2018 New Zealand Photography Tour
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New Zealand. Aotearoa. Land of the long white cloud. No matter what you call it, New Zealand will leave you speechless with the beauty of its mystical fjords, pristine beaches, and glacier-carved mountains. Join seven other adventurous photographers on the trip of a lifetime through the dramatic landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island. From the stunning grandeur of Milford Sound and the soaring peaks of Aoraki National Park to the unreal azure of Lake Pukaki and the wild Catlins, this 12-day New Zealand Photo Tour and workshop will provide photographic opportunities on an epic scale. The photography will be incredible, the scenery breathtaking, and the memories will last a lifetime.
Get ready to photograph these stunning locations
What to Expect
Expect the trip of a lifetime. Photographers will find NZ’s South Island to be a land of stunning beauty and wonderful photographic opportunities. The landscapes are dramatic, varied, and accessible. In addition to the photography, you will find New Zealand to be a charming country that’s easy to explore. The Kiwis are an extremely friendly people who are in love with their wonderful land. Prepare yourself for incredible scenery, stunning photos, and memorable experiences with our New Zealand photography tour and workshop. We will take advantage of the most spectacular sights on the South Island which contains some of New Zealand’s most dramatic and varied landscapes. We will photograph marvelous glaciers, soaring snow-capped peaks, breathtaking fjords, lush rain forests, and rugged coastlines.
Our New Zealand photography tour is for photographers of all experience levels, from novice to experienced. In short, this tour is for anyone who wants to explore and photograph stunning scenery with a fun group of like-minded people. The workshop is limited to 8 participants for a small, personal feel. And there are two instructors, giving the workshop a 4-to-1 ratio for maximum 1-on-1 feedback and instruction.
This is a learning-focused tour and workshop, meaning that we make every effort to have you leave the workshop a better photographer. But that doesn’t mean we spend our time in a classroom. On the contrary, all instruction on this tour takes place in-the-field in amazing locations, and is relaxed, constructive, and personal. We encourage understanding your camera’s settings in order to break into new creative realms. There is a strong emphasis on producing striking and powerful compositions, as well as telling a story with your photos. In addition, the workshop will discuss aspects of post-processing and digital workflow. Topics we will discuss include:
• Transforming your artistic vision into memorable photographs
• Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO – their interaction and how to change them for exposure control
• Metering and getting a correct exposure
• Histograms, how to read them, and how to fine-tune exposure
• Creative depth-of-field effects using aperture control
• Capturing motion within your photos using different shutter speeds
• Timing waves to capture crashing spray, water streaks, and sandy reflections
• White balance and creative coloration
• Creating perspective, depth, and a sense of “being there” in your photos
• Creating powerful compositions with impact
• Composing to control your viewer’s attention in your photos
• Composition: balance, tension, and visual flow
• How to use filters to capture dramatic light or create long-exposure effects
• Low-light and night photography
• How to capture stars, the Milky Way, or star trails
• Light-painting experiments
• Aspects of post-processing and digital workflow
• Shoot planning and how to be at the right place at the right time
Itinerary and Logistics
Getting to the Workshop
This workshop meets and disbands in Queenstown, a vibrant city on New Zealand’s South Island. Participants are responsible for their transportation to and from Queenstown Airport.
Transportation during the workshop
Transportation is provided throughout the workshop, from our first hotel until our return to Queenstown. Transportation during the workshop will be in a comfortable mini-bus capable of holding the entire group plus our photo gear and luggage.
11 nights of comfortable hotel lodging throughout the South Island. Single or double occupancy lodging choices available.
New Zealand Photography Tour Itinerary
Our itinerary is organized to visit some of the most spectacular locations on the South Island. The workshop is 12 days total: 10 shooting days book ended by an arrival day and a departure day. We’ll set a relaxed pace on the trip, with emphasis on shoots during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, with breaks in the middle of day for meals, optional side-trips, or transit between locations. NZ is a small country and most of our locations are only a 3 or 4 hour drive apart. Also note that nothing is mandatory on this workshop and if you feel like taking a break from one of our scheduled stops just let us know.
Day 1, Arrival Day
Arrive in Queenstown. Meet at our group’s hotel for orientation and introductions. We will plan to relax in vibrant Queenstown this night to prepare for the upcoming workshop.
Days 2 – 11
Our tour follows a rough clockwise loop out of Queenstown, first heading up Lake Wakatipu to the glacial Rees and Dart River valleys near the village of Glenorchy. Next we will venture to Wanaka for a night before setting off for Mt. Cook National Park, where rugged mountains and azure-blue lakes dominate the landscape. From there it’s a trip past the iconic Moeraki Boulders on our way to Dunedin, the second largest city on the South Island. Next it’s down to the southern end of the South Island to the Catlins and Curio Bay, the best place in NZ to see one of the world’s rarest penguins, the yellow-eyed. While in the Catlins we will also shoot waterfalls and rugged cliffs. Leaving the Catlins we will drive to Te Anau for a night before venturing into the grand finale of the trip: Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. There we will spend a few nights drinking in the spectacular scenery, both by land and by a cruise through the Sound.
Day 12, Last Day and Departure
On our last day we return to Queenstown and get ready for departure. Bid your new friends and fellow photographers goodbye and reminisce about an awesome workshop.
Note: all times and dates in this itinerary are given for New Zealand in April, which will be GMT+12. When making flight bookings, please make sure the date you arrive in Queenstown coincides with our itinerary. Sea to Summit reserves the right to revise this itinerary at any time. For detailed trip information please contact us.
Note: dates and weather may change. April and May are mid fall in NZ and marks the beginning of New Zealand’s transition into winter. Days will be mild and nights may be chilly. Kiwis often claim their country can experience all four seasons in a single day, so participants on this workshop should be ready for a variety of conditions from rain and snow to warm sun. Average temperatures in Queenstown in May range between 35°F lows and 65°F highs (2°C – 18°C). Temperatures throughout the South Island will be relatively similar, with perhaps +/- 10°F (+/- 5°C) differences.
Workshop Fee – $3,999 per person
- $400 discount if you register with a friend or if you are a returning client
- $975 for double occupancy
- $1,950 for single occupancy
A deposit of $495 is required to reserve your spot. The balance will be billed in quarterly installments such that the final balance is paid a minimum of 90 days before the workshop.
Costs in New Zealand
While not as expensive as Europe, New Zealand is still a first world country and travel costs should be expected accordingly. Currently the New Zealand dollar is worth about 75 cents US. Conversely, a US dollar is worth about $1.33 NZ. To help you plan your trip, here are some sample items and their cost in NZ dollars:
• Coffee – $4 NZD
• Fish and Chips – $7-13 NZD
• Dinner – $15-40 NZD
• Domestic Beer – $7 NZD
You should expect your total daily budget for meals to be in the $30 – $70 NZD range depending on your choices.
Also note that the internet, while widely available, is slower than in many Westernized countries. We will generally have access to wifi at our hotels but expect that it may not be available everywhere.
• For this workshop a deposit is required to reserve your spot. If you cancel at any time, this holding deposit is non-refundable; however if we are able to fill your spot before the workshop we will refund your holding deposit. If Sea to Summit Workshops cancels this workshop for any reason, your entire registration fee will be transferred to another workshop or refunded to you at your discretion. We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance to cover your costs in case of cancellation or withdrawal. If you have a personal emergency such as a death in the family, please contact us. We are willing to work with you to reschedule or refund your fee on a case-by-case basis. This workshop requires a minimum of 5 participants. In the case of under-subscription we reserve the right to cancel the workshop, in which case your registration will be transferred to another workshop of your choosing. Or we may conduct the workshop with a single instructor.
• Please view our full cancellation policy here.
Why Choose Us
Our workshops combine the very best scenery we can find along with in-depth knowledge of the areas we’re visiting. From the coast to the mountains to the desert, our workshops visit some of the most breathtaking landscapes you can imagine. And with hundreds of hours spent scouting and shooting in each location, Jim and Josh know the best times to visit, the best things to see, and the best shots to get. Plus we’re constantly adding new and cool locations to our line-up so you can keep expanding your photographic horizons.
1-on-1 Instruction at Your Level
We take a three-tiered approach to our photography instruction: Philosophy. Theory. Technique. This means that no matter what level of photographer you are, you can expect to walk away from a workshop with your head bursting with ideas about how to refine your vision and find your own style, an understanding of camera techniques and composition concepts that will springboard your photography, and the actual “How-To” of nailing a shot in the field. And with our relaxed, casual, 1-on-1 approach, you can soak up just the information YOU need to become a better shooter.
Small Class Size
Our international workshops have an 8 person maximum to insure you get ample one-on-one time with the instructors. Our small groups also help us build camaraderie, plus we can go places big photography tours can’t. And with Josh and Jim running every single workshop themselves, there’s never more than 4 students for every instructor.
A “Go Happy or Go Home” Attitude
We believe that photography is as much about enjoyment as it is about scoring a keeper for your portfolio. We create a fun and dynamic environment where you can meet other photographers, learn at your own pace, enjoy the beauty of nature, and have a great time while doing it.
We Never Stop Scouting
Sea to Summit is never content to rest on its laurels. Before and after every workshop we are scouting, scouting, scouting. Whether it’s to find new and exciting locations to shoot or to provide a different view of the old icons, we strive to show you the absolute best places for photography.
Fully Insured and Permitted, Leave-No-Trace Advocates
Sea to Summit takes pains to ensure our activities are 100% above board. We obtain all the necessary permissions and insurances required in order conduct our workshops.
We are also strong advocates of Leave No Trace (LNT) wilderness ethics. We teach responsible photography practices and never sacrifice the environment for the sake of a photo. Our goal is to leave our photography workshop locations in better shape than the way we found them.