After avoiding New Zealand’s winter for four years in a row by heading to the Northern Hemisphere and summer climates, filmmaker and photographer Ben Mikha decided it was time to stick it out and experience a New Zealand winter for a change. But he didn’t just stay at home with the heat pump on — he took his Kiwi winter experience to the next level. Ben and two of his friends (Ron and Rob) packed up and took to the roads exploring stunning landscapes from Aoraki and Mount Cook to Canterbury and Napier. During the trip, Ben shot 45 timelapses, two hyperlapses, more than 1000GB of footage and more than 50,000 photos. He incorporated a lot of this to create a stunning video of winter in New Zealand.
“Occasionally I took people from overseas around New Zealand while they were visiting. A lot of them travelled long distances to see this place. Their reactions to our landscapes and their thoughts really shifted my perception of home. It’s easy to overlook what’s right in front of you — sometimes it takes an outside perspective to shift your reality. I decided to explore more of home this year. Winter just felt fitting because of all the mountains and lakes,” Ben explains.
With no strict path to follow, the trio jumped into Ron’s 4×4 with their gear, of which Ben took the Sony Alpha 7R III and the Alpha 6400 as well as a Canon EOS 1D X II and a Mavic 2 Pro drone, and took to the road for 12 days of shooting and exploring. “I actually used the Alpha 6400 most for video as the Alpha 7R III was shooting timelapses. They handled the cold well, the trick was to acclimatise all the gear for 15 minutes before using it to avoid fogging up from sudden temperature drops when shooting the stars.”
The group travelled with no set agenda around what they wanted to capture or where they wanted to visit. “We just followed the road really. I travel pretty loosely with a few pin drops on Google Maps, working my way to the nearest sights or to where the weather’s looking favourable.”
The timelapses Ben captured were considered a key component to really emphasising New Zealand’s beautiful landscapes, showcasing how they change over time at different points of the day. “I just wanted to capture New Zealand in its natural state, as raw as possible and I felt I achieved that. I normally shoot a lot of people but this time I didn’t feel the need to. I actually enjoyed seeing the landscapes drastically change throughout the day from the weather and the light.”