Ok Ok OK...I know you have probably been wondering - when is Shelton going to write about the New Zealand Photo Tour? Well, if you haven't - you should have been! Well, here I am. I will take it one day at a time, ok?
Initially, the New Zealand Photo Tour started as a discussion over coffee with renowned New Zealand photographer, Mike Hollman. We met Mike when he first came over from New Zealand to attend our Creative People Photography workshop. Being a landscape photographer, he was not particularly skilled at portraiture - posing, working with light on the person, etc. Mike has published several books on landscape photography in New Zealand and his work is beautiful. He is an incredibly personable man with an easy going personality, a great sense of humour and a fabulous eye for the landscape. So when he was next in Melbourne, Glynn and I met with him over coffee to discuss the idea of having him at the helm of a South Island/Queenstown workshop. So, what started as a coffee in Williamstown became the madness of MeaWannaShootaLotta - a name that we hoped sounded a little bit Kiwi. Oh well, you can only try.
Landing in Queenstown, I was reminded that mountains and weather are never predictable. The week before our arrival the weather had been wonderful. The leaves were a variety of autumn colours and the landscape begged to be photographed. However, we were to learn that the following week - the week we were there - was to be the opposite. In fact, the banks of Lake Wakatipu would flood for the first time in 11 years. What a week to pick for landscapes around Queenstown! However, I must admit - I was surprised that the situation actually had its advantages. Some of the ethereal and evocative images that the week ahead would produce would encourage me and my fellow travelers very much.
Thankfully, we are Aussie travelers and things like that don't get us down. Also, Glynn and I - always prepared for every contingency (riiiiiiiight) had a back up plan for bad weather and middle of the day light. Glynn had contacted I-Can Models - a Queenstown modelling agency - and we were granted 4 models each day. On the first day they sure would come in handy. Hailey, Ashlie, Flo and Jose were just what the doctor ordered.
It is an interesting thing to tell the group that the first day of their landscape workshop would probably consist of natural light and strobist based portraits of models in an old abandoned barn. But, as I say, they are Aussies and they go with the flow. We can only control certain elements and the weather is not among them.
It was a great location, complete with old barns, sheds, homes and even the ruin of an old hotel where we would return on the last day for some of my personal favourites of the entire week. But more on that later. As it was, the rain held off a little in the afternoon and we did manage to get out and shoot some of the autumn colour. I have to admit that it was great seeing our guests enjoying themselves photographing the colourful surroundings and incorporating people into the landscapes as well. As for me, well, I know my way around a landscape but essentially I am a people shooter. So, I had no problems with the situation. Either way, if I am creating images I am having a good time. More tomorrow....