Bucket List

Every now and then I like going back to look at my images from New Zealand. I was there a little over three years ago but it now seems like an eternity. But having those images brings back some of that magic. I find myself using the word “magic” a lot when describing the southern island of New Zealand. There is something about it that evokes a sense of wonder. You should put it on your bucket list, especially if you like natural beauty.

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Bucket List
Bucket List item from the Southern Alps of New Zealand

This is one of the many helicopter landings I made on the last day. I spent the morning shooting images of the Southern Alps and then flew home that afternoon.

I’m standing next to the oddly named Lake Unknown, which is on the southern slopes of Poseidon Peak. The mist on the left is from a light rain shower on the far side of the lake. In these mountains there are microclimates that vary from blizzards to light rain to sunshine. As we approached from the north we could see a rainbow through the shower, it was surreal; that’s another word I use to describe New Zealand.

New Zealand gallery

The last time I was in the mountains was on a cruise to Alaska. I think there are two types of people, mountain people and ocean people. In Alaska you can be both at the same time if you live by the coast. Even though I live by the ocean in Florida I think of myself as a mountain person. I enjoy both but I need to see the mountains once in a while to keep sane. While I was in New Zealand I got a large dosage of rugged mountains took thousands of photos. Now, if I go too long without seeing the mountains I can look at the photos and remember what it was like. And then I start to wonder if I might redo one item on my bucket list. That’s allowed isn’t it?

Elk Lake

I took this a few years ago at Elk Lake in Victoria BC. We had just arrived on the ferry and stopped several times on the short drive into town. The scenery around Victoria is pretty awesome and you don’t have to go far to see something. In this case the sun was setting as it highlighted the trees along the lake. A tranquil scene that I tried to capture with my camera.

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Elk Lake
Elk Lake in Victoria BC

I’m going back to Vancouver shortly so I may hop over to the island and have a peak around. I was here in summer last so the change of seasons always shows things in a different light. Obviously it will look very different.

This is an old picture that I happened to notice as I was browsing my archives. It brought back memories and it reminded me of that trip. The other night I decided to scroll back on my iPhone images. The iPhone is ten years old and sure enough I have images going back to 2007. As I scrolled through I took a walk down memory lane and before you know it an hour had gone by, and I only made it to 2010.

Canada gallery

Isn’t it nice to have so many memories preserved on an iPhone and with you wherever you go? I think that’s pretty cool.

Sense of Direction

This is from my trip to New Zealand a couple of years ago where I participated in a photography workshop. After all of the time that’s gone by I still have a lot of photos in my backlog to process. Here we were standing on a hill one afternoon overlooking Queenstown. That trip went by so fast I’m glad I have photos to re-live it in little increments later.

Sense of Direction
Whenever I travel to places I don’t know, I struggle with my sense of direction. This is facing south in New Zealand.

Whenever I go somewhere new it can be a little disorienting. By that I mean I’m never to sure which way is north south east or west. I remember having that feeling when I was here and struggling to sort it out in my mind. I love going back to Google Maps or Google Earth to look at places I’ve been and get a proper sense of direction and location. It’s helps me to integrate the experience after the fact.

For instance, with this shot I keep expecting to see the river, but it’s to my back as I was facing south. When we headed to Glenorchy, I thought we were driving south but it’s actually north. And if all that isn’t enough, on the last day I took a helicopter through the southern alps during which I had zero sense of whereabouts. Thankfully I was geotagging my photos, so now years later I can go back and begin to piece the locations together into some kind map of the journey.

Perhaps the sense of not knowing where we are in a new land adds to the sense wonder and excitement. I think perhaps, there might be something to that.

More images from the New Zealand gallery

Queenstown Reboot

This is an image I took on my first day in New Zealand about two years ago. As you can see from the colors it was autumn in the southern hemisphere. If I recall I was so happy to see all the fall colors that I quickly processed the photo and posted it a few hours later.

Queenstown Reboot
This is an image from Queenstown that I’ve just reprocessed, I think it turned out better than the first time.

Now when I look back on that image I realize my tastes have changed. That’s a nice way of saying the other picture makes my eyes bleed. The colors of the original are amped up quite a bit and appear too bright and unrealistic.

And so as I was looking at some of my old photos the other day and I thought to myself, why don’t I reprocess this? Since I have the original RAW files I did, only his time I used different tools and techniques I’ve acquired over the years.

More New Zealand images from the Gallery

This is a three image HDR that I originally combined in Photomatix Pro, this time in AuroraHDR Pro. Last time I wanted the colors to blast so I oversaturated them, this time I wanted it to be a little more realistic. I think both versions have their pros and cons, (I’m being kind again). The old image looks pretty good as a thumbnail or on a phone, this one looks better on a large screen or print.

Each image has its place, but as I continue to evolve as a photographer and artist my taste change and so do my techniques. This is just another example of that. I plan on reprocessing a few more from that trip so stay tuned.

End of Lake Wakatipu

End of Lake Wakatipu
End of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy, New Zealand                                                   Click here to learn about purchasing a fine art framed print

This is the end of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy. I was here a couple of years ago on a Trey Ratcliff photo adventure. I had just switched from Nikon to Sony and so was still struggling with the placement of the buttons and menus. Sometimes I go back and look at my settings and wonder what I was thinking, like this one, my aperture was f10; seems a bit high. Maybe I should just forget about that and just enjoy the scenery. Forget I even mentioned it.

I was going back to look at my New Zealand photos and found this sitting in the bit bucket. I started working on its just out of curiosity and then got carried away. All the while I was thinking I’d seen this before. Sure enough, I’d processed and posted this same picture. My techniques and eye are constantly changing and this time the result was different. So maybe I should have titled it Glenorchy Part 2, …or some such thing.

Boy, if I could go back in time and make different choices. Well, just a few. Like buying a certain company stock when it was really cheap. Oh well, until I invent a time machine I’ll just live in the present, learn from the past, place one foot in front of the other, you know the drill. Actually, I’m kind of glad I can’t go back, it seems the longer I live the less confused things are. So going back and buying that stock might just put me into a place I don’t want to be. Hmmmm, … tis a bit of a conundrum.

Other Side of the Rainbow

Other Side of the Rainbow
Other Side of the Rainbow, a scene from Vancouver, BC                                        Purchase a fine art gallery print

For some reason this made me think of the other side of the rainbow. Maybe because we had nothing but rain before I took this, only there was no rainbow afterward, just clouds. The kind of rain they get here in Vancouver in the winter is not conducive to rainbows, the leprechauns get out of town and winter in Florida. It’s too bad, I would love to set the pot. That didn’t come out right.

To create this image I stood on the shoulders of giants. This is an HDR image which means I combined three exposures to get the maximum amount of light, more than I could get with a single shot. I combined the images in AuroraHDR Pro which is one of the latests products from Trey Ratcliff in collaboration with MacPhun. I created four layers with varying degrees of detail, radiance and color enhancement. I then returned the image to Adobe Lightroom where I used one of Trey’s presets. So, final result was a collaboration of sorts with the creative genius of Trey.

When I create images I use a lot of tools to create something beyond the ordinary. Sometimes I have an idea of what that is when I take the picture, other times after. It’s a highly subjective process and I never know where I’ll end up. Sometimes I struggle, other times it just flows. This image is one of the latter. I knew when I took it what I wanted, and then creating the final result was just a matter of sitting down and letting it happen. It just so happened that this time, I used Trey’s software for most of it. It was easy, fun, and I got where I needed to go. Thank you Trey!

Standing on a Hill in New Zealand

Standing On a Hill In New Zealand
Standing on a Hill in New Zealand early one cold morning                                      Buy a fine art gallery quality print

A couple of years ago I was standing on a hill in New Zealand with twenty other photographers. It was early in the morning before dawn and everything was quiet, still and overwhelmingly beautiful. I had to pinched myself to ensure it wasn’t a dream. Well, I made that last part up, my fingers were to cold to pinch anything, but I was pretty happy nonetheless.

Its great I have this image because it helps me remember. I wonder what it wold be like if I could remember everything with vivid clarity. I think it would be a double edged sword. Truth be told I’d, only I’d only want to remember the good things, but if I had that memory I might not have a choice. Maybe that’s why we are the way we are. Our memories fade so we have a chance to move on, start new, live another day.

I’ve heard that when we die we have a life review. That we see everything we’ve done that affects other people. If that’s true, then that will be one heck of a memory machine. Or, maybe that’s how we remember when we don’t have our aging brains getting in the way. Maybe our minds are really that good, it’s an incredible idea. I think it’s true, we have hints of it throughout our lives and society.

Now if I could only learn how to tap in to my unlimited memory, I could tell you what I had for dinner last night and, I could remember my e-mail password. I had one more point to make but I seem to have forgotten what it was.

I’ve heard that when we die we have a life review. That we see everything we’ve done that affects other people. If that’s true, then that will be one heck of a memory machine. Or, maybe that’s how we remember when we don’t have our aging brains getting in the way. Maybe our minds are really that powerful, it’s an amazing idea. I think it could be true, we have hints of it throughout our lives and society.

Now if I could only learn how to tap in to my unlimited memory, I could tell you what I had for dinner last night and remember my email password. I had one more point to make but I seem to have forgotten what it was.

Remarkable Mountains

Remarkable Mountains
Remarkable Mountains in Queenstown New Zealand; this is a reprocessed version of a photo I did over a year ago.                                Obtain a gallery print.

This is the Remarkable Mountains as viewed from Kelvin Heights above Queenstown New Zealand. Kelvin Heights is the name I get when I Google it, however the locals call it Deer Park Heights. There is some kind of family dispute over this land, maybe that has something to do with the names, but I digress. I posted this image about a year and a half ago without the clouds but I thought I’d update the image because I prefer clouds in the sky. That morning the sky was rather dull, it was just after sunrise and it had snowed the day before. So, as I do with many of my images, I made it look a little different, the way I wished it had looked. Its like doodling with an image to see what works. For me this is better than the original. At the time I was in New Zealand on a workshop with Trey Ratcliff and I was just beginning to learn how to work with new tools for this kind of thing. I made many friends there as we all practiced composition and post processing with beautiful landscapes like this from all around Queenstown. Since then I’ve learned quite a lot and have developed a preference for a more imaginative style that at times is not at all realistic. If you’ve followed my work you know what I mean. I’m more into creating images from my minds eye, using photography as a tool. So, having gone back to this image I think I like it better than the first version which was more true to life. You may not agree, but that’s okay, on any given day I might just change my mind and agree with you.

Mount Edith Cavell Before Sunset

Mount Edith Cavell Before Sunset
Mount Edith Cavell Before Sunset                       Obtain a gallery print

This is the view of Mount Edith Cavell from Jasper Park Lodge that I took one summer evening before sunset. I think it’s pretty amazing how long the days are in the summer up here. Its kind of hard to fathom, especially now that I’m writing this in winter when it gets dark many hours earlier. In the evening the angle of the sun is low enough to cast a soft light on everything. I understand that Iceland can be like that for months, I guess that’s next on my list. In any case, Mount Edith Cavell is one of the more iconic landmarks of the Canadian Rockies and having hiked up along side of it, I can say it is indeed massive, even when viewed from twenty kilometers away. A couple of days ago I wrote about the age of the trees in British Columbia. Well, these mountains are millions of years old. That really impresses me because just like the size of these mountains, their age is something I can never really wrap my mind around.

Lake Beauvert Jasper


Lake Beauvert Jasper
Lake Beauvert in Jasper Alberta                                                         Purchase fine art print

A couple of years ago I was in Jasper Alberta to visit the Canadian Rockies. I arrived by train from Vancouver and then drove and hiked around. Along the way I stayed at the Jasper Park Lodge situated just east of town on Bueuvert Lake. I used a water texture from the mediterranean on the sky and water to add a mystical feel to the image. I would say there is quite a bit of good energy up here in the Rockies, mystical or otherwise. This is another one of those places I need to get back to and in some respects reminds me a little bit of New Zealand.