A photographic journey through New Zealand by Cuno von Hahn

A photographic journey through New Zealand

by Cuno von Hahn

Māori: Aotearoa – New Zealand

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The beauty and grandeur of New Zealand has captured the imagination of movie-maker and photographer in the past years, and the country is a dream destination for many around the world. It is a land of majestic snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, glaciers descending to rainforest’s, fiord’s, geysers and volcanoes.There are only a few countries that have such a geographical diversity – a reason for me to travel there.

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Of course, photography in New Zealand was as important for me as traveling around. All photos from Newzealand were shot with the X-Pro1, fujinon 14mm and fujinon 35mm.

Many people were asking me, if the New Zealand photos were made in HDR . I always try to avoid shooting HDR. Firstly, it is really complex and a time-consuming process and secondly, in my opinion the pictures become better and more natural, if I use graduate filters for more dynamic range. Surely that is not enough for getting a higher dynamic range. Shooting in RAW is also necessary.

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All my pictures are carefully exposed. While shooting I am always using the histogram as a control tool. I performed almost no post production and no cropping at all. Every correction is made in Adobe Camera Raw (There are enough tools and options integrated). But my maxim is always: Digital darkroom techniques should only be used to adjust the dynamic tonal range and color balance of an image so that it more closely resembles what you saw, and that it communicates the mood of the scene.

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I was also asked if I have encountered the X-TRANS RAW conversion problem. Yes – there are still problems. 20% (low settings) sharpening in ACR and the rest I`m doing in Photoshop. That works for me very well and I get rid of the swirlies. Have a look by yourself – I think the foliage looks nice and crisp.

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If someone would like to see some more scenery images of New Zealand (also shoot with the X-Pro 1) please visit:

www.newzealand-gallery.com

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Finally, if New Zealand is not on the top of your list of countries that you want to visit, change your mind trust me!

Cheers, Cuno

26 Comments

  1. Awesome Pitures! I’ve been to New Zealand last year with exactly the same gear. Your pictures remind me of my fantastic trip! There is no better place on earth for doing fantastic landscape photography!

  2. These images are amazing thanks very much for sharing them and it’s certainly made me consider going to NZ even more. What Island where you on and how long did you stay?

  3. Beautiful images? Are you using live view with your grad Nds or a flip up viewer. If the former how long do your batteries last?

    • Thank you guys!
      @ Martin: I am using my EVF. Battery time – hmm – 200 to 350 shots. I always have up to 7 battery packs with me. Charging possibilities of my batteries in Newzealand were limited.

  4. Thank you for sharing these great photos, the one with the burgundy colored valley,
    is of exceptional beauty and the one with the foliage right below, fit so well together
    Woah, very well done.

      • Most of them has post process done to pull details from shadows, you can identify the typical result using brush tool to do it. Like check the first photo where the halo is on right edges of island. Or the added blur around the island, what you can identify from same way as the closer shore on right and left are in blur area but suddenly the shore behind island is still sharp. Or the fourth photo where the first slope on right has pulled shadows and the second slope shows the halo. Or sixth where the foliage on right side has been pulled from shadows because gradient filter darkening it too much.

  5. It certainly should be in every travel photographer’s list to visit, nice collection of images of a very inspiring place. Can’t wait to get back there again.

  6. So, would you say that Adobe camera RAW is a good way to go to work with X-Trans sensors. Are there any better. If I knew what I was doing I would ba able to judge it by a 30 day trial.

    • You have to get used to it, but perhaps there are better workarounds. For me it is fine. I am producing high quality images (Durst Lambda, Fuji Crystal DP II) up to 120cm with no problems.

    • Absolutely not. Despite the latest updates, Adobe still doesn’t properly sort the X-Trans sensor data nearly as well as some other developers. Of course, that mucks up one’s workflow if they’re used to the Adobe ecosystem.

      • That is right. Iridient Deveoloper or Photo Ninja are converting these files much better, but I found an complicated workaround, which produces great results. But in general I would not recommend to use the Adobe converter.

  7. Cuno–Cheers and Cudo’s Indeed. The images are very carefully crafted and, having lived in SW China and Eastern Tibet for many years, I feel the pangs of intrepid traveler envy as you so finely present what your eyes observed in NZ. My composition style dovetails quite nicely with your own–you compose with great care. Many forget or have never known what it is like to go out deep into the field with film–even 50 rolls of 36–every frame counts–for once you are out–you are out. Every shot was once withheld until the light and composition were just perfect. The care with which you composed these shots reminded me of those days–and suggests a patient artist is at work here . It is a quality refreshingly inspirational in our digital-instant gratification age.

    • Thanks a lot for the motivating words ! I am 29 years old but in)deed, I began with analog photography 1995. When digital photography became popular I also switched to digital systems. But I never had the same passion as before. The Fuji-X-System actually brought back this feeling (design and handling). The X-Pro 1 is a awesome camera with great image quality but the focus is on taking “THE ” picture. The knowledge of having only 36 frames is still in me 😉

  8. I know a lot of hard work and dedication goes into all of these Daily Inspirations, but I more often find myself critiquing them then being inspired by them. But these are wonderful. The colors and tones work so well and really show a vision and a sense of style. I certainly don’t mean that as any kind of backhanded compliment, btw. I appreciate this section of the blog. But when truly eye-catching and wonderful photos show up on the screen, it really is inspiring.

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