Photo Tours And Workshops: 2017 New Zealand Photo Tour With Ken Koskela & Renee Doyle

APRIL 18 - May 1, 2017 (includes Milford Sound)

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New Zealand is on most photographer’s bucket lists. Join Renee Doyle and me to photograph this amazingly beautiful country during the best time of year... Autumn.
In addition to the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, the lone Wanaka Lake tree and Nugget Point Lighthouse, we will photograph turquoise lakes, rolling hills, hidden waterfalls and New Zealand's beautiful mountainous regions. We will photograph the majestic Milford Sound to round out an amazing visit to the South Island of New Zealand! 
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Note: In order to get the best photographs, we may modify this itinerary based on conditions, such as inclement weather and river levels.
Day 1 - April 18, 2017, Queenstown
We will meet in the lobby of Rydges Hotel Queenstown at 6:00 pm. We will then head to a nearby location for a welcome dinner and to talk about the upcoming tour. Overnight Queenstown.
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Day 2 - April 19, Lake Wanaka

We begin with a sunrise shoot on the road to Glenorchy (an area famous for footage in the Lord of the Rings) stopping at Bennetts Bluff to photograph Lake Wakatipu and it’s surrounding distant snow capped mountains. Returning to Queenstown for breakfast, we then head to Wanaka to photograph the iconic Lone Wanaka Tree at sunset. Lake Wanaka is a hidden gem of New Zealand where the lake area is framed by the South Island’s dazzling Southern Alps. The Wanaka tree grows offshore and makes a great foreground subject to the distant Alps and the Fall foliage. Overnight Wanaka.

Day 3 - April 20, Mount Cook

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Begin the day with a sunrise shoot at Lake Wanaka. Having two shoots in this location offers the opportunity for different light and the possibility of early morning calm reflections. We head back to our accommodation (just a few minutes away) to enjoy breakfast and freshen up. After a mid-morning checkout, we drive to Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain. After checking in at our accommodation, we hike on very well-maintained trails to Hooker Lake, a small glacier lagoon, which offers an excellent view of Mount Cook at sunset and twilight. Depending on weather conditions, this is an ideal location for night photography as well. The hike is not difficult, but takes approximately 90 minutes each way. Overnight Mount Cook Village. 

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Days 4 & 5 - April 21 & 22, Lake Tekapo

We begin the morning with a sunrise shoot of the nearby mountains. After breakfast and a mid-morning checkout, we make the scenic drive to Lake Tekapo where turquoise lakes and majestic mountains take your breath away. Lake Tekapo gets its milky-turquoise color from fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers), which is suspended in the water. Arriving at Lake Tekapo, we photograph the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd from different vantage points. The church's altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps.

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In June 2012 Lake Tekapo was named the world’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve. The skies here are almost completely free from any light pollution offering excellent stargazing. By staying in Lake Tekapo 2 nights we increase our chances (weather permitting) of capturing the Milky Way and possibly shoot some star trails. You will also have time to enjoy some of the short hikes around the lake at your leisure. 

During the full day at Lake Tekapo we will set up a room to be able to conduct a Lightroom / Photoshop session. Please bring any images that you would like to have critiqued or receive advice on. 

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Day 6 - April 23, Moeraki

After our last sunrise shoot at Lake Tekapo and a mid-morning checkout, we head to the coast of Otago and Koekohe Beach, near the fishing village of Moeraki to photograph the mysterious Moeraki Boulders. It is said that the largest boulders grew over 4 to 5.5 million years due to marine mud accumulation. No one can say for sure why these boulders lay here or why some are smooth and round while others are porous, but they offer many photographic opportunities. 

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As the tide swells in around the boulders we are able to capture the smooth water motion circling them … and as the tide pulls out we can capture reflections in the pools left behind surrounding the boulders. Some have now collapsed and broken open and these also offer photo opportunities. Overnight B&B Oamaru.


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Day 7 - April 24, Nugget Point

Having chosen to stay locally, we have the opportunity to once again shoot the Moeraki Boulders at twilight and sunrise. This gives us the opportunity for different light, sun star bursts on the boulders and some fun silhouettes and possibly a morning sea fog hugging the coastline.

After breakfast overlooking Koekohe Beach and mid-morning checkout we enjoy the short drive to Nugget Point. Nugget Point Lighthouse is aptly named as it is surrounded by a scattering of rocky islets. Early morning and sunset are the best times for viewing. The lighthouse itself with its wood fenced path leading up to it offers up great photo opportunities. Overnight Clutha. 

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Day 8 - April 25, Caitlins

We continue to follow our routine of an early morning shoot, followed by breakfast and a mid-morning checkout before heading to the Caitlins. As we arrive in the region, the scenery around us changes to beautiful rolling hills. We enjoy a short hike to Purakaunui Falls – a 3-tiered waterfall that is amongst New Zealand’s most photographed.

Tonight we will be lodging in 2 houses and a B&B in the rural hills of the Catlins area. The House on the Hill offers beautiful views and wonderful photographic opportunities. We will enjoy an evening in with dinner provided. The house is very comfortable and offers a games room. Bathrooms are shared but there are 2 in the houses. We have chosen this location to offer a variety in accommodations and to avoid an extra one hour (each way) drive to reach our waterfall destinations.

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Day 9 - April 26, Te Anau

This morning we enjoy another waterfall shoot at McLean Falls before making our way to Te Anau, the closest town to Milford Sound and called the "gateway to the fjords". Lake Te Anau is the largest lake on the South Island and offers excellent photographic opportunities.

Days 10 & 11 - April 27 & 28, Milford Sound

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After breakfast we will drive on to Milford Sound where we will spend the next 2 nights.  Staying at the Milford Sound Lodge will offer us the opportunity to photograph in this beautiful part of New Zealand during the golden hours without the hours of bus travel in and out of the Sound. Our cabins are only a 15 minute walk to the seashore or a 2 minute drive, so we will have plenty of flexibility and opportunities to photograph in this stunning location.


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Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages.  In any weather you will find Milford Sound breathtaking.  The mountain peaks scrape the sky, waterfalls are plentiful and flow even more magnificently after rain (and it does rain often) and the fiord’s cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters.  During our stay we will enjoy a 2 ½ hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. There will also be opportunities for those who wish to enjoy a hike.

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Days 12 & 13 - April 29 & 30, Queenstown

After one last sunrise shoot in Milford Sound we make our way back to Queenstown arriving late afternoon. In Queenstown, we will take the Skyline Gondola to enjoy marvelous views out over the city. It is the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and offers spectacular 220 degree panoramic views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and of course Queenstown. We will also enjoy a sunrise shoot around Lake Wakatipu before heading into beautiful Arrowtown in all it’s Fall colors. This delightful historic town and Fall color makes for great photographic opportunities.

Day 14 - May 1, Head for Home

Your transportation to the airport can be arranged at the hotel.


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This workshop is open to photographers of all skill levels. At minimum, you will want to be familiar with your camera's controls and understand the basics of composition. Bring lenses in the wide-angle through telephoto range. We will be teaching post-processing in Photoshop and Lightroom, so have your laptop with you. Bring enough memory cards... I suggest at least 100 gigs or more. Bring extra camera batteries and, as always, a tripod.

Wet weather shoes are recommended for Moeraki, but gumboots are available for purchase locally and are cheap.


Making your air arrangements: The group will meet for a welcome dinner at 6:00 PM at the lobby of Rydges Queenstown Hotel at 6:00 pm on April 18th. Queenstown's airport code is ZQN. If you are departing from North America, you will need to depart 2 days prior to the workshop starting date because of the time change. 

The Queenstown airport is a short shuttle ride from our Queenstown accommodations. You can book your return travel from Queenstown any time on May 1.


IMPORTANT – This tour will have moderate day hikes of approximately 30-90 minutes for some of the shooting locations. Also, if it is raining with potential for good conditions to prevail for photography, we may find ourselves doing some of these walks while it is still raining in hopes of the better weather arriving by the time we reach our destination. If you have certain physical limitations that you feel might present challenges, then please feel free to contact us to discuss these.


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Operators:  Ken Koskela Photography LLC & Renee Doyle

Instructors:  Ken Koskela & Renee Doyle

Tour Duration:  14 days, 13 nights

Price (Shared Room):  USD 5,159 

      Single Room Supplement:  Additional USD 990

Deposit:  USD 1,000 and a completed registration form reserves your spot. Important - See "Tour Policies" (link below) for information on payments and refund policy.

Price Includes: 

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Accommodations (sharing in double room unless single supplement paid), all breakfasts, welcome dinner, farewell dinner, dinner at our Caitlins accommodation, luxury van with extra seats available for our equipment to be easily accessible + local professional driver, gondola ride in Queenstown, boat ride in Milford Sound, photo instruction & critiques. 


Price Does Not Include: 

Everything not noted as included, airfare to and from Queenstown, passport and visa costs (if applicable), dinners other than the 3 noted, lunches and alcohol, tips for locals are optional.

Click here to email Ken with questions

Click here for tour info and policies (important!)

Click here for tour registration form

After reviewing the tour info and policies, please fill out & sign the tour registration form and then contact me via the contact form. You can pay the deposit using using the button below (this is only the deposit amount) or you can mail me a check if you prefer.