New Zealand – June this Year

I have been able to align the planets today and confirm a trip to New Zealand for ten days in June this year. I had originally planned on July but other work and office commitments necessitated pulling the trip forward by a few weeks. It will be almost two years to the day since I was last in the South Island of New Zealand and I am very much looking forward to going back – it has been far too long between visits. At this stage I have no real itinerary as yet – just a loose idea in my head of places I want to visit for photography. I will endeavour to put together some sort of plan and itinerary over the coming weeks to ensure I maximise my time there.

Based on my last trip to New Zealand in 2009 I will definitely be taking my entire photographic kit with me as there are wonderful landscape photographic opportunities in New Zealand regardless of lens focal length or camera. I will be moving from location to location in a rental 4WD so weight and bulk will not be too much of an issue. In any case, I prefer to have all of my lenses available even if some of them may actually get little or no use. On my last trip to New Zealand I left my 300mm F2.8L IS lens at home and although I was able to make do with my 70-200mm F2.8L IS with 1.4X Extender I would have preferred to have the 300mm when photographing the Whales and Sea Lions at Kaikoura.

Two definite ‘must-visit’ locations for this trip will be Fox Glacier – which is probably my favourite part of the South Island and the famous Moeraki boulders. The Moeraki Boulders are a number of huge spherical stones, found strewn along a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki, a small settlement just south of Hampden on New Zealand’s Otago coast. The boulders weigh several tonnes and are up to three metres in diameter. I have not visited this part of New Zealand before nor photographed the boulders so am very much looking forward to this part of the trip. Once I work out exactly where I am going and what my plans are I will post an itinerary of the locations I intend to visit.

This photograph was taken at Fox Glacier by chartered helicopter on my last visit in 2009. If you have really good eye sight you may just spot the very tiny distant helicopter above the mountains!

Cape Shank – Alien Landscape

Cloudless skies at sunrise and sunset are not my preferred atmospheric conditions for Landscape photography. In general, I prefer overcast skies (Nature’s Soft Box); or at least some puffy or windswept clouds to pick up the colour of dawn and dusk and add an extra dimension. My weekend shoot at Cape Schank provided only clear skies; which although not ideal for interest in the sky did provide some lovely ethereal golden light, giving the basalt rocks an otherworld alien quality.

Cape Schank – Victoria

I managed to sneak away late yesterday on the eve of the long weekend for both sunset and sunrise the following morning (this morning) down at Cape Schank and the Mornington Peninsula. Cape Schank is a fabulous location for landscape photography – certainly one of the best parts of the Mornington Peninsula and is an area I intend to spend more time photographing this year. The weather can be wild on this part of the coast as the point fronts the waters of Bass Strait and is exposed to the full fury of the South’s weather. The wind was howling when I arrived an hour or so before sunset yesterday; which made keeping my lenses free of salt spray quite challenging. However, conditions this morning were ideal with nary a breath of wind, a low tide and some lovely gold light. The basalt rock formations of Cape Schank have a dimensionality that is primordial in nature; which when combined with great and/or interesting light makes for an other worldly alien landscape.