Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: the retrospective from a year ago concludes

with 20 comments

Well, folks, it’s been fun reviewing some of the sights and sites that made our 2017 visit to New Zealand so memorable. I’ll admit it’s not hard to do that in such a scenic country.

Like the past several posts, here’s a last one from Cathedral Cove on March 7th. It’s something that Georgia O’Keeffe might have felt right at home with if you allow dried-out driftwood to take the place of a sun-bleached animal skull.

I’d planned to take pictures for one more day on this trip, and in particular I wanted to go back to Whangaparaoa, where I’d seen some colorfully appealing patterns on Little Manly Beach in 2015. Alas, even as we drove back to Whitianga from Cathedral Cove, drops began to fall (look at the dark sky in the upper left of the photograph), and the rain continued heavily all through the night. When we went to check out of our apartment the next morning to head for Auckland, the manager told us that so much rain had come down that both roads off the Coromandel Peninsula were washed out. We ended up spending an extra day in Whitianga with little to do, given the yucky weather. By the morning of March 9th, one of the two roads off the peninsula had reopened and we made it to Auckland with a few hours to spare before we had to check in at the airport for our flight home. Adiós, New Zealand.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 10, 2018 at 4:44 AM

20 Responses

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  1. This is most certainly reminiscent of Georgia O’Keeffe. I also mentioned her in my recent post on Datura. It’s amazing how she relished North American desert iconic imagery in her art work, and revolutionized flower imagery to reach levels never imagined.


    March 10, 2018 at 8:11 AM

  2. A very striking image to mark the sadly soggy end to your visit there.


    March 10, 2018 at 8:25 AM

    • At least sadly soggy shares the rhythm and initials of Steven Schwartzman, who shares his pictures here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 10, 2018 at 9:06 AM

  3. Great image! I’ve enjoyed your posts of your adventures & captures of New Zealand, thank you for sharing them!


    March 10, 2018 at 1:08 PM

    • You’re welcome. I have trouble believing a year has passed already. Some things stay with you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 10, 2018 at 2:32 PM

  4. Very O’Keeffe. Like a skull. I love it.

    Sherry Felix

    March 10, 2018 at 1:22 PM

    • I’m glad you could see it that way too. I say “too,” though I’m not sure I made the connection to O’Keeffe at the time I took the picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 10, 2018 at 2:33 PM

  5. I remember reading about that rain last year, and wondering if you’d been caught somewhere because of it.

    Bleached driftwood is beautiful. We rarely see white pieces here; gray and various shades of brown are more common. I thought of O’Keeffe when I first saw the photo, but when I looked at it more closely, I remembered a passage from T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages” that seems to fit not only this driftwood, but so many things that you saw on your trip:

    The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
    The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
    Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
    Its hints of earlier and other creation:
    The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
    The pools where it offers to our curiosity
    The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
    It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
    The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
    And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
    Many gods and many voices.

    And, I might add, many happy memories.


    March 11, 2018 at 6:53 PM

    • Yes, we were caught, and almost to the point where we would have had to find a new flight home and also call Houston to extend the parking on our car to keep it from getting towed away. Happily, all ended well. We even had a little time to stop in at a supermarket and use up most of our last New Zealand currency buying manuka honey.

      It’s easy to understand how this bleached driftwood would call up in your mind a name like “The Dry Salvages,” and then some of the lines in the poem. I found this note about it: “(The Dry Salvages—presumably les trois sauvages—is a small group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced to rhyme with assuages.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 12, 2018 at 6:17 AM

  6. Thanks for sharing Steve .. 🙂


    March 14, 2018 at 7:32 PM

  7. I love those pieces of gnarled (drift)wood.


    September 27, 2018 at 11:53 AM

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