2016 in review

If the photo count in my Lightroom catalogue is anything to go by, 2016 has been a reasonably busy year – 12,330 images!  Although to be fair, that includes a couple of thousand taken by my kids, and we did go on a 6-week overseas holiday which accounts for around a half of them.  Given that you probably don’t want to see all 12,330, here’s a run through of some of my favourite memories (not necessarily my favourite images).

Waitangi weekend (6-8 February) was spent on a family tramping trip in the Hawdon Valley of Arthur’s Pass National Park.  The weather was hot, hot, hot, so any chance to cross a river was duly taken.

The following weekend I went on a stag’s weekend to Hanmer Springs.  With shenanigans being the overriding priority I didn’t get out with the camera much, but I did manage to head out to Hanmer Forest one afternoon.

At the end of February I spent 3 days around the Wanaka and Mt Cook areas with a bunch of amazing photographers, including Katie GoldieTascha Helena, Geoff Reid, and Rach Stewart.  One of the many highlights was scaling Coromandel Peak in the dark to catch the sunrise.

The weekend after that I was back down the South Island in Clyde for a friend’s wedding (the guy from the stag’s weekend in Hanmer Springs).  Again, not much photography done but I did sneak out to Butcher’s Dam for sunrise.

At the start of April we headed off on a long-planned family trip around Europe.  We visited a heap of places we’d never been before, including staying overnight in Hong Kong, Rome, Florence, Venice, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Interlaken, Zermatt, Geneva, Paris, London, and New York.  I probably need to do a separate blog on this trip at some point, but in the meantime here’s three random pics (Venice, Switzerland, and Paris).

Soon after returning back to NZ we spent a weekend at the amazing Castle Hill, located just an hour up the road from home.

The next weekend I was off to to an Instameet in Tekapo; I didn’t come away with any images but had a great time catching up with fellow photographers.

In early July I was off down south again visiting Lake Tekapo, Wanaka, Queenstown, and Mt Cook (including an epic helicopter flight with Lee Cook, Sarah HattonGeoff Reid, and Rach Stewart).  Very cold temperatures made for some great photography conditions.

In mid-August I went on a whirlwind circuit around the South Island with a Wilderness camper, taking in the West Coast, Queenstown (with a side trip on a scenic flight to Milford Sound) and Mt Cook.  You can see a more detailed account of that trip here, but below are a couple of pics of Tasman Lake from the end of the trip: one under the midnight moon, the other a few hours later at sunrise.

A week later I caught a snow groomer to the summit of Mt Hutt for sunrise, and managed to fulfill a long-held ambition of capturing a layered mountain shot.

In early October I was off on another Wilderness trip, this time in the North Island with my daughter.  You can read more about that here, but this is probably my favourite image from the trip.

Unfortunately towards the end of the North Island trip I managed to seriously injure my knee, which put a damper on my ability to get out for the rest of the year.   But I did get to an Instameet in Christchurch in late October (as per usual I was too busy catching up with people to grab any images!).  Oh, and I also got to see the Mackenzie area in early December (with Nico BabotLee Cook, Lieselot De BrauwerGeoff Reid, and Rach Stewart), where I mostly avoided walking by taking a scenic flight!

In November I was super stoked to do an interview with Nikon NZ and became a featured photographer.

All in all, 2016 has been a superb year on the photography and adventure front.  That said, I look back and feel like I’ve spent a helluva lot of time visiting iconic locations.  While sharing pictures from these places has been great for getting ‘likes’ on social media, I’ve gradually felt my photographic energy and creativity draining away as I’ve become almost trapped into capturing the same locations and compositions.

And so the photographic challenge I’ve set myself for 2017 is simply this: to be different and to be courageous.   Am very excited for what 2017 will bring!