Summer Storm on the Remarkables

Snow on Christmas?

Even though it is the middle of summer here in the southern hemisphere, I’ve heard there has been snow here on Christmas… usually it’s in the 60’s and 70’s (18-22 Celsius) in the summer, but every now and then these storms come through and dump a bit of snow!

Quick Timelapse

For today, I’m did a very quick timelapse of two days in a row in Queenstown, looking out into my back yard. As you can see Day 1 was super cloudy while it was preparing to snow. Day 2 you can see the fresh snow on the mountains.

Happy New Year – First Fireworks of the 2013!

Happy New Year!

Let’s have a great one together! :)

Fireworks Shooting Tips

What ya need:

– Super-stable surface
– Go into scary Manual mode
– Set your F stop to as LOW a number as possible
– Set your shutter to 15 seconds (but wait till the last bullet point!!)
– Set your ISO to, hmmm… well depends on your camera sensor… but let’s say 800.

Execution:

(also, play with your ISO and Shutter speed till you like what you see):

1) When you take the photo, you probably won’t have the camera on for a full 15 seconds. After you see a nice explosion, TURN OFF the camera. This will close the shutter. Most of my best shots are only 3-9 seconds… but leaving the 15 seconds there is like a buffer where you can decide based on the shapes in the air.

2) If you have a big-sensor DSLR, then ISO 200 may be okay. If you have a smaller sensor, keep trying 400, 800, 1600, etc until the light levels look good for your time of exposure.

3) Don’t forget to shoot in RAW so you can bring out all the final colors later! :)

Daily Photo – 2013 Fireworks in Queenstown

I decided to re-crop this photo at the last minute! If you dig around on Google+, you’ll see my first version. It was okay, but I think I like this square one better. Actually, I just can’t make up my mind. I feel like a woman trying on clothes, or, at least, what I think that would feel like.

fireworks queenstown new zealand

2013 Fireworks in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

Sheepstorm

Many New Books on Flatbooks.com

I know many of you go to www.FlatBooks.com to have a regular look at the latest offerings, but let me go ahead and give you these three in case you missed them!

from Trey Ratcliff at www.stuckincustoms.com

Daily Photo – Sheepstorm

On the drive down to Te Anau from Queenstown, you pass countless fields of sheep with dramatic mountain backdrops. I think sheep in fields are already pleasant enough to look at, but it gets even better when there is drama in the mountains and drama in the skies!

I’m not exactly the Sheep Whisperer yet, but I have noticed that you have to be quiet as a mouse when approaching a fence to take a photo. If just ONE of them gets scared and runs, they ALL get scared and run.

Sheep in New Zealand

Sheepstorm

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length110mm (110mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

HDRSpotting 2.0 Now Live!

Come see the new HDRSpotting 2.0!

The team has been working very hard on the amazing new release of HDRSpotting 2.0! There are so many new features! Here are a few of them:

- Immediate approval of uploaded images
– Tools used! You can list out what software tools were used in the creation
– Infinite Scroll for that “Pinterest” feel
– Customizable square thumbnail crop
– Newly Popular algorithm keeps the front page filled with some pretty and inspirational HDRs
– New black background for full-screen viewing
– Search by lens, camera, and much much more!

Video about HDRSpotting

We used the first 15 minutes of the live show yesterday to show off some of the new stuff about HDRSpotting!

(and if you zoom ahead till 52:55, you’ll get to see a surprise visit from one of my daughters…hehe

http://www.youtube.com/stuckincustoms

Daily Photo – 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!

Pond Lake Queenstown New Zealand

The Secret Pond in New Zealand

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

Lake Hayes and Arrowtown

New Category Today – Arrowtown

Every so often I add a new category to the LONG LIST of locations on the right. That long list is starting to feel a little silly! I wonder if there is a better way to do it… I’m open to ideas! :)

Daily Photo – Lake Hayes and Arrowtown

I’m still getting to know my new area here in New Zealand, but I feel like I’m ignoring this side! Looking the other way (away from Queenstown) is nearby Arrowtown and Lake Hayes. If you plan on coming down to Queenstown, don’t forget to set aside a day to explore this area as well.

I’ve marked this place in Stuck On Earth if you want to go see exactly where to go to see this view.

Lake Hayes and Arrowtown

Lake Hayes and Arrowtown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length42mm (63mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

What Prints Hang in My Home?

9.7 Million Minutes Watched on Video!

Well this one is kind of crazy. I checked my YouTube stats for the first time ever. I don’t add a lot of videos, but the ones I add are quite long. Anyway, this stat shows almost 10 million minutes of my videos have been watched – that is crazy! I don’t think I’m THAT entertaining on video… honestly… I’m not like, say, Flavor Flav or anything…

What Prints Hang in My Home?

I got this question the other day, so I thought I’d list them out here. I’m always changing them out… but here are some of my favorites, including the new one from Paris below, which I just had printed here in Queenstown at WePrint.

Our Prints page has more details. But you can order the Artist Proof series on metal. Each of those is in a limited quantity of 50, and each one is individually signed by me. There is another more affordable series, which you can access by ordering via the SmugMug portfolio.

Anyway, here are a few of the prints that I have chosen to hang in my home:

Mountains Forever During the Yosemite PhotoWalk, the sky was beyond belief for the first few nights.  The second half of the trip had fairly mundane skies.  So, I was happy I went out there and got a lot of shots in the beginning!I’m often optimistic about the “future” of the trip, assuming that the sunsets will always get better and better.  This rarely is the case, so I don’t know why I’m consistently optimistic about the prospects.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

 

HDR Photo

 

The Bamboo Forest While exploring Kyoto, I eventually found my way to this fanciful bamboo forest.  There had been a light rain most of the morning and everything was quite lovely.  The rain does strange things as it moves its way through these sorts of trees.  I waited and waited, and that was nice too.  In the early afternoon, the rain stopped while the sun peeked through the top.  It shone down while the earlier rain misted down from the tops of the trees.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

 

-The Gentle Path to the Beyond-The little train that carried me into Hakone started winding through misty mountains.  The trees were thick and a fog was rolling in.  I had a feeling that it would stay wet, moody, and fairly perfect.  It had that heaviness that made you feel like it would remain like that for a few days, and it did.Before I get on train rides, I have a wonderful but dangerous habit of loading up with pastries.  Train stations seem to have nice little selections of all sorts of foreign twists on the usual subjects.  And, since I consider myself an explorer, I thought it would be good to get a TON of pastries and try them all.  It's very nice... sitting there... looking out the train window at a new land... rain falling... eating pastries...  (and I'm only a little ashamed to say that, upon arrival, my pastry bag was empty.)

 

The Secret Passageway to the Treasure After the crowds of Angkor Wat, it was nice to go find a remote temple in the jungle and be alone. This temple laid under the jungle, completely undiscovered for centuries.  The hallway and mysterious chambers seemed to go on forever.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Daily Photo – The Amazing Eiffel Tower in Romantic Paris

I shot this just recently with Tom Anderson. We almost didn’t leave the hotel because it was so stormy, but we had been watching the clouds all day. We started out with Miss Aniela at the Paris Opera before exploring the rest of the city. Sunset comes early here around this time of the year (about 5 PM or so), and it always sneaks up on us.

Some of the best sunsets come right after storms… so it’s always worth a little adventure if you don’t mind getting a little wet…

Paris France Romantic City Eiffel Tower

The Amazing Eiffel Tower in Romantic Paris

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length55mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure Program
  • Exposure Bias

The Southern Lights in New Zealand

Recent Photos From PhotoWalks

Every month or so I go in and “Approve” tags where people tag me in photos. They seem to come from PhotoWalks mostly! Well, here are a bunch from recent photowalks in New York, Paris, and Sydney.

Daily Photo – The Southern Lights in New Zealand

I’m busy getting everything ready for the upcoming one-day event in Christchurch. I have a few surprises in mind, but they take a bit of preparation!

I know that there will be many skill levels that I need to work with, and that’s okay. I think we’ll start really slow, then start moving faster and faster. Even when it gets a bit complex, I still think it will be interesting to new people!

As for this photo below, I took it during the amazing light show from the Aurora Australis down here on the south island of New Zealand

The Southern Lights in New Zealand

The Southern Lights in New Zealand

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO1600
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

More from the New Zealand Car Trip

The Car Trip

A few days ago, I posted a grouping of three photos from the car trip, so here are three more for you! Also, maybe you saw some of these in the new video that launched yesterday… so here they are a bit bigger and whatnot! :)

On the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound, you cross a perfect little stream called Monkey Creek. This spot is worth at least a few hours of exploration!

The Car Trip A few days ago, I posted a grouping of three photos from the car trip, so here are three more for you! Also, maybe you saw some of these in the new video that launched yesterday… so here they are a bit bigger and whatnot!On the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound, you cross a perfect little stream called Monkey Creek. This spot is worth at least a few hours of exploration!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

 

I woke up early in the morning to visit the sound to see what was happening. Everything seemed in slow motion while the fog slowly wafted across the water…

 

Daily Photo – Sailing on Lake Wakatipu

The car trip started here in Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu. It was a perfect spring day, and there was a lone sailboat down on the lake. Everything is on such a big scale here, maybe you can get a sense of the overall size of the lake from the tiny sailboat on there… it looks like a toy!

Lake Wakatipu Queenstown Boat sailboat

Sailing on Lake Wakatipu

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45mm (67mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Moving to New Zealand

Why Did I Move to New Zealand?

There’s a long story to it all… but I think you can see a lot of the reasons in the video below.

By the way, if you are looking to buy a house here and need a recommendation, contact me via support@stuckincustoms.com and the team will get you to me. I can make an excellent recommendation for you!

This video was made with Animoto!

I used a cool online thing called Animoto to make this video. I also wrote up a full Animoto Review here on the site.

You can also use the Animoto Coupon Code of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to get 2 months free with a pro account… thanks for the team there for providing that for us!

New Video – Turning to Peace in New Zealand

It’s a hi-rez video… I recommend listening with earphones or good speakers too – enjoy :)

New Time Lapse Tutorial

Join me in New Zealand

There are two opportunities up and coming to join me in New Zealand! See the Photography Workshops schedule here on the site to see what awaits you! :)

The Original Time Lapse Video

Here’s the original video I released several weeks ago, in case you missed it! The how-to video is below it.

(In Germany or can’t see the YouTube video? Here is the Vimeo Version.)

Time Lapse Tutorial

Below is a video I made that shows the how-to of the video above. It’s fast paced, and I used a lot of cool tools to make it happen. Below, I’m listing out all the tools that I used in the production of the timelapse.

Time Lapse Filters:

Time Lapse Hardware:

  • SYRP from Genie – use STUCKINCUSTOMS coupon code to save $100 on the Deluxe. (This is the specialty ballhead I used in a few of the scenes)
  • An Array of Nikons – see my Camera Reviews section to see my recommended cameras… any of these will do.

Time Lapse Software:

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