The Mountain Cradle

Lake Marian, Fiordland, New Zealand, May 17th, 2015

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Taken in Lake Marian, Fiordland, New Zealand, May 17th, 2015

My last day in New Zealand was surely one of the most beautiful days of my life. A friend and I booked a scenic flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound and while the flightseeing company wasn’t sure we’d make it due to the low clouds we decided to risk it and see what we could do. Ultimately the conditions couldn’t have been more stunning, with dramatic clouds letting streaks of light through to splash on the landscape below. It was one hour of pure visual bliss. Here you can see Lake Marian nestled beneath the craggy, snow-clad flanks of Fiordland National Park’s steep mountains. I’d hiked to Marian a few weeks before on a rainy day and getting this view from the plane was a wonderful contrasting perspective.

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Zen and the Art of Squishing Sandflies

Zen and the Art of Squishing Sandflies

Gillespies Beach, New Zealand, March 22nd, 2015

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Taken in Gillespies Beach, New Zealand, March 22nd, 2015

I can find no peace as deep as that which comes from marveling at the beauty of our planet, feeling the last rays of the day on my face, breathing in the fresh salt air of the sea, and crushing hundreds of sandflies into a slimy pulp.

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You Are Invited

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, April 18th, 2015

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Taken in Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, April 18th, 2015

Well so much for relaxing. After completing two somewhat intense circuits of the southern South Island of New Zealand I was feeling jazzed up to wind down. I arrived in Wanaka with the plan to do absolutely nothing for a few days -not even any photography- to recover a bit. But as afternoon slipped into evening the clouds began to sing an irresistible siren song that lured me down to the lake shore. And when the sun slipped below the horizon the sky lit up in a chorus of color. Deep blue basses, purple tenors, salmon altos, and ruby sopranos in their lilting voices high on top. One of the finest displays of visual harmony I’ve ever had the privilege of watching and I’m deeply grateful for the invitation to see the show.

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Mountainade

Mountainade

The Story Behind This Photograph:

Taken at Mt Sefton, New Zealand, April 12th, 2015

When life gives you glacier-capped mountains make glacier-capped mountainade.

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The Squeeze

Hooker River, Mt cook, Mt Sefton, New Zealand, March 26th 2015

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Taken at the Hooker River, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, New Zealand on March 26th, 2015

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park is a place of superlative beauty: 3,000+ meter peaks like Mt Sefton and Aoraki Mt Cook, huge glaciers that fill valleys and hang off cliffs, rushing rivers of unusual color, and more often than not, dramatic light. It’s easy to shoot this park piece by piece, but if you try to get it all into one frame, it is really a squeeze.

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Wind Whipped Wanaka

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, May 8th 2015

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Taken at Lake Wanaka, New Zealand on May 8th, 2015

Following a storm in the Southern Alps I woke to find fresh snow dusting the tops of the mountains above Lake Wanaka. I was there with a photography tour I was leading and we brought our group to the famous Wanaka tree to photograph the sunrise. The post-storm weather was anything but settled and as the rising sun painted gold on the lingering clouds the wind whipping across the lake churned up crashing waves which added to the drama of the moment.

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Jurassic Monkeys

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Taken at Monkey Creek, Fiordland National Park, on the South Island of New Zealand on April 3rd, 2015

What a lovely morning this was at Monkey Creek in New Zealand. With steam billowing off the steep walled mountains and no sounds except the brontosauri calling to each other, it felt like a moment from 100 million years ago. There was even a moment when a stegosaurus came down to the creek to drink. At least I think it was a stegosaurus, though I suppose it could’ve been a kea…

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Roaring Tekapo

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Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand on May 9th, 2015

Being a photographer often means chasing the weather. But there are the rare occasions that the weather chases you. Midway through my 2015 New Zealand Photography Workshop my group was heading toward Mt. Cook Village. But arriving at the Mt. Cook viewpoint at the head of Lake Pukaki we could see it would be a fool’s errand to push on any further: huge storm clouds and walls of rain obscured the mountains. Driving up into the village would simply mean a boring afternoon spent inside keeping our cameras out of the torrential rainfall. Instead, we headed farther to the north where we could see that beautiful Lake Tekapo was likely enjoying decent weather.

And sure enough when we arrived at Lake Tekapo the sun was blissfully shining. And yet the swaying of the bus told us something else was happening as well: the wind was huffing and puffing. We jumped off the coach for a quick lunch break to the sound of signs blowing over, tree branches whipping, and jackets flapping. And unbeknownst to us while we were inside cafes scarfing down sandwiches and pastries, the wind was also carrying along with it some ominous clouds.

A fact that soon became clear once we stepped outside and saw a wall of deep gray marching down upon us at a speed I didn’t know clouds could move. We made our way to the Church of the Good Shepherd just as the wall of rain hit, splattering the landscape with a deluge of fat drops. But as quickly as it came in the downpour subsided. Grabbing our cameras the group began to shoot the beautiful church. And then, almost without warning, another bombast of rain came down, scattering us like ants. But this one too quickly subsided and those of us who weren’t too waterlogged and frazzled by the weather ended up down at the lake shore.

The wind was roaring across the open expanse of Lake Tekapo, whipping up ocean-size rollers cresting with foamy whitewater. And the storm clouds behind the lake began to close in, forcing the sunlight to struggle through in bits and pieces. I loved the extraordinary drama of the scene and in between wiping my wind-whipped eyes dry I captured this photo of the stormy display.

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