Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

“A Photographer’s Gift for his Mom”- Church of the Good Shepard, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand – Bhuminan Piyathasanan – Guest Photographer   54 comments



“A Photographer’s Gift for his Mom”- Church of the Good Shepard, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand – Bhuminan Piyathasanan – Guest Photographer

I think this could be Snow White’s home or some other fairy tale princess.  Everything is a bit too perfect down to the stars aligning right over the roof.  No wonder this photograph has gotten so much attention.  After being released at, this photo was chosen as “Editors Choice!” with almost 20,000 views and more than 1,000 votes in 24 hours. You could visit this wonderful photo at:, but the story of how and why it was made can only be read below. Enjoy!

Take it away Bhuminan:

In December 2011, one month before my birthday, I had a photography trip with my friends in New Zealand.  As a photographer, I want to be here, one of the most beautiful places in the world, in order to take the best photo as I could.  Then, I’d like to send this photo to my best, beloved mom.  I waited until midnight.  It was so cold and windy night that made me chill.  Unfortunately, one essential factor was out of my control.  It was almost full moon night.  However, the show must go on : )  This photo was taken with the natural light with about 30 seconds exposure.  I setup the camera (Nikon D700 + Carl Zeiss ZF 35mm) on tripod, then I used Nikon SB-900 speedlight for manually shooting the foreground. Taking Long exposure photo allowed me to walk and fill light with the flash for several times.  If my memory served, I set up the flash about 1/16 or 1/32 power then fired 5-6 times from foreground to the church.  The favourite shot looked like a scene from childhood fairy tales.  And, I hope this will be the greatest gift to my mom.

On my birthday, 16 January 2012, I sent this photo to my mom and wrote this message to her: “Dear Mom, I cannot thank you enough for all your always supporting and believing in me.  I would not be the person I am today without your constant patience, guidance and love.  Thank Mom!! For giving me birth : ) Love you so much.”

If you are interested to print this beautiful photo, you could visit Atomic Zen’s online gallery in the link below

You could print the photo in several formats (e.g., greeting card, postcard, canvas, or poster).  If you would like to send a birthday greeting card or postcard to your friends, this photo will be very meaningful on that special day : )

Royal Albatross Chick (Diomedea epomophora) – Otago Peninsula, New Zealand   13 comments



Royal Albatross Chick (Diomedea epomophora) – Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

On the southern edge of New Zealand lies the wind swept Otago peninsula.  It is home to several species of penguins, sea lions, dolphins, whales, and sea birds.  On the very tip is Taiaroa Head, home to a Royal albatross colony.  The place is spectacular.  Rather than building a little birding platform they built an entire visitor center around the site  What makes this place so special is that they are nesting on the very large south island of New Zealand.  Normally, they will only nest on islands without rats.  I guess the locals have a good way of keeping the rats out of this highly protected area.  While this little guy was at home in the blustering wind, we were warm and dry trying to spot them like Easter eggs in the tall grass.  If you are ever in this part of the world, it is a must see for everyone.

Dusky Dolphin – Kaikoura Bay, New Zealand   11 comments


Dusky Dolphin – Kaikoura Bay, New Zealand

When in New Zealand my wife and I did a couple of trips to swim with the dusky dolphins with .  This trip is amazing.  The captain said he would drop us off with the dolphins and then once they swam past he would pick us up and find them again.  Everyone on the tour was given a 7 mm wetsuit because the water was so cold.  I wore my 3mm Rip Curl surfing wetsuit so I could still dive and it made all the difference. Sure the water was freezing, but I was able to dive down several feet when the dolphins approached.  They spent the entire hour chasing me around, spinning, and doing whatever I did.  Most of the time, I had at least 1-2 dolphins within a foot of my every move. Spectacular!  I would highly recommend this tour.  For those of you who like to stay dry, I took this photograph from the small boat just as the dusky surfaced.  It is one of my most favorite shots from the trip!

Wandering Albatross – Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand   5 comments



Wandering Albatross – Kaikoura, South Island, New Zealand

Okay you may be thinking “So what? A little seagull.  Big Whoop!”  Well this seagull turns out to be a Wandering Albatross with the largest wingspan of any bird on earth. About 12 feet! There are only about 25,000 of these birds left in the world. So how did this one ended up actually pecking my 16mm-35mm camera lens?

When in Kaikoura most people swim with the dolphins and search for sperm whales, but when I was there nobody went on the sea bird tour.  They really missed out. We did all three tours and they were all amazing.  Ocean Wings  does the sea bird tour and Captain Gary took us out for a once in a lifetime opportunity. Actually it was a twice in a lifetime experience because we went back the next day.  You have the opportunity to see up to a dozen species of Albatross, a ton of shearwaters, and petrels galore.  Did I mention that we saw hundreds of birds and many were within 1 or 2 feet away?  Although I have no connection with this tour I would highly recommend it if you are in New Zealand and looking for something out of the ordinary.  Who am I kidding the entire country is out of the ordinary. 

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