The Taupo tree in the lake.

The Taupo tree in the lake.

Mostly everyone knows about the Wanaka Tree in the lake as its become really famous around the world. There must be a human emotion attached to trees that exist in the landscape by themselves against all the elements that would normally overwealm most plants. And it seems with both the Taupo tree and the other one at Wanaka they are both willows which is handy as they tolerate water. Its not unusual for willows to be established on river banks to the point that they do become a problem with clogging up water courses.

But when it comes to a willow in a lake by itself they just seem to convey this emotion to humans as a standout survivor against all odds. There must be a name for that?


nature first

As part of the Nature First principles have not intimated where this tree is on my social media sites. Going on past problems with insta overload at some places its hoped that this tree doesnt get the same treatment.

3755 lone taupo tree

A long exposure of the tree at sunset. Had a internal discussion about using this image as the trunk was sharp in focus but being a long exposure of about 30 seconds the leaves moved in the breeze. It can be a restriction on being creative to allways having everything sharp in focus so tossed that so called rule out with the premise that by showing the wind effect its giving credence to the story of this tree fighting against the elements so that it can survive.



“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”
3705 le taupe tree

Looked for a different angle with this image and as i was setting up the setting sun really lit it up with some glourious side light. The foreshore was also littered with pumice balls some which were larger than my hand and different colours as well. A pumice hunters treasure trove.

3713 Taupo tree classic

The bog standard shot of the Taupo Tree in the lake with Motutaiko Island on the left and Tauhara on the right in the background. This is also a long exposure shot with some leaf movement to continue the story of survival. Plus also a lone duck enjoying its perch. 

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Nature First and Nov/December social media postings in review.

Nature First and Nov/December social media postings in review.

A recollection of postings on my social media pages being mostly Flickr and facebook plus some musings on photography in general.

Also have joined a alliance of international photographers promoting the principles of nature first. Here are the goals;




Nature First is built on seven core principles that help communicate how each of us can enjoy nature photography responsibly. The Seven Principles of Nature First Photography were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations.


Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.

Educate yourself about the places you photograph.

Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.

Use discretion if sharing locations.

Know and follow rules and regulations.

Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.

Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

A link to the website; please copy and paste to your search bar.

3062 lake wairarapa

This lake is this colour as the local strong winds stir up the sediment on the lake bottom which contain phosphorus. Its really shallow so doesn’t take much to get some waves going. Cannot honestly say that would even swim in it. Whilst looking for a good spot to place the tripod legs noticed a decent splash from what looked like one of the local eels doing its thing but you just cannot see anything in the water. Its a case of waiting for something to jump up before you be able to indentify it. I guess that by now you have gathered that this lake sure did impress…

But still liked the way the wave cloud lined up with the old jetty posts tho.

3177 sunset pano

The sky just exploded with red that evening so whats a photog to do but do a grand lanscape panorama to try and get it all in. 

4761 silage making

A typical rural spring scene of silage harvesting with a tractor windrowing the cut grass into rows for the silorator to be able to fine chop the grass and then blow it onto a truck to cart to the silage pit. The Ruahine Ranges are in the background. Liked the way the sun was illuminating the feilds in patches.

3292 old house

On the highway south after Masterton was this old shed which in itself was interesting enough but the leading lines of the maize plantings as they growing just rounded it all off. Methought that if i didn’t capture it then the next time the crop would have been way to high. Sometimes you just have to stop and get the camera out even if you are running late…

2504 pourerere rock

This rock is a really strange creation of nature. It looks almost like a gourd or similiar maybe but you do wonder at the geological forces at work to create it. Spotted at Pourerere Beach on the Hawkes Bay coast just around the southern headland.

3322 rocket lab

A long exposure of Rocket Labs launch heading to space as seen from Pourerere Beach. You can see the star trails and a hint of the northern and southern polarities as this is a wide angle view. Meaning that you can just see the curve in the stars at top right and some curve at bottom left as well. Made a mistake of not leaving the exposur longer as the plume would have been visable at about 3 minutes on as the booster took over the rocket and there is often a white cloud plume of the freezing fuel turning to crystals being illuminated by the setting sun as the rocket is high enough at that stage. One allways lives and learns. Its when you don’t you have a problem…so next time will be ready. The story continues as there are plenty of more launches to come especially as they have just built another launch pad at Mahia.

3367 twilight lights


“noun 1 [mass noun] the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun‘s rays from the atmosphere:”

After capturing Rocket Labs launch at about midnight at Pourerere Beach grabbed a couple of hours sleep and shot some images of the twilight. Magic time of day…

3585 sky whaka

Made a spur of the moment trip to Ruapehu for some tramping but being at the time a no-go because of the heating of the crater lake the places where we wanted to go were blocked of in case of a Lahar. 

So the only thing was some food at the cafe instead. Was looking for a fun shot of the speeding gondalas…just for fun.

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2020 September/October social media roundup.

2020 September/October social media roundup.

This is a round up of the Facebook, Flickr and Instagram imagery that was posted. Have added some extra back stories over and above what was shared to the social media platforms as on this website there is far more scope to share additional information.

All these images are available as prints. We print in house on Canon fine art papers. Contact me with the form at the bottom to enquire.

2272 Tongaporutu archway

This archway at Tongaporutu is a really prominate feature when trying to explore the coastline here. So much so that this time it was impassable as the storm just gone had moved the sand from against the cliff face and under the arch and around it so much that it was impassable. This was at dead low tide and was up to my knees at this point and the water was getting deeper the further i went and chances of rouge waves tipping me over was just too great. Never mind … exploring this coast will just have to wait. A hand held shot.

2338 Pourerere Beach

This is Pourerere Beach on the coast in Hawkes Bay east from Waipawa town.Its a really easy access beach with a flat sandy foreshore with mostly no rocks until you travel around the headlands.

With this image used the good old leading lines effect to carry the eye up to the point in the distance. Object was to convey the wide open space and flat beach foreshore giving a impression of being there alone just wandering along as we all do just thinking about heaps and then not much at all at the same time…as you do.

2350 Pourerere Beach headland

Another shot at Pourerere Beach but looking the other way. The out going tide was leaving nice wet sand areas for awesome reflections and the gulls had to get in on the act. This is looking south.

1834 crawfishing tractors

The cray fishermen just before Cape Palliser have a dangerous piece of coast line to launch and retreive their boats. So much so that old bulldozers make for the best option as a tow tractor to get the trailer in and out. Probably where all good bulldozers go to die…

There was a Lotto advert made here with these tactors not so long ago.

2157 Dawson Falls

These are the Dawson Falls which are reached relatively easily from Manaia Road. The road thru the bush is really well worth the drive by itself to get up there and not for some one in a rush.

Waterfalls can sometimes be a bit problematic especially with a blue bird day such as this was because there is very bright highlights and really dark shadows. The trick to get around this issue is to whats called bracketing  at least three shots in Raw format- one at one stop under exposed, one normal and one over exposed by one stop. This means that under exposed  image gets all the highlight data running thru to the over exposed shot which gets all the dark shadow data set. These are combined using a what is called a HDR programe [ high dynamic range ] to show a balanced image. The camera cant record the dynamic range like our eyes can see so the challenge is to produce a shot that mimicks what we saw at the time.

2488 walnut tree

A exercise in luminosity and contrast with the high lighted walnut tree in winter set against a back ground of a approaching rain storm.

2533 Pourerere Beach pano

The headland looking north at Pourerere Beach on the eastern coastline of the Hawkes Bay.

2570 Pourerere Beach rock

A rock in the sand surrounded by water on the beach at sunset. Pourerere Beach again. Not much more to add really…

2562 Pourerere sunset point

Pourerere Beach again. Tracks from vechicles leaving lines towards the southern headland. A classic use of  leading lines in image composition. 

2678 Waitonga Falls - small

The lower Waitonga Falls which are reached before the base of the higher falls. They seem more attractive as a small water feature which are seemingly hidden to some extent. It takes a bit of a rock hop to get to these.

2721 Waitonga Falls

The upper Waitonga Falls cascade over a lava flow with the renaments of a recent snow fall still just hanging on. These falls from this angle can be problematic the photograph as there is a wide variance in lighting from the bright sunlit areas to the deep shadow areas so to acheive a balanced exposure i use a technique called HDR or bracketing tree exposure where you take one of normal exposure, one under exposed to gather details in the brighter areas and one overexposed by one stop to gather the details in the shadows. These three images are blended together to create one balanced image without blowing out the highlights or losing the details in the shadows. Care needs to be taken so as to not create a image that is far removed from what you saw on the day. Humans can discern a higher dynamic range than what cameras can.

2623 Waitonga tarns boardwalk
2620 Mount Ruapehu

On the way to the Waitonga Falls you pass these tarns which are protected by a board walk. On this trip the ice was still covering the surface of the tarns  which made it a bit harder to capture below the surface but some juggling with a polarising filter managed to find some under water detail with out losing the texture of the ice.

2759 Mangewhero Falls

These falls are just beside the access road to Turoa skifeild and the look out here is just 5 minutes walk from the car park. The difference for getting this shot was the recent snow fall creating a fresh dynamic rather than just the normal image made from here. Used the snow at the bottom to create a leading line or pointer to the falls. Seemed to work…

2591 Ruahine snow and shed

A late spring snow fall on the Ruahine ranges provided a contrast with the steep farm paddocks and a old farm shed in the foreground.Waited for the passing clouds to part and let some sunlight on the green hills and the shed to illuminate the landscape just perfectly. Pays to have patience.

4431 sunset tree

The lone tree in a image is a thing so just adding a country version with a few sheep for good measure.

2102 tongaporutu boulders

The boulders at Tongaporutu are very elusive and a bit dangerous to get to so wont say how to get to them. But they are really magical and as they are not well knowen makes them a bit mystical as they appear and dissapear with the shifting sands.

2671 red crater pano

A panorama standing atop Red Crater at dawn with the moon still visable at the top left looking north towards Lake Taupo. The Emerald Lakes are seen bottom right with Blue Lake in the middle distance. If you enlarge the image by clicking on it you will see the area in more detail. It was a freezing morning that day with frozen fingers trying to set the camera up properly but wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

3002 rainbow windfarm

Some times when on a road trip you see stuff that you just have to stop. This is one of those times so couldn’t miss this opportunity to capture a rainbow in front of the Tararua wind farm. Just seemed apt really…

4817 lone tree red sunset

There is still something about a tree by itself in the landscape. Its it against the world attitudal type of message. 

This red sunset seemed to carry the idea off nicely leaving the tree as a sillouette.

4842 sunset fields

The sunset over some freshly harvested feilds for silage beside the Ruahine Ranges. 

2962 snow tracks

A dumping of late spring snow was a opportunity not to be missed for some contrasty images. This follows the classic composition style of s curves to draw the eye thru the frame towards the mountains in the back ground. Tongariro National Park just off the Desert road.

3031 misty tree

Another classic image with a single tree in the landscape withn fields around and a misty atmosphere running into the middle distance. These conditions do not last long so you have to be quick before the heat of the rising sun dissapates the mist.

4419 misty hills

The early mist rising over some steeper farmland with a contrasting black clouds in behind. Waited to get just the right light on the hills to add some drama to the image. Came out well i thought.

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Pourerere Beach impressions…

Pourerere Beach impressions…

One of the things about beaches on the southern Hawkes Bay coastline is the relative isolation they enjoy. I say enjoy because the only people you see there are those that want to be there rather being a passing thru destination. 

Pourerere Beach is one of these gems and its a inviting place to be with its wide open sandy beach area which at low tide you can drive along but be careful of the soft spots. There is no store facility so you have to be prepared if you are doing a day trip or staying a bit longer. There are freedom camping spots so long as you play by the rules and the park up spots are beachside. Climbing out of your van at sunrise right on a white sandy beach cannot be beat.

Most of these images can be purchased from us as A2 or A3 sizing fine art prints using Canon inks which we print in house. The panoramas we are printing with a local supplier on canvas. Please feel free to ask if one of these images would look great on your wall. 

To view each image bigger just click on it and it will expand.


2562 Pourerere sunset point

Low tide at sunset makes for some really nice reflections. Named this image ‘Vanishing Point’ as the vechicle lines seem to vanish at the pointed headland.

2350 Pourerere Beach headland

At low tide there are reflections galore of the surrounding hills and headland with sea gulls for company. Its also a good spot to collect seaweed after a storm if you want some for your garden.Can vouch for that.

2338 Pourerere Beach

The receding tide leaves a run of sand ripples which work to guide the eye towards the dissapearing land scape at the headland. The whole beach is in a big curve and is really safe but everyone should exercise caution when at a unfamiliar beach for any hazards. Really popular for fishing but if you have a boat it would pay to find out where the rock features are when launching  and the channel markers.

2533 Pourerere Beach pano

The northern headland at Pourerere Beach. Was waiting for the late afternoon sun to give a soft sunset colour to the hills of the surrounding farmland and worked well accentuating the ridges. Lengthened the exposure time so to create the impression that the headland was floating on the water. Seemed to have worked ok.

2568 Pourerere Beach sunset reflections.

You know when you have a low tide at sunset and calm conditions that some great reflections are on the cards. So wasn’t dissapointed that evening. Made the wait really worthwhile in the end.

2510 Pourerere Beach panorama

A panorama of Pourerere beach near to sunset looking northwards at low tide. Used the warm side light of sunset to highlight the ridges and valleys of the farmland on the other side of the bay. A really tranquil spot.

2570 Pourerere Beach rock

You cant go past a lone rock at sunset time which takes up its own pool of water which reflects the sunset sky. Also loved the sand patterns guiding the eye towards the rock feature. Nature is the best landscape gardener.

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Social media posts from 19 July to 29 August roundup.

Social media posts from 19 July to 29 August roundup.

Its the custom around here to sumarise the social media postings from Facebook and instagram but with some more of a back story to the images.

If you enjopy this content please add a comment thru the comments sectiopn at the bottom and/or foward the email link to any one you think may be interested.

Dont forget that we print in house on Canon fine art papers to A2 and A3 sizing. Drop us a line to enquire. All images are printed with-out the watermark.

The cover image was posted on the 19th of July of some Yellow Daisys just for something colourful in the middle of winter to brighten up a dull covid day.

To look at any image closer just click on it and it will open in a light box viewer.

Many thanks…

4336 Rainstorm  on the Ruahine Ranges

The Ruahine Ranges are a dramatic visual land form and when you combine them with a rain storm rushing thru you can get some dramatitic layering effects with the hills receding  into the distance creating the effect of greater depth within the image. For this to work the elements in the fore-front must be sharp in focus such as the tree to the unsharp hills at the back surrounded in misty rain. By converting the image to black and white really accentuated the effect of contrast and diffuse light.

4343 Red sunrise

A chance sighting of a brilliant red sunrise in the Tararuas one morning could not be missed. Out came the long lens to capture the layered hills in the foreground to produce a harmonious effect of layers all thru the image.There was a whole bunch of burn offs the day before with no wind to blow the smoke away which helped to create the red effect.

1816 Cape Palliser lighthouse

The Cape Palliser lighthouse is definetly a destination as the road goes no further. In fact its a bit sea worn in places so watch out driving the access at high tide in a southerly.

There was a visitor who arrived as i was setting up this shot and he started taking the steps up two at a time then one then phew… needed a rest a third of the climb. They are deceptively steep and forgotton how many.But the view up there isn’t to shabby.

Was waiting for the sunset to light up the high clouds but that was a fizzer. Never mind…can’t win them all.

1757 Putangirua Pinnacles

The Putangirua Pinnacles when you are standing underneath them can be a bit disconcerting. More to the fact that they are really just packed mettle which has been eroded over time with the rain and wind. The thought of a earth quake happening at the same time brings up visions of crumbling tons of mettle and stones racing in your direction. Probably a bit over kill because they have’nt collapsed yet but the mind does sometimes work over time.

Creating a image on a brilliant bluebird sky day here can be problematic for the reason that you get very bright highlights and of the scale dark areas. For a camera thats a bit challenging so to over come this we create at least three images from a dark shot to capture the bright details, a normal exposure then a long timed shot to get the details in the shadows. This is whats called bracketing. These images are blended together in a image processing programme to give a balanced image. These types of shots are best done with a tripod to make sure that all the images line up properly making the blending exercise so much easier. 

Hopefully i acheived that here.

Some filming for the ‘lord of the rings’ was done here also. Don’t ask me which scenes tho as am not so much a fan of the movies except to say that the screen play was awesome.


2344 Lake Rotorua jetty

This is one of the jettys on the Hamurana side of Lake Rotorua. There was a storm on the far left rumbling away to itself and was hoping that it would move over in my direction but not to be. But then the sunset went of with all this colour so methinks it all worked out then.

1768 Putangirua Pinnacles

Another angle of the Putangirua Pinnacles with some formations appearing to have a head formation on the top not unlike Easter Island and the rock carvings.

Another 3 bracket image.

Galactic Kiwi

With-in the centre and just down on the right you should see the outline of a Kiwi bird. Once you see it you cant unsee…

2037 star spirals

A long exposure of about 20 minutes of star trails looking due south over a survey trig station in a paddocke. By framing towards due south it creates the circular effect as the earth spins on its axis. A bit of a slow process waiting…bit like watching paint dry but its always awesome to be out under the stars at night so long as you are wrapped up nice and warm.

2108 Mount Taranaki sunrise

This is at Lake Mangamahoe just east of New Plymouth on the highway looking over the lake towards Mount Taranaki at sunrise with a passing shower creating a brilliant rainbow to complement the scene. 

2307 Len Lye centre

This is the Len Lye centre in New Plymouth town.

Its a challenge to create a image that has some impact or feel of this building. Being a grey cloudy day methought a black and white rendition and some other tweaks would create just what i was after. When you getting these shots you try to imagine how the image will come out after the final edit and am happy with this although it took awhile….


If any of these images appeal to you please do get in touch. We print on fine art papaers in house now to A2 and A3 sizing.

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Many thanks.

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