21 February, 2014

Rising Tide | New Zealand

“The sky explodes with vivid colors as ocean waves wash over the St. Clair Beach pylons in New Zealand.”

As a photographer, there are certain places in the world that are an absolute joy to work with. Here on St. Clair Beach on the South Island of New Zealand, these old pylons create a unique opportunity for many beautiful compositions. On my last visit here back in December of 2012, I was fortunate to catch a series of spectacular sunrises during a powerful incoming swell. I released my first version from this location called “Soft Surrender” well over a year ago.

This morning, Naomi and I landed in New Zealand again for our 3rd visit. We’re really looking forward to exploring some new locations as well as revisiting a few of our old favorites, including these awesome pylons on St. Clair Beach. Hopefully the weather gods will smile down on me once again!

Rising Tide || New Zealand

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

12-12_NZ_Elia-on-the-beach-sunrise-Camera-Tripod-View-1280Shooting this location with such a powerful incoming swell granted a wonderful opportunity for composition, but it also made it challenging to shoot multiple exposures. With a sky so vividly bright, I made sure to shoot 5 bracketed exposures before I changed my settings to drag to shutter speeds and capture motion in the water. With 9 out of 10 attempts, the waves rushed in and nearly knocked me off of my feet. I kept working the area though and eventually I was able to come away with a few solid shots.

The majority of this shot is made up of a single RAW file with an additional exposure EV shifted to -2 to correct the areas of blown out sky. Processing was done using a combination of Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop CS6. Contrast and color correction was done using standard Photoshop Adjustment Layers with some additional help from Google NIK Color Efex Pro 4.

Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: 14-24 f/2.8 (Shot at 24mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-33 / BH-55 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
ISO: 50 at f/8 (1 Second)

Location: Shot in Dunedin, New Zealand – December 2012 and post-processed on 2 flights between Fort Lauderdale, FL and Auckland, New Zealand – February 2014.

Hardware: 13” Cintiq Companion with some finalizing on a 15” Retina Macbook Pro.

Software: Lightroom 5, Photoshop CS6, Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Nik Dfine

Espresso: None… I was stuck with airplane coffee. If you can actually consider that coffee…

About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, videographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker, and highly skilled educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world.


As featured by Professional Photographer MagazineCNet Australia,, Wacom USA, and Fstoppers, Elia has built an engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across FacebookGoogle+TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Snapchat. Due to the years of dedication and genuine openness with his audience, he has become one of the most followed photographers in the world.


Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 55 countries, flown over one million miles, and collaborated with major companies, brands, countries, and tourism agencies all over the world.


Using a combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, and advanced post-processing methods, Elia has developed a widely recognized and highly unique style of photography that has become well known around the world. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision so others can see the world as he does, full of color, texture, beauty, depth and emotion. Many of his photos have been used in some of the most widely circulated publications in the world including National Geographic.


Throughout the journey, he shares the Art of Photography on many different websites including his popular blog, blamethemonkey.com, teaches post-processing workshops worldwide, speaks at major international photography conventions, and is proud to be one of the founders and leaders of Dream Photo Tours.

  • Henry Carmona

    Thank you. Wonderful vision.

  • Shane Corderoy

    The first photo you released from this location was one of my all time favs of yours, and this one is just as stunning. I love the detail in the sky and the vivid colours. Elia I would love it if one day you would explain in detail what you do in Color Efex Pro when you are processing an image. I use Color Efex all the time and really love it, but you get some amazing results. Enjoy New Zealand

    • Elia Locardi

      Thanks Shane! I think I like this version a bit better as well. There’s just something really soothing about the motion in the waves.

      Regarding Color Efex Pro, each photo requires a different application. Bear in mind that I also use plenty of Photoshop Adjustment Layers as well.

  • Kelly & Michael Hopkinson

    Wow, what beautiful pictures!!! New Zealand, especially Wellington, holds a place in my heart. Love love

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