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New Zealand may be a small nation but it holds high esteem around the world – the sense of cultural identity, adventure and natural beauty charming visitors who come here year after year to discover what makes our country so special.

In 2016, New Zealand was voted ‘favourite country’ by 75,000 readers in the UK’s Telegraph Travel Readers Awards, Kiwi luxury hotels feature regularly in awards from Condé Nast Traveller Magazine and our quality of life, education systems, environmental awareness and people rate highly with Business Insider.

There is an old Maori proverb:

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!

This is in harmony with our vision to use exceptional suppliers and operators who help us provide our valued clients with bespoke, unique New Zealand luxury experiences.

Welcome to Black Label Experience’s Secret Black Book, where we share some of our favourite New Zealand journeys and a selection of hand-picked experiences.

A Love For Landscapes

For New Zealander’s, growing up with synergy to the outdoors is characteristic of Kiwi life – playing cricket on the beach, walking through sub-tropical forests with towering kauri trees or swimming in mountain-fed rivers and lakes.14041

So, to welcome tourists to our nation’s backyard is a privilege and an honour to share how magical New Zealand can be.  Whether by air in a scenic helicopter flight over volcanic landscapes, by luxury yacht in a secluded cove in the Marlborough Sounds or hiking in unspoiled National Parks, there is plenty to see and do.

One of our Secret Black Book suppliers, grew up overseas with much the same ethos.  Raised in a small village at the edge of the forest, with backyard doors almost always opened straight into the woods, it was there that he enjoyed a childhood that fostered an appreciation for the outdoors.

At 18 years of age, he was gifted a camera from his parents, a Russian Zenith with black and white film in it and from then onwards, his passion for photography blossomed.

Today, the effect of social media and a digital world has allowed tourists to dream they can be there at a specific location and wanderlust has a whole new meaning.

Black Label believes a New Zealand photo adventure should allow our clients to immerse themselves in the environment, with extraordinary people and places key to unlocking feelings of content.

As a landscape photographer, our supplier has the talent to connect people with the landscape, to educate them about their natural surroundings and share his enthusiasm for the preservation of New Zealand’s natural beauty.

Milford Sound with Mitre Peak 1692m, Fiordland NP, Southland, World Heritage Area, New Zealand

He says of his photos, “I wish they could feel the cold, the sunshine or the wind, hear the ocean or the river. I wish that people looking at my photographs would return to them again to discover more in them. New details they missed the first time, new feelings they may feel by re-visiting the image.

To me landscape photography is a discipline and it can have quite a few meanings. The first is the most obvious, capturing the moment and the sheer beauty of our planet, and presenting it through our photographs. Just like any art, the effect of these photographs on us can be tremendous. A good photograph makes you feel something, it can calm you down, give you a sense of belonging, or it can just make you think.

The second meaning, for me is to record the state of these beautiful places, to archive them for future references and protection.

In my opinion we landscape photographers must play an important role in the battle against the destruction of those remaining landscapes and untouched wildernesses. With our imagery we can help preserve them for future generations. If my images can serve this purpose at least a tiny bit that’s a double jackpot for me.”

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Chasing Light in New Zealand

Black Label Experience feels this photography experience is well suited to many of our clients, seeking an honest encounter between land and man with ample shooting time at each location.

He says, “For me it is composition that is the most important element in the photograph, and if I can combine that with great light, that’s what I strive for.  I don’t drop in skies, remove structures, make mountains bigger, change colours etc. That’s just not my style. I think Mother Nature has developed the most beautiful environment for us, and it’s up to us landscape photographers to capture it in its best and raw condition out there, rather than from the comfort of a couch, with software.

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For me, persistence is key. I believe spending enough time on location is crucial. Persistent photographers return to the same place, over and over again if possible, to see how evening and morning light works. Learning about your subject, and slowing down to think about what you are photographing, is absolutely crucial to getting the right shot.

I have learned over the years that there is no point rushing. Don’t rush around the place trying to photograph everything. You’ll lose the best opportunity. Instead, have a goal, visualise what you want to photograph and stick to it. The scene around you will be teasing you with hundreds of photos, but by trying to get too many of them you lose your chance to get the best shot out of the scene and light.

I love the great outdoors, I love being out there with the elements, spending days and nights discovering new places and looking for photographs. It relaxes and tremendously enriches me to amalgamate myself with the wild environment where my senses switch to a different mode, completely re-booting my mind and soul.

As humans we need to be humble to our environment. We need to recognise and respect that it’s not us who is the boss here, but our Mother Nature.”

A Snapshot of Time, Nature & Location

This very special experience begins in a peaceful South Island location, at a junction between raw untouched landscapes of glaciers, wetlands, mountains, rivers and rainforests.

Set in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Area, Black Label Experience can arrange high-end accommodation in the region and private car or helicopter transfers directly to the gallery, which is located in a breathtaking rural setting with mountain views of the Southern Alps.

luxury new zealand photography tour

Here at the gallery, you can admire Limited Edition prints mounted under museum, non-reflective glass, using only highest quality archival material. The prints are available in Limited Editions of 50, 25, 10, 4, 2 and 1 only.  If you choose to purchase a print/s, it is registered and you receive a Certificate of Authenticity with an information sheet containing a profile about the image capture and technical camera capture details.

West Coast

From here onwards, you choose to join a bespoke New Zealand photography tour or photography workshop.

Customised photography tours include infield tuition and photo opportunities at sunrise and sunset, capturing incredible vistas and some itineraries can include special add-ons such as a night spent in an alpine hut in high altitude of the Southern Alps right amidst its highest peaks, an overnight boat cruise in Milford Sound, or hiking on the Fox Glacier.

You can experience some of the South Island’s magnificent National Parks including Mt Cook National Park, Mt Aspiring National Park or Kahurangi National Park with scenery ranging from coastal beaches, lagoons, lakes, limestone formations and blowholes, rainforest, rivers, waterfalls and mountains.

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New Zealand Luxury Photography Tour

Black Label Experience feel this Secret Black Book experience would appeal to clients looking for small-group luxury photography tours to shoot some of New Zealand’s most extraordinary landscapes.  It would also suit solo travellers looking for a private luxury fully-guided photography tour for a sensory immersion in their environment.

The secluded gallery setting is ideal for individuals or smaller groups to enjoy and appreciate uninterrupted gallery viewing, with a one-on-one opportunity to meet a talented landscape photographer and receive step-by-step tuition.

Petr Hlavacek Gallery in Whataroa, West Coast, NZ

Why Book This Luxury New Zealand Photography Experience

Our supplier is an experienced hiker with an affinity for the outdoors, and a sense of adventure if you seek to get off-the-beaten track.

As well as gallery viewings, Black Label Experience can arrange a customised photography itinerary to fit your needs with no minimum limit on number of participants.  You will receive infield instruction adapted to your skill level (amateur or experienced), be pre-visualizing images, assessing light conditions, learning aspects about how to find a strong composition within a scene to make a photograph speak, and improving every facet of your photography.

Three Mile Beach as seen from bush track near Okarito, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Area, West Coast, New Zealand, NZ

Browse the private gallery in your own time, or join a hands-on photography workshop where you will learn about creative techniques which professionals use to capture most compelling images, including ND Gradual, polarizing filters and other techniques.  Or, enjoy one-on-one tuition about postproduction including advice about Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.

To reserve your bespoke New Zealand South Island Photography Tour or gallery visit, please contact Tania today via email:  tania@blacklabelexperience.com to discuss your needs. 

Images:  All images are copyrighted to our supplier and have been used in this article for information only.