Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hoar Frost

Maniototo Hoar Frost 2

Central Otago hoar frosts can be spectacular, and being the coldest spot in New Zealand, the Ida Valley is the place to find them.  Sometimes the valley floor is fogged in for days and the cold conditions just encourage the frost to grow and grow, coating everything and turning the landscape into a strange infrared picture where the vegetation is white.

Hoar frost fence

Maniototo Hoar Frost 1

We weren't quite at spectacular as I drove down into the valley the other day, but it was okay.  Again, this being a reconnaissance mission, I was more about documenting potential photo ops than making great pictures. 

Maniototo Hoar Frost 3

One thing I didn't get a shot of was the several marsh harriers I saw perched on fenceposts by the road.  I'd love to get some decent raptor shots one day.

Ida Valley Snow 1

Ida Valley Snow 2

Further down the valley the fog lifted and snow appeared.  It's here in the Maniototo that the artist Grahame Sydney has made his own.  In his book, he's called it a timeless land.  I take the other view, that the works of time are on constant display, that time permeates everything - the long geological time that built and eroded these ranges, and the short day time that creates the changing light and shade.

Not Mr Sydney

It's hard not to look for opportunities to replicate Sydney's work.

Looking for Graham Sydney

It's pretty easy to evoke his style here, since much of his Maniototo stuff hangs on the low raking light and folds of the hills.

After Grahame Sydney

Still, I don't just want to replicate his vision of this place I must struggle to find my own.

Snow Blind

Learning about the Manitoto

I think I'm learning to see this place my way.  One thing I'm not thrilled about is the quality of these uploads.  I'm exporting directly from Lightroom 3 to Flickr.  Shots on Flickr often look dull to me, and I don't like the pixelation in these.  Must go under the hood and tweak the settings.  What's the point of a watermark if the images aren't good enough to steal in the first place?

Winter feed near St Bathans

Finally, the blue skies broke through. There was about an hour and a half of sun left and I made my way to my final destination: St Bathans and the Blue Lake.  More on that soon.

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