New Zealand South Island Experience and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

In a few short days I am heading back to New Zealand for a workshop tour of the magnificent South Island with my friend Phillip Bartlett and our group of participants. The South Island of New Zealand is an incredible part of the world and boasts spectacular mountain alps which run down the spine of this amazing country. These mountains plunge almost straight into the sea on both sides of the country. It is the only place in the world I know of where alpine mountains plunge straight into temperate forest that directly hugs such a rugged and wild coastline. I was in the South Island of New Zealand only a few weeks ago completing a week long commercial assignment and I very pleased to be returning again so soon. On this trip we will be circumnavigating the South Island and taking in the best of its many iconic locations as well as visiting some of its hidden treasures and lesser known areas. We will be chartering a helicopter with doors removed for photography over the alps and enjoying a private boat charter for playful Dusky Dolphins and Sea Lions off the coast of Kaikoura. If you want to get an idea of what this tour is going to be like be sure to watch the short tester video below.

Packing for this trip is somewhat of a challenge for me as I am quite keen to take my newly acquired Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens (why own it if you don’t intend to carry it) as well as the 200-400mm F4L Lens – for both Sea Lions, Dusky Dolphins and Albatross in and around Kaikoura. I plan to carry these two lenses to both Iceland and Namibia in March this year so this trip to New Zealand is an ideal opportunity to see how they travel together on international flights. These two lenses add up to a not insignificant amount of weight, but perhaps of more immediate concern is the sheer bulk and space they require inside the camera bag. With both of these lenses in my Gura Gear camera bags there is little room for much else. Nevertheless it never ceases to amaze me just how much gear can be squeezed into the Bataflae 32L bag. So, after some trial packing I will be carrying the following on this trip: (I know this is a ridiculous amount of equipment but I am a person who prefers to carry it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.) Just as a side addendum to this; I used to think I carried a lot of equipment, but then I worked with a video guy last year in the Arctic who redefined what it meant to carry a lot of gear!)

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

  • Canon EOS 1DX
  • Canon EOS 1DS MKIII
  • Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII (Lens hood goes in the checked luggage bag)
  • Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MKII
  • Canon 24-70mm F2.8L MKII
  • Canon 24mm F3.5L TSE MKII
  • Canon 17mm F4L TSE
  • Canon 1.4 TC MKIII
  • LEE Filter System including Graduated ND filters and Polariser
  • Cable Release and other accessories

Gura Gear Chobe Camera Bag

  • 15″ MacBook Pro, back-up hard drive, card reader and accessories
  • Canon 200-400mm F4L IS with inbuilt 1.4 TC (incredibly this does fit in the Chobe!)

North Face Rolling Thunder Duffle *

  • Clothes and Personal Items
  • Really Right Stuff Tripod, BallHead and Jobu Gimbal Mount

* I really like the North Face Rolling Thunder Duffle as a travel bag. It is extraordinarily tough and copes very well with the rigours and violence that checked luggage is exposed to (I really have no idea what baggage handlers do behind the scenes but I am sure it involves some sort of contact sport with people’s luggage). The only downside to this bag is it weighs eleven pounds or five kilograms empty. On flights with a 20 kilogram luggage limit that is one quarter of the limit before you start putting things like clothes in it. Thankfully many of the airlines I travel with these days have more reasonable 25 to 30 kilogram luggage limits and I can usually get close enough to these limits to avoid excess luggage charges.

Victoria – The Great Ocean Road

Just before I depart for New Zealand later this week I will be leading a private three day trip down Victoria’s spectacular Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is home to some iconic Victorian scenery including the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, The Wreck Coast and more. It has been nearly a year since I last photographed this part of Victoria and I am looking forward to spending a few days in the field in my home state and sharing these amazing locations with my first time visitors. I am offering further one-on-one private workshops here in Victoria by appointment and based around my existing travel schedule both this year and next for anyone who would like to experience the best of this part of Victoria. Please contact me to discuss timing, cost and availability if you are coming to Australia in the near future.

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