Exploring the Upper Mustang, Nepal

Getting married is great in many ways… Aside from the whole marriage thing, you get to throw a sweet party, invite all your favourite people, get some lovely presents and take one hell of a holiday after it all! Whats not to love about a wedding!? I was pretty darn excited about the prospect of taking a ‘dream’ holiday; to do something that we’ve always wanted to do but never set aside the time or money. With no kiddies in tow yet, it was our chance to go explore. Ever since I visited Kashmir back in 2007 I’ve had a burning desire to go back to the Himalayas and to visit a country top of my to go to list. Nepal. As it was our honeymoon and we were supposed to be ‘relaxing’ we decided to do it the easy way. We booked a trek with my good friends at Adventure Consultants in Wanaka. It says it all in their name really. They were going to be our adventure planners. And boy did they do a 5 star job! From landing in Kathmandu, to taking off again 19days later, we didn’t have to worry about a thing, apart from enjoying every experience & soaking … Read Full Post

North Face shoot on Franz Joseph Glacier

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to shoot for North Face on a trip to Franz Joseph Glacier, on the West Coast of New Zealand. Franz Joseph is one of NZ’s largest Glaciers and at 12km long it almost comes down to the Tasman Sea. It was a trip guided by Adventure Consultants, with North Face team skiers Janina Kuzma, Fraser McDougall and Tom Dunbar. Being filming as part of The North Face Quest shows was Neil Kerr of NZ Skier magazine and mountain guide filmer Hugh Bernard. Armed with quite the team of professionals it was set to be quite the trip. We had a very short weather window and as soon as a storm cleared we were in the chopper on our way to Centennial Hut high on Franz Joseph.

Flying into the mighty Franz Joseph Glacier

Her ferocious jaws ready to swallow you whole!

Looking out over the top of Franz Joseph Glacier from Centennial Hut
… Read Full Post

Scandinavian Photo Challenge – My winning slide show

I know it happened a wee while ago, but my winning slide show has only just gone on line, to co-inside with the release of Dirt Magazine’s massive feature on the Scandinavian Photo Challenge. The Scandinavian Photo Challenge is part of the Are Bike Festival, held every July in Are, Sweden. One of my all time favorite action sports photographers Mattias Fredricksson very kindly invited me along to compete as one of 5 invited photogs. We had three days to shoot with our chosen team of bikers (Swedes Lina Skoglund & Linus Sjoholm and Kiwi Steve Murphy, hence ‘Team New Swealand!)  using the beautiful mountain of Are, and its 38 trails. We then had a day and a half to edit together a 5 min slide show, which premiered on the final gala night, judged by a panel of highly respected judges, from magazine editors, journalists and photographers.
 
I was up against some extremely talented and esteemed bike photographers:
Mattias Fredriksson, Sweden – www.mattiasfredriksson.com
Markus Greber, Germany – www.markusgreber.com
Kristoffer Kippernes, Norway – www.kippernesfoto.no
Grant Robinson, Canada/UK – www.grantrobinson.com
 
After some very long few days with early starts and late nights shooting (with the midnight sun in Sweden, we could shoot all night!), I finally had … Read Full Post

Stargazing at Lake Tekapo – A weekend away with my camera

Last weekend was the first weekend of clear calm skies in quite some time. My boyfriend decided to take me away to a place that  we had both driven past hundreds of times on our way North, and never taken the time to visit. Mt John Observatory is one of the worlds best places to star gaze. NZ’s largest telescope, and a number of astronomical studies happen here, looking out over the aquamarine Lake Tekapo. There is very little light pollution, and NZ has incredibly clear, unpolluted skies making it perfect for checking out the unknown universe. We had chosen a cracker of a night, with no moon, and the day after a strong Southerly wind (which clears out the atmosphere apparently!), the skies were unbelievable. We departed at 9.30pm on a tour with Earth and Sky up to the Observatory.

Lake Tekapo under the Milky Way, taken with Canon 5d Mk II, 14mm 2.8, ISO 800, f2.8 for 30 seconds
I LOVE taking photos of the stars, and as soon as I could I set up to take this quick shot. 30seconds wasn’t quite enough time to capture the full extent … Read Full Post

Farm Jam 2011

After a devastating week for New Zealand with the Christchurch earthquake claiming many lives, destroying homes and business and leaving many too terrified to go back, it was hard to think about anything else. But on Saturday saw the famous yearly mountain bike, BMX, motocross and freestyle motocross competition in Southland, nicknamed as the X-Games of NZ, 2011 Unit Farm Jam. Brothers Kris, Dan and Brett Frew organise this festival of wheels each year on their parents beautiful farm near Winton. It all takes place on sculpted dirt jumps, built meticulously over the years by the Frew brothers.
I headed down on Friday, for practice day to shoot photos for a few editorial commissions I have on the event. Friday saw an interesting day of clouds coming and going, and fun light to play with.

The sheep of the Frew’s farm graze beside the moto x course.

With the light coming and going I played around snapping shots of the incredibly talented mountain bikers and BMX guys… They practiced hard all afternoon and only stopped when it got too dark to … Read Full Post

BASE Jumping the Kaipo Wall – Fiordland

Last week I was fortunate enough to be asked on a trip to Fiordland National Park. This wasn’t going to be the usual touristy sight seeing,  leisurely cruise round the world famous Milford Sound. I was going to photograph some BASE jumpers soar off the biggest vertical cliff in New Zealand, the Kaipo Wall. The 4300ft (1300m) vertical drop spans 1.3Km high by 1.8km wide….This cliff is a monster, but a very beautiful one. The crew I was with were very experienced BASE jumpers. Kiwi’s Alan McCandlish, Benny MacPherson and Aussie Jason Cyran (Triple J) had ‘opened up’ (been the first to do) this jump back in 2008 and they were with us to do it again. On the drive to Milford JJJ and Alan told me incredible tales of their first jump of the Kaipo and how beautiful it is. I was so excited but ridiculously nervous to shoot their jumps from the top. With not the best head for heights, I would have to concentrate hard on not falling off the edge and getting the shot!

Milford Sound under the stars
We arrived at about 10pm, and after … Read Full Post

Mt Roy overnight photo project, Lake Wanaka

The weather has not been the most settled this summer, and when I saw a couple of fine days lining up for the end of last week, I decided to do something that has been on the list for quite some time. I managed to recruit a couple of good friends to accompany me on my mission. The mission was to climb Mt Roy, a 1580m peak, which looks over our township of Wanaka, and sleep out at the top. From this very popular tourist walk you get 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka, Mt Aspiring and the Southern Alps. I wanted to shoot photos of the sunset, the stars over Wanaka and the sunrise the next morning. The weather was still and calm, and the skies blue. Perfect.
With my rather heavy F-Stop camera bag laden with camera, lenses and tripod, as well as water and food, sleeping bag and roll mat, extra clothes and essentials, it was a fair old slog up 1300 vertical meters to the top. However the views were not to disappoint.

Looking up over West Wanaka to the Matukituki Valley and Mt Aspiring
… Read Full Post

Mountain Bike shoot with Conor Macfarlane

Last week mountain bike film maker Pieter Reichwein got in touch to say that pro mountain biker Conor Macfarlane from Queenstown had some features he wanted to shoot in Bannockburn, just outside of Cromwell. I arranged to meet the boys for a sunset and sunrise shoot to get the best light possible. Bannockburn is in the heart of Central Otago, with clay crumbling gorges, mounds and cliffs, perfect for interesting natural bike jibs. The evening was beautiful and we started to shoot. Conor had a multitude of different ideas, from wall rides, hand plants and cliff drops. I struggled at first to get what I was looking for but I started to work with the light and dust back lighting Conor, and began to get the results I was after.

Conor riding into his hand plant jib for the first time

The crew walking up to the next feature in the evening light
We walked up to a new area, and I noticed how beautiful the light was, streaming through the trees. I took some shots and then asked Conor to … Read Full Post

Back to The One – BASE time

So after a wicked break over Christmas and New Year with friends, I took the opportunity to go and shoot some more BASE jumping. My friend Si Guthrie is back in Wanaka for a few weeks, and keen for jumping. He headed up to The One, up in Mt Aspiring National Park, by Rob Roy Glacier to camp for 3 days and jump of the massive 1000ft cliff. I headed up on Sunday to see if I could catch him jump and snap a few frames. It was a scorching day, and conditions were perfect. It always takes my breath away how beautiful it is up there. Rob Roy Glacier is a 2 hour walk from Raspberry Flat, 1 hr drive from Wanaka.

‘The One’ is on the left hand side of the picture. BASE jumpers love this jump, as it is perfectly sheer and they can see what the wind is doing thanks to the waterfall. They launch from the lookers right of the waterfall.

The waterfall reaches its destination at the bottom of The One.
We arrived after Si and … Read Full Post

Mountaineering with Alpine Guides at Mt Cook…

A few months ago I organised to do Alpine Guides Mountain Experience Course out of Mt Cook Village, doing travel pieces for the Dominion Post in Wellington and Australian Geographic  Outdoor Magazine. I set of for Mt Cook Village last Sunday, not too sure what I had got myself into, but excited about the thought of learning mountaineering skills and having an adventure around some of the best mountaineering in NZ.

Aoraki (Mt Cook) poking out the clouds I drove towards my adventure…
Arriving into Mt Cook Village and the Alpine Guides desk I was quickly introduced to Martin and Tara, who would be on the adventure with me and then to Mark Austin-Cheval, our intrepid guide for the week. This was our group that we would be eating, sleeping, climbing and learning together for 7 days. We sat down and Mark informed us of the weather and the plan for the week. ‘The weather is great and we are leaving for the Mueller Hut tomorrow morning for 4 days…’ Gulp, straight into it. He then instructed us to pull out all of our belongings from what we had packed and place … Read Full Post