Friday, 22 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. 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.





Chaffers Marina, City, Landscape, Max Patte, Middle Earth, New Zealand, NZ, NZ Must Do, Photographer, Photography, Pure New Zealand, Real Middle Earth, Solace of the Wind, Sunrise, Sunset, Te Papa, Wellington
Wellington City Skyline at Twilight

Chaffers Marina, City, Landscape, Max Patte, Middle Earth, New Zealand, NZ, NZ Must Do, Photographer, Photography, Pure New Zealand, Real Middle Earth, Solace of the Wind, Sunrise, Sunset, Te Papa, Wellington
Wellington City Skyline at Night 

Chaffers Marina, City, Landscape, Max Patte, Middle Earth, New Zealand, NZ, NZ Must Do, Photographer, Photography, Pure New Zealand, Real Middle Earth, Solace of the Wind, Sunrise, Sunset, Te Papa, Wellington
Sunrise at Wellington Marina

City, Lagoon, Landscape, Middle Earth, New Zealand, NZ, NZ Must Do, Photographer, Photography, Pure New Zealand, Real Middle Earth, Sunrise, Sunset, Te Papa, The Boatshed, Wellington, Whairepo Lagoon, Wharewaka
Still Morning at the Lagoon, Wellington



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!

Lake Hayes, New Zealand, NZ, Queenstown, Sunset, Winter Festival
Lake Hayes Sunset

Lake Hayes, New Zealand, NZ, Queenstown, Sunset, Winter Festival
Sunset at Lake Hayes, Queenstown


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!


Landscape, Middle Earth, Mt Taranaki, New Plymouth, New Zealand, NZ, NZ Must Do, Photographer, Photography, Pouakai Hut, Pouakai Ranges, Pouakai Tarn, Pure New Zealand, Real Middle Earth, Sunrise, Sunset, Taranaki
Mt Taranaki Reflects in Pouakai Tarn

Stars over Mt Taranaki reflect in a still Pouakai Tarn after sunset.
Starry Night at Pouakai Tarn

Mt Taranaki, New Plymouth, New Zealand, NZ, Pouakai Hut, Sunset, Taranaki
Milky Way over Mt Taranaki


NUMBER 7 - 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, Lake Rotoiti Jetty, Nelson, Nelson Lakes, New Zealand, NZ, Sunrise
Morning Serenity at Lake Rotoiti

Lake Rotoiti, Lake Rotoiti Jetty, Nelson, Nelson Lakes, New Zealand, NZ, Sunrise
Lake Rotoiti Jetty Sunrise

Lake Rotoiti, Lake Rotoiti Jetty, Nelson, Nelson Lakes, New Zealand, NZ, Sunrise
A perfectly calm day at Lake Rotoiti



NUMBER 6 - 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!


Moke Lake Sunrise Reflections


A calm evening at Moke Lake

Wispy Clouds over Moke Lake

Moke Lake Aurora


NUMBER 5 - 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.


Autumn, Golden, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, Otago, Wanaka
Beautiful Golden Autumn Colours at Lake Wanaka

Autumn, Golden Hour, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, Otago, Sunrise, Wanaka
Serenity at Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, Otago, Sunrise, That Wanaka Tree
Beautiful Pink Clouds at That Wanaka Tree

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand, NZ, Otago, Sunrise, That Wanaka Tree
That Beautiful Wanaka Tree


NUMBER 4 - MILFORD SOUND
Milford Sound is very tidal, but if you strike it lucky with a full high tide, the reflections close to shore can be almost perfect. Even when it's not completely still, the reflections just add something very special to a really epic location. At low tide, you can wander out toward the ocean and find small pools of water that, angled just right, will give a beautiful Mitre Peak reflection. Another spot that the sandflies will eat you alive though!
Summertime at Milford Sound

Milford Sound Sand Patterns

Sunset at Milford Sound


Snow on Mitre Peak, Milford Sound



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, Mist, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, Sunrise, West Coast
Lake Matheson Sunrise

Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, New Zealand, NZ, Reflection Island, Sunrise, West Coast
Morning Light at Lake Matheson

Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, West Coast
Lake Matheson Reflections


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 Reflections at Sunset

Alpine Tarn, Mt Cook

Aoraki, Hooker Valley, Mt Cook, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, Sunrise
Sun Hits the Mountains in Hooker Valley

Aoraki, Mt Cook, New Zealand, NZ, Sealy Tarns, Sunset
Sunset at Sealy Tarns, Mt Cook


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, MacKenzie Country, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, Twizel, Winter
Pink Sunrise in Twizel

Lake Ruataniwha, MacKenzie Country, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, Twizel, Winter
Winter at Lake Ruataniwha

Lake Ruataniwha, MacKenzie Country, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, Twizel, Winter
Autumn Reflections at Loch Cameron

Snow in Twizel during Autumn

Reflection buster! Lake Ruataniwha

Lake Ruataniwha, MacKenzie Country, New Zealand, NZ, Reflections, Twizel, Winter
Lake Poaka, Twizel at Sunrise


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

Cheers, 
Laurie