Photographing The Most Famous Tree In New Zealand P.T.W. BTS Ep 7

Photographing The World Behind The Scenes episode 7 is now live. In this episode, we visit the famous lone tree at Lake Wanaka, we get rained out at Milford Sound, and we end up in Queenstown for our final lesson. 

In classic Elia fashion he woke us up 3 hours before sunrise 2 days in a row to visit the famous tree that grows by the edge of Lake Wanaka. This lesson ended up being the first lesson in the entire landscape tutorial in which Elia used a graduated neutral density filter. 

Elia decided to keep the post processing pretty simple for this image and he created a very classic looking shot. 

Milford Sound ended up being an incredible place to visit but the constant rain ruined any chance of us getting a useful lesson. This area was so remote that we couldn't get cell service or internet for days and we ended up staying inside and editing our footage for 3 days. 

We ended our trip in Queenstown where we filmed our final lesson on focus stacking. In case you haven't heard, Queenstown has become known as the "adrenalin capital of the world." I've had a lifetime fear of bungee jumping and because of that fear, I knew I had to do it. At the end of this episode I sign up to jump off of the highest bungee jump in New Zealand. Stay tuned for next weeks episode when I conquer the biggest fear of my life. 


In case you've missed the other episodes you can easily find them below. 

You can watch episode 1 here

You can watch episode 2 here

You can watch episode 3 here

You can watch episode 4 here

You can watch episode 5 here

You can watch episode 6 here

You can watch episode 7 here

You can watch episode 8 here

You can find the finished tutorial in the Fstoppers Store.

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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These are really fun to watch, thanks for making them! Which drone/camera combination are you using for the drone footage?

Phantom 2 and GoPro 4 silver

I'm starting to believe you are a false profile, somehow around here to poke at fstoppers crew and other fellow photographers...
I've been checking out your profile, and even commented on one of your pictures. Sometimes you give some great advice, but most of the time you keep bashing people and acting all "God of Knowledge" and stuff. Never met someone so new to a damn comunity with so much hate and bad critique inside.
But then, i go and dive into your portfolio and find nothing that great for that personality.
I don't know, i've been quiet for a while now, but i had to say those words to are mean and add no value to the community.

Little heads up, because i am tired and that's a whole lot to read, it's like 2AM around here in Europe. There are two thumb icons on every comment...start taking a closer look at them. Want a comment? Hey right here calling a famous photographer and smart business man a dumb person for flying a drone above sheeps...

And you deleted your serious can you be? Anyway, i was freaking tired, i'm that kind of guy who works 8h a day for 600€ a month and then goes home to practice on his RAW files for more 6h.

One year at Fstoppers, ok then, what heppened for the last 11 months? Forgot the password?
You see, i still remember your whole comment. That's how serious i can get :)

And yes, you act righteous of yourself and add no value to most of the posts you comment on. Even if the information is not acurate on the articles, it is still information and you are not paying for it, at least i ain't.
People don't need to be poked all the time, sometimes they need kindness and help and if that means sharing knowledge then be it.

As for your work, i would like to see more of it, i really do and not to mock it. And i, even knowing i lack all the knowledge, would be more than pleased to help and share information with you.

Also, for a person who's learning, you still have the atitude of "know it all" kind of person, how do you expect that someone will be kind and willing to help?
Some dudes around here, put time and effort to help for free, share knowledge. And even if they keep some secrets..well, that's the business core, not to share it all but to make you think and research or pay for the rest if you will.

As for this conversation, i call it a wrap.

So are you only shooting famous locations and that's why this one had to work or not work? Couldn't you have found a nice location in the area without the bugs?

None of the other places we shot had bad bugs. It was definitely worth visiting. The weather ruined our shot though, not the bugs.

I once saw a guy let a dog outside and the dog chased the sheep into a pin. #sheepherdingistorture

A jet flew over my property a few days ago and scared my dog.

You know I love arguing with you jerry. You're not going to make me feel bad about flying the drone near deer in Iceland, ducks in Italy, or sheep in Iceland. No animals were harmed no laws broken.

It's just that no matter how wrong I may be I will never admit that you are correct ;)

I guess it would be wrong to admit I put M80s in ant mounds as a kid or that in college my car alarm used to get set off for hours at a time late at night :/

When i was a kid...i did put M80s in ants mounds i was a happy kid!
I made frogs smoke, tied tuna cans to cats name it! xD
It kind of kept me from beeing a frustrated adult...ya know...

Well, it made me grow and know that's not the right thing to do. But again, flying a drone above sheeps is nothing and sheeps scare even when they see their own shadow.

To be exact, none was killed or i would not sleep at night to this day. And as for the sheep expert, have you ever been close to one? Because i did fed quite a few and helped taking care of them, my dad is a expert it is.

Holly molly....Hahahahahahah sure, and now that my picture has a palestinian scarf I might aswell start blowing shit up. Mind your words please, it was not torture, and by the age of 6 to 8 yo you have no clue of what torture really is.

Problematic...personalities....hahahahahaahahahaha oh my

An other epic episode ! Awesome trip...
I've a quick question, what do you think about the Zenmuse gimbal, really usefull or quite useless ? Thanks !

It's awesome

Very fun to watch. Really shows how selective the process can be and dedication. I wouldn't be able to stand those flys... This episode, and tutorial, also led me to search out the filter and adapter system he uses on what appears to be the Nikon 14-24/2.8? Happy to see Elia got his own signature series from Formatt Hitech, very deserving, but the 14-24 kit is way out of my price range. Any other good suggestions?.. Keep it up, the inspiring locations and storytelling are making me get out of the city and try new locations!

To be clear, I don't think Elia used the filter kit for his 14-24mm the entire time we traveled with him. The 2.8 lens is really good for stars and nightscapes but since he prefers shooting at f8 most of the time, he almost always used the Nikkor 16-35 lens with normal Hitech filters. With the 14-24mm, he either used it wide open for stars or stopped down with no filters. The filter system for that lens is a beast and I'm not sure it is ever really worth investing into that system if you can get away with the 16-35 lens.

Thanks for clarification Patrick, much appreciated

LOL another ridiculously great BTS!
The drone talk, the flies lol, and then next week's teaser, can't wait!

Does anyone else feel like Elia's pre-edited shots are amazing, then his edited shots just go above and beyond?! purely jealous!

Once again great video Lee! I'm going to New Zealand in 2 weeks and going to be at the south island - anything else you'd recommend?

Should have shot the tree at night time too :)