Flying over Queenstown

That first Flight

Here’s a video I made of one of my flights!

Daily Photo – Flying over Queenstown

Here's a photo I took of my friend right before we both jumped off one of our first solo flights. You can actually see my house down there to the left… I'm hoping that when I get good enough that I can go take off and just land back at home. How cool would that be? I can just get Tina to drop me off at the top of the mountain on her way home, and then I can race her home in my paraglider! I'm sure my mom doesn't like this idea, but I'll go for it anyway! :)

Flying over Queenstown

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/200
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Stuck In Customs in Botswana

Slight Update to the Sony A7r Review

I added a few thoughts halfway down about the A7r vs. the A7II over on the Sony A7r Review. In short:

This is a tough question! I do have both, and I still use the A7r for most of my landscape shots because of the 36 megapixel to 24 megapixel advantage. If you’re shooting on a tripod, like I often do, then you’re better off with the A7r, I think. The A7ii REALLY shines with handheld shots because of the stabilization, and that is when I often switch to the A7ii.

Having said that, if it is the stark middle of the day and quite bright, I don’t think image stabilization gets you anything because your shutter speed will be so fast anyway. I think the A7ii is best for medium and low-light situations when handheld camera-shake becomes an issue. But then, you see, we have yet another variable in the equation, the A7s, which is undoubtedly better than the A7ii in low-light situations. But that drops us down to 12 megapixels. Anyway, there’s almost too many variables to consider for any waking mind.

Two passports

I’m looking forward to getting my New Zealand passport in a few years! I find that going some places with a US Passport can be a bit problematic. Not everyone seems to be the USA’s #1 fan, so I’ll probably use the NZ passport in those spots!

Daily Photo – Stuck In Customs in Botswana

Yes, I was actually Stuck In Customs once again! I was not allowed to fly from Maun, Botswana to Cape Town, South Africa because they said I needed a full blank page in my passport! What a mess. I did have room for 5 more stamps, but just not on the same page. This woman was a real stickler! It really harshed my mellow.

So that meant I had to fly to Gaborone to go to the US Embassy. While at the Embassy, there was a huge alarm that went off and everything got locked down! I had just gotten my extra pages sewn into my passport, and I was quickly escorted out. My driver was out there, but he was illegally parked by this huge barricade and security was all around him, making things very crazy! I think he could have been the one to set off the alarm! Anyway, I got in the car and told him to get the hell out of there… what a mess. We went straight to the airport, and then I took this photo.

Stuck In Customs in Botswana

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7S
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/4000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Riding on the Glacier and the New Pinterest Uploads

New Pinterest Uploads!

Adding a ton of supa-fresh Pinterest-cropped works over there at http://www.pinterest.com/treyratcliff/pins/ – enjoy! I really have quite a bit of fun re-cropping my photos to fit that format in the optimal way… and the way they all fall down the page like colorful rain is trippy and fun…

Trey Ratcliff On Pinterest

Daily Photo – Riding on the Glacier

When we had the crew from The Arcanum out here not too long ago, we took an amazing ride with Choppy to this glacier. And I love the way Choppy says it — kind of like “glassssier” – so smooth, just like her! Anyway, after landing, I ran away from the heli to turn around and take this quick shot!

Riding on the Glacier

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture9.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length32.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+2

Flying Over the Okavango Delta

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having great holidays! :)

A little mind-bending for the day from Alan Watts

And here’s something a little different for you… it’s one of those that’s worth watching full-screen with good sound! :)

Daily Photo – Flying Over the Okavango Delta

One day in Botswana, we took a rather incredible helicopter ride! It came to pick us up at our camp that was literally in the middle of nowhere. And here's the kicker — our pilot was from Wanaka, New Zealand! That's only about 45 minutes away from my home… what a strange world!

We took the doors off and it was most pleasant outside. It was so nice and warm that I took off my shoes and let them dangle out into the breeze. Actually, it wasn't a breeze as much as it was a gale-force wind!

Flying Over the Okavango Delta

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture6.7
  • ISO640
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Free Lightroom Presets and a New Last Minute Christmas Deal!

Holiday Sale! 35% off all kinds of Stuff!

Go see our new Newsletter! It has all the details you need, just in case you need that last minute gift for a photography lover, or even better, a gift for yourself!

Free Lightroom Presets – A Starter Pack!

Go grab them in the store now! There’s no catch… nothing to do first… just go for it! I’ve taken some of my favorites and made them avail for free just so you can see how fun they are! Naturally, we have many Other Presets available in the store as well, but this one will get you started with a bang! Here is a free video tutorial I made that shows how they are used! :)

Making Bad Decisions with Stu in Auckland

Enjoying the Creation Wars!

I have a new Playlist on YouTube that has links to all our Creation Wars shows. Check it out and you can watch all the shows! :)

Daily Photo – Making Bad Decisions with Stu in Auckland

My friend Stu has an awesome bach not too far from Auckland. It's up on top of a cliff, and the perfect place to make lots of bad decisions. Stu is really into fire, you see. Actually, I have noticed a very strong pyromaniac gene amongst many Kiwis. I don't know why this is… maybe because it gets cold here a lot, kids just learn to play with and love fire. Somehow, this quickly jumps the gap into explosives. And that's what we started doing here… there was quite a bit of chaos, especially when it fell over and started shooting in random directions!

Making Bad Decisions with Stu in Auckland

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.3
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

A Mom Walking Home in Chefchaouen

Category Reminder

Remember that if you want to see more photos from this “Town of Blue” in Morocco, just click on the “Chefchaouen” tag above! It’s kind of hidden there, and not everyone sees it! :)

Daily Photo – A Mom Walking Home in Chefchaouen

Here is that mountain town in Morocco where everything is painted blue. One of my favorite things to do in these places is just watching regular people go about their daily business. It's kind of nice to see that people all over the world do the same kind of things – little kids run off to school in uniform, shopkeepers brush off the sidewalk in front of their businesses, and moms walk through the streets carrying their children. I think it's so awesome how everyone there dresses so full of color and life. It kind of reminds me of how so many tones in the west often kind of “blend in” and don't stand out, which doesn't totally jibe with our supposedly more individualistic natures.

A Mom Walking Home in Chefchaouen

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Further Along the Central Axis at the Ming Tombs

Going Back to China?

I’m honestly a little worried that I might not be allowed back into China. I don’t think they like me much there after my quadcopter incident. I have not been formally kicked out of the country, but I don’t know if there is a formal process for that anyway! I guess I would find out if I apply for a visa and it is denied. Well, we’ll see what happens… I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Daily Photo – Further Along the Central Axis at the Ming Tombs

Yesterday I mentioned the central axis in Beijing, the spiritual line that goes straight through the ancient city. There are all kinds of interesting monuments and things to visit along this axis, but very very far north are the Ming Tombs. These things are spread out and require a lot of walking, but the walks are quite beautiful. It's strange to be in such a tight congested city but then have these massive swaths of open areas. Hardly anyone ever comes to these places, so there is plenty of solitude, which is a welcome respite from the chaos of the rest of Beijing!

Further Along the Central Axis at the Ming Tombs

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture8
  • ISO160
  • Focal Length68.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+0.3

DJI Inspire and HDR Photos

HDR Tutorial

I know many of you already have my new HDR Tutorial, but wanted share this little promo below for all the new people that come to the blog from time to time!

First Inspire Photo

I put that photo on yesterday’s blog post – check it out in case you missed it! :)

Daily Photo – HDR Photos and the DJI Inspire

Because the Inspire gives you manual control over the camera, you can take full-on proper HDR photos!

The current version of the software I am using is a little clunky, but it is all controlled through the iPad. I can set the shutter speed or adjust the exposure compensation. I can't seem to adjust the ISO, as that seems to float, but I'm working on that. The UI controls don't always work so well, but I think they'll work out the bugs. For the photo below, I took 4 different exposures at 4 different shutter speeds. The Inspire was SO STEADY in the air that I was able to get them to automatically align very well in Photomatix. Anyway, these are early tests, but this is very encouraging!

HDR Photos and the DJI Inspire

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraFC350
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/240
  • Aperture2.8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramNot Defined
  • Exposure Bias-2

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