Our next stop was Lake Wanaka.
After leaving Queenstown, we drove to Lake Wanaka. On the way we got out of the car for a short hike.
After an early dinner, we went just outside of town for our sunset shoot. You can see just how high the water was. Because of all of the recent rain, we had to take a few different paths to find a spot to photograph from.
For most of the night, I just stayed in the same spot and photographed the scene under different lighting conditions. There were some very interesting clouds later on in the evening.
Last shot of the evening. It was time to head back to the hotel as we were meeting at 5.10 AM for sunrise.
This morning's shoot was all about the famous lone tree of Wanaka. This lonely tree framed by the Southern Alps is said to be one of the most photographed trees in all of New Zealand. We actually had to walk off the beaten path to find this tree as there are no signs with directions. This first shot was taken at 5.35 AM.
We spend a couple of hours photographing under the different lighting conditions. The lone tree is right at the foothills of Mount Aspiring National Park, a World heritage Site.
The colours actually changed quite a bit as different areas of the scene were lit up. The tree lives in a challenging environment since its roots are often totally submerged by cold water.
We had gotten to the area very early just in case other photographers showed up but we were the only ones until around 8 am when it was time to go. I learned that although the tree is in Lake Wanaka, the water levels are often low enough for the tourists to walk through the water and climb the tree which causes a lot of strain to the tree. The Wanaka tree is a crack willow named for brittle wood that easily breaks. However, when we were there given the high water levels, the tree appeared safe from climbers.
Our group had the rest of the day and evening off which was a well deserved break from all of the early mornings and late nights. Wendy and I walked around the quaint town of Wanaka and along the lake where people were enjoying the beautiful sunny day. Soon after we had left New Zealand, there was a lot of flooding in the area. Streets in the tourist towns of Queenstown and Wanaka were slowly going under water by Friday, December 6th after Lake Wanaka and Lake Wakatipu had burst their banks earlier in the week, causing major flooding in the towns. Water and large debris closed the Main Street of Wanaka. Also, the streets were largely empty and the popular cafes and restaurants were closed. Also, because of roads being closed, thousands of tourists were stranded in this area.
Wendy and I walked back to the lone tree in the afternoon. Today we met at 5 AM to go and photograph ruins of an old historic goldfield.
Another area that reminded me of Tuscany, Italy because of all of the rolling hills.
Soon it was time to head back to the hotel, pack and make our way towards Haast.
On the way we stopped to photograph a beautiful water fall.