New Zealand Workshop Offers Spectacular Photo Opportunities

In March 2012, New Zealand photographer Petr Hlavacek and I will be co-leading a photo workshop to New Zealand. I can't wait for the trip, but I have to :-)

So for now, here is a preview of what we'll be photographing. Take it away Petr.

Petr (pictured above in shorts) and I will be co-leading a once-in-a-lifetime photo tour/workshop to New Zealand in March 2012. Here is a preview of what the participating photographers will be photographing. Shoot me an email if you want to join the photo fun.

This will be one of the best-priced and most exciting New Zealand workshops on the web. 

Important note: Airfare will not be included so you can book the most practical flights – which is very important on a long trip.

All of these New Zealand pictures were taken by Petr.

Take it away Petr.

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To some, it may sound strange that a flash can be used for capturing images in the extremely bright glacier environment. Well, most of the time it is true that you don't need to use the flash. However, there are cases where it pays off to consider using one.

In the follow two examples, I'd like to demonstrate the difference a flash can make when photographing glaciers. Keeping an keen eye on the structure, the layering of the ice, and seeking interesting patterns is the way to determine if a flash will give you the best result.

On site, if you zoom in on an image on your camera's LCD monitor, and when you are back home and view your images on your computer, you'll see that the flash may often separate icy layers due to the ice density. I'm not a scientist, but I assume that this has to do with the amount of air bubbles in the glacier ice, and thus its reflectivity/absorbing capacities of the flashed cold light, being based around the blue range of the color spectrum, similar to the glacial ice.

The image above was made without a flash. The viewer tends to look right through the opening in the ice toward the mountains, initially not paying much of an attention to the ice itself, and using it rather as a natural frame before coming back to it and observing the ice dimples and other details.

The image above tells a different story. The viewer is attracted by the patterns, textures and layering of the ice straight away – before looking further toward the mountains.
This flashed image, with its icy layers in this case, reminds me of a human eye with eyelashes.

The two images are of the same scene, but offer different experiences. Which one do you prefer? I think both image work well, as they both have their own beauty.

Along the lines of using a flash, I'd like to give you an example of when using a flash in an ice cave is not always a good idea.

The image above was shot without a flash. The melting ice and its ice pockets create a beautiful, almost 3D texture on the walls of this blue ice cave.

The image above was shot using flash, and all that magic is completely gone. The image is flat, washed out, and lacks the natural color of the ice cave.

The following images of New Zealand's native Nikau Palms are a great examples of when to use a polarizing filter, and when you may not want to use one. The images were made immediately after a hard rain while it was still drizzling. The rain made the leaves reflective, giving them a great dark green color, created by heavy clouds of the stormy, overcast day.

The image above has no polarizing effect employed, rendering the green as a dark and cold. It feels almost like the leaves are made of steel.

The image above shows the polarizing effect on the leaves, which took that beautiful steel shine away, rendering the green as a warm, juicy and green color. The image feels a bit flat, with low contrast – shifting colors from what I had seen and felt.

To me, the first image without a polarizing filter is much stronger, with rather unique colors giving the image more definition and depth.

The image above shows the winter sunrise over Lake Matheson. It's on our "shot list" and is the most photographed lake in New Zealand.

Note: All RAW files of these images have been processed using Lightroom and Photoshop CS4/5 with standard color and tonal corrections to render scene as real as I experienced in reality.

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To see more of Petr's wonderful work, check out his Web site.

Petr is also a founder and co-owner of New Zealand image stock library NZICESCAPES IMAGES, specializing in imagery from a diverse West Coast of the Southern Alps in the South Island, with focus on the glaciers and its ice.

We both hope you can join us in March 2012 for our photo tour and workshop!

For info on all my photo tours and workshops, click here.

Explore the light,

P.S. I took these two photographs in Antarctica. I love blue ice - and can't wait to photograph it in New Zealand!