We asked popular Instagrammer and New Zealand Photographer and kiwi blogger Talman Madsen to tell us what makes Queenstown a special travel destination for him and also find out how he turned his photography passion into a career.
Read on for some juicy insider tips!
Talman is a born and bred kiwi who is passionately in love with New Zealand. For the past year, he has made it his mission to travel the entire country meeting the people and photographing the landscapes – both on and off the beaten track.
His favourite adventure to date was the 3 months he spent circumnavigating NZ via hitchhiking and living out of the gear he could carry on his pack. During this time he discovered a deeper sense of connection with himself, photography, NZ, and has since been enamoured to showcase the New Zealand he see’s to as many people as possible. In doing this he has managed to amass over 15,000 followers on Instagram. He is now a full-time photographer who shoots all kinds of awesome adventures all over the country.
You’ll find him; late at night – shooting Astro, early in the morning – watching the sunrise, under the ocean – spear fishing, up a mountain – hiking, in his car – following his nose to scout locations, on the snow – snowboarding, on the side of the road – hitchhiking, behind his camera – capturing moments, in front of his Macbook – immortalizing the memories.
How many times have you been to Queenstown? What is it that makes you return?
I have travelled there 7 times in the past year, I love the feeling of being surrounded by the mountains, being able to see the peaks at all times makes me feel like I’m always on an adventure. It spurs me to get out and check out the views!
Describe your perfect day in Queenstown?
It would kick off before the sun was up with a ride up to the top of the Remarkables in a CAT to watch the sunrise, followed by a morning of fresh tracks, and deep powder. Lunch time I’d head out to fuel up with a Ferg burger, before stepping up the adrenalin with a jet boat tour, bungy, and Skydiving. Somewhere in there, I’d head out skippers canyon to check it out as it’s something I haven’t been able to do yet! Late afternoon I’d head up for a scenic heli flight to catch a golden sunset hour from the sky that then erupted into a stunning array of reds, and pinks that reflected off the surrounding snow and clouds so powerfully people thought it was the end of the world. I’d land up coronet peak to catch the blue hour before heading into town to grab dinner. But wait it’s not over, the clouds would disappear and I’d walk outside to be greeted by the dancing green waves of the Aurora Australis (southern lights) overhead (someone would have to revive me at this point)! I’d spent the rest of the night moving from place to place shooting as many different angles of the aurora and milky way as humanly possible. Pretty standard.
If you could go anywhere in the world to photograph & write, where would it be & why?
Right now it would have to be Iceland! I’d love to go to the land of waterfalls and spend some time adventuring through the rugged landscape visiting the myriad of waterfalls, ice caves, and wild beaches.
Who is your biggest inspiration & why?
Chris Burkard – he was the first photographer that blew my mind when I started getting into photography. I have since followed him on social media and love seeing all the epic adventures he gets up to. I think that it is so cool he has taken surf imagery away from the stereotypical Hawaii to places like Iceland and Russia – when you see a landrover covered in snow and a beach containing icebergs the last thing you expect to see is a surfer!
Are you a trained photographer or is it something you have picked up along the way?
Photography is something I have taught myself. It was actually on a road trip with my brothers down from Auckland to Queenstown and coming down the west coast I realised how much I loved New Zealand and it created something deep within that spurred me to get out and go shoot. The more I get out, the more I want to get out!
When did you realise your hobby & passion had actually turned into a career?
It was about a month ago when I handed in my resignation and took the plunge into the world of being a full-time photographer. There was no one defining moment, one day I asked myself what did I want to do with my life, my answer, of course, was exactly what I’m already doing in my weekends, except full time. So I decided to make it happen!
What was the best campaign you have had the chance to work on?
I love working with the guys at Earth Sea Sky Equipment, they have sponsored me for almost a year now and there gear is incredible. It’s great knowing that I’m supporting and working with a New Zealand company too. I spent 3 months hitchhiking around New Zealand in a wide array of elements and was never found lacking!
Do you have any tips for people who wanting to start an online business?
Start. I’m guilty of this one, get out and start doing it, ideas are awesome, planning is great, but if you never create anything ideas and planning mean nothing.
Can you give us your best photography tip?
Spend your money on trips,not gear. For the first few years you’ll learn more, and capture better images if you take more photos over having better gear. You’ll know when you reach the point of needing to upgrade and spend more money on gear over trips.