We are currently finishing our travels in New Zealand and let me encourage and persuade you that if you have not been to New Zealand before, you should put it on your bucket list and make it out here before you die. This place is amazing; so wild, beautiful and clean. It feels like seeing the earth a couple thousand years ago before factories, skyscrapers, garbage and pollution existed. The rivers and streams are clear as glass, some with even a vibrant blue tinge to them. The air is crisp and clean. The sunlight is strong and unhindered by smog or soot from too many cars, homes and people. The trees are large, plentiful and healthy. There must be more moss and ferns in New Zealand than in the rest of the world combined. You can visit and walk around on Glaciers right next to rain forests. You can check out thermal pools of strange colors, boiling mud pools and even a few geysers. You can wear shorts and a t-shirt and look up to see snow covered peaks or ancient glaciers high above. I am telling you, this country is breathtakingly beautiful and well worth a visit.

While visiting the North Island, we met up with some friends of ours that we had gotten to know in Korea. They left a couple months before us, did some traveling around Asia and then headed to their home in New Zealand to settle down and start a Photography and Design company. It was great to see some close friends and catch up for a couple days while also getting an inside look at New Zealand and some local insights into what it’s like to live here.

One of the highlights of our time with David and Vicki was a 10 hour hike across the Togararo Crossing. This is quite a unique landscape with lots of lava rocks and other volcanic features. Many of the landscapes on and around the hike were used as the backdrop for Mount Doom in The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. Toward the beginning of the hike we came across this little waterfall which I thought might make a great extended exposure image. Extended exposure just means that I kept the shutter open for as long as possible – in this case, 20 seconds. That is what gives the water its smooth look and the clouds a little bit of motion.

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Phillip Island Ocean View HDR - Australia

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Photo taken using Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

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TECHNICAL INFO: For this shot I used what is called a Neutral Density filter and my awesome travel tripod – the Velbon UT 43D provided by One Source Network. The Neutral Density filter is basically a dark piece of glass which allows you to keep the camera shutter open for long periods of time which would usually not be possible in broad daylight. To create this image I used an ND 1000 which adds ten f-stops or levels of darkness. I used a timed shutter release of ten seconds to make sure my hand didn’t cause any shake in the image and made sure my tripod was set up nice and sturdy.