Not Quite Black And White

July 09, 2023

Middlehurst AerialMiddlehurst Aerial

Middlehurst Aerial
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider Krueznach, f4 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

I am reminded of the landscape photographer's motto: no matter what the weather's like, go!

As you read this, Tony Hewitt and I are finishing up our second week at Middlehurst Station for 2023. Our six photographers have been treated to sunshine, fog, frost and rain and a simply amazing collection of landscapes. One of our earlier guests complained that Tony and I undersell how amazing Middlehurst is and that she would have come much earlier if only she knew! Selfishly, Tony and I hope we sell out our 2024 event because we're super keen to come again too!

On Sunday morning (yesterday if you're reading this on Monday), I confess we didn't 'go'. After a couple of amazing days of excellent weather for photography, we hit a couple of rain days and were happy to take a rest. Rain is also great for photography so we weren't complaining, but it means you don't have to be out on location for first light. Assuming there's no burst of sunshine breaking through, you can probably get better photos an hour or so after sunrise if the weather is socked in. However, I confess that we didn't 'go'.

On Sunday afternoon, even though the rain had eased, the weather was still very heavy. Nevertheless, we headed off to a lookout in search of moody clouds amongst the ranges. We hung around for a couple of hours, with no expectations. The clouds on the mountains opposite seemed to be clinging more tightly if anything, but suddenly they relaxed. Suddenly we could see the mountains behind the opposite mountains, peeping through and as the sun set, the clouds parted and we had a wonderful light show. No matter what the weather's like, go!

The photo above has absolutely nothing to do with Sunday afternoon. It was taken a couple of days earlier and shot from a helicopter, with high cloud creating a perfect soft box lighting effect for the landscape below. And the timing for the snow melt was just about perfect for the zebra stripes. With aerials, I like to keep my shutter speed at 1/2000 second or higher. Yes, you can get sharp photos with slower shutter speeds, but I find the number of failures (blurred shots) is much higher, so why risk it if you can use a wider aperture and a higher ISO speed?

If you're interested in Middlehurst for August 2024, drop my assistant Kim a line ([email protected]) and she will put you on the 'interested' list. Full details will be available shortly. And if you're not interested in Middlehurst, get yourself over to New Zealand anyway. It's a fantastic country to photograph.

 


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