Winter is a wonderful season to be photographing the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand, with soft, clear winter light and snow-capped peaks.
You could be part of a small group of six participants, working with two photographers to provide the optimum 1-1 guidance at each location. Along with myself, we will be joined by renowned New Zealand photographer, Phillip Bartlett. Phillip has been providing workshops in New Zealand since 2005 and has a wealth of local knowledge, not just locations, but also in regards weather patterns.
We will spend 7 days seeking out iconic landscapes such as Aoraki/Mt Cook, Piopiotahi/Milford Sound, the beautiful Lake Pukaki and many destinations hidden from the view of the regular tourist.
The focus of the workshop will be spending time out in the field photographing, which is why there are no formal presentations, rather more time fine-tuning your skills and seeking assistance as required.
Transport throughout the workshop is fully included, with our accommodation being in comfortable, well-equipped, modern lodgings.
Day One CHRISTCHURCH - AORAKI/MT COOK NATIONAL PARK
We depart Christchurch this morning and travel south across the pastoral Canterbury Plains towards the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and our base for the next two nights in nearby Twizel, which provides an array excellent photographic options and flexibility to respond to changing weather in the mountains. Aoraki/Mt Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain at 12,218ft. (3724m), the centerpiece of the majestic Southern Alps. Aoraki was given by the indigenous Maori and means ‘cloud-piercer’, an apt description as this mountain backdrop soars above turquoise Lake Pukaki and the braided Tasman River which offer stunning foreground subject matter. In the early evening we take a short walk to position ourselves to capture the last light on the mountains.
Day Two AORAKI/MT COOK NATIONAL PARK
We are out in the field pre-dawn, and drive to a nearby location to photograph the first light in the Tasman Valley. The setting is once again Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Alps, with this location offering stunning panoramic perspectives. We then return to Twizel for a late breakfast. After lunch we are out in the field again and spend the rest of the day photographing the Southern Alps from a new perspective.
Day Three AORAKI/MT COOK NATIONAL PARK - QUEENSTOWN
Another early start to be in position for sunrise in the Southern Alps. After breakfast we continue travelling south into the Central Otago region and arrive at Queenstown in the early afternoon. After checking in to our hotel we depart for last light in the spectacular mountain surrounds.
Day Four QUEENSTOWN - MILFORD SOUND
Pre-dawn we set up at our shoot location high in the hills as we photograph the first light on the landscape below us. After breakfast we leave Queenstown and make our way to Milford Sound, which is located in the northern part of the Fiordland National Park. While most visitors make this a hurried day trip, we will be staying at the luxurious Milford Lodge to take best advantage of the vast range of wonderful opportunities found in this area. The drive to Milford Sound passes through breathtaking glaciated valleys and we make stops to photograph along the way. We arrive at Milford Sound in the afternoon and shortly after set up on the water’s edge to photograph the iconic Mitre Peak and surrounding mountains.
Day Five MILFORD SOUND - TE ANAU
We photograph blue hour and the first light with Mitre Peak, The Lion and The Elephant as our subjects. After breakfast we take a photography cruise through the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea. In addition to the dramatic landscape of sheer mountains, plummeting waterfalls, and untouched coastline, we may encounter penguins, seals, and dolphins. After returning from the cruise we start the return drive to Te Anau, arriving in the late afternoon.
Day Six TE ANAU
A very early start for us this morning as we are on the road well before dawn. Our first-light shoot is at a high-country lake location hidden in the mountains. The golden tussock grasses growing here give the scene a distinctly New Zealand-wilderness flavour. We spend the day exploring this rarely-visiting area and return to Te Anau in the evening.
Day Seven TE ANAU - QUEENSTOWN - DEPART
Sunrise finds us down at the lakefront to shoot the first light on the Fiordland National Park mountains. After breakfast we make our way back to Queenstown, arriving in the early afternoon, in time to catch the departing flights.
THE FINE PRINT
WORKSHOP DATES: 28 June - 4 July
COSTS: $4950 per single; $4650 double share
* Photographic support throughout the workshop by Alan Barker & Phillip Bartlett
* Accommodation for 6 nights
* Department of Conservation fees
* Milford Sound Cruise
* All domestic and international air travel before and after the workshop
* Travel services, such as transfers and insurances, passports or visa fees
* Personal items during the workshop including meals, alcoholic beverages and souvenirs