Castle point beach

Castle point beach

Lighthouses are one of my favourite subjects for landscape photography. An iconic shape in rocky, coastal locations. I’d heard great things about Castle point from people at work. It sounded like the perfect place for a relaxed weekend away. It really surpassed by expectations. Castle point is a small beachside town on the Wairarapa coast, about two and half hours drive east of central Wellington. A long drive to go there for the day but perfect for a weekend at the beach. The above photograph was taken early evening. Getting the camera low down helped get the reflection of the lighthouse and moon.

Pohutukawa tree at the beach

Pohutukawa tree at the beach

Kaitarakihi beach is one of my favourite spots in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland, just a short drive outside of central Auckland. It’s more sheltered than the more popular west coast beaches of Piha or Bethells but in my opinion is just as special. This photograph was taken between Christmas and New Year, the height of summer here. The Pohutukawa is also known as New Zealand’s Native Christmas Tree, as it flowers between November and January with these very bright red flowers.

Piha Beach from Lion Rock

Piha Beach from Lion Rock

One of the most popular beaches within an hours drive of the centre of Auckland is at Piha, on the west coast of the Waitkere Ranges. This view is taken from half way up Lion Rock. The beach is very popular with surfers and hosts many national and international surfing competitions. You can see quite a few surfers out in the bay, though there just tiny dots from here.

Black sand on the beach is caused by the volcanic rock in this area. The rocky island to the right of the frame is called Taitomo Island and is separated from the mainland, much like Lion Rock where I am stood to capture this photograph. In the very hot summer the heat of the sun heats the black sand and I’ve been here a few times where it has been quite painful to walk on barefoot, people have been known to burn their feet on the sand.

Lion Rock at Piha

Lion Rock at Piha

Piha is a very popular beach around 40 kilometres west of Auckland city and so it’s a great place to go for a day out. On sunny summer weekends it gets very busy so we drove just past the beach to park and decided to have a picnic on the north side of the rock. Lion Rock is about 60 metres high and having never climbed up it, it seemed like the perfect weather to try. Believe it or not there is a path up the side of the rock to about half way. If you look very closely on the photograph you might be able to make out a small red dot on near the top of the grassy area of the rock, about half way up. That is as far as the path takes you. The very top of the rock is closed as a rock fall made the path too dangerous.

Lighthouse at Cape Palliser

Lighthouse at Cape Palliser

This is an area of New Zealand that I knew nothing about. It’s a very remote place at the southern tip of the North Island. As you can see from this early evening photograph of the lighthouse it’s a very dramatic coastline. When I was there it was July (so mid winter) and it was extremely windy. I live in Wellington which is known as the windy city (much like San Francisco in the US) but this area was the wildest place I’ve ever visited. At one point my heavy 3kg+ tripod was picked up by the wind and thrown about 5 metres! Whilst this was being taken I was holding onto my gear very tightly. Cape Palliser is also known as a large seal colony. You can see the unsealed road just behind the beach and if you look very closely at the area of brownish green grass on the left third of the frame the black dots are all fur seals. There are hundreds in this area, it’s New Zealand’s largest colony.