02.08.10

Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Conquering Mt Doom

Posted in Landscape, Nature, People, Travel at 4:52 pm by Warren Williams

My friends and I decided we needed a larger challenge to conquer, than just a small Waitakere bush walk. We’d been talking about re walking the great Tongariro Crossing over the past couple of summers, but only just managed to put into action. Road trip ahead, as we tested Pete’s new wagon. We bunked down in National Park for two nights, whilst spending much of the time trekking over the mountains of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom), and Ruapehu.

Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo from the southern end

Tongariro from car
First sight of Tongariro coming from Taupo and Turangi

Chateau Ruapehu
Bayview Chateau Tongariro (nestled on Mt Ruapehu)

Chateau Golf course
Bayview Chateau Golf Course – New Zealand’s highest course


Road tripping with Mark, who previously ascended Cradle Mountain, Tasmania with me


Pete’s new car – too bad about the motor?


From one of the stream crossings driving up Mt Ruapehu

Driving Mt Ruapehu
Zooming upwards on Mt Ruapehu – North Island’s tallest mountain and volcano, at 2,797 metres

We parked late in the evening at the Bruce carpark, and found the place deserted. Free roam of the mountain! We ventured up around 1km up the rocky slopes, as the temperature quickly dropped.

Ascending Mt Ruapehu
Mark, Warren, Kat & Pete against the barren rock of Ruapehu

Strangely, the clouds around us descended beyond our elevation, revealing the glowing sunset across the west. Was quite amazing to witness a sunset with a cloud base lower down.


Amazing light being filtered around Ruapehu


Defining ridge lines on Ruapehu


Various volcanic rocks and high altitude plants

The following morning, we had to wake at the crack of dawn to catch the shuttle to the start of the great Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Witnessing an amazing sunrise across all three mountains certainly made it worthwhile.

Mt Doom Sunrise Lord of the Rings
Sunrise over Mt Doom

Sunrise over National Park
Sunrise from National Park / SH47 intersection

Amazing New Zealand Scenery
Amazing New Zealand Beauty

Arriving at the Mangatepopo carpark, we were now ready to tackle the 19.4km long mountain crossing.


First steps along the 19.4km long Tongariro Crossing


The intital track starts deceptively easy!


Great view of Mt Ngauruhoe

Tongariro Crossing Boardwalk
The final 1km stretch leading to the saddle, connecting Tongariro and Ngauruhoe.
This section was the hardest, with a steep incline, and noticeable difference in breathing

Mt Doom and tussock grass

The camera was put away for the next 45min as we climbed the Mangatepopo Saddle


Success!


Following the Saddle, we drop again, in the enormous South Crater of Tongariro, before climbing one of the ridges offering great views


Sheer cliffs, along the ridge


Climbing out of the South Crater, with cloud cover blocking one side of the mountainside


Reaching the Tongariro Summit, at 1,967metres


From Tongariro summit, peering into South Crater

Mt Tongariro 360 degree Panorama
360 degree panoramic from the additional Tongariro Summit walk


View looking down to the Emerald Lakes and Red Crater


View down the fun scree slope, with Blue Lake in the backdrop (perfect place to moon jump)

Emerald Lakes - Tongariro
One of the Emerald Lakes, caused from leaching minerals

Emerald Lakes, Tongariro


Tongariro Emerald Lakes


Further views of the Emerald Lakes, with steam rising from the ridge


Low cloud cover at the Ketetahi Hut (well, over 1,400m isn’t exactly low!)


With some much needed Red Bull


And away with the camera it was, as the rain came down for our last hours walk downhill.


Dusk over Mt Ruapehu and the winding highway

The following morning we made the short walk to to the lovely Lake Rotopounamu – an easy walk, however we were all suffering from fatigue and muscle pains after a full day of walking the previous day.

Lake Rotopounamu
Lake Rotopounamu


Mark, chilled out

The drive home was non eventful, although we did try our luck at the Hole in One challenge on Lake Taupo. Out of 25 balls, I managed to land 6 very close to the hole on the floating pontoon, 102metres out.

02.02.10

West Coast Beauty

Posted in Landscape, People at 12:00 pm by Warren Williams

Spent much of the past week visiting several beaches, including taking an English friend to the tranquility of Whatipu near the mouth of the Manukau Harbour. Here’s just a snippet from the recent beach adventures:

Whatipu Lookout
Whatipu Beauty – Short walk from the gravel road

Whatipu Reflections
Whatipu Stream


Kat and Shirley shooting spiders in the gorse

Spent the following few days at Kat’s farm overlooking the hills of Bethells and Waitakere.


Sunset from the farm


More views over the hundreds of acres towards Bethells Beach


Ziggy on guard by the pool, amongst amazing lighting


Further rich skies over the farm and one of the houses with shearing shed

The following evening, Kat and I decided to head down to Bethells Beach, and capture some fun portraits before a couple of sunset landscapes.

Katrina Elton

Bethells Beach Model

Bethells Beach Boxer

01.26.10

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Posted in Landscape, Nature, People at 12:00 pm by Warren Williams

On the morning of a scheduled evening shoot, Kat and I decided to walk down to the beautiful falls of Mokoroa. Located just a 20min stroll from the end of Kat’s road, the recently upgraded track offers a brilliant sight into some rarely touched Waitakere Ranges beauty. Being mid summer, the water flow was a little low, but will increase as winter approaches, and no doubt capture some more shots.

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere
View from down below

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere
Houheria Stream and waterfall

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere
Kat holding a stick insect

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere
View from lookout

Mokoroa Falls, Waitakere

01.24.10

Maori Bay – Fish n Chups

Posted in Landscape, Nature at 7:30 pm by Warren Williams

Well as any good kiwi would, Katrina and I headed off to Maori Bay, loaded with some snapper and chips, to devour along with a great strawberry milkshake from the takeaway in Kumeu. (A great personal recommendation from Kat). After the great meal on the rocky shore, it was time to take a few snaps of the setting sun, before finally doing a 15 minute exposure after dark.


Kat, silhouetted against the sunset at Maori Bay

Maori Bay Muriwai amazing sunset

Maori Bay Gannet Colony

Maori Bay HDR
HDR of Maori Bay

15 minute shutter
15 minute exposure after dark

01.18.10

Wonderful Waters of Whangarei Falls & Uretiti

Posted in Landscape, Nature, People at 4:00 pm by Warren Williams

Driving back from Kaikohe to Auckland, we decided to detour slightly to the Whangarei Falls for lunch, followed by an afternoon swim at Uretiti.

Whangarei Falls, New Zealand

Whangarei Falls, New Zealand

Warren Williams
Self portrait, within a wave at Uretiti Beach


Kat after our swim

Uretiti, New Zealand
Warren & Kat, shot by younger sister Candace

Uretiti, New Zealand

Uretiti, New Zealand

Uretiti, New Zealand

Uretiti, New Zealand

01.13.10

Wild Piha

Posted in Landscape at 9:57 pm by Warren Williams

Settling back into New Zealand life, Katrina and I decided to venture out to the west coast beach of Piha. The strong westerly breeze brought in some quickly changing conditions, resulting in some dramatic sun beams as the sun was setting over the Piha swell.


Kat, treading on water

Stormy Waters Piha

Gloomy Piha
High tide over a gloomy Piha

Piha Glow Sunset

01.07.10

Permanent Return Downunder

Posted in Animals, Aviation, Landscape at 12:00 pm by Warren Williams

After spending much of the past two and a half years based in London, I was finally making way to live back in New Zealand. I made an overnight stopover in Melbourne, visiting the house my mum has recently bought, and made great use of the swimming pool! As I was flying Emirates airline, the first ten hours was literally spent flying in a circle. Mumbai to Dubai, and then Dubai to Singapore, and onwards to Melbourne, with the flight path taking us directly over Mumbai some hours later. Alas, more airmiles.

Flying over United Arab Emirates
Mountains in United Arab Emirates

Aerial Fujairah
Flying over Fujairah, U.A.E

After almost 20 hours travelling, we were flying over South Australia as the sunrise over the red desert lit up brilliantly.

A6-ECQ Sunrise Australian desert

A6-ECQ Sunrise Australian desert

Arriving into Melbourne around 8am, I had a day to chill with my mum, one of my sisters Tara, and their partners, around the pool and BBQ dinner. This is the summer I had been missing from UK!


Marlee, the cat my mum has recently adopted after its previous owners had abused her


Beautiful!


Sunset over the back yard pool after enjoying a day with 32ºC


View from the Emirates Lounge, after being upgraded to business class (yet another early rise)


Views from in front of the wing, from seat 8A (front left of business class) – The food and drink available was far superior to what’s normally offered in cattle class.

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01.05.10

Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Nature, People, Travel at 4:00 pm by Warren Williams

The final day of an amazing trip through Mumbai and Goa had arrived, so after a little research, decided to take Angus to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in northern Mumbai. It is the largest urban park in the world, encompassing 104 km2. It is said to be the lungs of Mumbai, as it purifies much of the air polluition. Within the park you can catch a bus to see lions and leopards, whilst also venturing 6km along the park to the amazing Kanheri Caves. These 109 caves were built over 2,100 years ago, by Buddhist monks, into the solid hard basalt rock.

I’ve included more photos than usual in this last post from my Indian travels of 2009 & 2010. An amazing trip, that I couldn’t have done without the hospitality of my great friend Angus and his family. Thank you! 🙂


Lioness in the park

Rhesus Macaque Monkey

Rhesus Macaque Monkey


Baby Rhesus Macaque Monkey

School children Kanheri Caves, India

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India


Large caves of Kanheri

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India

Kanheri Caves sculptures

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India


Angus standing against the 7m tall Buddhist statue


Large Chaitya with great Stupa

Kanheri Caves, Mumbai, India
Low light filtering behind the Stupa


Textured Basalt floor


Walkway to more caves on the hill

Kanheri Caves movie
More caves near the top, almost like the set of a movie


View in opposite direction showing the elevation (hard work in the Mumbai heat!)


First attempt at writing with a torch


Angus taking a break in one of the cool caves

Friendly SIS Security India
Our friendly SIS security”guide”


Warren atop the caves and stairs of Kanheri


Angus walking back down the hill from the 109 caves


Spot the monkey?

Deer in Mumbai

Goat incredible balance
Goat with incredible balance, walking on a branch!


Overflowing water tank


Last shot from India

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01.01.10

Baga Beach New Years Day

Posted in Animals, Landscape, People at 9:56 pm by Warren Williams

With a slow start to the day, spent at the apartment pool, and playing some table tennis, Angus invited his old friend Martina over for dinner at Baga Beach. After watching the sunset, and fishermen emptying their catch, we ran back to Brittos restaurant – However a powercut and lack of communication put an end to that. We ended up catching a rickshaw back to Calangute and eating some good food at Kamats.


Martina

Baga Beach Nun

Baga Fishermen, Goa
A lonely fish

Young children fishing
The entire family helping out with the catch

Fish Basket Goa

Fish 85L

Fisherman Sunset


Northern end of beach away from the crowds


Looking back to the beach huts and restaurants including Brittos

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12.31.09

Calangute Beach New Years Eve

Posted in Astro, Landscape, People, Travel at 11:59 pm by Warren Williams

After spending a week around the beautiful island of Jua, enjoying the villages of Santo Estevam and Marcela on the mainland, we decided it was time to venture back to the beachside apartment for New Years celebrations. Stocking up on food supplies from the Mapusa market, Angus and I were preparing ourselves for the final few days in Goa! Time sure has flown.

Green & red Tomatoes

Green Beans

Mutton ready for the Slaughter
Mutton ready for the chop

Mapusa Market Seller
Mapusa Market Seller – All to keen for a photo

Mapusa Banana Market

Calangute Goa fisherman

Calangute Beach people

Calangute Jetski

Final Sunset of 2009 India
Final sunset of 2009, from Calangute, Goa, India

Angus 2009
Angus farewelling 2009

2009 Dusk

Blue Moon December 2009
Once in a blue moon… two full months within one calendar month

On the strike of midnight, Calangute beach and all the adjoining beaches (Candolim, Sinquerim and Baga), brightly lit up with thousands of fireworks and bonfires to welcome in the Year of 2010. Making this an even more special New Years, a partial lunar eclispe occurred only a few minutes later.

Lunar Eclipse Goa 2009 2010
Lunar Eclipse of 2009 / 2010

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12.29.09

Rural Adventures of Goa

Posted in Animals, Birds, Landscape, Nature, Travel at 3:30 pm by Warren Williams

Returning back to Marcela the following morning, Raju was keen on showing more of the bush in the neighbouring areas, including his own property and yet more fruit! 🙂 It was a great walk, seeing a beautiful, peaceful view of India, as we encountered many various animals and workers in the field.

Banana Tree Goa
Bananas on Raju’s property

Millions of Ants

Dog with Mange
The sad face of a local dog with mange

Caterpillar Goa

Red Dragonfly Goa

King Cobra Nest
Massive King Cobra nest


One of the many tropical birds


Yep, another

Pineapple growing, Goa

Chameleon
Cameleon


Rich Paddy Field


Wilderness adventures, reminiscent of “Stand by Me”

Water buffalo, India
Water buffalo

Water buffalo, India

Stunning Kingfisher
Another stunning Kingfisher

Indian Shack

Paddy field worker

Wasps India

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12.28.09

Marcela, Goa

Posted in Animals, Birds, Landscape, Travel at 9:00 pm by Warren Williams

Located between Old Goa and the road to Santo Estevam, Marcela is a small town where Angus’s grandmother has lived for many years. Her property has its own spring water well, and many fruit trees, which Raju was kind enough to get some coconuts down for the fresh milk.

Coconut

Breaking Coconut

Fresh Coconut
Angus scooping the coconut out

Fresh well water
Fresh spring water from the well


Raju with a crab from a water hole nearby

Crab Goa


10 points for what this is?

Kingfisher, Goa

Rice field, Goa


View from atop water tank in Marcela bush


More rice fields from atop the water tank

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12.27.09

White Sands of Colva and Palolem

Posted in Landscape, People, Travel at 10:00 pm by Warren Williams

After Christmas celebrations, we planned a trip to the beauty of Colva and Palolem beaches. Unfortunately the sun wasn’t shining as strongly as before, and both beaches were very crowded. After waiting around in the evening until sunset, it simply didn’t come! Driving the 4×4 home after dark was certainly a new experience too – driving for almost two hours from the furthest reaches of Goa.

Colva Parasailing
Colva Parasailing

The highlight of the day, was seeing Angus’ nephew, Matthew, experience the sea and sand.


Raju (friend of family from Marcela, Goa) & Matthew

Palolem Sunset Goa
Sun disappearing amongst the clouds

Beach shacks Palolem
Beach shacks Palolem

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12.22.09

Red Vagator Beach

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Travel at 8:25 pm by Warren Williams

Ventured further north to the rocky red coastline of Vagator Beach, before settling down in the evening at Little Vagator Beach. Despite clouding over during most of the afternoon, the sunset shone through amazingly red, complementing the rockface.

Vagator Beach


Yet more cows, near Little Vagator

Flies on Cow

Little Vagator sunset

Little Vagator sunset


Very slippery rocks, where I almost had an underwater experience!

Red Vagator


Warren & Angus after sunset at Vagator Beach

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12.20.09

Shipwrecked Sands of Sinquerim, Candolim & Calangute

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Transportation, Travel at 10:00 pm by Warren Williams

White sands stretch 7km southward from Baga, through Calangute, Candolim and finally Sinquerim. Nestled in the southern end of coastline between Candolim and Sinquerim lies the Merchant Vessel, the River Princess. After running aground ten years ago, it has caused environmental issues, such as rusted shards of steel on the beach. It does however make an interesting photo subject!

Lifeguards Calangute
Lifeguards on duty in Calangute

Fisherman Calangute, Goa, India
Fisherman, untangling his nets

Fresh juice Goa
Selling fresh fruit on the beach of Calangute

Later in the day, Angus and I decided to hire a taxi from Calangute to the River Princess shipwreck. Frustratingly, taxis aren’t metered in Goa, and they usually offer exhorbitant cash amounts up front. Several times the cost than in Mumbai! After finally negotiating a van driver down to just 200 Rupees ($6), we took the 10min trip further along the beach.


More cows 😛

Cows and stray dogs Goa
Stray dogs give the cows some problems, as we witnessed on various beaches


Whilst other cows must be wary of their own kind

Parasailing Goa
Parasailing across Candolim

Jet Skies River Princess
Jet skis near the stern of the River Princess

Calf Goa

River Princess Silhouette, Goa
River Princess silhouetted


Bow of the River Princess, with the sun setting through the hazy sky

Candolim Beach Shipwreck Animation
Several exposures with the incoming tide

Goa Jump Animation
Jumping fun (shot by Angus)

As twilight set in, I shot a few long exposures with various filters:

Candolim Beach Shipwreck Sunset
No filters


Two graduated ND filters on top (.6 hard and .9 soft)

5 minute exposure
5 minute exposure

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