Well the title has I would think certainly grabbed your attention! Let the arguments begin.
New Zealand is a photographer’s dream, it has an abundance of craggy snow covered mountains, majestic lakes, streams, rainforest, glaciers, fjords and in the North Island there are the geothermals.
On this trip I was based in Queenstown which is located in the South Island on a photographic workshop with Brett Wood Photo Art. Brett mentioned that the Queenstown area, offers very similar scenery to Slovenia.
During the trip Brett took us to several well know areas, Wanaka where there’s a tree that has become a magnet for photographers and tourists alike. “The Wanaka Tree”
We had the tree to ourselves until just after dawn when a busload of tourists arrived, the serenity and silence quickly disappeared as they swarmed all over the place taking selfies etc, luckily I got my shots before their arrival.
The Blue Pools is another popular spot and trying to get good images while on a swing bridge is a challenge to say the least!
I enjoyed shooting the rainforest on the walk to and from this location and the stream more than the pools, personal preference.
I’ve dabbled a little in panoramic photography in the past and have just started to experiment with multi row, the files are huge, but that’s another story. The areas we visited really called out to be shot as panoramas, these are all single row.
Queenstown is on the shore of Lake Wakatipu. The lake covers a large area, snow-covered mountains are in close proximity to the shore, making for interesting vistas. This morning we were blessed with excellent conditions, the light was spectacular with the clouds allowing streaks of light to break through and light the mountains.
Long exposure photography is something I do a lot of with seascapes to get that milky water look, the effect on the clouds is also very pleasing to the eye. This old jetty is another must shoot image when in the area.
This part of the South Island is dotted with many nature reserves that co-exist with working farms. This particular place Brett asked that we do not spread its existence far and wide so no name as its one of his secret spots.
The iconic Milford Sound was not on our itinerary for this trip, I’ve yet to visit there, but the idea of sharing the location with numerous cruise ships, helicopters and busloads of tourists is not my idea of fun, previously my partner Anne and I visited Doubtful Sound which is just as photogenic and not as congested.
Wakatipu Arm on the way to Mount Cook is another place that just begged us to stop and shoot. Unfortunately no shots of Mount Cook as I’m not happy with what I captured.
Lake Dunstan offered many opportunities to capture the natural beauty of area.
On our first day out, I had one of those oh #$@# moments, I had neglected to zip up my camera backpack fully. One of the other participants said you dropped a lens. On the ground was the Milvus 135/2, it has dents on the lens hood and on the zoom ring.
The first question would it still work and could I turn the focus ring, the 2nd would it still be sharp!. The focus ring has lost its soft buttery feel and is rather stiff at the close focal range. What was also concerning when I had a look at my backpack the Nikon D4s could have easily also fallen out. The takeaway from all this was make sure you zip your bag securely. On the plus side the Milvus 135 is still sharp as a tack. I think if it was a Nikon lens it would have been in pieces, just my thoughts.
This image was taken with the D850 and Nikon 24 – 70 1/8 @5.6, ISO 6400, minimal noise reduction was applied in LR. More on my thoughts on the Nikon D850 in a future article.
Overall the areas around Queenstown we explored in 7 days were exquisite and a landscape photographers dream IMHO, well worth the time, money and the effort spent, yes I will return to the land of the Long White Cloud and explore the North and South Islands in more detail next time. Thanks Brett Wood for a great time, I have attended a few workshops and would highly recommend Brett.
The burning question “Is this the best landscape photography location in the World?” you tell me!
All images were taken using a Nikon D810 for the exception of the Milvus 135/2. I attended the workshop at my own cost. NISI filters were used on the large majority of shots. Processing complete to personal taste in LR & PS.