Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo
Photo locations in the Mackenzie
Daniel Murray shares his secrets on where to capture great shots in the Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie Region.
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Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie Region

Canterbury's Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie region is a magical part of the world. With New Zealand's highest peak, golden grasslands, and turquoise lakes.

The Hooker Valley Track

The Hooker Valley Track is one of the most popular walks in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, with spectacular glacier and mountain views.

Aoraki Mount Cook

Where to get the shot

The track starts at the White Horse Hill campground, with the round trip to Hooker Lake taking approximately three hours. The view captured in the photo was obtained about 60 minutes in.

Setting up the shot

This image was taken under pre-dawn moonlight with an ISO of 1000. When combined with a mid-range aperture of f11 to provide good depth of field (i.e. sharp focus from the foreground to the background), an 8 second shutter speed became necessary. Such lengthy shutter speeds are inevitable in low light photography, which means that anything moving (such as the grass in the wind in this image) is going to show signs of movement.

The technical stuff

8 sec at f/11, ISO1000

Mt Sefton/Hooker River

This is the second swing bridge encountered on the Hooker Valley Track, which commences at the White Horse Hill carpark. It’s just over 2 km in and takes around 40 minutes from the carpark

Setting up the shot

Compositions with strong structure and/or symmetry often make for compelling images.  Conversely, compelling images can also be made from the juxtaposition of human-made structures, with their straight lines and simple forms set against the untamed curves and broken edges of the natural world. This was taken just after sunset, and with the fading light, required a longer shutter speed of 2 seconds. This then meant I had to sit the tripod on solid ground at the end of the bridge to avoid motion blur, as it’s surprising the swing bridges swing!

The technical stuff

2 sec at f/16, ISO100

The Church of the Good Shepherd

Arguably one of the most photographed churches in New Zealand, The Church of the Good Shepherd is one of Lake Tekapo's most iconic attractions.

Church of the Good Shepherd

Where to get the shot

The Church of the Good Shepherd is located on Pioneer Drive, Tekapo, beside the outlet to the lake. Carparking is provided adjacent to the church, or it's a pleasant stroll away from the centre of town via the pedestrian bridge.

Setting up the shot

Getting a photograph of the church without people in the frame can certainly be a difficult task, so patience is required. In the post-processing of this shot, a combination of the spot healing and clone tools in Photoshop were used to remove the remaining people out of the frame.

The technical stuff

1/125 sec at f/11, ISO100

Lake Alexandrina

A long, narrow, spring fed lake surrounded by dry tussock and high mountain peaks, Lake Alexandrina is the perfect location to capture awe inspiring images.

Lake Alexandrina

Where to get the shot

Access to this part of Lake Alexandrina is via a 2 km unsealed road, the turn-off of which is located on Godley Peaks Road approximately 200m before the turn-off to Mt John Observatory. Many private holiday homes are located adjacent to the lake shore, so please respect their privacy.

Setting up the shot

Lake Alexandrina has several small jetties along its southern shore, which provide perfect leading lines into the lake and towards the mountains. The shot was taken down low to ensure that the jetty occupied a sizeable chunk of the foreground and to expose the detail in the woodgrain.

The photo was taken after sunset - so don’t be tempted to pack up and leave as soon as the sun has set, as the best light often happens in the period afterwards.

The technical stuff

2.5 sec at f/13, ISO100

 

 

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