The man who shot Mount Sibbald

Department of Conservation —  20/03/2014

Today, Sydney-based photographer Tim Donnelly tells us the story behind the epic image he gifted us for our Wildside New Zealand promotion

Tim Donnelly.

Tim Donnelly

I listen to the rushing sounds of water while staring at the majestic Mount Sibbald, contemplating what brought me to this incredible landscape.

The answer: It was the result of a plan by a great friend to surprise me for my birthday.

With complete secrecy, he had organised to take me to Lake Tekapo for a photography escape. All I knew was I had to surrender my passport and be prepared for no sleep and plenty of adventure.

You can imagine my surprise when I not only arrive at Christchurch International Airport, but also see two mates standing at the baggage claim. What a start!

I hadn’t visited the South Island of New Zealand before, so my expectations were high—and this great land did not disappoint.

On the shore of Lake Tekapo. Photo: Tim Donnelly | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

On the shore of Lake Tekapo, near the famous Church of the Good Shepherd. Captured this shot the first evening we got there

Over the next few days we covered as much terrain as possible between Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook.

On the second to last day, we jumped into the 4WD and proceeded along the east side of Lake Tekapo.

On the way to Lake Tekapo. Photo: Tim Donnelly | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

A stunning scene of stunning light and landscape

Mumford & Sons played as the soundtrack as we witnessed breathtaking scene after breathtaking scene.

We eventually crossed the Macauley River and continued north, but unfortunately the weather closed in, not allowing us to go any further.

Sunset at the north end of Lake Tekapo. Photo: Tim Donnelly | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Sunset at the north end of Lake Tekapo

We turned around and crossed back through the river, where we decided to stop and have a break. The pause in our exploration resulted in a composition frenzy. The sun broke through the clouds and it lit Mount Sibbald beautifully—highlighting every contour and crevice.

With great excitement, I extended my tripod against the banks of the gorge. I placed the rushing water in the foreground of my frame, the mountains in the background, configured my filters, and waited for the sun to do its best. The composition was complete so I released the shutter…

Looking back up the North East Gorge Stream towards Mount Sibbald. Photo: Tim Donnelly | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Epic: Looking back up the North East Gorge Stream towards Mount Sibbald

I am honoured that the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai would choose my photo to represent their efforts and I hope you will see more of my imagery in the future. Thank you again for your stunning country and all its beauty. Get out there and experience it—unleash the Wildside!

Check out more of Tim’s work on flickr, 500px, Google+

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2 responses to The man who shot Mount Sibbald

    Elizabeth Marenzi 20/03/2014 at 10:20 am

    It’s great to hear about the story (and the man) behind the Wildside photo. Thanks heaps Tim. Your work is truly inspiring!

    Alicia Warren 20/03/2014 at 9:41 am

    Lovely shots Tim. Thanks for the gift.