The next stop on our tour was Rotorua, still in the North Island. This was somewhere that a few people had recommended we visit during out trip, and it was perfectly situated right in between a few different attractions we had booked so it was a good base for us.
One of the days we were there, we had a completely free morning so we decided to go and just have a walk around the town itself.
Obviously, the first place we headed to was the lake. The weather was great, lush blue sky, a few scattered clouds here and there and a nice hot sun.
It wasn’t far to walk from our hotel to the lake and there was hardly anyone around so it was really nice and peaceful. When we got down to the lakefront, we just stopped for a while and sat on a bench admiring the view. The lake was a lot bigger than I had imagined and it was so pretty under the light of the sun.
Just off from the shoreline, there were lots and lots of birds just sat on the top of the water, heads turned, resting on their back having a snooze in the sun. It was quite bizarre, I thought something was wrong with them at first, but every now and then one of them would wake up, have a good stretch, maybe even a dip in the water, then assum the sleeping position and get back to snoozing. What a life.
I wandered along the shoreline taking a few photos here and there. I mainly focused on the helicopters and planes that were taking off and landing on the lake, taking people for tours around the lake and the surrounding area. I’ve got a bit of a thing for planes so this place was like paradise for me. There were so many planes around it was great.
From the lake, we then headed to the other side of town towards the hot springs. It had become quite hot out now as it was approaching midday, so the idea of going to hot springs seemed a bit silly, even if it was just to have a look around.
When we arrived however, it was actually quite a relief. The steam rising from the water condensed on our skin which was then cooled as the light wind blew. It was extremely effective at cooling you down, you could really feel the difference when you left the clouds of steam and the afternoon sun hit you.
We walked along a path that took you right through the middle of some of the hot pools over wooden bridges and walkways. It all looked very mysterious with the steam rising, blocking the path from view sometimes, before it emerged from the mist once again.
It was fun to try and capture this atmosphere in my photos as the steam created a lot of reflective light in the photos so a lot of the time the photos were coming out a bit overexposed. As no two moments were the same, once I thought I had the right settings, the steam would change, and suddenly the settings no longer worked and I was back to square one again. It was really challenging, but in a good way. I had to keep changing my approach in order to get the shots I wanted.
I noticed whilst stood on the bridge that the steam was creating interesting lighting effects on the surface of the water, and particularly around my shadow. The reflection of the light almost created an angelic effect around my silhouette so I stayed for a while trying to get this in a photo. Again, it was really challenging as the steam was ever changing. Some moments it was casting multicolouredeffects into the clouds, the next it was white light. It was quite fun to stay and play around with the camera, trying to get the best shot which emphasised this effect, all the while trying to make my shadow look like I wasn’t stood there with a camera.
As we walked further on, we went through some slightly shaded areas with trees and bushes on either side of the path. The steam from the surface of the pools seemed to creep along the ground in amongst the branches of the trees where it lingered making it look a bit like a rainforest.
Again, it was quite fun to try and capture this. The scene as a whole was fairly dark as from the angle I was shooting there wasn’t really any light hitting the trunks of the trees and bushes, but the light from the lake and the steam was being reflected into the camera lens so I had to try and find the balance between the different lighting situations. And of course, I wanted to try and actually capture the steam creeping through the trees as that is what had attracted me to this spot in the first place.
By the time I had finished trying to get all the photos I was after, the sun had become much higher in the sky and it was really hot now. It was also lunch time so we decided to slowly wander back into town to find a nice restaurant for a spot of al fresco dining in the sun!