In the heart of a cold Kiwi winter, we scored a window of fine weather. Under a blazing blue Canterbury sky, Tom and I ventured out of our cold camper van into the sunshine. At the Hermitage we fitted crampons to our boots to get more traction on the iced-up tramping track. Unfortunately the access road was closed. So, it was a taxing four hours' of leap-frogging hundreds of tourists to reach Hooker Lake by mid-afternoon.
Setting our cameras up at the foot of the lake, frozen solid into a flat, featureless expanse, we lamented the absence of reflections. The 3,724-metre summit cap of Cook presided over the monochromatic scene, the highest hill in New Zealand.
Composition: A linear line of a jet-stream cloud floated over Aoraki, acting as a natural lead-in line, but soon disappated. I deliberately lowered my DSLR to near ground level, so the fractured ice would loom large, as foreground interest.
The viewer's eye then follows the shoreline around the lake's edge - a natural lead-in line - in an arc to Mount Cook, nicely balanced in the middle.
Because the sky was blue, with no amazing coloured clouds, I used the Rule Of Thirds to feature the frozen lake instead.
To balance the dynamic range in this scene, a little post processing was in order.
In Photoshop I did a touch of dodging to lighten up the lake. Mid-tone contrast was boosted on Mount Cook, and on the foreground features.
You can follow my tutorial on exactly how I tweaked this image on the ultimate landscape masterclass, LOCATIONZ.
Or just enjoy our road trip video series on YouTube: EPISODE SIX | Mount Cook, Lindis Pass & Wanaka
Aperture: f/8 | Shutter Speed: 1/20th second | ISO: 100 | Focal length: 25mm
Canon 5D Mark III, using NiSi Polariser from V5 kit [Click to see video review ]
[ If camera settings are still confusing, enroll in my Discover Your DSLR course ]
Keywords: landscape photography south island nz, new zealand landscape photography