Is summer a good time for taking photos in South Island, NZ?


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boroangel

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Just got tickets to Christchurch from 30th Dec to 13th Jan so will be spending about 2 weeks on South Island. Would have wanted to go in November but the promo tickets are snapped up so fast.

Right now, I am reading my Lonely Planet book and gathering info from several websites as I try to work out my road trip iti. Before I come up with the iti and ask for suggestions...would just like to find out...how is the summer there like in terms of taking snow capped mountains etc? Cos I read some posts on here before saying some of the mountain ranges are just an ugly grey in summer so kinda dampens my mood a little...My last 2 vacation trips were during winter so its hard to get clear skies...and I was hoping summer would give me a better chance of clear blue skies with nice mountain ranges in the background...

Can anyone whos been there during summer provide some info?

Thank you.
 

wind30

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I went in early feb which was like late summer. No snow in quite a lot of places, like the remarkables which is remarkably bland and ugly.

The only mountain I remember with big snow cap is Mount Aspiring and Mount cook.

If you like snow-cap mountains, summer time is really not a good time. In fact, I have always thought of going back there in early spring to take pictures. Maybe next year.

I spend around 12 days shooting my wedding photos and the best scenary I think is on the west coast.

BTW, some of the roads are harrowingly narrow, like the one going up kaka point on the east coast near Dunedin. And we skidded on the gravel roads once. Thankfully not off a cliff or something. And we saw a car skidded off the road and got stuck in the countryside.

Be REAL careful with the gravel roads in NZ as you can skid even if you are going like 40km/h......
 

boroangel

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Thanks I been reading up on that site the last few days...was planning to do the south island 12 day iti as recommended but it does seem to rush for me...as I was gonna include some activities like bungee in Queenstown and paragliding too...but will use this iti as a reference and tailor a bit here and there...I think generally will do 1 loop around South Island and come back to Christchurch

By the way...saw your pics from South Island...nice
 

megaweb

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Thanks I been reading up on that site the last few days...was planning to do the south island 12 day iti as recommended but it does seem to rush for me...as I was gonna include some activities like bungee in Queenstown and paragliding too...but will use this iti as a reference and tailor a bit here and there...I think generally will do 1 loop around South Island and come back to Christchurch

By the way...saw your pics from South Island...nice
Thanks. Try this 9 days route and since you want to try some activities in Queentown, stay longer there.

My wife and I went there for 13 days and also travelled 1 loop from CC to CC. I find the west coast is not as nice to the east coast.
 

night86mare

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anytime is a good time for taking anything
so long as you have the eye

unless you want something special, like some of the professional landscape photographers, e.g. positioning of the sun in a particular location
then you might watn to select timing to go, shrug
 

waileong

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More than that, summer means more daylight, you can shoot from 5 am till 9 pm, and a much longer golden hour too!
 

wind30

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Thanks. Try this 9 days route and since you want to try some activities in Queentown, stay longer there.

My wife and I went there for 13 days and also travelled 1 loop from CC to CC. I find the west coast is not as nice to the east coast.
Almost the same route as I did except I went through Aurther's pass and I went right to bluff on the southern coast.

What did you see in the East? I am thinking of going back and maybe I missed some nice place. The place I remember on the east is basically Moeraki boulders and a light house in Kaka point and some penguins :)

The west I remember we went to some rather dramatic coastlines and the glaciers were also quite nice. First time I saw glaciers.

Could be that I went to the west coast FIRST so the impact was much stronger. By the time I reach the east coast ten days later after zillions of mountains and lakes and coasts.... I just want to go back to singapore :)
 

wind30

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More than that, summer means more daylight, you can shoot from 5 am till 9 pm, and a much longer golden hour too!
It can prove to be a problem too as to catch sunset you have to shoot around 9pm.... which can be tiring day after day.... I much prefer my sunset at around 7-8pm.....

The golden hour does last for VERY long in summer.

BTW, of course there are things to shoot in NZ, there are things to shoot everywhere... might as well stay in singapore.

Since the TS asked about snow-capped mountains, NO there isn't much snow. Unless anyone of you have seen beautiful snow-cap ranges in January south Island. I am not sure when the snow-caps melt but by early Feb 2005, there is NO snow except at Mt Aspiring and Cook.
 

megaweb

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Almost the same route as I did except I went through Aurther's pass and I went right to bluff on the southern coast.

What did you see in the East? I am thinking of going back and maybe I missed some nice place. The place I remember on the east is basically Moeraki boulders and a light house in Kaka point and some penguins :)
I am refering East side as Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Lake Pukaki , Oamaru - Moeraki boulders, Dunedin - Otago Peninsula. These places are very scenic.
 

boroangel

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It can prove to be a problem too as to catch sunset you have to shoot around 9pm.... which can be tiring day after day.... I much prefer my sunset at around 7-8pm.....

The golden hour does last for VERY long in summer.

BTW, of course there are things to shoot in NZ, there are things to shoot everywhere... might as well stay in singapore.

Since the TS asked about snow-capped mountains, NO there isn't much snow. Unless anyone of you have seen beautiful snow-cap ranges in January south Island. I am not sure when the snow-caps melt but by early Feb 2005, there is NO snow except at Mt Aspiring and Cook.
I have not decided on my iti but for Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring, following megaweb's route, are we able to get good views of Mt Cook while driving from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo and on to Twizel and similarly along the route from Queenstown to Haast do you get good views of Mt Aspiring in the background? I dont have to go right up to near the mountains....good views of it in the background while on the road is enuff.

How is rainfall like in South Island...from Lonely Planet it seems like it rains a lot especially in summer.

Longer golden hours....sounds like there will be longer period with good light around. Will make it safer also to drive as I assume there arent any lights along the highways.
 

megaweb

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I have decided on my iti but for Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring, following megaweb's route, are we able to get good views of Mt Cook while driving from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo and on to Twizel and similarly along the route from Queenstown to Haast do you get good views of Mt Aspiring in the background? I dont have to go right up to near the mountains....good views of it in the background while on the road is enuff.
Yes, from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo, you can see a series of mountains esp. mount cook. Green grass against the icy mountains. Very scenic route.

Along westcoast, only Fox Glacier and Franz Jose can see mount cook.
 

boroangel

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Yes, from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo, you can see a series of mountains esp. mount cook. Green grass against the icy mountains. Very scenic route.

Along westcoast, only Fox Glacier and Franz Jose can see mount cook.
hi mega,

what about Mt Aspiring which part of the route can I capture it?

wind30,

when u went in January were the highways and roads packed with summer tourists? Or it was still relatively empty and jam free?
 

megaweb

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hi mega,

what about Mt Aspiring which part of the route can I capture it?

wind30,

when u went in January were the highways and roads packed with summer tourists? Or it was still relatively empty and jam free?
Not sure about Mt. Aspring.


Dun think you can find many tourists or cars along the road. It should be relatively empty.
 

wind30

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I have not decided on my iti but for Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring, following megaweb's route, are we able to get good views of Mt Cook while driving from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo and on to Twizel and similarly along the route from Queenstown to Haast do you get good views of Mt Aspiring in the background? I dont have to go right up to near the mountains....good views of it in the background while on the road is enuff.

How is rainfall like in South Island...from Lonely Planet it seems like it rains a lot especially in summer.

Longer golden hours....sounds like there will be longer period with good light around. Will make it safer also to drive as I assume there arent any lights along the highways.
Although I sounded a bit negative in my earlier post, NZ is the most scenic place I have been. so much so that I want to go back there again.... in spring this time round :)

We went with our photographer so he is familiar with the roads. Mount Aspiring you have to drive a gravel road and I think that was where we skidded our car.

Recommend you stay at lake Hawae which is near queenstown. I find that lake MUCH more scenic and quieter for shooting. Of course must stay at queenstown but don't forget lake Hawae.

For mount cook, we traveled poast twizel right into the foot of the mountain and stayed there. Quite unforgettable especially at night with the enormous mountain and the starry sky.

As for weather, don't worry about it as nothing you can do. I had like 2-3 days of light rain out of 12 days. Especially lake matherson, raining and did not shoot there at all.

BTW, although the golden hour is much longer in winter, you get very harsh light from 10am-3pm.... like singapore sun. Winter daytime although short, the sun is never high up in the sky.
 

wind30

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Yes, from Geraldine to Lake Tekapo, you can see a series of mountains esp. mount cook. Green grass against the icy mountains. Very scenic route.

Along westcoast, only Fox Glacier and Franz Jose can see mount cook.
you went in early spring izzit? no icy mountains in summer :(

I really don't remember a scene with mountains covered by snow. Mount cook yes, but only one SINGLE BIG mountain :) but mount cook is pretty awesome. The thing about NZ is that it is so SMALL but so BIG mountains... to me lah
 

boroangel

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you went in early spring izzit? no icy mountains in summer :(

I really don't remember a scene with mountains covered by snow. Mount cook yes, but only one SINGLE BIG mountain :) but mount cook is pretty awesome. The thing about NZ is that it is so SMALL but so BIG mountains... to me lah
Wah...very demoralising leh when hear you talk about the mountains there...if only i managed to get the promo ticket for november...
 

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