Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Zealand Nature

Valley mist, from Amuri skifield

I am posting some images from nearer home this week.  Ten days ago, I went with a group of Nature Photography Society of New Zealand members to the Amuri ski field lodge, near Hanmer Springs, for a weekend of photography.  The conditions were excellent for sunrise shots on both Saturday and Sunday mornings; nor’west winds brought broken high cloud and great colour.

Sunrise from Amuri skifield

Sunrise from Amuri skifield

On Saturday, after shooting the sunrise from a ridge just by the lodge, we walked to the summit of Mt St Patrick.  The views and the alpine flowers were superb.  In the wind, mat plants (vegetable sheep as they are known locally) were the most suitable photographic subjects.


Raoulia and Haastia

I woke before dawn on Sunday morning to a dull, red glow outside the window.  So in spite of the strong wind that had battered the lodge all night, keeping most of us awake for much of the time, I got up to head outside.  My intention had been to grab a few quick shots and retreat indoors again, but the light was too good to ignore, so with camera on tripod I returned to the ridge where I had been the day before.  Fortunately I knew the way this time, so it wasn’t hard to negotiate the route in the half-dark.  The clouds were moving fast, and this was the last shot I took before the sun rose above the horizon.  At 1/20 sec exposure, those little red clouds must be moving in the frame, but fortunately it isn’t obvious.  The articulated screen on my camera was blowing in the wind, so I had to lock it down and almost lie on the ground to see what was happening.  The camera was low to the ground, and rock solid on the tripod, so the image is sharp.

Second sunrise from Amuri skifield

As the wind continued to strengthen, we decided after breakfast to clear up and head straight down the road.  It was calmer in the valley, although still windy.  We stopped to explore an old woodshed.  Also, at the beginning of the St James cycle way, we found an incredible field of gentians, in perfect condition.  Of course they were blowing violently in the wind, and I’m looking forward to seeing images from one of our members who, living locally, intended to return the next morning.

Changing weather, looking down to the Clarence River

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