A Panorama of the Valley

Fun, Free, and Passport-Only Content today!

I used today’s photo from here in Queenstown, New Zealand, as part of a series of fun videos. For those of you that are Passport Members (Thanks btw – and recommend to a friend if you don’t mind!), you’ll get to see a little bit extra about the animation process in Plotagraph. By the way, here is a Facebook Link to the animated version of today’s photo.

A Beautiful Way to get rid of Noise

Here’s a video that shows an unusual technique I came up with to get rid of noise.

And then I decided to animate it also using Plotagraph. Here’s a video showing how I did that. (If you watched the other video above you can skip through the first bit of this)

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Daily Photo – A Panorama of the Valley

So this was taken directly over my home. It was made of 4 or 5 photos with the DJI Phantom quad. I stitched them all together using Lightroom, then ran them through Aurora HDR before doing those finishing touches you see above with the noise reduction tip. It was a fun project! 🙂

A Panorama of the Valley

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-30 17:51:46
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/60
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Lake Hayes with no Wind

Quadcopter Panorama

This was taken with the DJI Phantom. I believe it was four different photos that I stitched together. I’ve started doing this more and more. I wish the quad could take vertical (portrait) shots that I could stitch together. I don’t always like how wiiiiiide the final shot becomes when you stitch them together. Well, I take that back. I suppose it depends on the medium. A giant print of this on a wall would look pretty sweet, I think. But it doesn’t read well on a phone or a tablet in the vertical position. I guess I shouldn’t think about the medium of display so much… but it does cross my mind.

European Highlight Video!

Here’s, probably, one of my favorite videos we’ve made around here. Thanks again to Olya and the whole team for making this video and the European tour possible!

Daily Photo – Lake Hayes with no Wind

This is Lake Hayes in Arrowtown, New Zealand. I try to come here at least once a week to have a run around the lake. It's 8KM around and a little bit hilly. It's always gorgeous, as you can see. Maybe half the time, there is no wind at all, so you get this incredibly glassy reflection. This was taken in the middle of winter, where the colors are the blandest… but, as you can see, “bland” colors in New Zealand are pretty electric!

Lake Hayes with no Wind

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-06-27 04:05:00
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/400
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Earnslaw Burn

New Passport Video

If you’re an awesome Passport Member then you get to see today’s 360 video. It’s part 4, where I give a tour of my patron’s mansion in Beverly Hills and you can see where one of the works will hang. Right in the entry way, and I’m very honored. Parts 1-3 are various scenes of me flying out to the photo location under the glacier, forgetting a tent for our overnight stay, working on the photos over the project, etc. Anyway, enjoy Part 4 below ! 🙂

Passport Exclusive – 360 video

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Daily Photo – The Earnslaw Burn

Here's one of the final three works for the mysterious patron. What a fun (and tough!) project. But I'm very happy with all the final works. And, most importantly, so is he and his whole family! I like making people happy like that… kind of the purpose of creativity, right? To make yourself and others happy.

The Earnslaw Burn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-01 09:08:33
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture11
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

Another Walk in Glenorchy

Derek Sivers on Tim Ferris

Here’s a link – the one about self confidence, to the podcast when Derek first talks to Tim Ferris. I had about 10 people tell me I should meet him, and vice-versa, so we finally made it happen.

Daily Photo – Another Walk in Glenorchy

I had my new friend Derek Sivers down to Queenstown for a visit and we went over here to Glenorchy to take a walk. You can't ever go wrong with a walk here, talking about philosophy and life, taking photos all the way. The colors this day were particularly vibrant when the sun would bleed through the clouds.

Another Walk in Glenorchy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-21 22:24:11
  • CameraX1D-50c
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture3.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

4 Tips for Taking Surprising Mobile Photos

It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone or an Android there are a few things you can do to get your mobile photography to the next level. All of the photos included with the tips were taken with my Google Pixel phone. I normally shoot with a big Hasselblad camera, but sometimes all I have with me is my phone. I’ve come up with some great tricks to make them look as surprising and incredible as possible.

1) Don’t hit that big circle on the screen to take the photo. Use the Vol Up button on the side! One, when you jab the screen with your finger, you’re causing camera-shake and it will make your photo more blurry. Two, using the volume up button allows you to hold the camera much more steady with one or two hands.

Image 1

This was taken an underground Turkish bath in Budapest, Hungary. This is Olya, my crazy Russian videographer, who traveled through Europe with us to make some inspirational and tutorial videos.

2) Experiment with the mobile app Snapseed! It’s free and available for Android and iOS. This is, by far, the best app for editing your photos on your phone. There are many tools in there and many different filters. One great thing about Snapseed is you can layer many different filters together to really give your photo a unique look. People will wonder how you did it!

Image 2

Here’s a fun family photo from a few months ago when we rode camels near the pyramids in Egypt. I used Snapseed filters to give it this “look.”

3) Take some cheeky street photos. If you’re like me, as you walk around the streets, you often see interesting people, crazy outfits, or just kooky things you find interesting. It can sometimes be embarrassing to blatantly aim your phone at these things, so get used to using the Volume Up button to take the photos. On the Pixel phone, for example, I can turn on the camera by double-clicking the power button. Then I move my finger to volume-up to take the photo. Your horizon will probably be off, but you can fix that later.

Image 3

Here’s a cheeky street photo I took in Budapest, Hungary. This is my assistant Tane. He’s not posing; this is literally how he looks all the time.

4) Try combining your phone with an iPad or tablet to edit your photos to the next level. Professional photographers know that a photo reads differently on a larger screen. Next time you’re at a coffee shop, why not zap your photo over to your tablet (via Google Photos or Airdrop), then use Snapseed to edit it there. A good photo always looks better bigger on a tablet, so don’t feel like you’re forced to use that tiny little screen.

Image 4

This a photo I took in Aruba. I was jogging on the beach, and of course I had my mobile phone with me. I was able to cover a lot of ground quickly, and there’s no way I would go on a jog and carry a Hasselblad! But it’s nice to always have the phone with me and take a ton of photos, picking out the best after I sit down to relax.

Image 5

Near my home on the south island of New Zealand, there is this amazing place to watch the sunset called Lake Hayes. I forgot my big Hasselblad camera, so all I had was my phone. There’s a saying that the Best Camera is the one you have with you!

Image 6

Here’s a panorama of three different photos I took while on a walk here near my home in New Zealand. Since I have an Android, I use Google photos. One great thing about Google Photos is there’s a little AI assistant that will “gift” you a panorama if it senses you took a lot of photos close together.

Rainy Day in Milford Sound

Bad Memory

I took this less than a year ago, but I had no memory of what lens or camera I used. I had to go look at the EXIF! I was 90% sure it was the Hasselblad, but I had no clue on the focal length. It looked quite zoomed in, but then I realized the waterfalls are so massive, you really can’t tell. Anyway, it was the 35-90mm, shot at 60mm. I wish there was a zoom lens, but in everyone’s life, a little waterfall must fall.

Daily Photo – Rainy Day in Milford Sound

In Milford, when it rains, the mountains pour. I tell most people when they go that rain is probably one of the best weather situations down there… literally THOUSANDS of waterfalls. I believe I took this one right by the tunnel that leads from one side of these massive mountains to the other. Waterfalls are crazy on both sides… mind-blowing, really. Whoever built that tunnel and road to Milford Sound, THANK YOU!

Rainy Day in Milford Sound

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-12-21 09:13:11
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length60.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Long Cloud at Jack’s Point and How-To Video

New How-To Video

I have a new technique for making panoramas which I think is better than using Lightroom or anything else. If you’re a Passport Member, you can see it embedded in this post! 🙂

Passport Exclusive – New Panorama Tip

Here you go! I hope you like this technique… I pretty much only do panoramas this way… 95% of the time, I’d say.

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Daily Photo – The Long Cloud at Jack's Point and How-To Video

This is a great little spot in Queenstown to take photos. You have to cross the bridge and start heading towards Milford Sound. But about 15 minutes after that, you can turn into a little housing community called Jack's Point. The clubhouse there has this pretty tiny pond in front. It's often smooth enough for a good reflection shot. Today I was using a prime 45mm lens and decided to make a very hi-res panorama of the scene.

The Long Cloud at Jack's Point and How-To Video

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-07-03 01:04:00
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/350
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length45.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Earnslaw Burn

Part 4 of the Earnslaw Burn Story

If you’re a Passport member, you’ll see extra content today. I have a patron that has purchased some special work, and today has a 360 view of his mansion and where the work will hang! You can also see his amazing Ferrari on a turntable garage. Awesome!

Passport Exclusive: Earnslaw Burn Part 4

Check out this cool 360 video I shot at a patron’s home in Beverly Hills. Remember you can grab the video and twist it around to look whichever way you wish. I’m sorry it’s so shaky… I feel like a field reporter in Syria or something.

Exclusive content for Passport members

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Daily Photo – Earnslaw Burn

Here's one of the three finished works. This is a panorama made out of about 100 different images in this magical place in New Zealand. If you've watched the four videos we made for Passport subscribers, then you can see everything that happened! Helicoptering in, me forgetting the overnight tents on the glacier, etc etc.

To give it a sense of size, my son, who is 6'3″ is standing under the waterfall on the left. See him? He's wearing a red top.

Earnslaw Burn

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-12-01 09:08:33
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture11
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.7

A Favorite Walk

How-To Video

Here’s a how-to of how I made today’s photo. I did this on Facebook live, and it’s embedded here. Enjoy! 🙂

Side note: the video looses audio/visual sync though due to technical gremlins but hopefully it’s still somewhat useful!



Daily Photo – A Favorite Walk

I do this walk by my house a few times a week. This is about 5 minutes away and affords amazing views of the valley. I decided to make a panorama here with my new Hasselblad X1D. This is made up of 5 different vertical photos… stitched together in Lightroom, then adjusted with Aurora HDR. Well, you can see more in the video above!

A Favorite Walk

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-27 23:15:30
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

New Panorama

Full-Size Tips

Today’s photo is available full screen on my SmugMug at “https://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-V5zJTxN/A” but if you change that A to an O at the end (original), then you can see the full size ala “https://stuckincustoms.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-V5zJTxN/O“.

Daily Photo – New Panorama

I took this photo with the new Hasselblad X1D while taking a little walk. This is actually very close to the photo I put up a few days ago. This one was taken by stacking four photos vertically. I'm starting to do this more and more. Lightroom is really good at putting together panoramas now, and of course the pixel count is just through the roof. I believe this one is about 12,000 pixels high. I encourage you to click through and see the original size.

New Panorama

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-27 23:35:10
  • CameraX1D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length30.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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