Milford Sound, by Phillip Bartlett

Milford Sound, by Phillip Bartlett. I love the moodiness of this photo by my co-instructor – very Lord of the Rings.

I’m so looking forward to going to New Zealand!

I remember seeing a National Geographic article about New Zealand when I was growing up, with a captivating cover photo of Milford Sound. It seemed like such an exotic, even mystical place, with mountains plunging into the sea, rainforests, peaks draped with glaciers, flightless birds, and on and on. I dreamed of going there.

And then I saw Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, famously filmed in New Zealand. The landscapes fit so perfectly with the mythical, other-worldly realm of these stories. That made me want to go even more.

So I’m thrilled to finally get that chance this October, when I’ll be co-leading a photography expedition to South Island for Visionary Wild. My co-instructor is Phillip Bartlett, a fantastic photographer and New Zealand native, who has scoured the area to find lots of beautiful, lesser-known, but highly-photogenic locations, and put together an amazing itinerary for this trip.

New Zealand just reopened its borders after two years of COVID isolation. Phill tells me that tourism is only gradually ramping back up, so it’s a great time to visit, as Air New Zealand is offering some excellent deals to encourage visitation, and the popular destinations will be less crowded. And of course the lesser-known spots should be even emptier.

One of the lesser-known areas on the itinerary is the high country of Southland, which Phil describes as “an enchanting blend of lakes, rivers, mountains and forests, and the distinctively-New Zealand golden tussock vegetation provides the perfect complement to the grandeur of this region.” Naturally, this area was used for some of the locations in the Lord of the Rings films.

This promises to be an amazing journey; I can’t wait! If you’d like to join Phil and me on this trip to the magical landscapes of New Zealand, there are still a few spots available. It’s a 14-day journey – long enough to really get immersed in this beautiful region. All meals, transportation, and lodging are included. And there’s a maximum of seven participants, with two instructors, so you’ll get lots of personal attention. To learn more or register, visit this link:

New Zealand Photography Expedition, October 6-21, 2022

I hope you can join us!

— Michael Frye

P.S. I’ve included a selection of New Zealand images below by Phil, and a couple from Visionary Wild founder Justin Black from his previous trips to New Zealand with Phil. I’m looking forward to photographing some of these amazing landscapes myself, and trying to capture that mystical quality that seems to abound in New Zealand – and helping a select group of photographers do the same.