Middle Earth, or so it has been dubbed since the filming of the Lord of the Rings movies, is really in New Zealand.
During December and January I spent a few weeks at home for the holidays. While I was there I spent some time with my brother-in-law exploring some fascinating high country landscapes in Central Otago. Growing up in the Cardrona Valley and Wanaka imbued in me an appreciation for these vast and seemingly desolate areas.
Leaving Lake Wanaka before dawn on two occasions we drove up through arid farmland and then on to the tops of some ranges as the sun broke over the horizon. The sunrise sent spectacular rays of light penetrating patches of fog that blew up the valleys.
Large format image paradise.
This area lent itself perfectly to expansive panoramic images. So I created a lot of large format images made up of multiple frames stitched together. There is not a lot of obvious detail in many of the scenes but with this photographic technique it allowed me to capture the essence of the landscape perfectly. Wide expansive vistas combined with the ability to look closely at the images and see detail that is easily missed.
On our first foray we left town in shorts as it was the middle of summer after all. As we reached an altitude of sixteen hundred meters the temperature dropped to one degree celsius. Another couple hundred meters and it started snowing and we wished we had dressed a little warmer. Shooting moonlike landscapes in the summer while snow blew sideways made for quite a contrast.
The diversity of life and subtle beauty can easily be over-looked with a quick glance. By spending time in this alpine environment one can witness bird life and many varieties of unique plants.
Typically a seabird, this Pied Oyster Catcher seems out of place in the alpine environment.
The most striking topographical feature in these areas is the Tors. These are Mica Schist rock formations that seemingly rise up out of the ground and are weather beaten and dramatic. Many years of wind and freezing temperatures have shaped these rocks into fantastical shapes. As time wears on the relentless forces of erosion break them down into ever smaller pieces. Due to the mystical looking landscape the area has consequently been used as location for many movies over the years.
To see the full gallery of these and other large panoramic images from New Zealand go to www.largeformatimages.com/image-galleries/scenes-of-new-zealand