The Golden Valleys

PhotoWalk in New York City

I think I’m coming the NYC soon…. who is up for a PhotoWalk? I think I’ll have to get serious about planning something…

Daily Photo – 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…

The Golden Valleys

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  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length135mm (135mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Queenstown Commonage Villas

Best View in Queenstown

So, while waiting to buy a house in the area, I spent a massive amount of time here at the Commonage Villas. My family rented two different villas over an extended period of time, and we were completely blown away. As you can imagine, a good view and convenience is very important to me, and this is The Best!

The villas are 3+ stories tall, so there are great views from all the levels (especially the top). I took a ton of photos at various times of the day… other times, I would just sit and stare out the window with a cup of tea. About once a day, I would walk down to Queenstown (it’s a short walk) to get coffee or a meal… quite idyllic, really! Anyway, if you are going to Queenstown and looking for a place to stay, I definitely recommend these villas.

These villas are also for sale. I met the guy that works there and said I would pass along his info if you want to find out more – contact Ross Marett at enquiries@commonagevillas.com for more.

Daily Photo – The View

And here is one of the thousands of photos I took from the balcony at sunset one evening. The whole family was just getting into the car to drive down to The Cow for dinner, and then this sunset started to happen! So, it was one of those elongated, “Oh just wait five more minutes!” while I kept extending it another five minutes as the sky got better and better! We ended up being delayed about half an hour to dinner, as you would expect. But once the kids had their giant loaf of garlic bread, everything was good again!

The View

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Rainbow over the Lake

Photomerge in Photoshop

The photo below was made by using Photomerge in Photoshop… do you use that much? I don’t make a lot of panoramas (for a variety of reasons), but whenever I do, this feature is really incredible.

To make this one, I:

1) took about 20 photos of the rainbow at 28mm
2) held the camera in a portrait orientation as I mowed across the horizon
3) imported everything into Lightroom
4) picked one of the middle frames and fully developed it in the Develop Module
5) “synced” those changes to all the other photos
6) exported them then imported into Photoshop using Photomerge
7) cropping and final cleanup!

Daily Photo – Rainbow over the Lake in Queenstown

I had just dropped my kids off for their first day of school. I had my D3S with me because I was taking photos of that momentous event, so it was still with me when I went downtown to sign some papers. When I got downtown, the rain was just starting to slow down, but there was still a thick morning dampness in the air over the lake, and a full rainbow was right in front of me. I didn’t have the right equipment with me to get the rainbow all at once, so I went through the steps listed above! :)

Rainbow over the Lake in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/3.5
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Up High in Queenstown

On Top of the Mountains

Here’s a quick picture I took with my Android while I was taking some photos.

If you look close, you’ll notice that is my D3S and not my D800. The shot below was with the D800, which means I was… maybe using the D3S for a special project??? I will reveal it soon! :)

I sometimes post these things live to places like Google+ while I am out in the field…. that’s another place to watch if you just need the “latest” Trey-fix! hehe….

Daily Photo – Up High in Queenstown

We have finally moved into the new house here in Queenstown. I was in for less than 24 hours when I decided to get up to the top of this nearby mountain to shoot down on the whole scene. It was a perfect night – a bit cool maybe – but that can be perfect too.

After I took this photo, I went back down the mountain and picked up some Thai food to take home and eat while warming up by the fire! :)

Up High in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18mm (18mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Solar Storm Hits Queenstown

Watch Live Tonight for How-To

Watch here on StuckInCustoms.com later today for the live feed for the show! It starts at 7 PM or Your World Time!

Now, I’m by no means an “expert” on processing Aurora photos, but I did pick up a few tricks I’m happy to share. As always, as I figure this stuff out from scratch, I’ll share my results with you :)

Daily Photo – The Solar Storm Hits Queenstown

I’ve been awake for two days.

It all started yesterday after I put the kids to bed. I got a Facebook message from Stefan Haworth. It turns out that he and Eden Brackstone were headed out for a little viewing of the big solar storm that was hitting the atmosphere. Down thisaway, it’s called the Aurora Australis. Since I’ve never before seen one (despite countless attempts in Iceland), I was ready to suit up!

And it turns out that one of the best places we saw them was right here in Queenstown! I had a decent view from the place I am staying here at The Commonage, but the clouds were pretty heavy. So, we drove down along Lake Wakatipu until we were just past Wye creek. I got out of the car, let my eyes adjust, then saw colored shafts of light shooting up through the edge of our snow-globe. It wasn’t like I expected! It’s…. hard to explain.

The Solar Storm Hits Queenstown

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  • 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

PhotoWalk Fun – New Event

New Events – Follow Along

I put up the event on Google+ here, and this is a cool new system where we can collect photographs from the entire event. It will be great fun to follow along even if you can’t make it.

Exact Location: Here in St. Omer’s Park.
Time: 5 PM
What to bring: Any kind of camera will do, even a mobile phone!
Who to bring: Family-friendly! :)

Queenstown PhotoWalk

Come join me for a free and fun PhotoWalk on Saturday, June 30th!

We’ll start at 5 PM, but I’ll be there early goofing around if you want to hang out. I’ll have the Genie from SYRP with me as well, and I’ll try not to drop it in the lake.

We can meet in St. Omer’s Park, probably over by the bench (near the roundabout). After the event, we can go grab some chocolates or a snack or something.

See you soon!

HDR Photo

The Rocks Near and Far

New eBook

This one, “Goals – The Philosophy and Science of Achieving Your Dreams“, by Christa Laser, is a bit different than the typical fare over at Flatbooks.com. It’s getting great reviews, and might be just the kind of thing you are looking for. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – The Rocks Near and Far

A few nights ago I went for a walk along the water’s edge here in Queenstown. About one out of ten nights (or, as far as I have measured), there is a clear night with a bright pink light that shoots up from behind those mountains. It’s really quite a sight.

I went down to the edge of the lake and buried my tripod legs in the frigid, icy-clear water. Even though the color of the light was so nice, in the end it was not as interesting as the light itself.

The Rocks Near and Far

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  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length23mm (23mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Valley Between Queenstown and Arrowtown

New Zealand Newspaper Article

A new article came out today in the Otago Daily Times about my recent move to New Zealand. I met the reporter, Christine McDonald, down at Motogrill where I pigged out during the interview. I asked her if it was okay if I ate while we talked. She said yes, so I really pushed that to the limits…

Daily Photo – The Valley Between Queenstown and Arrowtown

See that area down there? We’re in the middle of an epic house-hunting adventure right in the middle of it all.

I took this photo a few days ago on a drive to Wanaka. It was so pretty, I just had to pull over to take it! In fact, maybe I need to make this drive more often!

In the far distance is Queenstown, which is only about 15-20 mins from this spot. Down to the right, just beyond the edge, is nearby Arrowtown. I think there are about 1 million photographs somewhere in between.

The Valley Between Queenstown and Arrowtown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length19mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Moonlight Clouds – Queenstown at 7:30 AM!

Bid on a Rare Print

Thanks again everyone who has been ordering prints! Whether you order from SmugMug or do a custom high-end signed piece on metal, I am appreciative!

I received an email recently from a gentleman who has been unemployed for a long time and is now selling off his possessions so he can pay his mortgage! A sad story… He emailed me, lamenting that he had to sell this print and he was heartbroken. This print is QUITE rare – it is numbered 1/50 in the series. These normally sell from $2,000 to well beyond. In fact, if you buy it, you’ll have the same print as +Mark Zuckerberg – only yours will be more valuable than Mark’s because his is higher in the series.

To bid on his print, visit the eBay link here.

New Zealand from Space

I was on Google+ and I saw Liz Quilty put of This NASA photo of New Zealand (Here it is in ultra hi-rez). Isn’t that cool? There is a satellite there that takes a new image every day. So I ended up bookmarking this site where I can go see the cloud cover, and even import it into Google Earth. Awesome dot com!

Daily Photo – Moonlight Clouds – Queenstown at 7:30 AM

The winter in these southern places make the sunrise rather late! I took this about 7:30 AM in the morning while the moon was still out over the sparkling Queenstown. I set up the tripod on my balcony, and this is our amazing view! I’m renting a Bach here called “The Nest” – and it has incredible views all day long… and all night long too, as you can see! :)

Moonlight Clouds – Queenstown at 7:30 AM

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28mm (28mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

New App! Photo Voyages of Trey Ratcliff – Planning for Apple TV too!

Available Now – Photo Voyages of Trey Ratcliff

Grab it in the iTunes store or for Android now! :)

If you’re going for the iOS version, you’ll notice it is universal for iPhone and iPad. We’re going to convert it for use on the Apple TV as soon as it accepts apps, so it will be nice to get it full-screen up on your wall as well. That will be a free upgrade when it comes around.

The app is a great collection of my photos, the stories, and more. You even have the option to saving the photos as backgrounds / wallpapers for your devices. And yes, it’s all super-HD, retina, etc. etc.

Sleeping In Driving from Reykjavik to Isafjordur is just about one of the longest possible drives you can make in Iceland in a day if you have a reasonable level of sanity.  There comes a point when you feel like you're getting close, when you start weaving in and out of fjords.  They are huge and each one seems to take over half an hour to drive around.In the midst of one of these, I espied an old house up the side of one of the valleys.  It was partially obscured by a hand-built stone wall.  I stopped the car and started hiking up the side of the valley to investigate.  Once I got up there, I began to think that maybe this place was actually occupied!  There were new lace curtains hanging in the windows and everything seemed to be in pretty good repair.So then, I felt like I was intruding, and not just exploring an old ruin.  But, it was 3 AM in the morning, and I figured if anyone was indeed inside, they must be fast asleep.  So I set up for a shot and then made a hasty elf-like egress.Read more here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

You’ll get this photo and many more with the app. Enjoy!

Daily Photo – Isabella on a Miniature Pony

A few evenings ago, we went to go visit The Brackstones, family friends that live nearby in Gibbston. Kerry Brackstone has taken to raising miniature ponies, so this sounded like something my two girls should not miss! We went over there for and the girls had an absolute ball on the ride. After that, we sat down for a fabulous dinner. And no, we did not eat the miniature ponies.

Isabella on a Miniature Pony

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
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  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programnormal program
  • Exposure Bias

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