South Island New Zealand photography 26/8


I wrote this from the seat of my returning flight so it might be a little dodgy but looking back at the past 10 days I have got a number of great shots as well as visiting a heap of the island. The South Island of New Zealand is a place that you cannot conquer in 10 days or even a few months there is simply too much to see and do. I would love to spend 6 months travelling and photographing the island. The highlight of the trip was yesterday morning when I awoke to the sound of my alarm not knowing where I was and what was happening, I soon realised that I had three shots left on my panoramic and it was time to get up. I really wanted a different view of Lake Tekapo but every possible angle has been shot a million times by a million different people. With the temperature at around negative 2 degrees I don the thermals and gloves and head down to a spot I had seen the day before which had a heap of potential if the conditions were right and they were. I scrambled down over frosted ground to the lakes edge and I can’t find the right composition so in a bit of a panic I told myself to slow down, I set up my tripod in the lakes water and find the composition I am after and begin to wait for the light to do something. Just to set the scene, the lake is perfectly still, just a hint of a breeze but not enough to break the mirror that the lake had become snow capped mountains in the reflections and perfect wispy cloudy spread across the whole sky, I would have thought this was a dream but the burn of the cold air against my face and ears was telling me otherwise.

The sky began to slowly light up and I was hoping it was going to light up whole sky but wasn’t sure if the colour would make it to the top of my frame BOOM it does so I take a few light readings and I fire off my first exposure of 5 seconds click were done. I wind on to next photo and now the colour really starts to intensify my next two frames are at 12 seconds (f32) and the last back at 5 seconds (f22). I had just enough time to set up my digital and get a stitch happening but by this time the colours had dulled a little and the wind had picked up still worth the effort, what I shot on the panoramic will be the real winners out of this one.

Before I left for Christchurch I put a big order of film for the trip but my order of film didn’t arrive in time and I was left with only 4 rolls of 120 (16 shots). A couple nights ago I met a photographer Tom from California who was also shooting medium format, he had shot 40 rolls of 220 in 3 weeks on a 6 x 4.5 (crazy effort) he was happy with what he had got and gave me his last roll of 220 thanks a heap mate you’re a life saver.

Anyway this is my digital version of yesterday’s sunrise at Lake Tekapo. Excuse the edit is was done on the macbook so it will be a rough copy.

4 image horizontal stitch
3 seconds @ F22
2 stop Lee soft ND
Canon 5D Mark 2 (24-70mm 2.8L @ 70mm)


Darren Tierney

Lake Tekapo - South Island New Zealnd

Sunrise over Lake Tekapo

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3 Responses

ME said on August 26, 2010

Nice shot mate, cant wait to get there next month. It shold be a little warmer and most of the people will have gone… I cant wait, spring in the south island of NZ… WAHOO

Beau said on September 1, 2010

Hey mate,

Long time no speak! Haha.

Nice photo. Can’t wait to see some of your recent film shots both from NZ and Fraser!

What are your plans for the near future?

Does that Tom guy have any work online?

Adrian Wayte said on September 1, 2010

Hey Darren, nice mate and worth all the dramas tio get the shot. Look forward to the new posts from NZ. Ive never been so it may well push me over the edge looking at your images!
Cheers Adrian

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