...go to Zealandia of course! Of course? Yes it might be a bit chilly, and a bit showery, and a bit gloomy, but rug up well and you'll see lots and have fun!
Today four of us headed out, picking up a couple of strays along the way. For once we were all shooting with micro four-thirds cameras (a Panasonic GX7, two GX8's, and an Olympus OM-D), which given the low light was going to be challenging, but we were up for it. Well most of us were - Janice was certainly missing her Canon 1DX. It wasn't a day for birds in flight, so I decided early on to just pop on my 20mm/f1.7 prime and see how far I could push it.
After a hearty breakfast for some at Rata Cafe, we headed in just in time for the first shower. A quick change of plans and we grabbed the boat instead and took the sheltered scenic route into the valley. This week's Dogwood photo challenge is an f/8 portrait, so what better subject than Skipper Chris. I like how the narrower aperture means the valve tower comes into focus in the background.
At the other end of the lake, T2 and Puffin takahē were of course waiting for their visitors. Fortunately they don't mind people getting close so long as they're respectful about it, and I was able to get a nice photo of rather bedraggled T2 being a poser. I should have gotten down lower, but I didn't want a wet knee and I have already taken thousands of photos of these two characters over the years!
Next stop, fungi of course, with fun-gal Hayley! Along Te Mahanga track there are many choice spots. Hayley was quite taken with these teeny-tiny white mushrooms. I was more taken by her glorious pink pom-pom which lit up the dark bush.
There were some spectacular specimens to see. I didn't have a tripod, so instead opened the aperture, shot in burst mode and mean-stacked the results to denoise. With no wind and a non-moving subject, this is a technique I turn to more and more.
Some of us were struggling more with their cameras than others...
The light is always very low along Te Mahanga Track, but there are still fabulous photo ops, like this glowing nīkau palm.
We weren't the only ones happily visiting the valley. Funnily enough, the birds don't mind the rain and there is always lots to see and hear. The curve of the rails of the upper dam make for some lovely leading lines (which meant I could knock off a Dogwood challenge from a few weeks ago - I'm so behind!!).
There are some lovely vistas from the top dam looking over the upper lake on one side and over the lower valley on the other (see panorama at the top of this blog).
It was then back to Rata Cafe to dry out and warm up with hot chocolates!
Judi Lapsley Miller
The natural world and wildlife conservation provides endless joy and despair, beauty and devastation. I strive to advocate for our endangered species and ecosystems and am currently exploring wildlife advocacy through creative interpretation.
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