My wife and I recently spent almost a month touring New Zealand by automobile, enjoying the natural beauty and doing field work for a photography e-book we have planned for 2017.
Throughout our travels we shot exclusively with Nikon 1 mirrorless gear. Our kit included a pair of Nikon 1 J5 bodies as well as two V2 bodies.
We also took a small assortment of five 1 Nikon zoom lenses which included 10-100mm f/4-5.6, 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD, 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6, 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6, and CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6.
All of our Nikon 1 gear fit in a single Tenba Shoulder bag which was ideal for travel.
Our journey took us from Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island all the way down to Slope Point, the most southern point of the South Island.
We avoided all of the major cities and concentrated on the more rural areas of New Zealand. In order to replicate the kind of photography that most travelers do we shot mainly between the hours of 9AM and 5PM on a ‘catch as catch can’ basis.
Most days we kept our planned driving to between 2 and 3 ½ hours so we would have a reasonable amount of flex time each day to capture images.
We booked all of our motels in advance over the internet and did not have any issues with our arrangements.
In many of the rural areas there simply was no place to purchase meals or groceries so we pre-made salad lunches most days and kept them in a cooler bag we brought with us from home.
More often than not at some point during the day we stopped for a hand-scooped ice cream cone at local dairy outlet or convenience store. The ice cream in New Zealand is excellent and it’s no wonder New Zealand ranks as one of the highest per capita ice cream consumption countries in the world.
We have visited New Zealand a couple of times in the past so we were familiar with driving conditions and it didn’t take long to become re-accustomed to driving on the left hand side of the road.
Keeping the turn signal and windshield wiper controls straight was another matter. And, it was just as hard readjusting when returning home. We’ve been back for about a month and I still inadvertently use the wrong control at times.
Although we had some sunny breaks, inclement weather seemed to follow us around for much of the trip. We did the best we could shooting in overcast and rainy conditions.
We brought a small travel tripod with us, using it only for the occasional ‘smooth water’ waterfall photograph.
Overall our Nikon 1 mirrorless gear performed quite well , especially the J5s with their 20.8MP BSI 1” sensors.
For landscape images we shot in Aperture priority, using Matrix metering and single point auto focus.
Birds-in-flight were captured with one of our V2s using continuous auto-focus with subject tracking at 15fps.
I’ve been working on image selection and processing for the past few weeks and we hope to have our New Zealand photography e-book ready early in 2017.
To see more of Thomas’ beautiful images from New Zealand, be sure to visit his blog!
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