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

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

Changing Autumn Colors

Other than New England and down here, where else in the world is know for colorful and beautiful Autumns? There must be a ton of them, but I don’t hear about many of them… let us know! :)

Daily Photo – The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

I took this in the middle of the Autumn Festival here in Arrowtown, which is about 10 minutes from my home. If you're looking to come to New Zealand in the Autumn (or perhaps will join one of our workshops), then this is a highly recommended festival. It goes for the full week and is a great family event. We go every year, so maybe we'll see you down there! :)

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

The Autumn Hillside Above Arrowtown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length250.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Hay!

Third-World Crazy Vehicle Situations

Whenever I am in places that are far away and I see people doing insane things with vehicles, it never ceases to amaze. And most things I see seem to appear totally unsafe, and more or less like fraternity pranks! What’s the craziest thing you have seen?

Daily Photo – Hay!

I can't believe this thing has somehow evaded the principals of Newtonian physics! When I pulled into a small kasbah called Aït Benhaddou in the desert to take some photos, I saw this huge truck full of hay rumbling past. I barely kept my wits about me to take a photo just after it passed.

On the plus side, it must be very easy to get the hay off the truck!

Hay!

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture9
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

Chefchaouen from Above

SmugMug Review

Below on today’s photo, I talk about our Quadcopter getting temporarily shut down by the military police in Morocco — but when the final video comes out, it will replace my current “promo” video for SmugMug, which is at the bottom of the SmugMug Review page!

Quadcopter filming a Bungy Swing in New Zealand

I wanted to post this video first here on the blog! Pretty much 100% of what you are about to see is ill-advised, but the swing bit, and the quadcopter filming bit. It all worked out fine, but this will only encourage more bad decisions by us in the future! :) We used a DJI Phantom Vision over a crazy gorge in Skipper’s Canyon to get this footage… this is the long version of the behind-the-scenes from http://www.StuckInCustoms.com ! :)

Daily Photo – Chefchaouen from Above

Now, here is a place where the military police shut us down with our quadcopter! I came into town with Anton and Ana from SmugMug to work on this cool new promo piece. We had been already using Anton's quadcopter all over Morocco, but when we got here, the taxi driver alerted the local military police that we had some sort of a “plane”! This caused a lot of worry and consternation (and, I should add, a Significant amount of confusion). After we were there for half an hour, the military police descended on our hotel with a rather sour attitude. I've never had any success negotiating with the Moroccan military, and I had no success here either. I did put up a good intellectual fight, but I eventually acquiesced, mostly because of the size of their guns. Well, there was no gunplay… but I did see a lot of guns… which always helps one side win an argument.

Chefchaouen from Above

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/30
  • Aperture16
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length15.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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

Fes in the Night

Recommendations

Thanks again to everyone that recommended that I go to Fes for exploration! You were right on. I loved so many cities in Morocco, but this was the biggest one I went to where I didn’t see a bunch of tourists. Marrakech seemed to have about 10x or 20x more tourists! It’s not that tourists are necessarily bad, but it does kind of take me out of the scene a bit, you know?

Daily Photo – Fes in the Night

I arrived here late at night, so this was the first thing I saw. The train ride took way longer than expected, and it is often a strange feeling to arrive at a foreign place at night. Everything has a patina of mystery and you really feel like you're on another planet. I was happy to be up high to get a view of everything… the clouds were very low, and the pink & orange lights from the city gave everything an odd but magical glow.

Fes in the Night

Fes in the Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Backlit Trees

When shooting in the Autumn, be sure to get lots of photos of the sun behind the trees. And if you end up doing HDR (you don’t have to), then you can even show the sun itself without things blowing out too much. Backlit leaves that are going through color changes really adds a nice X-factor I think!

Daily Photo – Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

I should get over to Queenstown Gardens more! I don't know why I don't visit more often… it's really kind of a shame! I guess, honestly, I spend so much time in front of the computer that it limits how much I am out shooting. But I also love the post-processing… ahh… well… no regrets, right? I like doing both, and I'm only one person! I do all the post-processing myself. I know some other people farm it out to others, but I just can't bring myself to do that. Anyway, when I see how pretty these gardens are in the Autumn, maybe I'll shift around some things to make it here more often!

Queenstown Gardens in the Autumn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length25.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Man Walking in Marrakech at the Koutoubia Mosque

Silver Efex Pro 2

If you’re B&W-curious, I recommend this software from Nik. It can do some amazing things to photos to give them a special kind of pop. I tend to like some of this high-key stuff, but my tastes are also changing a bit… maybe not changing… evolving? Is that the right word? I don’t know… maybe I am just moody and my tastes pop around randomly with little rhyme or reason!

Daily Photo – Man Walking in Marrakech at the Koutoubia Mosque

This is one of most scenic mosques in this area. They would not let me inside, me being a non-muslim and this sort of thing. So I would just stay outside and take photos of interesting people as they passed by. I got many photos of the mosque by itself, but it seems more interesting with people.

I hung out around mosques quite a bit in Morocco and would see men come in multiple times throughout the day for the call to prayer. One thing I noticed that I thought was a bit odd — is that everyone came out looking quite serious and dour.

Man Walking in Marrakech at the Koutoubia Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Boats in repose in Essaouira

The Fish Market

Right by this place below was a fish market. Fisherman had been out since the morning, and now their partners were out selling fish on the docks. There were the craziest looking fish! I mean, there were some normal looking fish, but there were a few I have never seen before. I’d like to think I can identify a fair number of fish, but whenever I visit foreign fish markets, I see the craziest-looking sea creatures. It’s just amazing — I would have no idea how to prepare them or cook them… in fact, they often look way too scary, and I just kind of avert my eyes.

Daily Photo – Boats in repose in Essaouira

What a beautiful and amazing little seaside town this is! Who knew that Morocco had such charming places on the ocean? Well, I'm sure Moroccans know… but I sure didn't. This is definitely a fishing town and everything is boat-centric. I spent countless hours on the shore and on the docks exploring all the mythical boats. Here are a few of them for you.

Boats in repose in Essaouira

Boats in repose in Essaouira

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/100
  • Aperture10
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length12.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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