Join Moab Master and X-Rite Coloratti Photographer Joshua Holko with New Zealand Pro Wilderness Photographer Phillip Bartlett on a landscape masterclass into remote ‘Middle Earth’ – the magnificent South Island of New Zealand. Only one place remaining!

South Island Masterclass Workshop

On this very popular Landscape Masterclass we will be photographing in the style of a professional landscape photographer, setting ourselves up with three main ‘base camps’. This means we will have extended stays in areas which offer exceptional photography in all directions, allowing us to select our shoot locations based on the prevailing weather. This approach will give us the best possible chance to capture professional-quality imagery. To access the remote wilderness areas we will be photographing in we travel by 4-wheel drive vehicles and helicopters, to where few others, both visitors and New Zealanders alike, have been. Our shoots will be concentrated in the mountain regions of the MacKenzie country, the Fiordland National Park and the West Coast, with a side-trip to the East Coast.

This masterclass landscape workshop is about maximising our time photographing. There will be no formal classroom sessions or lectures and no formal instruction. Rather, the leaders and participants will work side by side, sharing their knowledge, vision, philosophy and experience together in the field. We want you to make great photographs and therefore the emphasis is on being out in the field when the light is best. We are always on hand for any advice or instruction you may need and we will work together as a team. This expedition is for dedicated landscape photographers who are willing to work for their images. The small group size of only six participants guarantees a more personal and intimate experience than bigger tours can provide.

This is a unique opportunity to travel and photograph with two highly experienced professionals who have a combined total of more than 30 years in landscape and nature photography. You’ll be spending 12 days with others who are just as passionate about photography as you are – having a lot of fun along the way!

The workshop runs for 12 days (11 nights). We will be staying in good hotels which are functional and clean. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included as detailed in the itinerary. However, this workshop masterclass is all about photography and we will be prioritising being out in the field shooting over eating meals at set times each day. We may, on occasion, need to take food and drink with us into the field, to ensure we are in position to take advantage of the light. There will be some moderate hiking on uneven ground and a reasonable level of fitness is recommended, so that you can carry your camera gear comfortably. There is no obligation to participate in any hikes and every effort will be made to accommodate any requests.

We welcome all levels of photographer to join us on this workshop, however guests who have an understanding of their camera and photographic technique will benefit the most from this trip.

Note: The weather in the South Island of New Zealand is subject to frequent change. We reserve the right to make last-minute changes to the itinerary to both avoid bad weather and to take advantage of good weather and light, as the elements permit. Our intention is to assess the prevailing weather and light conditions to determine where the best opportunities for dramatic images will be.



Our expedition starts this morning as we depart Christchurch heading for Twizel, which will be our base of operations for the next three days. 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 mid-afternoon and get settled in before going out for our evening shoot of the Southern Alps and Aoraki/Mt Cook. (LD)

Day two TWIZEL
We leave our lodging pre-dawn and travel up into the mountains to be in position for the first light. We will work the landscape in this area as the sun rises 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)

Day three TWIZEL
Another early start as we set up to photograph first light and sunrise on the mountains. After breakfast we will travel off-road in our 4-wheel drives deep into the heart of the MacKenzie wilderness to photograph where few others have ventured. This part of New Zealand’s South Island offers us incredibly unique photographic opportunities in remote wilderness. We return for lunch and a break before we head out again for our last light evening shoot.(BLD)

After being surrounded by mountains for the past three days, we depart this morning for the open spaces on the east coast. We arrive in the afternoon and, after taking a short rest, load up our long lenses for photography of the endangered Hoiho (Yellow-eyed penguin), which come ashore in the late afternoon after a day fishing at sea. These fascinating and very rare birds are so-called by Maori because of their distinctive high-pitched call. (BLD)

Sunrise this morning finds us on the beach shooting the other-worldly and alien Moeraki Boulders, unusual spherical rock formations embedded in the sand. This peculiar natural phenomenon is contrasted beautifully by the wide-open expanse of the Pacific Ocean. We then leave the coast and make our way west to the lakeside town of Te Anau, located on the fringe of the Fiordland National Park. We arrive here in the late afternoon. (BLD)

Day six TE ANAU
We take a privately-chartered helicopter into the Fiordland National Park to photograph this incredible environment. Depending on the weather this will either be in the morning or afternoon. The area we will be visiting is only accessible by helicopter or by multi-day arduous mountain hiking and climbing, using only topographical maps as a guide. The landscapes we will experience here are only ever seen by a privileged few. We will make our shoot plans for the remainder of the day once we know the timing of our helicopter trip. (BLD)

Day seven TE ANAU
We spend a full day in the Milford Sound area of the Fiordland National Park. We will be photographing dramatic mountains carved out by glaciers, lush rainforest draped in mosses and lichens, crystal-clear rivers and finishing with sunset on the Milford Sound foreshore, shooting Mitre Peak. We then return to Te Anau, arriving in the late evening. We will also take a cruise up the Sound to photograph cascading waterfalls and precipitous mountains that plunge hundreds of metres into the ocean. (BLD)

Day eight TE ANAU – WANAKA
A relaxed start to the day after a week on the go. For those who would like, there will be a sunrise shoot on the shores on Lake Te Anau. After breakfast we travel north through Central Otago as we make for another lake town: Wanaka. We arrive in the early afternoon and leave soon afterwards for our shoot location, overlooking Lake Wanaka and the mountains. (BLD)

We get down to the heli-pad pre-dawn this morning and are transferred up into the mountains to capture the sunrise over Lake Wanaka. After breakfast we leave the lakes district behind us as we travel over to the West Coast and our base for the next two nights: Fox Glacier. Along the way we will stop to photograph forest, waterfall and coastal scenery. We arrive at the village of Fox Glacier in the early evening. (BLD)

At first light we are up in the chopper again, but this time it’s doors-off aerial photography. We will fly up the Fox Glacier shooting the blue-ice formations of the upper glacier and seracs before continuing on to photograph the majestic Southern Alps. After returning to base we enjoy a relaxed breakfast and then explore a nearby rainforest, the perfect place for contemplated macro photography. We then break until late afternoon, when we drive to our location to photograph the last light on Mts Aoraki/Cook and Tasman. (BLD)

This morning we will capture the first light at Lake Matheson, where on a still day the majestic Southern Alps are reflected in the tannin-stained waters. After breakfast we depart Fox Glacier and travel north towards the coastal town of Greymouth. We photograph the last light of the day at a nearby coastal location. (BLD)

Depending on the weather our morning shoot will either be along the coast or at a forest-lined inland lake. We will then start our coast to coast journey through the spectacular Southern Alps, and back into Christchurch. Along the way we will stop to photograph the mountain scenery. We arrive into Christchurch in the early afternoon. (BL)


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.

joshua2017JOSHUA HOLKO
Joshua Holko is an Australian-born, internationally award- winning Fine Art Photographer specializing in Landscape, Nature and Wilderness photography in the Polar and sub Polar regions of the globe. He is Australia’s first and only Moab Master and X-Rite Coloratti photographer and is a founding member of the Gura Gear Pro Team. He was honored as the 2012 Outdoor Photographer of the Year in the Spirit of Adventure category. In 2014 he was award the Epson Victorian Professional Science, Nature and Environment Photographer of the Year, Epson Victorian Professional Creative Photographer of the Year and overall winner Epson Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year.
Joshua studied with distinction at the Australian Photography Studies College and the Australian College of Journalism. He is a fully accredited member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). His work has been internationally recognized with Portfolio awards in B&W+Color magazine and the prestigious Silvershotz photography journal. He has won both Gold and Silver with distinction awards at the Australian Professional Photography Awards as well as winning the 2010 World Extreme Environment Photograph of the year People’s Choice Award.


2017: MAY 1 – 12

AUD$14,270.00 per person twin share
AUD$1130.00 single supplement


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

Click here for our Terms and Conditions.