Southern Alps, New Zealand

May 02, 2021  •  11 Comments

Wendy and I left Sydney on November 11th and flew to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand to meet up with Nathaniel Smalley for a photography tour.  Christchurch is the largest city of South Island located on the east coast.  The city suffered a series of earthquakes between September 2010 and January 2012 with the worst one occurring on February 22, 2011 where 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings cross the city collapsed or suffered severe damage.  We actually didn't spend any time in the city since we arrived just before dinner time and left the following morning.

After leaving Christchurch on the way to Twizel, we stopped for some happy snaps (i.e. iPhone shots) at the Church of the Good Sheppard.  The church is situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo, surrounded by mountains.  The church was opened in 1935.  The builders were instructed to leave the site undisturbed, in other words the matagouri bushes surrounding the building and the rocks were to be left alone.

It was a beautiful area, well worth a stop.  After exploring the area and taking a few shots, we continued on our route to Twizel, checked into the hotel and left at 4.30 in order to have an early dinner and shoot the last light at Mount Cook.

We ate dinner in a restaurant overlooking the mountains.  Then I went outside and took this shot and the next one with my iPhone.  

This shot with Mount Cook in the background was a panoramic shot.  So I took maybe 5 or 6 shots (verical) and merged the photos together in Lightroom to come up with this really wide angle view. 

Mount Cook is the highest mountain in the continent of Australasia.  Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock with 19 peaks over 3,000 meters including new Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook (3,724 metres or 12,218 feet).  The park was established in 1953 and forms one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.  

Just as we were leaving  and walking to the van, we saw the moon rise so we all hurriedly unpacked our tripods to see if we could get the shot.  

We met the next morning at 4.30 AM for our sunrise shoot.  This time we photographed the Southern Alps (Mount Cook National Park) from a different location.   This photo showcases the Tasman River.   The Southern Alps were named by Captain Cook on March 23,  1770.

We stayed in this area for a couple of hours as the light kept changing and there were a lot of different compositions.  I do remember that it was very windy and cold.  After a while, I gave up on using my tripod.  I also went into the van a couple of times to warm up. 

Some of our group went down to the beach to photograph.    I took this shot from above.    The photographer who is closest in the image is Nathaniel Smalley, one of the two photography leaders of the trip.  The other leader was Philip , a local New Zealand photographer.  We also had a driver and there were eight other photographers making up our group of 11 people.  

This was the  view from the other direction (behind the river).  

We were lucky enough to see this rainbow.

There was also some nice pink skies for a little while.

The following morning we met at 5.10 AM for one last sunrise shoot of the alps.

After our last shots, we went back to the hotel for breakfast before leaving for our next destination.


I looked at these pic after the other ones. The landscapes are quite amazing !!!
I so enjoy looking at them, miss taking photos and going on my trips. Your panoramic pic was great!!

Take care
KIM SCHUELER(non-registered)
How beautiful all the picture are. I specially liked the moon and sun pictures. I will send you my schedule before I leave and maybe you can tell me some places you went to take your pictures. My travels are not for photographers just travel. Thank you for all of the pictures. They were beautiful.
Tricia Matheson(non-registered)
Agree with Gretchen! Have I ever missed seeing your blog shots. The moonrise over the mountains, pink skies, amazing landscapes and Mount Cook in all its glory were magnificent! You were travelling and photographing almost right up until the start of COVID.
William Porter(non-registered)
Up to your high standard.
Jane Jamison(non-registered)
Wonderful shots, Marsha! I particularly liked the moon shot and, of course, those mountains. This was my first trip after retirement in 2011 with friends. We arrived in Christ Church not long after the earthquake; so we stayed in private homes in groups of 4. The host families prepared dinner for us also. I do remember that small, isolated church. Mine wasn't a photography trip--jlust a regular tour--but I loved New Zealand. You've captured its majesty well.
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