Approaching Storm – Tasman Valley

Clearing storm over mountains and Tasman valley, Mount Cook national park, New Zealand

Last rays of light before several days of rain over Tasman Valley and Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand.  Another old one from April, 2006.

Tasman glacier and lake, Mount Cook national park, New Zealand

Tasman glacier and Tasman lake covered in mist.

Storm over Tasman glacier and lake, Mount Cook national park, New Zealand

Storm over Tasman glacier and lake.

Clear Night at Milford Sound

Night photography: Clear night sky over Milford sound, New Zealand

A cloudless sky is a pretty rare sight at Milford Sound, a place with an average of 6.8 meters – 22 feet of rain per year.

Old photo from March 2006.  June Gloom has been in full effect these last weeks here in Santa Barbara and I haven’t been out shooting much lately.  I figure I’ll just post some old stuff that has never seen the light of day before…

Home on the road

My good old 1983 Toyota Master Ace Surf Super Touring Edition. No power steering, AM radio, 1.8 Liter engine and lots of rust. But it had a comfy bed, a couple stoves, and kept me dry and warm for 7 months while in New Zealand. It took me to some of the most beautiful places I will ever see in my life and survived some gnarly roads. Here it is with Mt. Cook in the background, sometime just after dawn… Everyone should travel like this at some point in their life. The freedom to just find some amazing place, spend a night or two, then move on to some other amazing place; no words can describe.

© 2008 cody duncan photography. camper van parked infront of Mt. Cook, new zealand


During the day I had scouted out a place which I thought would be a good sunset view of the city. But stupid me, I forgot to actually check when the sunset was, so when I returned about 1.5 hours too early ( I thought the walk would take longer than it did) I was left sitting on top of this hill on the most uncomfortable crappy little bench that can possibly be constructed while waiting for the light to fade. And of course Wellington is a city that isn’t short on its gusty winds, so I had to resort to aerobics every few minutes to try and keep warm, with people passing by from time to time giving me slightly funny looks for my apparent eccentricities.

Panoramic photograph of Wellington, New Zealand

kinlochleven – kinloch

Kinlochleven, Scotland. October 2006


Kinloch, New Zealand. December 2005

kinloch, New Zealand

Language lesson: ‘kin’ is a Gaelic prefix for ‘head’ or ‘top.’ Hence, ‘kinlochleven’ = head of Loch Leven.

arthur’s pass

One of the coolest places in the world! I’ve been busy going through my archives as I’ve been submitting to a new stock agency and looking for images to send in (its my ambitious goal to reach 1,000 images by the end of the year). I shot a lot of panoramics while in New Zealand, but never really took the time to process them. So its kind of cool sorting through photos that I haven’t really looked at for over a year; brings back lots of cool memories.

Arthurs pass panoramic

arthurs pass new zealand

arthurs pass new zealand


Two years ago, I was in the town of National Park, a small little town on the edge of Tongariro National Park. A few days prior, my buddy Mikkel and I had hitched there from Taupo, after a few crazy adventures there. Still being early spring in New Zealand, we got some unfortunately cold weather. Our climbing of Mt. Tongariro the previous day involved lots of snow and near zero visibility in the clouds. So bad that we had actually walked over the top of the mountain and started heading down the other side until we realized we had gone too far when the clouds parted for a brief second.

Upon our arrival in town the first day, we were invited to participate in National Park’s yearly rugby game against another town in the area. Needless to say, this opportunity could not be turned down and a few bruises, kicks, jabs and tackles later we found ourselves treated to a few free drinks at the local pub for our participation (one of the players worked there) and suffering.

Nov 1st I Hitched east to Napier for a few days and then on to Wellington and then to the beauty of the South Island, never to return north again. I guess it’s a bit of a shame really, some cool stuff up north, but I couldn’t be drawn away from the Southern Alps once I’d seen them.

Just some random memories from a cool little place. Still seems like yesterday…





Mount Cook

Mt. Cook rises like a giant over the surrounding landscape. The Maori name – Aoraki – quite appropriately translates to “Cloud Piercer.” Of all the peaks I have seen in my days, I still consider this one of the most beautiful.

[click on images to view larger]

mount cook



Lake Wanaka as seen from near the summit of Roy’s Peak. It was a cold and wet spring day when my buddy Mikkel and I decided to hike to the top, with the hope that the rain would hold for a little while longer. Nearly to the top, a gentle snow began to fall. One of those snows where it seems that the world almost becomes silent, and everything is still, except for the light flakes landing across your face. Unfortunately, the snow turned to rain once we descended in elevation, good thing Wanaka suffers no shortage of pubs for a warm meal and a pint or two.

Cody Duncan Stock Photo: Panoramic landscape photograph of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. © Cody Duncan Photography

My first trip to Wanaka would be a short one of a few day, but it became one of those places that I would return to again and again. In the Autumn, I spent several amazing weeks climbing here with a good group of people. The days were often crisp and clear with clouds coming during the night. Each morning the peaks would have a little dusting of snow, getting lower and lower as the days carried on. All around we were surrounded by the beautiful golden colors and light of the Autumn; endless days climbing under the southern sun. I stayed as long as I could, but not long enough, now that I look back on it…

Cody Duncan Stock Photo: Rock Climbing in Wanaka, New Zealand.  © Cody Duncan Photography

Oh Mt. Cook, Where art thee?

My sunset at Lake Matheson, said to be one of the most photographed spots in New Zealand. If one is lucky, The magnificent Mt. Cook will be seen rising in the distance. But as the Southern Alps are basically a 12,000 foot wall rising only a few short miles from the coast, they serve as a barrier to all that weather that comes ripping out of the Tasman sea. Thus it is rainy more often than not. Still beyond beautiful none the less…

New Zealand Stock landscape Photo: reflection in Lake Matheson, New Zealand.  © Cody Duncan photography