So you could imagine my excitement when I was planning my trip to NZ in December that I would be passing through Wanaka and the site of 'that tree'. I went a little further though. I knew I wanted to get a photo that would sit proudly on my wall. I wanted it to be one of my best photos so I could create an album one day of all those places I'd added to my long, long list. So instead of just hoping to get good conditions I did what any crazy travel photographer would do, I planned for 4 days in Wanaka just to sit at that tree and wait. Was I nuts? Probably. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
So I set out plotting how to get my shot. I knew I had to figure out whether sunset or sunrise would be best so I took out my trusty TPE app on my phone and went to work. Ideally the tree would line up nicely with the path of the sun as it rose or set but for this time of year it wasn't ideal. Sunset was going to be my best option but it still wasn't perfect. It's not like I could move the tree (I thought about it though) so I decided that would be the ideal time.
The first part of this scenario actually came quicker than I thought. My first night in Wanaka I got the sunset you dream of. Beautiful clouds to create some patterns in the sky, gorgeous colours to give that spark and even some local wildlife stopped by. Perfect. If I could get the shot this early on in my 4 days I could spend more time exploring the nearby mountains. Something I'd been hoping to do but knowing I wouldn't if I couldn't get this one photo.
Knowing the sun was setting with the colours and sky I'd prayed for the next part was the hard part. How do you photograph something that's been shot hundreds of thousands of times? How do you get a different perspective? The wonderful thing about this job is that no picture is ever the same as someone elses. The clouds in my shot would never be repeated again so the perspective would always be different. That's not enough for me though.
I decided that to make it more interesting I had to do things others hadn't. So I spent the next 2 hours shooting from different angles, with different lenses, different settings and even grabbing some video footage as well. I knew what I really had to do was to get my feet wet. Literally. So I took my shoes off, waded into the water and tried my best not to fall under and drown me and my camera!
I shot as best I could with cold water flowing past my nether region. I'm not sure in the end that I got any better shots than other people, but to me I did the best I could to try for a different perspective and to get that shot for my wall.