Twilight, Lake Hayes, New Zealand

Tree branches at twilight reflected in the waters of Lake Hayes near Arrowtown, New Zealand.

New Zealand is a beautiful country. It’s an adventure playground with loads of fantastic locations for landscape photography.

I’ve visited the South Island on three occasions, the first time way back in the days of film. The second trip was with a friend who traveled to Queenstown for a convention. I tagged along, took him on a few excursions and found sometime for my own photography explorations.

A Picture Postcard Location

One of my first explorations was to Arrowtown, a village not far from Queenstown. Just before you reach Arrowtown you pass by Lake Hayes, a pristine lake in a particularly scenic location.

Photographing Quiet and Stillness

I made the above photo in the fading twilight. I just love the cool blue color of twilight. It produces a melancholy mood well suited to the quiet, contemplative stillness at that time of day.

This photo is not so much about tree branches and water, but about composition. Color is a key element in composition, as is line, and I was careful to position the camera so that the lines of the overhanging branches joined with reflections on the surface of the lake.

I’ve long been interested in the concept of as above, so below and that concept was in my mind while making this photo.

I experimented with the look of the image, over several different frames, by altering the point of focus and changing the depth of field so that:

  • the tree branches were in focus, as you see above
  • the reflections were in focus
  • the whole image was in focus

Making Something Out Of Nothing

At the end of the day the above version produced the strongest mood. It’s a simple image and is a good example of the approach that underpins much of my photography.

After all, it’s not everyday when you’re photographing icebergs under the midnight sun, children in India or architecture in Paris. Most times it’s not so much what you photograph, but how and why you go about your photography that’s important.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru