Catlins Phototography Trip 7 – Stewart Island and the very edge of the South Island

The very bottom edge of South Island, NZ

Walk up to the edge, take a BIG step forward and you would fall completely off the bottom of the South Island, NZ.  This is your *only* warning!

Cliffs nearly 100m high, its a long drop down

I wasn’t game to go right up to the edge of the cliffs to get a good angle on how far down it was, the tops of the cliffs are well eaten away and I wasn’t sure how safe they were.  Its a good 50-100m drop down, and if you are lucky there is beach, otherwise lots of rocks at the bottom!

Stewart Island in the distance – click for large version

Where is our intrepid photographer?  Having visited Maple Glen gardens, gone into Invercargill to stock up on supplies at the supermarket, she heads south and east again to a small settlement called Fortrose.  Apparently at low tide an old wooden shipwreck is visible, and it was on the way to Waipapa Lighthouse.

On the way over a rise I was greeted by my first ever view of Stewart Island.  I have never been in a position to view it on a clear sunny day in Southland and I was quite delighted.  Its quite long so only half of it is visible in the shot above.  Its the blue hazy bits 🙂

Awesome huge tree trunk washed up in a storm several months ago – click for large version

Arriving to Fortrose I pulled into the local Info center, but before I walked in I ran into a friendly local who gave me excellent advice on getting a really nice view up on the cliffs overlooking the bay.  While I was talking to him, I noticed what looked like a complete tree trunk washed up on the beach, he commented it had many photos taken of it, and had washed up in a big storm several months away.

Now the lighting angle is completely wrong for how I positioned the shot, the sun is at about 1 o’clock from where I am standing.  But if I stand here I get all the sea and beach in the background.  If I moved to where the sun was behind me and highlighting the tree, the background was much less aesthetic,  being all the houses of the township.  Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice or compositional decision.  I still like the shot, the small black spec at the very right edge is a variable oyster catcher, to give you an idea of scale.  A bit bigger than a seagull 🙂

Sandspit at Fortrose and the mouth of the Mataura river – click to embiggen

So following the local advice I headed up to the cliffs, to be greeted with the first image in the post.  Opting to follow the tyre tracks which were a safe distance from the edge I trekked across to the otherside, following the slope down to a fenceline, where I was greeted with the above view.  Of course I got the trusty 10-22mm wideangle out, as that was required to capture the scope of the view 🙂  Have I said how much I love this lens?

Looking back to Fortrose township – click to embiggen

Walking a bit to my right this lovely beach was in front of me.  Lots of driftwood probably from the same storm as the big tree I captured above.  To give you an idea of scale, the black square thing up by the curve of the beach is an SUV and a dog and a man fishing at the waters edge.  Apparently thats crowded for down south 🙂

I never did see the wreck of the Ino, turns out I was in the wrong place and the tide was still too high, but I had an excellent adventure, took some fabulous photos, saw the very bottom edge of the Island I have lived on all my life and all in the most perfect weather!

Finally I had to have a play with the driftwood tree image in Nik Silver Efex – this time I used the Wet Rocks preset and tweaked it a bit further. Loving this software and really enjoying playing in B&W, it completely changes the feel of the image.  I am going to get this printed for my bedroom wall.

Click to embiggen

Do you like it?  I cropped the bird off the edge 🙂  I think the side light actually works better in this version, the shadows have more texture and interest.

Next stop Waipapa Lighthouse!


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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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8 Responses to Catlins Phototography Trip 7 – Stewart Island and the very edge of the South Island

  1. mississhippi says:

    I’ve been to Invercargill once, but that was as far as I got as I was reliant on someone else. Fortrose looks a beautiful area. Love the tree photo. I remember years ago taking something similar in Port Underwood of an upside-down stump on the beach there, but not as spectacular a shot as this one. Love the B&W version even more.
    Have you been to the northern most tip of the Sth Island – Cape Farewell I think. I loved it there. I’ll have to try for a glimpse of Stewart Island another time.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yes I love the BW version too! It was fabulous weather (as you can see) and quite lovely. Could be awful in a southerly I imagine. No I havent made it up that far, will have to plan that trip sometime 🙂

  2. Katrina says:

    I like the B&W version of the tree. The lack of color puts the attention onto the tree itself rather than the pretty background scenery. The clouds in this one aren’t dramatic and extracting like the clouds in the B&W photos you posted not long ago.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yes I like the focus it gives the tree as well. I used a different preset that didnt put as much drama in the sky this time 🙂

  3. Kris Howell says:

    Love the driftwood photo! Took a similar one a few years ago on a beach of the Amazon River in Brazil, and yes, I have it printed and hanging on my wall, too, lol!


  4. The B&W version of the large tree branch is a classic – really looks more elegant and shows off the lighting better than the colored version.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks, I really like it too, I have actually planned to get this printed up LARGE and hung on my feature wall in my bedroom. The other BW of the row of trees is going to get printed and hung in the lounge. Just as soon as I have some spare money……

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