Photographing New Zealand's Iconic Wanaka Tree

How do you go about photographing something as frequently photographed as the Wanaka Tree in New Zealand? Like many of the world's sights, the Wanaka Tree has seen slews of photographers trying for their version of the tree. But how can you make it your own?

For beginner and experienced photographers alike, it can be a daunting task to take something so over-photographed and create something of your own that you are proud of. But that process isn't necessarily as overwhelming as it might seem. As with all things photography, the approach you take and the techniques that get you there will make your image your own. In this video, Attilio Ruffo breaks down his process for capturing and editing the image based on how he felt about the scene.

Don't expect numbers and answers here, but a guide for how to approach a scene and the subsequent edit. Ruffo gives the reason behind everything he does, which is by far the most important part of anyone's creative process. There is plenty to learn in this video, and thankfully Ruffo has foregone the YouTube trend of cutting so often you can't keep up for a slow-paced, insight-filled video. Take a moment to appreciate what goes into the image from the artist's perspective. 

For another look at photographing the Wanaka Tree, be sure to check out "Photographing the World" from Fstoppers and Elia Locardi.

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3 Comments

Deleted Account's picture

In my opinion photographers that have ambitios and creativity should look for new things, not shoot things that have been photographed billion times. Seen this tree so many times that I have zero interest in going there

Deleted Account's picture

In my opinion, anyone can make an image from a new thing, which will then appear interesting as a result of being new. It requires ambition and creativity to make something familiar, appear new and interesting.

"Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe." ~Lex Luthor

Dale West's picture

Im a video guy. Have been for more than 40 years. I watch a lot of these videos as I try to make my still photo skills better. I find myself getting caught up in the quality of the video and getting distracted with that. The first thing Im going to say it "Auto Focus?!?!? Come on. Head room. Make up your mind. I assume you are doing this along so do a test and adjust accordingly. I hate jump cuts. Maybe use a 2nd camera with a different focal length or different angle. But if you do that you have to talk to that camera. It makes me crazy to have a different angle and the eye contact is to the other camera.
With that said I shake off the first viewing and restart the video and learn a thing or two. Usually more. One last thing: A while back I worked with a painter shooting some of his works. I shot the artwork on a static shot and then slowly began to push to give t some movement. Please stop the artist said. I asked if there was a problem. He said that he had painted the image as a whole so please shoot it as such. I noticed that you moved on some of your photographs in post and wondered what you thought of the artist's requirements for showing his work? Thanks