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December sunsets

Most often you would think that with December 1st arriving, that summer would finally arrive to the South Island of New Zealand. When living in Dunedin, you'll get glimpses of this elusive season but nothing full-fledge until mid-January. The sunset below personifies the transition between spring and summer. The warm tones of orange being flanked by ominous blue storm clouds were a true joy to capture. What a wonderful way to end the day.

Sony A7RII - 16-35mm

1/50 | f5.6 | ISO 250 | 16mm

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Lunch break on Butters Peak

My wife and I are very fortunate to have jobs that allow us freedom with our schedules, but sometimes we don't take advantage of this freedom when the weather is most desirable. There have been times that we are so caught up with our schedules that we miss perfectly good opportunities to hike on the amazing trails Dunedin has to offer (especially when it's not raining!).

Well today was one of those days we were happy to have taken our lunch break to the hills. On today's menu was Mt Cargill, and Butters Peak. The lighting was ideal for photos, with the cloud cover offering as a nice diffuser.

We shot up to the top of Mt Cargill as fast as we could, so as to have enough time to snap photos should the views present themselves. After a number of attempts at trying to capture just the right moment in time, I finally landed the frame below. This was taken high atop Butters Peak, with the Otago Peninsula acting as the background.

Enjoy the photo! When in doubt, get outside and snap pictures!

 

Sony A7RII - 70-200 2.8

1/200 (very windy!) | f10 | ISO 250 | 70mm

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Stormy days

Glorious, rain-filled clouds are a sight I don't often see in Dunedin. Rain, yes, big puffy dark clouds, no. The rain often arrives as a large grey blanket. When I saw these beauties off in the distance I knew we had some thunder coming. It may not be everyone's preferred form of entertainment, but for me seeing the storm moving ever-closer was truly exhilarating. Camera details below!

 

Sony A7RII - 24-70 2.8

1/500 | f7.1 | ISO 100 | 24mm

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Sunshine, lupins, and mountains

We often trust MetService (New Zealand's most accurate source for weather prediction), and use their 5, and 10-day forecasts for planning trips. I am happy to report that both were quite accurate this past weekend.

Every chance we get, we do our best to visit the alpine regions of the South Island, and to our delight the sunshine was going to be in great supply on the Sunday we were planning tp visit. When we got to Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, the conditions couldn't have been better for hiking, and photography.

The first photo I'd like to share is one that combines two very distinct alpine elements, lupins and Aoraki/Mt Cook. To do this I needed to stack two photos, one with focus on the foreground, and one on the background. I then used Photoshop to blend the two to create one exposure, with both in focus. The technical term for this is focus stacking. The settings for both photos are listed below the final, blended, image. All other adjustments were done in Lightroom.

 

Sony A7RII - 70-200 2.8

1/60 | f6.3 | ISO 80 | 70mm

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Mount Chalmers day hike - December 2016

We are so fortunate to live in an area where really good hikes are abundant. A few months ago we attempted to climb to the top of Mount Chalmers, but didn't quite make it the top before turning back due to adverse weather.

Fortunately summer weather allowed us the opportunity to give this hike another chance. This time we would approach it from the Cedar Creek trail.

Aside from a muddy areas the run up to the top of Mount Chalmers was quite pleasant. I managed to create this photo just before the rain overtook us. The settings for the photo are just below. Post-processing was done in Adobe Lightroom, and Photoshop.

 

Sony A7RII - 24-70mm 2.8 - Polarizing filter 1/125 | f/5.6 | ISO 125 | 24mm

Sony A7RII - 24-70mm 2.8 - Polarizing filter

1/125 | f/5.6 | ISO 125 | 24mm

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The Gift of Smile

This past weekend I was very fortunate to have traversed some amazing alpine territory in Central Otago, New Zealand, and Aoraki (Mt Cook) National Park. The whole time I was on the trail was pure bliss, even while finishing the last section of Ben Lomond, and long and winding path to the top of Isthmus Peak. When passing, or crossing paths, with others on the path, I made sure to offer a smile and a greeting. Regardless of how physically demanding the terrain was, I always managed to offer a smile. To be out in the middle of bliss, and be physically capable of hiking, was a true blessing. Always remember to give the gift of smile, for it costs you nothing, and lifts the spirits of those around you. The mountain views aren't bad either.

 

 

Sony A7RII - 16-35mm 1/125 | f11 | ISO 100 | 35mm

Sony A7RII - 16-35mm

1/125 | f11 | ISO 100 | 35mm

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Countdown to Creative

I've often thought there was a magical timer that would tell me when it's time to be creative. There is no doubt I had the ability to be "creative", but I never took the time to cultivate this skill. My work as a coach afforded me the ability to express my artistic passions, and I am always grateful for those early beginnings. The most important lesson I learned from the 15 years I spent as a strength and conditioning coach, is that with anything truly worth pursuing, it will take countless hours of preparation to achieve a base level of mastery. One must have the right plan, and work ethic, to the creative they truly want to be. So let's do this! Let's begin the countdown to creative.

A7II - 70-200 f4 1/80 | f6.3 | ISO 100 | 74mm

A7II - 70-200 f4

1/80 | f6.3 | ISO 100 | 74mm

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