David Manns

Landscape photography at Castle hill


Castle Hill landscape.
Left: Small town NZ on the way to Castle Hill - Right: Castle Hill shot on the iPhone SE.

A few weeks ago I took a short road trip to Castle Hill in New Zealand’s South Island. I took a few pieces of kit with me. The old Sony action cam, my iPhone SE, and my Fuji camera with the 18-55mm XF zoom lens attached. If you buy a Fuji X series camera with a kit lens there is a good chance this is the lens you would get.

The lens works out to be a 27-84mm (35mm equivalent) field of view, 2.8-4 aperture (depending on the focal length), and includes optical image stabilisation. But what does it shoot like?

Scene from Castle Hill shot on the Fuji XF 18-55mm kit lens.
Castle Hill shot on the Fuji XF 18-55mm lens.
Castle Hill landscape.
Lens: Fuji XF 18-55mm. Camera: Fuji XT-1.

I found myself with three days on my own, with a car, and a full tank of gas. I'd thought for a while about testing out my action camera to take some video at a place like Castle hill and now seemed like a good opportunity. And I might as well take some of my photography gear too.

I packed my gear and started the drive out there. For me, one of the best parts of small trips, and big journeys for that matter, like this is driving through the small farming towns and hubs that are found on the road along the way to places like Castle hill.

The short road trip was about 1 hr 20mins from Christchurch after which you arrive at the rock formation known as Castle Hill. Despite is being so close this was the first time I’ve been to Castle hill and it turned out to be a clear day with blue sky as far as the eye could see. These parts of the the central South Island can look really stunning, almost wild West except perhaps not quite as grand, but still very dramatic indeed.

I spent an hour or so walking the rock formations shooting some video and taking pictures. It's the kind of place I wish I had taken a medium format camera to. The grand landscapes there would suit a large 6x9 negative. I think I got some good shots anyway, check some of them out below:

Castle Hill black and white picture.
Lens: Fuji XF 18-55mm. Camera: Fuji XT-1.
Southshore sunset