Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Dawn Sky – Central Otago

As I wonder what each day will bring when I wake in the morning one of the first indicators I look to is the dawn sky.  I love dawn skies for their brilliant colours and how the shades of blue, orange, yellow and mauve change as the sun gets closer to the horizon.

Wedderburn Dawn

The overcast conditions we experienced on the Otago Central Rail Trail produced this show of colours.  It developed slowly from mostly dark blue clouds tinged with red, to this show of orange just before the sun appeared.  The morning was cool, but not cold.  Even while I set up the tripod the colours changed.  I was all fingers and thumbs in the dark as I hurried to get ready.  “More haste, less speed”, my mother used to say.

So, what sort of day did the dawn herald?  A ride through the sweeping Maniototo Plain with the Rock and Pillar Range ahead and the Kakanui Mountains on the left.  The landscape colour is mostly brown and gold.  With the overcast sky it was also moody.  The Central Otago painter and artist Grahame Sydney accurately captures this moodiness in his many paintings of the area.

In the winter it is cold on the plains below the mountains.  At nearby Ophir in the centre of the historic gold rush area New Zealand’s coldest ever  temperature of -21.6 degrees celsius was recorded on 3 July 1995.  In the summer Alexandra near one end of the Rail Trail often has the country’s highest temperatures.  During autumn, when the frosts hit the trees, the countryside is ablaze with yellow and gold.  In the winter the surrounding mountains are capped with snow.  This set of seasonal changes has its impact on “Central”, which makes it such an alluring place to visit.

I know that not every day can start with a blaze of early morning colour, but I still look forward in the hope that it will be there.


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