The iconic photography shot to be taken in The Catlins is Purakanui Falls. It is a bit of a drive off the main highway, but the walk to the falls is quite short and straight forward. Had a lovely wooden viewing platform but a different point of view was desired so I clambered over the rocks to a dry spot to the left of the falls.
Standing there I spotted a flat dry rock on the edge of the bottom pool that would give a much better angle for taking a shot. Only problem was there was several feet of water between me and where it was. Thought about it for a while and decided that having driven 7 hours in one direction to get here, to be in this place and have this photographic opportunity, that it wasn’t going to be wasted! Took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pants, picked up my camera and very carefully waded over to the rock.
It was easily big enough to setup my tripod on, so went back for the tripod, and then back again for my wide angle lens and the ND filter. Setting up my gear, turning to apologise to the people behind me as *I* was now right in the middle of their photo opportunity, raised my hand to indicate that 5 minutes of patience was required, and proceeded to take some shots.
The one above is the best slow shutter image I got with the ND filter in place. I like to bring it back a little bit as the image is a bit better exposed and you still get a nice white flow effect in the water as you can see below.
And finally because the water was so very low, because by now it had been 5 days of hot sunny weather, and no rain, this much faster shutter speed image which freezes the action of the water but also clearly shows just how low the water level is!
I was really pleased with these shots because I had got a much closer and more intimate angle, standing on a rock that under normal weather circumstances would have been under water 🙂
Chuffed with these shots the journey carried on to Roaring Bay for Yellow Eyed Penguins, and Nugget Point. Unfortunately I didn’t get any decent shots of the penguins, the grass in front of the viewing platform was too high, and the space beside it was already taken. On my way back I was so focussed on finding a toilet (must be planned out when they could be an hour or so drive away) I *forgot* to go up to the top of Nugget Point and see the nuggets 😦
Drove the long and slightly scary narrow windy shingle road out to Cannibal Bay. Didn’t see any sealions (didn’t see any the entire trip!) but this was the view that greeted me walking on to the beach. Do you see the face pushing up out of the cliff?
On the way back out the slightly scary road I spotted a Harrier swoop across the road and land on a fence post. These birds are very difficult to photograph as they take flight wheneve they see a person. I had read that if you stay in the car you have a better shot of getting close enough for a shot.
Hands trembling as I put the 70-200 F4 IS L lens on, and put the car into first gear and oooooooooozed it forward until the bird started to notice. Turned the car off and got off as many shots as I could (about 4) before it flew off
Absolutely STOKED at getting this shot, its not perfect, its slightly out of focus because was handheld and trembling because I was SO EXCITED 🙂 Anytime I see this image I will always remember how I felt, where it was taken and will always be special to me for those reasons 🙂
And finally I conclude this series of posts about my adventures in The Catlins with this image. On the day I arrived, having driven for hours and hours, now in a forest with no real idea of how much further there was to go, I turned a corner and was greeted with this view
Tired and grumpy and low on bloodsugar, I was beginning to question if I had made a horrible mistake driving all this way and right at that point, I saw Tautuku Bay. Got out of the car and had some of the tiredness blasted away by a brisk southerly breeze I took some photos and headed out, delighted to find my campground 5 min further down the road.
Leaving The Catlins where I had spent 5 days roaming the coastline and the forests, being delighted at every turn with the amazing scenery and gorgeous vistas and utterly astonishing weather I was sad, but I was pleased that this was both my first and last memory of my visit.
And the water really is that wonderful colour!
If you have the chance and the time to do some exploring I highly recommend the trip.