Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘water

New Zealand: views from the Interislander

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The first time on the recent trip that we took the Interislander ferry, from the North Island to the South Island on February 18th, the weather was grey. We had better luck going back across the Cook Strait to the North Island on March 3rd, as you can verify in the picture above.

And here’s a look down at the churning water alongside the ferry:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 25, 2017 at 4:54 AM

New Zealand: Two views of Lake Wakatipu and mountains on a cloudy afternoon

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One of the things that makes Queenstown so touristy (and so hard during the summer to find accommodations in and even to park in) is beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Here are two views from the eastern shore of the lake north of Queenstown on the overcast afternoon of February 21. Notice a few residual patches of ice in the mountains even in the warmest part of the year.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 15, 2017 at 4:58 AM

New Zealand: shags on an Oamaru pier

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Click to enlarge.

We spent the night of February 27th at a B&B on a hill in Oamaru. Before settling in for the evening we went down to have a look—a rather distant and indistinct one, as it turned out—at some blue penguins coming ashore at dusk. On the way there we walked past an old wooden pier that now hosts a large colony of shags. If you’re not familiar with the shag, as I wasn’t until I photographed one during our first New Zealand visit, it’s a kind of cormorant.

The shags on the Oamaru pier that evening might have been Leucocarbo chalconotus, which zoologists recently determined to be a different species, now called the Otago shag, from the Stewart Island shag.

Plans to refurbish the pier and reopen it to people have understandably met with some opposition.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2017 at 4:54 AM

New Zealand: flax

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Along with ferns, the other practically ubiquitous type of native plant one sees in New Zealand is flax. At least that’s what the British called it after they arrived and found the Māori using the fibers of the plant to make cloth, just as the Europeans used flax to make linen. The Māori call these members of the lily family harakeke, the most common species of which is Phormium tenax.

On February 12, after driving a few minutes west from the site where I took the picture of sand dunes that you saw last time (and you can still see them in the background this time), I came to the Arai-Te-Uru Recreation Reserve, where I was able to portray these New Zealand flax plants in the stage after they’ve produced and shed seeds.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 31, 2017 at 4:48 AM

New Zealand: my first substantial sand dunes

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On our way to Tāne Mahuta on February 12th (which schoolchildren in the United States once knew as Lincoln’s Birthday), we drove along S.H. 12 through Opononi and nearby Omapere. The road in that area followed the southern shore of Hokianga Harbour, and as we approached the Tasman Sea I saw on the other side of the esturary the first substantial sand dunes of the trip. Unfortunately there was no easy way to get to them, and contact with large dunes would have to wait a couple of days.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 30, 2017 at 5:02 AM

New Zealand: Cable Bay

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In the Cable Bay section of Doubtless Bay on February 13th I focused on the rocks and shells along the beach. In particular, I was intrigued by clusters of small black mussels that looked to me as if they could be pieces of obsidian.

I take the genus to be Xenostrobus, but if anyone knows for sure, please chime in. Here’s a closer look at a group of these mussels.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2017 at 5:10 AM

New Zealand: Doubtless you’ve heard of Doubtless Bay

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Doubtless you’ve heard of Doubtless Bay if you’re from or have visited New Zealand’s Northland region. Otherwise you well may not have heard of that body of water, which reputedly got its name when Captain Cook sailed past it and wrote in his diary that it was “doubtless a bay.” We drove along the shore of Doubtless Bay on February 13th and stopped in several places. The one shown above is Coopers Beach, where I was intrigued by the way a stream etched itself into the sand as it flowed into the bay. The flowing water occasionally caused bits of the stream’s sandy banks to crumble, creating the jagged margins you see here.

Looking in the opposite direction, I saw one of my old friends from the first visit to New Zealand, a pōhutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 26, 2017 at 4:42 AM

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