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Photography

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Fiordland is a landscape and nature photographer's paradise. Immense diversity offers never-ending inspiration. Pictures of Fiordland are the highlight of all coffee table books about New Zealand, with many famous photographers having caught the unique atmosphere of the world-heritage ranked paradise.

A good place to start taking pictures is the shores of Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri. They are both frequently blessed by photogenic morning light, twilight, and misty fog rolling above the lake or gloomy cloud formations. Rugged mountain ranges, lush rainforest, and fiord valleys also beckon. Alternatively, try to capture Fiordland's unique birds and alpine fauna.

If you are a diver, then dive photography presents you with an opportunity to capture underwater gardens, including unique black corals (actually they are white) and rich marine life.

Te Anau is home to several award-winning photographers including Barry Harcourt of the Southland Times newspaper and Graham Dainty ( www.photofiordland.co.nz ).

Accessible spots to take great photos

There are plenty of accessible places to take great photographs in Fiordland. The most obvious are listed here:

  • Te Anau lakefront near the boat harbour is a great place to capture the view towards Lake Te Anau's south fiord. In the winter there are often clear views toward the north end of Lake Te Anau.
  • Frasers Beach on Lake Manapouri is a great place to capture sunsets.
  • A boat cruise on Lake Manapouri or Lake Te Anau gives you access to beautiful islands on Lake Manapouri and amazing inland fiords on Lake Te Anau. These are arguably just as beautiful as their true ocean siblings.
  • Mt Luxmore is the first mountain on the Kepler Track. You can walk there and back from Te Anau in a day, or fly up there by helicopter. It is a great place to capture panoramic views and alpine plants. If you stay overnight in the Department of Conservation hut on the mountain, you can experience both sunset and sunrise.
  • The Milford road is a photographer's delight. There are many photogenic places to stop along it. For safety reasons, it is better to use the car parks provided along the route rather than stop on the road. If you do stop on the road, make sure you stop well away from bends, and as far off the road as possible, so other drivers can see you and pass you safely.

Seasonal photography

Winter, spring and autumn are great times for photography in Fiordland. Winter is possibly the best for bird's-eye view shots while there is great visibility and snow-adorned mountains. During spring, you can capture flowering trees and plants, such as the golden kowhai flowers. At this time of year birds such as tui or bellbirds are easier to capture feasting on nectar. Autumn is also special in Te Anau, where there are many introduced deciduous trees that create a mellow colourful atmosphere, with mountains in the background.

The majority of photos on this website are provided by Martin Sliva, New Zealand Photo.

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