NZICESCAPES IMAGES

Hiking/Tramping

Beaten views are sometimes worth it!

Soft colours of twilight over Southern Alps with two highest peaks in New Zealand, Aoraki, Mt. Cook 3724m (right) and Mt. Tasman 3497m (left) and Franz Josef Glacier, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

Soft colours of twilight over Southern Alps with two highest peaks in New Zealand, Aoraki, Mt. Cook 3724m (right) and Mt. Tasman 3497m (left) and Franz Josef Glacier, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

In a pursue of my images, I try to find new places, locations unknown and not photographed by others to create a new, fresh and appealing frame. It’s not only for the sake of novelty though, rather, to make me happy and excited with new vistas, new discoveries.
Sometimes, however, there are places which demand our high respect, making us to ditch our egos, because of just what they are. One of those spots is a popular lookout from the Okarito Trig, offering spectacular views toward the majestic Southern Alps. And sometimes, all it takes to create a wonderful photograph is to be there in the right time of the day and play it simple. Like in this example, when I took advantage of those gorgeous, soft pastel hues cast over the landscape by the ending of the day. And of course, when pretty, lenticular clouds hung around for a minute, that’s when the image speaks up.
These would be, arguably the most expansive vistas over the Southern Alps, encompassing a few hundreds of km of rangers laid out right in front of you in 180 degree span.
2 highest peaks of New Zealand’s Southern Alps with leafy shaped Mount Tasman on right 3,497m with highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook 3,724m right next to it on right. Franz Josef Glacier is just visible below them.
Thank you.


Photo Workshops and Tours in New Zealand

Last 12 months has been very busy for us. We’ve completed several photography workshops and tours, guiding our clients through some of the most remote and wild locations New Zealand has on offer.
Generally, we offer 4 pre-organized itineraries but often, we build individually One on One plans for our clients to suit their schedules. Our trips vary in duration but 15 days South Island Sojourn trip, where we visit 6 National Parks of New Zealand in its South Island, seems to be the most popular option. We travel comfortably in 4WD vehicles, aiming to photograph every sunrise and sunset if the weather permits us. The weather can play bit of a role here in New Zealand so be prepared for some dramatic lighting conditions which is exactly what a great photograph needs.
New Zealand is extremely scenic and has proven million times to be one of the best, with great photography locations packed corner of the planet. UNESCO World Heritage Status assigned to large and expansive parts of the South Island certainly confirms that…and we spend most of our times on our trips in exactly these places. So if your feet are getting a bit itchy and camera dusty, perhaps it’s a good time to pull out a map and start exploring. For more informations on our photography tours and workshops, don’t hesitate visiting our website – nzicescapes.com

Below, please enjoy few photographs and snaps of our clients on locations we visit.
Thank you and we look forward to welcoming some of you on one of our photography adventure.

Sunrise at Lake Matheson with reflections of Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Sunrise at Lake Matheson with reflections of Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman, Westland National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Icebergs and ice debris on Hooker Lake with reflections of Aoraki Mount Cook sunrise, Aoraki Mtount Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Sun falling behind horizon of the Tasman Sea. Watched from overnight Milford Sound boat cruise in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Sun falling behind horizon of the Tasman Sea. Watched from overnight Milford Sound boat cruise in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Native rainforest and tree ferns on the West Coast in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand

Native rainforest and tree ferns on the West Coast in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand

Looking towards Humboldt Mountains and Mount Aspiring National Park near Glenorchy, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Looking towards Humboldt Mountains and Mount Aspiring National Park near Glenorchy, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Deep green-blue colours of Hokitika River Gorge, South Westland, New Zealand

Deep green-blue colours of Hokitika River Gorge, South Westland, New Zealand

Kahikatea forest in fog at sunrise at Lake Wahapo, West Coast, Westland National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, South Westland, New Zealand

Kahikatea forest in fog at sunrise at Lake Wahapo, West Coast, Westland National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, South Westland, New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


What to see in Oparara Valley near Karamea

Moria Gate, limestone formation in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Buller Region, West Coast, New Zealand

Moria Gate, limestone formation in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Buller Region, West Coast, New Zealand

Many tourists make a mistake of not taking on the northern part of the West Coast. Often, they would travel as far north as Westport, but leaving out Karamea area.
And that’s a mistake as this region is one of marvels the West Coast has on offer.
Oparara Valley is famous for its lush green rainforest and beautiful orange-brown tannin stained Oparara River but particularly for its famous limestone arches and caves.
One of the easily accessed caves is Moria Gate with Oparara River flowing through it.
The arch itself offers endless photo opportunities but using slow shutter speed enables us to capture wonderful reflections of the cave shapes reflecting into the slowly flowing river.

This is a very easy, short walk from the carpark and everyone visiting this are should come and enjoy tranquility of this wonderful location.
Not like in the where sadly, as far as you can see, there is always a pine grove in a view, spoiling these beautiful Sounds. Luckily some great work is being done to eradicate this trees from these hills where they don’t belong.
In Whanganui however, no pines at all. You’re surrounded only by native coastal forest just like what it was hundreds of years ago. …and that’s something we must treasure dearly.

Moria Gate, limestone formation in Oparara Valley near Karamea, Kahurangi National Park, Buller Region, West Coast, New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


Whanganui Inlet on West Coast of New Zealand

Pastel colours of sunset over Whanganui Inlet on west coast with alpine vegetation, Nelson Region, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Pastel colours of sunset over Whanganui Inlet on west coast with alpine vegetation, Nelson Region, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

There are many things that I like about this area; total lack of people is one of them.
Apart from a few farming vehicles, it will still surprise you when you meet with another freedom traveller heading towards you on this wonderfully narrow, dusty road.
Another nice thing is a beautiful silence. More often than not, in coastal areas you can hear boats’ engines reeving up but very seldom here…only birds echo through the air. But the main thing I’d like to point out here is my favourite one – it’s all about native bush here.
Not like in the Marlborough Sounds where sadly, as far as you can see, there is always a pine grove in a view, spoiling these beautiful Sounds. Luckily some great work is being done to eradicate this trees from these hills where they don’t belong.
In Whanganui however, no pines at all. You’re surrounded only by native coastal forest just like what it was hundreds of years ago. …and that’s something we must treasure dearly.

Pastel colours of sunset over Whanganui Inlet on west coast with alpine vegetation, Nelson Region, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


New Stock Photos from Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Sample Images from Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Sample Images from Routeburn Track in New Zealand

Long days of summer have gone now but I’m really excited (as every year) about approaching winter’s short days and its brilliant photography light. Next to this marvellous light, white peaks around us, late mornings (for sleep in) and early evenings (to catch a dinner without a rush) these are some of few things photographers like about making photographs in winter.

I however do like getting around in summer too and this past summer hasn’t been different for me. After 11 years, I re-visited one of the best locations New Zealand has on offer – the Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Park … and what a fantastic trip I had.

It was a photographic bonanza. The weather stayed on my side, giving me plenty of blue skies and suntan, as well as those magical low clouds around Lake Mackenzie . This was really great as it allowed me to photograph an amazing rainforest surrounding it. The only sad thing was that the bush was bone dry, thus lacking that extra juicy kick and the lake was at its lowest everyone I spoke to could have recalled.
Despite this, I’m very happy with few keepers and I got home with.

For those of you who haven’t made it to Routeburn yet, I hope that these sample photos will help you to make up your mind.

Thanks and Enjoy!


Wild rivers, creeks and streams

Wild Tekano Creek near Douglas Rock Hut in Copland Valley, Westland National Park, West Coast, South Westland, New Zealand

Wild Tekano Creek near Douglas Rock Hut in Copland Valley, Westland National Park, West Coast, South Westland, New Zealand

A week ago I spent several days in one of my favourite areas, in Copland Valley, on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand.

Gorgeous Copland River runs through this beautiful valley which is penetrated with side creeks of all sizes; and they all have one thing in common – they are rough and wild.
Since these rivers, creeks and streams are in an area where the rainfall can exceed 500mm in 24hrs, one can only imagine the inferno happening when the heavy rain comes down and those massive boulders of bus sizes tumble down these creeks…

But on calm days, these creeks are not only very beautiful alpine gems to photograph but also great to wash down the blood and sweat from reaching them…not mentioning best water to drink!

Tekano Creek with sun rising on The Sierra Range and Welcome Pass behind, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Taken with Nikon D800E and Nikkor 16-35mm f4 lens and is a stitch of 2 vertical frames.

Thank you and Enjoy!

For more similar images from this area, please visit our online gallery of Rivers and Creeks.


New Stock Images from Golden Bay and Mt. Cook NP!

Stock Images from Golden Bay, Nelson Region, South Island, New Zealand

Stock Images from Golden Bay, Nelson Region, South Island, New Zealand

It’s been a while since my last images release last September, yes, time passes by fast, and I wasn’t wasting my time.

Rather, it was the opposite. I spent quite some time on the road chasing the light and visiting many new places, as well as going back to those favourite ones.

New locations in magnificent Mt. Cook National Park has been visited, stunning beach of Totaranui, Wharariki and much, much more fell a target of my camera…and then, long days were spent in office processing and uploading all those image files onto our stock site.

As a result, you can now found several hundreds of new photos added and spread throughout galleries on our website and where they are now all available for licensing.

To view samples of these new images showcasing coastal areas of Golden Bay on top of the South Island, as well as new locations in Mt. Cook National Park and Abel Tasman National Parks , plus much more, please visit our image gallery New Stock Coastal and Mountains Images from Totaranui, Wharariki, West Coast, Mt. Cook and Abel Tasman NP .

All Photos: ©Petr Hlavacek – www.nzicescapes.com

Thank you and Enjoy!


12 Months in 2012

Here the time comes again.
It seems that this post is developing into regular farewell to the departing year with a look over the shoulder to reflect on what one was up to in the year just gone…and I kinda like it with hope, that our friends and followers might enjoy this showcase as well.
And it was a busy year, I need to say. I travelled around quite a bit, re-visiting places I haven’t been for a decade, but also going new places and therefore it was very exciting year for me indeed.

Lets take a look at January.

I’ve been planning this frame of Franz Josef Glacier with daisies in foreground for a long time but never really happened to be able to go for the shoot in the right time of the year.
Last year I decided that I can’t miss mountain daisies on Alex Knob again. Unfortunately, when I got up the top it got quite breezy around the sunset time so it was quite difficult to get sharp image, as the daisies were moving most of the time. The shutter speed was slow in this low light and I had to improvise and shelter flowers a bit with my pack but with no much success. Eventually that evening, I managed to pull of a couple of sharp frames I’m happy with.

Franz Josef Glacier with mountain daisies as seen from Alex Knob, Westland NP, West Coast, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier with mountain daisies as seen from Alex Knob, Westland NP, West Coast, New Zealand

February was a similar story.

Roys Peaks were on my list for a long time, as well and is one of locations I haven’t visited before so I was really excited to go up. The views from there are quite extraordinary and are worth of every drop of sweat…and there is quite a few drops one sheds on way up…
This image is a summer version but I do plan going back around winter time to get a bit of the snow on tops. But in this frame, I really like those pastel colours of twilight together with steel blue lake which is being swept by winds, creating nice pattern on its surface.

Sunset over Lake Wanaka as seen from Roys Peak 1578m, Central Otago, New Zealand

Sunset over Lake Wanaka as seen from Roys Peak 1578m, Central Otago, New Zealand

March

Last year I visited one location more often then others. It was Punakaiki in Paparoa National Park in northern part of the West Coast. Punakaiki is one of those places where inspiration comes in buckets. Being not too far from my home, only about 3 hrs drive, no wonder I gave this place more attention last year and will continue to do so in the future.
Walking among limestone formations in twilight is truly exciting for photographer and one has to really concentrate on what to photograph. There is image everywhere one points the camera at but when I saw this limestone stack with so much detail in right light, the image was decided for me. Especially, when this photograph isn’t so profound like the others from the area.

Pancake rocks - limestone formations on rugged coast in Punakaiki during sunset, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Pancake rocks - limestone formations on rugged coast in Punakaiki during sunset, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

For April I had planned my trip to Milford Sound.

It’s been soooo long since I was there last time so one can only imagine my hype when I hit the road. It’s a bit of a drive, around 13 hrs from my place but I decided to break the journey up and stayed a few nights in Te Anau, also one of the long over due location for me.
I stayed about a week in Milford as I wanted to do a few side trips as well. And this image is from one of those – Gertrude Saddle.
An easy hike up the saddle gives you an amazing views not only toward the Milford Sound in distance but also over beautiful Darran Mountains you’re totally enclosed by….what a tent door view…

Sunset over Milford Sound as seen in distance from Gertude Saddle, Fiordland NP, Southland, New Zealand

Sunset over Milford Sound as seen in distance from Gertude Saddle, Fiordland NP, Southland, New Zealand

In May I didn’t have to travel far.

Actually, didn’t have to travel at all as one of the best views of the Southern Alps is only a few minutes away from my home – in Okarito.
Oh boy, how much I love this place. I would go up as often as I can as the views from this popular lookout are just magic. I have many frames from this place but I really like this one. It’s not one of those chocolate box like versions and gives you a chill of that raw wintery evening of the rainforest and mountains after sun went behind the horizon.

Mt. Tasman and Mt. Cook behind clouds after sunset in twilight, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage, South Island, New Zealand

Mt. Tasman and Mt. Cook behind clouds after sunset in twilight, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage, South Island, New Zealand

In June, winter picked up its momentum and good dump of snow covered mountains.

And that’s a great time to visit one my another beloved places – Three Mile Lagoon. This time it was even more urging and exciting to go as this was my first shoot with my new 36MP camera. And how happy a man can be…
I have made a similar image before but in different light and because I love those pastel colours of twilight, I wanted to re-shoot this frame….magical location!

Views of Mt. Tasman 3497m and Mt. Cook 3754m from Three Mile Lagoon Beach during sunset, Westland National Park, World Heritage, West Coast, New Zealand

Views of Mt. Tasman 3497m and Mt. Cook 3754m from Three Mile Lagoon Beach during sunset, Westland National Park, World Heritage, West Coast, New Zealand

In July I was on moon hunting.

This image had been some years in making, as there is not too many opportunities to capture full moon next to the highest NZ mountains. Obviously, the weather is the boss here and if it gets stubborn, you gotta wait until next year.
I came in June but the clouds arrived so I packed up and went home…well, of course, I managed to photograph something else but there was no mountains and no moon. And so I went the following month again but this time I was lucky. There was no clouds around and the moon was closest to Mt. Tasman it ever gets. I have a few more ideas about this image so I will definitely be back this year again…

Twilight at Gillespies Beach with moon rising over Fox Glacier and next to Mt. Tasman (left) 3497m and Mt. Cook (right) 3754m, two highest New Zealand mountains, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Twilight at Gillespies Beach with moon rising over Fox Glacier and next to Mt. Tasman (left) 3497m and Mt. Cook (right) 3754m, two highest New Zealand mountains, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

I love going places only a few knows about and not too many people photograph.
Charleston on in northern part of the West Coast was one of those places for me in August.

Time to time you can find a photo of the main bay in Charleston but I haven’t seen many of this southern coastline. I came to this spot several times as I wanted to have sunset and also sunrise versions as they are very different when it comes to light but both have its beauty. To me, this sunrise photograph thanks to the lit up clouds and ruggedness of the coastline in moody dark is the winner.

Sunrise on wild and remote coastline near Charleston near Westport, West Coast, New Zealand

Sunrise on wild and remote coastline near Charleston near Westport, West Coast, New Zealand

In September I was on a road again.

It’s been 7 years since I’ve been in Catlins last time so I couldn’t wait to get there. This eastern southern coastline lives kinda in a shadow of those hugely popular areas but perhaps because of it, it’s a joy to travel through and meeting with locals. Sitting in the bottom corner of the South Island, Catlins truly has some gems to show and the Nugget Point with its lighthouse is definitely one of them. In summer, the sun rises much more to the right, creating a lot of negative space if the sky is empty but I like its placement here, where it makes for a very pleasing and well balanced composition.

Sunrise at Nugget Point with lighthouse, Catlins, Southland, South Island, New Zealand

Sunrise at Nugget Point with lighthouse, Catlins, Southland, South Island, New Zealand

With October, I’ll be cheating a bit.

Initially, I wanted to use a different image for October, but then I changed my mind as I wanted to share with you another special frame. And because I’ve been quite busy at the end of last year I thought I could use image I took just on the beginning of November.
On the 1st November I travelled to Mt. Cook National Park to give hand to my friend Colin Monteath with his mountain photography workshop. He’s a fantastic guy and mountain photographer so please check his website at – www.colinmonteath.com
We had a blast and were lucky with weather. One of those nights we spent in mountains and it rained and snowed but it gave us a gorgeous morning where everything was dusted with fresh, thin layer of snow…just magic.

Soft pastel dawn over Tasman Glacier as seen from Ball Ridge with De la Beche 2950m in background with climber giving sense of scale at end of ridge and in foreground, Mt. Cook National Park, World Heritage, Mackenzie Country, South Island, New Zealand

Soft pastel dawn over Tasman Glacier as seen from Ball Ridge with De la Beche 2950m in background with climber giving sense of scale at end of ridge and in foreground, Mt. Cook National Park, World Heritage, Mackenzie Country, South Island, New Zealand

Shortly after I came back from Mt. Cook, in November I hit the road again, this time to the Nelson Region – Golden Bay.

There was one place in particular which I wanted to visit, actually two – Totaranui and Wharariki.
The image below is from amazing Wharariki with its famous arches on the beach. I’ve been here before but it was too long ago – well, 10 years to be exact…and here again, the adrenalin was running up my brain….how great it is to visit old places you love and always find them as new…..

Sun sets on famous arches on Wharariki Beach on west coast of South Island, Nelson Region, South Island, New Zealand

Sun sets on famous arches on Wharariki Beach on west coast of South Island, Nelson Region, South Island, New Zealand

And as a last image for December I won’t go far at all.

I chose to share a view from my lounge when the sun was setting on the boxing day.

Sunset with silhouetted totara tree near Whataroa, South Westland, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Sunset with silhouetted totara tree near Whataroa, South Westland, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Lets hope you’ve enjoyed my adventures and I look forward to catching up with you here next year again!
Many thanks for visiting my posts and all the best in 2013!


Nikau Palms of New Zealand

Nikau palms in Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Nikau palms in Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

One of several distinctive trees in New Zealand are Nikau Palms. These palm are endemic to New Zealand and grow in abundance in warm, coastal forests on the North Island.
In several grows, they are also scattered on the South Island, as well. Some of those spots on the Mainland is Nelson area and places on Banks Peninsula near Christchurch. On the West Coast you can see these beautiful, juicy green Nikau grows near Karamea on top of the West Coast, in Punakaiki and some are even occurring as far south as Okarito.
They grow up to 15m tall, with fronds up to 3m long.

Thanks to their distinctive, sharp look and vibrant green colours, these beautiful palms are great subject to photograph. The best time to photograph them is on dull, overcast day and ideally after the rain, which adds the extra shine and deepens the colours.
It is often said to use polarizing filter to get rid of reflections but in this case I prefer no polarizer at all.

It’s that shiny wet and cold dark green colour which make this photograph for me.

This photo was taken in Punakaiki with Nikon D800E and Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens.

Photo: ©Petr Hlavacek – www.nzicescapes.com

More images of Nikau Palms in New Zealand are available from our gallery Nikau Palms Stock Photos from native forests of West Coast of New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


Ice Lake, gem hidden in mountains.

Sunrise over Ice Lake in the Southern Alps with Shackleton and Whataroa Glaciers in the background, alpine herbs in foreground - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Sunrise over Ice Lake in the Southern Alps with Shackleton and Whataroa Glaciers in the background, alpine herbs in foreground - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand


I guess every photographer has a list of places he/she wants to photograph.
My list stretches over many pages but often I’m forced to postpone/re-plane some locations for variety or reasons.
With this place it wasn’t any different until last year, when I finally managed to visit this, one of my “on the top of a list” locations –
the Ice Lake at my backyard in Whataroa Valley on West Coast of South Island in New Zealand.

I’ve been planning this trip for many years but somehow didn’t manage to make it up there until last year…and what a place! I knew that it’s a quite a special location but reality exceeded my expectations.
Alpine garden of herbs and berries with fascinating rocks around a small lake tacked under massive, steep ranges of the Southern Alps with hanging glaciers truly reminds of Peter Jackson’s hobbit film location. It’s not easy to photograph there, however. All area the lake is in is very enclosed and the place doesn’t receive much sunlight, especially when days are shorter and sun lower.

I’m not HDR photographer I have to say, but in this instance I didn’t have many options (D800 wasn’t in my hands at that time). To be frank, I actually haven’t tried an HDR image before, so I was quite keen on trying it here.

For this image I merged 7 exposures to create this 1 frame using Photoshop CS5.

Taken on Nikon D300 with Nikkor 12-24 lens

Photo: ©Petr Hlavacek – www.nzicescapes.com

More images of Ice Lake in New Zealand are available from our gallery Alpine Lake Stock Images from West Coast of New Zealand

Thank you and Enjoy!


Rainforest on West Coast

Hiking track through juicy green, native rainforest towards Robert Point, Westland NP, West Coast, New Zealand

Hiking track through juicy green, native rainforest towards Robert Point, Westland NP, West Coast, New Zealand

It’s well know that there is some decent rainfall on the West Coast. Must be, otherwise we wouldn’t have any rainforests, glaciers, wild rivers etc here.
With an annual rainfall of up to 16m at places, the West Coast of New Zealand belongs among the wettest places on Earth.
That sounds quite frightening but it’s actually is not too bad, as everyone thinks. Due to the predominant weather patterns, the South Island faces the weather coming in from the Tasman Sea and it’s the West Coast which receives all the water load. As the front passes through, the clear weather usually follows and we all here on the West Coast, bath in the sunshine…which very few people know …and we’re very happy to keep it that way!

This image has been taken on a track near Franz Josef Glacier in area where the precipitation can reach up to 7-8m annually. Hence lush, juicy green mosses, lichens and overall temperate rainforest vegetation.

More images from native forests of New Zealand are available in our photo stock galleryNATIVE FOREST of New Zealand

Enjoy!


Wilderness of Copland Valley in New Zealand

Copland River in Copland Valley, West Coast, New Zealand

Copland River in Copland Valley, West Coast, New Zealand


Despite this place being right on my doorstep, I’m quite ashamed to admit that it’s been a long 10 years since I visited this location last time. But this long gap won’t happen again, I can promise you that!
This said, you can well imagine my excitement planing my trip back into the wilderness of this spectacular western part of the Southern Alps, part of the Westland National Park in New Zealand.
Copland Valley is simply amazing. Jugged skyline of The Sierra Range on southern side of the valley keeps your mind in awe pretty much all along the way toward the first, well known hut – Welcome Flat Hut, which is reached after around 8hrs. A lot of the time you’re hiking along beautiful Copland River as it runs through this valley. River originates in Copland Glacier and gathers its waters from magnificent peaks of the Southern Alps, especially from The Sierra Range. And it is its glacial origins which gives this river stunning turquoise-blue colour of water.

It was late on a summer day when I took this photograph of the Copland River. As the sun went lower and lower, the Copland Valley lost its light completely and the blue chill of river gave the air its coldness. Combination of these qualities, warm sunlight on the peaks, coldness of the river and with addition of the juicy green rainforest made this frame for me.

This panoramic photograph is a merge of six frames, processed using Lightroom 4 and stitched in Photoshop CS6.


Sunrise over Lake Wanaka


A few month back I hiked up the Roys Peak 1578m to get some photographs of Lake Wanaka. It’s an easy hike mostly through the farmland but from the start to the very end it goes only uphill. With a heavy pack loaded with camping and photo gear it will give your legs a decent workout. But boy, she’s a worthwhile…
The 360 degree views from the tops are simply incredible. On clear evenings you can see for miles and miles with some iconic features of the Central Otago region. To the west for example, in this frame on left, you can see the famous “horn” of Mount Aspiring – Tititea 3033m which is the highest NZ’s mountain peak outside of Mt. Cook area.
Lake Wanaka itself is the 4′s largest NZ lake covering an area of just under 200km sq with depth of up to 300 m. Situated in u-shaped valley formed by glacier during the last ice age more then 10,000 years ago, the lake is fed by the Makarora and Matukituki rivers and is the source of the south island’s longest Clutha River.
At its longest axis, the lake is 42km long and up to 10km wide at its widest point.

This photograph has been made by stitching 13 vertical frames, processed using Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4.

Enjoy!


Photo Tours through New Zealand!

Photo Tours

Photo Tours through fascinating New Zealand


It’s been cooking and boiling on our table for quite some time but now we’re done and ready to roll ahead.

We’re introducing our new product – Photographic Tours.

We have prepared 4 kinds of tours to chose from, each at different lengths to suit variety of clients. And of course, tailor made tours are available as well.

Being based on the spectacular, colourful and diverse wild West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand, which is by large part under UNESCO protection, we feel our tours should reflect that.
The West Coast region is a pure gem in overall breathtaking landscapes of a whole New Zealand but it is its overwhelming variety of sceneries, this 600km long stretch of land sandwiched between Tasman Sea and almost 4,000m high Southern Alps, offers to keen traveler/photographer to savour.
This is one of reasons why 3 of our tours are largely taking place in this magnificent corner of the World, giving options of magic sceneries to photograph in.

From 3.5 days through 4.5days, 10 days and up to 15 days long premium trip, our trips are available to wide range of clients.

For more info, please visit our site at: New Zealand Photo Tours

We sincerely look forward to welcoming you on our precious West Coast!


Into the Alps!

Tramper with Mt. Cook on right (3754m) and Mt. Tasman on left (3497m) from near Mt. Fox in Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand.

Tramper with Mt. Cook on right (3754m) and Mt. Tasman on left (3497m) from near Mt. Fox in Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand.


Yesterday I got back from a tramping trip in the hills.
Partially scouting trip, together with my beautiful model and partner, we hiked up into the Southern Alps in New Zealand to spend a night under the stars…and what a blast we had!
The weather was great but it couldn’t be said about Fox Glacier township below us. The whole time the town was under heavy blanket of clouds while we had blue skies above our heads.
Incredible 360 degree views and vistas from atop of Mt. Fox are truly hard to beat.
Highest peaks of the whole Australo-Asia (Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman) on one side with Tasman Sea on the other side just take one’s breath away.

These are some of the best locations New Zealand has on offer and I’m always thrilled and shaking by excitement when I plan to venture into these spots.

It won’t be long before I’ll be back here!

Mt. Cook on right (3754m) and Mt. Tasman on left (3497m) from near Mt. Fox in Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand.

Love this place – Enjoy!


Moonlight over Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier under the moonlight, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Franz Josef Glacier under the moonlight, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand


I’ve been wondering for quite some time how Franz Josef Glacier looks under the moonlight. As you know, there is only 12 or 13 full moons in a year and not each of moon’s appearance is on a clear sky for maximum light. Also, I might not always be able to chase it…but eventually, I managed.

Couple of days back it looked like its going to be a good full moon and because I was around, I decided to give it a go and hurried up to climb the hill and spent a night under the stars…and what a night it was!

I’ve been just starting and experimenting with night photography so I was very excited to see what can be captured. I managed to get several exposures ranging from 30 to 40 min but I can see that there is much more potential. It was full moon and that’s why I went up – to get well illuminated glacier but next time I might go somewhere in the middle of the moon cycle. That should allow me to add some nice, stronger star trails into the frame, as well, as this time the sky was too bright.

Since this image is not online yet, the link from it will take you to our STOCK galleries where you can explore more on New Zealand’s landscapes!
Enjoy!


Abel Tasman Coastal Track – part 2

Golden beach in Totaranui on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track - Abel Tasman NP, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Golden beach in Totaranui on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track - Abel Tasman NP, Nelson Region, New Zealand


Linking up with last post from Watering Cove on Abel Tasman Coastal Track, this post is from well known and visited grounds of Totaranui. Stunning beach of this place has been a draw card for kiwi families for decades and it’s no wonder. The seclusion of this area at the northern part of the Abel Tasman Track with great camping facilities makes it quite a special place. Pristine waters, rock formations to explore and golden sand of the beach… it’s a heaven….

If you find yourself walking this track, this beach offers you amazing relax for your weary legs and you just need to make sure, that you book your place in Totaranui for more then one night to make most of this fantastic location! There is a whole lot to Enjoy!

P.S. It’s a pure coincidence but if you’re heading that way now, we might bump into each other, as we’re heading that way too, right now!!!


Abel Tasman Coastal Track

Views through a cave at Watering Cove on Abel Tasman Coastal Track - Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Views through a cave at Watering Cove on Abel Tasman Coastal Track - Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

In this set of posts and upcoming southern summer, I have something for beach lovers.
In the upper left corner of the South Island, there is a hidden paradise. Yes, I’m talking about Abel Tasman NP, the smallest of New Zealand National Parks, where one can find some of the most pristine and scenic beaches in New Zealand.
Obviously, next to hiking and tramping, the biggest activities in the park would have to be sea kayaking. Hiring a kayak or taking a guided tour on kayak will enable you to explore hidden gems of the park together with small pristine beaches often unaccessible on foot.

The area of Abel Tasman NP carries suggestions that this land has been occupied by indigenous Maori people for some 800 years but it’s been named after Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who is considered to be the first European who made in 1642 contact with this area.

This image of the golden beach at Watering Cove shows the pristineness and beauty of this park, which truly is a mecca for not only New Zealanders but holiday makers from all around the world.


Last night on Heaphy…

Golden tussock lit up by afternoon sun and Gouland Downs Hut on Heaphy Track, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Golden tussock lit up by afternoon sun and Gouland Downs Hut on Heaphy Track, Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Carrying on on Heaphy Track, we’re going to spend last night in Gouland Downs Hut – hut with an atmosphere. Aptly named after an area of Gouland Downs, this hut nestles right next to the densely in moss covered bush which after dark echoes with kiwi calls. It’s not uncommon to hear kiwi fossicking in night for food in bush behind the hut or even to spot them. I love this place!

The area of Gouland Downs is braided with rivers, streams and creeks, its karst terrain is covered with golden tussock which literally lits up when hit by afternoon sun and the native forest next to hut hides many caves and caverns to be investigated. There is so much to explore here that one would need to spend much more time here than only one night.
From photographical perspective this is paradise. With so much on offer, you’ll be hard pressed to put your camera down. I walked this hike twice and can’t wait to get back for more!


Another day on Heaphy Track…

Saxon River on Heaphy Track - Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand

Saxon River on Heaphy Track - Kahurangi National Park, Nelson Region, New Zealand


After spending second night on Heaphy Track, this time at James Mackay Hut, we still have a way to go. The track winds through variety of terrain before emerging from the bush and along the Saxon River onto tussocky Gouland Downs. From here its not too long before the Saxon Hut is reached.

Saxon River originates in Gouland Downs and is not a big river at this point but from a photographical point of view – it’s a beauty. Amazing brown colours of tea like waters which even taste like tea, running through juicy green, densely moss cloaked trees and rocks make for a great photograph. I was lucky that it was very fine drizzle on an overcast day, which allowed me to render colours and detail of this bush scene nicely….amazing spot!


Heaphy Splendour!

Forest interior of Nikau Palm Grove at Kohaihai - Kahurangi National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Forest interior of Nikau Palm Grove at Kohaihai - Kahurangi National Park, West Coast, New Zealand


Heaphy Track is one one of my favourite ones. It also belongs to an exclusive group of “9 Great Walks” in New Zealand and traverses Kahurangi National Park in top left corner of the South Island. With its 82km, it’s the longest track of these “Great Walks”.
Why I love this tramp? Simply because at one starting point you are on the West Coast by the Tasman Sea, then you climb through juicy green bush and along rivers ans streams, cross alpine plateau with its karst landscapes before finishing in Nelson Region near Takaka.
The variety of scenery is amazing. Starting on the coast, the track begins to wind its way through beautiful Nikau palm grove and follows the remote coastline before it turns uphill towards karst, alpine landscapes of the park.
These Nikau palms are usually common up in the North Island, whereas down south its a little too cold for them. Therefore it is only this corner of the South Island where they grow, with an exemption of a small grow, little further down in Punakaiki.

In the image above, I photographed these Nikau palms on the rainy day with heavy overcast. Yes, that’s the best time to go out into bush to make some great images full of detail because the low contrast and diffused light allows for that.
As it rained quite heavily with some brief breaks, all the bush was beautifully rich in colours. It is well known that polarizing filter reduces reflections which is often good to get rid of but in this instance I choose not to use it as I loved that shiny, steel like sheen on the palm leaves, together with its rich, dark green colour.
…and of course, I also have a polarized version of the shot…..
Next time we get higher up to explore some karst scenes…


…and into Fiordland on Routeburn Track!

Spectacular, emerald green Lake Mackenzie on Routeburn Track, Fiordland National Park, Southland, New Zealand

Spectacular, emerald green Lake Mackenzie on Routeburn Track, Fiordland National Park, Southland, New Zealand

Leaving Mt. Aspiring National Park in Harris Saddle, the track begins to drop down and zig zags on the Hollyford Face. From here some amazing vistas are to be seen with Lake Mackenzie in far distance at the bottom of the valley and, it may take around 3hrs to get to Lake Mackenzie Hut from an area of fragile alpine vegetation of Harris Saddle. After several zig zags, track enters beautiful, densely in moss cloaked Fiordland bush before reaching the hut. Remember, this is Fiordland, one of the wettest regions in the World and this amazingly green ancient forest is proof of it.

Result of the last glaciation, Lake Mackenzie, beautifully surrounded by this juicy green bush and grey rocks, is one of the gems in Fiordland. Its breath taking emerald colours, enhanced on my overcast day, are quite extraordinary and I could spend many days here just exploring and photographing. Can’t wait to be back one day again!


Stunning Routeburn!

Contrasting beautiful blue colour of Route Burn River on Routeburn Track with beech forest, Mt. Aspiring NP, Central Otago, New Zealand

Contrasting beautiful blue colour of Route Burn River on Routeburn Track with beech forest, Mt. Aspiring NP, Central Otago, New Zealand

Routeburn Track is one of the most beautiful hikes in New Zealand and I reckon also in the World. It is also one of 9 Great Walks in New Zealand, spanning across 2 national parks – Mt. Aspiring and Fiordland.
The scenery of this hike is just jaw dropping. Usually walked from Queenstown side to Milford Road, it takes between 2-4 days to complete this 32km long and well formed track.
Crystal clear waters of the Route Burn running through beautiful beech forest shortly after the start near the head of Lake Wakatipu makes for brilliant photo opportunities. The track continues climbing gently toward the Routeburn Flat and further to Routeburn Falls Hut. From here the track is completely in the stunning alpine environment and continues to climb to Harris Saddle before leaving Mt. Aspiring NP and entering Fiordland.
But we’ll go there next week…

In the meantime, enjoy this photograph of the Route Burn which I took when in awe over the clarity of its cold, blue waters. The shiny “silvery”rocks contrasting with juicy green mosses and beech forest just took my breath away and I was lucky enough to have a bit of an overcast day helping me to maintain enough detail in the forest shadows as well as in the Route Burn.


…still on the Hollyford!

Looking into Hollyford Valley with sunset at Martins Bay on Hollyford Track - Fiordland NP, Southland, New Zealand

Looking into Hollyford Valley with sunset at Martins Bay on Hollyford Track - Fiordland NP, Southland, New Zealand

Back on track through the glacial U-shaped Hollyford Valley… After 4 days of hiking through the ancient rainforest of northern parts of Fiordland NP, Martins Bay is reached.
This place is just magic…it’s all yours here as you share the place only with NZ Fur Seals and rare Fiordland Crested Penguins, to whom this is their home.
I spend on the Holyford Track 12 days and I have met only 1 other person during this time (after 4 days of hiking) – its absolute “soul washing” and healing experience in solitude!
But Martins Bay also has an exciting past – Due to its location and over 100 years back, Martins Bay seemed very compelling and suitable to establish one of the gateways into the Southland. There was an attempt to colonize this area where ships and boats would be able to enter deeper into the Hollyford Valley following Hollyford river and Lake McKerrow. The harsh conditions of this rough environment however proved the vision not so great as thought and the plans for development were abandoned.
And I reckon it was a great decision so this area can continue to be one of the jewels of Fiordland where one can only be privileged to watch the sunset do its magic!