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Drag Racing at the Masterton Motorplex, December 10th 2022

December 10, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Was fortunate to be able to visit the Masterton Motorplex on the saturday for the National Drag Racing Championship - Group 1 round on the qualifying day. Had a choice of days and the weather forecast seemed a bit favourable for the saturday and was thinking as a beginning of the race meet visit most cars would be on track. 

Do not under any means call myself a expert on the local drag scene but do like to watch some good engineering and listen to some V8 noise being a old petrol head from way back. 

This is a small collection of sights but no smells from the Saturday's competition. For any image usage for editorial purposes please get in touch though the contact page...

Spectators watching a burnout Masterton Drag burnout with spectators.View from the spectator bank with a car doing a burnout with spectators close holding their fingers in their ears to block out the noise. Spectators reacting to the noise. You get very close to the action at this track. It is also very well maintained with the grounds very tidy which is a credit to the locals who look after it. Even the rest rooms are clean...

3154  Masterton Drags  blogBurn outA decent skid More fool me for not getting a program upon entry. Usually it's a golden rule to get one when entering so that when it comes to a commentary like this all the entrants that have imaged are given credit. That was a bad...

  Masterton Drags  burnoutWheel skid A slightly longer exposure brining out the wheel spin. 3192  Masterton Drags  blogEl Chapo skid.El Chapo showing how a skid is done at Masterton Motorplex. For some reason capturing the spin speed of the rear wheels creates a great action shot so long as part of the car is in focus.

3220  Masterton Drags  blogMasterton Motorplex start line.A competitor waiting their turn for a burn out with tyre smoke filling the air. The organisation and also the public commentary was very good. You knew what was going on even when things were held up and why.

3224  Masterton Drags  blogSide view of a drag car.A low down image of a drag car with exhaust pipes. Often a low down front image works very well. Bit hard tho with all the bods running around wanting their legs in the shot.

3241  Masterton Drags  blogDrag car at the staging area.Getting ready to race... The presentation of the cars was also top notch. Just look at that paint job.

3267  Masterton Drags  blogReady to race at Masterton Motorplex.Last minute adjustments on the start line. Just getting the final details sorted...

3298  Masterton Drags  blogRace car blur.Full noise down the track. Slower shutter speed really brings out the expression of speed. trick is to keep a part of the car in focus. Actually don't fret about the whole car sharp but there must be some part which is crystal this case the cars number and sponsorship details on the back wing.

3309  Masterton Drags  blogPit road at the Masterton Motorplex.Look down one of the pit roads on race day. And look down her. No rubbish. Clean and tidy. What a testament to the organisers and the competitors as well as the public.

3313  Masterton Drags  blogJunior dragstersStaging area for the junior drag racers. The racers of tomorrow get all the encouragement to get out there racing in the junior classes with enthusiastic parents and mentors.

3374   Masterton Drags  blogWheelie Nothing like showing a wheelie at the start. Looks like way too much fun to be legal...

3502    Masterton Drags  blogBurnoutSmoke creation at the Masterton Motorplex with a burn out. More long exposure with the Total logo nice and sharp. Some photogs like every-thing sharp as but cannot be concerned with that technique as i like the expression of speed and drama with these style of images.

3423    Masterton Drags  blogBurnout smokeIts looking a bit smoky for the spectators after a burn out. Will end with  a smokey shot which for the spectators is up close and personal. Great facilities. If maybe you have been thinking of having a look check out the Facebook page to see when the next meet is. For a family its a good time out but definitely have ear protection for your self and its a must for the kids. 

Looking forward to the next visit...



The Lake Wanaka area.

November 20, 2022  •  1 Comment


So to get the elephant out of the room will bring up the Wanaka Tree images thru first which isn't really chronological but really never mind.

Must admit that having seen and imaged the Taupo Tree many times and the 'how to get to it' is really not discussed at all , to get to this tree it seems like there is a main highway to it...metophorically speaking. It's really touristy and all the times i dropped in there the tree wasn't by itself. Staged two photoshoots there at sunset and sunrise early the next morning. There were plenty of cameras at both times. At the sunrise session a photo tour was in class with their tour leader with most all of them lined up in a row taking the same angle. In fact most if not all of the group just stayed in the same position. Sorry but just cannot do that...the feet get itchy and have to find as many angles as possible. Have found by experience that when you get back to the computer you end up wishing that you had just got something else rather than just the same thing so now have a rule to myself to move lots. 

Anyway here is a vid of the tree that morning...


And some more tourists. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black!


Do wonder about how much revenue this obscure little world famous tree has earned for Wanaka town. There is a lot of development happening there at the moment. It actually reminds me of Taupo Town. Both have a lake and both have a tree in the lake. Just that this one is's own hashtag as well [see above ]

Really struggled with getting what i anticipated...and that probably was the problem. Moral being is just go with what you get. So in the end on a personal level have probably liked this image the most as its really a simple comp of all the elements of the landscape. Sunrise colours, the tree, the lake and the snowy mountains. But am still looking the grand panoramas as they show the big mountains surrounding the lake. 

Anyways here goes...

#thewanakatree at sunrise.#thewanakatree at sunrise.With a red glow on the snow capped mountains behind the Wanaka Tree at sunrise with the lake water smoothed out with a long exposure and the tree with new spring leaves in the golden glow of the sunrise looking north-west at the tree from the beach with the colour photograph in a square format.

Or a grand panorama...

The Wanaka Tree at sunrise.The Wanaka Tree at sunrise.Looking towards The Wanaka tree in a colour panoramic image with the foreshore trees on the left and the snowy mountains in the background with the first red sunrise light on their flanks with a long exposure making the lake water smooth. Or a bit of both...

Wide angle of the Wanaka Tree.Wide angle of the Wanaka Tree.With the mountains and hills from the northern side of the lake the Wanaka Tree with new spring leaves with a red glow from the sunrise standing in Lake Wanaka with the water blurred out using a long exposure. Or maybe this image...

Sunset with the Wanaka Tree.Sunset with the Wanaka Tree.With fresh new spring leaves the Wanaka Tree in Lake Wanaka is backdropped with snow covered ranges in the far distance with sunset light hitting the tops and the snow left over from winter and golden sunset clouds above. Thats actually from the sunset the evening before. There is a difference with the light on the mountain tops with each one as the light changed. Also this image is more eye level to the tree.

Sunrise with the Wanaka Tree.Sunrise with the Wanaka Tree.With sunrise colours on the clouds above the mountain peaks behind the Wanaka Tree sits in Lake Wanaka's still waters on morning. This is just before the sun set that evening. The different light when shooting at sunset and sunrise imparts a different feel as it changes. If you are doing a long exposure there is a constant changing of time exposure settings in conjunction with your ISO to get the blur but with-out any wind rustling the leaves in the tree. All good fun. 

It's not all about the tree you know.

As well the Wanaka Lake has some just awesome views around its shoreline. There was no access to Roys Peak as it was lambing time so there is the excuse for not clambering up  there. Was a time short traveller anyways.

Really liked Glendhu Bay. It was popular with many family groups too and can see why.The spring leaves were really colourful at this time bringing out shades of green and gold.

Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka.Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka.A panoramic image of Glendhu Bay with spring leaves on the foreshore trees in the middle distance with the ranges in the background with snow still left from winter still evident with cloud obscuring the tops. Just around the corner [sort off ] is Parkins Bay offering up views of flat farmland extending to the mountain ranges behind. Real picture postcard stuff.

Parkins Bay, Lake Wanaka.Parkins Bay, Lake Wanaka.With Black Rock on the far left in this panoramic colour image looking straight out at farmland and trees on the opposite side of Parkins Bay with snowy mountain ranges and southern alps in the far background. Lake Hawea.

For a short detour made my  way partly down Highway 6 which is the highway from the West Coast. The views along this road are just stunning. Here is a taster...

Lake Hawea  road trip.Lake Hawea road trip.From a high point on the highway past Lake Hawea looking down the middle of the road towards green farmland and the road disappearing in the distance and the blue lake on the right hand side with the snow covered alps in the background.  But travelling that road is for another time. 

Lindis Pass.

The landscapes on the road down and thru the pass are just extraordinary, for a north islander. Just no signs of buildings or any of that. Just grassland. Almost reminded me of the Desert Road, but not quite.

Driving to Lindis Pass.Driving to Lindis Pass.A colour image from the middle of the road as if you are driving towards Lindis Pass, NZ , with the sides with a blur effect to accentuate the speed with the road leading up to the pass in the far distance surrounded by grassland and fences. Lindi Pass road.Lindi Pass road.Looking down from the Lindis Pass viewpoint at the valley approaching the pass from the north with snowy ranges in the background.

The top view is looking up and the next looking down.

And this is from the summit.

Lindis  Pass panorama.Lindis Pass panorama.A wide panoramic image of the highest point of the highway over Lindis Pass showing the road coming from the left and disappearing on the right down the valley from the pass in the alpine tussock covered landscape. At the top there is a little view point. Just beside the walkway is the fence for the station beside the highway and being a rural type of chap who has constructed many a fence before now it seemed really different seeing fencing using barbed wire and number8 at that with steel waratahs [ for the rocky ground ] as posts instead of timber. Intrigued me so much had to get some artistic interpretations.

Grassland fences.Grassland fences.A view looking down into a vally with boundary fencing on the right hand side with barbed wire and steel posts thru the golden alpine grasses. Fence post at Lindis Pass.Fence post at Lindis Pass.A corner strainer post for the high country fencing grassland at Lindi Pass with rusty old wire and barbed wire as well. High country farm fencing.High country farm fencing.A basic station fence with barbed wire and steel waratahs for posts thru high country grazing area at Lindis Pass.

Thi is the last of this series of blogs. 

Am really hoping that by showing these snippets that many more will just head off on your own roadie. Its a lot of fun and doesn't have to coast the earth. You just need to be realistic about travel times and list your priorities about where to go. I only knew where was staying on the first night and the last to catch the ferry in good time. The rest you just go with the flow. For accomodation made good use of the app to find the good deals on the day. Many small town motels were just as cheap as a cabin at a camp ground with more facilities. And the really could do with the business.

Most of these images are available as prints on Canon fine art papers delivered to you for you to frame and hand in the frame of your choice.

Here is the link to the page where you can order. It opens in a new window.

Wanaka and surrounds image ordering page.

Am hoping that these 'in my own words' style of travel blogs have been somewhat fun and informative. Please do feel free to leave a comment. That would be appreciated.


The MacKenzie.

November 15, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

It was a internal discussion about how to title this blog covering Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo. It not only covers this blog but the gallery that these images are titled under in the websites navigation. So from 'Mount Cook and surrounds' to the MacKenzie District ended up with just 'The Mackenzie' as it really seemed to sum this area up...and its a big place with big wide open spaces and the big Southern Alps with New Zealand highest peak at its centre. This was a very fleeting visit over two days thru and back again on a return journey north. Over those two days passing thru managed a few not to shabby images...admitedlly a bit touristy but with a ancle injury had to be a bit careful about where to head to. The track at Hooker Lake will have to wait for a return expedition hopefully in the not too distant future. Anyways if i can explore in this fashion and really get to see the big views then so can you and one of the objects is hopefully to encourage others to do the same.

Aoraki/Mount Cook

So to start its the classic road side stop at Peters lookout on the access road into Mount Cook village...

Was really impressed at how nicely Aoraki/Mount Cook stood out with a clear blue bird day to go with the vivid Lake Pukaki's glacial waters. And  the mantra with photographers is to have a leading line running in from the bottom left into the scene to guide the eye so just waited for some tourists to motor into view just on command...well not really. Patience is a virtue so sometimes its just hurry up and wait for the right moment and don't slack off and check your phone as that is a fatal mistake. Note also the wilding pines in the front right foreground that have been cleared. There is also a little blurb about that on a info sign there explaining how that by doing that has improved the view of Mount Cook for our benefit as well as controlling a pest tree.

Mount Cook from Jacks Point.Mount Cook from Jacks Point.A well known spot for stopping to image Aoraki Mount Cook on the access road. With a cloudless blue sky day the peak of Mount Cook stands in contrast to the sky with a leading line of the road in with two cars travelling down the road.

As well as myself there was a group of landscape painters from Dunedin doing their thing Had a nice chat but no cup of tea with a few of them.

1602 peters painters  blog1602 peters painters blog Not a bad spot to be spending the afternoon at. 

Another spot to view up the lake is also on the highway at another park up. Seems that some of these spots are well used as vantage points judging by the amount of times people have been stopping. The roading guys have just made them usable by throwing mettle at them which is handy. This type of image is best made with a telephoto lens to help compress the far distant objects in closer to make them more visible instead of using a wide angle lens which throws the mountains into the distance.

Mount Cook in the distance.Mount Cook in the distance.Looking over Lake Pukaki at the peak of Aorangi/Mount Cook surrounded by the mountains of the Southern Alps in the South Island of New Zealand using a telephoto lens to compress the scene in a panorama. The road into the Mount Cook village had so many spots for being a crazy tourist...please do not be a idiot photog and try this stuff. The tourists drive like err tourists. The arrows are there for a very good reason.

Centre of the access road to Aoraki Mount Cook.Centre of the access road to Aoraki Mount Cook.With the access road in the centre of this panorama with the direction arrows in the foreground Mount Cook stands at the end of the valley with the road running into the distance. This was a 6 image vertical panorama hand-held so its a really quick series of images which we usually overlap by about 30% in a level plane from left to right. Many times getting these images to stitch together after making silly photo taking mistakes makes for a now polished routine to avoid those silly mistakes so its really quick if you set yourself up properly. There are some basics  such as keeping the horizon line straight also the camera perfectly vertical as well as getting enough space for your foreground with making sure the peaks have enough sky above them and not crowded in. The advantage again using a zoom lens is to compress Sir Cook in the frame so that the mountain seems closer but also there is a slight 2D effect between the foreground and background distances. All things to very quickly think about at the time...usually before i make these i already know how they will be processed in my head. 

There is so much to look at on this road. And here is another type  of road side photography ...

Roadside view of Aoraki/Mount Cook.Roadside view of Aoraki/Mount Cook.Taken from the side of the access road into the Mount Cook village with the road curving around and to the right with the mountain peak rising high above. The road coming in from bottom left and meandering thru the frame with Aoraki/Mount Cook dominating in the background. Even on a clear blue sky day a striking image can be don't always need the sunrises and sunsets and their vibrant colours. Don't be in any hurry at all when you drive down this road. So much to see for a new comer.

View of Aoraki/Mount Cook.View of Aoraki/Mount Cook.Looking over a hillock towards Mount Cook with a Kea flying high above with the ridge line in the foreground covered in felled wilding pines left to rot and native plants to one side. I had to include this image from the road in as it encompasses the varied landscapes from native plants, culled wilding pines to the dominate feature of Mount Cook. But also i discovered when this image came up on the big screen of the iMac was a lone bird flying high beside the mountain on the right. You can see the speck. Have the luxury of being able to zoom in and methinks its a native Kea. only image of one. So far...

Love them or hate them. Cairns seem to indicate at various points in the landscape the past presence of humans and their instinct for making mounds and structures with what's floating around...just like at the beach with driftwood. It must be some primeval instinct. 

Anyways this is Tasman Lake and you can see the glacier in the distance in the middle left with the surrounding alpine peaks.

Tasman Lake.Tasman Lake.A cairn beside the Tasman Lake with the glacier in the background on the left with snow covered mountains in the background on a blue sky day.

You can take a boat tour of this lake which gets you close and personal with the ice bergs floating in the lake. For a show of scale here is the little yellow boat  with 10 or so people in it looking minuscule...

Tourists at Tasman Lake.Tourists at Tasman Lake.A small tourist power boat beside a small iceberg in Tasman Lake with the glacier in the far distance and snow covered mountains in the far distance. It shows how small the boat is in the vast landscape.

There is another quick walk to a lookout up this valley as well as the much used Hooker Valley track but if you are either time poor or not hiking fit this area is a great option to get you near a glacier and its lake. The boat tour is probably a added incentive here to get up close and personal to chunks of ice. 

Lake Tekapo

It's a small village here and very tourist orientated but won't let that hold them back as it's a really stunning place. Thats why people come. To see grand landscapes which is totally different from where most people live in densely populated cities. 

At Lake Tekapo it's the Church Of The Good Shepherd that rules the roost with the lake as a stunning backdrop. Post covid the visitor numbers are down on what was normal so only encountered one tour bus full of Aussies who were a chatty bunch. Even so getting what photogs call a 'clean' shot of a place with-out people messing things up is difficult as you tend to have a messy uncoordinated view with people doing random stuff. Or in other words a balanced looking image. It also can become problematic if you sell a print with a recognisable person in the frame and they haven't given permission or signed a model release if you sell a digital version of that image. The only 'out' here is to sell the image as a 'editorial' shot such as to a newspaper for a news item. It's bit of a grey area so rather avoid it. This why if there are people in the image apart from myself i don't sell that image.

This leads on to these images from around the church. Recent advances in post processing software has made removing people so easy now and hence we have the classic view sans people...

Church of the Good Shepherd.Church of the Good Shepherd.At Lake Tekapo with the church photographed from the access bridge looking down at the church with the alpine grasses planting surrounding the building with no people in the image and the carpark removed and replaced with grass plantings to give a clean image without people and cars with the turquoise lake in middle background with the snow topped montain ranges in the background. Ok...this one is 'over the top' with changing stuff around. There is a carpark at the middle right hand side but just wanted to minds eye what it all could look like as if was just another building with-out the cars and stuff. Methinks it's called 'creative license'.

The church at Lake Tekapo.The church at Lake Tekapo.Looking from the access path at the Church of the Good Shepherd with the landscaped rocks and native grasses at the church with Lake Tekapo in the middle distance with the snow covered southern alps in the background with no people in the image with a blue sky day. This is the entrance way which has really been landscaped nicely to match the local environment and to accomodate the large amount of visitor traffic. Just look at that outlook will you...

Stairway to the Church of the Good Shepherd.Stairway to the Church of the Good Shepherd.Beside Lake Tekapo at the Church of the Good Shepherd at the steps leading up to the front entrance of the church with the landscaped grounds surrounding the stone steps on a blue sky day with clouds in the far distance. They do hold services here and weddings i believe. You can imagine the bride making the grand entrance on these steps.

Side view of church at Lake Tekapo.Side view of church at Lake Tekapo.Looking from the left hand side of the Church of the Good Shepherd at the church with native grass plantings in the foreground with the church middle distance and the snowy mountain peaks in the background with a blue sky cloudy day. The Church really does sit in the local landscape well.

Lake Tekapo church.Lake Tekapo church.Looking at Lake Tekapo from beside the Church of the Good Shepherd on its left hand side with native grass plants and the entrance to the church with the door closed on a blue sky day with no people in the image. Back of the church at Lake Tekapo.Back of the church at Lake Tekapo.Looking up from Lake Tekapo shore at the Church of the Good Shepherd with stone steps leading the way to the church with landscaped plantings surrounding the building with no people in the image.

A stunning place to visit. 

Will Finish this blog with probably my favourite image of Aoraki/Mount Cook from the second day. Really like how the cloud parts to show the peak of the mountain like a grand reveal with the lake in the foreground with some smoke from a burn off on the farmland . This image was made using a telephoto lens at 300mm for those wondering.

Aoraki / Mount Cook.Aoraki / Mount Cook.A telephoto image with Mount Cook rising above the turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki with a finger of farmland on the right hand side with cloud on the left of Mount Cook with the cloud parting for a view of the mountain peak rising high above the landscape.

All these images are available as prints except the one of the painting group at Peters Lookout. We print 'in house' on Canon fine art papers and send to you ready for you to frame and hang. 

Here is the link to the dedicated display page for these images

The Mackenzie image collection

Next up. A bit further south we go...

Arthurs Pass and Highway 73.

November 05, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

A road of visual delights and frustrations.

From the turn-off at Kumara north of Hokitika which is the start of highway 73 and the road to Arthurs Pass its a really cruisey little road wander until you are gradually weaned into a few narrow windy bits with the Taramakau River on the left and then the railway line joins the journey. It's bit like a transition from coastal flats to being enveloped into the hills. The highway eventually takes a steep windy form and you are warned about grades in such and such for trucks, a steep few corners then its a climb over the Arthurs Pass viaduct. Why on earth if they spent so much on the bridge didn't they at least work on the approach road. Who knows...

Anyways had to stop and get the tourist shot from the you do. You must admit the scenery is a great  accompaniment. And it would not have been a easy bridge to construct. Its not flat but has a bit of a climb up it.

The Arthurs Pass viaduct.The Arthurs Pass viaduct.The classic view of the viaduct from the observation platform.

Must now add that as well as having a supply of photo spots pre-loaded on my phone on Google maps also carried with me a old road atlas that was printed in 1991 and found in a second hand store in Paeroa from memory which we paid the princely sum of $1 for it. The thing with land features etc is that they are still the same more of less as they were all those decades ago so as a reference it is still up to earth terms.


Some may say its sacrilege to be writing on it...oh well too late now.


That was my reference for this part of the road trip which was not rushed but had places to see so didn't have time to wait for days for that perfect sunset anywhere except for the Hokitika one which was a fluke. I remember one of the photogs on a photo social site called Flickr saying the only chance they had to see a Kea around these parts was at the Cafe at Arthurs Pass village. He was right about that but this sighting sure was fleeting. At least can say have laid eyes on one...not with a camera yet. One day.

One point of stopping at the village, after lunch of course was the hike up to the Devils Punchbowl falls. Its a bit of a climb, think lots of DOC steps and you get the idea, but well worth the time and effort. There was a steady stream of people thru the viewing platform but eventually had a chance to try for some imagery. Did full fall shots, did what's called bracketing which is a method of taking in this case a series of exposures [ 5 in each group of the same part of the scene locked down on a tripod ]  from dark to bright exposures which are blended together on the computer to create a image that is correctly exposed for the lights and darks. Was having some fun setting that up and in the end hoped that i had covered the bases but when trying to combine everything it just didn't work at all. So to just show that we don't always get it right on the night here is the failure. But its not really a failure as you always come away with some new thing learned. In this case after beating myself up about the frustrations realised that there was just too extreme light to capture it properly. It was a cloudless day and really bright. The moral is that it is far easier and better to image these places on a cloudy day so you don't get the extremes. It's just like photographing a home garden...pick a cloudy day for the best results. Here's my image from that learning curve...will be back again to get it right someday.

1187 Devils puinchbowl falls fail  website1187 Devils puinchbowl falls fail website

Howabout a video instead from the trusty iPhone...

IMG_2804 3

Next along the highway after Arthurs Pass village is a long one lane bridge and thought that what if i could get a shot of a truck going over. Well here it is...

Single lane bridge.Single lane bridge.The single lane highway bridge at Arthurs Pass crossing the Waimakariri River with a truck and trailer unit and some passenger cars crossing the bridge with Mt Murchison in the background with snow covered peak and surrounding mountain formations. That's the Waimakariri River. Following on from there just had to stop for this image. Probably looked like some silly tourist by now. Hopefully as wasn't driving some rental the locals did think i was Kiwi.

River valley at  Arthurs Pass.River valley at Arthurs Pass.Looking up a river valley with a small water flow to snow covered mountains in the distance framed by bush covered hills rising from the river base in a typical Southern Alps view.Mount Valiant is the mountain standing tall at the end of the valley. I am told by a reliable source that the peak is Mount Valiant at the back left. Just seemed so typical of the landscape in this area and the stream just lead the eye into the valley nicely.

Next for this photog was Lake Pearson. The rest area/camp spot just didn't feel right so on a little bit to this view after climbing the road side bank. Was two steps up and one sliding back on this climb but was worth it. A hand held panorama stitched together.

Lake Pearson panorama.Lake Pearson panorama.A large panorama of Lake Pearson near Arthurs Pass with two mountain sides meeting in the middle with the mountains reflected in the lake with new spring growth on willow trees in the foreground with wispy clouds above. This next leg of the trip was a really nice cruise thru high country. Just had to stop and image this. Big wide open spaces...such a awesome drive.

Panorama of a South Island rural road.Panorama of a South Island rural road.Looking down hill at a rural highway towards the distant mountains with the road disappearing between them with farmland on both sides with sheep grazing on the right hand side. But the next stop was the aim for today. Castle Hill. So many people i talk to have never heard of it let alone been there. It was in the Lord of the Rings so is slightly world famous you know. The limestone formations are just amazing. 

Castle Hill rocks.Castle Hill rocks.A view of the limestone formation rocks at Castle Hill with a walking track leading into the scene and disappearing past the formation. Two formations at Castle Hill.Two formations at Castle Hill.A couple of limestone formations at Castle Hill close together with farmland and a snow topped mountain in the background.

Have left the person in this image for scale. 


Reflected formations at Castle Hill.Reflected formations at Castle Hill.Limestone formations at Castle Hill reflected in the still water of a small lake with a person standing in the scene to show the size of the formations and give scale and depth.

Castle Hill formations.Castle Hill formations.Large rocks at Castle Hill with new tree plantings in the foreground of amenity plants beside the pathway leading beside the formations. The little bags are protecting some new plantings.

Castle Hill reflections.Castle Hill reflections.Limestone formations at Castle Hill reflected in a small lake on a still day. Limestone formations.Limestone formations.At Castle Hill a strange shaped limestone formation makes for a unusual sight with grass in the foreground.

Abstract formation at Castle Hill.Abstract formation at Castle Hill.A pointed hat looking formation at Castle Hill sticking straight up into the sky with a sloping grassy patch in the foreground.

A truly iconic place and judging by the numbers of visitors and different languages spoken there truly world famous. 

Most of these images are available as prints on fine art Canon papers which we print 'in house' and ship direct to you. The page for viewing the images available and ordering is here ;

 Arthurs Pass and Castle Hill print store.

Next...south we will go.

The West Coast

November 01, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Blog No 2 - From the Nelson Lakes area to Hokitika.

From the previous blog which finished with a image from Lake Rotoiti the roadie followed the Buller Highway towards Westport. For scenic drives thru native bush you cannot beat it but for image making not so great. Just hunted for a nice shot to try and escapulate what it was like but maybe a nice misty day would have done it justice. The roads here show the effects of all the rain that the area has had over winter so the remote traffic lights were a familiar sight.


The area was a delight on the eyes if you like native forests and west coast rivers. For a photographer i just waited for something striking to jump out but apart from that just relaxed and enjoyed the cruise. It was not like the road was busy so no pressure.

Must admit my first time at Westport left me a tad uninterested but anyways had found some digs down the coast at a small settlement. Made a point of staying away from the main centres for accomodation to support the more out of the way places. Partly as it was cheaper and easier to find something on the spur of the moment. Used the '' app to find places to stay and used the benchmark of a small cabin at a campground which is usually about $110/nite as a comparison and more times than not a small motel offered the same rates. It was not exactly high season and methinks most moteliers were appreciative of the business. For meals the supermarket cheat was cold meats and some salads which cost wise was cheaper than most takeaways like a pizza or KFC. I carry a stash of dehydrated meals as well so can just as easily pull over and cook up a feed on the gas stove if needed. My best half did a shop at the local 'Reduced to clear' for drinks and snacks so the back of the Outback had a nice little stash as well. And its good old 'Up and go' for a quick breakfast and away. 

So before the sunset went for a wander from the digs at Charleston along a local bike track. Amazing where cycle trails are nowadays. One thing that stood out was what looked like coal in the track banks. I assume it was coal as it was a coal mining area.


Ended up going the wrong way down this track but still a nice wander...made it to a small cove just as the sunset colours showed itself.

West coast sunset.West coast sunset.Sunset colours photographed on the West Coast of the South Island at a rocky beach with swells running in with a slow shutter speed creating a soft look. Better late than never. Also this area - Charleston - also has a tour starting from here which takes you on the old gold mining tramway with their little diesel locomotive to some old minings with glow-worms in a cave tour etc. 

Driving the West Coast highway is a treat. Great vistas around every corner. To try and do it justice looked for a elevated view point.

The West Coast.The West Coast.A elevated view looking down at the receding coastline which disappears into the distance with part of the highway showing and with the view framed with flax plants in the foreground. The swells were creating a nice misty atmosphere which accentuated how the coast just seemed to disappear into the distance. You can catch the road on the middle right being swallowed up in the landscape.

Next stop is Punakaiki. By accident it was high tide about when i got there which is best apparently for the blow hole. Ha...that didn't work. Never mind. Here's some images anyways...

Punakaiki rocks and flax.Punakaiki rocks and flax.Tourists seen walking on the formed access path admiring the distinctive pancake rock features of Punakaiki surrounded by flax plantings with a glimpse of the sea on a blue sky day. Punakaike rocks.Punakaike rocks.Part of the viewing walkway at the Punakaiki Rocks on the West Coast of New Zealand showing tourists on the walkway with the rock features and flax plants against the pathway. But did manage a nice panoramic image looking north from the walkway. Just seemed to encapsulate the area nicely.

Punakaiki panorama.Punakaiki panorama.A panoramic image looking from the Punakaiki walkway in a northerly direction at a cove with waves crashing on the rocks and the West Coast coastline disappearing into the distance on a blue sky day with flax plants in the foreground. Really like this one which gathers up the boiling sea against the rock features with some of the pillars with the coastline again disappearing into the distance. The West Coast did seem to go on fore-ever.

Another from Punakaiki...amazing features. No wonder its a tourist spot.There is a handy cafe on the road at the carpark too. Always a good thing for the caffeine infusion.

Pancake rocks at Punakaiki.Pancake rocks at Punakaiki.Distinctive rock shapes in the foreground looking out to sea from the observation walkway at Punakaiki.

Also visited a obscure view point which gave up this image using a slow shutter technique creating a nice fwater flow effect which seems to draw the viewer into the shot. Contrast the flow of water against the in-focus rock feature which seemed to work nicely...for something a bit different.

West Coast waves.West Coast waves.A longer exposure which makes the receding wave seem streaky with the coastal cliff on the left hand side protruding into the small bay.

The West Coast highway is infamous for outstanding seascapes and for some vistas you just have to stop and throw your camera at them... not literally of course. This one the combination of roadway at top left disappearing around that headland to the wave action to those rock features in the mid bay just captured the feel heading south.

The West Coast.The West Coast.A view looking south down the coast at rock features in middle and far distance with rolling swells breaking using a slow shutter speed technique to soften the wave action.

For a photog it's just so much easier working out of the back of a station wagon as opposed to a car, but a mid-size camper would be nice if you wanted to spend the dollars and have the freedom to stop when and where your locations are but for now this was the more 'cost effective' option. Suppose that begs the question about the merits of either owning a camper with all the costs and advantages...such as waking up in your location of choice say for a sunrise versus paying for accomodation and being up before the sparrows to travel for your sunrise spot. Pro's and con's to both discussions. Perhaps it's just what works best for you in the moment.

This is the position that i got the previous image from using a 70-300 zoom lens . These lenses are so handy if you want to 'compress' the other words bring the background closer forward in the scene and the misty sea spray still added to the feel of depth. One thing about photographing near a busy surf is to keep the lens front clean from salt spray. And to clean your gear at the end of the day.


Most of these images are available as prints and we print 'in house' on Canon fine art papers then shipped to you to ready to place it in a frame of your choice. . They are available on this dedicated page...will open in a new tab.

The West coast of the South Island.

The next stop was Hokitika. Had to get a iPhone image of the famous stick sign on the foreshore. Thats a concrete chair which was placed there so you could relax and admire the much as you can do on a concrete chair.

Next blog up will be Arthurs Pass...


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