We have finally made it to the end of our behind-the-scenes series of Elia Locardi's “Photographing the World” tutorial. In episode 18, we continue our travels through New Zealand as we hike out 4 miles to the base of Mount Cook for an interesting astro photography lesson, the team celebrates the end of this trip with a skydiving session in Queenstown, and Lee and I say our final goodbyes to Elia and Naomi Locardi.
As you have seen, photographing and filming this entire series around the world has been an extremely difficult challenge to say the least. In past episodes we faced horrible snow storms, language barriers with local security, wild monkeys and wingless birds, drone GPS abnormalities, and late night irrigation sprinklers, but nothing could have prepared us for what we would face in our final astrophotography lesson. Elia was determined to camp out over night at the base of Mount Cook, but he warned us that the hike out there would take a few hours. If having to carry all of our video and photo gear through four miles of wilderness wasn't bad enough, we now faced the burden of carrying the extra camping gear too.
Once we finally made it to the base of Hooker Lake, the ambient temperatures began to drop suddenly. We soon found ourselves in complete darkness, heavy winds that almost blew our tents over, and near freezing 45 degree temperatures. Because it is near impossible to film video at night, we had to rely on long time-lapses to capture the overall scene as Elia worked through his starlight image of Mt. Cook. After we setup about four DSLRs to capture long exposure photos throughout the night, we quickly discovered we weren't exactly alone in the wilderness. As you can see in the video, several wild beasts stalked our tents throughout the night and an unidentified figure even disrupted one of our time-lapse cameras. In the end, Elia was able to capture a unique night sky image of Mount Cook with Hooker Lake and the glaciers in the foreground.
After completing what was one of the most memorable experiences in New Zealand, we headed back to Queenstown to wrap up the entire six country trip. As you have seen throughout this series, Lee and I wanted to celebrate the completion of this amazing journey in epic fashion. Since Queenstown is the home of the most thrilling and extreme sports in the world, it seemed fitting to go both sky diving and bungee jumping as the grand finale (check out the bungee jumping episode here). Lee and I have only been sky diving once before and while I was still nervous, I was greatly looking forward to the amazing view Queenstown would offer from above. Elia on the other hand wasn't as enthusiastic about any of our proposed extreme celebrations.
As I reflect on the entire experience that was “Photographing the World,” I feel extremely proud of the education we were able to produce and share during this insane project with Elia. I can't speak highly enough of Elia Locardi as both a photographer and educator, and I'm happy to now call one of the coolest guys I've ever met a friend for life. It's always extremely difficult to try to explain to people the challenges and successes that come out of a trip of this magnitude. For the first time, I feel like we have come up with a great solution to this problem by producing such an extensive behind-the-scene series that captures the entire process. Another super rewarding aspect to this entire project is seeing all the amazing travel and landscape images being shared by photographers who have used Elia's techniques in their own work. In many cases it has felt like I'm right beside them as they share many of the same locations we used to teach our own lessons.
For more information about both the Landscape and Cityscape “Photographing the World” series we produced with Elia Locardi, head over to the Fstoppers Store, and if you missed the beginning of this entire series you can start back at the beginning with our first episode in Iceland.
And for those of you who are extremely sad to see this extended behind-the-scene series come to an end, prepare yourself now because next month we will take you on a completely new journey as we share the first episode from Joey Wright's upcoming Swimwear Photography tutorial on Lighting, Posing, and Retouching! Stay tuned for a whole new adventure.