A Landscape Photography Paradise in Autumn
April 8 – 18, 2024
Even if you’ve never been to New Zealand, you’ve seen it many times. It’s one of the world’s premier filmmaking destinations, and the south island of New Zealand is one of the most satisfying locations for landscape photographers. We’ll photograph warm autumn colors against stunning glaciated mountains, seacoasts, lakes, braided rivers, alpine meadows, lush green rainforests, and waterfalls.
Weather permitting, we’ll fly a helicopter with the doors off to photograph Mount Cook in early sunrise light and the stunning braided rivers of the Tasman and Godley Rivers. Later in the week, a second helicopter flight will take you to Coromandel Peak, which offers one of the most spectacular views in New Zealand.
We’ll spend two full days photographing the mountains, glaciers, kettle lakes, rainforests, and beaches of the wild and rugged west coast. A guided 4×4 drive in the remote Nevis Valley will take us to an area rich in gold mining history, a high country landscape of river flats, tussock grasslands, massive rock tors, and long-abandoned mining settlements.
The backcountry of the Matukituki Valley, with the autumn colors of the willows and poplars lining the river banks, will contrast with the glaciers and mountain peaks on either side. And, of course, we’ll photograph the famous Lone Tree in Wanaka at sunrise, a compelling subject for landscape photographers.
As impressive as that list of photographic opportunities is, we will teach you everything from equipment to camera settings and pre-visualization to fully-processed images.
This workshop is for any level of photographer, and non-photographing significant others are welcome!
Of course, we are approved by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
April 8, 2024: We’ll meet at our hotel in Queenstown today at 2.00 PM. After a short meet and greet we’ll head out for a sunset shoot before returning to town for dinner at a local restaurant.
April 9, 2024: Our first sunrise shoot will be at Moke Lake, a short drive from our hotel. After breakfast, we will check out and drive to Twizel, stopping along the way for any photo opportunities which present themselves. We will be in Twizel in plenty of time for a sunset shoot around Lake Pukaki this evening, after which dinner in a local restaurant.
April 10, 2024: We’ve reserved helicopters this morning for an unforgettable doors-off flight sunrise flight. Weather permitting, we’ll take off at sunrise and fly through the Tasman Valley, past Mount Sefton, and onwards for a dramatic close-up view of the summit of Mount Cook. We’ll also photograph the braided Tasman and Godley rivers from this unique perspective. Then, after breakfast, we’ll spend some time shooting around Lake Pukaki and Twizel before heading out in the afternoon to photograph in the Hooker Valley. Dinner at Mount Cook Village.
April 11, 2024: We’ll shoot sunrise this morning at Peter’s Lookout for a picture-perfect view of Aoraki-Mount Cook at the head of Lake Pukaki. After breakfast, we’ll take time for an interactive image review session. We’ll head out to nearby Lakes Alexandrina and Tekapo in the afternoon. The area surrounding these lakes is the world’s largest dark sky reserve and offers an excellent vantage for Milky Way shooting.
April 12, 2024: Sunrise, breakfast, and check-out. Today will be leisurely as we travel to Franz Josef Glacier on the west coast. Along the way, we will stop at several places to photograph. On arrival, we’ll check into our hotel and take a casual walk to dinner.
April 13, 2024: We’ll take an early morning walk to Lake Matheson, where towering mountains are reflected in a lake below. After breakfast, we’ll photograph the Fox Glacier and Mount Tasman in the morning light. In the afternoon, we’ll stop at the Cook and Karangarua rivers and finish the day with a sunset shoot along the beach at Bruce Bay. Dinner in Fox Glacier.
April 14, 2024: This morning we’ll have a sunrise shoot at Lake Mapourika, followed by breakfast in the town of Franz Josef Glacier. We’ll then photograph the kahikatea trees on the shore of Lake Wahapo, Franz Josef Glacier itself, and some waterfalls. In the afternoon, we’ll head to the coastal village of Okarito for sunset.
April 15, 2024: After breakfast, we’ll re-trace our route across the Alpine Divide and continue to Wanaka, stopping at several easily-accessed locations along the way. We’ll arrive in Wanaka in the afternoon, where we’ll photograph fall foliage around the Clutha River. Dinner will be at one of our favorite local restaurants.
April 16, 2024: Today we’ll depart the hotel early to meet the guides for our all-day adventure into the Nevis Valley. The Nevis is a backcountry wilderness area with a rich gold mining history. We’ll spend the morning photographing the rocky valleys, tussock grasslands, rivers, and abandoned buildings of the Nevis before returning to the colorful vineyards and fruit orchards of Bannockburn and Cromwell. We’ll finish the day with a sunset shoot over Lake Wanaka and dinner at another great local restaurant.
April 17, 2024: An early morning helicopter ride will take us to Coromandel Peak, where we will enjoy exclusive access to one of the country’s most spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring. We’ll then return to the hotel for a second image review and post-processing session before heading out again in the early afternoon to the Matukituki Valley. Here we’ll find colorful willow and poplar trees lining the river banks, set against a backdrop of mountain glaciers and waterfalls. We’ll photograph at three locations before returning to Wanaka for a casual dinner in town.
April 18, 2024: We’ll depart early this morning to take advantage of the great light at the famous Lone Tree at Lake Wanaka. After breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and drive back to Queenstown via the Crown Range, New Zealand’s highest main road. The workshop ends upon arrival in Queenstown and onward flights can be made anytime after 1pm.
Moderate: You are able to walk up to two miles on uneven ground.
Arrive Queenstown Airport (ZQN), Queenstown, New Zealand before 12:00 PM on April 8, 2024. Flights out can be made after 2:00 PM on April 18, 2024. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $1,100 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
- All permits and park fees.
- All transportation during the workshop.
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides.
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Queenstown, New Zealand.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $1,100 supplement.
“Thank you and your team for a wonderful workshop. New Zealand is spectacular and your workshop made the exploration even more enjoyable. Theresa and I learned so much and came back with some memorable images. Working on my images over the last couple days has really energize me to keep working on my craft. The workshop opened the door to a new hobby for Theresa. One that we can both enjoy together. We hope to do another workshop with you in the future. There are so many destinations on both our bucket lists and using your workshops as away to really explore these places makes it even better! ”
“Congratulations on hiring Joseph Roybal! He is clearly a master of all aspects of his craft, an exceptional leader and team player and he's superb at understanding the group's needs as well as those of each individual. He did an outstanding job of ensuring we had the basics down pat, understood and tried new techniques in the field and in the post processing of our images. He is a wonderful addition to your team and will be a significant asset in the months and hopefully years to come! ”