NZ Nature Photos: Blog en-us NZ Nature Photos (NZ Nature Photos) Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:58:00 GMT Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:58:00 GMT NZ Nature Photos: Blog 80 120 Walking in water: First trip to the Pararaha Stream The track wasn't marked on the map. It was supposed to be for experienced hikers only.  I'd decided to tackle the Pararaha Stream from the Lone Kauri Road end. It's an area of the Waitakere Ranges I hadn't explored before, so I was unsure what to expect.  I guessed I'd need my hands free. So the tripod was carried in a tripod bag (which could be slung over my back). I took just a camera, 2 lenses and some Lee filters in another shoulder bag.  

"The Track" The TrackThe TrackWhat a track for "experienced hikers only" looks like

It quickly proved impossible to keep the boots dry. The stream was running relatively high and to get purchase on the rocks, I had to dig deep into the stream floor to avoid slipping. Then there was the mud. This was definitely a trail for proper hiking boots. There was also a lot of up and down as some sections weren't safe enough to navigate the stream edge. The trail would lead up cliff faces and down again. Having the tripod bag to free up the hands was a prudent move.

I reached a a stretch of the stream I thought was photogenic. A nice cascade of water in the foreground, and with a visible cascade further back.

The other good thing about the shot above, is you can't see the bleeding scratches on my calves from some of that terrain I went through. Shorts though are the most practical attire for crossing streams.  Also, a handy hint for traversing rock faces over rushing water. Always keep 3 points of contact on the rocks at all times.

The Photos

I got three shots from photographing these scenes I liked.

#1 Pararaha StreamPararaha Stream



Pararaha StreamPararaha Stream


Pararaha StreamPararaha Stream


It is a great place to explore, but I need a backpack rather than shoulder bag to manage the gear for balance. Also, gaiters.  This was a trip where I should have taken gaiters for the lower legs as well.  Good hiking gear is a necessity that is easy to overlook. And I'm conscious that this is terrain where I'm traveling alone with no cellphone contact. Not breaking a leg or getting swept into a deep pool are things I need to avoid.

I know further downstream is a large waterfall, but it might be prudent to approach it from the Parahara Camping Site end.  The shots above were taken with my Sony a7R and either my Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G lens, or Minolta 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 lens.  The later is one of the original Minolta designs from the mid-1980s.  It's surprisingly good. Also compact.  The tripod was an Induro CT314 Carbon-Fibre tripod, with a Manfrotto geared 410 head, and an FLP LB-15 levelling base.  All in all, it adds up to a decent weight.  First thing to do when getting home was to extend it all out to dry, and unscrew the spiked feet to let these drain and dry properly too. 

Legs by the end of the hike were feeling the workout. It's very much a track for experienced hikers.  




]]> (NZ Nature Photos) auckland photos induro tripods lee filters long exposure nz forest streams nz photos pararaha stream pararaha valley sony a7r stream stream photos waitakere ranges waterfalls Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:36:17 GMT
The Waterfalls of Tangoio Reserve It was supposed to have stopped raining in the afternoon. It hadn't. A light, but steady drizzle remained.  This was going to make the photography harder.  It doesn't take more than a couple of rain drops to land on a filter, to ruin a photograph. My previous trip to the Tangoio Reserve has ended in a lot of discarded shots because of that.

The Tangoio Reserve is just north of Napier in the Hawkes Bay.  It has two waterfalls.  These are Tangoio and Te Ana.  They're nice to visit, but I think there are still nicer falls in the region.  Still, it is an aim of mine to photograph as many different NZ waterfalls as I can.  I was happy with the photos I'd taken of Waipunga Waterfall on the way over. 

All the shots below were taken with a Sony a7R.

Tangoio Waterfall

Tangoio waterfall is what the reserve is named for.  This shot was taken from the lookout.  One day when i have time, I'll figure out how to find a route to approach the falls from a different perspective.  That'll mean going cross country I fear. 

Tangoio WaterfallTangoio Waterfall

Te Ana Waterfall


The other waterfall in the reserve is a simple horse-tail fall. With the greater flow of water, the falls ended up with more structure however.  

Te Ana WaterfallTe Ana Waterfall

By this stage, my cloths for drying the lenses of rain droplets was getting very wet.  I've used the rocks to produce a stronger foreground.

Te Ana waterfallTe Ana waterfall


Further downstream, the dark forest and damp conditions created a moss-covered world. It was worth some more photos before my drying cloths become so soaked, they couldn't keep the filters dry anymore.

Mossy Stream at Tangoio ReserveMossy Stream at Tangoio ReserveThis stream descends from the Te Ana Falls in the Tangoio Reserve near Napier. With recent heavy rainfall, the stream was fuller than usual. This was taken near a bend in the stream that is naturally dark. This encourages the moss has spread over much of the rocks and banks. Mossy Stream at Tangoio ReserveMossy Stream at Tangoio ReserveThis stream descends from the Te Ana Falls in the Tangoio Reserve near Napier. With recent heavy rainfall, the stream was fuller than usual. This was taken near a bend in the stream that is naturally dark. This encourages the moss has spread over much of the rocks and banks.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) . beautiful hawkes bay explore nz long exposure napier waterfalls nz waterfall photos nz waterfalls sonya7r tangoio reserve tangoio waterfall te ana waterfall waterfall photos Tue, 19 Sep 2017 21:39:11 GMT
What a lot of water: Waipunga Waterfall I stood in the drizzle, watching the large waterfall sending clouds of spray and mist upwards. It has been raining a lot in NZ.  Not only have we had several cyclones dump a lot of water on the North Island, winter has had some decent downpours as well.  This is partly good news for waterfall photography. The hard bit is finding a break in the weather that coincides with some free time.

When the opportunity to visit my parents in the Hawks Bay arose over the weekend however, I grabbed. it.  One of the sights that along the route is Waipunga Waterfall.  This is on the Napier-Taupo highway, and a very convenient stop.  The waterfall drops off the edge of a volcanic plateau created by Taupo eruptions centuries earlier.  Sometimes you can see the Waiarua waterfall as well.  Waipunga Waterfall is probably one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country, and most are taken from the perspective of the lookout. I wasn't going to change that this trip.

The Photographs

It's hard to go wrong with a good close-up of the falls. It also required some patience. For about 10 minutes I stood in light drizzle, hoping that the rain would clear. People drove in to the carpark, took snaps on their phones, and left, while I stood there. Waiting.  When the rain first stopped the sun came out strong. I had to wait for a large cloud to slowly make its way to block the sun.

Waipunga WaterfallWaipunga WaterfallWaipunga waterfall after heavy rainfall. This perspective focuses more on the falls themselves. The pounding waters created a lot of mist and spray in the right-hand side of the image.

Stepping back I got some shots that included more of the river in the foreground.  Usually when I pass these falls, the mist and spray isn't so dominant.

Waipunga WaterfallWaipunga Waterfall

Waipunga WaterfallWaipunga WaterfallWaipunga waterfall after heavy rainfall. This perspective includes more of the river flowing down from the falls. The pounding waters created a lot of mist and spray in the right-hand side of the image.

Finally, I took 4 shots to stitch together a composite. Usually you don't see much of the Waiarau waterfall to the left of these falls. The recent heavy rain changed all that.  By going for 4 stitched shots I got a perspective that a wide-angle lens couldn't. It also makes a nice 68MP image.

Waiarua and Waipunga FallsWaiarua and Waipunga FallsThis is actually a stitched shot of 4 photos, with Waiarua waterfall on the left and Waipunga waterfall on the centre-right. Both falls spill over the edge of a giant volanic plateau, produced by an eruption at Taupo centuries earlier. The abrupt edge of the plateau I thought was interesting.

This plateau has a diameter of 100-130km, and still includes active volcanoes and tectonic activity. I got lucky with the light winds and the sheltered position of the falls.


I have been taking photos of these falls since 2013, and these are the best I've taken. In part it is just a product of the much greater waterflows.  It's created a water dynamic my earlier photos never had.  The other fortuitous part is just the lighting. The weather wasn't too dull and the wind was relatively calm.

All the photos were taken with my Sony a7R and 70-200 f2.8mm G lens.  I was using an Induro carbon-fibre tripod (CT314) and a Lee 3-stop ND grad filter to slow the shutter a bit.


]]> (NZ Nature Photos) explore nz hawkes bay waterfalls landscape long exposure napier waterfalls nz photos nz waterfall photos nz waterfalls scenic sony a7r waipunga waterfall wairau waterfall waterfall photos Tue, 05 Sep 2017 22:59:27 GMT
New Photos added this week Introduction

It was a better week for photography this week.  Work demands slackened briefly at the start of the week. And kid #3 is slowly progressing back to full health.  We haven't got him back to school full-time yet, but given he's been ill and off school for months and months, I'm not complaining.  Also, a big thanks to everyone who has bought a print, or some digital downloads this last year.  It's helped out a lot.

Anyway, I was emboldened to try a waterfall again this week. Not too far in case I had to pick kid up from school early. That made the waterfalls at Omeru appealing. Later in the week was the Winter Solstice for us, so I stopped at a local beach to get some morning shots of the day.  This also coincided with a gale that kept me away from outside photography for the rest of the week. 


The waterfall shots were taken with my a7R, and either a 135mm f2.8 T4.5 STF lens, or a 17-35mm f3.5 G lens.  Clambering around these streams also prompted my wearing of my 'long gumboots'. These are actually rubber leggings from an ex-Army chemical warfare suit. They go up to the mid thigh, so make deep wading possible.  One thing I did discover is they don't have enough traction on muddy river banks. So in the end, there was more sliding and mud than I would have considered optimal (wince).

Waterfall at Omeru Reserve


Waterfall at Omeru ReserveWaterfall at Omeru Reserve

This was taken accidentally with my 135mm lens.  I was going to stand closer and use a 50mm but I'd forgotten to put a Lee adapter ring in the kit bag for the 50mm lens.  By a serendipitous bit of luck, going further down stream to fit in the waterfall, meant the trees on the edges could form a natural frame.

Omeru Waterfall

Omeru WaterfallOmeru Waterfall

Again, I was a little disadvantaged by the lack of a 50mm lens. This was taken using the 35mm end of the 17-35mm wide angle.  I've cropped it to a 24MP size image.

The Shortest Day


The Shortest Day

The sun rising over the Hauraki Gulf, through clouds. Photo taken from the Tor at Waiake Beach. I liked the atompshered of this shot. It took 2 filters to balance the exposure and get the ideal shutter speed.

Incoming Waves

Waves at Waiake Beach

Shutter slowed to capture a sense of wave motion, as the incoming gale churned up the sea in the Gulf.  Rangitito Island is on the horizon.


The gale hits

Waves hitting the rocks of the Tor, at Waiake beach.



]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Auckland photos Hauraki Gulf NZ photos NZ waterfalls New zealand waterfalls Omeru Reserve Omeru Waterfall Torbay Waiake Waiake Beach Winter Solstice seascape waterfall Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:12:26 GMT
A seascape for the shortest day


It’s the shortest day in NZ today.  We’re also expecting more bad weather.  That augured well for some seascape photos down at one of the local beaches.  Normally the swells on the gulf around the beaches here are sedate. Unimpressive.  A good storm can give them an interesting dynamic.  After dropping kiddo 3 at school, I stopped by at Waiake.


I kept it simple. My tripod. Its geared head. The Sony a7R (because 36MP is a great size for large prints) and a Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G.  It’s an old Minolta wide angle that I quite like using for landscapes and seascapes.  Plus a minimal set of filters. For today,


One of the earlier shots.  I’m shooting toward the rising, morning sun.  The clouds are thickening in this direction.  I slowed the shutter down to get a sense of motion in the swell. Just one second is enough.

Morning Sunrise

Then its around to the other size to get a view across toward Rangitoto Island. The clouds are not as thick.  I’m trying to guess with a 2 second shutter delay, when I should press the shutter to get the waves at the right point.  There’s a lot of near misses here. But I got one!

The WaveWave stirred up by gale hitting rocks at the Tor, in Torbay

The gale is on its way.


The session has its moments. The wind was very gusty, and I was pleased that the tripod held up to it.  On the other hand, the sea spray quickly coated my glasses. I was in the end, composing without my glasses and relying on focus peaking to focus the shot properly. I lost my bill-cap briefly as well, as a gust tore it off my head. Fortunately it landed in a rock pool instead.  I’m left wondering how much wilder it will be tomorrow.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Rangitoto Island auckland photos explore nz hauraki gulf landscape lee filters nz photos rocks seascape sonyalpha tor torbay waiake bay waiake beach waves Wed, 21 Jun 2017 04:01:55 GMT
Fun with the Sony a7R Earlier this year I acquired a Sony a7R.  For those of you not familiar with it, it's a mirror-less full-frame camera with a 36 MP sensor.


I tend not to buy a lot of new gear.  It's easy to get into that trap with photography (Gear-Acquisition-Syndrome or GAS).  But I've rarely noticed that the latest camera makes up for anyone's weak photographic skills.  The best way to take better photos is to learn how to take better photos.  Nonetheless, sometimes you do notice that you can't get some shots you want with your current gear.  So, my rule of thumb is to upgrade (so to speak) once I find the current camera is just not able to get some of the photos I want.

This has taken a while.  My main camera for a while has been the Sony a900.  While this is a very good, full-frame 24MP DSLR camera, it also came out in 2008. There's been quite a few technological changes since then.

So, what's the advantages of the a7R?

  • It's much smaller and lighter.  I've been doing a lot of international travel and fieldwork in the last few years.  Having a camera that is both smaller, and easily able to fit into my bags is helpful.  The battery can also be charged via a standard micro-USB cable.  This reduces the numbers of chargers I need.
  • It lacks an AA-filter.  Many DSLR cameras come with an anti-moire (or AA) filter over the sensor.  This has the effect of slightly reducing sharpness.  The result is that the a7R produces slightly sharper images.  This is useful for some applications like landscapes or macro photos.
  • It has a 36 MP sensor.  This isn't necessarily a good thing.  The cost of packing more pixels into a sensor is often an increase in 'noise' in the photos.  However, for landscape photography, where I am usually shooting at ISO50-ISO200, it's not a problem.  It also means that prints can be made much larger.  This large print option is a good thing. Noise is actually very well controlled in this sensor as it benefits from Sony's new gapless sensor array.
  • It does video.  I appreciate that most DSLRs do now. But when I got my a900 it didn't.  I still recommend an external microphone.
  • I can operate it with my phone or iPad. Sony has a nice app I can use to operate the camera, using the camera's own WiFi.  When I say operate, that means the screen of my device shows the image.  And I can adjust the camera's setting with the device.  This includes a useful bulb-function.  This is helpful for shots I want to take where I can't stand behind the camera. I really like this feature.
  • It has a dual axis electronic level.  This is helpful for panoramic shots.
  • It has less noise at ISO1600+ than the a900.  Technological advances do help improve images.
  • It has focus-peaking.  This feature kicks in with manual focus, and lets you see what regions of the photos appear in focus (as coloured lines on screen).  Thus for the landscape photography, you can see if the main subjects in your shot are in focus or need some tweaking.
  • It's lens-brand independent.  In this sense it's more like an open-source camera when it comes to lenses.  You can add adapters to it to shoot with almost any rival brand's lenses. Usually camera's lock you into only one system of lenses.

A7R with Minolta MD lens and adapterA7R with Minolta MD lens and adapter

Nonetheless, it has some disadvantages as well.

  • It lacks body stabilisation.  The a900 has the Steady Shot Stabiliser in the body of the camera.  This gives me 2-3 stops of extra leeway when shooting handheld with the a900.  On the other hand, I can shoot at higher ISOs with the a7R than I can with the a900.
  • It shoots at a lower frame rate (frames per second or fps).  It shoots at 1.5 fps compared to 5.  This precludes using it for wildlife, sports or anything involving action.
  • The a900 has a better Auto-Focus system. 
  • The shutter-shock problem.  For the most part I've escaped this by shooting on a 2 second delay, and on tripod.  If shooting hand-held I like to keep the shutter up over 1/100 second, which also seems to avoid the problem. 
  • I've found it harder to shoot nocturnal macro shots with it. The optical view finder of the a900 just seems better in very low light conditions. 
  • It burns through batteries.  The batteries it uses are smaller than the a900. And there's a lot more electronics going on inside the a7R. 


Where the a7R simply excels is with landscapes.  It's my first choice in the camera bag for when I'm intending to take landscape photos.  I've been able to take photos with it, that I couldn't before. 



]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Sony a7R Sony a900 a7R camera a900 camera cameras cameras for landscapes full-frame cameras photography sony alpha which camera Sat, 01 Oct 2016 01:31:43 GMT
Blowing bubbles We were on a family holiday up in the Bay of Islands.  This is a deep area of water, that used to be a giant volcanic crater.  The islands and peninsula are relics of these ancient crater-rims.  It makes for a good harbour for boats, and for marine life.  So obviously we had to try to see some dolphins.


This was my favourite shot of the trip.  The reason is that almost all my other shots are of dolphins swimming alongside us, or riding the bow.  This is one of the few times a dolphin swam towards us.  And despite being underwater, the tip of the nose was as sharp as I would expect for a land shot.  I guess that says something about the water quality.

Bottle-Nose DolphinBottle-Nose DolphinNZ Bottle-nosed dolphin from the Bay of Islands.

Taken with a900 and 70-200mm f2.8 G

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) NZ dolphins NZ photos NZ wildlife bay of islands dolphin dolphin photo Sun, 31 Jul 2016 22:17:48 GMT
Time in amongst the trees It was Sunday. That also meant it was time for an escape.  I packed a light kit of gear and headed up into the Okura Bush Walkway.  By light I meant a MeFoto tripod, a Sony a7R, a Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G lens and some filters.  I didn't know what to expect. I just wanted to be down in the trees again.

It was possibly a mistake I didn't take a longer telephoto. I was able to watch a pair of male miromiro (NZ tomtits, which paradoxically, aren't tomtits at all) cavorting about the track.  With the grey skies and low tide however, photo opportunities were rare.  I stuck to the trees.

#1 Fallen Log


This log shot also gives a good perspective on how dense NZ native forest can be,  and how little light often reaches the forest floor.


#2 Photukawa

The Pohutakawa is a coastal tree that clings to the margins of beaches and cliffs. It creates a very sprawling and organic shape.


#3 Some Duotones and Black-and-White
With the light conditions, is was also on the look out for shapes and textures that would suit a colour-free approach.



]]> (NZ Nature Photos) NZ forest NZ trees Okura Okura Bush Walkway Sony a7R new zealand nz photos pohutakawa tree photos Wed, 22 Jun 2016 01:33:06 GMT
Nihotupu Falls I didn't realise we had so many waterfalls around the Auckland area until I started exploring.  Some waterfalls I had been aware of, just because they're relatively well-known.  The Fairy Falls in the Waitakeres is one.  Many others are not so well known.  One of these falls I recently found was Nihotupu. 

This weekend a few things came together to allow a return to these falls.  Light winds, overcast conditions, and I had the time spare.  It was a fotunate convergence of factors.  It's also not a difficult hike to the waterfall.  About 30 minutes even with a bit of gear. The heaviest bit of gear is perversely, the carbon-fibre tripod.  Mostly because I've fitted a very solid, Manfrotto geared-head to it.  I like this tripod-head for two reasons.  First, it gives very precise framing of shots across three axes.  Second, it is very, very stable.  There's no lens-droop or one iota of movement in the camera.  The main disadvantage is that it is a heavy head- much more so than the ball-heads I also own.  

The drive over was lovely. I took the Scenic Drive through the Waitekere Ranges.  Low cloud hung over the range and for most of the tip, I was blanketed in mist.  I hoped it would persist lower down when I got to Nihotupu.  But that was not to be. 

All of the shots below were taken with my Sony a7R, producing images of 36 megapixel, full-frame goodness.


This shot I think, is my favourite of the trip.  The waterfall is conspicuous and the rocks in the foreground give the image increased depth.


With this shot, I've gone for frame-filling goodness.  One of the features that appeals to me of this fall, is the texture of the water as it falls down the rocks.  Sometimes you just get a solid wall of water with this type of waterfall.  Nihotupu however, retains a shape and structure with the underlying rocks.




This shot I've gone slightly wider to place the waterfall in its forest setting.


Further upstream of the waterfall, are other smaller falls.  This is from an earlier expedition.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) NZ photos Nihotupu Falls Nihotupu Waterfall long exposure new zealand scenic sony a7R' waterfall Tue, 22 Mar 2016 08:06:50 GMT
Fallen Log Forest StreamForest Stream

I'd first seen this log over this stream when I was hiking along this track with my son. I returned today with my a7R rather than camera phone. I needed both a circular polariser and an ND grad for this shot. (I'm a keen user of Lee Filters). One of the reasons I've gone for this style is exposure to the art of Ray Harris-Ching. When young I was impressed with the delicate and detailed style he approached NZ subjects.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) long exposure nihotupu waitakere ranges waitakeres waterfall Sat, 19 Mar 2016 08:35:05 GMT
Singing Cicada

I finally had all the gear I wanted to try out my a7r as a macrophotography camera. My theory is that the combination of a 36MP sensor and no AA filter, would let me take sharp shots of a large size. But just having a camera isn't enough. Macrophotography also depends on good lighting. And Sony's E-mount cameras don't have a macro flash. I do have one for the older Minolta AF and Sony alpha ranges. But as the hot-shoe had changed, I needed an adapter. It arrived yesterday. I gave it a try today at lunch-time. It's the end of summer here in NZ and the cicadas are being particularly loud. I found this male singing happily in a bush in garden. The shot is pretty much fresh from the camera. I've cropped the aspect ratio to 1:1, otherwise the insect isn't cropped at all. It's what I saw through the camera.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) cicada macro Tue, 23 Feb 2016 08:28:26 GMT
A trip to Fairy Falls My last two attempts to photograph the Fairy Falls (in the Waitekere Ranges) were thwarted by the weather. On the first occasion, bright sunlight blew out the highlights on the water. On the second occasion, it rained. Yesterday we had rain and bouts of bright sunshine. But the bits in between worked out okay. 

 I have discovered that most waterfalls aren't conveniently located within 100m of the carpark. Having some good hiking gear is still an essential to indulge in this type of photography.  Nonetheless, that moment when you are by yourself, next to these sights- with native birds flitting about or calling- is quite special. It feels good to connect back to nature this way.  And the one thing I like about landscape photography, is you really study what is around you.  You see things, appreciate things, that perhaps a casual walker would miss.

The Fairy Falls are deep in NZ forest, and drops down many steps through the trees. This constrains the perspectives you can produce.  I traveled as light as I could with just two lenses (Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G, and Minolta 85mm f1.4 G). Camera is still my Sony a900.

The falls have two main parts.  The first shots are from the upper part.

You can see the higher steps of the falls through the trees.

Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

The Pool - this is one of the main pools the waterfall descends into

Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC


Looking back up the falls
Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

The last part of the falls

This part was the trickiest to take in the end, as I slipped on the rocks, mid stream.  By letting my wrist take the weight of the fall, I protected the camera. Also...ouch


]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Environment and Ecology Fairy Falls NZ photos new zealand waterfall Wed, 21 Oct 2015 21:36:00 GMT
A pair of dotterrels The NZ dotterrel (or tuturiwhatu) is an endangered shore bird.  Photography has to be done with care.  In this case I was concealed behind a log in the beach, wearing clothes that would blend in to the sand.  This, along with my 300mm f4 lens, allowed me to get quite a nice range of photos.


With this shot, the closer dotterel is walking towards me.  By lying down, I'm at its eye level (and don't look threatening).  Behind it, is another dotterel.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) NZ NZ dotterrel NZ photos bird new zealand photo photos tuturiwhatu Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:07:24 GMT
Fresh from the Camera: Maraetotara Falls Maraetotara FallsMaraetotara FallsThe Maraetotara Falls are located in a small reserve, south of Havelock North. They have an impressive flow and the deep green of the pool, appealed to me. This is from a series of shots I took of the falls. Photo taken with my a900 and a Sony 70-200/2.8 G lens.

The Maraetotara Falls are located in a small reserve, south of Havelock North. They have an impressive flow and the deep green of the pool, appealed to me. This is from a series of shots I took of the falls.

Photo taken with my a900 and a Sony 70-200/2.8 G lens. I needed the long reach to get from the far margin of the pool to the actual falls.


I was in the Hawkes Bay visiting my parents, and other relatives at the time.  I'd brought along my camera gear in case the opportunity for photos presented itself.  

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Fri, 04 Sep 2015 22:15:07 GMT
Auckland Waterfalls: Omeru It was another quick trip to the Omeru Reserve before work yesterday. There's a couple of good ways to start the work day. One is a strong, fresh cup of espresso coffee. Another is standing by a waterfall in a stream, taking pictures.  With the university study-break I had the chance to go for option 2. And of course, option 1 later on.

Weather conditions were near perfect for waterfall photography. 

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsSONY DSC

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsWaterfall at Omeru Reserve


I also took a close up of just a section of the falls.

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsSONY DSC


I then moved around to the waterfall in an adjacent pool.

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsOne of the waterfalls in the Omeru Reserve




]]> (NZ Nature Photos) NZ Photos NZ waterfalls Omeru Reserve waterfall Thu, 27 Aug 2015 23:06:19 GMT
Forest Stream Goodness There are a good number of local forest reserves around the North Shore.  These are nice to escape into, and for a while, be among native birds, trees and other natural goodness.  So feeling the desire, on Sunday afternoon I went out to visit the Paremoremo Reserve.  It was also a chance to give my Minolta 17-35mm G lens a run. I haven't had it long, but I'm testing it against the option of carrying several prime lenses instead.  

The stream that runs through the reserve shows a lot of variation.  I took a sample of three pics while out on the hike.

Forest Pool



Among the Trees

Among the treesAmong the treesThe Paremoremo Stream winds through native forest in the Paremoremo Reserve. This shot had to be taken on an isolated bank, midstream. This is always an interesting manoeuvre. I'm never entirely settled wading through swollen streams with a lot of camera gear. The scene appealed for two reasons. The small waterfalls in the foreground gave something of interest in the lower part of the image. The frame of native trees in the background provided the second element.

The shot was taken with my Minolta 17-35mm G and my Sony a900.

It flows


]]> (NZ Nature Photos) NZ photos Paremoremo Reserve forest stream waterfall Sun, 23 Aug 2015 22:49:41 GMT
A damp chaffinch SONY DSC

It's been a wet Sunday. Not one of those dramatic rainy days. A day of drizzle, little wind and bland grey skies. I decided to try my hand at using a radio trigger to photograph some garden birds. With camera on tripod and a telephoto lens directed at a branch next to a feeder, I waited. The shots were fired at a distance from a distant location. Not a lot of the shots worked. I got a few. This was one of them. The bird has tiny droplets on its head.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) birds finch sparrow Sat, 25 Jul 2015 05:04:29 GMT
The return to Piha I'm trying to spend more time over the next three days taking photos.  It kind of helps that it is the school holidays.  That makes it a little easier to get to some more remote parts of Auckland. Remote in the sense of being distant from my current location on the North Shore.  No school traffic makes things a bit smoother. 

The weather was mostly overcast, with showers today.  So I decided I'd return to the Piha Regional Park and try getting some more photos of the Kite Kite Falls.  If conditions are too bright, then photographing waterfalls becomes a greater challenge.  Sunlight striking the falls can easily cause burn outs in the final image.  If conditions are too dull, then we won't see the colours I want.  Today looked optimal, albeit I was hoping as I drove over, the clouds would hang around.

The recent heavy rain had already boosted the water flow over the falls, so they looked impressive.  Less idea was the higher water levels.  It was a time for getting my boots wet. The odd rain shower contributed to this as well.  It wasn't just the boots that ended up wet.  Also, it's funny how less agile you become when carrying a bag of lenses, a bag of filters, a tripod and a camera.  

One of the first shots I took was of the falls from the base.  I'm perched atop a large boulder, water flowing around me on all sides.  This ended up being one of my favourite shots from the trip.

Kitekite FallsKitekite FallsKitekite falls is a 40 metre waterfall, in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland. I timed this expedition to take advantage of two strong facts. First, it was the school holidays so the lack of traffic meant I could get there easily. Second, there'd been a lot of recent rain, so the water flow ought to look good.

For this shot I've gone down-stream a bit and away from the main pool. There's a collection of large boulders where I set up the shot. You have to jump from one boulder to another, with water around you, to get there. Fortunately the top of the boulder was large enough- just- to for myself and a tripod. Then it was a matter of waiting for the rain to stop, the wind to ebb, and take some shots. I'll confess I got wet. But the gear didn't.

I liked this one. The vegetation makes an effective natural frame. There's some nice foreground interest. And the waterfall, shows off some of its major steps.

I also got a shot of the whole falls from the track that lead to the falls.  It gives some context for the scenery, and also shows how tall the falls are.


Heading back along the track, I looked out for potential stream shots.  A lot of these didn't quite work out, but I did like these two.

Mossy RocksMossy RocksDownstream of the Kitekite Falls in the Waitakere Ranges. This was taken as part of a trip to the Piha Regional Park.

Under fernsUnder fernsWhat appealed to me in this scene, was the lichens on the rocks on the other side of the bank. The green colours of the moss and the ferns were also appealing.
I had to set up the tripod in the stream to get this shot. The stream had many, low steps to reach this point. This shot had a longer exposure than the previous, smoothing the water-flow.

All photos were taken with a Sony a900, and either a 50mm lens or a 28mm lens.  One of the useful gadgets this time was the Lee lehs hood.  This served the additional of keeping errant showers from landing droplets on my lenses also.

]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Auckland photos Kitekite Falls NZ photos long exposure stream waterfall waterfall photos Wed, 08 Jul 2015 06:40:14 GMT
Inside Canterbury Cathedral I have been quiet of late because of an expedition to England and Austria.  Which from New Zealand is a far distance to fly.  The main event was a symposium at the University of Kent.  This had the advantage of being in Canterbury, so with some time to spare, I visited the Canterbury Cathedral.  

The Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an impressive structure.  The shots taken in the interior were with my Sony a900 and a 20mm prime lens.  This is about as wide as I can go with my current kit, and the relatively small size of the 20mm lens is pretty travel friendly.  But the Cathedral is really  something that does not suit cellphone cameras very well.  The scale of the cathedral is impressive and the history of the place profound.  So, here's a sample of shots from the inside. 








]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Canterbury Cathedral Canterbury photos architecture cathedral photo Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:29:06 GMT
Monday again It wasn't until Sunday that I got time to get away with the camera.  The youngest kid is still recovering from his concussion, and everyone else had other tasks to do.  I wanted to get outside for a while.  So I opted to try out Long Bay again, as I have some ideas I want to experiments.  Those experiments however, were frustrated by the weather- the intermittent showers and incoming tide weren't ideal.  Nonetheless, it seemed like a good time to use the circular polariser with the other filters.

The first shot was taken at Long Bay with the 20mm lens.  

SONY DSC I've put the rocks in the foreground for interest, and lined up some rocks heading deeper into the gulf.  This was when the weather was at its finest.

I then moved a bit further north to "Granny's Bay".  This small bay has varied rocks and reefs.  

SONY DSC I've used a 6-stop (Lee little stopper) to slow the shutter down and capture some sense of the wave motion flowing around the rocks.

Moving along a bit, the weather started closing in again.

SONY DSC This is probably my favourite of the session. 

Then the last before the rain began. I switched to the 10-stop Big Stopper and dragged the shutter out to  2 minutes.

SONY DSC Enjoy :)


]]> (NZ Nature Photos) Auckland Photos Bay Granny's Hauraki Gulf Long NZ photos photo seascape Mon, 08 Jun 2015 00:09:21 GMT