Landscapes by Rob Dickinson

Classic Modern New Zealand Landscapes

Dark Skies Of Wonder Autumn 2015

Dark Skies Of Wonder Autumn 2015

Dark Skies of Wonder



South Island Astrophotography Workshop

20th March 2015

Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie County




Having held our last Dark Skies of Wonder workshops at Castlepoint on the North Island, we head back to the gold level international dark sky reserve of Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky reserve. This spectacular location has many great scenes and is the perfect place to take in the glorious night sky. Tekapo's skies are some of the darkest in the world allowing glorious views of the Milky Way. Autumn in Tekapo will provide a stunning backdrop of Snowy Mountains, lakes and landscape features to learn wide field astrophotography.




            Castlepoint Dreaming, June 2014.



So we’ve got some excellent locations lined up for you, and we’re looking forward to a great night out chasing stars with everyone - see you there!


Cost per person for this workshop is $250 NZD.

Book by adding to cart here.


Mark and Rob


P.S. Below a few bits of information that we thought might be helpful in organising your trip...



Nitty gritty details - the when, where and how of DSW Tekapo


Date: Friday 20th March. However, as the workshop is very much weather dependent and we want to give you the best experience possible, there is a back up date of Saturday 21st March. In case of postponement, we will announce this on our Facebook page by midday on the Friday.


Time and place: Meet at 7pm in the car park at the far end of Tekapo town centre for a brief welcome, workshop overview and some introductory remarks by Mark and Rob - and then we’re off!


How to get there:

  • Closest airport: Christchurch, then approximately a 2 ½ hour drive.
  • Take SH1 South out of Christchurch, through Ashburton,
  • Turn right onto the SH79 to Geraldine, through to Fairlie then turn right onto the SH8. Over Burkes pass and on to Tekapo.


Good to know:

Tekapo is a small lakeside town. There is plenty of accommodation (we recommend you book early, links are below!). There are several restaurants and bars, a small general store and a few clothing/tourist outlets. Its not very large but it does have a few other places to visit:


Most of the accommodation is self-catering, and if bringing your own supplies is your preferred option there are plenty of supermarkets in Christchurch and Ashburton where you can stock up on the way to Tekapo.



Accommodation links

Tekapo Motel and holiday park, everything from unpowered camp sites to motel units.

Parkbrae estates for quality house rentals

Lake Tekapo scenic resort

Peppers Bluewater resort for great rooms


If you would like to attend and cannot make this date or you would like to be informed of future dates for a repeat of this workshop please contact us.




What will you learn?


During the early evening we will cover basic photography topics if required:

  • Basic camera settings, aperture, shutter, ISO and how they affect the image
  • Lenses, focal lengths and depth of field
  • Managing exposure in low light conditions
  • Good techniques for achieving high quality images
  • Correct use of filters and when to use alternative techniques
  • Composition, timing and working a scene

As we continue through into darkness we will cover astrophotography specifics:

  • Shooting low light star fields
  • Focusing in low light
  • Composition and framing
  • Making star trails
  • And avoiding star trails


            Dark Skies of Wonder, Church of the Good Shepard, April 2014.


What will you nead to bring?

  • A Digital SLR camera or large sensor mirrorless camera. Larger sensors and a more modern camera is better.
  • A wide to 'normal' lens, or primes. A standard kit lens will do, but a better quality and faster lens is a good idea. Faster lenses, 14-35mm primes, are great for astrophotography.
  • A solid tripod.
  • Cable release.
  • Memory card and charged batteries.
  • If you don't have all the suggested camera gear - talk to your local camera shop about hire (contact us if you would like some recommendations).
  • A torch or two - preferably a head torch (with a red LED mode if possible) and a hand torch for light painting.
  • Appropriate WARM clothing for the conditions, good walking shoes and hard warmer!
  • A flask of coffee and some food.


Vanessa Patea has a blog article on the previous Dark Skies of Wonder workshop.

Transport and accommodation is not provided - we will be moving from location to location during the night but can provide only limited transport. However, we will be organising carpooling via the workshop Facebook page for interested participants.

A small amount of fitness will be required but no long walks or steep climbing are expected.

A full refund will be made for cancellations with a months notice (by 20th February) , 50% refund after.

If the sky is completly obscured by cloud we will reschedule for the following night (21th March) or as an alternative offer a offer a 50% refund.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or queries.


About Mark Gee


Mark Gee is an award winning photographer & digital visual effects artist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He has worked on many high profile and Oscar award winning feature films. His love of the New Zealand landscape is a big part of the inspiration for his photography. Mark's style of photography is influenced by his many years of experience in the feature film business, and with an eye for detail, he strives to produce creative images of exceptional quality no matter what the subject.

While his images portray a wide variety of subjects, in the past few years astrophotography in particular has captured Mark’s imagination and interest. He often ventures out to the darkest, most remote skies all around the country, enjoying the challenge of combining New Zealand’s striking landscapes with the ethereal beauty of the night sky in new, creative ways. This has led to international success with Mark being short-listed in the 2012 Astronomy Photographer of the Year and a finalist in the 2012 World Open of Photography, as well as having images published in various books and magazines.

In 2013, Mark won the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Not only did he win it overall, but Mark also won the Earth and Space category, and the People and Space category which had never been done before in the competitions history.

Marks recent short film, 'Full Moon Silhouettes' also gained him international acclaim after going viral online, and has been broadcast all over the world by the likes of CNN, The BBC, NASA and various other main stream media.

You can find Marks work on his website , facebook page or 500px.


About Rob Dickinson

Rob Dickinson is a Christchurch based landscape photographer. He specialises in dynamic high impact landscape photography from around the South Island of New Zealand including astrophotography. Rob can be found out in all weathers and at all times of day capturing the unique beauty of the New Zealand landscape.

He moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2005 and found a renewed passion for photography and ultimately specialised in landscapes and seascapes, attempting to capture New Zealand’s outstanding wild natural beauty. Over years Rob has developed a unique style and view on landscape photography. He has had a number of images published in books and magazines and in 2011 became New Zealand Geographic's Landscape Photographer of the Year. This year, Rob has also been awarded 7 silver and bronze awards by the International Epson Pano Awards.

He loves sharing his passion for photography, landscapes, seascape and astrophotography with other photographers and regularly runs workshops in his local Christchurch. These are widely enjoyed by participants who come away with some fantastic shots, increased knowledge and often wet shoes (especially with the seascape workshops).


You can find Rob Dickinson work on his website , facebook page or flickr.


Rob and Mark retain copyright on all images presented here and welcomes any and all enquiries for their use, commercial or otherwise.



Price: $275.00