NZPhotographer Issue 18, April 2019

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F2.8, 20s, ISO10000

Punakaiki 2.0

by Brendon Gilchrist

In Issue 4, I touched on the small west coast town of

Punakaiki, or what I called Jurassic Park. Well, I’ve been

back! It is rare for me to be on the West Coast aka the

Wet Coast but thankfully, I got lucky with the weather

with only a little bit of rain.

Punakaiki is surrounded by limestone landscapes of

many different forms including the mysterious and

popular pancakes rocks, so perfectly stacked upon

each other that no one knows how/why they formed

exactly like that. These pancake rocks and the blowholes

are the main attraction of Punakaiki and amazingly are

still free to walk around and enjoy.

By day this place is always busy, usually busier at high tide

just in case the swells are coming from the right direction

to create an updraft of water and air for the blowholes

to activate. But at night there are very few people

around, maybe 1 or 2.

I decided to visit the platform that overlooks the

pancake rocks one night to capture the milky way over

the mountains. It was a good night to continue playing

with my new Nikkor 14–24 2.8g. I have been missing out

on that extra 14mm of focal length for a long time now

and am happy to be able to shoot ultra wide angled

shots.

On the one rainy morning I got when I visited, I walked

beside the river on the beautiful and well maintained

Pororari River Track with the towering limestone cliffs

that rise up to 100 metres above the water. I don’t know

about you but I find walking in the rain so refreshing, the

smell of fresh rainwater pattering on the tree leaves,

slowly dripping down to the forest floor, it’s refreshing to

be in that moment when nothing else matters but that

sense of being in nature and enjoying what you are

about to do – Capture some moody landscapes!

6 NZPhotographer

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