Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Yet another pair of geothermal formations at Te Puia on February 23rd

with 29 comments

Geothermal Features at Te Puia 6696

Geothermal Features and Tiny Island 6753

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 15, 2015 at 5:35 AM

29 Responses

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  1. Las imágenes que nos estás mostrando de las formaciones geotermales son impresionantes. Gracias por compartirlas porque, de momento, no puedo viajar a Nueva Zelanda.

    • Con placer os las muestro, Isabel. (Y con placer escribo os, que no se usa por este lado del océano Atlántico.) Ojalá un día puedas viajar a Nueva Zelanda y tomar tus propias fotos de las formaciones geotermales y muchas otras cosas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 6:14 AM

  2. I assume that’s a long stalk reaching out to the right in the second photo. It seems to have dried, and to have holes like a cholla cactus near the base. Even more interesting is the presence of a little green island in the midst of so much sulphur and rock. It’s delightful.


    June 15, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    • The fallen item appears to be the trunk of a small tree. As you note, it’s dry and is scalloped or pitted in places. The thicker end is lying on the rocks at the right but isn’t attached to the ground. How this piece of a tree got there, I don’t know.

      Also as you point out, what made this view different from so many others is the presence of that little oasis of living things in an area otherwise hostile to plants

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 7:50 AM

  3. wow, how exotic looking


    June 15, 2015 at 6:54 AM

    • It is, but no more so than what you may have seen at Yellowstone when you lived in North Dakota (or at another time in your life). It’s set me to wondering whether you’ve ever painted any geothermal features.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 7:55 AM

  4. More eye candy…funny, I don’t think this is what most people refer to with that phrase. But it does look a bit like rock candy.

    Steve Gingold

    June 15, 2015 at 7:11 AM

    • I knowingly appropriated the expression eye candy, just as I’m planning to do with the adjective curvaceous in another post.

      Rock candy: now there’s something I haven’t experienced in a long, long time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 7:58 AM

  5. How fascinating Steve, I love the colors.

    Maria F.

    June 15, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    • You can tell how fascinated I was with these geological features, Maria. They make me want to go back to Yellowstone, which I visited only once, two decades ago. I’d like to turn my current sensibilities (and camera equipment) loose on the land there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 8:48 AM

  6. Me too. It has been years since I was there and I would love to see it again. It is intriguing to see the clump of plants that have established themselves in this habitat.


    June 15, 2015 at 10:00 AM

  7. That’s incredible, wow! That first one looks like you’re quite far away and that’s a little lake when I assume you’re actually quite close to it.

    And I love the vegetation in the second one, as well as the water especially since the formation looks like a waterfall. Priceless composition of all these elements together.


    June 15, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    • One good thing about abstraction is that you often can’t tell the scale of things, and one bad thing about abstraction is that you often can’t tell the scale of things. I’m no longer sure how large the “lake” in the first picture was. In looking at the photograph’s metadata, I see that I’d zoomed the lens in to its maximum, the equivalent of 280mm, so I was at some distance from the subject, but I still can’t tell you what that distance was. Unless I go back to Te Puia someday, I’m afraid this will remain a mystery.

      In contrast, in the second photograph the grasses on that little “raft” of an island give a pretty good idea of the scale of things. The structures toward the back do suggest small waterfalls, but I think at most there might have been at most a little dripping of water, except perhaps at times of heavy rain (which fortunately for the sake of taking pictures I didn’t experience).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      • Too true! Tricky b/c one could think zooming in even from a distance meant it was just that small…or was it b/c you were SOOOO far away you had to zoom to see it… either way it’s very cool.

        Not such a sad thing if you do have to go back. 😉

        Awesome shots overall, thanks for sharing.


        June 16, 2015 at 12:34 PM

        • As you say, it wouldn’t be a sad thing at all to go back.

          The zooming was due to the fact that I couldn’t physically get any closer to the formation. Visitors have to stay on well-defined paths because the ground may not be stable in other places and people can get burned.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 16, 2015 at 1:23 PM

          • I imagine it’s better for the sake of the environment that people stay on the paths too!


            June 20, 2015 at 12:06 PM

            • Probably so, but as a photographer, if I stayed on paths I wouldn’t get many of my best pictures.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 20, 2015 at 2:46 PM

  8. Fascinating formations, Steve, highly reminiscent of Yellowstone.


    June 15, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    • Indeed they are, and I’d gladly go back to Yellowstone to try my hand (and eye) there again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2015 at 3:21 PM

  9. The contrast of living plants next to this formation is startling! I’ve been enjoying your photos of these formations. The stark gray and yellow reminds me of driving across the Painted Desert in Arizona on a dark cloudy day and seeing nothing but yellow and gray for miles.


    June 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    • And you in turn remind me of my trip to Arizona last fall, and in particular the day when I drove across the northern part of the state under dark clouds and intermittent heavy rain.

      Yes, the little island of life in otherwise inhospitable conditions called out to me too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 16, 2015 at 9:04 AM

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