Helen Oakes - PhotographerIf you haven’t had the chance to visit the West Coast you are missing out on an untouched wonderland.

Level 1, Covid-19 has given us a chance to visit our own country in depth. How cool to look around your own country without the hussle and bussle of lots of tourists. Don’t get me wrong, we love having tourists visit, but it is so nice to have our country to ourselves for a while and go to those places we’ve always wanted to.

The West Coast has so much to offer, rugged coastline, crashing waves, small towns and beautiful scenery. When I travel I tend to take my SONY A6000. It is a small, lightweight, mirrorless camera that packs a punch. I get amazing photos from this camera and love shooting with it. All my other photography, workwise, is shot on my Canon gear and that is heavy at the best of times.

I would definitely recommend buying a mirrorless camera if you travel a lot as they are small, compact and easy to operate. They even allow you to shoot in RAW which is what I always shoot in. This allows more ability to pull-down the highlights if they are blown or pull-up the shadows if your shot is dark. RAW just allows more editing capability than a JPEG.

The SONY A600 is so light to hold that you can shoot as low as 1/20th sec handheld. There are a whole series of SONY cameras in the A range including the A6400 & the new A6500. Each with a few modifications to enhance the previous model.

On this West Coast trip I did a lot of experimental shots in the evening. I wanted to capture the sun setting and shoot into the sun. If you want silhouette shots, shooting into the sun will make your subject dark as the camera’s metering system is seeing lots of light enter the lens so it compensates and reduces the light, thereby making the subject dark and silhouetted.

I also shot at midday and in the afternoon. A lot of photographers steer away from this time of the day, and admittedly I do as well. However, if you know a bit about editing you can still produce a good shot even with midday sun.

So my advice would be to get out into the New Zealand outdoors and shoot all times of the day to see what you can create. It doesn’t really matter what type of camera you have, just experiment and enjoy the wanderlust of our country.

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