Well what a trip! For the second year in a row we had a crazy time on our New Zealand South Island Photography Workshop. The blazing sunrises, the fiery sunsets, the mood, the drama, the sunbeams, the….sheep. You name it, we saw it on this trip. When we kicked our first few days off with light show after light show after light show, I was stunned by the quality of the light we were getting. But I was also getting a bit worried: after all, in New Zealand it’s only a matter of time until you get rained on, and I didn’t want the group to get disappointed when it inevitably happened. Though ironically I didn’t need to worry; when it finally did rain a bit on us we scored an amazing double rainbow! In fact, I think the only “bad” weather we had were a few days when the sky was a bit too clear and too blue. Toward the end of the trip we headed into Milford Sound and did our best to keep expectations low. After all, Milford is one of the rainiest places on the planet, and you’re more likely to soak your camera there than to soak in an amazing sunrise. And yet, Mother Nature surprised us again by delivering everything from light beams, to a roaring sunset, a subdued sunrise, clear skies, and a healthy dose of drama and mood on our final morning. How the heck did we get so lucky?? Better to not ask because I don’t want to jinx it.

Thanks to our group of wonderful photographers for sticking with us for 12 long, fun days of shooting shooting shooting the spectacular beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. Please check out everyone’s photos from the trip as well as a few words from each participant. And down below be sure to take a look at all the behind the scenes action.

Walter Shepherd

“I couldn’t ask for any more than what got from the NZ workshop- amazing scenery, superb organisation, delightful fellow travellers and inspirational teachers Jim and Josh.”- Walter

“My favorite workshop experience was sunrise at Moke Lake. In all my travels, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an intense, varied sunrise combined with perfect photographic conditions and a beautiful location. The sky, which started out with just a hint of color, exploded into pinks and purples followed by deep orange (my favorite color). That glorious color, the mist traveling across the horizon plus the glass-like water made for beautiful refections. I made a series of four photographs that showed the progression from the pre-sunrise tease of colorful light, through the vibrant phase, ending with blue skies and a glow on the mountaintops. It was definitely worth dragging my jet-lagged body out of bed for that experience. – Zvia

“My favourite experience… that’s going to be tough… I had so many amazing experiences on this tour… every day brought a few more! However… my MOST favourite experience has to be the helicopter flight from Te Anau to Milford. That currently ranks very highly on my “top ten experiences EVER” list!! Although the flight was much too short for my liking… flying between the massive peaks of the Fiordland National Park was an absolutely unforgettable experience… I loved every single second of it!!!

Thanks again Josh and Jim… for organising this tour so brilliantly!! – Paul

“A writer I am not, so I will have to work on my favorite experience from the trip.  It was all so amazing, it’s hard to pick just one thing. “ – Janis

“I knew New Zealand’s South Island would be unique as my plane from Auckland descended over Lake Wakatipu toward Queenstown. Wisps of clouds clung to the peaks of rugged mountains like none I’d ever seen. The explosions of sunrise color at Moke Lake and Tautuku Bay were beyond description, not to mention the rainbow! Then there were the waterfalls surrounded by mossy green forests, and the ever-changing moods of Milford Sound. The whole itinerary was well-planned and Josh, Jim, and our Kiwi driver Reg worked tirelessly to keep the whole thing running smoothly. I certainly hope to get back to New Zealand one of these days!” – John

“I participated in multiple scenic workshops with various professionals…this was my first experience with Josh and Jim…wow…logistics were perfectly executed, personalized instruction commensurate to my knowledge level and safety was always a priority. I am unsure how Josh and Jim arranged perfect weather conditions with sunrises that were glorious, rainbows, dramatic clouds, mist, mirror-like water and sunsets that were dramatic…this didn’t happen just on one day – this occurred consistently throughout the trip. Josh and Jim kept us supplied with Tim Tams and other goodies..I would recommend not only New Zealand for wondrous scenic photography but Sea to Summit Workshop as the best way to photograph the South Island…

So specific to the most amazing days — I enjoyed the bus rides interacting with my fellow photographers, sharing challenges and learning from each other. I dropped lens caps and they were found amazingly by others. I learned not to be concerned regarding light rain and look at each condition as another way of finding different expressions in capturing my scenic images. Most dramatic was the changing light and conditions of Milford Sound and the surreal sunrise at Lake Moke. What was most impressive that within a 3 hour ride we traveled to arid areas, to the Southern Alps, to Glacier Lakes, to beautiful rolling landscapes, to craggy cliffs over water and ocean.” – Lee

Photos coming soon!