There are some evenings when you just have to go for a walk. The day on which this image was taken had improved markedly after a late summer storm so we decided to take a walk around the rocks and along the base of the cliffs at the end of Takapuna Beach, near where we live. An added incentive was the expected departure of a cruise ship from Auckland which carried some friends as passengers. We hoped to watch the ship sail out through the channel that lies between the beach and nearby Rangitoto Island. Fortunately the tide was well out that day, because after waiting until well after the expected departure (the ship didn’t sail because of engineering problems) we had to make our way back to the beach in far distance before the tide would force us ti climb over the rocks. As we turned to head home we were presented with this view to the Takapuna township and beach, and the evening sky reflected in the wet sand.
At the risk of presenting yet another image of Rangitoto Island at sunset I post the above image taken this evening from Takapuna Beach, which is where I live. You could say that there is almost a spiritual connection that attracts me onto the beach every time I witness another sunrise or sunset. No two are the same. The tide may be in, or out as it was this evening. There may be clouds that catch the setting sun, or none as it was this evening.
I particularly like the lines in this image, as well as the colors. There are tire marks that traverse diagonally from left to right, as well as rivulets travelling diagonally in the other direction. The scene is infused with shades of gold, blue and green which are reflected in the wet sand. I captured exactly what I wanted, and that makes me happy. I welcome you to enjoy the scene for yourself. Click on the image for a larger view.
Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day …
Its one of those wet and dreary days in Auckland today. The rain has been dribbling down all day and the sky is leaden gray. A heavy rain warning was issued at midday for the next three hours. Two hours have gone but the rain continues to dribble. Could be worse, I suppose!
In order to cheer myself up I have worked on another image of Lake Mathieson to remind myself that there is a different kind of weather. God knows, we need the rain but it has been hanging around for nearly a week now.
As you can see, it was a beautiful morning when we visited the lake for its famed reflections of the Southern Alps, especially Aoraki Mount Cook on the left. As it is on the itinerary of all the coaches that travel the West Coast tourist route, we made sure we got there early. Even so, there is always someone there before you, but that’s OK. I love mornings like this when the air is still cool and the breeze hasn’t yet broken through. However, even as we walked around the lake the breeze began to arrive as the morning air warmed.
Over the last few months a number of my posts commented on the long dry summer we had experienced in New Zealand and how everyone was looking forward to some rain to relieve the drought. I guess one shouldn’t wish too hard because we now have an autumn that has brought plenty of the wet stuff. along with some more southerly temperatures. I know this may sound strange for all who live north of the equator, but down here we live in an upside-down world.
So, what’s this all to do with the above image? Well, Lake Mathieson is situated on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, just west of Aoraki Mount Cook, our highest mountain. That’s the left peak of the two in the photograph. This part of New Zealand is also known for being the one of the wettest regions in the country, with South Westland having an annual rainfall, ranging from 3400–4900 mm ( approximately 135 – 195 inches) in the lowlands.
Fortunately it doesn’t rain all the time in Westland, and on mornings when the skies are clear and there is no wind Lake Mathieson presents itself as a mirror to reflect the Southern Alps just for photographers like me.
Its a four hour drive from Queenstown in the Southern Lakes District of Central Otago to Dunedin. The road from Queenstown passes Lake Hayes on the way to the Cromwell Gorge and Lake Dunstan. After the events of the day before (see yesterday’s post) it was necessary to leave the lakes and mountains to travel to Dunedin Hospital to visit my wife and plan the journey home to Auckland.
The morning was beautiful, just like the one the previous day. Lake Hayes was unruffled by any breezes and I just had to stop to take some photographs. I was uncertain as to when we would visit the area again. After nearly four months of rest and physiotherapy since the accident Valerie is now walking – albeit slowly – and we plan to travel back to Wanaka and Queenstown in early February to complete our holiday, and hopefully see reflections like this again.
Capturing the Moment
There is little more that I can add about this image. It was captured from a lookout at Curumbin Beach on Queensland’s Gold Coast. It was a rather opportunistic shot, but it captured the moment.
While reviewing images taken this year in order to create a calendar, this one brought back fond memories of our visit to the Fiordland National Park. One of our sons had returned from North America with his wife for a summer visit. We joined them on a tour of the South Island. Milford Sound was one of the must-see places on the tour.
It had rained heavily during the night, not an unusual occurrence in this wettest part of New Zealand. In the morning the air was still and the scenery was fresh and crisp. Mitre Peak, an icon in the Sound, was displayed at its best. This one of my favourite images of the year.
Along the Mt Aspiring Road
Travelling back to Wanaka from the end of the road to the Mt Aspiring National Park we passed this sign. The view of the mountain from this point is not as spectacular as the one closer to Wanaka but the mountain tops were still in sunlight and the shadows were lengthening quickly. I had to get the shot before the light was gone. Wispy clouds above the peak add to the atmosphere.
Further along the road towards Wanaka there is a small lake with boggy edges and patches of reeds. The clear blue sky and mountains coloured yellow by the evening sunlight were reflected in the water. I just had to stop to capture this image. Within a few minutes a breeze caused the water to ripple and the reflections were lost.
I looked out of the window several evenings ago as the sun was lowering in the sky and knew I had to get down to the beach. The tide was out, a small surf was breaking, and the light was turning to a light gold. Because it has been so wet in Auckland this winter the land is saturated and the ground water seeps onto the beach and glistens in the evening light. People on the beach were taking advantage of the fine spell of weather, getting in their evening walks before dinner.
These four images attempt to capture the mood of the evening.
I have known about Lake Matheson since I was a child and first visited it when hitch hiking around the South Island at the end of my last year at high school. It had a reputation that was known the length of New Zealand for producing perfect reflections of the Southern Alps and Aoraki Mount Cook in the early morning before the breezes arrived, provided of course it wasn’t raining or there was low cloud. Just a short 5 minute drive from the Fox Glacier village and a 15 minute walk to the end of the lake will reward visitors with the famous views of the mountains. Over the years tens of thousands of visitors have visited the lake to admire the reflections. Millions of photographs have been taken.
At the end of the day visitors can travel a further 8 km westwards along Cook Flat Road to Gillespies Beach Road to obtain an evening view of the Southern Alps as the sun goes down. A special viewing area has been provided by the Department of Conservation near where the Fox River joins the Cook River. Here the view is shared with grazing cattle.
I have visited this area three times over the years and it never fails to leave an impression, although the weather has not always been obliging for the views.
Not Really a Lake
Catlins Lake is not really a lake at all, it’s actually part of the Catlins River estuary and is tidal. However, when the tide is in it looks like a lake.
This image was taken at about 10.00am on our journey from the Pukaraunui Falls to Jacks Bay and the nearby Jacks Blowhole. The tide was just turning and as we passed the narrowest part of the lake where the current formed by the outgoing tide was clearly evident. When we passed the lake again later in the day there were only mud flats to be seen.
A clear morning sky and no wind produced great reflections so that there was a near-perfect mirror image of the distant sheep covered hills. A light breeze just ruffles the water in patches. Wading birds are a common sight along the shore at low tide. Shags patrol the waters when the tide is in.
Early Morning Ride
This image was captured on the same morning as the one in the previous post. To try something different I processed it as a split one image and am quite pleased with the result as, for me, it captures the mood of the moment – early morning, overnight rain clouds still hanging in the hills, small children being taken for a ride around the bay in an inflatable dinghy, and just plain peacefulness. Click image for larger view.
Sony Alpha DSLR A200 1/50 sec, F5.6, ISO 100, Sony DT 18-70 mm lens at 18 mm
Waiting in Line
When passing through the Hong Kong international airport last year we came across this line of luggage trolleys parked in a less frequented passage way overlooking the car and bus concourse. The lines and reflections are what caught the attention.
Sony Alpha DSLR A200 1/160 sec, F9, ISO 400, Sony 17-70 mm Kit lens at 35 mm