I have just created a New Zealand gallery providing a chronological representation of the travels of my wife and I during our two weeks in New Zealand. The images also represent my personal favorites from our travel on the south island. We were able to experience a handful of the places we would have ultimately visited had time allowed. We began our journey by spending a couple of days in Auckland to unwind from the long flight and nearby sights. After recuperating, we flew to Christchurch where we picked up our rental vehicle and drove towards the interior.
Our first evening was spent at a working sheep station (ranch) near Arthur's Pass. The ranch restaurant was excellent and the room was essentially hostel style lodging in the bunkhouse where the staff lived, although we had a private room. Moving on the next day took us to Westport on the NW coast. We spent two days at a wonderful bed and breakfast, allowing us to explore the NW region a bit before heading southward past Franz Joseph glacier to the small town of Fox Glacier.
After an afternoon and morning of photography around Lake Matheson we moved on to the extremely scenic area around Lake Wanaka where we over nighted. The next day took over to the south east coast where I was particularly interested in photographing the famous Moeraki Boulders. These spherical boulders, buried in the sandy beach, have been formed much like oysters. A Google search will provide the precise details. The morning I photographed the Moeraki Boulders was wet with a steady, hard rain but I was pleased with my results nonetheless. Time exposures ranging from just under a second to four seconds allowed me to use the surf swirling around them to create moody effects. The most challenging aspect of the experience was avoiding getting surprised by the surf while working with my camera system. Several shots required setting up the camera on a tripod, starting the exposure, then after the exposure, quickly grabbing the camera/tripod and simply running away from the rapidly approaching surf. At some point I will process several of the Moeraki images as black and white.
Crossing the southern interior towards the southwest coast and the Fiordland National Park region, we arrived in the town of Te Anau, the commercial and tourist hub of the region. We made two day trips to the famous Milford Sound. Unfortunately, time, or lack of, prevented any hiking on the Milford Trek, considered by many trekkers as one of the great hikes in the world. Most landscape/nature photographers, myself included, consider blue, cloudless skies to be boring. Clouds can aid composition and prevent an image from being too dull or boring. Unfortunately, while we were in New Zealand, we experienced a period of exceptionally good weather with many days of near-cloudless blue skies. The locals loved it because parts of the south island normally have a weather pattern that often mirrors that of the US Pacific northwest. That is to say, rain and lots of it. Unfortunately, both days at Milford were pretty much blue skies.
So, where and what would I explore on a return trip? I would spend far more time on the NW coast of the south island. I would explore the north island, as well, and I would allow some time for serious trekking. Next time.....