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Ondrej Lednicky’s photos he brought home from his trip around New Zealand came out a little differently than the bright and shiny holiday snaps many of us are a sucker for. The Slovakian photographer famous for his worldwide photography on ondrejlednicky.com spent three weeks in New Zealand capturing an alternative side to the country and everyday life in New Zealand… And the result is outstanding!
Equipped with a Nikon D7000 and 13 years of photography experience, Ondrej hit the road. “I was traveling with my girlfriend and we spent in New Zealand three weeks,” the photographer says. “We rented a small car in Christchurch and drove through the South and then North Island.”
“Normally, we can see the photos of New Zealand more or less in colorful versions. My aim and approach is to show New Zealand not as usual, but to show the real dynamics of this beautiful country and amazing nature through B&W.”
First up, New Zealand is famous for its variety of dramatic landscapes. No trip to New Zealand is complete without capturing some of its most stunning scenery. Ondrej’s trip was no exception: “This photo is showing how breathtaking was the view over the valley and this delta river. I have never seen such a combination of the river and mountains. When the sun came up through the stormy clouds, I just had to simply capture this unforgettable moment.”
Of course, New Zealand appeals because of its epic landscapes and adventure activities. But one of the most underrated things about New Zealand is the country’s friendly locals.
“We had more opportunities to interact with Kiwis, because we booked our accommodation most of the time through Airbnb,” says Ondrej. “we always chose the option in a shared house with locals. It was simply a great experience. Most of the time we met very friendly and helpful people. On the top of that, we could have a bit deeper look into the local life. What I am sad about a bit, that we couldn’t have any closer contact with Maori. Maybe next time?”
New Zealand has one of the shortest social histories in the world but evidence of the country’s early pioneers can be found in towns like Arrowtown.
Ondrej says about his visit to the golding mining town, “Arrowtown is a charming place. We saw street artists there for the first time in NZ and it completed the atmosphere of the town”.
“Weather affected our NZ trip quite a lot,” says Ondrej. As this moody scene captured across Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown shows, he had “bad luck on the weather – most of the time was rainy.” But as you can tell by Ondrej’s shot, “we couldn’t see everything in perfect conditions and nice colours, but on the other hand, foggy weather was as well attractive.”
Check out What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?
Farming is a big thing here in New Zealand, shaping much of the land. “I really liked to see so many sheep everywhere and its combination with the spirit of the landscape,” says Ondrej. “And I think that even when agriculture impacts the landscape, on the other side it brings the life. I like the balance NZ keeps between those two.”
With 14,000km of coastline to catch fresh fish, no wonder fish and chips are the most popular takeaway among Kiwis. “In my opinion, it says about the British influence from historical point of view,” remarks Ondrej. “My main sense which guided me was the smell, because we were on a place recommended by locals. Fish was very fresh and they prepared it very tasty!”
New Zealand is known as Aotearoa, the “Land of the Long White Cloud”, in Maori. Ondrej says how the skies became a subject for many of his photos taken in New Zealand. “Sky and clouds were sometimes really powerful and I was amazed by them,” he says. “So on some of my photos I tried to focus more on it and to show how dynamic can sky be compared to the ‘static’ but massive landscape. Those epic skies and massive landscapes are the perfect couple. I enjoyed them both.”
The walk to Fox Glacier in the West Coast is pretty humbling passing in front of dated signs indicating the rapid retreat of the glacier. Ondrej captures the ever-changing environment with this empty valley, “Sometimes I felt ashamed that we are not often thankful for what we have got on this beautiful planet, so with this empty valley I tried to capture how we don’t appreciate enough what nature offers us.”
Christchurch is often a reminder of the power of nature. Among the rebuild of the city that experienced some devastating earthquakes between 2010-2011, is this memorial. “From my point of view, this memorial very important not just like nice visual urban art, but most of all to remember the difficult times of earthquake. I tried to capture a moment of peace for the 185 people who died during the earthquake in 2011.”
The aim of this picture was to put things back into perspective and show the sheer size of the landscape that Ondrej and his girlfriend were driving through. “Driving through Arthur’s Pass made us feel really small. I don’t remember exactly how often we stopped, but I am sure a lot, like always when driving on NZ roads.”
This shot is very empty yet in absolute motion. “I was waiting for longer time to be able to capture the right moment,” Ondrej says. “As I was born and grew up in the inland country, Slovakia, for me the beach and the sea is simply always stunning. We really enjoyed the beaches in NZ, most of the time completely without people and that was even more fascinating for me.”
“I took this photo when I was already on the way to the gate. On the way to the next adventure – Argentina! I was leaving NZ, so everything what I keep from NZ is in my mind and in my camera. Beside of very nice views of the landscape, I took away the different view of life, which I could see until now in ‘home’, Europe.”
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