Photography Workshops & Photo Tours: New Zealand November 2015 Workshop

Dates:  21 November  - 05 December 2015  (13.5 tour days, 1.5 travel days)
Availability very limited - just 6 spaces offered
$5200, all inclusive 14 night trip (plust up to 5-10% discounts offered to past workshop clients)
Signup deadline: August 31, 2015

New Zealand is one of the world's most diverse and photogenic landscapes.  It is here that I became a serious photographer during 10 months of tramps and travels, which years later, is my full time career. So New Zealand holds a special place in my heart, and it is high time to return to this land, as a photo workshop leader.   This tour around the South Island of New Zealand that I am offering, my 3rd trip here, is based on my extensive travels around all of New Zealand.   It is timed to perfectly catch the spring wildflower season, where river valleys are filled with blooming lupine fields and whole hillsides are covered in yellow flowering bushes, and mountaintops are still covered in springtime snow, and trees are budding with fresh lime green coloured leaves of spring.    

New Zealand's South Island has diverse geography, including sharp glaciated peaks, desolate beaches, temperate rain forests draped with lush moss and Jurassic - type giant tree ferns, and deep coastal fjords.  We will photograph in a large loop encircling much of the South Island, covering the Southern Alps, the West Coast, southern Fiordland National Park, and the Canterbury Plains geographical areas.  This is a fairly common and logical photography loop hitting the best of the South Island.  As we will not have time to travel around the North Island as a group, it's highly recommended that you take one additional week to explore the North Island on your own.  

This tour will be a small group of like-minded passionate outdoor photographers, with a casual atmosphere and feel to the trip.  While well planned in terms of route and significant photography destinations, this trip will at times have an exploratory element as we discover together many additional photo opportunities, and in a trip like this surprises of all kinds are sure to come our way.   The trip is limited to just 6 fellow photographers to ensure a small group adventure travel experience and maximize the group's flexibility.  I'll always be alongside my clients ready to assisting and advising my clients as they take intentional and strong compositions.  

Photography Instruction: A maximum group size of 6 photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from a full time working pro, and provide an intimate small group adventure experience. This photo workshop is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction working alongside your leader, although we may also do an image editing or critiquing session in poor weather.  Each day the group will photograph diverse landscapes and natural wonders of New Zealand, in the idyllic setting of the New Zealand springtime.  

Participants:  Days will often be long and filled, as my trip leading style is to include as much as possible, so a good travel attitude and overall energy will enable each photographer to get the most out of this trip.  Participants should have overall decent physical ability, as we will be doing some hikes up to 2-3 hours in duration (with a slow pace or plenty of stops as necessary) to reach some photographic destinations or for marvelous sunrise and sunset higher elevation views.  Photographers of all skill levels are welcome to join.   Partners of photographers that are only casual photographers or appreciate being out in nature are also welcome to join, at the same fare.   

Pro Leader: Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC in the USA will be leading the trip. Johnathan is a full time photographer and international photo trip leader, having successfully led over 40+ photography workshops since 2011, primarily in Iceland and the Adirondack Mountains of USA.  Johnathan brings to the group a high aura of energy and enthusiasm for travel and photography, while maintaining the highest standards of photographic intentionality.  

Trip Details: The cost of this tour is $4900 USD, all inclusive, and begins in Christchurch, NZ on the evening of 21 November 2015, and concludes back in Christchurch in the morning of 05 December.   The trip cost includes all photographic instruction and guiding, all transportation in a minibus, all park entry fees, all food and meals, and accommodation for 14 nights (in guesthouses or country hotels; accommodation is based on double occupancy, single supplement extra fee may be requested, most but not all rooms have in-room bathrooms).  Drinks, flights, gas station snacks, WC use, souvenirs, etc, are not included.    Bookings are confirmed upon reciept of a deposit payment of $1000, with the balance due 3 weeks prior to trip start.   A trip packing list, and a liability waiver, will be provided. 

Signup Details are below the Itinerary. If you have further questions, please contact the trip leader through the 'contact' page on this website.


day # date ..... itinerary       ................................................................      accomodation location
1 21 Nov 2015  Arrival to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand.  Personal pickup at airport. Sunset shoot on nearby Banks Peninsula, and group dinner. (time of departure TBD) Christchurch (included)
2 22 Nov 2015 Arthurs Pass National Park rivers, alpine forests, and mountain scenery.  Arthurs Pass, as well as all of New Zealand, has fine hiking possibilities, so we'll see what the weather is. If clear weather, grand vistas, and if rainy, forest and waterfall scenes.  Arthurs Pass
3 23 Nov 2015 After crossing over the Southern Alps range in Arthurs Pass, we'll reach the West Coast region.  We'll photograph some coastal areas as well as inland lakes in the afternoon.  Overnight around Hokitika, where there's an easy access glowworm grotto we photograph at night. 

Hokitika (West Coast)

4 24 Nov 2015 Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier areas offer so much to photograph, including lush mossy temperate rain forests, panoramic views of the wild Southern Alps Range, and of course the glaciers!    Fox and Franz Josef Glacier (West Coast)
5 25 Nov 2015 Sunrise reflections of the Mt Cook and Mt Tasman from the classic scene of Lake Matheson, and continuation of glacier and rainforest photography around Fox Glacier.  

Fox and Franz Josef Glacier (West Coast)

6 26 Nov 2015 Haast Pass area clear mountain rivers and waterfalls to photograph first up, then we'll drive the scenic road along Lake Wanaka to Wanaka village, situatued picturesquely on the lakeshore, were we photograph sunset. Wanaka
7 27 Nov 2015 Sunrise at Lake Wanaka, then we'll explore a bit in Mt Aspiring National Park. Later in the day we'll take the scenic drive over the mountains, past Arrowtown, and onto Queenstown by evening.  Sunset from a high vantage point over Lake Wakatipu.  


8 28 Nov 2015 Day trip out to Glenorchy valley with impressive mountain views and reflections, and mossy old-growth forests around the Routeburn track area. If good weather then we can hike up Mt Alfred for 360 degree panoramic views over the mountains. 


9 29 Nov 2015 Morning drive around scenic Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, where we spend the afternoon and sunset photographing around Lake Manapouri, and the forests and lakeshore along the beginning of the Kepler Track.  

Te Anau

10 30 Nov 2015 Fiordland National Park is my favorite park in all of New Zealand, and has breathtaking fjords, sheer cliffs, and Jurassic-feel rainforests.  And there's beautiful lupine wildflowers in the inland valleys at this time of year, which we photograph today, as well as a possible hike to a viewpoint along the Routeburn Track, and tall waterfalls down the Hollyford Valley. 

Fiordland National Park

11 01 Dec 2015 Milford Sound is the classic postcard photo of New Zealand, so we'll have a couple chances to photograph sunset and sunrise here, with Mitre Peak rising above the fjord.  Depending on weather, we may go on a boat cruise to photograph the fjord as well.

Fiordland National Park

12 02 Dec 2015 Leaving the lush temperate rainforests of Fiordland National Park, we have a longer drive through scenic river valleys filled with lupine wildflowers, and grassy passes (with plenty of photo stops along the way), and arrive to Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, featuring fine alpine scenery and New Zealand's highest mountain.

Mt Cook National Park

13 03 Dec 2015 Aoraki / Mt Cook is the main photo subject today, complemented by lupine fields, alpine tarns, and large glaciers.  We'll do some moderate hikes here up to the glacies, or if fair weather, we'll go for a sunset hike up high for impressive views across the valley towards the face of Mt Cook. 

Mt Cook National Park

14 04 Dec 2015 On our last tour day, we'll explore some lesser visited remote valleys of the South Island, including the Rakaia braided river valley, and Erewhon backcountry station (one of many filming locations from Lord of the Rings movie), where there's broad grassy valleys and snow-capped mountains.  We'll photograph a scene over the orderly farm rows and tree-hedges of the Canterbury Plains area for sunset, on our way back for a late evening arrival to Christchurch. 

Christchurch city (included)

15 05 Dec 2015 Departure flights from Christchurch, on your own.  


  • To book your space on this trip, please pay a deposit payment of $1000 USD per person. Until payment is sent, your place is not guaranteed.  You may conveniently pay your deposit on this website at, securely with your credit which will be processed by Paypal payment processor.  The deposit portion may also be paid via personal or bank check for USA and Canadian clients; contact me for further instructions.  
  • Cancellation policy:  In the unfortunate case if you need to cancel, cancellation policy is: Deposit payments are refundable as 100% future scheduled trip credit up to 120 days before trip start, 50% future scheduled trip credit if cancellation is 120-60 days before trip start, and non-refundable less than 60 days before start. Final payments for the full trip balance are 100% refundable as cash until the trip start, and non-refundable after the trip start. If I am able to fill your empty spot on the trip, half of what you'd lose will additionally be returned to you, for all the above situations.   If I cancel the trip for some major reason, such as natural disaster, trip leader health crisis, etc, then I fully refund everything in cash or Paypal, or a pro-rated amount if the trip must end early for the same reasons.   I am not responsible for reimbursing you for travel or other ancillary expenses you incur in prep for the trip.  
  • Final Payment. The final payment for the balance due on the trip (after your paid deposit), is due 3 weeks prior to the trip start. Payment options include bank transfer to my Icelandic bank account (details on request), cash in person at the trip start (with prior permissin), personal or bank checks (preferred for all USA and Canada clients), and credit cards (a 2% credit card fee will be added for final payments with card).    
  • Why Book With Us?   Here's 7 Reasons you should book this trip over competing ones:  #1 Your guide Johnathan Esper is an international photo tour leader having solo or co-guided over 40 successful photo workshops over the last 5 years.  #2.  Your trip leader Johnathan Esper really wants eveyone to get the best possible photos and learn and improve the most you can, and is your personal coach and cheerleader throughout the trip.  #3. This the best, most diverse and comphrensive itininerary anyone can reasonably do in our allotted time, which is a full 13.5 days on tour, plus your solo travel days. #4  Flippers down, this is the way best value and least expensive tour you can ever find, for similar itinerary trips.  You can find on the internet 12 day trips for $8000, and then up from there.  How do we do it? Well, for one thing, your guide Johnathan Esper also has a commercial drivers license so you're not paying an additional bus driver.  Photo instruction and locations are always top notch, however.   #5.  Following up on #4, starting in 2016 our New Zealand trips will be going way up in price.  #6.  New Zealand should be on every photographers' life list!  #7.  The small groups that join Johnathan Esper's tours are active, friendly, well-travelled, and come from around the world, so you'll meet some great people and photography travel partners for your next trip!  



Dates: 21 November - 05 December 2015 (13.5 tour days, 1.5 travel days)
Availability limited - Just 6 spaces offered!    |        
$5200 | All inclusive 14 night trip (5-10% discounts offered to past workshop clients)
Signup deadline: August 31, 2015