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