Nelson – Stuck in Customs

The Beauty of New Zealand

A New Video!

A New Photo-Video for you – All New Zealand awesomeness…

I have a Landscape Photography Tutorial based here in New Zealand available over at

Animation/Slideshow – more info at — or see my review at

Amaze-maze music by the New Zealand band, Arma Del Amor – see more at


Not Impressed by Adobe Creative Cloud’s Launch Features for Photographers

Is this how they usher in the Cloud era?

Today Adobe announced Photoshop CC that is only available to cloud subscribers.

Adobe should not release such lame updates to Photoshop and Lightroom to convince people that the cloud-subscription software is exciting. They should make dramatic improvements – things that photograpehrs can’t live without. Can we live without “Smart Sharpen” and “Intelligent Upsampling” with Photoshop. Err, probably. The Lightroom improvements are equally underwhelming. You know that the updates are lame when one of the top bullet points is “Include video in your slideshows!” How did THAT become one of the top-most-requested features?

Photoshop Creative Cloud

Here's a list of some of the features with Photoshop CC. I am not thrilled. Also, that seems like kind of a lame photo they are using to show off their product, isn't it? Maybe Photoshop has gotten to the point where it is just kind of like a pencil or a paintbrush -- they can't be improved upon. Maybe Adobe really has run out of ideas (except for ideas around new business models where you get to pay them every month).

It also worries me that Adobe is running out of ideas for their photography-related products. Their “big features” are, at best, incremental improvements. They are certainly not exciting enough to drive millions to subscribe to their cloud subscriptions. Their biggest idea, sadly, seems to be cloud-based subscriptions.

Business-model confusion with Adobe

Adobe’s PR and marketing team has a whole list of reasons about why Cloud-based subscription is so awesome for Photoshop. They have a few good points in there, such as it is easy to do incremental updates. But mostly, the reasons are lame and not exciting to amateurs and hobbyists who can’t afford to shell out a ton of money every month.

Here is the confusion: If Cloud-based subscriptions really are so awesome for Photoshop, why do they have a completely different business model for Lightroom? They tell me, well, Lightroom is more for hobbyists and casual people, and Photoshop is more for professionals. I think that sounds kind of ridiculous, don’t you?

What is especially confusing for me is, “How do I explain this to people?” I get a bunch of people that come to this website or to the HDR Tutorial (new and improved, and free as always, btw!) to get advice on what kind of software to get. We get a lot of new photographers who don’t really own any software. Now I have to give confusing advice: “Well, you really need Photoshop and Lightroom. Photoshop you have to pay every month for, but Lightroom you can just buy once.” People are like, “Whhhhaaat?” Why have two business models for such complementary pieces of software? It’s completely confusing to new people, and moderately confusing to veterans.

Anyway, these are the kind of confusing decisions that come out of committees. I hope they clarify things soon, and I also hope they have a business model that is less punitive to beginners, students, and hobbyists that can’t afford the high price of cloud-based subscriptions. It’s not like Netflix or World of Warcraft with their monthly fees. You pretty much have one kind of customer there. With photography, you have the full span of professionals and studios to ameteurs and hobbyists. In my judgment, it’s too punitive to have One-Pricing-Model to rule them all.

Daily Photo – Sunset in New Zealand before the Blizzard

We are expecting a major blizzard coming into Queenstown tonight! We just got back from the grocery store to stock up. I’ve got all my cameras fully charged and ready to go… I’ll try to hit as many places as I can with the fresh snow… chains are ready and all is good to go! Super-excited.

And, speaking of the article above, I can’t think of any of my images that could have been improved if I am using the new features in Adobe’s cloud. Sure, I subscribed to their cloud (Adobe did not gift me one, nor will they probably ever because I am so critical of them), and I am using the latest of everything… but none of these new features have really found their way into my photos yet. Comon Adobe… I know you can do better.

Sunset in New Zealand before the Blizzard

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2012-11-28 12:13:16
  • CameraNIKON D800
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/15
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO280
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias


Moving to New Zealand

Why Did I Move to New Zealand?

There’s a long story to it all… but I think you can see a lot of the reasons in the video below.

By the way, if you are looking to buy a house here and need a recommendation, contact me via [email protected] and the team will get you to me. I can make an excellent recommendation for you!

This video was made with Animoto!

I used a cool online thing called Animoto to make this video. I also wrote up a full Animoto Review here on the site.

You can also use the Animoto Coupon Code of “STUCKINCUSTOMS” to get 2 months free with a pro account… thanks for the team there for providing that for us!

New Video – Turning to Peace in New Zealand

It’s a hi-rez video… I recommend listening with earphones or good speakers too – enjoy 🙂


Gentle Hills and Summer Storm in New Zealand


The Business of Photography

This is Hangout #16 (an older one that just got uploaded — we are on Hangout #19 already!).  This one is about the business of photography, and I invited various people that make money in photography in different ways.  Enjoy!

People involved included Gordon Laing, James Brandon, Cliff Baise, Dave Veffer, Keith Barrett, RC Concepcion, Anna Rumiantseva, and Jacob Lucas.

Daily Photo – Gentle Hills and Summer Storm in New Zealand

While driving from Nelson to the south, we went through an area with many vineyards and pastoral scenes.  I mean, it doesn’t get any more pastoral than this.  In fact, it’s so pastoral, it’s almost a time-warp and everything is in slow motion.

I stopped the car and jumped over a fence to walk out into a field to frame this shot.  I thought it might work from the road, and I was in a bit of a hurry to get this weather system before it moved along too far.

HDR Photo


Coming Home to the Inn After Dinner

New Video – Sharing Online

This was a great episode! We talked about topics like:

  • How to share your photos online (I give some philosophical advice in addition to logistical, practical advise)
  • Pricing your images and selling prints
  • Getting inspiration from other online photographers
  • SmugMug and how I use them  (see my full SmugMug Review here)
  • Memory cards and horror stories

So, in addition to Lisa Bettany and Leo Laporte, we had on RC Concepcion, which was really cool.  He just finished a book on this very subject, so he was a fount of knowledge.  And if you guys don’t know who RC is, well then this is a great introduction to him!

Shuttle Launch Upcoming on April 29

I hope NASA doesn’t delay this thing again! Re-organizing planes, hotels, and cars is not an easy thing. Luckily, my “inside gal” got me some quick info so I was able to re-book the hotel near Cape Canaveral before it filled up. There’s gonna be a lot of people there… I should be getting in close, about three miles away in the media section. I’m excited about seeing the rocket launch, but I’m also worried about getting an interesting shot. I’ve been thinking about it a lot… I have some ideas but nothing solid yet.

Daily Photo – Coming Home to the Inn After Dinner

This is a nice feeling — this idea of walking to dinner and arriving back at the inn with family and friends just before it gets dark. I don’t know how to explain it, but perhaps you have experienced this too.

This is in the far northern part of the South Island if New Zealand. The town is named Nelson, and I think it is one of the five biggest on that island. But all of New Zealand only has four million people, and the vast majority of those are on the north island. I wonder what has happened to towns like Nelson since the big earthquake in nearby Christchurch. Maybe some of our NZ community readers can fill us in with some on-the-ground info.

High Dynamic Range Photo<


The Abandoned Farmhouse

The Genuine Fractals Review

Here is a review that I haven’t mentioned in a while. It’s a handy piece of software for cleverly making photos bigger without losing resolution. See more in the Genuine Fractals Review.

Daily Photo – The Abandoned Farmhouse

This place was another one of those New Zealand fence-hoppers.

I’m never 100% sure that jumping over fences is a great move. But if the place looks abandoned, I just go for it. I don’t mean any harm…. I’m just going to take photos. So far, this has never caused me an issue (except for when I forget to check to see if the fence is electrified).

I don’t do a lot of these urbex shots, but I certainly do enjoy them. Did you know there are several forums out there that have listings of abandoned buildings around the world? They list out old abandoned hospitals, theme parks, hotels, and more creepy places like you see in zombie movies. It’s all great for photography, of course, and I think a few of my London contacts may be hooking me up with some abandoned spots around their neck of the woods.

HDR Photo


Pasture Sentinel

Daily Photo – Pasture Sentinel

After I drove through Nelson, I was ripping along the highway and noticed an old farmhouse. I’m not sure how I noticed it, but the area was so different, I just had to stop. I spent 90% of my time taking photos of the farmhouse, and on the way back, I saw this tree. It stood solitary and wonderful; I had to grab a shot.