Sunday, 17 September 2017

Reflections: My Top 10 List

Anyone who follows my photography, in particular my Instagram account, will know very well that mirror reflection photos of beautiful nature spots are at the top of my list of favourite photo opportunities. I seem to not be alone in loving reflections. Perhaps it’s something to do with the tendency for babies to show favour to  symmetrical faces from a very early age? There seems to be an instinctual human attraction to symmetry and evenness. With those things in mind, I thought I would share a list of places I love to catch some great reflections.

NUMBER 10 – WELLINGTON CITY
Wellington is my home town; a harbour city that also happens to be one of the windiest cities in the world. It’s not naturally thought of as a spot to capture reflections, so while the reflections there on a good day may not be the most mirror-like, there is something particularly satisfying about catching them when they occur. When the wind speeds are around the 2-4km in Wellington, I try my best to get out and capture some harbour reflections.

Sunrise, Wellington, NZ, New Zealand, Harbour
Wellington Sunrise
Wellington, Sunrise, New Zealand, NZ, Lagoon, Harbour
Wellington Lagoon at Sunrise
Wellington, New Zealand, NZ, Night, Skyline
Wellington City at Night


NUMBER 9 - LAKE HAYES, QUEENSTOWN
Lake Hayes has long been a thorn in my side! On one of my first ever holidays to Queenstown I saw some amazing reflections at Lake Hayes. However it’s been several long years of waiting to get another chance. Each year I have visited the lake but there has always been a bit of a ripple. Things paid off this year at the Olympus Queenstown Winter Festival, where we scored an epic sunset and a lake calm enough for reflections. I also happened to see amazing reflects this year at the end of our family holiday, but we were running late for our flight and couldn’t stop. Hoping I don’t have to wait too long to see them again!

Sunset, Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand, NZ
Lake Hayes Sunset
Sunset, Lake Hayes, Queenstown, New Zealand, NZ
Beautiful Queenstown Sunset


NUMBER 8 - POUAKAI TARN, TARANAKI
Back in February 2016, when I was taking my fledgling steps along my photography journey, I decided I would visit Pouakai Tarn to catch mountain reflections. My goal was to get a lovely photo to give as a wedding present to two friends who were getting married. We rocked up in the evening, and watched the wind die as the stars came out. I got some shots I was happy with, though I would love to try again now that I know a bit more about what I am doing. Later I found out how notoriously difficult it is to get a cloudless, still day or evening to catch such shots. Luck was on my side that day, but several trips back to Taranaki and I have not been able to see this beauty again. Hoping the weather plays ball soon!

Pouakai Tarn, Taranaki, New Plymouth, Mt Taranaki, Stars
Stars Over Pouakai Tarn
Pouakai Tarn, Taranaki, New Plymouth, Mt Taranaki, Stars
Pouakai Tarn


NUMBER 7 - TONGAPORUTU BEACH, TARANAKI
Tongaporutu is a beautiful black sand beach north of New Plymouth. It is only accessible at low tide, which means on a nice day the wet sand can be reflecting the famous, ever changing sea stacks that the area is famous for. Because the coastline is eroding so quickly, the reflection luck can change in a short period of time. My first visit to Tongaporutu had some lovely sand reflections, but copious amounts of rock debris on subsequent visits has meant I have relied on puddle hunting for reflection luck. My most recent visit showed a noticeable increase in sand, so I am looking forward to some epic sand reflections soon.

Tongaporutu, Taranaki, New Zealand, New Plymouth, NZ, Three Sisters
Tongaporutu Beach
Tongaporutu, Taranaki, New Zealand, New Plymouth, NZ, Three Sisters
Sunset at Tongaporutu Beach
Tongaporutu, Taranaki, New Zealand, New Plymouth, NZ, Three Sisters
Sunset at The Three Sisters


NUMBER 6 - LAKE ROTOITI, NELSON
Lake Rotoiti is a fairly large lake, but towering mountains all around it means you can get some stunning reflections on still mornings. Conveniently there are three jetties dotted at points of road access, which photographers always love. It’s high on my list to catch some star reflections at the lake soon. Beware the sand flies though, they will try to kill you.

Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes, St Arnaud, Reflections, New Zealand, NZ
Lake Rotoiti Reflections
Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes, St Arnaud, Reflections, New Zealand, NZ
Sunrise Lake Rotoiti


NUMBER 5 - MOKE LAKE, QUEENSTOWN
A half hour drive out of Queenstown will take you to a world of hidden beauty. The smaller Lake Kirkpatrick greets you on the drive toward the much larger Moke Lake, which for some reason seems to yield reflections more often. Quite often the mist hangs low over the lake which can make it even more stunning. Conveniently the campground at the lake edge faces South, so some aurora reflection action could just be the icing on the cake!

Sunset, Moke Lake, Queenstown, New Zealand, NZ
Sunset at Moke Lake
Sunset, Moke Lake, Queenstown, New Zealand, NZ
Afternoon Sunshine at Moke Lake
Aurora, Sunset, Moke Lake, Queenstown, New Zealand, NZ
Aurora over Moke Lake

NUMBER 4 - WANAKA
My family have holidayed for a few years in Wanaka, and I am sure it has the best sunrises and sunsets in the country! Winter in Wanaka often means crisp, perfectly still mornings and evenings, which means that even though the lake is huge, there are some stunning reflection opportunities. The Wanaka Tree is a favourite of mine, but there are also lovely opportunities on the lake front as well around at Brenmer Bay.

Sunrise, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, That Wanaka Tree
Sunrise at That Wanaka Tree
Sunrise, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, Sunset
Brenmer Bay Sunset
Sunrise, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, Autumn
Autumn in Wanaka
Sunrise, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, Autumn
Wanaka Sunrise Reflections


NUMBER 3 - LAKE MATHESON, WEST COAST
Possibly the most iconic reflection spot in New Zealand, and one that both kiwis and people overseas will almost instantly recognise. Lake Matheson is tiny, which means that it is often perfectly still, although the ducks always will do their best to mess things up. The lake reflects the mountains, so often your biggest problem is having a view unobstructed by clouds. The downside of Lake Matheson is that there is not much ability to vary your composition due to thick vegetation and flax growing right to the lake edge. Department of Conservation have built some great viewpoints and the track to these is easy. This makes Matheson exceptionally popular for tourists and photographers alike.


Lake Matheson, New Zealand, NZ, West Coast, Sunrise
Sunrise at Lake Matheson
Lake Matheson, New Zealand, NZ, West Coast, Sunrise
Admiring the View at Lake Matheson
Lake Matheson, New Zealand, NZ, West Coast, Sunset
Lake Matheson Sunset
Lake Matheson, New Zealand, NZ, West Coast, Sunrise
Perfect Reflections at Lake Matheson


NUMBER 2 - MIRROR LAKES AND TARNS AT MT COOK
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park has got countless reflection opportunities. Way too many for me to list here, and many I have yet to experience. Lots of these are easy to experience. Hooker Lake is one of NZ’s best day walks and on a still day the lake will reflect, but if not the small mountain tarn nearby is also a good option. Lake Tasman is often reflecting at morning and night and is a very easy short walk from the carpark. If you’re fit and don’t mind working hard for your reflection shots, Red Tarns and Sealy Tarns walks will reward you both with small, reflecting tarns, but also some of the best views over Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

Hooker Lake, Aoraki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, NZ, Sunset
Sunset at Hooker Lake
Aoraki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, NZ, Sunrise, Tasman Lake
Tasman Lake Sunrise
Aoraki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, NZ, Sunset
Mountain Tarn Reflections
Aoraki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, NZ, Sunset, Sealy Tarns
Sunset at Sealy Tarns


NUMBER 1 - TWIZEL: LAKE RUATANIWHA AND KELLANDS POND
My most favourite reflections spot so far would have to be in the Twizel area. Lots of amazing reflection opportunities close to the highway. Lake Ruataniwha and Kellands Pond are the easiest of several opportunities in Twizel (the Pukaki-Tekapo canals, Lake Merino and Loch Cameron also being pretty great). I have had lots of chances to photograph these beauties and the reflections on a still day are wonderful.

Lake Ruataniwha, Winter, Twizel, New Zealand, NZ
Lake Ruataniwha
Lake Ruataniwha, Winter, Twizel, New Zealand, NZ
Twizel Hoar Frost
Lake Ruataniwha, Winter, Twizel, New Zealand, NZ, Autumn
Autumn on Kellands Pond
Lake Ruataniwha, Winter, Twizel, New Zealand, NZ
Winter Colours at Lake Ruataniwha
Lake Ruataniwha, Winter, Twizel, New Zealand, NZ


Hope you enjoyed the list! Feel free to share your favourites or any places you think I might have missed!

Cheers, 
Laurie