NZICESCAPES IMAGES

Posts tagged “mountains

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.


Coastal scenery from Okarito Lagoon in New Zealand

Pastel colours of twilight over Southern Alps with Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman from Okarito Lagoon, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, South Westland, New Zealand

Pastel colours of twilight over Southern Alps with Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman from Okarito Lagoon, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, South Westland, New Zealand

It’s hard to describe my feelings when I’m at pristine places like Okarito on the West Coast in New Zealand with its surrounding lagoons, wetlands and wild beaches. Without wanting to be too sentimental, I just can’t help it to say that my heart is always up my throat, filled with joy how beautiful this place is.
Regardless of the time of the day, you always can make a wonderful photograph in Okarito. For me though, my time I love to photograph is when the sun is near the horizon and the light orchestrates its play around you. Once the sun dips below horizon, the air fills up with pastel hues of pinks and purples, contrast balances out, remoteness with silence all around makes me feel this place belongs just to me….and it’s then, when photographs like this can be made.

Dusk at Okarito Lagoon with views of the Southern Alps on horizon, West Coast, Westland National Park, World Heritage Area, South Westland, New Zealand

Thank you for checking in and Enjoy!

Image ©Petr Hlavacek – nzicescapes.com


Winter in Milford Sound in Fiordland, New Zealand

Milford Sound with Mitre Peak with dramatic skies before sunset, Fiordland National Park, Southland, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Milford Sound with Mitre Peak with dramatic skies before sunset, Fiordland National Park, Southland, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Last week I got back home from my winter trip to Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound Fiordland in New Zealand and what a wonderful trip it was!

I visited many locations, the iconic ones as well as number of new spots, which I scouted out on my last visit over a year ago.

Although the rain pinned me down for few days, I couldn’t wish for better weather, really. Well, I say “pinned down” but the rain didn’t stop me from exploring for new spots I might use on my next visit.
The other advantage of the incoming rain, next to doing other useful photography things such as location scouting, is that there is always great cloudy sky to be photographed before you get drenched…and when there is some wonderful backdrop as well, and there is no shortage of them in Milford Sound, it seems like a perfect recipe for a nice photograph.

Mitre Peak in Milford Sound with sun rays penetrating the sky, Fiordland National Park, Southland, New Zealand

Thanks for checking in and Enjoy!

Image ©Petr Hlavacek – nzicescapes.com


Tasman Glacier in Mt Cook NP

Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake with icebergs and icy debris after massive terminal face calving in 2010 under sunset, Mt. Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Tasman Glacier and its terminal lake with icebergs and icy debris after massive terminal face calving in 2010 under sunset, Mt. Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Glaciers around the world are melting and disappearing from World Maps. We are not immune to it as this sad reality is hitting New Zealand as well, and it’s not a nice sight.
The Southern Alps are becoming more and more unstable for alpine activities with increased rock avalanches as the warmer temperatures are melting rock binding ice in lower altitudes then in past.
All this rock avalanche debris falls on the shrinking and narrowing glaciers in valleys below, covering their gasping for breath remnants under layers of rocks.

In case of Tasman Glacier, this is even more evident, as with it’s lengths of 27km now, it is New Zealand’s longest and mightiest glacier…but how long for when its retreat is today estimated to be close to 1 km each year.
In 2010 massive calving event occurred, littering Tasman Glacier terminal lake, non-existent 40 years ago, with tons of ice debris and icebergs.

It’s not every day when event like this happens so I went to check it out myself. When I arrived at the terminal lake near sunset time, the sky suddenly closed up, clouds rolled over my head and it started to snow. The light of the setting sun was penetrating this gentle snowfall, and all Tasman Valley got dressed up in this beautiful pinkish pastel colours…very eerie, moody scene with all the icebergs in the lake…how lucky I was to witness this alone…

Tasman Glacier with its terminal lake after calving at sunset, Mt. Cook National Park, Mackenzie Country, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Taken with Nikon D300 and Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 lens


Highest mountains in New Zealand

The Southern Alps

Mt. Cook 3,754m and Mt. Tasman 3,497m, Westland National Park, World Heritage Area, West Coast, New Zealand

I’m sure that every photographer time time struggles with culling similar images down…which one to keep and which to throw into the bin…especially when each of the frame can stand on its own, has it’s own quality and charm?
I’ve always had problems with this but I think I’m getting better at it now.
Time to time however, I find a nut which is hard to crack…like this one.

When I get to this point where I simply am out of breath, I look at it from a different angle and try to find deliberate use of the images for portraying the scene, usually in a different quality light as it passes through… and I’m finding that this works best with scenes with strong and clear compositions and main subject….like this one.

Mt. Cook 3,754m, Mt. Tasman 3,497m of The Southern Alps, Westland National Park, West Coast, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

Taken with Nikon D300 and printed as high quality Fine Poster at 130cm x 60cm approx.

Thank you for visiting 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!


Lake Wahapo – scenic lake on West Coast of New Zealand

Lake Wahapo on West Coast in New Zealand

Sunset at Lake Wahapo near Whataroa with kahikatea grove and Mt. Adams in background, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

In my opinion, one of the most scenic lakes on the West Coast is Lake Wahapo.

Yes, I might be a little bit biased since the lake is only a stone throw away from my house near Whataroa and I feel extremely privileged and humbled to be able to live in such extraordinarily picturesque place.

Due to the silty rivers and wetlands around, the lake has coloured murky water but sustains a great numbers of fish. From brown trouts, eels to even salmons.

It is however it’s settings which make this lake a hot spot to photograph.
Surrounded by rare kahikatea grove and with Mt. Adams, most westerly mountain of the Southern Alps in the background, there is no chance to pass the lake without taking a photo.

This photograph was taken in this years winter only few minutes after sunset, which is my favourite time to photograph.
The air starts to be filled with those magical hues of purplish colours, often hues only camera’s sensor can reveal during longer exposure times. You have to be quick though, as those colours usually disappear quickly.

Dusk over Lake Wahapo with Mt. Adams in background, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Taken with Nikon D800E and Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 lens

For more images of beautiful lakes in New Zealand, please visit our site and gallery
Stock images of scenic lakes in New Zealand

Photo: ©Petr Hlavacek – www.nzicescapes.com

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!


Arrival of Nikon D800e!

From the Sea to the Mountains

From the Sea to the Mountains, Westland NP, New Zealand

Having ordered this camera immediately after its official announcement, I’ve been impatiently awaiting when this camera hits NZ shores. By the time it eventually did, the whole world already knew about its superior qualities…and it certainly didn’t make my waiting easy….

Therefore when it did eventually arrived, I was buzzing.
Full of high expectations and with excitement boiling, I went, actually literally run, to one of my close to my heart places to get my first shots with my new work horse.
I deliberately choose this location since I have many other similar images from there and I would be able to compare and see the difference.

I won’t be walking around a hot pot and will cut straight to the case;
the results I’ve got from this camera are, simply said, phenomenal.

Immediately from a first look, the tonal range and its smoothness is eye catching. Obviously, you won’t be able to see it from this post but on my EIZO monitor, file looks amazing. Can’t wait to print it out!
Next to the detail; I have image taken from exactly the same spot with my previous D300 and with Nikkor 24-70 F2.8 glass so I’m able to compare very accurately. I did expected an improvement as one would with such a big pixel difference but again – the result just blown me away. Every stem of the sand dune grass, yellow flower of gorse or any leaf, twig etc you see in the image is well defined, sharp and crisp – resolved in every detail by D800e massive resolution that you truly feel like being there.
D300 image file doesn’t look bad if you don’t put it anywhere near to this as it can’t stand the comparison in any way… in the fine detail I mentioned above D300 file looks in many places mushy…simply lacking pixels…. the tonal range and its smoothness can’t be matched by D300 file for obvious reasons as well…
Don’t get me wrong though; I loved my previous D300 and its results but technology just moves ahead….luckily often in our favour so we can afford tools like this brilliant Nikon D800e. I’m so thrilled to be working with it and be able now to deliver files which could wrap ones apartment around and around…
On this note – this image is a stitch of 6 files resulting in output file size of 700 MB and native 155cm x 62cm @300 dpi!!! Yes 300dpi…now, how great would that look on your wall…:)
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!


Mitre Peak with Milford Sound

Mitre Peak with Milford Sound

Mitre Peak with Milford Sound

Earlier this month I visited Milford Sound. It was my long over due trip, as my last time there was about 3 years back, so I stayed in the area for a week.
Milford Sound is world-wide known for its jaw dropping amount of precipitation – on average up to 6m of rain annually! To put it in perspective – in centre of Europe you may receive on average just around 0.3m of rain per year. Therefore it was to my surprise that throughout whole my week not a single drop of water came from the skies down and the blue skies were on the menu every day, except the first day on my arrival.

From photography point of view, blue skies is usually not exactly what a landscape photographers crave. We always seek some points of interest for our eyes and with a washed out blue skies, the photograph can lose its appeal. I’m using word “can” as there are cases when blue skies are useful. This may be for the editorial purposes where some clear space for type is needed and in some cases and if in right context and vision, clear skies together with foreground can be utilized for graphic, artistic imagery.

In case of this photograph and to make the image more appealing, I used the sun as point of interest for viewers eye by shooting straight into it, using a small aperture to add nice starburst effect.

Thank you and Enjoy!


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!


12 Months – 12 Favourite Images

This seems to be a very nice way to share those past twelve months of photographic adventures with all our friends, followers and supporters. Therefore I also decided to point out 12 images, one for each month, which I feel very good about. Most of them are already online and you may have come them across on our stock website but even if so, I reckon these frames deserve to be showcased again.

In January I had some great times with my models on Franz Josef Glacier.
It is not common to be able to walk through this deep ice crevasses but on this occasion, we were very lucky to be here. Actually, this has been the deepest crevasse I’ve ever walked through. It might have been 15-20m deep at places and possibly 100m long. It was absolutely amazing and my massive and grateful THANK YOU goes to the Glacier Guides from Franz Josef, who made this possible!
It wasn’t easy to pick my favourite shot as the ice colours and patterns were changing along the way but this image has a great combination of being lost amidst the ice and “Alice in the Wonderland” feeling. Totally surreal place to be in!

Man walking through deep and beautiful ice crevasse on Franz Josef Glacier - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Man walking through deep and beautiful ice crevasse on Franz Josef Glacier - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

In February, on one late afternoon I drove from Wanaka toward the West Coast. It was very dull and the sky was heavily clouded with no light at all and it started to rain slowly, intensifying into downpour. It felt like you were under some dark blanket. Except for one moment when a sudden burst of light broke through the black clouds. Luckily I was able to grab this image before it started to bucket down again.

Sunrays piercing throught thundery skies above Lake Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand

Sunrays piercing throught thundery skies above Lake Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand

In March I had my friend, a fellow photographer over to visit and we decided to take a heli ride over the glaciers in Westland NP. With doors off, we spent nearly an hour of the golden hour of the day flying over the Southern Alps and making images. For this image in the upper parts of the Fox Glacier I asked pilot if he could get as low and as close to these crevasses as he could, so I could emphasize them. They remind me of fingers pointing to the second highest mountain in NZ – Mt. Tasman 3497m which dominates the background. The orangy colours are partially from setting sun but they’re also enhanced by the dust which by the end of summer reaches NZ from Australian outback.

Mt. Tasman 3497m decorates skyline and massive seracs of Explorer Glacier in foreground. Orange color on the ice is actually dust polution all the way from Australia, emphasized by setting sun - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Mt. Tasman 3497m decorates skyline and massive seracs of Explorer Glacier in foreground. Orange color on the ice is actually dust polution all the way from Australia, emphasized by setting sun - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

April was an exciting month, as I was able to visit one of the locations I’ve been having on my list for many years – the Ice Lake.
This lake is hidden behind ranges only a few km away from my home and is an absolute gem. It is also very difficult to photograph since the lake sits in between high ranges so not much light gets there and one faces a massive exposure differences. In this image I didn’t have many options but HDR.
Frankly, I’m just starting to learn a little about HDR as I’m not a huge fan but do understand its benefits, which I appreciated in creating this image.

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

May, that’s when the winter starts kicking in. And winter on the West Coast is just magnificent. Brilliant skies and best light. I love going on the glacier in winter because you get all sorts of frozen patterns in puddles made by melting water from the sunny days.
One of great example is here – frozen air bubbles in a small crack in the ice filled with water. Unfortunately, the limited colour space of your screen doesn’t show you the real colours of this image but just imagine intense blue-turquoise hues. Love it!

Frozen air bubbles within ice on Franz Josef Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Frozen air bubbles within ice on Franz Josef Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

In June I visited another of my favourite locations – The Castle Rock Hut.
This hut is perched on the ridge overlooking Franz Josef Glacier with some spectacular views. Can’t wait to go back!

Castle Rock Hut perched on Defiance Ridge above Franz Josef Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Castle Rock Hut perched on Defiance Ridge above Franz Josef Glacier, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

July was again – the glacier time. With fresh blanket of snow, everything looks so pristine and pure. Then all it takes is to walk and walk and walk around very carefully, looking for some nice frame to make an image. And if the sun and caves works together, some great images are to be had.
Using a small aperture gives you this nice starburst effect, which ultimately makes the image shine.

 Views from ice cave on Franz Josef Glacier with sunburst, Westland NP, West Coast, New Zealand

Views from ice cave on Franz Josef Glacier with sunburst, Westland NP, West Coast, New Zealand

There is still plenty of snow on the mountains in August and it’s a great time to get some fantastic imagery done. This image was made on the Gillespies Beach with reflections of highest NZ mountains – Mt. Cook (3754m) right and Mt. Tasman (3497m) left.
The Tasman Sea is just a few meters behind my back so one has to watch ones back if the tide is high.

Twilight at Gillespies Lagoon with reflections of highest NZ mountains - Mt. Cook (3754m right) and Mt. Tasman (3497m left), Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Twilight at Gillespies Lagoon with reflections of highest NZ mountains - Mt. Cook (3754m right) and Mt. Tasman (3497m left), Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

In September I was working on assignment to get the panorama of the Southern Alps with as little shadows as possible – sometime you have to listen to your client. Despite that brief, the image turned out quite nicely. We waited several days for some fresh snow to dust up the already warming mountains and that’s why I picked this image for this month, as it shows gently snow covered mountains with a lot of detail and all the beauty of Fox Glacier sliding down through the middle of the frame.

Southern Alps with highest NZ mountains - Mt. Cook (3754m right) and Mt. Tasman (3497m left). Fox Glacier in middle, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Southern Alps with highest NZ mountains - Mt. Cook (3754m right) and Mt. Tasman (3497m left). Fox Glacier in middle, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

October was month of sunsets. One of these has been taken from Okarito lookout. Image overlooks the Three Mile Lagoon and leads your eye further along the coast south. Great skies made the frame.

Sunset from Okarito lookout with views south and over Three Mile Lagoon, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Sunset from Okarito lookout with views south and over Three Mile Lagoon, Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

In November I travelled a little north along the West Coast, to Punakaiki. This great location is famous for its “Pancake Rocks” and fabulous coastline. This image has quite common and popular framing of the location but despite that I pick this image because I like the light and sky in it. It’s been very windy evening and clouds were chasing each other and when the sun sinked below the horizon, it threw its last rays onto those clouds and gave us one more opportunity to make an image.

Blowhole at Pancake Rocks - limestone formations in Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Blowhole at Pancake Rocks - limestone formations in Punakaiki, Paparoa National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Lastly, in December I went with my friend for several days into the wilderness. We hiked toward the Copland Pass in the Southern Alps and needless to say, the trip was just brilliant. Not only we had a great swim in freezing cold waters of Copland River on scorchingly hot day but we came home with some great imagery, as well.
One of my favourite frames from the trip is this panorama of the Copland River.

Copland River in Copland Valley, West Coast, New Zealand

Copland River in Copland Valley, West Coast, New Zealand


Brewster Glacier – Day 2

Mt. Brewster dominating the Brewster Glacier with its terminal lakes - Mt. Aspiring N.P., West Coast, New Zealand

Mt. Brewster dominating the Brewster Glacier with its terminal lakes - Mt. Aspiring N.P., West Coast, New Zealand


After spending a night at Brewster Hut, it’s not too long to get to the Brewster Glacier, just around couple of hours of hiking.
Brewster Glacier is a magical place to photograph…the glacier melt water gathers and forms stunningly coloured terminal lakes. Yes, these lakes are freezing cold but their emerald colour makes them look amazing, with its source, the Brewster Glacier and Mt. Brewster 2515m asl, right behind it.
Despite of relatively not too difficult hike to the glacier, the hike shouldn’t be taken lightly. Especially during the unpredictable wether period. There is no track as such and you need to find and follow orange poles on the beginning and then just know the terrain and find your way through the steep slopes and scree, as the poles are not all the way to the glacier. Since the route leads along steep slopes with some moderate exposure which may be fine in summer but during the winter or low clouds, this can be quite dangerous. Other thing to consider is that the route runs through an avalanche path in winter. This avalanche hazard applies long into the spring so if considering heading that way, be extra vigilant and experienced, and definitely check the weather before you take off.
When you eventually make it through though, you will never forget it!


Brewster Glacier Area – Day 1

Last rays of the sunlight over Mt. Brewster and its glacier - Mt. Aspiring National Park, South Westland, New Zealand

Last rays of the sunlight over Mt. Brewster and its glacier - Mt. Aspiring National Park, South Westland, New Zealand

In this mini series of 2 posts, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite but not so well known corners of the Southern Alps – the Brewster Hut and Brewster Glacier.
This is a very special place to me. Not only because it is one of the jewels of the Southern Alps and photographers paradise but also because I’ve experienced some close calls while exploring it in winter, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about here.

Generally, people would hike up the ridge to reach the Brewster Hut and stay the night there. It’s quite short hike, around 3hrs, but it can be steep at places so if you’re not well trained, you might be just happy to spend the rest of the day around the hut. And no one can blame you as the hut’s location is spectacular and offers some superb views. On fine day, if looking south you can see all the way to Mt. Aspiring while just behind your shoulder is Mt. Brewster over 2500m asl itself dominating the skyline. Around the hut, there is many opportunities for explorations for everyone. After all it’s an alpine environment with beautiful rocky outcrops, fauna and flora and if you feel like, you can climb Mt. Armstrong nearby.

After spending night in the hut, you may want to venture further toward the Brewster Glacier but that’s something I’ll leave for the next week.


Glacier Country – Rugby Competition

A promotional rugby game on the NEVE of the Fox Glacier - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

By the end of the last year’s winter, we had a lot of fun. With our still photography we were covering an exciting promo project of the Glacier Country in New Zealand – Rugby Match on Fox Glacier Neve. This project offers an opportunity to win NZ$50.000 price package in a Glacier Country Rugby Competition. For details please go to – glaciercountry.co.nz
On this project we worked alongside of a great film maker from Auckland, (more…)


Types of Glaciers 1

Fox Glacier under highest peaks in New Zealand - Mt. Tasman 3,497m and Mt Cook 3,754m

Fox Glacier under highest peaks in New Zealand - Mt. Tasman 3,497m and Mt Cook 3,754m

When do we call a chunk of ice a glacier? Usually, the ice mass has to be at least 100m x 100m in size and needs to show some signs of a present or past movement.
Generally, glaciers are divided into two main groups – Ice Sheets and Valley Glaciers, each with several sub-types.
Ice Sheets or Continental Glaciers are the largest masses of ice on Earth spreading over 50,000 square kilometres with the depth of ice sometimes more than 4,200m. They are only found in Antarctica and Greenland. Ice Shelves are floating extensions (more…)


Glacial Valleys

Franz Josef Glacier

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

The most destructive and powerful hand of Mother Nature lies, arguably, in the cryosphere. We may not see it doing much immediate damage, but by observing the landscape we can see enormous changes in our environment caused by glaciers. One of the very typical and most visible footprints glaciers leave behind are our, often ice free, valleys. Entire mountainsides were remodeled by

(more…)


Tectonics and formation of the Southern Alps

New Zealand sits on the famous “Ring of Fire”, which is one of the reasons for its astounding natural diversity and why this country has some of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world – The Southern Alps, dominating the South Island along its West Coast and only a few km at places from the Tasman Sea. But it is also the reason why this magnificent country is very prone to the earthquakes.

The Earth’s crust is made of (more…)


Ice Age and Franz Josef Glacier

A terminal moraine (foreground) left by retreating Franz Josef Glacier around 14.000 years ago.

If the current average temperature were just 4° C lower, we would be living in an ice age. During the last, 18, 000 years ago, Franz Josef Glacier stretched its tongue some 10km beyond the present coast line. In this period the sea level was around 100m lower than today, as an immense amount of water was locked up in the glaciers all around the world. On the West Coast there were (more…)