Waimangu Volcanic Valley

My First New Zealand Video Short

The sheer beauty of New Zealand is staggering. This New Zealand Video Short project presents two areas of that country: the Waimangu Volcanic Valley on the North Island, and Milford Sound, from Glenorchy to the Tasman Sea, on the South Island.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley
New Zealand Map
New Zealand Map

On July 2, 2017, we hiked down the Volcanic Valley shooting photos and video with our iPhones: the 6S Plus.1 This area is one of the newest areas on the planet created by the slumbering geological forces of our earth. The Volcanic Valley was born from a volcanic eruption (Mount Tarawera) in June of 1886. In several shots, you can actually see the remains of the distant volcano, the top of which is shrouded in thick clouds2.

The geothermal activity here was unlike anything I had ever seen before in my life, inspiring awe, wonder, and a healthy dose of fear. (Surely, the earth isn’t going to erupt again today?! Not today… Right?!) Unfortunately the project can’t capture the acrid smells and the steam continuously fogging up my glasses and the camera lens.

Milford Sound

Then, on July 10th, 2017, on the South Island, we hopped into a helicopter just outside of Glenorchy and pierced the dense, low-lying fog barely above Lake Wakatipu as we headed out across the Southern Alps and on to Milford Sound (fjords). We landed on a mountain glacier and on a beach along the Tasman Sea. The scale and grandeur of the fjords is indescribably expansive and speaks to the incomprehensible power of the geological forces that forged this part of the world from the ocean floor.

To see is to be enchanted by the sheer wonder of it. And I was eager to share these extraordinary experiences with you. I hope I’ve been able to capture some small sense of these magnificent places. This is one of those life experiences I can not highly recommend enough. If you ever have the opportunity to explore this part of the world, seize it!

So, enjoy my first New Zealand video short. I still have tons of unused video footage from this trip. Depending on how life rolls along, I may create additional video projects from them.

Be sure to click the gear icon on the video and specifically choose 1080 (not auto). Otherwise, the Vimeo player defaults to 540 (auto) and looks horrid on anything other than a handheld device.

New Zealand: Volcanic Valley and Milford Sound from Tim Tyson on Vimeo.

Here’s the same video on YouTube.

I uploaded this project in high definition (HD) with 5.1 surround sound audio. For the best experience, watch this short on a really large screen, like your 4k TV. (This is the first time I’ve ever created a surround sound project!) I’m not sure if, when Vimeo and YouTube compress the upload, the project will retain the 5.1 surround sound or its video quality.

Some Background Information

This is my second “short.” My first video short was of the Bay Area. So, I’m calling this a short and not just a video because, well… I think it’s really awesome, and it’s longer than most of the things I do. In fact, this is the longest project I’ve ever done, coming in at 4 minutes and 40 seconds.

I’ll be the first to tell you this isn’t perfect. It just isn’t. I have an even greater appreciation for the sheer difficultly, skill, equipment, and time (planning and shooting) required for making a flawless project after creating this project. My project is simply what I was able to catch without planning, in the spur of the moment, with the resources that were available to me. This was a “take one” project from start to finish—no do overs.

I won’t complain, but I will just mention, the horrible, inescapable mark across the windshield of the helicopter that took us on part of this filmic journey! And I’ve learned my lesson: never, ever shoot with a handheld phone in a helicopter without using my OSMO 3-axis stabilizer! Post production stabilization can work miracles but simply can not solve all of those vibration/skew/motion problems!

Milford Sound from the helicopter
Milford Sound from the helicopter

Of course I credited Steve at the end of the short. He planned this amazing trip. He also captured the quintessential photo (shown here in this post) of Milford Sound: the peak across from Sterling Falls. I used the tip of the jagged, cloud-covered peak in the project.

And, finally, I could never have imagined, as a kid growing up in Pensacola, that in the 21st century I, a casual photographer just strolling through life, would be able to create a project like this with a tiny camera in a phone that fits in my shirt pocket! For all of my complaining about technology, that fact is not lost on me. Indeed, it simply blows me away!

My online travel journal posts related to these two days:

  1. Yes, I shot more than half of this project in anamorphic 4k on an iPhone! 

  2. Mount Tarawera is barely seen slightly off center to the right in the distance in the photo at the top of this post—the blue gray behind the clouds.