The first place on our New Zealand tour was Paihia in the North Island. Paihia was located about 3 hours drive north of Auckland in the bay of islands. 

We had flown into Auckland and stayed there for one night, but only really visited the sky tower due to the short amount of time we were spending there. We had brought the miserable British weather over with us as it rained the whole time we were there, not very good for photographing. 

The first full day we were in Paihia, we went out on a scuba diving trip for the whole day. The weather was much better up north although there had recently been a cyclone in the area so there was a fairly strong breeze hanging around. This made conditions out on the water a bit choppy, but the sun was shining and it was still quite warm.

A scuba diving trip wasn’t really the best place to be bringing my camera, for obvious reasons really, so I didn’t really take too many photos, and the ones I did take were just on my phone.

The area we went was nonetheless quite spectacular. It was about a 45 minute boat ride away, in a place called deep water cove. It was a little bit more exposed than I had imagined, it was right on the edge of the bay so there was nothing much in from of us other than the open ocean.

The cove was surrounded by islands and the peninsular itself so the views were pretty amazing. I kind of wished I had taken my camera with me, but instead I just had to make do with taking a few shots on my phone.

The next day we were up ridiculously early, I think the jet lag had finally hit, so we made the most of it and walked down to the sea front for the sunrise. When we had walked down the previous day, the sun had only been up for half an hour or so, so it was still really beautiful, but this time we were down and ready long before the sun had come above the horizon.

It was still fairly dark out, but the sky had already started to turn an orange red colour over the land in the distance.

I got set up with my camera down on the beach and started to take some test shots. I was trying to find the best place to be so that I could get a wide shot of the sunrise over the land in distance, but also have something in the foreground to bring some interest and detail to the shot. Whilst I was doing this I was also having a play around with the settings I was using to get the shots.

I started off shooting in aperture priority mode trying to find the right setting to really being out the colour in the sky. I then decided to do something a little different and try using an ND filter shooting in shutter priority mode. I wanted to try and blur the water coming over the rocks so I needed to set a slow-ish shutter speed. Even though it was still early morning and the sun still hadn’t risen, there was still a lot of light hitting the camera so the ND filter helped get a slower shutter speed given the lighting conditions.

The shot I really wanted to get was the sun sitting just above the land in the horizon, rays shining down into the sea, with the Walter blurred around the rocks in the foreground.

I stayed for a while trying to get this shot, testing out a few new things, doing a quick google here and there to try and get some tips and tricks, but more importantly, just enjoying the view. It was so beautiful and so peaceful down there it was nice to just sit there and enjoy it.

I’m really pleased with the results from the shoot, I didn’t manage to get the photo exactly as I had pictured it, but it’s quite close so I can’t complain. It was a fantastic way to spend the morning, and a productive way to take advantage of the jet lag I’d say.

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