Introductions, Landscapes, Photography

Introductions – Learning to Snap

My introduction today is a first, well it is the first time I have shown someone from New Zealand I believe.  Richard is from there and has been taking photos of New Zealand and then putting them up on his blog Learning to Snap. If you are a landscape photographer then New Zealand has to be one of those places that you would love to go to.  I know since seeing Lord of the Rings, I really want to go their to take photos.  The landscapes always seem big, I don’t know how to describe it really.  I will try.


2013-10-27-MilfordTrip-291-Edit-X3This is sort of what I mean, big mountains, big scenes.  Australia and New Zealand are very close, but yet millions of miles apart with it comes to our landscapes.  Australia is more open, big skies and very dry, whereas I imagine New Zealand with more mountains, and real mountains, with lots of atmosphere and very wet.  New Zealand is further south than us, so I assume that is why it is like that.  I see scenes like the one Richard has taken here and I am envious.  It is a magical shot, and it really makes me want to take that trip there.  Milford Sound is a place I’ve been hearing about for years and Richard has so many amazing images of it, this is just one of them.  I love the colours in the foreground, seems to warm up a cold image, or cold environment.

I asked Richard about why he takes photos.

The short answer is for fun!

I take photographs to let my creativity out. I enjoy being outdoors tramping, skiing or mountain biking and taking my camera allows me share those places and experiences.I have been taking photos since I was a kid with an old Kodak camera and 127 film but started being more serious (if that’s the right word) when I joined the Kaiapoi Photographic Club having moved to New Zealand about 7 years ago. Over 100,000 images later and I still have so much to learn!

2013-07-14-Snow-149-LI had to go back aways to find a image of winter on Richard’s blog, it has been a while since winter was here, but it is certainly making a come back here now.  I know that most of you know it never snows here, not where I am, so if I want to see snow I have to drive a long way, or look at photos of it from other people.  I love how Richard has captured the snow falling here.  I am assuming it is snow, and not rain.

As usual I asked Richard about what inspires him.

I am inspired by the world around me, the landscapes of New Zealand in particular. Great light, textures and shapes make me run for my camera.

I enjoy looking  at images on the web and particularly in books.  I look at the work of lots of photographers, the masters of the craft are so inspiring; from early photographers such as Atget through the work of Man Ray and Ansel Adams to Michael Kenna and Annie Leibovitz. I have enjoyed the ebooks from Craft and Vision particularly the titles on creativity and inspiration by David duChemin.

2013-11-09-PortLevy-13-XLI love it when you see trees like this.  I have never come across one, but I think they make great subjects for photos, and I know the day I finally find one I won’t be leaving it for a long time.  I will want to get every image of it I can.  The foggy/misty conditions really add to this image.  It must get very windy there.

The third question was if there was anything special about how he worked.

Mostly I just start taking images and see where it takes me, I find that once I start making images it gets easier and I get more ideas. Occasionally I plan an image but usually I end up with something different from what I imagined anyway.

For landscapes I tend to be at either extreme, either very wide or telephoto. I really like the compression effect with a long lens.

LeucharsChurch-XLWhile I think of landscapes when I think of Richard’s work, it would be wrong, he does do other sorts of images and architecture is featured there as well.

EliteRace_2014-01-12_11-19-45__DSC7423_©RichardLaing(2014)-X3You will also see that he photographs lots of sports as well.  There is a great variety of sports there, and a great variety of other subjects as well.

I also asked Richard what gear he uses.

I currently use a Nikon D800E having recently upgraded from my much loved (and well worn) Nikon D700. I have a variety of Nikkor lenses 14-24, 24-70, 80-200, 105mm and a nifty 50mm, all fast and sharp. I use polarisers, ND filters and graduated NDs to get the best image I can in camera.

On the computer I use Lightroom or Aperture along with Photoshop CC. To speed things up I use a variety of plugins and particularly like Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro.

With all the hi-tech equipment sometimes it is good to get back to something more organic and I use a Holga with B&W film instead which I develop in my kitchen!

Except for the last part he could almost be describing my gear too, without the E on the end of the camera model.

I think when you go to Richard’s blog, Learning to Snap, you will not have a hard time finding images to like.  As I was going through it, I realised that a lot of the images I was getting for the blog were all from later posts, I had to stop myself from taking everything.  He does help you visualise his homeland and I hope you agree that he his images are of a high standard.  I would also like to thank Richard for allowing me to feature Learning to Snap on my Introductions post today.  Please go and visit, you won’t be disappointed.  Here is a gallery of some of his wonderful images.


  1. Really like the second tree with the branch that seems forlorn–lovely and thought provoking. Thanks for the introduction to his work.

  2. Wonderful photography, I love the church too. Some are quite mysterious and the pines are just up my alley!! Beautiful scenery!! Even though I think Lord of the Rings should have been shot in British Columbia!! :D

    • I agree Cybele, it is wonderful. Haha, I think the setting for it was amazing, and I think they did New Zealand proud. Haha, perhaps if a Canadian director had done it it would have been shot there, though you have opened my eyes up to that part as well, I want to go there too now. :)

  3. Beautiful. New Zealand is on the list, near the top!! Thanks Leanne.

  4. Beautiful images and I agree nz is a definately xtremely photogenic! ! : )) heading there myself in june and looking forward to the south island.

    • I am so jealous, I wish it was me going, hopefully one day. I hope you have a great trip.
      I am glad you like his images and I hope they have given you lots of inspiration for your trip. :D

  5. nzsnapper says

    Many thanks Leanne for featuring my work on your blog, I am glad you have enjoyed my images, I enjoyed making them :-) It is always fascinating to hear how other people look at my work and maybe my images can inspire a few more people to visit New Zealand!

    • It is my pleasure, really. You blog started really sticking out to me and I knew that I would want to showcase it. I love your images. I am sure you work is inspiring many to think about going to New Zealand, me included. Thank you for giving me permission to show your work. :)

  6. Absolutely magnificent. NZ is definitely on my bucket list, but until then, images like these will have to do. Definitely inspiring.

    • I wish I could take the credit for these images, but unfortunately they are the work of another photographer, Richard, from Learning to Snap, I am sure he will love hearing how much you like his photos.

  7. Excellent intro and another ‘Follow’ for me. I want to go back to NZ :-)

    • That is wonderful Andrew, so glad you like his work, and how you want to go back to NZ, I would love to go sometime. :)

  8. Awesome photos!
    Will stop by to check out his blog. Thanks :)

  9. I like the mixture of pictures. Not just landscape, but sport also. Very nice

  10. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    Wooooow! These are beautiful! The peak in the first image reminds me of Machu Picchu in Peru. :)

    • Great reaction to them Jackie, that is what mine was too. I haven’t been there, but I am sure it does. :)

  11. iamstk says

    Richard ,u r great..New Zealand at its best.
    And Leanne,thanks for the introduction to his blog.

    • You’re welcome, I love his work, and it is good when other people like the work as well. :)

    • You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed the introduction and I am sure you will enjoy following his blog.

  12. Oh boy … thank you so much Leanne! I love his photography and more importantly, he is taking pics of NZ. Yay! As for that tree – wow, a windswept beauty.

  13. Lovely introduction, Leanne – but, of course, New Zealand is such an “easy” subject :)

      • It’s only a three hour flight for you, Leanne. It’s half a world away for me!

        Just go. You KNOW you want to :)

      • That is so true, I even found myself looking up the cost of flights today, haha. I do, but it just isn’t possible right now. I am hoping to be going to New York next year, so unless I save a lot of money I won’t be able to go for a while.

  14. Rich Proctor says

    Richard does magnificent work! Thank you for the intro.

  15. Richard’s images are marvellous, Leanne – thanks for showcasing him, I’m off to his blog now! :)

  16. nzsnapper says

    Thank you to everyone for the wonderful feedback, very much appreciated, and thanks again to Leanne.

  17. Ah New Zealand, so gorgeous, so wonderful pics, that country is a photographer´s dream. Leanne, if you go there, be prepared you might not be able to stop taking pics for a minute ;-). NZ was on my bucket list for years,too … and to be extra sure I had to go twice ;-)), and I am hopeful there will beat least a third time. But Australia is very tempting too.

    • I think it would be too and I think you would be right about that as well. It is definitely on the list of places I want to go. Australia is very different, though you have to get out of the cities, they are the same as anywhere.

      • And knows that sometimes the best landscapes are taken when the weather is changing and not “perfect”.

      • Oh yes, so true, I tell my students that, we will be going whether or not it is raining or the weather is bad.

  18. Pingback: Introductions – Learning to Snap | JOURNAL LE COMMUN'ART

  19. Stunning photos!! I went to his blog and followed. I can learn a lot from his photography. Thank you for sharing this wonderful work!

    • That is wonderful Laura, he is a very good photographer and I am sure you will learn a lot from him. You are welcome.

  20. Oh wow I love this photographer’s work … thanks for the intro!!

  21. Each and every picture is so beautifully done! I always love visiting your page when I have time…

  22. These are lovely. New Zealand is a photographer’s dream come true. You’re right about the mountains and they are even more impressive when capped with snow. It’s not something we see here.

    • I think it could be, I can’t wait to get a chance to go there and take photos. I bet they are. No, we really don’t, we really don’t see mountains, not much anyway. Thanks Carol.

    • You are welcome Chris, his work is so amazing, and it has been great that so many others think so too.

  23. Pingback: A year of Introductions | Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY

Comments are closed.