Mt Cook - Personal Work

Mt Cook - the perfect place for a quick two night / three day road trip. My Australian friend Kathryn was over and wanted to go and see New Zealand highest peak. I had one condition though - I would only go if we had a clear weather forecast.

Fortunately for us a high settled over the South Island of New Zealand and Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park had a forecast of two days of clear blue skies with light winds. Knowing it doesn't get any better than that, my friend and I packed the car and drove south to Mt Cook via Rakaia (huge trout anyone?), Geraldine (coffee stop), Fairlie (food stop), Lake Tekapo (photo stop), Lake Pukaki (second photo stop), before finally arriving at Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park.

We camped that night at Whitehorse Campground out near the terminal moraine of the Mueller Glacier. Next morning after pancakes we signed the intention book at the Department of Conservation Office, then shouldered our packs and started the 1,000 metre climb up the Mueller track to Mueller Hut. Given we were in the mountains, it was amazingly hot. Thankfully a light northerly wind sprang up mid-morning, helping cool us off a bit.

By mid-afternoon we crossed where the snow line would be in winter, leaving any semblance of vegetation behind us. As we rock hopped the last few hundred metres to Mueller Hut, we were treated with amazing views up the Mueller Glacier to Barron Saddle, a desolate wind swept place where I spent a week of my life back in 1994.

The last time I was at Mueller hut was back in 1995. Back then the hut was a tiny wooden building which could fit about 12-people. Given the huts location, the incredible panoramic views and the fact it is the easiest of the huts to get to in Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, the Department of Conservation decided to replace the hut in 2003. The new hut is more akin to a lodge. It comes complete with a volunteer hut warden, gas cook tops and enough bunk space to sleep 28 people. All up, a pretty cushy place to spend the night.

Given the amazing weather I decided to bivy out for the night. I was rewarded next morning with incredible light over Mt Sefton and the Footstool and of course, Mt Cook off in the distant. Not long after I woke up a cheeky Kea (mountain parrot) turned up. I managed to get one photograph of him before he flew off. All up, an amazing two nights in the wonderland that is Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park.


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Christchurch wedding photographer - Personal work

Though I'm a Christchurch wedding photographer, I photograph a lot more things than just Christchurch weddings. The reason is simple: I love creating photographs and continually practicing my craft. It is how I grow as a photographer.

Taking the time to create personal work is as simple as hitting the road with friends for a couple of days'. Trips away from Christchurch provide me with new visual surroundings and there is no greater feeling as a photographer than seeing new things to photograph.

The photos in this post came from a two day trip earlier in summer. Our friend Kathryn was over from Australia and we wanted to show her some of the sites outside of Christchurch. With a good weather forecast we headed north, stopping in at Hanmer Springs for some mini-golf and a soak in the hot pools. Afterwards we drove the back way to Gore Bay, picking up some fresh pears and apples along the way. Next day dawned bright and blue, so we headed an hour north to Kaikoura for some site-seeing and surfing, before returning to our amazing bach at Gore Bay.

Speaking of which, I think Gore Bay is my new favourite place in the South Island. Just two-hours north of Christchurch, Gore Bay has that laid back Kiwi feel to it, that I just love about New Zealand. It is the type of place where I'd love to photograph a wedding. So if you are looking for a Christchurch wedding photographer to photograph a Gore Bay wedding, then drop me a line.

Expect to see more of my personal work in the weeks and months to come.


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Events: World Buskers Festival Christchurch

World Buskers Festival ChristchurchOne of the great things about living in Christchurch is the fact it is home to the World Buskers Festival. Yep, that's right - the World Buskers Festival.

I'm not sure why Christchurch has the honour of hosting the festival each year, I'm just glad it does.

Situated two blocks from where I live, the festival is in the northern corner of Hagley Park. The festival runs each year in January and as you'd expect has a pretty amazing number of acts.

Last night, Jane  (the missus) and I watched two shows - Mullet Man, followed by the incredible Camp Chaos circus show (iPhone picture at right). Mullet Man is $2 at the door, while Camp Chaos is a donation after the show. Given how good an act it was, Jane and I chipped in $30 post-performance.

So if you are ever in Christchurch in January, try and time it with the World Buskers Festival - you won't be disappointed.



Travel: Australia

I've travelled a lot. Almost 50-countries and counting. Oddly, I haven't travelled much around my own country Australia. Why, I don't know. Maybe the allure of a distant land is more exotic than exploring my own back yard. En-route to New Zealand late last year, I decided on a two-week layover in Sydney. It would be a good chance to catch up with my dad and spend some quality father-son time, as we like to call it. Dad suggested a 4 to 5-day trip out to a property in western New South Wales where he has been counting plants as part of a research project for 40-odd years. Given it had been at least 20-years since I'd been out there, I said sure, let's do it.

After crossing the Blue Mountains, we dropped down onto the plains and drove through Bathurst, Orange, Parkes and Condobolin. By the time we hit Parkes I felt like I was in outback Australia again. The air had that dry heat feel to it; city vehicles had been replaced by flat top Toyota Landcruisers covered in red dirt and everyone I spoke to, seemed to have a more Aussie-like accent, if such a thing is possible.

The first night out, we slept in the bush alongside the railway (pictured below). The sky was so clear, we didn't bother with a tent - we just slept under the stars. It felt amazing to be able to that again.

Each day I was reminded of why I love the outback - from cooking on a crackling hard wood fire, to sleeping out under the stars, to seeing kangaroos and emus on their own terms, to walking on red coloured dirt and much more. Because it has been so long since I've actually been in outback Australia, it actually felt quite foreign. Exotic even.

Before the trip was even over, I knew I had to get back to Australia and start exploring my own backyard a bit more.