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

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 Taken
  • 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 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

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