Youngest child had a ‘thing’ on the Whangaparoa Peninsular on Saturday morning. So we ventured north at a pre-dawn hour to get him there in time. While he was engaged, I made a side trip to Shakespear Regional Park (yes, Shakespear is spelled without a final ‘e’). There’s a waterfall in the bush there. Usually it’s not impressive as it doesn’t get a lot of water flow over it. On the other hand it has been raining regularly this winter. A lot. So I thought there was a chance of a better flow.
It was also a chance to put my new Lee filters to the test.
The waterfall looked better than in summer months. It’s nothing I guess, that anyone will put on a postcard. But the setting in the native forest still appeals to me.
In the first shot, I’m using the a900 with the 20/2.8 Minolta lens. The goal is to use the curve of that ventral bank to lead into the fall.
In the second shot, I’m getting all of the fall in the same shot. Same lens as before.
If you would like a close up of the top of the fall
Then I went further into the short bush. One thing I’m struggling with is how to photograph NZ bush that still has the elements of a good photo. The wall of dense vegetation tends to rule out isolating tree pictures, and often leaves little in the way of leading lines. On the other hand, a stream might stand in.
This required liberal use of an ND grad filter to balance the bright light at the canopy level with the shade at the bottom. I’m employing the very useful Minolta 28/2.0 lens here.
And just a stream pic to finish the hike off
Today was the 99th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in World War One, and for Australia and New Zealand, an event that left its mark on the numbers of men killed and wounded. It is a poignant time. There is a sadness that propagates through the generation, in the stories, and in the quieter and sadder tone we grew up listening to. Within my family, of the six men who went off to fight in World War One, only one came back alive.
It’s not a time for constant photography, or watching the event through the viewfinder. So I mostly stood, listening to the service. What I’ve tried to do is get a very small number of shots that depicted the event.
#1 Flagbearer at the start of the parade
#2 Getting a lift- not all are able to march in the parade anymore
#3 The Last Post- this is the most evocative from this morning. I was focusing on the bugler to the right of the picture (he can be seen very defocused there still) but as the notes from the Last Post played, I noticed the face and emotions on the young guard. I switched over to focus on him
#4 Veteran lowering flag
#5 Veteran laying Wreath
#6 The young laying wreath
#7 Veteran with medals
#8 Veteran in Uniform
A few summers back we visited Waiheke Island. This was the classic NZ holiday, a rustic campground (no power) with days of sunshine. It’s got a lot to recommend it. It’s also nice to get the chance to put in some time photographing different subjects. It’s hard during the standard working week to squeeze in much time with the camera. There are a lot of other things that take priority.
The first shot is a skyline of Auckland from Waiheke Island around dusk. I’ve had to use a 300mm lens to focus on the city. It’s actually a bit of a way off. That early evening however, had a lot of appeal. It’s a distinctive shot of a scene I’ve not seen replicated in years.
#1 Red Auckland
The next shot is of one of those gorgeous little bays on Waiheke Island. We spent a lot of time kayaking or swimming there.
The next shot has a kind of texture I felt suited a back and white treatment. It’s a coastal Manuka tree that’s suffered a bit of exposure of the years.
All shots are also in my ‘Natural Goodness‘ album.
Hope you enjoyed the scenes :)
The Huka Falls is in a narrow ravine that connects Lake Taupo with the Waikato River. At this point you get to see what over 200,000 litres of water per second looks like. This provides the opportunity for some dramatic photography. Hence these two shots. These shots were taken during steady rain. This has the effect of adding a bit of atmosphere and thinning out the tourists. The defect is having to shield the camera from rain to prevent drops appearing on the front element. I used a strategically placed hand, which ruined a few shots when the hand crept into the top frame of the pic.
Anyway, something wild and furious from NZ.
Both shots are in the photo album “Natural Goodness“
It seems odd that with sparrows Passer domesticus being a common (and introduced) bird here in NZ, I’ve taken so few pictures of them. It reflects I guess, my strong preference for photographing native birds rather than introduced. The population in NZ is based on releases in the late 1800s and sparrows flourished.
I guess the two main challenges is that they are a reasonably drab bird and they’re also relatively small. The first issue makes it difficult to take a picture that pops out at you. Rainbow lorikeets are much easier :) The second is you have to be very close to get a view of the bird that doesn’t require heroic cropping.
I managed both feats last week down at Lake Pupuke. Timing was in the early evening during the golden hour. And with no-one else around, the birds seemed a little less wary.
One female sparrow was reasonably photogenic, posing in some lovely early evening light. Shots taken with my a700 and 300/4 G lens.
Close-up of the bird
One of the great things about New Zealand is we’re not starved for good landscape scenes. On the other hand the weather isn’t always cooperative. In fact, the thing about being on an Oceanic Island is that the weather can change a lot. Sometimes I can choose when to go out and photograph. Sometimes you don’t get any choice.
A case in point was our expedition to the West Coast last summer. I envisaged lovely summer weather, sunshine and glorious pictures of the Fox Glacier and the like. Instead it rained, a lot. We got hit with floods in Golden Bay. We seemed to be under a near constant rain cloud that whole trip. Ok, it wasn’t that bad, there were definitely good moments. But overall, the visions were not being served.
Fox Glacier was pretty poor weather. My goal of pristine shots of massive walls of ice were instantly thwarted. Nonetheless, there’s a way to make the experience more genuine. Try to use the gray skies, rains and cloud to convey a different impression of the area. Hence these shots of the area.
Wild NZ – Fox Glacier
Wild NZ – Twisted Rock
Wild NZ – Spilled Rock