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Golden Hour

Golden hour of dawn on Aoraki Mount Cook 3,724m with Tasman River, Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, Mackenzie Country, New Zealand, NZ

Golden hour of dawn on Aoraki Mount Cook 3,724m with Tasman River, Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, Mackenzie Country, New Zealand, NZ

There is a good reason we call some particular times of the day “the golden hour”.
Well, for me, it’s more like “the golden 20minutes” – before sunset or after sunrise, like in this image, when the light can dress up the landscape into a wonderful golden glow. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, this glow can range from very subtle hues to quite strong golden colour cast, lending the landscape a regal quality.
Just like in this photograph of the highest New Zealand mountain Aoraki Mount Cook 3,724m.

In this image, I wanted to show the beautiful golden light on the east face of Aoraki, which was making the mountain stand out in the landscape. However, that wouldn’t be possible with wide angle lens therefore a longer lens was needed to be used to capture this panorama. One frame wouldn’t be enough either so the only option was to take 3 horizontal frames and composite them together to make this final frame. To give this image the depth, I used the Tasman River with its colourful reflections as a foreground anchor.

This is also one of the locations on my premium 15 days tour – 6 National Parks Sojourn, where we photograph.
For more info on these tours and workshops, please visit our website page PHOTO TOURS.

Thank you.

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.

Finding Your Market

Probably more often then not, it’s easier to create a high quality product, art work in this matter, but the hard part comes in finding your clients for it.
In today’s world overloaded with choices and possibilities, finding your market becomes harder and harder and takes a lot of work, perseverance, honesty and time to succeed…and I definitely can’t say, we’re there, yet.
After decades of dreaming and focusing, years of planning, in September 2015, we softly opened the doors to our first “brick and mortar” private Fine Art Photographic Gallery in Whataroa, on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. Located just on the border of the Westland Tai Poutini National Park / UNESCO World Heritage Area, the public grand opening of Petr Hlavacek Gallery in Whataroa, West Coast, NZ followed in March 2016.

Petr Hlavacek Gallery in Whataroa, West Coast, NZ

Petr Hlavacek Gallery in Whataroa, West Coast, NZ


We created our gallery with a different concept though, as we chose to avoid the bigger foot traffic one can get in towns and cities. Instead, and to differentiate from masses, we chose to create this unique concept I refer to as, “a destination gallery”, focusing on a distinguished visitor, rather then quantity. This is not a new concept though, there are many galleries around the world established like this, but here in New Zealand, I suspect, our gallery might be one of two or three in the country.
The biggest benefits of this luxury concept are that visitors, especially those who wish to stay “under radar”, can have an intimate private gallery viewing without interruption, with me, as an author, at hand anytime.
The biggest challenge, however, remains how to ensure our visibility to these visitors, just the same as any luxury boutique resort or B&B tucked away from main touristy areas are facing.

Twilight at Gillespies Beach with moon rising over Fox Glacier and next to Mt. Tasman (left) 3497m and Mt. Cook (right) 3724m, two highest New Zealand mountains, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Twilight at Gillespies Beach with moon rising over Fox Glacier and next to Mt. Tasman (left) 3497m and Mt. Cook (right) 3724m, two highest New Zealand mountains, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

New Zealand is a small country in the furthest corner of the Planet but it’s strength and beauty lies exactly in this reality, being tucked away from the rest of the world, being this exclusive location. And it is this fact, which I think is in today’s globalised world highly appreciated and desired.
One of the channels distinguished visitors wanting to experience New Zealand is via private agencies, which are able to custom tailor, deliver and satisfy any exclusive wishes their clients may have.

I’m thrilled to announce that Petr Hlavacek Gallery fitted with its format, high quality and uniqueness to “Black Label Experience”.
“Black Label” is New Zealand’s premier luxury travel agency, enabling a discerning visitor an exclusive, luxury experience in visiting New Zealand; and we’re delighted to embark with Black Label on a very exciting journey ahead.
With our gallery’s unique, secluded setting, we provide Black Label’s distinguished clientele privacy and exclusive experience in intimate gallery viewing, along with private, custom tailored itineraries of exclusive photography tours or workshops.

Petr Hlavacek Gallery in Whataroa, West Coast, NZ

Petr Hlavacek Gallery in Whataroa, West Coast, NZ

The secret behind Black Label Experience is “The Secret Black Book”. This is a valued compilation of trusted individuals and providers of unique and exclusive experiences, and with whom Black Label can collaborate with to exceed their valued, high end, VIP clients’ expectations.

As excited as we are, so pleased was Black Label with our connections, that its managing director Tania Stoyanof wrote a blog about it.

This is the BLOG about our link with Black Label.

Smoothwater River near Jackson Bay at dawn, South Westland, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Smoothwater River near Jackson Bay at dawn, South Westland, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand

One can only imagine our delight to be included in this exclusive list of “The Secret Black Book”.

For more information about Black Label and Petr Hlavacek Gallery, please email us at: info@nzicescapes.com

Sunset over Southern Alps and Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Vast area of Geikie Snowfield of upper parts of Franz Josef Glacier during setting sun with Mt. Tasman and Aoraki, Mount Cook dominating skyline, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

Vast area of Geikie Snowfield of upper parts of Franz Josef Glacier during setting sun with Mt. Tasman and Aoraki, Mount Cook dominating skyline, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

Perhaps everyone knows how glaciers work…a lot of snow (and I mean a lot of it, up to 50m to gain a compressing weight of its own) compacting into the ice with gravity pulling this mass down the hill. It may however be a bit harder for everyone to imagine the scale of the area where all this compacting happens.
Franz Josef Glacier is one of the smaller glaciers by world standards but quite a sizeable chunk of ice in New Zealand landscape.
On this photograph I’ve been hoping to show the vastness of the upper parts of this currently about 10km long glacier. With 2 highest peaks of the New Zealand’s Southern Alps dominating the background – Mount Tasman on far top left 3,497m and highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook 3,724m next to it on right, the vastness of the Geikie and Davis Snowfields of the Franz Josef Glacier is quite apparent.
This wonderful scene has been photographed just as the sun was dipping over the horizon of the Tasman Sea on right and I love the beautiful light bouncing over about 30 square km large NEVE in wonderful hues of purple, pink and orange. Hope you enjoy this image, too. Thank you.

Winter Photo Tour in New Zealand

Sunset over Main Divide with Centennial Hut perched on ridge in centre atop of Franz Josef Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Sunset over Main Divide with Centennial Hut perched on ridge in centre atop of Franz Josef Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Throughout the year, we have several itineraries of our photo workshops and tours but we were thinking about adding one more special winter version to our selection.
This new itinerary is almost identical with our 15 day South Island tour but we added a new, super location to it – one night will be spent in the high altitude mountaineering hut in The Southern Alps of the South Island in New Zealand.

The hut sits atop of the Franz Josef or Fox Glaciers, (depending on weather conditions we chose the best option), and we will have our private, professional mountaineering guide to guide us in this spectacular environment.
This combination will enable us to fully concentrate on photography, capturing images from areas usually accessible only to the skilled mountaineers. The scenery is going to be utterly breathtaking with 360 views and vistas reaching far into the Tasman Sea on horizon. We’ll be photographing spectacular West Coast sunset over the Tasman Sea from around 2800m above sea level, right under the Main Alpine Divide, as well as the sun rising from behind the following morning.

This adventure is scheduled for the 4 August until 18 August 2016 and I can’t wait to taking you into some of the most spectacular location on our planet.

For the full itinerary, please visit our website – nzicescapes.com

Beautiful pastel colours of sunset above Franz Josef Glacier photographed from Centennial Hut with Tasman Sea visible on horizon. Tusk Rocks in foreground, Chamberlin Snowfield right, Agassiz Glacier left, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Beautiful pastel colours of sunset above Franz Josef Glacier photographed from Centennial Hut with Tasman Sea visible on horizon. Tusk Rocks in foreground, Chamberlin Snowfield right, Agassiz Glacier left, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Deep crevasses in upper parts of Franz Josef Glacier, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

Deep crevasses in upper parts of Franz Josef Glacier, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

Views down Franz Josef Glacier from above Centenial Hut with Tasman Sea in distance, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ

Views down Franz Josef Glacier from above Centenial Hut with Tasman Sea in distance, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, West Coast, UNESCO World Heritage Area, New Zealand, NZ