Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Crossing the Cook Strait again

with 15 comments

The Cook Strait, named after the adventurous Captain James Cook, separates New Zealand’s two main islands. Three years ago today we rode the Interislander ferry from Picton on the South Island to Wellington on the North Island. The first photograph shows the last rocks the ferry passes as it leaves the South Island and enters the Cook Strait. I took the second photograph out in the strait 12.5 minutes later.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 3, 2020 at 4:31 AM

15 Responses

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  1. I wanted to ride that ferry on a trip a couple of years ago but given our schedule, there wasn’t time.

    Michael Scandling

    March 3, 2020 at 10:32 AM

  2. Really enjoyed this ferry ride, Steve. Thanks for the great photos.

    Jet Eliot

    March 3, 2020 at 2:08 PM

    • Sure thing. I hope you’ll get to experience it in person one of these days (or am I misunderstanding, and you’ve already taken this ferry?).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2020 at 3:00 PM

      • No, you are not misunderstanding, Steve. I have never been here, except in your vivid photos, and I sincerely hope I get to experience it one day in person.

        Jet Eliot

        March 3, 2020 at 4:35 PM

  3. If the 2nd shot was looking back, it must have been a pretty fast ship, seems like it’s quite a ways from shore. I expect it was a bit faster and nicer ride than the Cook’s Endeavour, which was originally built to haul coal.

    Robert Parker

    March 3, 2020 at 2:37 PM

    • I’ve been trying to figure out which direction I aimed in for the second picture. The ferry takes at least three hours to make the full trip, and because we’d only moved 12.5 minutes away from the South Island, I assume I was looking westward, back toward the South Island, though it could’ve been a somewhat more distant part of the island than the one we’d just left.

      I saw no coal on the Interislander.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2020 at 3:08 PM

      • Looking at the first photo, I’d have assumed the humidity was exceptionally low, because of the clarity. On the other hand, the second photo seems to suggest the kind of haze that develops in high humidity: at least, it does down here. It’s interesting to see the difference.

        My favorite detail is the spread of delicate wavelets on the water’s surface in the second photo. I could be tempted to call those little whitecaps strait lace.


        March 3, 2020 at 10:17 PM

        • The differing angle of the sun relative to the camera, along with differences in distance, probably account for a little of the difference in clarity you noted. More to the point, different settings for the sliders in Adobe Camera Raw when I processed the photographs account for even more. I worked on each picture independently, going for what seemed good each time, and not trying to make the two come out looking similar.

          You capped (whitecapped?) your comment with the good play on words of “Strait lace.” You’re probably aware that many people confuse straight with strait.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 4, 2020 at 6:00 AM

  4. You were quite fortunate to have such relatively calm weather. The wind can (and often does) really howl there and the resulting turbulence is not a joy to behold!


    March 4, 2020 at 5:32 PM

    • I seem to remember seeing a sign there about how strong the winds and waves would have to be for the ferry to suspend operations. Fortunately all three of our crossings went without incident.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 4, 2020 at 6:36 PM

  5. What a neat experience and place to see in person. The views and color of the water are beautiful.


    March 5, 2020 at 12:38 PM

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