Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand update

with 51 comments

On August 13th, the New Zealand Consulate in Los Angeles featured 11 of my photographs on its Facebook page.

Now that I’m talking about New Zealand again, how could I not add one more picture? And since this is a different sort of post from the usual one, why not let that picture be out of the norm as well? What’s different is the human element: you’re looking at one of the sculptures I saw on the beach at Hokitika, which is on the west coast of the South Island. It seems that every January there’s a Driftwood & Sand Sculpture Exhibition, so when when we walked on the beach there late on the afternoon of February 16th, many of the pieces were still intact. The one shown here had a sign on it saying “Photo Booth,” but I took its picture rather than having it take mine.

Hokitika Wood Scuplture at Sunset 4959

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2015 at 5:33 AM

51 Responses

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  1. your photos really look great on their Facebook site, Steven


    August 16, 2015 at 5:43 AM

  2. Steve, I am so pleased to see your photos featured on the consulate Facebook page. You even got a like from the US Embassy in New Zealand. Air New Zealand are you taking note?


    August 16, 2015 at 5:44 AM

    • Thanks for pointing out the like from the US Embassy in New Zealand, which I hadn’t noticed. Your mention of Air New Zealand reminds me of commuting from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to Auckland. As the bus came into the downtown (which you call the CBD, or central business district), it passed a building with a large sign advertising the airline’s 50th anniversary. If ANZ wants to work with me to promote the country in unique photographs, I’m all ears (or better, eyes).

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM

  3. Congratulations, Steve, on having these photos featured. Excellent as always and very deserving of exposure.


    August 16, 2015 at 6:26 AM

  4. For the first time in my life, I wish I were on Facebook. If I were, I’d leave a like and a comment. I’m so glad you were featured. Perhaps others will follow suit.

    This photo is wonderful. With the rising sun “caught” amid the net-like lines of the sculpture, of course my first thought was of a sun-catcher. On the other hand, “Dream Catcher” wouldn’t be a bad title, either, since it clearly was a dream of a trip.


    August 16, 2015 at 6:48 AM

    • That’s a good turn of phrase in “a dream of a trip,” which is accurate in describing my visit to New Zealand after decades of thinking about it.

      I’m on Facebook for the occasional connection with friends and family, but I rarely go to the FB website.

      In my text for today’s post I’d originally pointed out the way I caught the sun in the notch made by the two prominent uprights, but then I took out that observation to give viewers the chance to notice it for themselves and possibly mention it; true to character, you became the mentioner.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    • I left a like and you are welcome to consider mine as shared with you, Linda. 🙂

      Steve Gingold

      August 16, 2015 at 6:20 PM

  5. That is wonderful news, Steve! I am excited for you. Love the photo today. Every once in awhile I will come across a sculpture on the beach of Lake Michigan. There is something moving about that, and you have captured that feeling.


    August 16, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    • Shower me with fame and wealth, Melissa. Book me on all the TV talk shows. Make me benevolent dictator of the world. Mainly, though, give me more things in that world to keep photographing.

      I’ve occasionally come across an impromptu construction on a beach, and in recent years it’s become common (at least in Austin, and I’m extrapolating to other places) for me to find a cairn of stones when I’m out hiking, but there were dozens of figures still in various states of intactness on the beach at Hokitika. Maybe one of the things you’ve encountered on Lake Michigan will find its way into a painting of yours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      • It always intrigues me to see flowerings of creativity pop up in an area. I seem to remember a stretch of beach in northern Ca where there were annual giant driftwood sculpture competitions. You could see them as you drove along Highway 1. (I think. I was pretty young.) I can see you as our benevolent ruler, wielding your camera 🙂


        August 16, 2015 at 9:09 AM

        • I don’t know how widespread the practice is elsewhere, but it’s common in the Austin area to see that someone has inserted a stone in a plant or tree in a place where no stone would likely end up by itself in nature. Homegrown surrealism, I guess.

          Ah, Highway 1 in northern California, what a great place. You beat me there at a much younger age. Definitely worth a ride back.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 16, 2015 at 9:27 AM

  6. Congratulations!


    August 16, 2015 at 9:10 AM

  7. Small aperture? Short exposure? I can still see waves, so I’m wondering how you got your pretty star. It’s a beautiful perspective for sure. Congrats on the choice of your photographs for the consulate!


    August 16, 2015 at 11:07 AM

    • Thanks, Shannon.
      In checking the metadata just now I found that I used a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second and the small aperture of f/20 (in an attempt to keep the distant ocean as close to being in focus as possible). I like the little “star” but I’m afraid I don’t know the principles of optics that produced it. In the frame before this one, which was the only similar image, the sun appeared a little further to the right and didn’t produce a star.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      • Thanks for that. As for your star, I guess we can chalk it up to your being in just the right place at just the right moment. Photo Gods were smiling on you!


        August 16, 2015 at 1:47 PM

  8. Congratulations! A testament to your photographic technical skills and your unique eye for viewing what is yours to see.

    Sammy D.

    August 16, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    • Thanks, Sammy D. It pleased me to let New Zealanders see their country through the (necessarily idiosyncratic) eyes of a foreigner.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 11:56 AM

  9. Congratulations! A beautiful collection of your NZ pics. Actually, I’m still relatively new to your blog so I still have more to discover here! 🙂

    Art at Hand

    August 16, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    • Thanks. Since this blog has been running daily for over four years, there’s a lot of art at hand to be discovered here if you’d like to browse back. There’s an Archives pop-up menu in the right sidebar in case you want to jump to a particular month and get a scrolling view of all the posts that appeared in that month.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 1:24 PM

  10. Congratulations Steve. I have loved seeing your photos of my country. This photos is amazing and yes that star popped out at me.

    Raewyn's Photos

    August 16, 2015 at 4:24 PM

  11. Congratulations on your images being on their page, Steve. I hope they encourage more visitors.

    Nice little starburst which steals the show.

    Steve Gingold

    August 16, 2015 at 6:22 PM

    • Thanks. I have no idea how many people look at that New Zealand Consulate page, but I can hope it’s millions.
      As for the starburst stealing the show, fortunately there’s no penalty for that kind of stealing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2015 at 7:36 PM

  12. That’s really cool Steve! And I love the sunstar in this shot!

    Michael Glover

    August 16, 2015 at 10:42 PM

  13. Such an amazing end of day image; the perspective you chose is so spectacular.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    August 17, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    • We started walking on the beach late in the afternoon and stayed until it was too dark for me to take any more pictures. That interval included the setting of the sun, which I was fortunate to be able to use as a background in this photograph of the driftwood sculpture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2015 at 2:53 PM

  14. Congrats on being featured !!


    August 18, 2015 at 3:16 PM

  15. Hey – Thanks for the nod to my site! Great photography and congrats on the NZ Consulate feature!


    August 19, 2015 at 7:37 AM

  16. Now THAT was something that actually made me trot on over to FB to hit “like.” Love this photograph.

    Susan Scheid

    August 24, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    • I confess I turn to FB as little as possible, but sometimes it has its uses. This picture reminds me of your recent outing to the Maine coast.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2015 at 9:12 PM

      • Wise man. Re my own Maine coast experience vis-a-vis this photograph the thought that came to mind is that, as shot, I have the sense of the coastline as almost inaccessible!

        Susan Scheid

        August 25, 2015 at 10:25 AM

        • Interesting: I never thought of the driftwood sculpture as a barrier to the coast, but I understand your comment that “as shot” the image gives you that impression.

          And bitten as always by the bugs of etymology if not entomology, I’ll point out that the French phrase vis à vis means literally ‘face to face [with]’ (think of visage).

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 25, 2015 at 10:32 AM

  17. […] February 19th we visited Dorothy Falls, about half an hour east of Hokitika on the South Island. You can see the lushness of the native bush that surrounds the […]

  18. The artist would surely love this photo! I do!


    August 20, 2020 at 6:07 PM

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