The Lonely Church

Ethan Gets His First Camera in New Zealand

I gave Ethan my LX-3 camera in New Zealand. Actually, he had to “unlock” it by achieving a series of quests that involved photography. He reached an appropriate level, so he got the camera. In a few more levels, he’ll get the secret epic mount.

In fact, Ethan started his own little photo blog…  I don’t know how often he will update it since he’s a busy busy 9-year-old, but he seems to enjoy it so far!

Daily Photo – The Lonely Church

There is a beautiful little French seaside town on the east coast of New Zealand called Akaroa. We spent a few days here to relax and explore. After taking a drive a bit further from the town up the coast, we found this old church on the side of the road. Of course…. it’s impossible to drive by a place like this without popping out for a photo!

After taking so many shots, I can now say that I like cloudy days more than flat blue sunny days. In fact, I’ll just pass by a lot of scenic places if the sky is a boring blue. One common problem that many people notice with HDRs is that there is a “halo” effect. This happens a lot with those blue-sky days… A great way to get around that problem is simply to wait for sunset, a cloudy day, or something where there is not a vast expanse of flat color.

If you want to find out more about the technique, check out the full HDR Tutorial.


  • Whoa. OK, I get the feeling I’m repeating myself.. but wow. I continue to be super impressed by your shots. The red here is amazing. It stands out so well and just pops at you. Great job.

    I agree with you about cloudy days. I wrote something similar a few days ago on my bog about a stormy photo I took in Takayama. The HDR effect does some wonderful things with clouds. Would you believe I have lots of shots of nothing but clouds that I’ve HDRerized? Crazy, I know…

  • bog=blog.. Gotta learn to type someday…

  • hehe no worries – I am the master of typos! !!

  • Thanks for being our unofficial NZ ambassador! My wife was just telling me last I needed to go to Akaroa for a wee photo shoot :-). I’ll be looking for this when I’m there next month!

  • 3dom

    first time i see the lx3 in silver, looking great.
    its a phantastic camera.

  • Linda Castellani

    What a lucky guy your son is! Thanks for sharing that video. That must have been a great father-son adventure in New Zealand.

    And the photo…well, it’s amazing. The colors just pop. And I love the totem pole.

  • I agree, you son is lucky to have such a wonderful teacher/teachers. I assume you homeschool your kids so you can do all that traveling. Great job!!! Love this photo of the little church, the colors are so brilliant, and the “totem” pole as we would call it, adds to the photo!! Thanks for sharing another adventure with us!!

  • Thanks!

    Gail yes – we do homeschool

  • Bonnie Salisbury

    This is just an awesome shot! The HDR effect is tremendous with the reds! The sky is amazing as well.

  • Hi Trey,

    That’s a great idea with your son! I’m wondering, do you think maybe you can share what some of these “quests” were for him to earn his LX3? I know it’ll come in handy for me when I’m asked to “teach my son/daughter how to take pictures”…and I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets asked this on a semi regular basis!

  • Thanks!

    Tim – mostly it was just having him take a bunch of pictures and go through the daily process of picking the best 2 or 3. Self-selecting the good from the bad is an important process.

  • Wow Trey – That’s a great shot! I really like the vibrancy. I agree with you about the clouds. They also add texture to a shot as well. You never fail to impress me! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  • Great shot Trey! I love the little white gate amidst all the red fencing 😀 Also, I have to agree with you, cloudy days are generally way more interesting photography-wise.

  • Patrick

    Can you explain the concept of “homeschool” a bit more for us foreigners?
    I really don’t know what that really implies. No school at all or just some
    teaching at home during vacation? How do you make sure he stays at the
    same level with other kids who go to school?

  • Great processing Trey.
    I do find the Composition very centralized like a typical tourist image. Was there any interest on the side of the church? or less of a head on angle this could of been shot from?
    what f stop was used on this shot?
    Love your work you are very inspiring.
    The Wiz..

  • casusan

    What a lovely little church – great capture! Ethan’s camera is cool too! Great idea for him to have a website too!

  • i know this image is well processed, but when i first scrolled down the page, the first thing i saw was the big tree, it’s like that big fat lady seating for all eternity, and you just have to wait until she move…. to get a decent shot…

    the previews pictures are out of this world… i really liked ”THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN”

  • Hey Trey, I’m an aspiring travel photographer in New Zealand on the way to some awesome things. Im sure you wont have any trouble finding amazing things in our beautiful country but if you would like to meet some locals and maybe come sailing hit me up.

  • THanks all.

    Wizard – I have the church from many angles – Will post the others later.. head on was my favorite because it showed the tilted front gate the best. I wanted to feature that bit.

    Patrick – Homeschool is simply not sending our kids to a formals school — but doing everything from home instead. That is a very short explanation… sorry about that!

  • allison knaupe

    This. Is. Beautiful.

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