Portraits of Wildflowers

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Posts Tagged ‘ocean

New Zealand: Views from Cape Reinga

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On February 14th we drove from our base in Paihia to the northern end of the North Island. After stopping at the Te Paki dunes, we continued up to Cape Reinga. While not technically the northernmost point on the island, it’s close, and it has the virtue of a highway that takes you right there. You won’t be surprised to hear that there’s usually a brisk breeze at Cape Reinga, which whips up sea spray and makes distant places look hazier than closer ones, as you can confirm in the landscape/seascape above.

At a relatively bright moment, even with some clouds drifting low, I recorded a view of cabbage trees and flax high above a span of sun-saturated sea.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 27, 2017 at 5:01 AM

New Zealand: Moeraki Boulders

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I was sorry not to get to see the Moeraki Boulders during our first New Zealand trip, so I made sure to go there on the second trip. Once I finally arrived on February 27th, I didn’t find the boulders as impressive as they were cracked up to be, but cracked most of them certainly were.

Downright dilapidated, in some cases:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2017 at 4:51 AM

New Zealand: Tunnel Beach

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Down and down and down on February 26th went the path from the carpark toward Tunnel Beach a few miles outside of Dunedin. Eventually the trail got to the level of the upper surface of a rocky promontory. A side trail through a tunnel excavated in the 1870s allowed further descent to sea level, where I reveled in this view of the promontory’s eastern wall.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2017 at 5:04 AM

New Zealand, Take Two

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On February 5th we drove the two-and-a-half hours from Austin to Houston and caught a non-stop Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. After landing on the morning of February 7th, we picked up a rental car that I ended up driving an exhausting 7343 km (4563 miles) before turning it back in on March 9th. Over the next however many posts you’ll see photographs from our second New Zealand visit, mixed in with views of what’s happening in springtime Texas and perhaps even a few holdovers from the great Southwest trip last fall.

The first place in New Zealand where I stopped to take pictures on February 7th was the Uretiti Beach Campsite in Waipu, where I looked eastward at the aquamarine water of Bream Bay and Taranga Island rising out of it.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 13, 2017 at 4:58 AM

Two wide views at Morro Bay in the morning

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On November 4th, a couple of hours after I’d looked across the inlet toward the sunrise colors around Morro Rock, we checked out of our hotel and drove over to go walking around the base of the rock, as plenty of other people were doing. Mist hung over Morro Bay, as you see above, while a glance in a different direction revealed waves crashing over a jetty.


(If you’d like to see the Lady Eve in that second place, you can.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 15, 2016 at 3:30 AM

New Zealand: Two more views of the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki on the 17th of February

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Punakaiki Pancake Rocks 5164

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks 5177

And let’s hear it as well for the native vegetation atop parts of these scenic rocks.

Today’s post marks the end of the fourth and penultimate* sequence of pictures from my February trip to New Zealand. Tomorrow it’ll be back to central Texas for a while (where the rains have been back, too).


* Some people have a mistaken idea of what penultimate means.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2015 at 5:06 AM

Different coastal rocks in close proximity

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Colorful Coastal Rocks 4242

While we were waiting for the ferry from Tiritiri Matangi back to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula on February 8th, I browsed the shoreline and was surprised to find rather different (and differently photogenic, and differently wet) sections of rock in close proximity.

Colorful Coastal Rocks 4273

These were close not only to each other but also to the lichen on dark rocks you saw here a few days ago.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 22, 2015 at 5:26 AM

When isn’t flax flax?

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Flax Plant by Tasman Sea 5007

Flax isn’t flax in New Zealand, where people traditionally use the term not for a member of the Linaceae (think linen), i.e. flax family, but for the members of a genus of plants in the Xanthorrhoeaceae that the Māori called harakeke and whose fibers they turned into clothing, mats, nets, and various other useful things. By far the most common species of New Zealand flax is Phormium tenax (think tenacious), and not a day of my stay there passed without my seeing it, usually in many places. Partly that’s because of its frequent natural occurrence, and partly because people plant it and various cultivars as ornamentals.

Today’s picture is from the shore of the Tasman Sea—note once again the color of the water—on the west coast of the South Island on February 17th. That was unfortunately much too late for me to see any of the plant’s flowers, but its characteristically upright seed capsules were very much in evidence everywhere I traveled in the country.


Happy vernal equinox about 12 hours from now to those of you north of the Equator, and happy autumnal equinox to those south of that great circle.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2015 at 5:45 AM

Australasian gannet

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Gannet 3502

This morning’s picture of a gannet colony at Muriwai on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island might have left you wanting a better look at an individual Australasian gannet, Morus serrator, so here’s a closer view of one from that February 7th visit.

For more information about this species, you can consult New Zealand Birds Online. You’d also do well to check out Gary Bolstad’s post from 2013 showing pictures of the same nesting site and even some gannets in flight.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Australasian gannets

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Gannet Colony on Seaside Boulder 3744

Probably the main reason people go to Muriwai on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, aside from the beach itself, is the Australasian gannets (known in Māori as tākapu and in biospeak as Morus serrator) nesting on the rocks there, and that was indeed my little group’s purpose for visiting on February 7th. I took this photograph with a telephoto lens from a path on one of the surrounding bluffs where people are allowed to walk, but the nesting areas themselves are out of bounds. (Just as well, I might add, because even before you can see where the gannets are nesting, the smell downwind is strong and unpleasant.)

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2015 at 5:11 AM

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