Best ASA speed and route suggestions for New Zealand in March - May
I will in New Zealand for 8 weeks, from mid March -Mid May. We will be heading to South Island as soon as we arrive in Auckland and slowly work our way back up. We have the use of an old station wagon from a friend for the entire time so transportation is not an issue. I am bringing along a Nikon N90s for 35mm, and Mamiya 6 for my MF. Need whatever guidance available
1. best ASA speed for 35mm and Med format (100 or 400)
2. how much film to bring. I know film is expensive in NZ
3. how useful is a flash for the trip
4. plan on going down west coast of SI , coming back up on east coast. Any suggestions for route is most welcome.
5. route suggestion for North Island
I try to avoid tourist areas, much prefer wandering on less travelled country roads, stopping in small towns and villages.
Any advice, suggestion on is most welcome. Thanks.
Visiting New Zealand, especially the South Island, is like visiting Alaska, Scotland, Colorado, California, Yellowstone, Finland, Tuscany, Arizona, and Death Valley in a few weeks time. You will encounter glaciers, deserts, temperate rain forests, vineyards, mountains, fjords, beaches, ski slopes, etc. In other words, take a shipload of film and cover your bases. You will shoot in bright sunlight, deep forests and everything in between. I don't think you will be best served by a "one film for all purposes" approach.
I wouldn't mind being in NZ from mid-March either! The autumn splendor of Lake Wanaka and Queenstown (South Island) should stir you into getting on the earliest plane out, with loads of film to burn.
The West Coast has been said to have its own weather system, and one that gives the most annoyance to travellers from around the globe. The East Coast is milder, but can still be utterly awful in bad weather. You have to be prepared for everything. I would rate the South Island a 13 out of 10 for scenic quality compared to the touristy North Island. The South has The Southern Alps (sunsets with these are phenomenal), the playground of Wanaka and Queenstown, the Coromandels, The Fjordland and its other-worldly spires of "crying mountains" (so much rain the peaks appear to be crying), The Catlins, an area of lush rainforest (where rain is the operative word in every respect) dotted with exquisitely pretty waterfalls must be seen. Extend your stay by another 8 weeks!
I don't really think you will be served properly relying on one or two films for this trip. When I went, I took with me 140 films, the majority Velvia 50, Velvia 100F, Provia 100F, ACROS 100 and NPS 160 (discontinued) print film.
There was a film processing store in Papanui, outside Christchurch that I used often in 2006; I believe it is now gone, along with many beautiful landmarks in Christchurch from the earthquake. I don't know (or like) Auckland very much. Maybe Sean here (the web techie) can tell you what facilities are around places like "Windy Wellington".
I have about 2000+ sheets of assorted chrome film but recently I've been trying Portra 160 and 400 and you can pull and push all day and the negatives (for me) have always come out great. Ektar 100 pulled to 50 is pretty close to Velvia. But if I had to choose one film it would be Portra 400.
Bring both 100 and 400 speed films, colour and black and white. If you run out, you'll just have to "suck it up" and buy some at Kiwi prices In Wellington, WPS is the best place for film.
As for places in the South Island, if you've got time, try and pop across to Stewart Island. Another spot that is often missed is the north western most tip of the South Island from Takaka round to Farewell Spit (many tourists get to Abel Tasman National park and avoid going over the hill.)
In the North Island, the southern coastal regions are quite spectacular, round Wellington and the southern Wairarapa coasts. You could look to head up on the west coast, say towards Wanganui, then head up through the Parapara's and along the Wanganui river. Then head on over to the central North Island plateau. From there, you could head over to the east coast and go round the via Gisborne and East Cape, Bay of Plenty and up to Coromandel.
Feel free to send a PM if you're stopping near Wellington.
(Oh, btw Poisson, if you're hoping to find the Coromandels in the South Island, you're going to be looking a long time.....)
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