New Zealand Autumn Workshop Announced for 2015

Announced here first on the blog!

We’ve only announced and planned one workshop for all of 2015 so far, and it’s going to be in the Autumn here in New Zealand! We just finished this one here, and it was absolutely amazing. The colors are just incredible. Don’t forget that Autumn here starts at the end of April, so I know it is a bit of a mind curveball!

Find out more on the New Zealand Autumn Adventure!

Daily Photo – Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

This place is just beyond belief! It's spot after spot after spot and the colors are on fire everywhere. They play so well with the blue above and the amazing quality of the light here in New Zealand. Last year I missed it because I was in China, so this was my first full proper Autumn in New Zealand and I was transfixed! You can pop over to the page above to see even more photos. And I hope you can join us for one of these events! :)

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Unbelievable Colors in Queenstown and Arrowtown in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length47.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

From Queenstown to Glenorchy

A behind-the-scenes video — first here on the blog

Hey everyone — I thought it would be fun to put this here first. Two days ago, I was driving back to Queenstown from Glenorchy (which is about 50 mins down the road), and the water was so smooth, I just had to jump out of my truck to take this photo! Anyway, here’s a little about the need to get down low… I make a lot of these videos for The Arcanum, but wanted to release this one here for y’all! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Crystal Lake

Those islands you see in the middle of the lake there are Pig Island and Pigeon Island. You can actually take a little kayak over there and there are huts where you can sleep for the night. No one lives there, and they just sit there empty almost all the time… I never see anyone on the lake at all… this is quite a remote area, really, even though it is quite easy to get to. This whole road to get here was only paved about 10 years ago, so it all still feels very fresh and undiscovered!

Lake wakatipu

Across the Crystal Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Autumn in Queenstown, Speargrass Flats Road

First on the blog – What does the fall look like here?

I wanted to release this video here first to you all… just a little segment of my day — what I saw yesterday. So I’ve been going out every day here to take photos. I’ve gotten some great ones, but then I realized one of the best things about the Autumn here is the soft movement of everything. So I set my Sony A7r to video mode to get a few scenes from the day. There’s no instruction or anything —- and you might even find it rather boring! Also the audio is not so great because of the wind. Sorry about that! Haha… anyway, you can at least see a bit of what I saw yesterday.

Daily Photo – Autumn in Queenstown, Speargrass Flats Road

This is a lovely road here in my neighborhood called Speargrass Flats. I was just here yesterday when I took this photo. It's where I go on my jog, and very close to my turnaround point. What a great place! I love the feeling of running through here while listening to music. And just now, everything has started to change colors… and it is so beautiful!

Autumn in Queenstown, Speargrass Flats Road

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Happy Easter from the Ratcliff Family!

Have a great Easter!

Have a good Easter, or, at least have a lot of chocolate! :) Here’s some super-fresh photos from our Easter egg hunt here today. We go up to The Hills and Sebastian dresses up as this huge bunny. The kids chase him all over the place, over the hills, through the forest, and beyond… he throws out eggs and the kids go crazy for it!

Easter-in-queenstown (37 of 180)

Daily Photo – My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

Here's my two girls, Isabella and Scarlett. They are walking through the forest here looking for any hidden Easter eggs! The colors have just started to change down here in New Zealand, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful Autumn.

My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

My Daughters in the Autumn Forest

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length300.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Ruins of Macetown

Landscapes at f/1.4

I’ve been using these Leica lenses more and more. And, by the way, they don’t have to be very expensive. There are many shades of grey. For example, there is a whole line of Leica M lenses that are very affordable. Anyway, I don’t shoot a lot of landscape type shots at this kind of aperture, but I am experimenting more and more. Like, for example, today’s photo is kind of cool with this situation, and I’m not sure it would be any better another way around…

Daily Photo – The Ruins of Macetown

If you go past Arrowtown down a rather rough dirt road and cross the river about 15 times, you get to an old abandoned mining town called Macetown. The school hikes the kids there every year and it's kind of a destination. I don't know why it is a destination though. On the day we went, it was rainy and cold and I found much of it to be rather dreadful, even though I tried to have a good attitude. Or, at least, an attitude of acceptance, which sometimes helps. Anyway, I did manage to take a few photos while there, and here is one of them near the end of our quarry.

The Ruins of Macetown

The Ruins of Macetown

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

Beginning another hike

Your Favorite Hiking Trails?

What is the best hike you’ve ever done? I’m not exactly some kind of a super-hiker, but I think now the best one was last week along the Greenstone River near Glenorchy.

Daily Photo – Beginning Another Hike

Yesterday I mentioned one of the long hikes, and here we are starting out on another one. That's Bel and Bas there, leading the group. Every day for a week, we did a 10-16km hike through some of the most beautiful trails in the world. This was part of my week at Aro-Ha, which was absolutely fantastic. I could not recommend it any more!

The whole time I took my Sony A7r with me, and I grabbed a ton of photos. I'm just getting through processing them right now. Here's one of the ones taken with the 55mm F/1.8.

Beginning Another Hike

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO80
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Friendly Horses in the Field

Composition Challenge

Whenever I take photos of objects that are defined by their shapes, I do my best to position my body (head) so that the objects do not overlap one another. I want each to have its own space. So, here in today’s photo, you can see the two horses with a nice separation between their heads. But you can also imagine that if I had been about 10 steps to the right or left, the heads might have overlapped one another. It’s a little thing to notice, but one of those little things that makes for a better photo.

Daily Photo – Friendly Horses in the Field

We walked through The Hills near Arrowtown one morning and went all the way down to where Max Patte's huge horses dominate one of the fields. I like how these look wooden, but they are actually made out of iron. There was a small group of us taking photos here, and we talked a little about the composition notes above, and this is what I came up with!

Friendly Horses in the Field

Friendly Horses in the Field

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/90
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length100.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Hiking Through the Low Hills

Favorite Recent Documentaries?

I’m on a hunt for more good documentaries! Let me know if you have any recent winners! :)

Daily Photo – Hiking Through the Low Hills

Last week I mentioned the quality of some of the hiking trails and thought you might like to see a sample. They are all very nicely maintained, and when in these lower hills with the big grasses, sometimes I like to run my hand through them like I'm Maximus from Gladiator…

hiking through the low hills

Hiking Through the Low Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Red Dress in the Sun

Doctors in Queenstown

So as a result of over-doing it for a ten days in a row, I got my first taste of nationalized healthcare. I know it’s a hot topic to bring up! Haha… well, since New Zealand has everything nationalized, I had no idea what to expect. I woke up feeling terrible and called in. They made an appointment for me in 20 mins and I drove right in. I saw the doctor within 2 minutes of being there, and she got me my diagnosis and two prescriptions in a very speedy way. I popped downstairs and got everything at the pharmacy – I think it was like $20 or something. Then I was off, back home for recovery. Now, this is just one story… but I’m happy it turned out well.

Daily Photo – Red Dress in the Sun

We took a group of photographers out to the Queenstown Gardens to get some photos as the sun was setting. It was a sunny day, and I started to notice some of the nice sun flares that come through this Leica 50mm f/1.4. I was so transfixed by them that I started looking for nice colors and shapes to pair with the lens flare. I really like the way the sun was coming through the red bits of Maria's outfit, so I kind of lurked behind her a bit while she was taking photos of something else!

Red Dress in the Sun

Red Dress in the Sun

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Wolves at The Hills

Another funny moment there at The Hills

A few days before, Curtis Simmons, Peter Giordano, and I went over to spend the evening with Sir Michael Hill at his new house. Here’s a quick photo of us playing with his crazy new stereo!

Daily Photo – The Wolves at The Hills

It was a good morning to be out shooting wolves!

This is one of the many sculptures around The Hills golf course in Arrowtown (near Queenstown). I actually managed to get to take a bunch of people with me this time, and the whole crowd followed me up the stairs, greeted by Sir Michael Hill himself! I told him I had absolutely no time to chat since this light was fading fast and we had to get it — he understood and ushered us forward! Haha it was so funny… anyway, we had a great morning out shooting around this area.

The Wolves at The Hills

The Wolves at The Hills

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/45
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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