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

The Sheep Station at Walter Peak

Sheepdog Television Shows

You may or may not be surprised how much sheep-related programming is on television here. There are these competitions that are kind of addicting to watch where these dogs are running around and getting sheep to do one series of sheep-cloud manoeuvres or another. The shepherd is always scuttling behind them using some strange whistle sounds to move things here and there and it all just looks like magic. I have no idea how they do it, even though I’ve now watched it many times…

Daily Photo – The Sheep Station at Walter Peak

This is the beautiful and fully functional sheep station just across the lake from Queenstown. There's no doubt that this country definitely has a sheep-culture around it, and I'm slowly starting to become one with it. Here's a little funny (in retrospect) story.

My neighbor, John, has several sheep on his farm. One day, he decided to take one of the cute baby lambs up to the school for all the four and five year-olds to play with. My daughter was there, as was his son. So he dropped off the baby lamb to play all day. A few hours later, he got a call and had to go back up to the school to get the lamb. It just plopped over dead while all the kids were playing with it! So then he had to go back up there and get the dead sheep and carry it about a kilometer down the road back to his truck, leaving the kids aghast and shattered!

The Sheep Station at Walter Peak

The Sheep Station at Walter Peak

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.7

The Bathroom Selfie for Charity

Anything for Patrick and Worldbuilders!

There is less than a day left to raise money at Worldbuilders.org, and we all just passed $600,000! Great! :)

I told Patrick Rothfuss (as many of you know, he is one of my favorite authors who wrote “The Name of the Wind”) that I would do a stretch goal of an “ill-advised bathroom selfie” — which I just delivered on. You can see the redonkulous “making-of” video below and the final shot below that. I think I have both traumatised my son and that fake sheep.

Here is an update with more info on Pat’s Blog!

When Trey told us he’d take a selfie for his stretch goal, we thought it was a brilliant idea. After all, he’s a world-famous photographer. Seven million people follow him on Google+ to look at his pictures.

Then we saw what he did, and it was so much better than what we’d imagined.

Pete is coming back to New Zealand in Style!

Following The Arcanum on Social Media

Pete is running the big show at The Arcanum, but we wanted to make sure we point you to the social media pages for them on Google+ and on Facebook!

Daily Photo – Pete is coming back to New Zealand in Style!

We’re having good man Pete Giordano back to New Zealand for another big event! We have the workshop (only 1 of 2 this year), but Pete is going to stay a little extra. It will give us a chance to hang out, take photos, party, visit wineries, explore, and, oh yes, do some work! Actually, the whole time we are doing all this stuff, we are doing Arcanum stuff, even late into the night! Curtis and I feel lucky to have him around!! :)

This photo is of Pete jumping out of a helicopter that Choppy was flying! He looks so awesome I think! It also kind of looks like he’s carrying a dead body, if you look at it the right way.

Pete is coming back to New Zealand in Style!

Pete is coming back to New Zealand in Style!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Chivas Regal

Bokeh Quality

I’m still trying to get my head around the difference in quality levels in the bokeh area of photos. This photo below was taken with the Leica 50mm f/1.4 on the Sony A7r. This one was taken with the Sony 55mm f/1.8 (one of the new native FE lenses for the A7r). Anyway, when I go back and forth between the two, they both seem pretty magical! But the Leica one is about $10,000 whereas the Sony one is about 10% of that. I’ll keep shooting with both for a while and see if I can tell the difference… but currently, I am struggling!

Daily Photo – Chivas Regal

Stu’s studio 55 is an awesome collection of stuff to take photos of with Leica lenses. I don’t know what came first… the studio with knick-knacks or the Leica lenses… or maybe they just self-organized around one another.

Chivas Regal

Chivas Regal

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Best paragliding school in Queenstown

Learning to Paraglide in Queenstown?

This is an amazing experience and ANYONE can do it. Honestly. You should contact my master, Alan Swann, at Infinity Paragliding – the best paragliding school in Queenstown! I used to look up at people paragliding and thing, whoa I bet that is fun but they are CRAZY! But they are not crazy! It is something that anyone can do, and you can learn it in just one day.

In fact, and you may not believe this, but it is true, on DAY 2 of training, I was flying alone off the top of Coronet Peak, one of the taller mountains in the Southern Alps. I landed several kilometers away at the flight park in Arrowtown. It was fun remarkably easy!

If you’re planning a trip to Queenstown, be sure to come enroll in his school. It’s the kind of thing you’ll never forget, and you’ll have a view of the area that you won’t believe!

My latest flight – and +1 / Like them on Social Media

Here’s the view and what I saw on my most recent flight! Give them a +1 on Google+ and a Like on Facebook for keeping me safe! :)

Daily Photo – Learning to Paraglide in Queenstown

When you go to Infinity Paragliding, be ready for Swanny here to take good care of you and teach you how to sail around with the greatest of ease! He’s amazing, and in this scene, you can see him commanding the mountain and reading the wind before sending me off on my first solo flight. Remember, I was doing this on day 2 of training! Amazing that he was able to teach me (and anyone!!) so quickly!

http://www.infinityparagliding.co.nz/

Learning to Paraglide in Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Spring Mountains

XBox Fitness

Has anyone tried XBox Fitness on the new XBox One? It’s cool but there are many problems! Even though my bandwidth is totally incredible, I still get “Low Bandwidth” warnings and it pauses quite a bit. Many times, I’ve lost connection and my whole workout has gone down the tubes! It’s quite demotivating for some strange reason! I hope XBox fixes that soon, or at least lets me cache everything locally.

Daily Photo – The Spring Mountains

Choppy landed here on this remote lake for a bit while I jumped out to take photos with Curtis, Luke, Pete, and Scott. It was so fun, and I felt lucky there was a bit of snow up high to give some more colors to the scene. You can also hike to this point, but while we were sitting there in the chopper, all we could think was, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

The Spring Mountains

The Spring Mountains

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Trees on the Pond

Buying things when you travel

If you buy stuff when you travel, do you usually send it back via mail or take it back? I’ve taken to just getting things shipped. I’m so lazy and hate to carry stuff. If it is very small, of course, I’ll take it.

I’m thinking about getting a bunch of goodies in Morocco. It seems like it will be a nice, exotic place and I hope to find some things outside of the touristy areas… I figure shipping stuff back to New Zealand will be just as hard as expensive as shipping it anywhere else!

Daily Photo – Trees on the Pond

Here’s another delicate little spot we visited during the workshop. The pond was smooth without wind, and it made for hundreds of different shots. It was absolutely worth walking around the whole thing to see what shapes presented themselves. Even though I am pretty good at envisioning what the other side of the lake looked like, I didn’t see this until I actually got into position.

Trees on the Pond

Trees on the Pond

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length19.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Exploring the Little Bay

Sailing a Boat

I feel like the only male in New Zealand that doesn’t know how to sail a boat. I swear to God… everywhere I go the conversation eventually turns to sailing at some point. And then people start talking about spinnakers and all kinds of crazy stuff, and I just slowly back out of the room…

I should look up what a spinnaker is so that I can say something clever before backing out of said room. Here I’ll look it up right now in fact. No time like the present. Back in a sec.

“first recorded use of the word was in 1866 in the August edition of Yachting Calendar and Review (p. 84). In addition, the term may have been influenced by the spanker, originally a gaff rigged fore-and-aft sail.” Okay… backing out of the room…

Daily Photo – Exploring the Little Bay

Here’s a new little bay that I had never visited before in Queenstown along Lake Wakatipu. I see all these amazing places from the air, and I wonder, “What would it look like if I stood THERE?!” I had never been to this exact spot before. Thanks to Todd & Sarah Sisson for bring us here! This is a spot we came during the New Zealand workshop and it was really perfect.

This shot is a single exposure. I did take multiple exposures while there, but this one came out so clean and dandy that no more were necessary!

Exploring the Little Bay

Exploring the Little Bay

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length27.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Visiting the Peregrine Winery in the Late Afternoon

Heading away to Morocco

I’m in the middle of planning a trip to Morocco in a few months! I’ve never been there, and I’ve got a few different places I plan to visit. But if you have any secret spots or must-sees, please pass them along! :)

Daily Photo – Visiting the Peregrine Winery in the Late Afternoon

This is one of the last places we visited on the wine tour. It was sunny all day long, and I never really took notice of it until I got here. I mean, when I’m out taking photos, I’m always generally aware of the sun and its relation to the landscape, but it started to have a different meaning with the architecture here. It made for much more interesting shots and this most amazing winery!

I need to come up with a list of my top 10 wineries to visit in this area. These are all less than half an hour from my house, so I have no excuse!

Peregrine Winery

Visiting the Peregrine Winery in the Late Afternoon

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1250
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1

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