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New Zealand: colors at Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley

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A year ago today we spent a few hours at the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley in Rotorua. One thing that caught my attention was the small geyser shown above. The second photograph shows the colors adjacent to the geyser. (You can connect the two pictures using the log common to both.)

And here are other nearby colors:

But nothing there beat the color of Inferno Crater Lake:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 5, 2018 at 4:40 AM

New Zealand: Water colors at Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley

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On our 2015 New Zealand trip we’d visited two geothermal attractions in the Rotorua area but had run out of time for more. On March 5th of this year we spent a few hours at a third one, the Waimangu Volcanic Rift Valley. How about the vivid color of the water at Inferno Crater Lake? And look at the very different color of another lake there:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 7, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: Okere Falls

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Okere Falls 7551

On February 25th, shortly after heading north from the geothermal region around Rotorua, I stopped briefly at Okere Falls. While I was there a young German asked me—oh, the presumed wisdom of white hair—if it was safe to jump into the water at the base of the falls. I told him I didn’t know but he apparently decided it was safe because not long afterwards I saw him, dripping wet, coming back up the path from below the falls. The only falls-related urge that the older American yielded to was the non-wetting one of taking pictures, as you see here.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 9, 2015 at 5:14 AM

New Zealand: Elephantine

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Geothermal Formation at Te Puia 6842

On February 23rd I spent a few hours at Te Puia, one of the geothermal attractions in Rotorua. Of the rock surfaces there, this one particularly fascinated me with its “eye” and its texture, both of which now strike me as elephantine.

UPDATE: I should have noted that there are four pronunciations for the word elephantine, which you’ll see listed (and can listen to by clicking the little speaker icons) at Oxford Dictionaries.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2015 at 5:31 AM

New Zealand: Sulfur and steam

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Geothermal Formation at Te Puia 6938

Here begins the fourth and penultimate installment of photographs from the great February trip to Aotearoa, known in English as New Zealand.

At Te Puia, one of the geothermal attractions in Rotorua, I photographed this formation on February 23rd. Yellow is generally an indication of sulfur, and steam is generally an indication of hot water.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 11, 2015 at 5:17 AM

New Zealand: Lady Knox Geyser

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Lady Knox Geyser 7032

Here’s a view of the Lady Knox Geyser after it was induced to go off on the morning of February 24th at Wai-O-Tapu in the geothermal region near Rotorua.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 6 and 7 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2015 at 5:04 AM

New Zealand: Geothermal mineral deposit

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Geothermal Mineral Deposits 7206

Last week you saw some boiling mud at Wai-O-Tapu in the geothermal zone near Rotorua. From the same place on February 24th, here’s a mineral deposit whose textures and colors wouldn’t let me pass by without photographing them. The forms at the left are a miniature version of the Pancake Rocks that appeared here a month ago.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 12, 2015 at 5:27 AM

New Zealand: Boiling mud eruption

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Mud Eruption 7466

Speaking of strange shapes reminiscent of objects in Surrealist paintings, how about this eruption in a pool of boiling mud? I took the picture on February 24th at Wai-O-Tapu*, which is in an active geothermal area in the vicinity of Rotorua on the North Island. The sputtering of the boiling mud was unpredictable, so I set my camera to 1/500 sec. and tried to press the shutter release at the first hint of a splatter. Many of my attempts didn’t succeed, but this photo did a pretty good job of capturing the phenomenon.

Today’s image of a geothermal feature is the first one from my New Zealand trip to appear here, but it won’t be the last.

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* After I prepared this post I saw that the Wai-O-Tapu website says TripAdvisor calls the location “One of the 20 Most SURREAL Places in the World.”

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 5, 2015 at 5:07 AM

Cabbage tree

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Cabbage Tree by Pond 7514

Looking to a foreigner—especially from a distance—like a palm tree, the cabbage tree, which the Māori call tī kōuka,* is not a palm. No, botanists place Cordyline australis in the recently aggrandized family Asparagaceae, whose Agavoideae subfamily includes the yucca familiar to Texans. If you’d like to know more about the cabbage tree, which is among the most distinctive plants in New Zealand, read on. Notice also the cattail, or raupō, Typha orientalis, toward the lower left.

I photographed this cabbage tree on February 25th a little northeast of Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island.

UPDATE. I should have explained the familiar name. In the words of T.E.R.R.A.I.N.: “The crown is made up of long, bare branches carrying bushy heads of large, grass like leaves up to a meter long. Early settlers used the young leaves from the centre of these heads as a substitute for cabbage – hence the common name.”

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* A bar (technically called a macron) over a vowel indicates that the vowel is to be pronounced for a longer time than regular vowels. Many languages (but not English) make a distinction between long vowels and regular vowels, so that would be a different word from pa and have a different meaning.

Also like many languages, Māori has five vowels, whose pronunciations I’ll spell out as we might write them in English: a (ah), e (eh), i (ee), o (oh), u (oo). In effect, Māori has the same five vowels as Spanish.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 17, 2015 at 6:03 AM

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