Waimakariri River Waimakariri River Waimakariri River
Capture the Selwyn District
Daniel Murray shares his highlights and top photo locations in Arthur's Pass and the Selwyn District.
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Arthur's Pass and the Selwyn Region

Selwyn reaches from the majestic Southern Alps and Arthur's Pass, down the braided Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers and over the patchwork Canterbury plains to the vast coastal lake of Lake Ellesmere.

Castle Hill

Large limestone rock formations make this the ultimate destination for rock climbers, walkers and photographers alike.

Castle Hill

Where to get the shot

Castle Hill is located approximately 100 km drive west of Christchurch on State Highway 73. From the car park, which is well sign-posted, it’s an easy 5-10 minute walk along a well-graded track into the rocks.

Setting up the shot

The limestone tors of Castle Hill were 30 million years in the making. A labyrinth of towering walls, overhangs, and caves, the photographic potential is endless. To capture the rocks in perspective to the surrounds, head to a high spot and try shooting down. Include as much foreground as possible to retain a sense of depth and scale. The fascinating location will be sure to lure you back time and time again in search of a new and unique composition!

The technical stuff

1/4 sec at f/22, ISO125

Lake Pearson

A beautiful hour glass shaped lake that situated 20 minutes from Arthur's Pass.

Lake Pearson

Where to get the shot

Lake Pearson / Moana Rua is located adjacent to State Highway 73, approximately 113 km drive west of Christchurch. The best place to begin exploring is via the parking area at the western end of the lake.

Setting up the shot

Long exposures open up a whole new world of creative possibilities for landscape photography, turning static skies and water into smooth and dynamic creations. Ordinarily it’s not possible to get a long enough shutter speed in daylight conditions, but this is where a neutral density filter comes in. Available in various strengths, the filter is darkened glass which you place on the front of your lense. This dramatically reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor, which the camera compensates for by increasing the length of shutter speed.

The technical stuff

109 sec at f/16, ISO100, 10-stop neutral density filter.

Avalanche Creek

Avalanche Creek Falls consist of three waterfalls and located in Arthur's Pass National Park. The waterfalls are easily accessible via a well-maintained DOC track.

Avalanche Creek

Where to get the shot

The falls on Avalanche Creek are in the heart of Arthur’s Pass village. They’re less than a 100m stroll from the highway; just look out for the Avalanche Creek Bridge on the highway then head upstream from there. A view of another larger waterfall can be obtained by climbing a few steps up a path just beyond this spot.

Setting up the shot

Getting that amazing ‘silky’ look on waterfall images is obtained through using a longer shutter speed. Anything longer than around one-third of a second is likely to produce good results with fast moving (falling) water, although longer times may be needed in gentler currents to capture enough movement.

Points to note:

  • Tripod or stabilisation is a must!
  • Try to shoot waterfalls on a grey or overcast day to reduce the light/dark contrast.
  • Use a polariser filter to reduce glare from wet surfaces.

The technical stuff

15 sec at f/16, ISO50, polariser filter

 

 

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