Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Newer image, entitled "Ambivalent to Becoming" by D. "Bodhi" Smith
Entitled, "Ambivalent to Becoming," this is another of my newest compositions captured recently on my trip to the South island of New Zealand. I am telling you, without hesitation, go visit this country...it is a very beautiful land.
I named this image "Ambivalent to Becoming" as I can personify these rocks as unhatched eggs...only these eternal eggs could care less one way or another if they ever hatch to become something else...they just sit and bask in the sun as they lay on the beach day after day, year after year, century after century, relishing in the idea that being is better than becoming. This might be my best title for an image of mine ever, IMHO.
I got up a few hours before sunrise and set off on dawn patrol for capturing the Moeraki boulders (pronounced "Mow-racky") at sunrise during a low tide event. My drive to this spot was a little over an hour, but because of the time in the morning, there was absolutely no traffic on the highway and I made it in less than one hour. Under darkness i headed out in search of these gigantic boulders. I was shut out by rain/lightning for capturing a sunset at this spot a couple nights previously, but luckily I was able to return to this unique scene before I headed over to the west coast of the island on my third day in New Zealand.
This is a well known spot for visitors and photographers alike to visit. Pictures of these boulders were even on the promo images for New Zealand Airlines during my arrival flight listed as a place tourists "must see." So it is not a surprise that this beach gets extremely crowded as people relieve their curiosity and get up-close and personal to check-out these egg-like rocks. And to boot, they are very easy to find with signage right off the main highway and access via a short, easy stroll on the beach.
I made the stroll up the beach in the dark to see the large silhouettes of these boulders in the dim glow of my headlamp at low lumens. Impressive in the dark, I could not wait to see them in the reds and purples of the morning light. But that would not turn out to be the case on this morning as the tide and the clouds just did not cooperate.
I was then joined by another aspiring NZ photographer, Mason Osborne as the sun was starting to rise. We were both comparatively disappointed because the cloud deck was just too thick on the east front to permit any of the red wavelengths of the rising sun to shine on the clouds overhead, resulting in a very lackluster and unspectacular sunrise. Bummer. Double Bummer. My idea of "Planned Chance" working against my favor once again...or maybe not?
As I pointed out previously, this location is well known, so before I ever stepped foot on the Moeraki Beach, I was told over and over by numerous guides and photographers to shoot here at low tide. I will tell you now that this is not so. Do not shoot this location at low tide, ever, period. This is identical to California's Bowling Ball Beach as it is best shot at middle-high tide. Low tide is too low. High tide is too high. Middle-high tide is Goldilocks just right.
At sunrise, the tide was honestly just too low to really get anything spectacular with my style of long exposure photography anyway. The waves were not coming in far enough and flowing around the most interesting of the boulders on the beach. So my Options: 1. leave and make my way early to Lake Wanaka, or, 2. stay 3-4 hours longer on this beach until the tide came up and was surrounding the rocks and hope the cloud deck lingers to help block down the sunlight. #1 had no risk or variables. #2 needed allot to happen for it to work out. I opted for #2, I would wait, reasoning that it might be a long while before I made it back to this beach in the future. I decided I would hang out until the clouds started to break up or the tide came in and permitted me to shoot these rocks in the manner I wanted to capture them.
A few hundred people milled onto the beach and played around and on top of these boulders as the clock ticked away and the tide came in more and more favorably. The clouds hung out with me, as if wanting me to capture something special from this spot to take home to the other hemispheres of the world. I set up on these three rocks at the north end of the formation, more remote and aways from most of the tourists on the beach. I liked their roundness and contrast to the waves rolling in around them. I waited. The clouds waited as well. Then it happened, I got an image I really liked, this is the result. Glad I chose that second option, but I know I could have easily wasted my time and got nothing for my efforts, but "Planned Chance" did work in my favor after all. As I walked down the beach to the carpark, the clouds broke apart and the sun came out in its full bright glory. Insert a smile on my face as I strolled off the beach, got in the car, and drove off down the left side of the road to Wanaka singing to the steering wheel my rendition of Men at Work's "Overkill" which was playing through my iPod into the car stereo ...
By the way, these boulders make up a rare rock-reef formation whose only equal is actually found in my native California on the northern coastline in Mendocino county on "Bowling Ball Beach" (see my image a few posts below this one that is named "Idiosycre Sea"). I am not certain, but I think that I might very well be the only professional photog to have captured gallery images from both of these beautiful and eerie seaside rock formations located on opposite sides of the vast Pacific Ocean. And I hate to admit it, but this set of rocks is more photogenic and eloquent than the ones found in my homeland...I will be going back to revisit this scene as a sunset, and at mid-high tide in the near future. Beautiful rocks in a beautiful land.
May this picture bring a smile and brightness to your day
Camera Settings: ISO-100, 28mm at f/8 for 355 seconds taken at 10:56am under a canopy of heavy clouds...using the Lee filter holder system, I stacked four filters mounted in front of my Nikkor 28-70mm f2.8 lens for this exposure: three Lee Proglass ND Filters (3.0ND (a.k.a. the Big Stopper),.9ND, and .6ND for 15 stops in total) for permitting me to capture this extreme long exposure and one Lee .75ND Grad (2.5 stops) to balance the brighter sky with the foreground...
I hope this message and image find you well.
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