25 September 2015

Down at the Lake {Lake Karapiro, Waikato landscape photography}

How does one get oneself out of a rut after taking NO new landscape photography shots for the better part of three months?  A combination of illness, relocating halfway across the country, a new job, kids football every weekend and a time consuming new diet (to try and help with managing my Crohn's disease) had given me so many excuses NOT to get out that I was getting used to convincing myself that I had no time. But in the end I decided that nothing was going to change unless I actively changed my mindset and broke the ice by just getting out there and seeing what there was to see.

Unlike Wellington, our new home in the Waikato is very landlocked - it's an hour to the beach in either direction so hopping in the car and driving down the road for a promising sunrise or sunset isn't really an option - not without a lot of forethought and planning that is. It's no secret that I love water and reflections in my photography - particular the stunning reflections that come with a beautiful sunrise or sunset. So I was wondering exactly how I would manage to find good locations that fit the bill within an easy driving distance. I knew Lake Karapiro wasn't far away (having been there on a family ride a few weeks back), but wasn't sure whether it would cut the mustard. But how would I know if I didn't actually go and check it out? Or as Nike would say: JUST DO IT.

One Saturday afternoon I finally found myself with the motivation to check out the lake. I was surprised to find the lake is only 7 minutes drive from home - which is way closer than a lot of my previous 'go-to' spots in Wellington had even been.

Pink hues sunset Lake Karapiro
Pink skies and reflections Lake Karapiro


The night I went it wasn't what I'd call a spectacular specimen of a sunset. Nevertheless the muted pinks and violet sky was still worth capturing.


Lake Karapiro violet skies
Lake Karapiro in the golden hour


This shot below is somehow so atmospheric - I feel so drawn into the shot.


Violet clouds vignette Lake Karapiro
Eerie dusk, Lake Karapiro


It was just a quick visit that night - but it showed me enough that this would indeed do as a regular location. I knew from the side of the lake we live on that sunrise would potentially hold a lot more promise so decided I'd be back the following week.

Fast forward a week and I dragged my sorry butt out of bed at 5.30am - the mornings have been getting so much lighter that you really have to want to be an early bird to be able to get that sunrise worm - of course that will all change this weekend when the clocks go forward and the mornings are darker again - if only for a few weeks.

Maungatautari sunrise from Lake Karapiro
Towards Maungatautari at sunrise


On this particular morning there was no cloud cover which was a bit of a shame - I far prefer cloud to provide some extra 'interest' in the sky.




That being said, watching the sun peeking its way through the trees on the horizon was still a stunning sight worth capturing.


Sunrise from the landing Lake Karapiro
Sunrise from the landing, Lake Karapiro


In the picture below is the Rowing centre where the 2010 World Rowing Champs were held.




Having cycled alongside the lake, I knew there were a couple of other potential places with great views so I hopped back in the car and drove further down the lake. I love the contrast of the toi toi fronds with the ripples on the lake in this shot.


Toi toi lake ripples Lake Karapiro
Toi toi framed by lake ripples, Lake Karapiro


Walking along the board-walk there were ample photo opportunities - of tall trees reflecting in the deep, dark water.



Not to mention the local wildlife. Swan are terribly graceful to watch don't you think?


Swans in black and white lake karapiro
Swans on Lake Karapiro in black and white


Although they didn't seem overly happy with me getting in their space and decided to retreat further into the lake.


Swans sun flare Lake Karapiro
Swans and sunflare, Lake Karapiro


On the way home, I stopped off on a corner near the edge of Cambridge where daffodils were growing wild on the side of the road.


Morning sunshine and daffodils
Daffodils in early morning sunshine


The early morning sunshine making them look even more joyful and spring-like.


Spring trees and daffodils
Spring is....daffodils and sunshine


So I did it - I finally broken the photography drought. And not a moment too soon - it was just in time to capture all the glory of a spring morning so the timing couldn't have been better.

Hopefully it's not 3 months until the next outing!

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