There’s a Viewbug Photo Contest in which you might have an interest! Just click that link to find out more
Daily Photo – The Icy Blue Lake
Is that water cold? Yes, yes it is.
I know the surface is cold – the kind of cold that makes every human survival instinct go haywire. But I wonder what it is like down at one mile in depth. It must be so strange and eerie down there. If anyone has ever seen any footage or images of what it looks like in those frigid depths, be sure to share!
I used one of Trey’s Lightroom Presets on the photo below. Thanks again for all the good feedback on those – I am glad everyone is enjoying them!
Daily Photo – An Old Dock in the Lake
A bit further down the road to Glenorchy is an old dock that has fallen into the lake over the years. You can pull off the road just about anywhere and take a very short little walk to see a bunch of things you can’t see otherwise. I sometimes force myself to pull over and just go for little jaunt off in one direction or another. I’m pretty good at visualizing what it might be like from the road, but there’s often hidden information back there…
If you’re in the Petaluma area on Sunday, stop by and say hi! I’ll be on This Week in Tech with Leo at the TWIT studios. The show starts at 3 PM PT… hope to see you there!
Here’s a video from one of the previous times I was at the TWIT studios.
My NZ friends all assumed that I must have seen many auroras in the northern hemisphere, but I never have. I went out several times in Iceland and other places in the far north in the winter and never saw a thing. So I was very thrilled to have it happen just a few weeks after I arrived in NZ!
Daily Photo – The Comet in Queenstown
On the night of the Aurora Australis, I was about to pack up and head back to the car when I saw this amazing aurora right over the top of my head. It made this long triangle across the ceiling of the sky, so I had to do that thing where I get my camera in that strange position on the tripod of pointing up. There is always a tough yoga move you gotta perfect to get the camera situated at the right angle. Also, frankly, there’s a little bit of guesswork that comes into play too!
I’m working on a how-to video that I will release to everyone soon. It shows how I did the photography, post-processing, editing and mixing, etc of this, along with all the tools. I do list out my equipment on the Stuff You Need page here on the site if you simply can’t wait.
30 Days and 30 Nights in Queenstown
(watch this 4K video in Full Screen in HD with good speakers/earphones! )
I’ve just moved to New Zealand, and my first 30 days and 30 nights here made a powerful impression on me. I’ve never done anything quite like this before, so I thought I would share what I felt with you.
(In Germany or can’t see the YouTube video? Here is the Vimeo Version.)
The music is from my friend… one of the few people on earth that makes my heart beat a little faster than normal… Hans Zimmer. Just go ahead and buy all of Hans Zimmer’s work… let it be the soundtrack of your life.
Over 300 hours of work went into the film’s creation. The Full How-To Video is coming soon, but I did everything myself… the shooting, the post-processing, the editing and sync, etc etc… I used a violent mixture of many tools: Photomatix Pro (Photomatix Review), Magic Bullet Looks (Magic Bullet Looks Review) , Topaz Adjust (Topaz Adjust Review), Nik Software (Nik Software Review), Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, LRTimelapse, Twixtor Pro, Final Cut X. Also thank you for logistical help to my assistant Abraham Stephenson.
I created the entire piece myself here in Queenstown, New Zealand. All of the shots are from this little fertile crescent. I get many questions about that interior shot, and that is from the Commonage Villas. I stayed there for about a month while house-shopping, and I think it has some of the best views in Queenstown! Besides that location, every shot was less than a fifteen minute drive from my home.
I really privately announced the Trey’s Lightroom Presets last week, but they are leaking out there in every direction, so it seems strange to keep it a secret here on the blog any more! This is the first time I’ve ever released any Lightroom Presets, and I think you’ll be very happy.
I notice that some people are posting thumbnails of their own creations on the presets page in the comments. Others are +@mentioning me on various social networks so i can have a look at their creations. I’ve run these through a ton of my own photos, so it’s great to see how they interact with other people’s photos too.
Before and After Image using Trey’s HDR Lightroom Preset
The “after” image was made with just one click of Trey’s HDR Lightroom Presets. What a dramatic difference!
Daily Photo – Our Galaxy over Queenstown
I took this photo on the evening of the Aurora Australis a few weeks ago. I came up with (BY ACCIDENT!) a new way of orienting the Milky Way so it goes straight up and down. Really, in the sky, it is a little bit tilted to the right. Anyway, here’s the trick.
When you take the photo, have your camera tilted to the left a bit. Then, when you crop later in Photoshop, turn on the “Perspective” checkbox and drag over the upper left corner until it is parallel with the Milky Way. Only people that are good at visualizing photoshop can understand what I am saying here… but I hope it helps!
Next time, I will do this trick by taking the tilted-photo on purpose!
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…
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 email@example.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 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!
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!
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.
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.