Landscape Photography – New Zealand

Landscape photography is something that I have always admired and I envy those who are dedicated enough to drive/fly/hike to various exotic locations and come out with some absolutely stunning captures. Most of my photography consists of portraits and events which I have enjoyed doing. I love being able to capture the moments, the emotions and bringing out the best from my subjects, but I think there is something special about capturing wide open landscapes and seascapes. I wanted to try it and I have my wife to thank for forcing my hand at it.

My wife had been bugging me to take a short holiday and she had chosen New Zealand as our destination, we have never been but we’ve heard nothing but praises so we were quite excited to get a taste of the South Island even if it was just for 7 days. We flew from Sydney to Christchurch and had planned on driving from Christchurch down to Dunedin where we’ve booked a hotel. My wife was a bit weary about staying in Christchurch due to the recent earthquakes that has struck in the area.

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The drive is approximately 5 hours but overall it is one of the best long driving I have ever done. I’m surprised that I didn’t get a sore neck because my head wandered from left to right constantly because of the spectacular landscapes on either side of the State Highway 1. Canterbury Plains is as impressive as it sounds, massive farmlands and massive bales of hay spread out which would have made an excellent landscape shot but I regretfully didn’t have the time to stop.

Our first stop was only an hour into the drive at Rakaia for early dinner/snack and then another 3 hours worth of driving down to Moeraki where I took my first serious attempts at Landscape Photography.


Moeraki Beach by Ron Gabriel (ron_gabriel) on 500px.com
Moeraki Beach by Ron Gabriel

Moeraki Beach is only an hour north of Dunedin so we weren’t that far away and I noticed that it was the “golden hour” so I had to stop. It was almost 9pm when I took this picture, the sun sets around 8:45pm which is perfect to get the most out of your day. What I noticed in the short time that we were there are the clouds, they were always quite moody and constantly changing which is exactly what I like. If I had stopped at every scene that I wanted to photograph, I’m quite certain we wouldn’t have arrived at Dunedin before midnight.

 We arrived in Dunedin a few minutes short of 10pm and as we drove through the city centre I caught a glimpse of the First Church of Otago which was a european basilica-like church designed in 1862. Since we were only going to be in Dunedin for one night, I thought it would be silly to miss the opportunity to take night shots of this impressive gothic styled church. It was too late to explore Dunedin and it’s only now that I search the net about Dunedin I’ve realised that there were so many other historical buildings that we didn’t get to see. I would definitely recommend to spend 2-3 days in Dunedin to explore this Edinburgh like city.

After a big breakfast we grabbed a few brochures to see what we can do before we head out to Te Anau which is our next destination.  Te Anau is three and a quarter hour drive from Dunedin which is the fastest way to get there, if I were to do it all over again with plenty of days in reserve, I would have driven down south along the coast through Invercargill which would have taken almost six hours. We were told by hotel reception to drive across the bay to Larnarchs Castle and from there we can make our way to Te Anau. It is only a short drive with plenty of places to set your tripod down to take in the gorgeous scenery.

Lanarch Castle, Dunedin by Ron Gabriel
Lanarch Castle, Dunedin by Ron Gabriel

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