Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: One Tree Hill

with 43 comments

Clouds Seen from One Tree Hill 8186

Driving up from Hamilton to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula on February 26th, we stopped at two high points we hadn’t managed to visit during our main time in Auckland at the beginning of the trip. The first high point was the extinct volcano called Mount Eden, and the other, also an extinct volcano, was One Tree Hill, where Eve ran into some Filipinos whom she didn’t know but who turned out by a striking coincidence to be from her home town. While they were busy talking and figuring out mutual acquaintances, I photographed the clouds that seemed especially well arranged that afternoon and that reminded me of the types of abstracted clouds that Georgia O’Keeffe painted.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 12, 2015 at 5:26 AM

43 Responses

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  1. I am going to miss your NZ series. Did you meet any New Yorkers or Texans on your NZ travels?


    July 12, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    • I’ll miss the series too. There’ll be about 10 more posts, and by then you’ll have had quite an idiosyncratic view of how an American saw the natural features of your country.

      During my stay I had little contact with Americans, and as far as I know I didn’t run into anyone from New York or Texas there. You’ve just reminded me that in Akaroa we found ourselves walking at one point behind a few Brazilians and I struck up a conversation in my halting Portuguese.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 7:18 AM

      • A pity my son wasn’t home; he would have qualified, as a New Yorker. It really is interesting to see how others view your country. I have just been catching up with LIsa Dorenfest’s blog. http://lisadorenfest.com/ Her posts and photos show me a whole new side to the country of my birth. Her perspective is from the sea.


        July 12, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        • I knew you’d lived as a child in Fiji but I didn’t realize that you were born there. I can see how Lisa Dorenfest’s posts would take you back in time and space.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 12, 2015 at 10:01 AM

  2. Wow, look at that~just like she painted. I’ve always admired her work. There is a song by this name by U2… I wonder if this was their inspiration.


    July 12, 2015 at 6:28 AM

  3. When the page opened, the first thing that came to mind was “Sky Above Clouds.” I especially like the way you’ve bookended the clouds between the hills and the swath of blue at the top of the photo. I was interested to see that these fair weather cumulus have a life span of 5 to 40 minutes. You may have arrived there at just the right time.


    July 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    • When I saw the photograph on my computer screen I noticed the blue fringe across the top that harmonizes with the similarly dark strip across the bottom. At the time I took the picture, however, I concentrated solely on the line of hills across the bottom: this was Auckland, the largest city in the country, and aiming even a smidgen lower would have begun to show buildings.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 7:41 AM

  4. The clouds stood out strongly to me at first glance. Those fair weather cumulus must have indicated you had a beautiful day. Georgia’s clouds remind me of white lily pads.

    Jim in IA

    July 12, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    • Yes, it was a beautiful day, and the last full one we spent in New Zealand.

      I can see some of O’Keeffe’s clouds as white lily pads, while others look to me like rows of keys on a typewriter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

  5. OH i LOVe when we have those clouds here! I got to see some last week!


    July 12, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    • Just imagine if you’d been able to look back down from your clouds and find yourself in New Zealand.

      We rarely get such nice clouds in central Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 9:50 AM

      • Yes my friend moved from Toronto to southlake and laments cloud lackage lol


        July 12, 2015 at 10:02 AM

  6. Great capture of those Georgia-O’Keeffe clouds.

    • I’m wondering whether as an artist you connected the clouds to O’Keeffe even before reading my text.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      • because of the slow internet, the text loaded first, and about ten minutes later the image loaded.. so i had read everything and was waiting to see the image.

        though frustrating at times, it’s also nice to read a post without having backup images, and then see the final result!

        i would have connected your photo with o’keeffe immediately!

        • You’ve confirmed what I thought, that you’d make the connection to O’Keeffe based on the photograph alone, even if your slow Internet connection didn’t allow for that to happen here.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 12, 2015 at 10:52 AM

  7. I am such a huge Georgia O’Keeffe fan, so yes I enjoyed your photo and the nod to her art.

    • I visited the O’Keeffe Museum the last time I was in Santa Fe. If you haven’t been there, perhaps you can plan a visit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2015 at 1:12 PM

  8. Epic sky Steve!

    Michael Glover

    July 12, 2015 at 1:44 PM

    • This may well be the first time anyone has described something in a photograph of mine as epic. That’s okay with me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 2:12 PM

  9. Stunning shot. Love the clouds.

    Raewyn's Photos

    July 12, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    • I was glad to have finally made it there on my last full day in the country. The clouds added something special.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 3:52 PM

  10. I love cloudscapes. This one is a real beauty.


    July 12, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    • It was probably the best cloudscape I saw in New Zealand, and it occurred on my last full day in the country.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      • I saw some lovely ‘long white clouds’ over the sea when I was there. Mesmerising.


        July 13, 2015 at 4:33 AM

        • The standard translation given for the native name of New Zealand, Aotearoa, is ‘land of the long white cloud’.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 13, 2015 at 7:22 AM

          • And justly so…


            July 13, 2015 at 7:23 AM

            • When I was doing research before my trip, one history book that I consulted cast doubt on that standard translation, but I’m in no position to know how legitimate the skepticism is.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 13, 2015 at 7:43 AM

  11. I’ve heard clouds like that described as a flotilla. Seems apt. It’s a wonderful sky and very well-handled for the light challenges.

    Steve Gingold

    July 12, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    • I haven’t heard anyone talk about a flotilla of clouds, but it’s an apt phrase indeed.
      Without the ability to record in raw mode, this would have been a harder scene to deal with.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2015 at 9:29 PM

  12. Thank you for sharing this vast and beautiful skyscape. Clouds are always a joy to watch.

    Mary Mageau

    July 14, 2015 at 6:30 AM

  13. […] The pleasant Georgia-O’Keeffe-esque cumulus clouds that I saw from Auckland’s One Tree Hill on the afternoon of February 26th gave way to these dynamic, partly wispy, sunrise-tinged ones above Little Manly Beach early on the morning of the 27th. […]

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