We decided to take advantage of some cheap flights to the South Island and have a wee roadie. Just four days. This is the sort of thing you can see on a short road trip in New Zealand.
Four easy days driving in the Central South Island. Christchurch, over Arthurs Pass to the West Coast. Night near Hokitika. South via Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, night at Fox for the Lake Matheson early morning shot. South to Haast Pass drive through Mackenzie Country for a night at Twizel. Aoraki/Mt Cook national park is only a short drive from Twizel. On to Geraldine for a night then easy drive to Christchurch and home. Basically this is a reasonably low cost long weekend away. Thursday through to Monday. We are very lucky to live here in New Zealand. Lucky As!
Seriously, the weather though!
Costs? About $200 for two return flights, Palmerston North to Christchurch. Rental car was about $250, Plus about $125 per night on average, motels and AirBnB. Basically about NZD $1000 plus food and drink, Pretty good I reckon.
I decided to go light, I decided I was carrying around too much heavy expensive gear for someone who isn’t a professional Photographer. I wanted to try Digital Mirrorless Technology. I’m currently enjoying the light weight, little bit hipster, retro’ish Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII which is a hell of a mouthful for a camera name. I only have one multi purpose lens on the front which is an Olympus 14-150mm. I have to admit I’m not totally in love with this camera. I’m not as happy with the image quality as I had hoped I would be and I find it a bit small in my hands. It’s pretty much lacking in every department for what I want to achieve photographically. But it is light. I’ll be going back to a bigger DSLR set up when I can afford it. That said, here is a selection of images I’ve taken in the last couple of months with the little Olympus.
I don’t think it’s just a case of a poor workman blaming his tools, maybe it is though. I still want to go back to a full size DSLR, or mirrorless. This nice little camera is just too little for me.
I’m not even going to pad this out with words, well not many words. If you come here a bit you’ll know I spend a lot of time on the road. I’m lucky that I live in New Zealand which is the worlds greatest road trip. People travel from all over the world to see this stuff and I just have to leave the house. These images are some that I have captured since my previous Dolphins post, which was just over a month ago. As far as a travel experience goes, it’s truly epic out there in New Zealand. I almost couldn’t believe I’d covered this much territory in under a month. I should get out more…
I’m going to try to create at least one blog post a month. I’ve been slack, well only in writing blog posts. I’ve been out and about an awful lot and taking a lot of photos. But have been neglecting this bit.
The big news is that I finally have my dream gear. Anyone who takes photography reasonably seriously will know that the right gear is important, they also like to have a lot of gear. The ability to ‘see’ a photograph is actually more important, all important. But you need the good gear to be as awesome as possible.
So camera gear is really important to keen Photographers. I actually don’t have much though. My thing as you should know by now is ‘minimum gear, maximum impact’. I still need a tripod. As an observation, the WordPress Blog Website sucks a bit of the awesomeness out of the shots, you really do need to click on each photo to see the best quality.
Back to the gear. My needs/wants were quite specific. I needed the ultimate multi-purpose but best quality lens for the landscape and shooting on the move stuff. I also wanted a good quality telephoto lens for wildlife and sports. Finally I really wanted a Full Frame camera. I now have all three. I should still get a tripod though, I have my eye on one. The details on the Camera and lenses if you are interested are:
Camera – Canon 6D
Telephoto Lens – Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
General Purpose lens – Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS
So…What can one do with the good gear? Let’s have a look.
I’m in love with my new camera gear. I still need a tripod though
One of the great things about New Zealand is all the awesomeness, everywhere. In many countries you have to travel to see cool stuff. Get in a vehicle and make a special trip. We have that awesomeness everywhere. Right there beside the road. Part of my photographic ‘thing’, is that none of the photographs I take require any special equipment or even robust footwear. All the photos on this blog were taken near the side of the road except the one where I went for a bit of a walk. Theoretically you could take any of these photos with your phone camera while wearing a pair of jandals. All I did for each one of these shots, is pull over as I was driving past. We see this stuff on the way to the shop.
Most New Zealanders simply pass by this stuff everyday, taking it for granted. I am constantly amazed at the natural beauty, wilderness and amazing pastoral imagery all around me. Maybe you have to go away for a while to appreciate it here. I know I view New Zealand differently since I’ve been back after so long away.
My happy place is in my car, on the road. I love driving around New Zealand as often as possible. If things are a bit dull around the house, I’ll go for a drive. I don’t have to go far to see epic things as luck would have it because I live in New Zealand. Epic is just around the corner. Last week I went for a slightly longer drive. Down to Christchurch, over Arthurs Pass to Franz Josef, down to Lake Matheson, up to Westport and back to Picton via the Buller Gorge and the Marlborough Sounds. This was my delayed Christmas holiday. I took a few photos along the way.
So that’s just the top half of the South Island. I didn’t take any photos of the Kaikoura Coast on the way down apart from the seals as I have a load from the last time I was there and the sky was pretty gloomy on this trip. Bonus seals though.
Happy travels…Just watch out for tourists paying more attention to the scenery than the road.
Luckily for me, I live 200 metres from the sea front on the Western Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. I can wander down to watch the sunset any day of the week. These are a selection from just three nights. Three nights from the last week. It’s mid summer here. So these were taken between 8:30 and 9pm. That short window when the sky really kicks off. Often the best light is after the sun has set. As you can see.
There were two things that weren’t going to happen today, but both did. I wasn’t going to go for a walk in the rainforest and I wasn’t going to create this blog post. One thing pretty much lead to the other. I’m putting this post up though, because it is kind of amazing and I’m quite pleased with how some very hard photos to take turned out.
First things first. How did I end up in the rainforest? Well it’s not really a rainforest, this is simply a decent sized piece of New Zealand native forest, or ‘bush’ as we call it. The bush is a stand of coastal swamp forest not far from where I live by the sea.
The thing here is that I was simply on my way to the shops, a small supermarket in the next town on a Saturday morning and thought I’d go for short walk beforehand. This is one of the many reasons I love New Zealand. The distance from my house to the shops is just 10 minutes by car. I parked up at the Omarupapako Scenic Reserve which I hadn’t even noticed before despite driving past the signs several times a week.
Then I walked in….It was like walking into Jurassic Park. It’s very hard to take photos of the forest when you are inside it. The darkness means having to have the ISO setting up to as high as 800 at times with a shutter speed as low as 60 and the aperture down at 5.6 or lower. I spent about 2 hours walking through this extraordinary forest. Only a few hundred metres from the sea. I live by the sea remember?
The bird in the photos is a Fantail. A fast moving, small and characterful New Zealand native species which rarely sits still. Almost impossible to photograph in the deep forest on the settings required to cast any light into the camera. So I was thrilled with how these turned out. Enough words.
If you live in New Zealand, go for a walk in the ‘bush’. If you are going to visit New Zealand, make sure you do. It’s like a spiritual place, a land time forgot, like walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs which is actually what you are doing, without the dinosaurs. Except we had one and it’s still here, living in our remote forests and offshore Islands. The Tuatara, look it up. We actually have the oldest forests in the world. They look like something from Jurassic times, or older