Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown

Photo Tip – Shooting from Planes or the Air in the Daytime

My technique for shooting from the air is pretty simple. It actually took me a while to arrive at this formula, but it always seems to work. I go into Manual mode and then force my shutter speed to be extra-fast… maybe 1/1000th of a second. This ensures there is absolutely no blur. And then I let my ISO float and auto-adjust… I’ll often get my F-Stop as low as possible too so all the dirt and smudges on the window disappear. It works like 98% of the time! And, well, like the title says, this method only works in the daytime… night is a different beast.

Daily Photo – Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown

The flight into Queenstown is maybe one of the most beautiful flights in the world. This is the Crown Range here, and you can't quite see it, but there is a road there that connects Wanaka and Queenstown. It's actually the highest road in New Zealand! It gets A LITTLE icy sometimes in the winter, and they often close it down… but when it's open, the view there is as pretty as the view from this plane window!

Flying home between Wanaka and Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraDSC-RX100M3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/320
  • Aperture4
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length12.1 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Incredible Mount Aspiring

Last Minute Christmas Gift idea – My new book!

You’re running out of time… why not grab my new eBook – people seem to be loving it and I think you will too! :)

Daily Photo – Incredible Mount Aspiring

I had an incredible day up with Aspiring Helicopters right before my trip to the USA. We first went up to an amazing cabin way up in the mountains for a wine and cheese party, then we took off again to circle around this mountain at sunset. It was like a dream! I put on my earphones underneath my heli-big-boy-earphones and listened to all kinds of strange music as we flew around. It was very dreamy!

Incredible Mount Aspiring

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO1250
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Exploring the Mount Aspiring Area

New Tip Video: Removing Noise!

Here’s my latest tip video for you… remember, you can go get the full Aurora HDR Tutorial For Mac right now!

Limitless Places to Explore

I don’t go up in helicopters that much, but every time I do, I’m blown away by the infinite number of places you can land and explore. There’s not a bad photo in any direction, and it’s totally mind-numbing in a way. We’re working on a “What to Do in New Zealand” page… since I get so many questions… but that will be coming soon, I hope… RIGHT RUBY!!??!?! :)

Daily Photo – Exploring the Mount Aspiring Area

Here's another photo from my amazing day up with Mount Aspiring Helicopters when we went to go visit their little chalet where you can overnight. What a romantic place! This is the view of the backside, away from Mt. Aspiring. I took this right before we re-boarded to the heli to take us on a loop around the mighty mountain before flying back to Wanaka.

Exploring the Mount Aspiring Area

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraONE
  • Camera MakeDxO
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length11.9 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Wings over Wanaka

Featured Pinterest!

Thanks again to the Men’s Journal for featuring my Pinterest page… I feel like the guy that barely made the list! Actually, I am, at #22 ! haha Here’s my Pinterest!

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Classic Flights

Be sure to check out Classic Flights if you ever go to Wanaka. Anyone can go up… it’s so fun and the scenery is, of course, second to none.

Daily Photo – Wings over Wanaka

When I went to Wanaka for the Instameet day, Stu and I arrived early to go fly around in some of these awesome old planes. These are called Tiger Moths and they are just as much fun as they look. Well, I mean it’s more fun if you’re not in the middle of a war with the Germans and stuff.

Wings over Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture4
  • ISO320
  • Focal Length175.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

Brave Leader of The Arcanum

As long as we’re talking about it…

…why not go fill out an application at The Arcanum? It’s awesome! :)

Daily Photo – Brave Leader of The Arcanum

Here’s a fun/funny photo I took of Pete one day when we got off the helicopter over near Wanaka. We would do tiny little hikes here and there… he was kneeling down on this mountaintop with this vast valley behind him… he looked pretty awesome I thought!

Brave Leader of The Arcanum

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/3200
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-1.3

A Fun Family Day at Lake Wanaka

Yesterday’s and Today’s Image

I don’t know if you noticed yesterday’s and today’s image or not, but I’ve been doing something a little different with sharpness passes and filters. More and more I’m using MacPhun Intensify and Tonality — definitely some of my favorite filters!

Lightroom Presets

Today’s photo was made with one of the presets from the January 2015 Pack of the Lightroom Presets. I’m glad people are enjoying them so much. It’s very fun for me to experiment a LOT more and create 10 fresh ones per month. It’s a bit of a challenge to always try new looks and experiment, but I am glad you are all experimenting with me! :)

Daily Photo – A Fun Family Day at Lake Wanaka

Isn't this a wonderfully strange photo?!?

We went with our friends Mark and Sonia down to the beach in Wanaka to spend the day recently. It was so sunny and awesome to spend the day with everyone. I know it's opposite-land down here, our summer is the Northern hemisphere's winter, so seeing recent off-season photos can be confusing!

A Fun Family Day at Lake Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7M2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/800
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

The Beauty of New Zealand

A New Video!

A New Photo-Video for you – All New Zealand awesomeness…

I have a Landscape Photography Tutorial based here in New Zealand available over at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/landscape-and-travel-photography-tutorial-new-zealand/

Animation/Slideshow – more info at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/links/animoto — or see my review at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/animoto-review/

Amaze-maze music by the New Zealand band, Arma Del Amor – see more at https://www.facebook.com/ArmaDelAmorNZ

Way Over Wanaka

Borders on Photos

I don’t usually put borders around my photos. I don’t have anything necessarily against borders (as long as they are not too garish). But my friend Jackie Ranken made a good point about them — that they help define the borders of a photo when shown on a black screen when projecting. I think a lot of people also look at them full screen on their computers or TVs with a black background, so it is nice to have that sharply designed border there.

Daily Photo – Way Over Wanaka

We had an amazing helicopter flight over the Southern Alps and ended up flying over some mountains near Wanaka. They were covered in a fine fog and mist and looked absolutely epic. I took dozens and dozens of shots. This is one of the first that I have processed, and I love the way it turned out in black and white.

Way Over Wanaka

Way Over Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length44.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

High Above the Southern Alps and Tips for shooting from fast-moving vehicles

How to take photos from high-speed vehicles in the daytime

The photo below is a good example of this, seeing as it is from a helicopter! It’s best get out of Aperture Priority mode (which I contend is just fine when walkin’ around) and jump into Manual Mode. I amp up the shutter speed to at least 1/250s if not faster. This ensures there will a sharp photo, which is most important. I also drop down the F stop very low. This allows a lot of light in quickly and can get you through any dirt or spots on the window. You don’t have to worry about distant things being in-or-out of focus as long as you don’t have on some kind of a crazy 200mm+ lens.

Last, I let my ISO float (with Auto-ISO), so that I don’t have to constantly be adjusting it as the vehicle turns and there are bright bits and shadowy bits — I think it is smartest to let the computer inside the camera figure out the ISO!

Daily Photo – High Above the Southern Alps

We recently had Choppy fly us over to an amazing campsite near the Greenstone river. Along the way, we flew over these breathtaking mountains. I was taking photos like a man possessed. In addition to the tips above, I also did one other thing. I set up auto-bracketing and had it step by 1 (so it was -1, 0, and +1). I didn't do this for HDR, but just so that I would have a bit of variety in the light levels in my shots. I'm glad I did it, because sometimes the darker one is better than the 0 exposure! For this one, I set the exposure compensation down a bit, so this is actually shot at EV -0.7. It was also SUPER bright outside, so I the aperture was F/10.

High Above the Southern Alps

High Above the Southern Alps

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture10
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length38.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Way above and behind Wanaka

A great flight with Choppy!

If you ever come to the Queenstown area and want an absolutely incredible helicopter ride, be sure to contact Choppy at Over The Top. She knows all the best spots, and she’s a photographer at heart too… so she’s always thinking in those directions!

Daily Photo – Way above and behind Wanaka

Choppy told me that in the winter, people get dropped off by a helicopter here and then ski all the way to the bottom. How awesome does that sound? I guess it also sounds a bit scary… I wish I was super-good on a snowboard so that I could take all my camera stuff along… even with traveling lighter, there are still several guaranteed crashes till I get to the bottom!

Way above and behind Wanaka

Way above and behind Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture10
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length37.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

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