Though Washington DC-based Sam Hurd is a wedding photographer by trade, you wouldn't quite know it by looking at these photos. The way he captures the majestic beauty of New Zealand will make you think that he's actually a landscape or travel photographer. From its snow-capped mountains and its crystal clear lakes to its vast plains and rolling hills, New Zealand is one of those countries you almost have to see for yourself to believe.
Lucky for us, Hurd brought back these spectacular shots. Traveling with his best friend from grade school, he rented a car in Queenstown and drove around the South island. For 3 1/2 weeks, Hurd took in the picturesque landscapes. As he tells us, "Most people are aware that New Zealand is incredibly beautiful, but what they may not realize is how untouched, diverse, desolate, and well kept everything is on the South Island. I hope they can get a sense of that by looking at my images.
"You can drive an hour without seeing another car let alone another person."
Hurd has a way of making us feel as though we're taking a road trip with him, gazing out the window, suspended in awe and in total disbelief that this world we live in can be so breathtakingly beautiful.
When asked how much post processing work was done to these photos, Hurd told us this. "With any landscape work, a goal for me is to capture as much dynamic range as possible in camera. These were all photographed using an older Nikon D700 with a collection of Lee neutral density gradient filters so I could photograph the land tones without clipping the brighter skies. Any white balance, tone curve tweaking, and sharpening was done using Adobe Lightroom 3."
If you just can't get enough of New Zealand, here are Andrew Smith's ridiculously beautiful shots.