Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: up and down at Tunnel Beach

with 39 comments

Three years ago today we visited Tunnel Beach about five miles southwest of Dunedin.

I took the first picture from the edge of a cliff looking down at some bull kelp in the surf below.
Doesn’t it remind you of the long, flowing hair in a Botticelli painting?

The next two photographs, taken from the beach, show natural designs on the walls of a cul-de-sac.

And here’s the view looking back up at the adjacent sculpted rocks:

Living in Texas, I can’t help but be reminded of a pair of outsized cowboy boots.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2020 at 4:40 AM

39 Responses

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  1. Those sculpted rocks are gorgeous and you picked just the right angle for a nice composition. I saw them as boots also…or toes.

    Steve Gingold

    February 26, 2020 at 5:45 AM

    • I had a great time there, what with all those colors and textures. I think a neutral sky would’ve been better in the last picture so as not to have any clouds drawing attention away from the shapes of the rock, but we take what we can get.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2020 at 8:00 AM

  2. I’ve seen the boots at Northstar Mall. They are impressive, and it’s remarkable how much the rocks resemble them. The La Quinta in Amarillo has large boots at their entrance, too, but they’re much smaller, and not quite so impressive.

    The first photo did bring flowing hair to mind, although my association wasn’t so pleasant. My favorite of the group is the second. It doesn’t remind me of anything in particular, but the combination of textures and colors is especially pleasing.


    February 26, 2020 at 7:19 AM

  3. I see a cow’s hoof, also a Texan image.


    February 26, 2020 at 7:19 AM

  4. Neat abstracts and I see those boots!


    February 26, 2020 at 7:34 AM

  5. I saw flowing hair too, in the first image, and loved the colors and textures of the next two images. That last shot is my split personality in footwear – one of an outdoor Muck boot, and the other the rear view of a sensible dress boot heel.


    February 26, 2020 at 7:37 AM

    • You’re the second person to validate the flowing hair but the only person to have split your vote on the imaginary footwear in the last picture. Two for the price of one, so to speak.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2020 at 8:40 AM

  6. A pair of cowboy boots, that was also my first thought when I looked at the last photo. Fantastic images!

    Peter Klopp

    February 26, 2020 at 8:03 AM

    • Thanks, Peter. It was the kind of place where I couldn’t not come away with worthy images.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2020 at 8:40 AM

  7. I saw the flowing hair, too. Brilliant.

    Michael Scandling

    February 26, 2020 at 10:17 AM

  8. Yes, the first shot looked to me like a swimmer, coming up out of the water. My 2nd thought was noodles, and Botticelli is also a brand of pasta. I love the giant boots, too!

    Robert Parker

    February 26, 2020 at 10:57 AM

    • I didn’t know about Botticelli pasta sauce. I’d be willing to eat a lot of it if it would make me into a painter as good as its namesake. I hope someday you’ll get to see these wave- and wind-carved boots of stone in person, and an easier jaunt would be to the giant fabricated ones in San Antonio.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2020 at 3:01 PM

      • That would be a fun trip, a kitsch tour, seeing all the giant roadside attractions, like the baseball bat in Louisville, etc. There’s quite a few giant chairs, ears of corn, balls of twine, etc. (But I’d rather visit New Zealand!)

        Robert Parker

        February 26, 2020 at 3:37 PM

        • I’d highly recommend New Zealand over American kitsch. I’ll bet there are non-stop flights from Chicago to Auckland.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 26, 2020 at 3:43 PM

  9. You are slamming these amazing photos out of the ballpark! Excellent – all of them. The previous post with the kelp was interesting – and the gull helped put the size in perspective…

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    February 26, 2020 at 9:05 PM

    • I’m happy to have done “grand slam” photography for you in a land better known for cricket and rugby, and also known as one of the most scenic places anywhere.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2020 at 5:07 AM

  10. The Dunedin area is such a magical part of the country–one could spend months there and not tire at all of opportunities for new adventure.


    February 27, 2020 at 2:12 PM

    • Although we spent only two nights in Dunedin, we found plenty to look at along the coast. Of course I could say that about many of the other places we briefly visited.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2020 at 2:22 PM

  11. All photos show great shades and textures, Steve. It is a little-known secret that Botticelli loved to travel to New Zealand to get his inspiration for his paintings. 😊


    March 1, 2020 at 10:03 PM

    • Now why didn’t they tell me that in the art appreciation course I took in college? I see that Botticelli was born in around 1445 and died in 1510, so he would’ve known about the existence of the Americas but not of New Zealand. Abel Tasman, the first European explorer known to have reached New Zealand, did so in 1642.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2020 at 6:34 AM

  12. I can stand on the edge of a cliff and photograph Bullwhip kelp near here, but the strands are way, way wider. It’s not so hairlike. That’s one spectacular image, Steve, I love it. A beautiful series taken altogether.


    March 9, 2020 at 1:39 PM

    • The cliff must have been high enough to make this kelp seem narrower to you than it was. As you saw in the other post, New Zealand’s bull kelp is pretty wide.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 9, 2020 at 2:34 PM

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