Franz Josef – Waiau from above

Franz Josef – Waiau is a small West Coast town. In the lower left corner of this photograph you can see the Waiko River that runs from the Franz Josef Glacier to the south and into the Tasman Sea to the north west. Local Māori called the area Waiau, which means swirling waters. In the 1860s it was named after Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I of Austria. The town is home to less than 500 people but has accommodations for up to 2000 people per night. This photograph was taken from a helicopter. We were coming into land on one of the dozen helipads on the edges of the grass area. If you look really closely you can see my little blue car in the carpark.

Whakatane Heads

This is Whakatane Harbour from the Puketapu lookout above Hillcrest Road. You can see here where the Whakatane River meets the Bay of Plenty and the South Pacific Ocean beyond. This is the view looking east from near the lookout. Typically I would have zoomed in on this landscape to avoid the plants and trees in the foreground. Here I feel they frame the view nicely. Especially with the bright blues of the waters and sky beyond.

Whakatāne from Puketapu lookout

Driving into Whakatāne from the east is a great drive. The final decent down Hillcrest Road the road twists around the Puketapu Lookout before getting into the city centre. When arriving I didn’t stop, mostly due to being hungry and tired from driving. Before leaving for they day we went back up to the Lookout. This is the view north west over The Strand in the foreground and the Whakatāne River in the middle of the frame. In the distance is the Bay of Plenty. The island off to the right is Moutohora Island.

Thunder Creek Falls – Haast

Tall and thin waterfall surrounded by thick, green foliage and a rushing river in the foreground.

This waterfall has been on my list to revisit for nearly 10 years. Back in 2013 I had an extremely wet visit to the Thunder Creek Falls. It rained so hard that even with the camera in a waterproof bag it stopped working after two shots. Revisiting it meant many extra hours of driving. Fortunately it was up the West Coast of the South Island which is a spectacular drive. It was raining when I took this photograph. Using a 30 second long exposure I was lucky not to get too much rain or spray on the lens. This is a 28 metre tall waterfall. It is great to revisit locations like this with more time and better equipment. When comparing the two photographs it’s clear to me which had more thought go into it and which was a quick snap shot.