Muzz Handley Photography: Blog en-us (C) Muzz Handley Photography (Muzz Handley Photography) Sun, 23 Jul 2023 04:33:00 GMT Sun, 23 Jul 2023 04:33:00 GMT Muzz Handley Photography: Blog 87 120 Drag Racing at the Masterton Motorplex, December 10th 2022 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...



(Muzz Handley Photography) 2022 Drag Racing Masterton Masterton Motorplex Motor Racing New Zealand New Zealand drag racing championship Wairarapa Sun, 11 Dec 2022 04:57:39 GMT
The Lake Wanaka area. #thewanakatree

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.


(Muzz Handley Photography) #thewanakatree Aorangi/Mount Cook Glendhu Bay Lake Hawea Lake Wanaka Lindis Pass New Zealand Photography Photography road trip Road trip South Island Mon, 21 Nov 2022 03:36:08 GMT
The MacKenzie. 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...

(Muzz Handley Photography) Aorangi/Mount Cook Church of the good shepherd Lake Tasman Lake Tekapo MacKenzie District Mount Cook photography road trip Road trip Wed, 16 Nov 2022 04:44:00 GMT
Arthurs Pass and Highway 73. 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.

(Muzz Handley Photography) Arthurs Pass Castle Hill New Zealand Photography Photography road trip print sales Road trip Southern Alps Sat, 05 Nov 2022 08:53:24 GMT
The West Coast 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...


(Muzz Handley Photography) Hokitika New Zealand Photography Photography road trip Punakaiki Punakaiki rocks Road trip West Coast West Coast south Island Tue, 01 Nov 2022 08:23:31 GMT
Images and ideas from a South Island roadie - Top of the South. The top bit...

A collection of imagery and background notes to a roadie chasing those illusive magic photographic masterpieces.

Have been planning such a roadie for so long but like most people that thing called Covid got in the way.So here goes nothing...

I am coming from the position of never having been to most of these areas before except Christchurch but only passing by and some time in Queenstown about 35 years ago. The rest...have never done it so all this is new stuff for this guy. The whole trip was organised to be at the Archway Islands near Farewell Spit at low tide for sunset as a start point and the rest was a loose plan of places to go to. And will say now that had absolutely no idea that the weather gods would play ball like they did. 10 days wandering and only turned the wipers on once for a few spits. Wow...

Am digressing. First photo spot was the old wreck of the Jamie Seddon at Motueka for sunset and sunrise. You can see the sunset was a fizzer with cloud so its a moody shot then. Met a German tourist doing the 'time poor' rush around the South Island. Nice to swap notes on places to see...

IMG_2713IMG_2713 My new German friend showing the smallish size of the wreck and they made good use of the concrete stepping blocks that the locals had laid out. A iPhone image. 

The Janie Seddon shipwreck.The Janie Seddon shipwreck.The Janie Seddon photographed on a dark cloudy evening with a low tide which shows up all the concrete slabs that have been placed as walking steps to get out to the wreck without having to tramp through the muddy sandbank.

The final version.

Dark clouds either make for a moody colour image or a black and white conversion would highlight the structure of the old wreck. Went for the colour version...

The South Island is notorious for taking fore-ever to get i was told. With that in mind used a app called 'distances to ' to work out how much time i had to mess about or to just get driving. With that i made sure that had plenty of time to get to the sunset location but on the way after the climb over the Takaka Hill and ziggy zagging down the other side it was a stop for the Pupu Springs. A very well laid out tourist spot with toilets and info boards.

IMG_2728IMG_2728 Central to the info station was this huge Greenstone which most were touching or rubbing. You can see the smooth rock on the top. Could not get a image that i was happy with of the springs except for this abstract which grew in appreciation over time...

Te Waikoropupu SpringsTe Waikoropupu SpringsA abstract image looking down into the crystal clear waters of Pups Springs which have a clarity test of 63 meters. Another obscure spot was a old historic wharf and jetty at Onekaka which has a Historic Places classification looking at the info plate on a post adjacent to the old piles.

Historic Onekaka wharf remains.Historic Onekaka wharf remains.Whats left of the old wharf and jetty at Onekaka which has a Historic Places Trust classification. A long exposure image to show the old pilings. Used a long exposure technique to highlight the old piles otherwise it was hard to see them all. The inlet beside this spot was covered in many different coloured and shaped stones so if you are a rock hound this is a good spot.

Next was the dash out to the Archway Islands. Had a cabin at the camp ground beside the entrance to the walkway out to the islands who  probably cater for the back packing crowds but was handy for late evening photography. If you had time would probably recommend doing the Farewell Spit 4wd tours but was not personally doing any paid gigs for this road trip. Collingwood is a better place to stay if you were doing that tour as well as exploring the local trails and sights.

A selection of Archway images that made the effort to be there for sunset at low tide so worthwhile...

Sunset light on the Archway Islands.Sunset light on the Archway Islands.In a portrait format looking from the elevated sand dunes at the islands with beach grasses in the immediate foreground. Portrait of the Archway Islands.Portrait of the Archway Islands.A portrait orientation image of the two islands with sunset light on them with water puddles leading to the islands in the foreground in the image. Archway Islands reflections.Archway Islands reflections.With a low tide the islands are reflected in the still water in the foreground with the archway visible in the reflection. Sunset water at Archway Islands.Sunset water at Archway Islands.With colourful sunset colours behind the Archway Islands and a rushing incoming tide water providing a foreground interest the islands provide the centre interest in this colourful image with the arch in full view.

To me this image with the wash of the waves probably is the fav of that evening.

If you are interested in any of these images as prints please go to the dedicated page for these images to view and order. Top of the South.

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But the Islands are not the only landmark around here. Don't forget Cape Farewell just back down the road a little. You don't have to walk far from the carpark and don't scare the ewes and lambs. There is supposed to be a ledge on the left that seals congregate at but they must have been at the supermarket when i called.

Cape Farewell.Cape Farewell.A view of Cape Farewell from above the viewing platform looking down at the full bay with the rocks covered in the swell washing using a long exposure and the archway at the end of the cliff face in a portrait orientated photograph.

Cape Farewell long exposure.Cape Farewell long exposure.Looking out from the look out platform down at Cape Farewell using a long exposure to smooth the water around the rocks with a view of the arch at the end of the cliff.

One last image before the next blog about heading to the west coast. This is from Lake Rotoiti looking down the lake with-out the standard shot taken from here with the jetty pointing at the gap. Was a bit bored with that view so opted for a long shot down at the layers of hills leading towards Mount Travers i believe. I can be corrected...

Lake RotoitiLake RotoitiUsing a zoom lens to make a close image of the tail end of Rotoiti Lake in the Nelson Lakes area with the ranges and Mount Travers in the background. Here concludes this first blog. Any brickbats or favourable comments appreciated....

(Muzz Handley Photography) Archway Islands Nelson Tasman New Zealand Road trip Roadie South Island South Island New Zealand Thu, 27 Oct 2022 06:04:43 GMT
A journey to White Island... White Island.

A visual record


These images were taken in 2015 with White Island Tours from memory. They haven’t been shared before except for a couple on social media at the time. The reasoning for doing it now is that the image software that am using has developed so much that these older crop sensor files can now be developed to a higher standard than ever before, a saving grace is that i always from the start photographed in the RAW format which allows for far more latitude to clean the artifacts from these files. It is a stark environment which in turn means to tell the story the images must with-in reason match the feel of this place with-out being soft and with definition. Hopefully they convey that.


I am releasing these images now because of the improvement in editing programs but I would like to acknowledge the lives lost when White Island erupted in 2019, I can only imagine how it would have been like for the people that were there. My condolences to all families who lost loved ones on that day and much respect to those brave heroes who risked their lives trying to rescue as many as possible. Hopefully all those recovering from injuries do so that they can lead fulfilling lives as much as possible.


I am not am not trying to revive any debates about visiting White Island as a tourist, it is just my intention to show those who will now never have the opportunity to see what the environment there looked like. One thing that images will not convey is the sulfur smell, we all had gas masks to put on if the wind blew the gas in our direction which we all seemed to use at some point of the tour, especially beside the crater itself. You definitely knew you were in a sulfur environment, a bit like an overpowering smelly day at Rotorua. 


The images with people in them are not for sale or down-loading. Any others please contact me for options.

White Island landing area.White Island landing area.This is where the tourists were landed by rubber boat from the launch we travelled on from the mainland onto a basic concrete and rock jetty of sorts. The landing place from the launch that brings us from Whakatane is rather rudimentary as its just some concrete and rocks with some bits of rope to grab hold off from memory. Everyone is ferried across in small dingy loads so that takes a little while. Not the best in a south easterly methinks.

Visitor safety briefing.Visitor safety briefing.Right at the start there was a safety briefing about mask use, hard hats and where to go and not to go. With everyone safely on the island and dried off somewhat its a safety briefing about face masks for the gas and the do's and don'ts. Us tourists wear yellow hats and the guides have orange. One guide in front doing the info talks and one carrying up the rear keeping stragglers in check and moving along together.

The beach at White Island.The beach at White Island.Leading up from the beach where we landed looking back with a cruise ship just appearing behind the point in the background. Looking back to where we landed with the rudimentary jetty and a cruise ship in the distance which was doing a curcuit of the island on its travels.

The start of the walk at White Island.The start of the walk at White Island.This is what you would see when you started your tour up towards the volcano crater. Lucky the steam was blowing away at this time. On the way up from the last shot looking ahead to the crater in the far distance.

Helicopter landing area at White Island.Helicopter landing area at White Island.Looking across at a helicopter parked in the landing area which had transported scientists to the island for research purposes. A helicopter was parked whilst we were there which had brought some scientists to the island to check the monitoring equipment and do some visual surveys.

A tour group on White Island.A tour group on White Island.Another tour group in front of us who were defending from the crater. There was another tour group which came on the other boat which were in front of us and were also kept moving and separated from us.

Sulphur femoral on White Island.Sulphur femoral on White Island.Looking ahead at a sulphur femoral in front of us on the trail to the crater on White Island. A view looking ahead to the crater which we were getting ever closer too. You can see some sulphur deposits appearing now.If you look closely just in front of the steaming crater you will see the figures of the preceding tour group standing there who look like tiny ants in comparison.

Tour on White Island.Tour on White Island.The group making their way towards the sulphur femoral. The group approaching the sulphur deposits. Notice the guide doing the rear guard action and the sulphur on the ground. You can imagine what this was starting to smell off...

White Island sulphur deposit.White Island sulphur deposit.The group just before the sulphur deposits with the steam cloud in the background. One of the remote monitoring stations that were scattered around the island.

On the trail at White Island.On the trail at White Island.Looking back at where we had come from on the way to the crater with a small stream and sulphur deposits. Looking back at where we had climbed up with the small stream formations which must have a small stream running down if its really raining. Its a really diverse landscape.

Sulphur deposits on White Island.Sulphur deposits on White Island.The tour group approaching a large sulphur deposit with steam from the crater rising in the background. Approaching a sulphur deposit with steam vents.

Close up of sulphur deposit at White Island.Close up of sulphur deposit at White Island.One of the tour group getting a close up photo of a large sulphur deposit with steam rising. A close up shot was had but don't get too close. 

Tour group at White Island crater.Tour group at White Island crater.The group approaching the crater at White Island with steam rising and a scientific monitoring party observing the volcano in the background. Getting close to the crater edge. Note the crew doing the monitoring at middle left who came on the helicopter.

Crater lake at White Island.Crater lake at White Island.The lake in the crater which you can see by the bright green colour that it is something you really do not touch or get near too being sulphuric acid. Looking down into the crater itself. Just look at the colour of that water if you can call it that with the steam rising from the bank on the right.

Sulphur deposit and steam rising.Sulphur deposit and steam rising.A large sulphur deposit on the side of a cliff face with steam rising from vents. A view looking back at a sulphur deposit with steaming vents.

View from crater at White Island.View from crater at White Island.Looking back from the crater back down to where we had tramped from with a sulphur deposit part way down. The wander back down on another trail seperate from the one we came up. Another sulphur deposit on the right.

Stream on White Island.Stream on White Island.A water course which carries rainfall with traces of sulphur at the bottom amongst the volcanic terrain. A stream wash with sulphur deposits tracking all along it. It must really poor down here when its raining. A totally different landscape...almost a moon scape.

Tour group walking on White Island.Tour group walking on White Island.The tour members making their way down the track back towards the landing area with sulphur deposits on the ground around them. The tour group making their way down back towards the landing area. There is sulphur just everywhere...

The view towards the White Island crater.The view towards the White Island crater.Looking back up towards the crater with a water course leading the way with sulphur deposits left over from the last rainfall. A look back up towards the crater with one of the dry wash beds. Steam was coming out of vents here too.

Sulphur mine machinery at White Island.Sulphur mine machinery at White Island.The decaying rusting machinery and building frames from the old sulphur mining days. Part of the old desolate machinery from sulphur mining days. Note the solid rubber tyres and old differential with the crumbling concrete walls.

Derelict sulphur mine buildings.Derelict sulphur mine buildings.The remains of the old sulphur mining site after many years left to withstand the natural elements. Part of the old buildings which showing their time spent in this environment.

Old mine buildings at White Island.Old mine buildings at White Island.The remains of the sulphur mining factory on White Island with the crater in the distant background. Looking over the building remains back towards the crater.

Derelict machinery at sulphur factory, White Island.Derelict machinery at sulphur factory, White Island.Remains of the plant for processing the sulphur that was mined at White Island with major rust and corroding walls of the buildings. Various bits of cogs and wheels in a solid state of repair. Such a corrosive environment.

Rusting factory equipment.Rusting factory equipment.The cogs and various steel plant equipment of the old sulphur mine on White Island decaying in the harsh island conditions. The final part of the tour before lining up for our turn to get on a rubber ducky back to the launch. 


For any enquiries about using any images please do use the contact form. Images with people cannot be used. There is a hidden watermark on all images.



(Muzz Handley Photography) Bay of Plenty Historical Island New Zealand Volcanic landscape Volcano White Island Sun, 24 Apr 2022 09:18:24 GMT
The Cape Palliser coast. Cape Palliser is some where you go to and not drive thru as its a no exit access. The lighthouse is the end point but there is much more than that.

Read on to find out...

Coastal road to Cape Palliser.Coastal road to Cape Palliser.Looking down the road towards the coastline which runs towards the Cape Palliser area.

The road in gives you a taste of what you are about to water, steep cliffs and sweeping beaches.

Coastline panorama to Cape Palliser.Coastline panorama to Cape Palliser.A panoramic image of the coastline west of Cape Palliser with the entrance to the Putangirua Pinnacles on the bottom right at the bridge. The road down to the end point at the lighthouse takes you past outlooks such as this view just past the turn off to the Putangirua Pinnacles which is at the bridge at the middle right in this image. The coastline just seems to keep going fore-ever but you would eventually arrive at Wellington. All these images are on the website. Just use the search function with the keyword 'Cape Palliser' and they will all be itemised.

Putangirua Pinnacles.Putangirua Pinnacles.A image in the valley looking up at the Pinnacles soaring above in cathedral like structures. The Pinnacles do provide for a visual feast and you have the choice of walking up into the Pinnacles if you follow the rough track up beside the stream and do some rock hopping and/or take the track to the look-out. For imaging its maybe better to go in the afternoon when the sun is lighting up the Pinnacles without too much in shade.

Ngawi bulldozers.Ngawi bulldozers.The bulldozers that are used as crawfishing tractors to launch the boats into the water with specialised trailers.

On the way is Ngawi which is world famous in New Zealand for the cray fishing boats lined up on the shore line with their semi-retired bulldozer's which they use to launch and retrieve the cray boats from the beach immediately behind them. The line up is impressive and the trailers purpose built with long draw-bars to make for getting the boats as far as possible in to the surf. There is a fish and chip trailer which sells local fresh fish.

Rocky beach at NgawiRocky beach at NgawiSurf crashing onto a stony beach at the coast at southern Wairarapa near Ngawi with the headland in the background. The coastline is long and sweeping in places. Do keep a eye out for seals tho...

Shoreline rocks.Shoreline rocks.A stack of rocks on the tide line with waves crashing with a long exposure image. A feature of this coastline is the rocky outcrops which gives this coastline its reputation for a extraordinary crawfishing area.

Coastal rocks at Ngawi.Coastal rocks at Ngawi.A line of jagged rock formation leading out to sea with a windy swell running with white caps on the waves. Some of these outcrops seem like they are some creation gone wrong...

Cape Palliser coastline.Cape Palliser coastline.A long exposure image taken at Cape Palliser of the rock formations with the swell slightly blurred out with a long exposure image with the western headland in the background.

Just before the lighthouse there are some small coves which are home to whole tribes of seals. Just be careful as their bite can be nasty and would probably entail a visit to the Doctor for some antibiotics.

cape palliser lighthousecape palliser lighthouseA alternative interpretation of the Cape Palliser lighthouse looking almost straight up at it from the viewing platform surrounding it.

The lighthouse can be reached by some steep wooden steps and do test your fitness somewhat. As with all NZ lighthouses its all remotely controlled but there is safety fencing around the platform so you don't fall over the edge. The steps are as much fun going down as up.

Cape Palliser.Cape Palliser.The Lighthouse at Cape Palliser looking from the carpark with someone standing at the top of the stairs.

Although a remote part of New Zealand as in it's not on the way to anywhere and the road ends up being one way at times its still a really worthwhile journey for the rugged coastline with the seal populations,  the iconic bulldozers at Ngawi with also the pinnacles there are lots of things to explore which cannot be found anywhere else. It's a case of the more times you go the more things you see for the first time...


(Muzz Handley Photography) Cape Palliser Cape Palliser lighthouse Coastline New Zealand Ngawi Putangirua Pinnacles road trip Wairarapa Thu, 13 Jan 2022 03:33:58 GMT
A visual diary of a log truck driver's day... A day in the life off...a pictorial essay.

So a invite materialised to ride in a logging truck for the day, so who was i to say no. Capturing a diverse set of imagery from pitch dark to a blazing hot spring day certainly provided some challenges and contary to what many would believe the ride is not that smooth at all. But the view was great...

Had some internal discussion about how to present this blog and in the end decided that most readers would only relate to log trucks as another truckie making his or her way down the highway going about their daily thing and would have no knowledge of what the work is like behind the scenes and never get the chance. With the H&S [Health and Safety] rules, yours truly also needed to be outfitted with safety work boots and high viz regardless of the fact that i could not get out of the cab at work sites. You need to be inducted into the individual areas with their own H&S requirements. Consequently, for a day's voyaging about it was easier to just get the cab view with the camera with some artistic interpretations to present a laypersons viewpoint so that most non-truckles could understand and relate to.

The layout of this blog follows the day from start to finish in a chronological order...


7767 cab start blog7767 cab start blog Its 3am, at least it's not raining. So being photographically orientated there's a camera bag and stuff to also cram into a not so big cab of a big truck so that's nearly a oxymoron. A bit of stuffing here and there seemingly gets the job done. The start point is a park up yard in the industrial area at Greerton, Tauranga which is handy for the Port of Tauranga to round out  the day for logistical purposes.

7771  cab blur  blog7771 cab blur blog As a quality image this really misses the mark  but does accentuate the fact that its not always a smooth ride even with air bag suspension. Those potholes that just jump out at ya are just as annoying in a truck as a car. The lights are on and the music cranking...

7778   cab logs  blog7778 cab logs blog A hour or so later its arrival time at the first log skid site after negotiating the single mettle track in with numerous calls on the CB advising our position and travel because two trucks on a narrow winding access track crossing each other is something to be avoided. Needless to say the empty truck does the backing up and especially in the dark not so easy to avoid the drains waiting to grab a wheel. Its a whole lot of avoidable drama to just call up...

The view of the log stack is a bit is still 4.30am or something and the only illumination is from the digger doing the loading and the trucks themselves with backward facing flood lights.

7784  cab logs  blog7784 cab logs blog

The load is on and now the chains go over to secure the logs from moving about. Iknow that having a load move when driving is a totally un-nerving experience having driven trucks myself so all care is made to ensure the load is balanced  just right with the loader driver. We have to move away from the skid site to chain up and it also helps to bed the logs in better before tensioning the load. All load weights are measured by on-board weigh scales so its at its permitted load weight for the truck configuration - in this case a 8 axle combination.

7797 truck  logs  blog7797 truck logs blog With modern lighting set ups facing to the rear its like having flood lights in your back yard. 

7814 truck  logs blur  blog7814 truck logs blur blog Getting a half decent image with the cab interior in focus whilst trying for the blur of the road outside with all the rocking and rolling  was problematic. Yay for digital cameras and memory cards is all i can say. Lost count of the times trying for this image. Meanwhile the suns up and its off to Rotorua and a sawmill. 

7816  truck  logs weight station   blog7816 truck logs weight station blog Arrival to the weigh station where the load is weighed in before unloading at the Rotorua mill site. The opposite happens on the way out to calculate the load so that the guys on the skid etc can get paid. Usually a good thing...

7825 log unload   blog7825 log unload blog Same rules apply re H&S so its a combination in this image of unchaining the load , with a wider mill site view of the log stack from the cab. Watching the mill in operation the logs were being processed reasonably quickly by the rate that they were disappearing up the conveyor system. You would expect to see a reasonable log stack on hand as a buffer in case of some supply event such as road closures etc. This mill produces timber for the local framing market for new builds and other timber products.

7832  log unload   blog7832 log unload blog If anyone ever wondered how the trucks get their trailers off the ground and onto the back of the truck well here's your answer...

At each delivery site there is a crane system similar to this  which latches onto a permanent chain and hook system on the trailer by which the trailer is lifted into the air and the front draw bar is swung around into the reverse position and locked in under the trailer frame so that the truck can reverse under the suspended trailer to line up and lower onto the truck. At the skid site the digger loading the logs does the crane work of lifting the trailer of, the drawbar dolly is swung back into its towing position and then re-attached to the truck. Hopefully that's clear as mud...Otherwise you would have empty trucks and the trailers adding to the traffic. 

7845 forest road   blog7845 forest road blog The private forestry roads are well maintained for the purpose of heavy loads but lots are unsealed which makes for the dusty trucks that you see on the road. Especially if it's wet you cannot avoid the rougher tracks of the skid sites.All care is taken to remove any thing which may fall from the logs like loose bark. 

7860 skid site   blog7860 skid site blog Skid sites are sort off a temporary camp  for logs and gear. Each stack is a different grade of wood which the crew sort into their various grades. Each load put on the truck is a specific grade for its destination which the driver is advised of on a small data logger in the cab which is connected to the company office thru wifi. Its a series of numbers and names with final destination and when we arrive the digger driver loading is advised of what grades to load and on which part of the truck and trailer. And when loading is in progress the weight is monitored to get the proper loading configuration. The attachment on the digger in the middle is a log grader which measures and calculates where to cut the log to a pre determined length with a inbuilt saw all controlled by a on board computer. This mechanisation of log grading has really sped up the processing time for raw timber on the skid site where there would have been a crew with chain saws and tape measures manually doing that job. In fact on easier country the whole process from felling to loading is all done with machines which makes for more thru-put and less hazards to every one working there. 

7892  skid site   blog7892 skid site blog

Once on board the logs are chained up away from the loading site. No one is allowed around the truck and trailer while the loading is happening. So its a wait until the loading with the correct weights is done. No where to get a ice cream around here...

7903 truck loaded forest   blog7903 truck loaded forest blog Its usually a short run down the forestry roads and a quick stop to check chain tensions before heading the long way back to the highway.

7915 truck loaded forest   blog7915 truck loaded forest blog

I thought this image  just seemed to portray the start to finish of the whole timber production process from the initial plantings thru to the mature logs on their way  to their processing destination. A sort of 'fait accompli' to the harvested trees on the truck , if they could talk they would probably say something like ' Fly you fools'.

7913 parkup  truck  blog7913 parkup truck blog 'One day i will grow up to be just like you and go for a ride', said the little tree to the big log...

7925  truck road   blog7925 truck road blog Its just a trucker's thing. A wave or at nite its 'flashies' where the side and top lights are flashed on and of or using the indicators as a 'yeah gidday'...the larger line haul trucks with all their lights is really a sight with all them flashing on and off. So if you have followed a truck at nite and seen that its a bit like a brotherhood handshake. 


Also if you want to know who has the best food is in the area just look to where all the trucks are parked around meal times. This is a small burger van on the left as you enter the retail area in Putararu going south. They soon let each other know via CB radio about important stuff, like a place that has good food...

7935 POT   blog7935 POT blog

Arrival at the Port of Tauranga with this load of export logs. The main access road on the Mount Maunganui side of the POT is a busy thoroughfare  full of big boys toys. There's just lots of everything. One of the things that strikes you is the volume of logs stacked in their rows upon rows. 

7942 POT  weigh station  blog7942 POT weigh station blog The first step is the weigh in with load on. 

7951 POT  tally  station  blog7951 POT tally station blog Next up is the log talley bay. The talley clerks already have a image of each log stack on the truck from when it left the skid site which gives them a talley as well as the grades on board. Here they physically attach bar codes to some and mark others depending on grade and destination etc. Each log is checked hence the 4 covered bays to keep  the truck's rolling through during inclement weather. After this step its removing the chains holding the logs down in a seperate safety area.

7955 log stack pot blog7955 log stack pot blog Its then to unloading with a log loader which lifts a whole stack from the truck in one grab. Logs every where you can see...

7957 log stack pot blog7957 log stack pot blog And again its lifting the trailer back on but this time the Stevdoors operate the crane which speeds up the process. Anything that impedes the flow of vehicles and materials gets sorted so there's no back ups...usually.

7966 refuel truck  blog7966 refuel truck blog Last job of the day at around 4.30pm. Refuel. Meet Tim, our chauffeur.

Most truckies well know the goings on around log transport but to the average person who passes these trucks on the road it is a bit of a mystery. And with the H&S its not possible to just go see all this stuff. Many thanks to Gilmore Transport from Tokoroa for allowing this passenger to tag along. Much appreciated , and cheers to Tim for the ride...


(Muzz Handley Photography) Gilmour Transport kenworth log transport in New Zealand logging logging trucks New Zealand log trucking nz log trucks NZ Trucking NZlogging timber trucking in New Zealand wood processing Sat, 27 Nov 2021 22:12:18 GMT
The Tongaporutu Boulders and coastline. The Tongaporutu Boulders.The Tongaporutu Boulders.A sunset image with the sun just on the horizon at sea level with some of the Tongaporutu Boulders in the forefront of the image.

These creations the Tongaporutu Boulders are from a time long before the internet and things Hoooman and they are such a elusive subject to even get to let alone be able to photograph as the shifting sands along this coastline can very easily bury them so that there is no trace to be seen at all. Thats after getting the low tide at the right time with out it raining and also hoping for that after storm effect of the sands having moved enough to even see them. And as well the erosion after storms can alter the coastline where by some major sea stacks can be eroded away to a pile of rubble. 

My last visit culminated in getting to where i had seen them previously but all there was is these sand undulations which to seemingly be covering the boulders. It seems that when they don't want you to see them then you won't and that is all there is to it!

In this Blog have gathered all the images from a successful explore and the not so rewarding expeditions. All are available as prints with a link at the bottom.

Archway at Tongaporutu beach at sunset with out going tide.Archway at Tongaporutu beach at sunset with out going tide.A archway with tidal flow at sunset at Tongaporutu. You can see through the arch to the beach beyond. At the start of the access to the beach where the boulders are is this archway formation and its the closest to the low tide deepest point in the beach so its a real pinch point. Its the last bit to be shallow enough to proceed so if you get the tides wrong its nowhere to go as its all cliff face all the way down. At this time the tide was at its lowest point and it was too deep to proceed. The area under the arch had been washed out so its way too deep and around the outside edge was no better. That stopped this attempt right there this time...the water was over my knees at this point so if a rouge wave caught me further out with camera bag on it would have been a tad tricky. At least the sunset was coming along nicely...

A sea stack on the Tongaporutu coastline in Taranaki.A sea stack on the Tongaporutu coastline in Taranaki.A unmistakeable big sea stack on the Taranaki north coastline near Tongaporutu which has now collapsed i believe.

This sea stack just commands attention from any angle.It is partway down this stretch of coastline towards where the boulders are situated and i defy anyone to wander past without checking it out. One of the most common mistakes for new photographers is to go 'wow look at that' and walk all around the stack and then think of getting a unique shot of it in its pristine environment only to have all these foot prints in the sand. So consequently now always approach these subjects with a wide berth so as to not ruin any possible photo opportunities. Its a lot easier at place like this with no one around having the whole place to yourself but with a popular spot that can get problematic. Nothing like a good tide to wash everything clean twice a day.


Tongaporutu coastline sea stack.Tongaporutu coastline sea stack.A sea stack along the coastline at Tongaporutu at sunset with the gold and blue colours with the stack in silhouette next to the cliff face on that coastline.

The same specimen but from a different angle at sunset with the stack in silhouette which gives it a fatter appearance. The sunset on this occasion was spectacular and that's one thing about west coast beaches with sunsets. You don't have to get up early for them not like the east coast but that is what it is...

Cliff erosion at Tongaporutu.Cliff erosion at Tongaporutu.The renaments of a cliff face collapse at Tongaporutu with a jumble of rocks in the sand with one large rock with a sharp point leading to the sky at sunset. Being a coastline that gets its fair share of storm activity and the type of rock material there is constant erosion so its constantly changing from one visit to the next. This is part of a collapse leaving a jumble of rock features but the one pointed rock form really stood out. The hard part was getting a decent composition to highlight it within the coastal landscape. This is a 3 image blend for the extreme highlights to darks created by taking a average lighting exposure with a dark and slightly over exposed image. The darker image gets the highlights in the sky and the over shot gets the details in the darker areas. Commonly called HDR or High Dynamic Range. All decent photographic software have a blending option. When in the field  it's sometimes handy to mark the end image with taking a shot with your hand in the frame to mark the sequence end. Some common mistakes with HDR is to overly crank the contrasts giving a fake look. You want it to represent what you saw at the time.

Tongaporutu coastline.Tongaporutu coastline.The coastline at Tongaporutu is to respected for the sudden waves that wash ashore that can suddenly catch you out. Here we see the cliffs at Tongaporutu at sunset with waves crashing ashore and surrounding the boulders suddenly with the wave action displayed. The actual boulders themselves are a illusive bunch for sure. This is with a outgoing tide but with being on the coast you never take the sea for granted and this was just a rouge wave that decided to surge back up the beach so had to quickly hold the tripod for the shot then try to scramble up the beach before the water pushed me over. There is a lot of force with rushing water and was well past worrying about keeping the socks and boots dry so its a case of creating a standing position the has the least resistance which is usually standing with the water side on. Bit tricky with a reasonable camera bag as well so you do not want to fall over! At least i got the shot ... but no shot is worth getting into trouble over.

The Tongaporutu Boulders at sunset , Taranaki north.The Tongaporutu Boulders at sunset , Taranaki north.The big round boulders of Tongaporutu at low tide at sunset.

The Round Tongaporutu Boulders at sunset.The Round Tongaporutu Boulders at sunset.A view at sunset of the Tongaporutu Round boulders with the tidal waves washing around them with a long exposure and the cliff edge on the left of the frame.

So without a rush of tidal water this is what this beach looks like with the Tongaporutu Boulders at sunset. Methinks they out shine the other boulders in the South Island but that's my opinion until i get one day get to see those...

The Taranaki boulders at sunset with out going tide.The Taranaki boulders at sunset with out going tide.Some large Tongaporutu Boulders with a sunset sky in the background. Another view from the there side looking out to the sunset and the surf line. Was really lucky to catch the streak of golden light reflection on the water on the bottom left which complements the golden light in the sky.

Small Tongaporutu Boulder.Small Tongaporutu Boulder.A almost perfectly sphere shaped Tongaporutu Boulder set just under the cliff face on the coastline with a green algae growth on the cliff face itself being in a shaded damp area. There are other smaller round boulders in the back ground.

This for want of a better term is what i would call the boulder nursery as it seems like they are uncovered from within the cliff face by the wave erosion and just appear as newly exposed boulders. There is some magical shapes and patterns on the round boulders themselves which depicts the huge pressure that was used to create them. Really liked the contrast with the Tongaporutu Boulder and the algae covered cliff face with the other smaller round rocks in the background.

Sunset at Tongaporutu beach.Sunset at Tongaporutu beach.A view looking south with Mount Taranaki in the far distance of the Tongaporutu coastline at a very low tide at sunset with the beach exposed with pools of water left in little pools of water after the receding tide. This is the same area at the last visit. Not a boulder to be seen anywhere. You can't tell me they all rolled away. That would be silly. But imagine the storm force to move all that sand to expose them and also to cover them again. It seems that mother nature decides if you are worthy this time to see them after getting the tides and weather to suit which in itself is a bit of a mission. Still ...nothing worthwhile was that easy. 

Sunset sand with patterns.Sunset sand with patterns.Looking out to sea from the Tongaporutu coastline with the sun nearly set below the horizon over pools of water left behind from the receding tide. Not a boulder to be seen but these indentations in the sand. Still it makes for a not to shabby sunset image....

Foot prints in the sand.Foot prints in the sand.At sunset on a wide open beach at low tide with a wide view of the cliffs at Tongaporutu on the left running down towards Mount Taranaki in the far distance with also the footprints leading towards the mountain. This is one time that leaving foot prints in the sand does work as it makes for a decent leading line towards Mount Taranaki in the far distance at sunset. That was more by accident than design as was walking back to the car park and wasn't too worried about leaving prints behind me. But you should always look back as the photographers adage goes...

Mount Taranaki sunset over the sea.Mount Taranaki sunset over the sea.Looking from the Tongaporutu coastline at Mount Taranaki at sunset with golden light over the intervening sea with the surf line in the foreground. Also with a low tide and a golden sunset means that a image of Mount Taranaki is in the offering. Created a slower speed exposure to just blur out the surf line just a little to add to the ambience.

Strange rock formations at Tongaporutu.Strange rock formations at Tongaporutu.Along the exposed coastline in the cliff face was this strange hard rock formation that was being eroded out of the cliff face by the high tide waves hitting the cliff. Also the bright green algae added a colour contrast which was kept moist by the water flowing down the cliff face. Another interesting rock feature was this hard rock being slowly eroded out of the cliff by the high tide waves with this bright green algae adding a colour contrast. It was being kept wet by fresh water flowing down the face of the cliff.

Dusk with stars and rocks at Tongaporutu.Dusk with stars and rocks at Tongaporutu.A night image made just after sunset with the lingering sunset colours on the horizon with a group of rocks on the fore ground at the beach at Tongaporutu at the tides edge with the surf line blurred with a longer exposure. At the end of the day hung around for awhile to try for some night images. There was a fishing boat just over the horizon which added just a glint of light in the middle waterline and the rocks on the shore line added just the right complement with the early stars above.

All these images are available to order as prints. Just go to the Taranaki page and by clicking upon your preferred image the printing options are available for you.

Taranaki page

(Muzz Handley Photography) Round Boulders Sea stacks Taranaki Taranaki coastline Tongaporutu Tongaporutu Boulders Tongaporutu Round Boulders Thu, 23 Sep 2021 00:24:30 GMT
The Taupo Tree. It was a source of frustration trying to find where exactly the famous 'Taupo Tree' was. By the usual Google map searching provided inconsequential  results so it wasn't until a period of just physically wandering around likely areas against the lake shore and a hidden entry found by chance that managed to discover for my self this elusive tree. Ha... its not like it was running away but in the end was just hiding in plain sight. 

So now every time we pass this way it's a given that a visit to the tree is in order. Following is a selection of images from the Taupo Tree and it's next door cousin at various times of the seasons. 


The Taupo Tree in the Lake.The Taupo Tree in the Lake.A early still morning image of the tree in Lake Taupo with the steam rising from the geothermal power fields in the background and the birds sitting in the tree.

A square format image of the tree made on a cold still morning in winter with the resident birds resting in the tree with the geothermal steam clouds in the background.


Portrait of the Taupo Tree in the lake.Portrait of the Taupo Tree in the lake.A vertical image in colour of the tree in the lake at Lake Taupo with the foreshore leading in a curve towards the tree.

The tree in winter with a low lake level showing the foreshore creating a curved line towards the tree in the lake.


Taupo Tree.Taupo Tree.A square format image in colour of the Taupo Tree in the lake using a long exposure to smooth out the lake water in this mid morning image.


A square format image using a long exposure with a small sunburst just above the Taupo Tree.


A tree in Lake Taupo.A tree in Lake Taupo.The tree next door to the other tree in Lake Taupo which has a direct shape and form with the shores of the Western side of the lake in the background.

The other tree in Lake Taupo which is sometimes regarded as the poor cousin of the other tree as its not as photogenic but still has so much character.


The lone tree in a lake at Lake Taupo.The lone tree in a lake at Lake Taupo.A black and white rendition of the lone tree in the lake at Lake Taupo.


A black and white rendition of the Taupo Tree in a square format with the north western shore line in the background.


The Taupo tree in the lake.The Taupo tree in the lake.This is the lone tree in Lake Taupo which is a loosely guarded secret about how to get to it.

A colour version of the Taupo Tree looking due north with Taupo Town in the far distance with a long exposure to flatten the lake water.

(Muzz Handley Photography) Lone tree Taupo tree The Taupo Tree The taupo tree in the lake Tree in a lake Tue, 31 Aug 2021 04:53:19 GMT
Tongariro National Park in early winter 2021. With the early snow falls at Tonagariro National Park being on the dismal side in the early part of the season some opportunities arose to do some quick day trips to try and capture the new snow falls around the mountain and also image the natural attractions the visitors come to see at the World Heritage Park. The snow falls in August coincided with the lock down which meant that no one was going to appreciate the snow fields for awhile but at least managed to capture some glorious imagery of the early season falls.


Alpenglow at Mount Ruapehu.Alpenglow at Mount Ruapehu.Mount Ruapehu just before the dawn showing the alpenglow colours which last for a short period in a panoramic format. Mount Ruapehu was just spectacular in this pre dawn shot with all the colours of the Alpenglow which only lasts for a very short time period. 

Mount Ruapehu with a wind storm on the tops.Mount Ruapehu with a wind storm on the tops.A post storm effect of high winds on the tops of Mount Ruapehu blowing the fresh snowfall into clouds of snow into the air with lenticular type clouds above.

After a clearing winter snow storm was revealed the fresh snow upon Mount Ruapehu and the fierce winds at the tops was blowing the snow of the ridges and creating a Lenticular type of cloud to form over the peaks of the mountain. A surreal effect. 

Panorama of Mount Ngauruhoe at dawn.Panorama of Mount Ngauruhoe at dawn.A dawn panorama image of Mount Ngauruhoe and the Red Crater as seen from the Desert Road with the red glow on the mountain tops.

A dawn panoramic view from the Desert Road looking at Mount Ngauruhoe with Red Crater to the right with the sunrise light just hitting the peaks.

Light trails at Ngauruhoe.Light trails at Ngauruhoe.Mount Ngauruhoe with the dawn light with the light trail from a passing high side truck leaving light trails leading to the mountain using a long exposure capture. A fun image using a long exposure technique capturing the tail lights of a passing high sided truck heading down the road which creates the impression of light beams emanating from Mount Ngauruhoe itself.

Fresh snow at National Park area.Fresh snow at National Park area.New snow fall on the surrounding farmland around Mount Ruapehu with the mountain in the background and sunset colours in the clouds above.

A alternative view looking at Mount Ruapehu in the background from the southern side with all the fresh snow on the mountain with the renaments of the recent snow fall on the fields surrounding the mountain adding a patchwork effect on the green grass making for a soothing effect of layers.



(Muzz Handley Photography) alpenglow mount ruapehu panorama panoramic image snowfall tongariro national park winter at tongariro national park Mon, 30 Aug 2021 04:47:33 GMT