Photographer Rachel Stewart on her New Zealand Motorhome Rental Experience


NZ photographer Rachel Stewart is a regular on the road with Wilderness Motorhomes. She's making a name for herself on Instagram with her beautiful scenics shots of New Zealand.We caught up with Rach when she returned from her recent South Island adventure in our Alpine 4 to talk photography, the world of Instagramming and how she rates traveling with Wilderness.

Discover Roys Peak in your New Zealand motorhome rental

Tell us a bit about your journey as a photographer, how did you get into photography?

It all started by taking photos on my iPhone while I walked the sunset every night along the beach. I loved that I could capture that one moment that meant something to me in a little picture. I bought my first DSLR not long after that, and then the photography journey really began for me. Through my 20's I had always taken photos while I was travelling through different countries, and had always had an interest in photography, but I had never really realised how powerful a photo can be.  

Two of my closest friends are great photographers and are very inspiring people, so I had joined Instagram to follow them. One of them happens to be an award winning surf and long exposure photographer (@photocpl), and it was his inspiration that led me into the world of landscapes and long exposures. My best friend Magenta Hyde is a whale videographer and photographer and her amazing underwater photography and passion for nature is a huge inspiration.

Rachel Stewart's New Zealand motorhome adventure - Moke Lake

You've got quite an impressive following on Instagram, how has social media changed the way photographers can approach their trade?

For photographers everywhere and in particular those in the landscape arena, I think it has changed things completely. A photographers work can now be seen other than in a gallery or a magazine. The potential to get noticed is huge, and the variety of work available has grown considerably. I think it's a great thing.

Rachel Stewart goes to Lake Pukaki in a New Zealand motorhome rental

What tips would you have for someone wanting to develop their photography skills?

Some things I lived by when starting out were: 

-Try and find your style, and keep some consistency with it. Something that makes your shots signature.

-Find other photographers who inspire you. Ask them questions :).

-Learn the basics. Do some research into what settings you should be using for certain conditions. I did a lot of online research when I was learning. 

-Go to photography workshops , or just meet other photographers. Even talking about photos helps in the learning process.

-Go out and take photos. Just keep doing it. You don't have to use them all, Just be with nature, she is inspiring and a great teacher!

-Be prepared. Do check the weather, investigate where you are going, what the conditions will be like. It's easier than a mad scramble trying to catch the best compisition in the best light (I should take my own advice!).

-Which brings me to a bit of advice that I once read and has really stuck with me. 

'Not every scene makes a good photo'. I don't know why, but it's something that I ask myself every time I am taking photos. 

Rach Stewart Wilderness Tasman Valley

What are your 3 favourite spots in the North Island ?

Mount Maunganui and Papamoa (of course .. I live there). Being a surfer, there is nothing better than summer at the beach. 

The Coromandel .. Take me anywhere here and I'm happy 

Ahipara. This tiny little coastal town up north is where you can surf all day, drive on the beach, and get the best fish n chips for dinner. 

What are you 3 favourite spots in the South Island ?

Mount Cook. That mountain has my heart. 

Wanaka. Lakes, mountains, hiking, swimming .. Some of the best photographic spots in the world lie here in Wanaka

Fiordland. So much here to explore. The scenery is just breath taking and I can't wait to see more. 

Lake Hayes 2

What are the benefits of travelling by motorhome on the photo road trip?

It is 100% the best way to see NZ. There are so many freedom camping spots around the country. As a photographer, being able to wake up where I need to be and just step out of the camper to take the photo is a dream. 

Being able to choose where we want to be , what view we want with our lunch , sleep when we want to, it's amazing. It also allows us to travel more efficiently and make the most of our time.

What are six must haves you pack on a road trip?

Camera gear 
Hiking gear
Phone / maps
Lollies :)

Rach Stewart Wilderness Camping

Eating on the road, what are ten essential ingredients you stock up on before a trip

Dried fruit 
Fruit, lots of apples, grapes, bananas, pears 
Cheese and crackers 
Must not run out of coffee

Rach Stewart Tasman Lake

How have you found Wilderness Motorhomes 
I have only ever travelled with Wilderness, and it was like being in a palace on wheels, so I wouldn't go with anyone else for motorhomes! 

Wilderness motorhomes are luxury.

What advice would you have to someone coming to NZ from abroad, ideally how long would you take to explore NZ and where would you go?

Definitely explore by camper. 

I think the ideal trip wouldnt be any less than a month (the longer the better). 

1 week in the North Island 
3 weeks in the South Island 

North Island Must Dos: 
Far North, Cape Reinga, Ahipara , Te Paki sand dunes, Doubtless Bay 
Goat island 
Coromandel (both sides) 
Mount Maunganui
Central Plateau
East Cape 

South Island Must Do's:
Nelson / Abel Tasman 
West Coast 
Mount Cook

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