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 TakenJanuary 16, 2014 at 8:46am
  • 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 TakenFebruary 3, 2014 at 8:20pm
  • 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 TakenFebruary 5, 2014 at 6:59am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/45
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

On the way to Skipper’s Canyon

Pre-Leica Lens Buying Guide

I have this idea in my head that I need to put into action. I’m starting to learn a lot about Leica lenses, and I think I am close to recommending some. But, I think a good thing to know is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars. The Leica M-Lenses can be quite expensive, from $1,000 to $15,000 and well beyond! But the Leica R-Lenses are much more affordable. You can get some amazing deals with them, and they also work great on all camera systems. I know it can get confusing, so that is why I wanted to put together a little practical buying guide for people that want to experiment… I figure I could put something up, and then look at what advice and feedback you have, and then iterate.

Most likely, it would not be overkill and show all possible Leica combinations, but I would just hit on maybe 3-8 of my favorite lenses and give a few price points and options for all levels.

Daily Photo – On the way to Skipper's Canyon

We took a few people up Coronet Peak then around the bend towards the beginning of Skipper's Canyon. We didn't go all the way in, but we took a bit of time up top to explore just a little bit. These long grasses that come up here and there and tend to cluster around these old fences are usually good photo subjects. I shot this one wide open at f/1.4 on the Sony A7r with the 50mm Leica.

On the way to Skipper's Canyon

On the way to Skipper's Canyon

Photo Information

  • Date TakenFebruary 7, 2014 at 7:37am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Speaking of Paragliding….

Yesterday I posted a photo from a glider, so today is loosely related. I actually joined the paragliding school by mistake! My neighbor Chris walked over and said we should go do a tandem flight with a professional. Next thing I knew, we were suited up in paragliding school! He was as shocked as I was, but everything worked out in a surprisingly awesome way!

Daily Photo – Chris Madison in Queenstown

Here's my friend Chris right before take off on another paraglider flight across Queenstown. You can see the windsock behind him, fully erect, so to speak. Speaking of erections, I should tell you more about Swanny's Paragliding School! If you're ever in Queenstown, and looking for a good time, be sure to contact Swanny. The name of it is Infinity Paragliding — and on day 2, you'll actually be doing a solo flight over Queenstown. Unbelievable!

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Chris Madison in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date TakenDecember 10, 2013 at 11:55am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Hike past Bob’s Cove

Great Walks of New Zealand

I believe there are 9 “Great Walks” here in New Zealand. These are all multi-day walks that go through some of the most epic places around here. I haven’t done any of them yet, and I was trying to decide on the first one. I hear that some of them are “old” style in that they are quite closed in and you don’t get many views. I’ve heard that others are more “modern” and allow a lot more wide-open vista views. I’ll have to do a bunch to figure out which one I like!

Daily Photo – The Hike past Bob's Cove

There's an amazing photo-stop on the way to Glenorchy called Bob's Cove. You can see it down there on the left. Believe it or not, the same water is over on the right! I'm kind of up high on a peninsula shooting back towards Queenstown. This spot is pretty easy to get to… if you just keep following the path on around, you end up in good shape for this shot! I was pretty dang wide at 13mm to get everything in.

The Hike past Bob's Cove

The Hike past Bob's Cove

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 14, 2014 at 9:19am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/750
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Running through the Macetown Ruins

Going barefoot more

I’ve never been one of those tough guys that walks barefoot everywhere. But, maybe I’m becoming more of one. There are all these little rocks around my studio, and I walk back and forth many times a day over to the main house. This is toughing up my situation… I’m starting to feel a bit more manly about this sort of thing now…

Daily Photo – Running through the Macetown Ruins

There are my two little girls peeking out the door while one of their friends runs full speed out of the old miner's hut. It's never easy to get kids to pose for anything, so you just kinda gotta go for it and see what happens. I have no idea how child photographers get kids to do anything — it seems to crazy to me! Anyway, you may remember another photo from our recent trip to Macetown… there are lots of these little ruins around that are kind of neat to explore, I suppose.

Running through the Macetown Ruins

Running through the Macetown Ruins

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

Landing on Cecil Peak

Helicopter Height Confusion

I was so excited to fly up here with Choppy. Right before we landed, I realized that I was completely confused as to how high off the ground we were. I thought we were getting close because the scale of everything looked right, but then as we kept sinking lower, I discovered I was totally wrong! I don’t know if I could ever be a helicopter pilot with such a bad sense of scale. I’m good with manmade objects, but with natural stuff, it’s kind of hard to tell when looking straight down until the very last minute (at least, for me).

Daily Photo – Landing on Cecil Peak

This is my first time up on Cecil Peak, which is one of many mountains you can see towering over Queenstown. It sits right on one of the apexes of Lake Wakatipu. Whenever I describe the shape of the lake, I always describe it like a little lightning bolt — like the scar on Harry Potter's head. This peak is right at one of those little turns and Queenstown is on the opposite side. Until you actually get up here, you have no idea how big some of these rock spires are!

Landing on Cecil Peak

Landing on Cecil Peak

Photo Information

  • Date TakenAugust 15, 2013 at 4:56am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Spa at Moonset

Black Truffle Sea Salt

Here’s my out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle suggestion.

Go buy a jar of black truffle sea salt and bring it to the dinner table. It’s like my favorite thing in the world. I put it on almost everything, and it really is amazing. It’s something I’ve done for the last three years, and I give it to anyone that comes over… I don’t know why I’ve never mentioned it before… but get on it! It’s kind of hard to find. High-end or gourmet grocery stores will have it, though. And I’m sure there’s places on the internet where you can order it. Anyway, it’s highly recommended. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming! :)

Daily Photo – The Spa at Moonset

Every morning I woke up at 5:30 and would walk past this spot on the way to Yoga. On this particular morning, the moon was setting slowly behind the spa. I carried my camera most everywhere (as usual). I stayed here for a bit to watch it sink down… this made me about five minutes late to the class, but I still had the same amount of meditation, I think.

The Spa at Moonset

The Spa at Moonset

Photo Information

  • Date TakenJanuary 17, 2014 at 6:07am
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.5
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

New! Trey Ratcliff’s Complete HDR Tutorial – Now Available

100% New HDR Tutorial – A full course

I’m excited to announce this and say it’s now available for download on the Complete HDR Tutorial page!

And, as a little bonus, if you’ve enjoyed one of my previous HDR Tutorials, I wanted to give you 10% off, use the coupon code “TreyNewHDR2014″!

What’s new in this video tutorial? It’s 100% new! I’ve been doing this for years and years, and I share all of my new tricks, workflow, and post-processing techniques that will give your photos a great and unique look. There is another goal in this whole course that you will come to understand as you go through it — I will help you find your own style of photography.

Free 40 minute HDR Creation Video

So you can see a little bit of what the whole thing is about, I wanted to release this full-on teaser video. Actually, it’s way more than a teaser because it shows you a ton of stuff — you’ll see what I mean! Enjoy! :)

What’s Included?

There are over 10 hours of detailed video instruction in the course. It is aimed first at beginners but there is plenty of intermediate and advanced material too. I edit a ton of photos in every possible situation: Indoor, Outdoor, Sunrise, Sunset, Mid-Day, Mixed Indoor-Outdoor, Action, Movement, People, Nature & Landscape, Architectural, Travel, and more. There are many hours of high-production quality video as you watch me set up in these conditions, and then many more hours of screen capture, as you see me edit the photos you just saw captured in the field.

Even better, you get all of my RAW files! So you can follow along, step-by-step, and see exactly how I do each and every move.

An upcoming Live Q&A and Bonus Photo Critique session

If you get it now, you’re invited to join me on Sunday, March 30th. Mark your calendars – it’s gonna be great fun!

A great prize – An All Expenses paid trip to New Zealand

Everyone who purchases a copy of the Complete HDR Tutorial prior March 30 is eligible to enter the photo contest to win an ALL expenses paid trip, valued at over $8,000 USD, to my next photography workshop in Queenstown, New Zealand on April 28 – May 3, 2014.

EVERYTHING is included — Roundtrip airfare, Luxury accommodations, Transportation, Food,and of course, you will participate in every facet of the full 5-day photography workshop taught personally by me.

Another great prize – A new Sony A7 with the 28-70mm lens!

Just like above, I’m also giving away a Sony a7 Full-frame Mirrorless Camera valued at $2,000 USD during the live event. More details on this and everything else are over on the Complete HDR Tutorial page.

Just a few of the images we work on together in the course

Daily Photo – A Pretty Afternoon in the Shire

Here's one of images from the new course. It was a perfect day with just the kind of clouds you expect floating over the Hobbiton Movie Set!

A Pretty Afternoon in the Shire

A Pretty Afternoon in the Shire

Photo Information

  • Date TakenOctober 19, 2013 at 12:31am
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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