Brushing a Miniature Horse

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Daily Photo – Brushing a Miniature Horse

We took another trip out to Kerry & Simon Brackstone’s farm in Gibbston with the kids. My two girls, Isabella and Scarlett, love that miniature horse! They spent a very long time brushing it… apparently this is something that all little girls enjoy doing. We always hold this out as a carrot for them if they are being good, and they they can hold out a carrot for the miniature horse, and it will be a neverending circle of carrot-based incentives.

Brushing a Miniature Horse

Brushing a Miniature Horse

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (27mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, auto mode
  • Exposure Programnormal program
  • Exposure Bias

Slow Motion Sunset on the Color-Thickened Lake

Working on new videos

I’ve been working hard to record hours and hours of new videos. The photo below makes an appearance in one of the videos that will be coming out soon. I’ve just spent a small eternity inside Photoshop. It keeps crashing and it’s driving me absolutely batty. I keep submitting error reports, but I’m convinced those error reports are just placebos. I keep hoping I’m generally contributing to the common good, but I think it probably does nothing… I may give up… and play my own small part in contributing to the Tragedy of the Commons.

Daily Photo – Slow Motion Sunset on the Color-Thickened Lake

The sunsets in the summer here last about 2-3 hours. Once you get around 45 degrees latitude and beyond, the sun does not sink right into the horizon. Instead, it slides sideways into the horizon like A-Rod stealing second in slow motion. This means the colors change very very slowly, and sunset is a nice, long relaxed photography session rather than a high-pressure one.

Bendemeer Estates Queenstown Sunset

Slow Motion Sunset on the Color-Thickened Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length21mm (21mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Abandoned North Korean Prison in… New Zealand?!?

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Daily Photo – Abandoned North Korean Prison in… New Zealand?!?

I’ve always wanted to get up to this place, but it has been virtually impossible since they closed all the roads years ago.

And yes, it’s right here in Queenstown, New Zealand, atop Deer Park Heights, a huge mountain that can be seen from pretty much everywhere in the valley. It might not look like a mountain next to the Remarkables, but it is huge. Everything in New Zealand is so epic that you lose track of the scale of things. For example, did you know that they make Cinderella’s castle in Disneyworld look bigger by using a forced perspective trick by making the upper spires much smaller than they would normally be? This is what happens with the relatively “small” mountains around here. So you’ll see Deer Park Heights and think, “Oh, I could climb that thing myself!” Well, maybe you could, but you won’t make it down by nightfall.

So, WHY, I hear you wondering, is there an abandoned North Korean prison in Queenstown? It was actually built as a movie set for a movie in the 80’s by Disney. It was called “The Rescue” — and it was horrible. The plot involved a bunch of young boys who had to rescue their dads who had gotten themselves imprisoned in North Korea. I think it skipped the theaters and went straight to airplanes, along with Miss Congeniality 4.

How was I able to get up here and take about 20 new friends? I cannot say! :)

Abandoned North Korean Prison in... Queenstown New Zealand Deer Park Heights

Abandoned North Korean Prison in… New Zealand?!?

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length15mm (15mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Ice Bar, Below Zero

Ice Hotels

I’ve always wanted to visit the Ice Hotels (did you know there are a few now?), and after visiting this place below, I’m even more interested. I had a list of places to visit one day, but the list was getting a little long and texty. I decided to take a few hours and re-build the list on Pinterest. I’m much happier with it now… it’s very visual and a more fun way to keep a list of places to visit. Anyway, I have a special board there you may enjoy called “Oh the places I’ll go!” (there are three Ice Hotels in there!)

4.5 Mil on Pinterest

And it looks like we just passed 4.5 million followers on Pinterest! It has officially passed Google+, which is keeping close at 4.4 million. I’m actively posting on both, so thanks again! :)

Daily Photo – The Ice Bar, Below Zero

We ran around all week preparing for the event here in Queenstown. We took a break to go visit the famous Ice Bar with Eden Brackstone. Just beforehand, he had met Karen Hutton, Scott Kublin, and Curtis Simmons on the rainy streets after a chocolate blow-out at Patagonia (none of this sounds like we are actually working does it?).

Anyway, the Ice Bar was very cool. You actually drink out out of cups made of ice, and when you are done, you get to smash them like plates at a Greek wedding.

The Ice Bar in Queenstown The Ice Bar, Below Zero New Zealand

The Ice Bar, Below Zero

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Speech at SXSW in Austin, PhotoWalk, and the view from Bendemeer Estates

“A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording”

I’m giving a featured talk at SXSW – “A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording” (links to SXSW website with more info).

The day after that is a big photowalk! See All the Event Details Here.

Bring your camera (even mobile phones are cool!) and bring your sense of adventure and discovery! We’ll walk around the streets of Austin together and grab some cool photos to share with one another. If you’ve never been to one of these events before, then this is your chance. Bring a friend or bring the kids — it’s a family-friendly event and all are welcome! :)

I’ll be giving lessons and teaching how I set up for various shots. Anyone can ask me anything at any time… sort of an in-person AMA! :)

We’ll also have many great prizes and other fun announcements. More info soon!

Previous Speech on this topic

I’m going to be doing a variation on this talk that I gave at Google Zeitgeist. Here it is below!

Daily Photo – Bendemeer Estates

This is the final place we ended up on the final night of the New Zealand Photo Adventure. Thanks again everyone that came! We’ll get a group photo up very soon so everyone can see. We took it in the woolshed at the bottom of this hill… it was really a remarkable place. I should have gotten a little video of these red-gold grasses blowing in the breeze. I think Curtis Simmons got that… I’ll ask him to put it in the comments! :)

Bendemeer Estates Queenstown New Zealand

Bendemeer Estates

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length24mm (24mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Milky Way over Queenstown

The Newsletter

Did you miss the latest Newsletter? It was a good one!

Many people hit “reply” on the email, and it actually goes straight to my inbox… I read them all. We decided to put more photos and descriptions in the newsletter going forward based on feedback — thanks for that! :) And thanks for forwarding the newsletter to your friends.

Daily Photo – The Milky Way over Queenstown

Tom and I went up to the top of the gondola a few days ago to get some shots of the stars. The sky was clear and we were lucky!

I made this with the fisheye lens and then did the lens correction on it. A bunch of stuff ended up getting cut off, but only I know that… It bothers me because there was some other awesome stuff! But since you don’t know what you’re missing… well I hope it is just good enough. :)

Queenstown, New Zealand Stars

The Milky Way over Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/2.8
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length16mm (16mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programmanual
  • Exposure Bias

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

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