new zealand

New Zealand road trip.

As a travel photographer, New Zealand has always been on my bucket list of places to visit.  Of course I've always been waiting to have a paid gig that would take me there but at the start of this year I finally gave up waiting and went of my own accord and I'm glad to say I was not disappointed.

With 5 weeks to spend I thought there would be plenty of time to get around and see what there was to offer but in truth in that time we barely managed to scratch the surface of what is a truly amazing place.  Distances might not look much on the map but driving can be pretty time consuming when many of the the roads in some areas are gravel - beautiful and fun driving for sure, but boy does it take time.


With a simple trusty white camper van as our home we managed to see quite a lot of the North Island and skimmed quickly through the top part of the south.  Too many highlights really to mention - surf and beaches great, fishing amazing, scenery and wildlife stunning.  Camping with a van has it's ups and downs - freedom camping, i.e. pulling up wherever you feel like is only permitted if you are self contained with toilet and shower (we were not) - without this in theory you must use a campsite for your overnight stops.  In some areas the choice of campsites was fantastic with the DOC (Department of Conservation) campsites generally providing cheap and simple facilities in some of the most stunning locations.  In other areas the choice was not as good and large busy camps with screaming kids were all that was on offer.


The trip resulted in some nice images, maybe not as many as one might expect for a 5 week trip but then it was a holiday after all with some stock images shot along the way that may or may not produce returns in due course.

Many thanks to Sri Lankan airlines for getting our boards out in one piece whilst Virgin and Air New Zealand between them managed to cause more damage than I thought possible.  Fragile obviously means something else in their own particular world.

Iphone photojournalism - NZ letterboxes

My new Apple Iphone 5s has a really great camera - ideal for general day to day snapping when there's no real need to carry around a big DSLR.  On my recent travels to New Zealand I became fascinated by the Kiwi's personalization of their letterboxes - every one seemingly different and each showing something of the character of the owner.  This was a great opportunity to just use the ever present Iphone loaded with Hipstamatic and shoot a series of images as piece of simple photojournalism.  As always with these series each individual image is not necessarily great - often very quickly composed from the window of the van as we passed by - but as a piece of documentary photography they show something of New Zealand's quirky character.

Hipstamatic is a really useful app although having shot the images you are pretty much stuck with the lens and film styles you've selected.  The great advantage of it is though that it's instant - the images processed and ready to go straight away.  With more time available I would probably choose to shoot in something such as VSCO camera which gives the option of having easily controlled focus and exposure rather than the automatic features in Hipstamatic.  Export the images from VSCO into a manipulation app such as Snapseed and suddenly you have full control of the image.  To be honest though there is something very satisfying about the immediacy of Hipstamatic that is hard to beat.