Wow. I turned on some good music today and sat down to process behind the scenes photos from our 2018 New Zealand tour. A wave of nostalgia hit me like a 10-foot high pile of puppies. Warm, fun, and full of good times. Even though the trip ended only two months ago (as I write this), I find that I’d already begun to forget so many of the little and wonderful moments from the trip. That’s one of the problems I have with the constant travel I do: it leaves very little time for reflection, and for cementing those great memories into my brain. So today was a real treat as I got to relive the NZ photo tour one shutter click at a time. How fun it was to go back through the thousands of images I created and get those little jolts of memory: hiking in the snow to Tasman Lake, seeing a double rainbow over Tautuku Bay in the Catlins, getting engulfed in fog in the Hollyford Valley, cruising the immense Milford Sound, and so many more incredible moments.

Rather than describe the trip in excruciating detail via text, I’ll let the photos and words of our amazing participants -along with tons of BTS photos from me and Jim- paint the picture of what this adventure was like. I will at least provide a day-by-day rundown of where we went. After that, it’s up to the photos to do justice to the experience.

Thank you so incredibly much to our wonderful group: Susan, Jim, Gail, Gary, Anne, Mike, Bambi, Ron, and Roman. Of course, Reg too! We really couldn’t have had such a good trip without all of you, and from myself and Jim I can say that we sincerely hope to travel with you again in the future.

All my very best,

Josh

The Itinerary
  • Day 1 – sunset, Queenstown Gardens.
  • Day 2 – sunrise, Moke Lake. Mid morning Bennett’s Bluff along Lake Wakatipu. Breakfast in Glenorchy, followed by Diamond Lake and the Glenorchy Lagoon and losing Mike. Sunset at 25 Mile Stream along Lake Wakatipu.
  • Day 3 – sunrise 12 Mile Delta Recreation Reserve. Midday stop at Mrs Annie’s Fruit Stand. Sunset at Beacon Point, Wanaka.
  • Day 4 – sunrise Wanaka Tree, then the rolling hills of Lindis Pass. Lunch Omarama, early afternoon reflections at the Lake Pukaki outlet, and sunset at Peter’s Lookout (Mt Cook).
  • Day 5 – sunrise snowed out. Early afternoon review session then out to the Tasman Lake in wet wet snow!
  • Day 6 – sunrise snowed out, but is that going to stop us? No!! Early morning walk to Mueller Lake overlook. Leave Mt Cook. Oamaru break. Sunset Moeraki Boulders. Dunedin for the night.
  • Day 7 – rest morning except for the intrepid explorers who returned to Moeraki, good on ya! Leave to Catlins. Lunch Owaka then off to Curio Bay for sunset, stay at Whistling Frog.
  • Day 8 – sunrise Florence Hill (with a double-freaking-rainbow!). Purakaunui Falls mid morning, then a brave and hearty “sunset” amid rain and wind at Nugget Point.
  • Day 9 – sunrise at Tautuku Beach (no one looked at any seals, right???), then McLean Falls for a morning shoot. Drive to Te Anau with stop in Gore. Gorgeous pebbled skies at sunset along the Lake Te Anau shore.
  • Day 10 – sunrise Te Anau Yacht Club. Drive into Milford with stops at Eglinton Valley, Mirror Lakes, Lake Marian walkway. Sunset at the one and only Milford Sound.
  • Day 11 – sunrise Milford Sound (and what a beaut it was), then that incredible boat cruise through the Fiord. Everyone drank some of that fresh waterfall water, right? Afternoon along the entrancing blue Hollyford River, then a sunset fog fest in the Upper Hollyford Valley.
  • Day 12 – awww, sad! Time to drive back to Queenstown with a quick stop at the Helipad for our group photo, and another stop in Te Anau for grub.

For me it was an incredible 12 days, full to the brim of beautiful moments, great company, and good times. Now check out all the photos below!

Photos From The Group

Susan Rogers

I woke up every day excited to discover what incredible scenery the day would bring. I learned so much; stood in stunned amazement at the unbelievable beauty that surrounded me; made life-long friends (I hope) and had a ton of fun!!! Spending time with thoughtful, like-minded people in such a beautiful part of New Zealand was always inspiring and totally soul-rejuvenating. Thank you Josh and Jim for making this workshop so wonderfully memorable in every way… now if you can just learn to control the weather 😉

The trip was awesome. Here are my comments for each photo enclosed.
# 1. Thought mine was pretty good until I saw Anne’s. Good start to the trip.
# 2. Lots of fun with this fairly quick stop. Loved how enthusiastic Josh and Jim were about the mix of light, clouds, and still water.
# 3. Nice relaxing afternoon at the Winery.
# 4. Learned a lot about foreground elements at this stop (distractors) and took a lot of junk in foreground out in post.
# 5. Sideways rain, sitting on the bus. Decided to “rip the bandaid off” and head out. Worth the walk!
# 6. Chaotic morning at this site. Patience and long exposure paid off.
# 7. So much help from Josh on shutter speed to make this photo. Very happy with result.
# 8. Gary was a great “caddie” the whole trip. And Gail was flat out funny the whole time.
# 9. Didn’t have long enough lens to shoot penguins. Took my time to find alternative composition.
# 10. Jim scouted this shot and then let me have prime space. Thanks so much , Jim!!!
# 11. Turned 90 degrees from traditional Milford Sound shot and waited for the light to help out.
# 12. Nice shutter speed and composition primer for waterfalls from Josh before boat trip. Would have whiffed the shot without it.

Hi Josh and Jim,

Two months have flown and the trip seems like a dream in another life time! Trust you are well and continuing to catch the magic through your lenses!

Highlights for me were Milford Sound – to experience such a special place, and Moeraki beach sunrise!
I really don’t think any photograph, especially on a small screen, can do justice to the grandeur of the South Island scenery. I tried my best but have to admit the experience of being there and experiencing it outdoes the images captured. They are very helpful in reliving the beauty however.

With heartfelt thanks for a wonderful trip,
Hope to meet again,
Best regards
Anne

We cannot believe what an amazing trip you planned for us from our lodgings to all the spectacular places we saw. Sometimes it really is too much to absorb and then to try to choose one place that was best or most interesting. For me the Moeraki Boulders were so strange and thought provoking. Having a Kia chew on my tripod grip, or hearing snow slide down the roof of our chalet at Mt. Cook, the reflections on lakes, walking in a rain forest and reaching a water fall or walking up to that lighthouse, it was all really so special.
Thank you so much,
Bambi

I have been traveling to Peru (Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca) and to Canadian Rockies (Lake Louise, Jasper, Banff and Glacier National park) since my return from New Zealand. However  New Zealand trip was something that I will remember for looong time. The sheer beauty of the places we were visiting and experience i get through that trip are just unforgettable. Thank you and Jim very much for  all that experience.  I have learn a lot in terms of  photography  and enjoyed the views and the company of the group.

I  have extensive plans for the rest of the year (sufficient to say that I will be going to Cambodia and Vietnam on Mekong cruise in September and to Nepal and Bhutan in November) but I will be looking at your offering and hope to join you on one of 2019 workshops.

Thanks a lot.

Roman

Oh wow, how to pick just one moment out of an amazing 2 week experience. Gary struggled but finally decided his favourite was Mt Cook, watching the snow fall, walking through the snow in search of icebergs in the lake and our first snowball fight (if you could call it that) I thought we could have gone out a bit harder but what ever… it was still great fun. I could have picked walking through the moss forest, seeing awesome waterfalls, the most fantastic reflections in the lakes as we toured around, watching rainbows appear right in front of us, sitting in the bus at Nugget Point hoping like heck that we wouldn’t get blown over the edge or our mad dash back to the boulders in hope of catching the sunrise, my struggle with remembering Sam, oops Jim’s name, or Roman and Ron’s challenge just getting in the bus without tripping up the step lol, to only mention a few….but as I thought about all that happened and what we experienced, I have decided that being able to share all these memories with such an awesome group of people has enhanced every one of them.

Everyday we saw beautiful and amazing things, and stayed in some fantastic places, I think some of my best memories were when we were sitting together, like around the picnic table at Milford Sound sharing some wine and beer or eating our meals together and telling each other more details about ourselves and just getting to know each other, we shared a lot of laughs and I can’t wait to see your photos and smile when I think about each and every place.
Cheers and best wishes
Gary and Gail