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Whisky Business | Nelson Lakes


Camera Settings: Canon EOS 5D MkIII | f/16 | 4 secs | ISO 100 | 17mm


It was freezing cold. It was raining hard. It was winter. Easier to stay at home by the fire, I thought.

But I had challenged myself to venture outside each weekend and scout new locations. With such a dark and damp day, the only choice on this particular Saturday was to find a waterfall. Nelson is picturesque, but scant in the waterfall department.

When we arrived at Nelson Lakes National Park, we were not convinced the effort was worth the bother. When we donned raincoats, and started down the track, we were feeling somewhat ambivalent. We'd have a go, but a lingering doubt was cast over the expedition. Once at Lake Rotoiti, my wife decided not to continue.

After a damp tramp of 1.5 hours, I arrived at Whisky Falls, during a brief respite in the rain. To gain the best vantage of all three cascades, I had to climb up slippery boulders and balance my tripod in a precarious position. Not good when you are alone!

My first set of photographs were promising, but an annoying branch cut into my composition.... arrrgh! Knowing what a tedious process it would be to remove this offending element in Photoshop, I decided to do a spot of 'gardening'.

In the twin images below, you can see the difference my 'gardening' made...

whisky falls

As the sky was overcast, and this cascade was hidden in a narrow gully, my shutter speeds were quite slow, nicely blurring the water. So, my ND filters stayed in the kit bag. I made several exposures, and carefully clambered back to safety.

The rain returned with a vengeance as I sped back to the car, then to the nearest cafe for a warm drink.


If you want to get a feel for the trials and triumphs of the tramping photographer... this photography mission on YouTube, and turn up the sound: EPISODE FOUR | Shooting McLean Falls, Catlins, NZ

Or follow along with Ray as he processes his best images in Photoshop. Enroll in his landscape masterclass, LOCATIONZ where you can fast-track your own photography journey, saving years of mucking around.

Keywords: landscape photography south island nz, new zealand landscape photography, wilderness, waterfall, whisky falls, nz, south island nz, nelson, nelson lakes, national park, lake rotoiti

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