22 August 2014

A flying visit to Makara {landscape photography}

Despite the winter being unusually co-operative earlier on in the winter, we've been making up for it these past few weeks with some crazy weather which has made it a little more challenging to get out for sunrise shots.

Take this particular weekend for example. At Friday 3pm school pick-up it was sleeting and 3 degrees. I was actually hoping for some snow like Ange and Angela-Noelle had been blessed with down in Dunedin, but it was not to be.

The following morning was still looking pretty cold and miz when I looked out the window at 6am so I chucked in the idea of getting out early and my bed firmly won out.

Having said that, the day steadily improved and after visiting some good friends out in the Hutt for afternoon tea, I made a snap decision to drop the rest of the family home, grab the camera and head out to Makara to catch the dying day. We just won’t talk about how fast I may have zoomed around the very windy roads to get there in time though…..mkay?!

I arrived with about 20 minutes to spare in the end, I knew sunset was roughly 5.20pm but wasn’t sure just how quickly the sun would dip behind the hills that hug the Makara coastline.

The first shot I took after stepping out of the car was of a regal looking seagull (you would have seen it at the very top of this post) lit up in golden light with my long zoom. Seagulls often get a bad rap for being rats-of-the-sky so it was nice to capture one looking so peaceful and serene. Golden light would do that to anyone though I think!

The 10-stop neutral density filter came in very handy to capture some lovely sunflare and silky water as the sun began to sink low behind the hills, while behind me the watchful moon had already risen above the hills sparsely dotted with sheep.

Being on the west coast in a small bay, Makara is more known for its fishing than swimming and the fishing huts that you can only reach by boat past the shoreline attest to this fact. My boss owns one of these, I’m not sure which one but I do know that on every calm day in the summer he would dash off for the afternoon to put some more work into it.

After the sun disappeared, an incredible glow appeared on the horizon, and the South Island appeared out of the haze, looking tantalisingly close.

I also found only my second ever paua shell on the beach, the last one I found on the South Coast near Owhiro Bay a good 3 or so years ago, and this one was much bigger with beautiful aqua tones. 

It got very cool very quickly without the sun’s rays and with a 25 minute trip home ahead of me (plus a quick stop at the supermarket to get some smoky BBQ Hickory sauce for Mark to take over to my brother in Melbourne as he was leaving at 6am the next morning) I knew I should make tracks.

On the way back (and driving at a more sedate pace in the near dark!) I spotted some other great locations that I want to come back and capture in the daylight – a church in Makara village, the newly constructed wind turbines at Mill Creek, and some dilapidated sheds, so I’ll keep those up my sleeve for another day.

As I climbed back over the hill to Karori, the dying light was framing the West Wind turbines beautifully on the hill so I pulled over into a safe layby and set the tripod up quickly for a couple of last shots looking back towards the coast, this shot below close to my favourite of the day as it turns out.

While I was in the supermarket, the gourmet cheeses started calling out to me, so as well as the 2 packs of smoky BBQ sauce, a blue and an Emmental somehow made their way into my basket to go with the red wine that would be a lovely end to the successful, in-the-moment decision to get out into the great outdoors.

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