Posting Number 300

This article is a bit of a milestone as it represents number 300 in terms of the number of postings on my photography blog. As this occasion has been approaching I’ve been wondering about what topic to cover. I decided to share some images from New Zealand that will be included in one of my forthcoming photography e-books. 

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO-160

This first image was taken along the Tutukaka Coast on the North Island of New Zealand. We had quite a bit of rain follow us around during our 4 weeks of shooting. Since none of my Nikon 1 bodies is weather-proof that did pose a few challenges.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 60mm, efov 163mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-160

The only area of New Zealand that we visited twice during our 4 weeks of shooting was Matapouri Bay. A planned dolphin watching boat tour became unrealistic because of inclement weather in the Paihai area so we went back to Matapouri. As you can see from the image above, there are some wonderful rock formations along much of the New Zealand coast which can make for some very interesting images.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 37mm, efov 99mm, f/7.1, 1/500, ISO-160

Our travels took us from Cape Reinga, the most northerly point on the North Island (image above) all the way to Slope Point which is the most southern point on the South Island.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 58mm, efov 157mm, f/5.6, 1/100, ISO-400

The wind is so strong and harsh at Slope Point that it has had a noticeable effect on the vegetation. We had to unlock the gate to a farmer’s field in order to walk out past the sheep to reach Slope Point.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/7.1, 1/1000, ISO-800

We spent quite a bit of our trip on small, gravel roads visiting some out-of-the-way places in New Zealand. The image above is the road leading to the hamlet of Cosy Nook on the South Island. Unfortunately there was a hard, driving rain during most of the time of our visit so my images were less than optimal. A visit to Cozy Nook on a bright sunny day would yield some magnificent seascapes.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 12mm, efov 31mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-400

Backtracking on the road leading to Cosy Nook did yield a few interesting images such as the one above.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm, f/3.5-5.6 @ 8mm, efov 21mm, f/8, 1/4, ISO-160

New Zealand is so green and lush due to the copious amounts of rain that fall in many parts of the country so there are many waterfall photography opportunities. Purakaunui Falls was one of the planned stops we had on our tour. This is one of the most photographed waterfalls in New Zealand as it is quite accessible.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 13mm, efov 34mm, f/8, 1/100, ISO-800

If you are partial to rugged, mountain scenery the South Island affords many photographic opportunities. The image above was captured in the town of Te Anau during an evening lakeside walk with my wife.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO-400

One of the objectives of my photography e-books is to demonstrate to readers that quite pleasing images can be captured during the typical times of the day when they are travelling. That’s why I purposely planned to capture most of my images between the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO-160

We also kept our hikes into photographic locations at quite reasonable levels, most often no more than about 400 meters or about 1/4 mile. New Zealand has some spectacular photographic spots but to reach them may involve some very long, strenuous hikes. The image above of the Rangipo Desert on the North Island was taken less than 50 meters from the highway.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm, f/3.5-5.6 @ 13mm, efov 35mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO-400

This flower/cliff scene was captured at Onaero Bay on the North Island in a small park directly on the beach. This image, like all of the ones that will be in my e-books, underwent some very simple post processing. This typically takes no more than about 3 minutes including computer processing time. I think it is important for folks to know that they don’t have to spend hours on an image to get a decent result.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 23mm, efov 61mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-160

During all of my photography field trips I captured images on a ‘catch as catch can’ basis. I simply tried to do the best I could given the conditions at the time. The image above was captured on route to Picton on the South Island on an overcast day at low tide.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6 1/500, ISO-160

The weather wasn’t all ‘doom and gloom’ and we did have some nice sunny days. The image of the Mataura River above was captured en route to Queenstown from Te Anau.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 29mm, efov 77mm, f/8, 1/400, ISO-160

If you have the opportunity to visit New Zealand you will find image opportunities like the one above abound. It is a wonderful country with warm, engaging residents.

If you enjoyed this article you may want to have a look at New Zealand Tip-to-Tip. This 250 page eBook features 89 locations in New Zealand and over 400 original photographs. You can use the link to see more detailed information about the eBook. The cost of New Zealand Tip-to-Tip is $12.99 Canadian.


One of the common objectives I have with all of my upcoming e-Books to is encourage people to go out and create more photographs, regardless of the equipment they use to do so. I think the more that we can make photography accessible by taking a practical approach with it, the more people will embrace this wonderful pastime.

My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to make a modest $10 donation through PayPal to support my work it would be most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to through PayPal.

As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.

Article and all images are Copyright 2016 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.

11 thoughts on “Posting Number 300”

  1. My hearty congratulations on your 300th post. These photos are really awesome. New Zealand has always been a fantastic place for landscapes and your images just reiterates what I have learnt through various sources on the net – it is a beautiful place. And your article shows that the technique and right composition can render beautiful images. In inclement weather you have shot very good images. I am able to see how you have composed and created these landscape images. I am able to understand and appreciate the simple composition element of bringing some object in the foreground into sharp focus and keep the aperture slightly narrow to create depth in the photograph. Trust my understanding is correct. This is where I am trying to learn. Framing with an object to one end of the viewfinder and not to the centre so that the effect is dramatic and the coverage is wide. I shoot with a beginner combo using a Nikon d3200 and a 35 mm prime. What also comes out in your photographs is your trained eye in capturing images. Your experience and fluid writing style coupled with a beautiful set of pictures makes for good and instructive reading. My best wishes again for keeping this good work flowing and keep up these wonderful co.positions. wishing you success. Thanks.

  2. Your photos are exquisite, and I wonder what you use for raw conversion. You sometimes use DXO, but is that your regular go-to converter, or do you use other converters and why?

    1. Hi Bob,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos – thanks for your kind words!

      I’ve been using DxO OpticsPro for a number of years now…since version 8 if my memory serves. I now use OpticsPro 11 as the first stage for all of my RAW file processing. I really like all of the auto lens corrections that are done in OpticsPro 11. I then export a DNG file into CS6 and often finish off my files with Nik Suite – typically with Vizena and/or ColorEfex. I have absolutely no interest at this point in using something other than OpticsPro for my first stage RAW processing.

      I have some OpticsPro custom presets that I created and use with my Nikon 1 V2 files depending on the subject matter and the lighting that was in the original capture. I’m still experimenting with my Nikon 1 J5 files and treat them differently than the V2 files. For example I don’t apply any sharpening to them, whereas I do apply some sharpening with my V2 files.

      I really don’t do that much with my J5 files in OpticsPro 11. I use the standard settings and I do ‘thicken up’ my J5 files by reducing highlights. The odd time I may adjust shadows but that’s it. I put every Nikon 1 file through PRIME noise reduction regardless of the ISO at which is was captured as I really like how they come out after the process.

      Other than some basic slider adjustments and the odd one with curves or levels I don’t do that much in CS6, and I do even less in Nik Suite. There are particular adjustments in each piece of software that I like and use depending on the dynamics of the image. I suppose it is the combination of the things I use in the three pieces of software that allows me to get the look I want fairly quickly.

      Typically I only spend about 3 minutes with a RAW file (including computer processing time) and if I can’t get it to look the way I want in that short time frame I usually just move on to a different image. I’ve never been a pixel peeper so I don’t sweat the small stuff and I’m more focused on the overall impact of the image.

      Hope this has been helpful…


    1. Hi Joni,
      Yes, we were on the move most every day and covered a lot of ground and took in quite a few interesting locations! I’ve been working on images etc. for almost 10 days now and I’m not even half way through yet!

  3. Tom Congratulations!

    This is so awesome a great accomplishment from a great guy. It is amazing to see the quality you get from the awesome N1 gear.

    I hope that they get some updates going for you so this can continue into the future.

    Thanks again for this journey with the N1 gear!

  4. Tom:
    Congratulations on achieving the milestone of 300 posts on your photography blog! I have read every one of them and you always deliver excellent content. You are spoiling us (your readers) with these superb photos as we are getting a gift in advance of your publishing of the upcoming E-books.

    These photos are a wonderful testimony to your skill with the Nikon 1J5. Viewing these photos instils incentive within to get out and practice more with my IJ5. It certainly is the little camera that can accomplish great things.

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