The beach pictured here is called Wharariki (pronounced "far-a-ricky") and the rock formations in the image are actually part of the Archway Islands. This beach is located at the extreme north top end of the south Island of New Zealand and it is remote enough to get few visitors. Because of the inanely steep and curvy Takada Hill, it took me a little over two hours (each direction) to drive from Nelson where I was staying to the trailhead parking lot. The path to the beach is a little over one mile and is easily walked in 20-30 mins. The track is well marked up until the sand dunes, which are about a quarter of a mile wide, and where the path becomes your own footprints.
Wharariki beach is extremely beautiful and quite diverse with all sorts of different formations such as sea caves, natural bridges, tide pools, arches, sand dunes, channels, sea spires, waterfalls, and seals (even baby seals playing in the many tidepools). The actual beach is over two miles long and very wide and flat, perfect for a long stroll at sunrise or sunset, and is a must see if you ever find yourself in New Zealand.
Wharariki beach is famous for being insanely windy all the time (as it was on this evening), which is evident from all the pristine sand dunes surrounding the beach. While I was there, the high winds even erased all traces of my footprints and all others from existance off the dunes. I recommend that if you are ever visiting this beach and plan to stay after dark, be certain of your route back using GPS or other means as the trail home over the dunes might no longer be there when you head back (as with what happened to me).
While I was there, there were only two other couples on the entire beach, possibly because of the high winds and it being mid-week...but totally abandoned is my kind of beach. One very nice bonus about the winds is that they blow all the pesky black sand flies away--so no human blood-crazed sand flies, hoo-rah! The winds were howling close to 50mp and I had to drill my tripod deep into the sand and anchor it with sandbags to ensure it and my attached camera did not move during the entirety of both long exposures used to compose this image. This composition is comprised two long exposures taken about 15 mins apart, without moving the tripod...one is for the exposure of the Archway Islands and the other is for the moon exposure. At low tide, the flatness of the beach kept the sand very wet and super reflective as the waves would roll in and out for several hundred feet while only being less than an inch in height. This is absolutely perfect conditions for this sort of a long exposure mirrored photograph.
I truly love the range of color tones in my image here as they are reminiscent of the exact same color blends that can be viewed in my personal surreal favorite, and Salvador Dali's most famous painting, "Persistence of Memory."
I am glad to be able to share this gem with you, but the pleasure was all mine in getting to experience this enchanted and wondrous beach on the northern tip of the Southern Island of New Zealand.
Camera Settings: ISO-100, 34mm at f/8 for 260 seconds using one Lee 3.0ND Proglass (Big Stopper) Filter, one Lee .75ND Grad Filter to balance the sky down 2.5stops, and one Lee .3ND Grad Filter to balance the reflection down 1 stop--this filter was used inverted. Both exposures were taken a short time after sunset using the same filter setup...
I hope this message and image find you well.
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