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

Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

Lonely Trails

You know one of the strangest things about these hiking trails in this area of the South Island of New Zealand? They are almost entirely empty. Sometimes on hikes you go hours or all day without ever seeing another human. And they are all wonderfully maintained too… there are little bridges here and there, nicely graded paths, etc etc — they put a lot of care and work into them for something that is so rarely used… but that’s okay with me of course — I like the solitude! :)

Daily Photo – Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

While filming the new HDR Tutorial (be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to the right to find out the scoop on that!), we hiked to the top of this trail to get this unique view. It was a moody and wet day, and everything had a very otherworldly feel about it. This shot was actually fairly difficult because I couldn't get everything in one shot. So it required some difficult vertical panorama stitching in the final result. It's never an easy combo with HDR! Anyway, all of that is seen in the new video HDR Tutorial I mentioned up there! :)

Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

Across the Mirrorportal in Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length10.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Ducks and Tree and Snow

ND Filters

Does anyone know of a Variable ND filter that fits on these new Sony lenses? That might be a handy thing to have… I never ended up getting one for my old Nikon 14-24mm because it was just too honking big!

Daily Photo – Ducks and Tree and Snow

I need to pop over to Wanaka more often! I don't have an excuse, as it is just an hour away. The mountains and lake and everything there is so different than Queenstown. Even though I “know” this in my brain, every time I go there is a little burst of surprise about how different it is!

There is a cool tree that grows out of the water here. When things are calm, sometimes there are these nice little ripples that come by while the ducks swim around… so serene!

Ducks and Tree and Snow

Ducks and Tree and Snow

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/40
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Looking Across the Lake

Newsletter

Be sure to check out our new Newsletter signup thing there on the right! If you haven’t signed up, be sure to do it so you can hear about the secret new stuff first! :)

Daily Photo – Looking Across the Lake

We visited this lake in the late afternoon on one of the final days of shooting for the new HDR Video Tutorial. This is actually getting edited together right now and it's gonna be amazing! Anyway, this is not one of the shots that is in the actual video, but just one I took along the way. We walked all the way around the lake, and there were very few openings to get a shot. You'll see in another one how I had to slide down a rock to get into position — in fact, I almost fell right in the river during the shoot!

Looking Across the Lake

Looking Across the Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/13
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length21.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Full interview from This Week in Photography

This Week in Photography about The Arcanum

I was joined by Peter Giordano and Bel Jones as we were interviewed by Frederick Van Johnson all about The Arcanum. Applications are blowing up and we can’t wait to get started! We answer a lot of questions in this interview, and you can see even more answered over on the This Week in Photo site.

Daily Photo – Daydreaming in gradeschool

Well here is a photo of Bel Jones, one of the Masters of the aforementioned Arcanum looking at some nice bokeh lights! I had just gotten the new Sony A7r and was testing out some of the prime lenses. This one was the Sony 55mm at f/1.8. I commented on how nice the lights looked at f/1.8, and she turned her head to look, so I ducked over to the left to get this quick photo!

This is one of the photos in the new Sony A7r Review here on the site.

I really do like the lens very much. I’m trying to compare it to that Leica 50mm f/1.4 but I need to do some more experimentation. That Leica lens is like a $10,000 lens, which is cray-cray! I’m doing my best to use a discerning and analytical eye to see if that out-of-focus area is $9500-more buttery!

Daydreaming in gradeschool

Daydreaming in gradeschool

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture1.8
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

A Path near Diamond Lake

Something Big And Exciting Is Coming This Week

I have a Rather Major Thing we are launching this week… stay tuned !!

For a sneak peek, watch LIVE for tomorrow’s show which is all about Drone Photography. We’ll do a special announcement before the show. For your local time for the show, visit the Event Page!

Panel on Social Media

I was on a panel at the Better By Design CEO Summit in Auckland, New Zealand recently. This is a gathering of about 500 of the top CEOs/business leaders in NZ and was put on by Icebreaker Merino and Jeremy Moon. This panel discussion was all about Social Media and where things are at…

Here’s the people on the panel: Ken Hong, Head of Marketing Strategy for the Chinese micro-blogging Sina Weibo, Derek Handley, Founding CEO at The B Team, Aura Oslapas, former Senior Vice President and Chief Design Officer at Best Buy and (me) share their social media insights. Panel facilitated by Keith Yamashita, Partner at consultancy and product-creation engine SY.

Daily Photo – A Path near Diamond Lake

We were out shooting the new secret video for something you will see very soon (stay tuned!), and we walked along this path on the way back. It was so pretty both directions, but I’m often reminded that when I walk back the other direction that it looks totally different. I’d like to think I’m pretty “aware” of what landscapes look like from every direction, but on long walks, sometimes you forget to look behind you.

A Path near Diamond Lake

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.8
  • Aperture4
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Peaceful Evening in Wanaka

Communities and New Badges

Want to join the community and share your photos? Here’s some links for you! :) Google+ turned 2 years old, and they announced a new Badge Maker that you can use for your website. I thought I’d use the new badges below to re-invite you to a few of the communities we started there! These are good places for you to share your work, if you so desire. Also, as always, I am happy for you to share your work here in the comments on the blog too! :)




Daily Photo – Peaceful Evening in Wanaka

I had a peaceful evening in Wanaka.

There is this tree that sits out in the middle of the lake. It’s so unusual. I love the way it reflects back on itself in the smooth water. I was by myself, listening to music on my iPod, and just watching the water as it would calm down then get excited, then calm down again. I swapped out lenses a few times and kept moving around to admire it from different angles. This one was one of my favorites.

Peaceful Evening in Wanaka

Peaceful Evening in Wanaka

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNEX-7
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/50
  • Aperture13
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length55.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

Welcome to STUCK IN CUSTOMS Welcome to my travel photography blog!
Enjoy the daily photos, tips, tutorials & more!
Newsletter Sign Up
The Most Beautiful Newsletter Ever!


x