Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

February 26–27, 2015

with 26 comments

Late in the afternoon four years ago today I walked down to Little Manly Beach, which lies on the south side of a peninsula that juts into the Hauraki Gulf north of Auckland.

You can see that the nearer sea-eroded cliffs and shore already lay in shadow. That didn’t stop me from taking some pictures of fascinating formations, a few of which I showed here after I got back to Texas. Nevertheless, I went back the next morning—my last in New Zealand on that first trip—when the light came from the opposite direction, so I could have another crack at the interesting patterns. Below are several.

Green algae

Rock swirls


I planned to go back at the end of our 2017 visit but unfortunately heavy rains caused mudslides that blocked both roads that would have let us leave the Coromandel Peninsula. We lost a day and made it back to Auckland only a few hours before we had to go to the airport for our return flight to Texas.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2019 at 4:22 AM

26 Responses

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  1. I remember those mud slides and the problems they caused. At least you had the first visit, and those wonderful images to remember it by. The sunlit cliff is my favorite, but I couldn’t help noticing how the rock swirls resemble flowing mud.


    February 26, 2019 at 4:40 AM

    • Funny, I hadn’t connected those swirls in the once-molten rock to the moving mud that trapped us on the Coromandel Peninsula. Now that you bring it up, they sure are emblematic of our problem.

      I’m glad I took enough pictures at Little Manly Beach that even on this third go-round of showing patterns I found some not so similar to any of the previous ones as to be repetitious.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2019 at 7:04 AM

  2. incredibly beautiful shots


    February 26, 2019 at 4:41 AM

  3. Love those rock swirls!


    February 26, 2019 at 6:57 AM

  4. I like the first, late afternoon shot, it looks calm and idyllic. I would go back there!

    Robert Parker

    February 26, 2019 at 7:40 AM

    • I would indeed go back if the chance presents itself. And for everyone who hasn’t visited New Zealand, the many pictures that have appeared here should act as an enticement.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2019 at 9:31 AM

  5. Inspired landscape (what depth) and nature abstracts.


    February 26, 2019 at 9:05 AM

    • Your mention of depth sent me looking at the metadata, which showed a focal length of 35mm (on a full-frame sensor) and a tiny aperture of f/18. Although I don’t remember choosing those settings, it seems I took into account how close the beach at the bottom of the frame was and how far away the illuminated bluff was, and must have gone for maximum depth of field. It worked, I’m happy to say.

      As for abstracts, they’re among my favorite things to do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2019 at 9:39 AM

  6. Wonderful lead landscape image, Steve, and your nature close-ups are gorgeous – especially Rock Swirls. New Zealand is spectacular, isn’t it?

    Jane Lurie

    February 26, 2019 at 10:40 AM

    • It certainly is, enough to warrant two trips just two years apart. You’re the third commenter to mention the opening landscape image that I included to set the scene. I didn’t do that in my original series of postings about this place in 2015, so I’m glad I did now, especially given the positive reaction.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2019 at 12:32 PM

      • I hope to return someday. We had a marvelous trip which included a five day hike on the Milford Track. Incredible experience. 🌈

        Jane Lurie

        February 26, 2019 at 1:25 PM

        • I do hope you make it back. We both know from experience how scenic a country it is. Even with a total of seven weeks there, there were plenty of other desirable places I didn’t have time to see

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 26, 2019 at 1:48 PM

  7. Beautiful photos Steve. We get so used to our volcanic landscapes, coastal rock pools, etc. At least, when I lived up in Auckland I did. I appreciate their beauty more nowadays, now that I live in the far south of NZ.

    Ms. Liz

    February 26, 2019 at 2:42 PM

    • It sounds like some more trips back north would suit you now, just for the variety. I found at least some good things everywhere I went in New Zealand, and not always in the best-known places. Little Manly Beach, for example, proved one of my favorite places, even though I have the impression it’s not especially well known.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2019 at 2:54 PM

  8. You do textures so well Steve!


    February 27, 2019 at 12:44 AM

  9. All naturals disasters are a shame and it’s too bad one happened during your visit. The rock swirls are very nice and a great study of the textures we can find in solid objects.

    Steve Gingold

    February 27, 2019 at 4:07 AM

    • You’ve reminded me that between our first and second trips to New Zealand a strong earthquake occurred on the northeast coast of the South Island:


      The coastal highway was damaged and still remained closed at the time of our second visit. That meant that when we left Gallivanta’s place in Christchurch and headed for the ferry to the North Island we’d have to detour several hours out of our way. The night before our departure from Christchurch a forest fire threatened the detour highway, and it looked like we’d have to drive all the way over to the west side of the island and add several more hours to our trip. Fortunately by the next morning we were able to get through on the “normal” detour route, though we saw work crews still putting out hot spots along the road.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2019 at 5:46 AM

  10. Wonderful images Steve …


    March 4, 2019 at 12:53 AM

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