Wedding Photography: Rosee & Simon at Melton Estate

Winter weddings can be challenging: the weather is unpredictable (even in typically sunny Canterbury!!), the sun – if you get any – sets very early, and the light just isn’t as strong. But the awesome thing about winter weddings is that these challenges can also be a huge asset if you embrace them. “Bad” weather like rain or snow lends itself to some very cool creative photos, and if you’re lucky enough to get a fine day then the sun setting earlier means that the creative bridal photos can be scheduled during the magical golden hour before sunset.

Rosee & Simon’s winter wedding day started out drizzly and cold, but by the time the ceremony at Melton Estate winery in West Melton had finished the sun was just starting to break through the clouds – perfect timing for the outdoor family photos! For the first set of creative bridal photos we went to Rosee’s family home at West Melton for shots with a garden and farmlet background. By this stage we knew we were running a bit late and the original plan to head to Waikuku Beach for some landscape/bridal shots had to be revised so that we could get everyone back to the venue in time for the reception. Rosee & Simon were really keen to have some water in the photographs so I led the way to a spot I know of next to the Selwyn River. It’s a mix of open farmland, river, and willows which is peaceful, tranquil, and beautiful in pretty much any light. It’s particularly magical in early morning or late evening light, which makes it a perfect location for a winter wedding shoot on a day where sunset was a smidge after 6pm: I got some amazing shots perfectly timed to take advantage of the golden hour!

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Here’s some highlights from the day – click to enlarge.

Roadtrip to the snow

Last weekend we had what weather & news services were calling a “polar blast event”, and it had me crossing my fingers hoping for snow on the ground at home. Unfortunately we missed out this time but luckily living south of the city it’s not far to go to find some! On the Sunday we headed up past Porters to see what there was to see (like most of Christchurch did, it seemed!), with optimistic fishing rods in the car in the hopes of a rainbow or two at Lyndon for our troubles. What we hadn’t counted on was the lake freezing over – which makes fishing somewhat more difficult than usual – and the sheer number of people who’d come for a gawk and to take the kids tobogganing.

In search of more quiet surrounds we headed further up the pass. Somewhere between Lake Pearson and Cass the edge of the storm was threatening. The combination of gathering clouds, sleety rain and sunlit snowscapes all married together for dramatic mountain views, so I called a halt and took this shot of Mt Misery near Lake Grasmere.

Mt Misery, Lake Grasmere, Grasmere Lodge, Arthur's Pass

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Landscape Photography: Mount Sunday

I love winter hiking, the air is crisp, the mountains are snowy (although not as snowy as I’d like – it’s been a bit of a mild winter!), the sky is almost unbelievably blue, and the light has a slightly golden tone to it. All in all, a perfect recipe for photography.

These images are from a visit to Mount Sunday, and the Ashburton Lakes area. I was introduced to Mount Sunday by Andrei & June who asked me to photograph their wedding here back in March. I knew at first sight of the place that I would HAVE to come back in winter to take some landscapes, and it didn’t disappoint.

As you can see from the panorama image, Mount Sunday is a very small nugget of rock nestled in the middle of a glacial valley, it’s a short (but steep) walk and provides a beautiful view of the headwaters of the Rangitata from the top.

Mount Sunday, Edoras, Ashburton Lakes, Canterbury New Zealand
Panorama of Mount Sunday
Mount Sunday, Edoras, Rangitata River, Canterbury, New Zealand
The view from Mount Sunday towards the headwaters of the Rangitata River.
Lake Roundabout, Ashburton Lakes, Canterbury, New Zealand.
View over Lake Roundabout on the way to visit Mount Sunday
Tussock and stream, near Mount Sunday, Ashburton Lakes, New Zealand. Edoras.
Late afternoon sunlight on some tussock on the approach to Mount Sunday, in the Canterbury High Country, New Zealand.

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Landscape Photography: Jetty at Port Levy, Banks Peninsula

The winter sun sparkling off the ocean, the slight fog on the ocean making the silhouette of the jetty that much more solid… all in all a particularly magical day.

This jetty is located in Port Levy, on Banks Peninsula in Canterbury, New Zealand.

Jetty at Port Levy, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Click here for some of my other images from around Banks Peninsula.

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The Day After Snow Day

A Frosty Start

This morning we woke up to clear skies and an epic frost. Add that to yesterday’s snowfall and you’ve got the recipe for some really pretty photography moments as the sun is rising!

So I bundled myself up in as many layers as possible and charged out to start enjoying the extremely fresh air and sparkling white covered landscape. After a couple of steps I slowed the charge down to a cautious walk – all of the bits that we’d trampled the day before were seriously icy!

Venturing Out

I found ice crystals on one of our windows, rosemary and a sunrise-pink-sky making a nice backdrop; more ice crystals adorning some of the garden plants, sparkling in the early morning light; and the sunlight filtering through a shelter belt and some apple trees creating a dramatic play of light & shade.

In the chook-orchard the chickens were venturing out in search of breakfast – some more brave than others – the funny wee clucks would take a few steps and then bring up a foot to warm it in their belly feathers, a few more steps and repeat the warming procedure.

Click an image below to view full-screen…

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Snow Day!!

I LOVE a good snow day!

We got our first snowfall of the year yesterday, it’s very early so maybe we’re in for a snowy winter. I braved the conditions and set off to work at the usual time (before sunrise)… what normally takes me 30 minutes took nearly an hour.

Having seen videos of VW Beetles doing donuts in the snow (rear wheel drive + loss of traction = wheeeeeeee!) I was a bit nervous about the drive, but figured if I took it real slow and left heaps of braking space I’d be fine. And I was, but as the snow fell thicker and more furiously throughout the morning I started to get worried about the drive home.

I went home at midday (again, really slowly), and tucked myself up in the warm. At about 4pm I gave up on computer work and decided to brave the cold with my camera… First port of call, the “garage” bay of the barn, where my pride and joy was still covered in snow, then into the vegetable garden to forage under the snow for dinner.

(Update: the Day after Snow Day was even more magical!)

Click an image to view full-screen…

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