This is taken from the rest stop on the hill overlooking Tautuku bay. Coming over the crest of the hill I spotted this awesome vista so we doubled back to the rest stop to take a couple of pics.
As you can see we were getting along toward the end of what proved to be a long day, remember this is the day that started 200km away with the albatross colony and Larnach castle.
In the thumbnail you can see a haze like mist above and to the right of the beach (it’s a bit clearer in the large one), that’s actually wind blown sand.
This is a stitched panorama which means I’ve had to do exposure leveling, as a result I’ve seen this particular image at a variety of different exposure levels. As you can see the area below the sun is over exposed somewhat, in some of the others versions I have lying around the over exposure is far worse, so much so that it looks like someone has dropped a nuke on the Catlins.
Took this while walking back from sea lion spotting. I like the sun across water effect.
Looking through all the images from our holiday it’s apparent that this is somewhat of a fixation for me at the moment.
They are actually somewhat tricky to shoot, often they are shots that you can’t even look at with the naked eye and you have to be careful to have the entire photo go white out.
I spotted this little fall off to the side of the main falls, I liked the look of it and had a play with framing. The area around this fall was much dimmer and so much longer exposures were possible. This particular shot was 8 seconds with the same ISO and aperture as the main falls shot. I also did some shorter shots at higher ISO levels, but I liked this one best.
And this is the ultimate goal of our little detour… the Purakaunui Falls. Not overly big as waterfalls go, but quite picturesque and definitely worth the effort.
The beautiful water effect is achieved by using a long exposure. This requires pulling back the ISO and reducing the aperture. There are a couple of problems with that idea.
The first is that long exposure shots are more sensitive to movement so you need good support or preferably a tripod. Here the compact is a win since a small camera can be supported by a light weight tripod and a light weight tripod can happily be carried basically everywhere.
The other problem is that since compacts have small sensors they also have small aperture mechanisms. It’s the size of the aperture relative to the sensor that matters and with a small aperture mechanism that becomes hard to achieve. For example a medium-small aperture setting like f/5.0 results in a physical aperture of around 1mm on a compact.
The achievable aperture actually puts a cap on maximum usable exposure, and for compacts that generally means shots like this one are only possible in low light photos, fortunately the area around the falls is actually quite shaded.
This image was taken off a tripod with ISO 80 (minimum) f/5.9 (minimum) and 0.5 second exposure.
I have updated this photo, some comments may refer to the original which is available on flickr.
The track approaches the falls from the down stream side and part of the walk follows the course of the stream.
I’m still not very good at photographing moving water, although I am improving. Part of the problem is that compacts just don’t have the aperture range one would normally want when playing with water.
Anyway, since we had no particular time we needed to be in Invercargill by the stop at the falls gave me a chance to experiment with water shots like this one.
While in the Catlins we also stopped to look at the Purakaunui Falls. Access to the falls is via a 10 minute bush walk. As you can see in the photo the path is of good quality and the walk is quite scenic.
Whilst sunning on the beach like this the sea lions lie perfectly still, so much so that we wondered if the first one we came across was dead. But if you watch them closely you can see them breathing, along with the occasional eyelid blink. Every so often they will also shovel some more sand over themselves or roll over.
These particular sea lions are of course New Zealand Sea Lions (formerly known as Hooker’s Sea Lion), an adult male can weigh up to 500kg, but all the ones we saw were smaller than that.
As I mentioned we stopped by Surat bay near Owaka to see if we could spot any Sea Lions. Well we were in luck and we saw a half dozen lazying at various points along the beach. While I’ve seen sea lions before it’s never been up close. They come up out of the sea to sun on the beach and are interested only in lying there. So as long as you don’t get too close they just ignore humans, we stayed at least 5m back and they happily ignored us. The biggest concern is actually stumbling across one by accident. They are a similar color to seaweed and don’t tend to move around at all, so if you didn’t know that they frequented the beach then you could walk right past one without noticing that it wasn’t just another pile of seaweed.
While passing through the Catlins area we stopped by Surat bay near Owaka to take a wander on the sand and see if we could spot any sea lions. This stream borders the the road end of the beach.