Castlepoint lighthouse at night

Castlepoint light house at night

One of the main things about photographing lighthouses is to think about the subject. Photographs taken in the day can be great but lighthouses purpose is to be seen at night. I was trying to capture the light streaming out to the south pacific ocean. It was the first test of my new compact Sony camera which I recently purchased for an up coming trip. Due to the poor weather forecast I didn’t bring my DSLR or big tripod which I regretted as the compact didn’t far so well for star photography. Castlepoint is a great location for star photography on a clear night.

Sunrise behind Castlepoint light house

Sunrise behind Castlepoint light house

Castlepoint Light House is one of my favourite lighthouses in New Zealand. I was very lucky with this sunrise. It made getting up early well worth it. Sunrises are much more of a gamble to photograph than sunset but I often find they are more visually exciting. The night before there was no clouds so the sky wasn’t nearly as beautiful as you can see here. We were staying in a holiday home right on the beachfront so it was only a five minute walk to this location which was even better.

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.

Matiu Somes Island Lighthouse

Matiu Somes Island Lighthouse at night

Matiu Somes Island is right in the middle of Wellington harbour. It’s small at just 62 aches and it takes around an hour to walk the path around the island. It is about a 30 minute boat trip from Wellington’s city centre and over summer we went camping for a night on the island. It’s famous for it’s wildlife including little blue penguins which unfortunately we didn’t see this time. The little blue penguins come onto the island at night to nest on the island.

This view is on the opposite, more rocky side of the island looking towards the Wellington centre which is off to the left. I wanted to show the lighthouse from this angle at dusk to show the jagged rocks on the left with the little lighthouse on the right third. I wanted to show the actual light of the lighthouse. It was import to me to show that the light is shinning out over the rocks. The lighthouse has been here since 1866 and whilst it is still in use today, it has been automated since 1924. On a clear night the light is visible for 16 miles into the Cook Straight which is off to the left.

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.