Andrew: Kia Ora, everyone. This is Andrew from MoaTrek New Zealand Small Group Tours. Now today we're trying something new. We have an audio interview with a recent tour guest Charles Anderson. Charles came out to visit us here in New Zealand, from his home in Virginia in the USA. Charles is a very keen amateur photographer and on his trip, he took hundreds and hundreds of amazing photographs that we all saw and were just so impressed with we had to talk to Charles. Charles was on our Kakapo 21 day North and South Island tour.
So we chat with Charles and we hear all about how he got all his photographs. He talks through the stories behind some of his favourite photographs from the trip, the gear he used, just tips what he did each day to get photographs. Lots and lots of handy information for anyone that would like to come out to New Zealand and take lots of photographs as part of their trip.
So now on the website, we'll have a full transcript of the interview and lots of Charles's photographs, and links to galleries. And a few more tips and resources for anyone who wants to take lots of great photos when they come out to New Zealand. So here's the interview with Charles, it's about an hour, we hope you enjoy it.
Andrew: So we're talking with Chaz, who was our guest in New Zealand, with MoaTrek a little bit earlier in the year. First of all, Chaz, introduce yourself briefly, tell us where you're from, and a bit about yourself.
Charles: My name is really Charles Anderson. I go by Chaz. I live in the state of Virginia, which is in the United States, it's on the East Coast. I'm about maybe three-hour drive from Washington DC, which is south. I'm in the town called Colonial Williamsburg or Williamsburg, Virginia. It's a very historic town. It goes back to the Revolutionary War.
Andrew: Oh, wow. And you were saying before a little bit about your background?
Charles: Well, I was an accountant for most of my career, but I was stationed in the U.S. Marine Corps for about six years. I was stationed at Marine Corps headquarters, which is in Arlington, Virginia near the Pentagon. And then when I got out of the Marine Corps, I was in accounting, mostly retail. I was the chief operating officer, or chief financial officer, in a number of different retail companies. And then my wife and I, at the time, my wife at the time, started her own business. We had an accounting firm for about 16 years before I retired about four years ago.
Andrew: Okay, great, great. Thanks. And you came and visited us in New Zealand just a couple of months ago, really wasn't it? Can you tell us about that.
Charles: It was the tail end of March and the first part of April, I was there on your 21-day tour.
Andrew: Yes, that's right. And can you tell us...we'd definitely love to hear all about that trip. First of all, why did you come to travel to New Zealand? Because the whole reason we're talking is all these wonderful photographs that you've taken. So actually, before we do that, can I ask you tell us a bit about your photography background, please?
Charles: I've always been interested in photography, pretty much my whole adult career. I dabbled in photography. It wasn't until I retired four years ago and I started traveling. I did a number of trips, crisscrossing the United States, couple of trips up to Maine. And then, of course, I planned my trip to New Zealand. I really got more interested in photography, the digital cameras were a lot better, and you were able to download them quickly to my iPad and things like that. And share my trips, mainly to share my trips with my son, who lives in Virginia, and my family and friends on Facebook.
So I needed a way that I could share almost daily emails with my son, and post pictures from time to time on Facebook, so people would know where I was. And I would post a couple of pictures every day and give them a little comment about where I was. People will get an idea of where I was from my travels across the United States.
Andrew: Yeah. And we'll definitely...when we put this up on the website, we'll put some of your photos and we'll link to some of the galleries. Because as I said to you before that, you know, we've been looking at photographs of trips of New Zealand for many, many years. And none of them are really kind of made us go, "Wow," like your ones did. So can you tell us then why you decided to come down to New Zealand, please?
Charles: Right. It had a lot to do with me retiring four years ago, trying to figure out.... you know, I closed... my wife and I, who's now my ex-wife, we closed our business. And she wanted to move out of the States, my son still lives in Virginia. And I wanted to travel, I needed to find something to do that I found enjoyable. So traveling was one thing I always wanted to do. You know, we always took trips across United States but never spent a lot of time in certain areas in the national parks and such. So that started the whole adventure.
And then once I...kind of three years in doing that, I decided I needed to go overseas somewhere. My sister and my brother in law had traveled to Ireland, a lot of my friends have been to Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, and I wanted to go somewhere where they hadn't been. And somewhere that I thought would be an interesting place to take pictures. And I always had this desire to visit New Zealand. I didn't really know a lot about New Zealand.
So I bought myself a travel book, I bought myself a good map. And then when I got online and looked at MoaTrek's itinerary, I really became more fascinated that this would be an ideal trip for me. A small tour trip that I didn't...I'm a solo traveler. And it had a lot of built-in options and free time that was gonna be beneficial to really what I wanted to do and would benefit and complement my type of photography.
Andrew: Here's a question for you. Can you remember maybe not the first photograph you ever saw of New Zealand, but is there a photograph of New Zealand you know, when you started researching your trip? Is there a photograph of New Zealand that still sticks in your mind or that you recall?
Charles: Well, I think I looked at quite a few pictures on your website. And most of those were tourists type pictures, group pictures, which were interesting to me. But I did a lot of I guess not Facebook, but YouTube videos to get an idea what the countryside really looked like. And of course, I had brought my travel book, which is very good travel book. And just looking and researching. I'm kind of a little bit of a guy that likes to get on Google and go down the rabbit hole. And I did a little bit more research and saw some you know, wonderful pictures that other people had taken. And I got more interested in that idea of going to New Zealand then.
Andrew: Are there any places that you remember seeing early on, and do you remember thinking, "Oh, wow, I'd really love to take photographs there."?
Charles: Oh, kinda, this is what I did. I have my travel book, I had my map, I have your itinerary, which you'd detailed all the stops and all the places that we were going to visit. And I did a lot of reading. And I did a lot of cross-referencing. And I have a logbook or a book that I wrote notes in and I said, "Well, if we go to Auckland or we go to Wellington or we're gonna go to North Island." What kind of places did I wanna see, what kind of places that maybe I could branch off from the tour on my option days and explore other areas.
And I think my photographs kinda illustrate that to some extent that I do like to wander off and to be on my own and see things that are interesting to me. I like museums, I like art galleries. I like meeting people. We had a great group on our tour. Obviously, Paul was a great tour guide. But I really enjoyed my time in some of the cities, Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, because they gave me more opportunity to do a little bit more of my street photography, which I enjoy doing also.