Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Archive for February 8, 2010

Sulphur, Black Water & Steam

Walking in the crater of White Island is an eerie experience.  You are very aware that this place is still an active volcano.  Moving away from the safety of the beach, wearing a supplied yellow hard hat and carrying a gas mask around the neck, you follow a milky stream along a well trodden trail towards the noisy steaming fumarole in the distance.  Running almost parallel to the milky stream is another stream – this one tarry black.  Such is the chemical composition of a volcanic cone.  One is constantly reminded of the instability of this place.  There is 24/7 seismic monitoring and an escape route if conditions change suddenly.

Sony Alpha DSLR – A200, 1/125 sec, F16, ISO 100, Sigma DC 18-200mm lens at 18mm

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Ruined Ambitions

You have to admire the entrepreneurialism of the early settlers.  Having pitched up in a small island colony (New Zealand only obtained sovereignty as a nation in 1908), they set about creating new businesses where none had existed before.  Such was the case on White Island off the Bay of Plenty coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  Between the 1880s and 1930s there were several ill-fated attempts to mine sulphur for use in medicines as an antibacterial agent, in the making of match heads, and for sterilising wine corks.  The ruined remains of the sulphur works can be visited during a trip to the island.

Sony Alpha DSLR – A200, 1/30 sec, F16, ISO 100, Sigma DC 18-200mm lens at 22mm

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Landed – White Island

There is no formal jetty at White Island where visiting boats can tie up – a history of eruptions has put paid to that.  Instead, the collapsed ruins of an old jetty provides the landing-place.  Galvanised pipes, now corroded from the sulphurous fumes, bolted to the fallen concrete structure offer hand-holds for landing passengers as the step from bobbing rubber dinghies.  At the nearby beach a white sulphurous stream created by the fumarole in the crater trickles into the sea.

Sony Alpha DSLR – A200, 1/80 sec, F16, ISO 100, Sigma DC 18-200mm lens at 18mm

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