Join professional New Zealand landscape and nature photographer Phillip Bartlett as we explore the incredible diversity of the South Island on this amazing 12-day expedition. ONE PLACE LEFT!

South Island Expedition 12 Day Workshop

With a maximum of only 6 participants, travelling in two modern 4-wheel drive vehicles, this trip has been designed as the perfect introduction to the grandeur of the South Island. We have planned every day to give us the best opportunity to experience the quality of light photographers dream of. The variety of locations we photograph at includes Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Alps, Central Otago, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, Punakaiki, and Kaikoura. Travelling by 4-wheel drive allows us to access remote backcountry areas well off the tourist track.

This expedition is suitable for all levels of photographer, from absolute beginner to seasoned professional. The emphasis of this trip is to be out in the field photographing, which is why we do not have formal lectures or presentations. Phillip is always on hand to assist with advice and instruction, and the small-group environment allows plenty of time for one-to-one tuition. A big plus with limiting the group size to only six participants is that we work together as a team, and there is an openness in sharing ideas and techniques. Non-photographer partners are most welcome to be a part of the workshop, with the option to join shoots as preferred.

New for 2016: Photography of the rugged Central Otago countryside near Cromwell. Dinners are also now included as indicated in the itinerary.

If photographing the majesty of the South Island with a small group of passionate photographers sounds like just what you are looking for, please use the links below to book your place or send us an enquiry.

GUEST FEEDBACK from the November 2015 Workshop

“I could not have been more delighted with the entire experience. I have been on a number of Photo Expeditions and Phillip’s was up with the very best. Knowledgeable about technique and happy to share and about the ideal locations how to get there and when for location after location. An experience of a Life Time that I thought might never happen. If you can go with him – do not hesitate. You are guaranteed a superb time.” Tremaine K, UK. Read the full review on TripAdvisor

“I joined Phillip on his 12 day South Island Adventure November 2015. Being relatively new to photography I was looking for some expert instruction as well as a stress-free way to visit the South Island of New Zealand. I was extremely satisfied on both points. Phillip was always available to answer my questions and make suggestions and helped bring my photography to the next level. Every detail was well planned and I was able to visit the most beautiful landscapes of the South Island in the proper light for photography. Highly recommended.” Allen S, Monaco. Read the full review on TripAdvisor

“Phillip took us to superb locations fro photography and provided expert tips on making the most of the subject. All the arrangements went very smoothly, the vehicles were modern and reliable and overall the trip couldn’t have been better.” Michael K, Australia. Read the full review on TripAdvisor



Our adventure starts this morning as we depart Christchurch heading for Twizel, South Canterbury. The MacKenzie area is surrounded by spectacular mountains and lakes, and is adjacent to the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, home to New Zealand’s highest peaks. We arrive at our lodging in the early afternoon and get settled in before going out for our last-light shoot of the Southern Alps and Aoraki/Mt Cook in the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. (LD)

Day two TWIZEL
We leave our lodging pre-dawn to be in position for sunrise on the Southern Alps mountains. We will work the landscape in this area before returning for breakfast. Following breakfast we are out in the field again exploring this rugged terrain. We return for lunch and a break, departing for the mountains again for the late afternoon light and sunset. (BLD)

Another very early start as we travel to a private-access location in the mountains for first-light photography. We then return to the township for breakfast. Later in the morning we depart Twizel to our next destination: the nearby town of Cromwell. A side trip along the way takes us offroad to a hidden mountain location and we spend the afternoon photographing here before continuing on to shoot the last light in the Lindis Pass, an area with rolling hills which glow in the afternon light as the native tussock catches the last rays of the day. We arrive at Cromwell in the evening. (BLD)

In keeping with tradition, we depart pre-dawn this morning to be up in the hills for sunrise on the expansive wilderness that surrounds us. After exploring this rugged location we return to the town for breakfast before departing for Queenstown, arriving in the early afternoon. We take a break before meeting up again for our evening shoot of the mountains over Lake Wakatipu. (BLD)

Sunrise finds us up in the hills again as we shoot the first light of the day. After breakfast we travel south through the small town of Te Anau, which borders the Fiordland National Park, before travelling west through the park to Milford Sound. Along the journey we make stops to photograph dramatic mountain valleys carved out by glaciers, lush rainforest draped in mosses and lichens, and crystal-clear rivers. At the end of the day we set up on the foreshore of the fiord hoping to catch a colourful sunset. (BLD)

After photographing Mitre Peak at sunrise we take a boat journey along the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea. As well as shooting this incredible landscape of sheer mountains, cascading waterfalls and untouched coastline it is possible we will see seals and dolphins. After our cruise we make our way back through the mountains to the Southern Lakes township of Wanaka, arriving in the late afternoon. We take an early dinner before venturing down to the lake edge to photograph the iconic Lone Tree. (BLD)

We are down at the helicopter pad pre-dawn this morning for our transfer up into the mountains to capture the spectacular sunrise views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. After breakfast we leave the lakes district behind us as we travel through the mountains and over to the West Coast, and our base for the next two nights: Fox Glacier. We arrive at the village of Fox Glacier in the late afternoon in time for the last light on the mountains. (BLD)

This morning we will capture the first light at Lake Matheson, where on a still day the majestic Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and the Southern Alps are reflected in the tannin-stained waters. After breakfast we spend time in the rainforest photographing the luxuriant ferns and moss-covered trees found here. After lunch there is time to relax in the village before we meet again in the afternoon to photograph the mountain surrounds as the sun sets. If the weather conditions are favourable we highly recommend taking a helicopter ride for some incredible aerial photography of the glacier’s seracs, pinnacles and the imposing peaks of the Southern Alps. (BLD)

Our last chance to photograph the first light in the mountains on the West Coast this morning. After breakfast we travel north to the coastal town of Greymouth. In the late afternoon we continue north to the Paparoa National Park and arrive at Punakaiki, where the force of the ocean has carved the coastline into fascinating rock sculptures. We set up at the Pancake Rocks area to shoot the last light of the day. (BLD)

An early start today as we will be travelling from coast to coast, with mountain passes along the journey. Our destination is the peaceful seaside town of Kaikoura, on the east coast. Overlooked by majestic mountains, this coastal town was once only known for the rock lobster caught here. Now, Kaikoura is famous for the abundance of marine mammals and seabirds found offshore. We arrive in Kaikoura in the late afternoon and photograph the coastline as the sun sets. (BLD)

Day eleven KAIKOURA
After our sunrise shoot of the mountain-backed bay, we explore a hidden inland mountain location before returning to the town for a late breakfast. For those who would prefer, there is an option to join one of the three different wildlife boat trips available: Dusky dolphin watching, albatross encounter or Sperm whale photography. In the afternoon we travel along the coast to shoot the rugged shoreline. After an early dinner we are out shooting the last light over the bay, hoping for a show of spectacular north-west cloud formations. (BLD)

We enjoy our final shoot together this morning along the coast, before we travel south to Christchurch to where our adventure began almost two weeks earlier. For those departing this afternoon we say farewell and safe travels. Accommodation for tonight can be arranged for guests who are leaving the following day. (B)


Born in Nelson, at the top of the South Island, I am a professional New Zealand landscape photographer. When I first started photographing I worked with medium-format panoramic equipment. Anybody who has photographed with, or is still using, medium or large format analog cameras, where everything from film loading to scene metering is manual, will agree that mastery of field technique is essential for producing quality images. Learning the craft of landscape photography this way gave me a solid base which made the transition to digital imaging simple. My philosophy is to produce works from a single-frame capture, with the equivalent of traditional techniques, and minimal aesthetic adjustments if required, applied in post-process.
Since pioneering New Zealand’s first photography workshop company in 2005, I have been privileged to guide, and teach, photographers from around the world, from absolute beginners to respected professionals. In-depth knowledge of the New Zealand landscape, coupled with my understanding of seasonal conditions and weather nuances is the reason why our guests enjoy so many excellent photo opportunities. You are welcome to join this workshop as we photograph some of the South Island’s most spectacular landscapes.




$8970.00 NZD per person double share
$1180.00 NZD single supplement
Deposit: $1000.00 NZD per person
All amounts are in New Zealand dollars.
Payments may be made by Internet Bank Transfer, International Bank Transfer, Visa or Mastercard credit cards.
Rebate Available: For payment made by direct bank transfer a one-time rebate of NZ$180.00 per person will be applied to the workshop fee balance invoice.


Photography guide services and in-field support
Accommodation for eleven nights
Milford Sound photography cruise
Helicopter transfer at Wanaka
Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Department of Conservation National Parks and Reserves fees


All international air travel and domestic transportation within your home country
Any other travel services required to arrive at the workshop commencement location and all associated taxes, levies and insurances
Immigration, duty, passport and visa fees where applicable
Any personal items including alcoholic beverages, souvenirs and travel insurance

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