Embracing the Ethereal Beauty of Winter: A Journey through Fog, Hoar Frost, and Sunlit Wonders

Hoar frost on two willow trees. Near Omakau, Central Otago, NZ


As winter spreads its icy fingers across the landscape, it unveils a realm of ethereal beauty that awaits the keen eye of a photographer. Capturing the essence of this magical season can be a captivating endeavor, especially when exploring the juxtaposition of fog, hoar frost, and the radiant sun in semi-urban, rural and recreational settings. In this blog post, we embark on a visual journey through the lens of a camera, discovering the unique concepts and techniques that elevate winter photography to an art form.

Hoar frost at Stewart Town, Central Otago, NZ

Embracing the Mystical Fog:

In a semi-urban setting, when the winter fog envelops the surroundings, photography takes on an almost mystical quality. The limited visibility adds an element of intrigue and mystery to familiar landscapes. Compose your shots with leading lines to draw the viewer’s gaze deeper into the foggy abyss, guiding them through the hidden beauty that lurks within. Experiment with monochromatic tones to emphasize the stark contrasts and evoke a hauntingly beautiful mood in your photographs.

Hoar frost and tall night sport lights at sports fields Wanaka

To make the most of this atmospheric phenomenon, consider using a shallow depth of field to create a sense of depth and focus on the immediate subjects that emerge from the mist.

Close up photo of hoar frost on the top of a waratah, Central Otago, NZ.
Close up photo of hoar frost on a leaf sitting on grass

Macro photography can unlock a world of intricate details as the frost crystals form mesmerising patterns on leaves, branches, and other surfaces.

Capturing Hoar Frost’s Delicate Touch:

On frosty mornings, nature gifts us with an exquisite display of hoar frost delicately cloaking every surface. To capture this wondrous phenomenon, venture out early when the frost is at its peak, glistening under the soft light of dawn. Use a tripod to ensure sharpness and stability, and seek out contrasting backgrounds that allow the frost to stand out with stunning clarity. Play with exposure settings to achieve the right balance between the frost’s sparkle and the ambient light, giving your images an enchanting and dreamlike quality.

Hoar frost crystals on a fence with a horse framed by the fence, Central Otago, NZ

Dancing with the Winter Sun:

When the winter sun finally breaks through the shroud of fog, it bathes the world in a warm and golden glow, transforming the landscape into a breathtaking spectacle. The key to capturing this magic lies in understanding how light interacts with the environment during winter. Embrace the golden hour and blue hour, the times just before sunrise and after sunset, to infuse your images with a soft and enchanting light. Leverage long shadows and silhouettes to create dramatic and evocative compositions.

Hoar frost with sun appearing, Cardrona Valley near Wanaka.

Suggested Gear List:

  1. Insulated Jacket and Layers: Invest in a high-quality insulated jacket designed for cold weather. Dress in layers, so you can easily adjust your clothing based on the temperature fluctuations throughout the day.

  2. Warm Hat and Gloves: A good beanie or hat that covers your ears is essential to retain body heat. Additionally, thermal gloves or mittens will keep your hands warm and dexterous while shooting.

  3. Thermal Underwear and Socks: Keep your body and feet warm with thermal underwear and thick, moisture-wicking socks to avoid discomfort from the cold.

  4. Waterproof and Windproof Outerwear: A durable and waterproof outer shell will protect you from snow, rain, and wind. Look for breathable materials to prevent sweat buildup.

  5. Sturdy Winter Boots: Invest in waterproof and insulated boots with good traction to navigate slippery terrain and keep your feet dry and warm.

  6. Hand Warmers: Disposable hand warmers can be a lifesaver in extremely cold conditions. Keep some in your pockets or camera bag for quick warmth.

  7. Dry Bags: Use dry bags or waterproof camera bags to protect your camera gear from snow, rain, and moisture.

  8. Lens Cloth and Cleaning Kit: Cold weather can cause condensation on your lenses, so carry a lens cloth and a cleaning kit to ensure clear and crisp shots.

  9. Tripod Leg Warmers: In extremely cold temperatures, tripod legs can become uncomfortably cold to handle. Tripod leg warmers or foam covers can mitigate this issue.

  10. Extra Batteries: Batteries drain faster in the cold, so carry extra fully charged batteries for your camera and any other battery-powered equipment.

  11. Plastic Bags: Keep a few resealable plastic bags in your gear kit. They can be used to protect your camera in case of sudden snow or rain.

  12. Headlamp or Flashlight: Winter days are shorter, and you might find yourself shooting in low light conditions. A headlamp or flashlight will help you navigate safely.

  13. Snacks and Water: Carry some energy-boosting snacks and a water bottle to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up during your winter adventures.

  14. Navigation Tools: In remote areas, where GPS might not be reliable, bring a map and compass to navigate effectively.

  15. First Aid Kit: Always carry a basic first aid kit in case of any injuries or emergencies.
  16. Don’t forget to ensure your vehicle is fit for the purpose of winter driving. And be familiar with driving to the conditions.
  17. Tell someone where you will be going and when you expect to return (and don’t forget to advise them you have!). Even better carry a personal locator beacon.

Remember, winter photography can be physically demanding, so taking care of your well-being is crucial. Proper preparation and the right gear will help you focus on capturing stunning winter images without compromising your safety and comfort.


Winter photography in any setting, shrouded in fog and adorned with hoar frost, offers a treasure trove of opportunities for photographers seeking to capture the enchantment of the season. Through careful composition, a mastery of light, and a keen eye for detail, you can elevate your photographs from mere images to captivating works of art that evoke the winter’s mystical charm. So, grab your camera, embrace the elements, and embark on a photo quest to immortalise the fleeting beauty of winter’s embrace.

Hoar frost on willows at the Ophir historic bridge that crosses the Manuherikia River, Central Otago, NZ

Coastal Otago Wildlife

Shag Point landscape, looking south. Coastal Otago, New Zealand

Dunedin city on the east coast of Otago, regards itself as the wildlife capital of New Zealand.

It makes this claim with a high degree of truth! Looked at alone it is impressive. Yet it is is only part of a much larger (coastal) picture. photo: Shag Point looking south

The natural beauty is overlaid with a fascinating cultural history.

Main entry stairs, First Church, Moray Place, Dunedin
Dunedin Town Hall at night
Dunedin Gardens, autumn colours

There are many historical buildings apart from the above eclectic selection! images: Main entry stairs, First Church, Moray Place, Dunedin. Dunedin Gardens, autumn colours. Lastly Dunedin Town Hall at night

Larnach Castle, Olveston House, and the Dunedin Railway Station are favourite tourist attractions. The latter being one of New Zealand’s most photographed buildings.

Otago University historic building. By the Geology Faculty.

NZ’s oldest university (1869) is but another institution hosting many classic buildings. This one by the Geology Faculty.

It all started in the 1830s with a whaling station in the Otago Harbour. By 1848 a Scottish population became dominant. Dunedin being the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh.

NZ pied shag flying at speed

World-class wildlife encounters are possible north and south of the city. Pied shag at speed.

Young fur seal
Seal family
Pied Shag
Basking sea lions

The Dart River and Kinloch, and some important photography advice

Dawn at Kinloch, at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

An authentic kiwi work day:

Sheep crossing the Greenstone River, New Zealand by swing bridge.

Sheep cross the Greenstone River, located a few kilometers down the (gravel) road from Kinloch, beside the lake.

The bridge serves as an access point to the popular Greenstone Caples round-trip tramping track, offering a moderate and relaxing 3-4 day hike.

Capturing the above image while crossing required two things from us:

(It was mind boggling watching about 2000 of them cross a bridge in an orderly manner. A tribute to the stock men and woman that pulled it off with total respect for the animal’s welfare).

  1. positioning ourselves after receiving prior warning of the upcoming crossing from the farmer above.
  2. being very considerate of their work with about 2000 sheep. Being mindful was crucial to avoid causing chaos or panicking the stock to their deaths.

As good Kiwi blokes, when we asked if we could hang around and take a photo, the farmer kindly offered us the best advice on where to be. We understood the importance of being considerate (and carrying venison home signaled they were of similar ilk, as it’s a cherished tradition in New Zealand).

Witness the beauty of dawn at Kinloch, located at the head of Lake Wakatipu.

Lake Wakatipu, an inland lake in the South Island of New Zealand, is perhaps better known by the name Queenstown, situated on its eastern shore. Kinloch is positioned at the head of the lake to the west, right beside the primary tributary, the Dart River. Access to Kinloch can be obtained by road through the township of Glenorchy.

Kinloch Lodge and camping area in the foreground
Kinloch Lodge with the public DOC camping area in the foreground

The Clutha River Area (inc. Wanaka), Otago, New Zealand

Clutha River near Wanaka. And California Poppies

Upper Clutha River near Albert Town Wanaka. California Poppies in December are a delight!

The Upper Clutha Basin, and the Clutha River.

The Cardrona, Hawea, Makarora and Matukituki rivers all feed into the Clutha Mata-Au (formerly Molyneaux). The longest river in the South Island of New Zealand. Wanaka airport is to the left, and Wanaka township, out of sight to the right.

Hawea Flat, New Zealand aerial photo.

Tangential winter lighting reveals the ancient fluvial processes associated with rivers and streams. And now overlaid by relentless Europeanisation in the name of agriculture.

Paddling the Cromwell Gorge, Clutha River, New Zealand

Paddling the Cromwell Gorge, Clutha River, New Zealand. Circa 1985.

This wild river was no more when Lake Dunstan was formed, beginning in April 1992. It is a man-made lake and reservoir and was formed on the Clutha River as a result of the construction of the Clyde Dam.

Morning and evening views of Lake Wanaka

Roys Bay, Wanaka. Sunset
An early morning springtime view of Lake Wanaka

A springtime morning view of Lake Wanaka.

The Buchanan Mountains from Roys Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.

A similar view in black and white.

Black Peak in the center is often mistaken for Mt Aspiring.

Pastel sunset glow on Lake Wanaka.

Lake Wanaka’s Roys Bay in the evening. With Black Peak in the distance.

Lake Wanaka from Beacon Point.

Beacon Point is simply a very large and shallow area on Lake Wanaka’s shore. There is a permanent red light hundreds of meters from the point to warn boaties.

Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka.

Glendhu Bay is a short drive west from Wānaka, Otago, New Zealand. It is on the road to Treble Cone ski field and Mount Aspiring National Park. The bay has a motor camp that is popular with New Zealand locals over the New Year holiday period. Patronage numbers in the many thousands.

Buchanan Mountain Range, from Wanaka

Braided River Bird Monitoring

banded dotteral

Braided rivers are a common in Alaska, Canada, New Zealand’s South Island, and the Himalayas, which all contain young, rapidly eroding mountains. They are a unique environment inhabited by equally unique birds.

They simply cannot contain a river in a straight line. In floods especially they carry sediment, and in places where the flow slows down this settles on the bottom, thus raising it. And the water flows off to the side of least resistance. This will happen constantly during floods.

The technique for gathering bird numbers on these sort of rivers is quite simple: a team of four people spread out, in radio contact with each other, walk downstream counting every bird they see in front of them. On the ground or airborne.

And at that point the simplicity vanishes! Very finely tuned river crossing skills are needed, as well as “an eye” for the line that will give the best results. Plus physical stamina.

The tools of the trade are: a radio each, walking pole to aid crossings, binoculars, sun-cream, sun hat, good boots and gaiters [to stop gravels getting in the socks], GPS each, and a pen/paper/clipboard. Plus lunch, warm clothing, a camera etc. Warm dry socks also help at the end of the day.

A view upstream of the Hunter River that feeds Lake Hawea in Otago, New Zealand
Preparation. In this case to get into the very remote Hunter Valley. In the Wanaka area two other rivers, the Matukituki and Makarora are also done, and they don’t require a helicopter drop in. There is 25 years now of history – each river being monitored every third year.

The three year cycle is sometimes hard to maintain. The work has to be done in the spring when the birds are breeding, and this is when there is a high frequency of floods, with high levels due to snow melt.
After a short but steep climb in the helicopter from Makarora town-ship, on popping over the ridge the large and rugged Mckerrow Range come into full panoramic view [actually named after a close friend’s grandfather who did lots of surveying and exploring.
Dropping the over-night gear off by a hut, before flying further up the valley to begin the survey.
On the left [note the silt in the grass!] where we only go to avoid a complex river crossing; and where we do – the gravel on the right.
One species of many that we’re looking for. The ‎nationally vulnerable banded dotterel / tūturiwhatu, is the most common small plover of New Zealand seashores, estuaries and riverbeds.

This one is feigning a broken wing to lead the surveyor/photographer away from a nest.

After breeding, they either remain at the nesting area or move relatively short distances to nearby estuaries.
Typical nesting surface, and one of the team striding it out. Being very careful to not stand on eggs!
On the wing. A black fronted tern. Not in the Hunter though, but the Tasman River near Mt Cook. The blue colouring of the very cold water is caused by rock ground up by glaciers.

There are about six species that are primarily dependent on the braided river habitat: wrybill, banded dotterel, south island pied oyster-catcher, black-fronted tern, black-billed gull, black stilt) as well as the caspian tern and the pied stilt. The villain of the piece though is the black-back gull, as they predate on the eggs of the others.

Teaming up – linking arms for mutual support. Lots of concentration is required so it’s harder to observe what maybe in the air ahead. However the most experienced person leading the crossing, which is nearly done, has in this instance time to look. River crossing is best done by not looking down, which upsets balance, and with great care – there is no Plan B if people get swept away.
When not to cross at all – just too big and not braided into smaller channels.
The job is going well!
What we don’t want to see, but if we do, weeds are recorded as Way Points on a GPS, so that DOC staff can return later to deal to them. The most often encountered on the above mentioned rivers is this area, is often broom.

We don’t encounter many lupins in the above mentioned rivers. This photo is in the nearby Ahuriri. Lupins, which the birds don’t like, offer cover to predators. Foolishly seeds were spread many decades ago by well meaning people wanting to add some colour to the grey landscape. And the seeds can remain for years until uncovered by a flood as they’re coated with a protective oil.
A sad aspect of some surveys is that we know that after a bank-to-bank spring flood hundreds of these young birds are washed away. These are a few surviving gulls after such an event in the Matukituki a few years back.
Knock off time – a classic old-time hut.
Every hut has one
Evening and time for sleep. Tomorrow morning the survey will resume tidying up the riverbed to the right.
Job over and pickup
The long and sometimes bumpy drive home beside Lake Hawea

Obviously the results of such monitoring give a good guide as to the health of the environments concerned.

However the data as regards where breeding colonies are located, can be used for the most efficient locations for a new trapping lines. There is an attrition of traps though – during floods despite them being anchored by a chain to a long steel stake hammered in, they get washed away. Often the best compromise often considered, is for them to be near a bank that exhibits a history of stability, and place them with a shorter distance apart than the 200 mt standard in the bush, so as to create a fence of sorts.

Mt Aspiring National Park

Waterfall, Mount Aspiring National Park, Rob Roy Glacier
Rob Roy Glacier walk, and waterfall

Waterfall and Beech Forest on the Rob Roy Glacier Walk New Zealand. B&W

The walk starts at the Raspberry Creek car park, 54 km west of Wanaka. After about 15 minutes it enters Mount Aspiring National Park. It is an easy 3-4 hours.

Fiordland New Zealand

Waterfall, Fiordland National Park New Zealand

Waterfall, Fiordland National Park New Zealand.

Note the tannin coloured water typical of the area. 7 metres of rain annually With over an average of appox. 200 rain-days/year.

Sunset Milford Sound New Zealand.

Sunset side lighting on storm clouds in Long Sound in Preservation Inlet, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Fiordland. Sunset outlined clouds in Long Sound

Sunset side lighting on storm clouds in Long Sound in Preservation Inlet, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Lake Orbell, Fiordland NAtional Park, New Zealand
Lake Orbell, Fiordland National Park. A panorama 6727 px wide.

Situated in the Murchison Mountains. Home of the takahe.


Moke Lake, Queenstown

Moke Lake, Queenstown, New Zealand
Moke Lake, Queenstown, New Zealand

Dawn. Moke Lake is a small lake just a 15 minute drive from Queenstown, in the South Island of New Zealand.

There is a Dept. of Conservation camping area on the northern shores. And the short Moke Lake Loop Track is popular with walkers and cyclists.

The Southern Coast of New Zealand

Gemstone Beach, Southland, New Zealand

Gemstone Beach Southland New Zealand.

Gemstone Beach is part of Te Waewae Bay, and near Tuatapere and Orepuki

Semi-precious stones such as garnet, jasper, quartz and nephrite can often be found on the beach. Subject to change of the surface. Sand to stones and back again occurs with the storms and tides of this very wild coast line. The very best of the Southern Coastline!

Wind swept trees on farmland, near Tuatapere, Southland, New Zealand

Tuatapere is on the edge of Fiordland National Park’s wilderness. There is spectacular unspoilt scenery merging with lush rolling farmland. It is an ideal base for many wilderness activities such as tramping, fishing, whitebaiting, hunting and jet boating.

The Waiau River flows through the town before reaching Te Waewae Bay, where Hector’s dolphins and whales are often seen. There is a rich sawmilling history and the area is home to a logging museum, along with many other quaint reminders of the town’s pioneering history. 

Cosy Nook Beach Southland New Zealand.

Cosy Nook is on the coastal road between Invercargill and Tuatapere, close to Colac Bay, Gemstone Beach and Monkey Island. And part of part of Te Waewae Bay

It is a picturesque rocky cove sheltering several fishing boats and holiday cribs and baches. It is an important cultural and historical Maori settlement site.

Pahi, as it was originally named after Ngai Tahu Chief Pahi, boasted one of the oldest and largest Maori villages in coastal Murihiku in the 1820s. Captain George Thomson, Harbourmaster of Bluff, named his property Cozy Neuk, after his homeland Scottish village. He was the first European settler.

Native Birds of New Zealand


Takahē or notornis – a bird of the rail family, indigenous to New Zealand.

Thought to be extinct, due to hunting by Māori. It was not named or described by Europeans until 1847, and then only from fossil bones.

Lake Orbell, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

It was then rediscovered by Dr G. Orbell in 1948. In the Murchison Mountains, Fiordland National Park.

Managed since then the only remaining population in the world has grown.

There have been ups and downs. Currently the population by the lake number more than 200. Translocation has also been happening to other safe areas in New Zealand. It is still at risk, but on a steady path to larger numbers.

Wanaka, Hawea and Upper Clutha Trees

that wanaka tree

Cabbage trees/tī kōuka and Harakeke/flax

New Zealand landscape. They will often reach a height of 12-20 metres. Very popular in Britain, Europe, and the U.S. In the former they’re known as Torquay palm.

The flowers are very scented in early summer, and turn into bluish-white berries that birds love to eat. It is very fire-resistant. Māori used cabbage trees as a food, fibre and medicine. The leaves were woven into baskets, sandals, rope, rain capes and other items and were also made into tea to cure diarrhoea and dysentery. Lastly they were also planted to mark trails, boundaries, urupā (cemeteries) and births, since they are generally long-lived.

There are two identified species of flax in New Zealand – common flax (harakeke) and mountain flax (wharariki). (Harakeke is really a lily).They are unique to New Zealand and is one of our most ancient plant species. It grows up to 3 metres and its flower stalks can reach up to 4 metres. Tui, bellbirds/ korimako, saddlebacks/tīeke, short tailed bats/pekapeka, geckos and several types of insects enjoy nectar from the flax flower.

Flax was a valuable resource to Europeans during the 19th century because of its strength. It was New Zealand’s biggest export by far until wool and frozen mutton took over. Today, it is used in soaps, hand creams, shampoos and a range of other cosmetics. Flaxseed oil can also be found for sale.

Flax was the most important fibre plant to Māori in New Zealand. Each pā or marae typically had a ‘pā harakeke’, or flax plantation. Different varieties were specially grown for their strength, softness, colour and fibre content.

The uses of the flax fibre were numerous and varied. Weaving is now very common. Clothing, mats, plates, baskets, ropes, bird snares, lashings, fishing lines and nets were all made from flax leaves. Floats or rafts were made out of bundles of dried flower stalks. The abundant nectar from flax flowers was used to sweeten food and beverages. Flax also had many medicinal uses.

The outer layer represented the grandparents, whereas the inner layer of new shoots – the child – remained and were to be protected by the next inner layer of leaves, the parents.

Infrared of poplar trees

Poplars were first grown in New Zealand in the 1830s. Although ornamental in Central Otago they were primarily planted upwind in rather mundane straight lines to provide shelter for stock and houses. Especially from wind, but also to provide shelter from the intense summer sun .

This is probably the Lombardy poplar, given its column-like form. And was also often planted to mark boundaries and river fords as they could be seen from a distance. This planting is very grouped thus supplying quite a magical feel, in the gathering dusk of a summer evening.

That Wanaka Tree!

A willow that was once a fence post. Now a “must see/photograph” for every tourist that comes to New Zealand.

A year of photography – 2019

Autumn at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka, New Zealand

There were various reasons for lots of local NZ travel in 2019, and fortunately I had the time often to not rush trips across the likes of Central Otago, e.g. Wanaka to Dunedin and return.

The images below are very roughly in chronological order, but being lots of them I’ve uploaded with speed in mind – life in 2020 is nice and full, and sitting at a keyboard is best kept to a minimum. Enjoy!

Silver Peaks, Dunedin
Silver Peaks range behind Dunedin on a day tramp in the damp, which helps engender a sense of mystery
Sheep on a Southland Road
On various days I’d help an old friend Wayne survey road upgrades in Southland, and so I got to see lots more of rural NZ than I knew existed, as usually the surfaces that needed to be marked out for upgrades were on anything but main roads.

These were long days with lots of water needed to keep hydrated.
Cook Strait looking back at the South Island
An evening on Cook Strait heading to Wellington on a roadie with an old and dear friend. This is looking back at the South Island
Rowing on Wellington harbour
Wellington harbour
A relocated railway station in Central Otago now serving as a musterer's farming hut
A relocated railway station in Central Otago now serving as a musterer’s farming hut. Bordering the Oteake Conservation Area
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden, in Dunedin. The garden commemorates the contribution of Chinese people to the history and culture of the city.

I met my cousin and husband down there so it was a delightful family outing looking at some strong history, with them both and my son
On the Rock and Pillar Range looking west
A side trip and camp out in my Land Cruiser camper, to altitude on the Rock and Pillar Range – the last of the block mountains between the Cardrona Valley, Wanaka and Dunedin. A very windy area.
Camping on the Rock and Pillar Range
Luxury with a cold beer out of the vehicle fridge, on the Rock and Pillar Range watching the sunset.

It got very windy in the wee hours though, and despite turning the truck around so it faced into the wind, to get a good sleep I drove a few km and parked up in a gully out of it, and woke to heavy rain.
And when needing a bathroom
old gold diggings on the Hawkdun Range, Oteake Conservation Area
Another evening camp out – this time at old gold diggings on the Hawkdun Range, Oteake Conservation Area.

I’d climbed up to here in very cold winds to get some photos, and then descended in the dark back to my welcome little mountain hut on wheels, aka Cafe Toyota.

Mt Aspiring in the background
Lower Rock and Pillar Range
Lower Rock and Pillar Range – Butterfly country once experienced and now imagined
awning on Land Cruiser. camper
My new awning on the camper – should have made one years ago for the simple reason that in rain the end of the bed would get wet.

Note no poles and my 100 year old industrial sewing machine got an airing
Sunset from the Hawkduns
Sunset from the Hawkduns.

Just myself, my three legged tripod and some nearby cattle to enjoy a perfect evening while on my way to Dunedin
The now empty Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin
The now empty Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin.

Site of a new hospital coming up.
Classic car in Wanaka
During the year I finished off a new tire related web site in Wanaka, and so was delighted one day to spot this beauty outside the new building
Frog at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka
Best image from a sunset photoshoot at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka
University of Otago clock tower
University of Otago where my son has studied for several years. A truly beautiful campus
Christchurch cathedral statue
I had to visit Christchurch a few times during the year and since I’d never seen the city post earthquake I predictably ended up visiting the Cathedral ruins in the Square
Christchurch public toilets near the Square at night
Christchurch public toilets near the Square at night
Christchurch Art Gallery
Christchurch Public Art Gallery
Historic gold reserve cottage at Macraes Otago
Historic gold reserve at Macraes Otago
Luna Light Festival fairies - midwinter, Queenstown
Luna Light Festival fairies – midwinter, Queenstown
The smog of winter in the Manuherikia River Valley, Central Otago
The smog of winter in the Manuherikia River Valley, Central Otago
Mt Tutoko, Fiordland National Park
Mt Tutoko, Fiordland National Park – photo from the jet service into Queenstown from CHC
Wintery tarn and Hawkdun Mountains, Oteake Conservation Park
Wintery tarn and Hawkdun Mountains, Oteake Conservation Park, on the edge of the Maniototo
World Loppet Merino Muster race 2019
The front runners at the annual World Loppet Merino Muster race, the Snow Farm, Cardrona Valley, Wanaka.

These world class athletes on cross country skis are well into their 42 km race, and typically average speeds of up to 22kph over that distance
native kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary near Dunedin
During the year I was appointed onto the Otago Conservation Board where we represent the public and advise the Dept of Conservation on select matters and strategic decision making.

As such I get to do field trips, and here is a native kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary near Dunedin.
Young lovers in the sunset, near the mouth of the Catlins River, Coastal Otago
My son and girlfriend near the mouth of the Catlins River, Coastal Otago.

I had a large print done for him of this image as a Christmas present, and it was well received.
Nevis Valley gold dredge pond tree
Yet another visit to a certain tree in the Nevis Valley – it’s my photo nemesis I think: satisfaction eludes me capturing the cold emotion of this old historic gold dredging pond, but I’m getting closer.

This visit represented the coldest I’d been in 2019.
Nevis Valley gold miners cottage
Nevis Valley gold miners cottage
Lake Hawea from a day trip up Isthmus Peak
Lake Hawea from a day trip up Isthmus Peak
Otago Conservation Board field trip Matukituki Valley 2019
Otago Conservation Board field trip Matukituki Valley – me on the right
Proposed conservation land on Glenaray Station
Proposed conservation land on Glenaray Station Otago/Southland. An inspection visit by helicopter pre submission.

One huge area – one hour flying only covered a fifth of the farm.
Lake Wanaka flood Dec 2019.
Lake Wanaka flood Dec 2019.

Last event 1999, and thankfully this one stopped short of the shops, just!
Glendhu Bay autumn ripples
My favourite capture for the year – there I was all set up at Glendhu Bay for a more sedate shot and a jet ski came by causing some ripples I did not think I’d benefit from, however they made for something much better.
Dunedin Gardens rose
Wishing you all the very best for you and yours for 2020 – may you always have time to smell the roses

The Dunedin Botanic Garden

Magnolia in the upper Dunedin Botanic Gardens

I often go to Dunedin for many varied reasons, and one of the delights of every trip is a visit or two to the oldest botanical garden in New Zealand, which was established in 1863.

There are two parts of the Dunedin Botanic Garden, linked indiscernibly, known as the upper gardens and the lower gardens which merge nicely with the University of Otago campus.  View Google Map

The initial garden was established on a site now occupied by the University but due to extensive flooding in 1868, the gardens were moved to their current site in 1869.

White rhododendron at the Dunedin Botanic Garden
A rhododendron typical of the more naturalistic upper garden, where there is an arboretum, rhododendron dell, native plant and geographic collections.
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
There are over 6,800 plant species
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
It covers 28 hectares of hillside and flat land to the north of the city
Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Dunedin Botanic Garden
The Garden is a preferred location for serious botanical studies as it is home to a significant number of plant collections
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
In July 2010, the Dunedin Botanic Garden was awarded a rank of “Garden of International Significance” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust thus becoming one of only five gardens nationwide to be bestowed with this honour.
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Garden worker at Dunedin Botanic Garden
The resources dedicated to the Gardens are significant, yet unlike many similar gardens in large cities overseas such as in Vancouver, entry to the Dunedin Botanic Gardens is free
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden, the roof of the Winter Garden Glasshouse
The roof of the Winter Garden Glasshouse – open 10am to 4pm, with nearby alpine house and toilets 9am to 4pm, and the cafe 9.30am to 4.30pm
Students studying in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Each University year Dunedin city hosts 40,000 plus students and with the Gardens in close proximity scenes like this are common place. In short they offer an immense and peaceful place for relaxation and study, while also providing pathways to North Dunedin where there are lots of student accomodation flats
Dunedin Botanic Garden - Peter Pan statue
Peter Pan and is that Wendy whispering in his ear?
Dunedin Botanic Garden decorative hedges
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden
Dunedin Botanic Garden -Japanese shelter
A feature of the flat lower Garden
Fantails ofter frequent the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Fantails often frequent the Dunedin Botanic Gardens
South African section of the upper  Dunedin Botanic Gardens
South African section of the upper Gardens
The formal rose garden and camellia collection in the lower Dunedin Botanic Gardens
The formal rose garden and camellia collection in the lower Gardens
Magnolia in the upper Dunedin Botanic Gardens
Magnolia in the upper Gardens

The story of an astute kereru (NZ wood pigeon) and a myopic photographer

NZ Fantail - piwakawaka on a branch in Dunedin Botanical Gardens

Last week I came across the above fantail /piwakawaka and as my camera was in my hand, I started stalking him/her with my lens, knowing full-well, like we all do, that these sweeties move about almost too fast for us limited humans.

But I got a good enough shot, and then I had the oddest feeling I was not alone and was being watched, so I took half a breath and realised the kereru was less than a meter from my nose. 

The rest was history as they say, but look at the expression. It’s said these beautiful birds are dumb, but that was not what I saw

Portrait of a kereru (NZ wood pigeon)

Eventually my kereru friend decided to turn away prior to departure, but could not resist looking back for sometime with an air of indecision, or maybe even reluctance…

Back view of a NZ kereru / wood pigeon at Dunedin Botanical Gardens

One of favourite piwakawaka photos taken in red beech forest in Mt Aspiring National Park

Piwakawaka / fantail in red beech forest in Mt Aspiring National Park

If you happen to be interested in purchasing an image please note which one and email Donald so he can process the various options, and advise you with a link when completed

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