brackstone the other night to take some photos. After he decided to wade callously into this crystal clear water and ruin the placid reflection, I had about five minutes to contemplate life while the ripples settled down. And then I took this one!

Man, I do love this Sony NEX-7. And no, Sony didn’t pay me to say that or give me my camera… I’m working hard on that full analysis… I hope to have it done, by, well, let’s say, FRIDAY!

Jack’s Point in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Super Moon

Speaking of the NEX-7

Here’s a little video from China when I was changing lenses to get a shot on an old part of the Great Wall.

Another Photo during Winterfest

Every year around this time Queenstown has a long event called Winterfest. Every day they have different events… on the opening night, there is a big concert and then some fireworks. Here’s a quick shot I got while I was watching it with the family.

HDR Photo

Daily Photo – Super Moon Sets Over Queenstown

So… you’ve been coming to the blog for, what, six+ years, yes? Well, maybe…hehe… AND, if you’ve been coming all that time, you might have noticed that I have NEVER posted a photo of the moon. Why is that, you wonder? The main reason is because I’ve always gotten absolutely terrible moon photos. Until now! I finally got one that I am kinda happy with… I shot this in the morning yesterday when I walked out to my studio.

I saw it setting behind the mountain near my house, so I got out my NEX-7 with the 55-210mm lens and shot away. This is just one exposure… one RAW file. It worked out well because all the light levels were about the same with the pink in the sky and the snow and the white moon behind the purple cloud…

Super Moon Sets Over Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length210.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

On the Way to the Cabin/Studio

Wanna see my walk to work?

A few people saw this a few months ago when they came out to the workshop, but I thought you might like to see it in the snow… it’s a cool winter down here in Queenstown… anyway, I thought you might enjoy seeing where I go to work on my photos every day! 🙂 I shot this with Google Glass.

Daily Photo – Path Through the Snow

Just today, on the way home after the Winter Festival in downtown Queenstown, I saw this scene just off the road. I jumped out of the car and got in a good spot to take a photo. There is no tripod or anything… just a handheld shot with the Sony NEX-7. I processed it in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro. Actually, I also made a video of me processing it… the team is actually working on something cool on the backend too… a new way to bring you these videos! 🙂

Path Through the Snow

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/640
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Not Impressed by Adobe Creative Cloud’s Launch Features for Photographers

Is this how they usher in the Cloud era?

Today Adobe announced Photoshop CC that is only available to cloud subscribers.

Adobe should not release such lame updates to Photoshop and Lightroom to convince people that the cloud-subscription software is exciting. They should make dramatic improvements – things that photograpehrs can’t live without. Can we live without “Smart Sharpen” and “Intelligent Upsampling” with Photoshop. Err, probably. The Lightroom improvements are equally underwhelming. You know that the updates are lame when one of the top bullet points is “Include video in your slideshows!” How did THAT become one of the top-most-requested features?

Photoshop Creative Cloud

Here's a list of some of the features with Photoshop CC. I am not thrilled. Also, that seems like kind of a lame photo they are using to show off their product, isn't it? Maybe Photoshop has gotten to the point where it is just kind of like a pencil or a paintbrush -- they can't be improved upon. Maybe Adobe really has run out of ideas (except for ideas around new business models where you get to pay them every month).

It also worries me that Adobe is running out of ideas for their photography-related products. Their “big features” are, at best, incremental improvements. They are certainly not exciting enough to drive millions to subscribe to their cloud subscriptions. Their biggest idea, sadly, seems to be cloud-based subscriptions.

Business-model confusion with Adobe

Adobe’s PR and marketing team has a whole list of reasons about why Cloud-based subscription is so awesome for Photoshop. They have a few good points in there, such as it is easy to do incremental updates. But mostly, the reasons are lame and not exciting to amateurs and hobbyists who can’t afford to shell out a ton of money every month.

Here is the confusion: If Cloud-based subscriptions really are so awesome for Photoshop, why do they have a completely different business model for Lightroom? They tell me, well, Lightroom is more for hobbyists and casual people, and Photoshop is more for professionals. I think that sounds kind of ridiculous, don’t you?

What is especially confusing for me is, “How do I explain this to people?” I get a bunch of people that come to this website or to the HDR Tutorial (new and improved, and free as always, btw!) to get advice on what kind of software to get. We get a lot of new photographers who don’t really own any software. Now I have to give confusing advice: “Well, you really need Photoshop and Lightroom. Photoshop you have to pay every month for, but Lightroom you can just buy once.” People are like, “Whhhhaaat?” Why have two business models for such complementary pieces of software? It’s completely confusing to new people, and moderately confusing to veterans.

Anyway, these are the kind of confusing decisions that come out of committees. I hope they clarify things soon, and I also hope they have a business model that is less punitive to beginners, students, and hobbyists that can’t afford the high price of cloud-based subscriptions. It’s not like Netflix or World of Warcraft with their monthly fees. You pretty much have one kind of customer there. With photography, you have the full span of professionals and studios to ameteurs and hobbyists. In my judgment, it’s too punitive to have One-Pricing-Model to rule them all.

Daily Photo – Sunset in New Zealand before the Blizzard

We are expecting a major blizzard coming into Queenstown tonight! We just got back from the grocery store to stock up. I’ve got all my cameras fully charged and ready to go… I’ll try to hit as many places as I can with the fresh snow… chains are ready and all is good to go! Super-excited.

And, speaking of the article above, I can’t think of any of my images that could have been improved if I am using the new features in Adobe’s cloud. Sure, I subscribed to their cloud (Adobe did not gift me one, nor will they probably ever because I am so critical of them), and I am using the latest of everything… but none of these new features have really found their way into my photos yet. Comon Adobe… I know you can do better.

Sunset in New Zealand before the Blizzard

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO280
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Abandoned Ruins in Dalefield

Sony NEX-7

You’ll recognize the photo below from the Sony NEX-7 Review here on the site! This is one of the new photos I took with the 10-18mm lens. I love that thing!

Daily Photo – Abandoned Ruins in Dalefield

This is the turn-around-point for my jogging route! I run around this area between Queenstown and Arrowtown and end up at this place. Sometimes if I am feeling more full-of-energy (rare), I’ll go a bit longer, but usually not. This is a beautiful place to loop around and begin my return-journey.

I don’t know much about this place, other than it is a bit hidden from the road. If you look for it off Speargrass Flats, then you can see it, but you’ll never notice it if you’re just driving down the road like a normal person. I’ve heard they have plays here and have had a few film crews show up. Either way, it’s cool!

Abandoned Ruins in Dalefield

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/10
  • Aperture14
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Out in the Woods

From the Photomatix Presets

You may remember this shot from the sample on Trey’s Photomatix Presets. It turned out to be a perfect candidate because of the crazy amount of dynamic light. This is just about as dynamic as it gets — shooting into a very bright sun with dark, shadowy trees in the foreground.

Daily Photo – Out in the Woods

This is one of my favorite photos of an outhouse that I’ve ever taken. I’ve only taken one, by the way.

Actually, when I think about it being an outhouse, it makes it feel not so beautiful. So I just think of it like a little maintenance shed or a meditation chamber. Yes, that’s better, some sort of Scientologist meditation chamber where they measure their midichlorians.

Out in the Woods

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length20.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

Lake Wakatipu in the Late Sun

Hangout with Schoolkids from Thailand

I don’t know if you missed this crazy event… but it was a fun one. Their teacher contacted me to see if I wanted to talk to her kids about science and photography. Some of the questions they asked me were kinda funny. I think they were trying to take another topic and bend around the questions so they had something to do with photography!

Daily Photo – Lake Wakatipu in the Late Sun

The colors here go a little crazy when the clouds are in the sky! I’m not what it is… I think this very cold lake also does something to the air to make it a bit… thicker… or have more moisture in the air… or something!

I took this shot from atop the Skyline Gondola with the trust old 28-300mm lens! Check the Camera Lens Reviews over there on the right if you want to read more about this lens or the others.

Lake Wakatipu in the Late Sun

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length125.0 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

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

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