My wife and recently returned from our first trip to New Zealand and Australia, and I've finally managed to organize my photogs from our adventure. I won't run through the entire itinerary, but we started in the South Island of New Zealand and made our way along the east coast of Australia. We once again used www.smartours.com, the same company we went with on our trips to Thailand and Peru. I get nothing for mentioning them, but have been consistently happy with the tours.
Following the 168-hour, time-traveling flight into Auckland, we were picked up by our tour guide, and whisked away to the Auckland Museum. There we got our first introduction into the lives of the Maori people by way of some cultural dance and brief history.
The next day we were off to Queenstown, the beautiful town on the southern edge of Lake Wakatipu. The town is surrounded by the majestic Southern Alps. If the views don't impress you, Queenstown is also the home of the Fergburger. Mmmm.....Fergburer. Where was I? Queenstown also has a beautiful park, complete with frisbee golf, tiny bridges, lawn bowling and a skateboard park.
In regards to the photography, I don't intend to spend too much time on the techy terminology, but I shot the above image with a camera. As for the lens, I went relatively wide in order to cover a majority of the tree with my 17-35. Lens choice took some consideration for this trip, as I was attempting to travel as light as possible, because I tend to drag all my lenses with me on my back, and it gets grueling after about 5 minutes. My friend and photographer, Mark Fellman (see his work at..oh, yeah, he does not have a website) suggested that I take only two lenses with me. As any photographs can attest, it's not easy to leave glass behind, but I took Mark's advise and only took my 17-35 and the Tamron 70-200......and my 50mm ( I never used it). You want to cover all the needed focal lenghts, allowing yourself to photograph subjects close and at a distance. I must thank the good people at Tamron (http://www.tamron-usa.com/enews/archives/july11_slanger.asp), for they lent me the 70-200 2.8 lens, and it worked out beautifully.
One of the required sites near Queenstown is Milford Sound. Though technically a fjord, and not a sound, Milford is home to some
beautiful waterfalls, seals...and someone claims they saw some penguins. The next day we took a memorable ride on the TSS Earslsaw (a steamship celebrating it's centennial) to the Walter Peak Sheep Station across Wakatipu. Following my first tea (I prefer coffee) and crumpets experience, we were off to meet our first sheep of the trip, and watch a demonstration on the herding of sheep, by our host, Lindsay. If you were not aware, sheep farmers use two kinds of dogs for work. There are the dogs that bark...and there are those which use only a glare. If you have never seen a dog stare down a heard of sheep, you have not lived.
The dog nearly had me hypnotized. After the wrangling demonstration, the dog clearly took a liking to me. I later realized he was actually attacted to the extra crumpet I had heisted in my jacket. For the record, there were probably hundreds of crumpets and scones left after we departed. I don't like to waste food. Lindsay then shorn a less than anxious sheep for our amusement. Did you know that a sheep that has been sheared is said to be "shorn"? For the first few days I thought they called their sheep "Shaun." An innocent mistake. My wife is enamored by sheep, and after chasing one for several minutes, Lindsay pitied her and coerced a sheep to pose with her. Should you ever make your way to Walter Peak, make sure that Lindsay is your guide/shearer. He truly made the day an event with his dry humor.
In my next installment, I will share some of my images from the Australia leg of our adventure. As always, please check out my latest work at www.slangerphotography.com.