I am recently returned from the longest workshop I’ve ever done. It was a 21 day adventure tour which started on the South Island of New Zealand and finished at Phillip Island off the Victorian coast in Australia. The run of fantastic light and unique conditions was unprecedented for any workshop I’ve been involved with and was reminiscent of my own groundbreaking 5 week scouting trip in 2010. While luck certainly played its part, I’m confident that some of that success can also be attributed to the very open nature of this tour. With no fixed itinerary, often our next destination would be decided on the day with an eye to the weather and the material we had already photographed. This was a true light chase and a genuine taste of what I do as a landscape photographer.
The long summer days in New Zealand turned out to be a test of endurance. Sunrises were brutally early (for non-morning people like me) and it was often well after midnight before getting to bed. Only two sunrise/sunset shoots were wash outs, a remarkable statistic for the length of the trip. For three weeks we lived and breathed landscape photography. When not in the field, we were often doing image reviews and digital workflow. To be honest my interest in landscape photography had stalled somewhat during the year but these few weeks rejuvenated my passion for this art and my love of the outdoors.
Perhaps the most spectacular of many impressive displays of light was the sunset on the second evening of the workshop. Like the fiery breath of a dragon, intense coloration spread across the sky in a slow burn. I smiled like a kid as I gradually widened my compositions to include more and more of the sky lighting up. Gosh the thrill of being a landscape photographer was alive and well.