About the Magazine

Magazine Of The Nikon World

Nikon Owner Issue 12

A Return to Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud
A photographer’s Tale by Robert Sanger


Robert Sanger is an amateur-turned-professional world travel photographer and writer, founder and owner of world travel images library Blue Planet Images of London, with the unusual addition of travel information and photo tips drawn from his experiences, which are often anecdotally and amusingly written.

For most of Robert Sanger’s working life until three years ago, he followed a career in the ship-ping industry as a broker for both ship sales and purchase and more recently new shipbuilding projects. His travels on shipping business only occasionally permitted him to take photographs, but did enable him to go on vacations to some fascinating places.

Nikon cameras and lenses entered his life over twenty years ago whilst employed as a shipbroker in Monaco, when he replaced a Minolta camera, stolen in a burglary, with a Nikon F3HP which he still has to this day.

What followed was a gradual self-learning process, which he has continued with other Nikon cameras since. He told us that he came to understand that if he ever wanted to sell his images, he decided he would need to use professional transparency film (digital was yet to put in an appearance at that time), and so he began the building of his world travel images archive based for the most part upon Fuji Velvia film.

After six years working in Monaco, a change of job brought him back to live in the U.K. and not so long after that, through photo magazine advertisements, he made his first visit to Grays of Westminster. As a self-taught amateur with limited photographic know-how, he told us that the trepidation he felt “on first stepping through that now familiar dark blue-painted front door in London’s Pimlico was very quickly dispelled by the friendly and helpful, reassuring service that still awaits all customers to this very special Nikon camera shop”. Thus, many years, and much Nikon photographic equipment later, Robert says that at Grays of Westminster “the invaluable advice, superb service, support and encouragement continues as does the friendship that has made such a difference to my passion for travel photography”. +

Aotearoa,“The Land of the Long White Cloud” is a Polynesian name that fills the mind of the traveller, and especially that of the landscape photographer, with a sense of romance and mystery as well as the anticipation of pristine landscapes of breathtaking natural beauty, unsullied by the hand of man. A name so much more evocative of what still awaits the voyager across the oceans to Aotearoa than the less poetic European derived name of New Zealand.


I count myself indeed fortunate to have first arrived in New Zealand by sea from Fiji many years ago whilst working and travelling my way around the world after graduating from University in England. In doing so I saw for myself from the deck of a ship, nearing the end of a long trans-Pacific Ocean voyage, what the Maoris’ ancestors must have seen from their war canoes when first arriving on these shores in ancient times: the outline of North Island gradually disclosing itself from beneath a long billowing white bank of clouds on the Western horizon.

Now, many years later, here I was again touching down from Singapore at Auckland’s International Airport just after Christmas 2003 at the start of my third visit. This was to be a carefully planned four weeks photo-shoot that would take me through much of both North and South Islands taking photographs for my world travel photo archive.

My Kit For The Trip

I found myself at the start of my travels through New Zealand armed with my two trusty Nikon F100 camera bodies and Nikkor lenses, a newly acquired Lee Filters system and a very large amount of Fuji Velvia film, with the aim of significantly adding to my, by now, quite large world travel images archive. However, in addition to my usual photo equipment for this trip, I had added something new that I was eager to try out, namely a Hasselblad X-Pan panoramic format camera with two lenses which had been lent to me by Hasselblad U.K.. This was the result of a very kind offer from Hardy Haase, the head of Hasselblad U.K., whom I had met the previous summer at Grays of Westminster’s Wildlife & Natural History photographers’ workshop with Heather Angel.