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Somewhere in New Zealand: Chapter 3

This part of my trip was the best and the most challenging. I visited Milford Sound, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, but the rain was a never-ending deluge. (If you’re just joining me, you may want to catch up with Chapters 1 and 2 of this video travel journal.)

After driving through the Crown Range Pass, I stopped in Queenstown, which was my favorite New Zealand city. (I highly recommend Devil Burger for dinner.) It had been sprinkling ever since I left Wanaka, but by the time I made it to Fiordland National Park it was pouring. I knew Fiordland only hinted at what was to come, so I drove through the night, stopping frequently to take in the views of canyon walls streaked with waterfalls.

A tunnel connects Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. The road ends at a small village, where you catch a boat to tour the Sound, most of which can be accessed only by water. A lot of the time, I was too worried about keeping my gear dry to venture out of the shelter of the boat’s cabin. While I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted to, it was an incredible experience. It gave me that feeling you get when you’re so in love with a place that you’re scared you’ll never be able to visit it again. 

Aaron Grimes in Milford Sound. It was rainy but the scenery was stunning.

GIVING VIDEOS A MOTION-BLUR LOOK

I went to New Zealand with the idea of making one video inspired by what I saw and experienced. In that film, I decided to use a frame-blending effect that simulates what a long-exposure still photo looks like: Anything that moves blurs, anything stationary stays crisp. Normally, you can’t do that with video. To get the effect, I shoot regular video, then blend some frames afterward in Adobe Photoshop CC.

The first time I used this effect was in Tokyo, one of the world’s biggest cities, and this time it was in some of the most isolated places I’ve been. When I made the Tokyo video, I did all of the Photoshop frame blending by hand. For the New Zealand video, I got smart and used a Photoshop script written by me and the Photoshop team's Alan Erickson, Jeff Tranberry, and Tom Ruark. All those hours of manual labor are now a single click. If you’re interested in the effect, you can download the script and try it yourself! Place the downloaded script (named “AaronGrimesEffect.jsx”) in Applications/Adobe Photoshop CC/Presets/Scripts and restart Photoshop. To run the script, open a video in Photoshop and go to File > Scripts > AaronGrimesEffect. Choose how much blur you want to add, and render the blurred footage by going to File > Export > Render Video.

Aaron Grimes used an Adobe Photoshop CC script to blend video frames. The result simulates the look of still photography's motion blur.

THE FINAL CHAPTER

Next week is Chapter 4, in which I say goodbye to New Zealand. But first, I’ll share tips on drone photography post-production using Photoshop and Adobe After Effects CC.