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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • 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 Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture10
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

The Spa at Aro-Ha

Cold Dip and Hot Dip

I got into doing this cold-dip thing. You dunk your whole body in water that is just above freezing for one minute, and then you get into a hot tub or a Finnish sauna, then rinse and repeat three times. It’s kind of a sweet torture, but you sure do feel better inside after. But I’m not sure if it is just in your brain or not… it reminds me of that joke by Stephen Wright: “I love hitting myself repeatedly in the head with a hammer because it feels so good when I stop.”

Daily Photo – The Spa at Aro-Ha

Hey, that rhymes! And it's one of my favorite places after a long day of working my body and mind. This is an absolute gem of a place, by the way. It's a spa and wellness retreat in New Zealand called Aro-Ha, and it gets my absolute highest recommendation. The hiking trails are amazing, the food is super-tasty (and healthy!), and even better, you get a massage every single day. Maybe I should capitalize that. Massage Every Single Day.

In fact, right there in the hot-tub on the left (you can't quite see him) is Michel. He's was one of my favorite masseurs. He's French and his hands were like Jean-Claude Van Damme in his prime. Well, probably twice as strong. And no, he did not massage me in the hot tub, although now that I think about it, I should have asked him to! Haha oh yeah! :)

The Spa at Aro-Ha

The Spa at Aro-Ha

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture13
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Tasting Wines at Mt Difficulty Wines

New Photomatix Release

In a world of auto-updating software, sometimes we miss little revisions, like THIS one! You can go grab the new Photomatix Pro release that lets you use your Sony A7(r) RAW photos directly. There’s a bunch of other changes I will list below too. If you don’t know much about it, see the Photomatix Review here on the site.

- Added support for RAW files of recent camera models such as the Nikon Df, Pentax K-3, and Sony A7 and A7R.
- On Batch Bracketed Photos, added a “Previous Session (non-batch)” item to the list of the Preset pop-up menu.
- Changed the item selected by default on the File Format combo-box for saving tonemapped/fused images from TIFF to JPEG (selected item is “sticky”, so change only affects first use).
- Bug fixed: When using the Lightroom Plugin to export to Photomatix Pro on Mac OS 10.9, Photomatix Pro would sometimes not open when the OS is set to a language other than English.
- Bug fixed: Alignment for the “taken on tripod” option did not support 64-bit addressing, which resulted in a crash when aligning a bracketed set composed of a very high number of bracketed photos.
- Bug fixed: On Batch Bracketed Photos, separators disappeared from the list of the Preset pop-up menu when the Filter was used.
- Bug fixed: On Batch Bracketed Photos, the dialog for entering custom settings or multiple presets referred to custom settings as “User Preset” in the ‘Settings Type’ column of the Preset list box.

Your Favorite Winery?

Do you have a favorite winery that you’ve toured somewhere in the world? Where is it? Do tell! :)

Daily Photo – Tasting at Mt Difficulty Wines

Out in Bannockburn, which is basically in Cromwell, about an hour from Queenstown, is a hotbed of wineries. There's many great ones around here! One of the only ones that serves lunch is Mt. Difficulty Wines, and they have a beautiful wine-tasting as well. It's fairly well-known around the world, and they have a wide variety of wines. I've now had two meals here and two wine tastings – both have been amazing. Anyway, I highly recommend this place.

Tasting Wines at Mount Difficulty Winery

Tasting at Mt Difficulty Wines

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/5000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

Peter Giordano from The Arcanum

The Arcanum Critique Session

And here is the critique session we did as a fun event for The Arcanum! It was a great group of people that did the critiques and participated. We had Varina Patel, Rick Sammon, and Dave Cross. It was all hosted by Peter Giordano, who you can also see in today’s daily photo!

Daily Photo – Peter Giordano from The Arcanum

Here's Peter the Great, here in New Zealand from a few days ago. Pete is the CEO of The Arcanum, and he ends up spending a lot of time out here in New Zealand with me and the team doing all the creative work and planning! We also had a recent workshop while out here, and he joined us for the whole thing. I took this photo of him one morning. That crazy lens flare you see is because of the Leica f/1.4 50mm lens on the Sony A7r. I love that effect! It takes a little practice to get yourself in the right relation to the sun, but it's easy to nail the shot using the manual focus.

Peter Giordano from The Arcanum

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

Ethan on his first day of high school using Google Glass

Don’t forget about the huge Arcanum Critique hangout today!

See the Event Info and Times Here!

This will be a great event with me, Lisa Bettany, Rick Sammon, and Dave Cross.

As we march toward opening the doors to The Arcanum, you’re invited to participate in this special event just for our community!

Through participating in this event our community will get a taste of The Arcanum Experience: Learning through constructive critiques, which is just one of the many things that happen inside the hallowed magical doors!

The Arcanum Photo Critique and Make-Over event is a Google+ Hangout On Air, open to the public, scheduled for Monday February 10th at 7pm.

To Participate:
You must submit a single candidate photo by Sunday, February 9th to be considered for the random selection. You can submit any photo to The Arcanum Google+ page.

If you already applied to The Arcanum – we truly hope you’ll submit a photo to be critiqued. If not, no worries at all! Either way, you can watch the live event! :)

And if you’re wondering when the doors will officially open for The Arcanum, the answer is as soon as magically possible! We’re doing a test run right now with all the Masters to work out any kinks. Also, we are a bit (!!) overloaded with Apprentice applications, so it will take a while to ramp up. It may be a good opportunity for you to pop over and update your application at www.TheArcanum.com !

HDR Photo

Daily Photo – Ethan on his first day of high school using Google Glass

Ethan just started at Wakatipu High School here in Queenstown and he wore Glass on the first day. There was a special event that afternoon where the parents came along too, so I decided to snap a few photos! See the full album here on G+.

100% of the kids and teachers found the Glass to be fascinating. No one asked him to take it off, but of course he was not taking any tests on the first day! I had him also record a lot of videos and take photos so we could look in and see what it all looked like from his perspective. My wife Tina also has Glass, so next time we're going to do a live Hangout so she can see exactly what he's seeing… this “shared vision” thing is pretty cool, especially for moms who really like to see what their kids are doing! :)

BTW, if you're wondering, all the photos in the album were taken with the Sony A7r and the Leica f/1.4 50mm.

Ethan on his first day of high school using Google Glass

Ethan on his first day of high school using Google Glass

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

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