A Landscape Photography Paradise in Autumn
April 20–30, 2022
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 the landscape photographer. We’ll photograph warm autumn colors against stunning glaciated mountains, seacoasts, lakes, braided rivers, alpine meadows, lush green rainforests, and waterfalls. Our itinerary includes:
- 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.
- A second helicopter flight, later in the week, will take you to Coromandel Peak, which offers one of the most spectacular views in New Zealand.
- Two full days photographing the mountains, glaciers, kettle lakes, rainforests, and beaches of the wild and rugged West Coast.
- A guided 4×4 drive to the remote Nevis Valley, an area rich in gold mining history and offering a high country landscape of river flats, tussock grasslands, massive rock tors, and long-abandoned mining settlements.
- The backcountry of the Matukituki Valley, where the autumn colors of the willows and poplars lining the river banks 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 be teaching everything from equipment to camera settings, and from pre-visualization to fully-processed images. Our instruction begins when you register, and we’re not done when the workshop concludes, either! We’ll spend an hour with you one-on-one after the workshop, reviewing your images from the trip and helping you to put the finishing touches on your 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.
You’ll need to arrive in Queenstown, New Zealand (ZQN airport code) no later than April 20, 2022, but we strongly suggest arriving a day or two early to adjust to the time difference. We are happy to recommend lodging and activities in Auckland, Queenstown, or both.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
April 20, 2022: We’ll meet in Queenstown today at 3.00 PM. Guests already staying in Queenstown can be picked up at their hotel by arrangement. We’ll then drive straight to Twizel, and check into our hotel, before gathering for a meet and greet, our first sunset shoot, and dinner at a local restaurant.
April 21, 2022: 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 22, 2022: 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 some time out for an interactive image review session. In the afternoon, we’ll head out to nearby Lakes Alexandrina and Tekapo. The area surrounding these lakes is the world’s largest dark sky reserve and accordingly offers a great vantage for Milky Way shooting.
April 23, 2022: Sunrise, breakfast and check-out. Today will be a leisurely day as we travel to Fox 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 24, 2022: This morning we’ll take and early morning walk to Lake Matheson, where towering mountains are reflected in a lake below. After breakfast, we’ll spend some time photographing the Fox Glacier and Mount Tasman in morning light. In the afternoon, we’ll stop at the Cook and Karangarua rivers, and we’ll finish the day with a sunset shoot along the beach at Bruce Bay. Dinner in Fox Glacier.
April 25, 2022: 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, as well as Franz Josef Glacier itself and some waterfalls. In the afternoon we’ll head to the coastal village of Okarito for sunset.
April 26, 2022: 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 27, 2022: 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 heading back down 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 28, 2022: An early morning helicopter ride will take us up 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 different locations before returning to Wanaka for a casual dinner in town.
April 29, 2022: We’ll depart early this morning to take advantage of great light at the famous Lone Tree at Lake Wanaka. After breakfast, we’ll check out of our hotel and drive the short distance to Queenstown via the Crown Range. We’ll spend the afternoon photographing from the shores of Lake Wakatipu, before returning to town for a farewell dinner.
April 30, 2022: We’ll wake early for a final sunrise shoot at nearby Moke Lake, followed by breakfast and hotel checkout. Flights home can be booked for anytime after 12:00 PM today.
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 20, 2022. Flights out can be made after 3:00pm on April 30, 2022.
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 $1,250 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- All transportation during the workshop
- All helicopter charters
- 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 $1,250 supplement.
“Thank you to you and your team for a wonderful workshop. New Zealand is spectacular and your workshop made the exploration even more enjoyable. My wife and I learned so much and came back with some memorable images. ”
“The food was absolutely exceptional. Such a great variety of restaurants, flavor & tastes. Getting to see the Adirondacks has been on our bucket list for a few years so it was nice to finally get to see it. The attention & suggestions for photographing was the best. I got exactly what I needed & wanted. And David did a very good job of explaining & teaching us what is important in composing your picture in out outside the camera. ”