Timed to photograph New Zealand in the peak of its winter beauty, this workshop covers an extensive range of subjects in both the North and South Islands. We have allocated extended stays in key regions to allow an unhurried approach to our photography. Our bases are also strategically chosen to give us multiple shoot-location options based on the weather conditions. In July, snow-draped mountain ranges abound and the soft, clear winter light offers excellent shooting conditions. The weather at this time of the year is generally settled and temperatures are mild when compared to Northern Hemisphere winter conditions. Every day has been planned to give us the best opportunity to experience the quality of light photographers dream of. We will be photographing many of New Zealand’s noted iconic landscapes, including the volcanic plateau at Tongariro National Park, Aoraki/Mt Cook and the Southern Alps, Moeraki Boulders, Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, Punakaiki, plus a selection of secret locations, which most tourists, and New Zealanders, do not know about. Travelling by four-wheel drive vehicles allows us to explore spectacular backcountry locations well off the tourist track, and the use of helicopters gets us into inaccessible areas for unique photo opportunities.
The emphasis of this workshop is to be out in the field photographing, which is why we do not have formal lectures or presentations, although we will have time for informal processing sessions as requested. The small-group environment allows plenty of time for one-to-one tuition and advice, making mastering new techniques and fine-tuning your skills a quicker process.
To ensure that we are well-rested after our day’s activities we stay in comfortable, modern lodgings which are well equipped. Meals are included as noted in the itinerary and are typical of New Zealand cuisine: fresh, local produce with choices to suit all tastes and appetites. If you have any special dietary requirements please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
We look forward to sharing the wonders of the New Zealand landscape with you.
Day three TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK – CHRISTCHURCH
We leave the hotel again pre-dawn to be in position for sunrise on the volcanoes. After breakfast we depart for Rotorua, to catch a domestic flight to Christchurch. There will be pre-arranged transport to transfer you to the hotel, which is located downtown. Dinner is on your own this evening. (BL)
Day four CHRISTCHURCH
Today is a rest day to spend at your leisure as we prepare for our South Island travels. The hotel is conveniently located near to the city centre, museum, art gallery, Hagley Park and Botanical Gardens. There are a good selection of cafes and restaurants within easy walking distance. (BL)
Day five CHRISTCHURCH – TWIZEL/AORAKI MT COOK NATIONAL PARK
We meet again this morning to begin our South Island adventure. After breakfast 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. (BLD)
Day six 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)
Day seven 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)
Day eight TWIZEL – NORTH OTAGO
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)
Day nine NORTH OTAGO
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. After breakfast we explore the village and photograph the quaint seaside cottages and surrounds. In the afternoon we drive to a seal colony, located nearby. (BLD)
Day ten NORTH OTAGO – TE ANAU
We have one more opportunity to perfect our compositions of the Moeraki Boulders on our first-light shoot. After breakfast we 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 eleven TE ANAU
We spend the entire day in the Milford Sound area of the Fiordland National Park today, photographing dramatic mountains carved out by glaciers, lush rainforest and crystal-clear rivers. A boat cruise through the fiord is also included. We then return to Te Anau, arriving in the late evening. (BLD)
Day twelve TE ANAU
We take a privately-chartered helicopter transfer into the Fiordland National Park to photograph this unique 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. The landscapes we will experience here are only ever seen by a privileged few. (BLD)
Day thirteen TE ANAU – WANAKA
A very early start this morning as we travel to a hidden backcountry location for our sunrise shoot. Here we photograph lakes, mountains and high country tussocklands. We then continue 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 the mountains. (BLD)
Day fourteen WANAKA
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 depart to explore some of Central Otago’s historic gold-mining areas and drive up into the hills to shoot the rugged terrain found in this region. (BLD)
Day fifteen WANAKA – FOX GLACIER
Another very early start, so that we are in position well before sunrise to photograph the famous Lone Tree. After breakfast we leave the lakes district behind us as we travel through the Haast Pass, over to the West Coast and our base for the next three 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)
Day sixteen FOX GLACIER
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)
Day seventeen FOX GLACIER
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 explore the local surrounds. Following lunch there is time for a rest before we are out again for sunset photography. (BLD)
Day eighteen FOX GLACIER – GREYMOUTH
Another chance to explore different compositions at Lake Matheson at sunrise. After breakfast we travel north to the coastal town of Greymouth. We take a short break to refresh before driving along the coast to the Punakaiki area for our last-light shoot. Our visit has been timed to coincide with high tide, when the blowholes at the unique limestone formations of the Pancake Rocks are at their most spectacular. We then return to Greymouth to enjoy a relaxed farewell dinner together. (BLD)
Day nineteen GREYMOUTH – CHRISTCHURCH – DEPART
After breakfast we depart for Christchurch. Our road takes us through the Southern Alps and we make brief stops along the way to photograph the stunning alpine scenery. We arrive at Christchurch Airport in the early afternoon in time for your departing flight. (B)
Note: The weather in 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 photographic opportunities will be.
2018: July 9 – 27
Photography guide services and in-field support
Accommodation for eighteen nights
Domestic Air New Zealand flight from Rotorua to Christchurch
Private helicopter transfers at Te Anau and Wanaka
Doors-off helicopter flight at Fox Glacier
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
Click here for our Terms and Conditions.
▫ Volcanoes of the Central Plateau
▫ Helicopter into Fiordland wilderness
▫ Aerial photography of Southern Alps
▫ Helicopter charter at Wanaka
▫ Milford Sound photography cruise
▫ 4WD access to backcountry areas
▫ Dark Sky Reserve astrophotography
“The trip with Phillip was extraordinary and delivered excellent value regardless of skill level.”
B. Pullein, NZ
“I have participated in a number of photo workshops both in the USA and overseas, and this particular trip is the best I have attended.”
E. Hartmann, USA
“Phillip possesses a wealth of experience, skill and expertise which he is able to share with each individual photographer.”
A. Barker, Australia
Just over twelve years ago I started guiding photographers and have been referred to as the most highly regarded landscape photography instructor in New Zealand. I believe this is because I know where the best coffee, and hot chocolate, is to be had no matter where we are.
The most valuable asset of digital photography, from a learning perspective, is being able to instantly assess each capture. This is immensely helpful when I am working with photographers to develop their individual style and master new techniques.
It is a privilege to share my enthusiasm for the New Zealand landscape with other passionate photographers and many workshop participants have become friends and repeat clients. You are most welcome to join me on this workshop.