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Land of fog, mountains, and lakes | New Zealand

My family vacation to New Zealand was extremely short (only four days, due to work schedule on my end). If I could, I would have gone for longer. My family rented two cars so that we could road trip all around the southern island. Oftentimes it felt like we’d stop, get out, hurriedly snap some family photos, and shove ourselves back into the car. Despite the flurry of activity, I took time to really think about the kind of imagery I wanted to take away. As always, I wanted to tell a story, which you can tell from the photojournalistic portraits of my family members. With an environment so beautiful, it was important that I evoke a sense of place, scale, and timelessness. I slowed down as I captured each image, concentrating on how to express the complexity of a massive scene. I knew I’d end up with simply a snapshot if I got lazy. It would be a long time, if ever, that I’d return to this magical country. It is my hope that this series of images – lovingly selected and edited, painstakingly presented in this particular order – would evoke within you the same awe and wonder I experienced in those precious few days.

The mountains were ablaze with these beautiful yellow flowers


Yes, that water is indeed that blue. It is glacial melt, which contains crushed rocks from the glaciers whose minerals dye the water this bright milky hue

We sometimes drove by lakes so massive that it would take over an hour to go from one end to the other

New Zealand had its own gold rush which was then followed by a thriving logging industry

The western side of New Zealand can receive over 100″ of rain a year. It is not uncommon to find rainforests on the lower mountains

Panoramic stitch of the lower mountains just outside Queenstown, a city that never sleeps. Come here in the winter for skiing, or dare to bungee jump in the summer

This was my first time getting close to a glacier. Due to weather conditions and a late arrival we did not get on the glacier itself. What you see here is the wide path that the Fox Glacier has cut into the mountains around it when it was larger. This composite shows the sheer scale of these mountains compared to people.

Safe holiday travels everyone!

Technical notes: I brought a 16-35mm f/4 (rented from Lensprotogo), 50mm f/1.8, and 85mm f/1.8 with me, mounted on a Nikon D700. Processed by hand and in some cases with VSCO presets.

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Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
she takes photographs of celebrations of love and life
Based in NYC | Open for select photography commissions on Sundays only

December 21, 2012 - 12:26 pm

Emily Looks like an amazing trip!!! I totally want to go visit!!

January 3, 2013 - 11:50 pm

Lynn LOVE these photos! When we finally go on our honeymoon, New Zealand is definitely a top contender!

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