Thursday, 26 November 2015

Blooming Lupins- Lake Tekapo

I've had these lupin (Russell Lupines) photos ready to post for a few days, actually nearly a week, they were taken the day after we arrived at Lake Tekapo. But each day I've shot so many more amazing photos that I kept thinking I'll wait and add some of them to the blog too. But now I have a few hundred (actually over 1000 photos to sort- can you tell I really love the lupins!) 

We're still at the Lake Tekapo NZMCA Park. Most days the wind has been horrendous and we've not wanted to move until the weather settles, even though we've had a few sand storms through the camp. I'm sure there can't be much sand left on the lake front after the blasting we've had.

We're now waiting for rain to join the gale force winds but at least the wind is blasting the sand in a different direction tonight, and if it is heavy rain, it'll give the vehicles a damn good wash. Even the air tastes of dust.

And of course the wind has made it a nightmare to shoot the lupins; a fast shutter speed is needed to 'freeze' the stems but often they're on a 45 degree angle. You've got to catch them between gusts. A fast shutter speed is fine during the day but it takes a bit of maneuvering at sunset and sunrise to let in enough light without catching any movement.

It has been windy most days, although it tends to build up during the day so I've been able to shoot in the morning, and during the last couple of days I've managed to shoot two sunsets, one moon rise and one sunrise! Needless to say, I'm buggered; burning the candle at both ends of the day is not a good idea. After a stunning sunset last night I was on a high and didn't get to sleep until after 12am, then I was awake at 4am and out the door by 4:30 to catch the sunrise at the church. A-mazing! But you'll have to wait to see those photos.

And it's not all been- lupins, lupins, lupins, we've also done some serious tiki-touring too. The colour of the ute will attest to this- dust, dust and more dust. It's a dry and dusty MacKenzie Basin at the moment. We've taken the back road to Lake Pukaki (and scored more lupins), we've driven over MacKenzie Pass(no lupins) and driven up to the end of the Godley Peaks Road, along the western side of Lake Tekapo (many more lupins). We've managed to score a couple of firsts in the bird world too, but you'll have to wait for those blog posts to see what they were.

Of course the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd, which is surrounded by lupins, has been attracting people from far and wide. Which does mean you're fighting for a clean shot most of the time, although I quite like people in the shot occasionally. I'm lucky though, I have all the time in the world. I'm able to come back later or tomorrow or the next day. I can wait for the perfect people-less shot. Most people wanting to capture the church at it's best are either passing through Lake Tekapo or just staying overnight and have to take what's dished up, whether it's crappy weather or the masses wandering about the church.  

I had to put my bossy hat on this morning- there were at least 7-8 photogs lined up about where the photo below was taken. All waiting patiently for the sunrise shot to beat them all. Most had been there for at least an hour slowly watching the sky and clouds turn a beautiful pink when around the corner of the church wandered a handful of 'totally oblivious to the situation' people, stopping and clicking their own close up shots. We waited a short while, muttering to each other, expecting them to see us all below and click(no pun intended) that they were photo-bombing our shots but no, they chatted and stood about, even taking photos down towards us. That was until I called out to them. And politely suggested they MOVE!!! Well I was the only Kiwi in the group and I know the others were too polite to speak up and they did thank me. 

The lupins around the church and river are mostly different shades of blue although there's a few clumps of other colours too. Out and about the mix is much more noticeable with some stunning colours and some very unusual colour combinations too. My next lupin shoot, when this wind stops, is macros of the different colours. 

Most days so far and often all day, the Southern Alps at the end of the lake have been covered in cloud only poking their heads out every now and then. I also haven't seen the lake this blue again since I shot these photos last Saturday. 

You just don't know what you're going to find hiding in amongst the lupins; rabbits, endangered birds, wedding parties and odd men, I mean, the odd man or two!

And just to show you that it's not all lupins along the lake front, this is part of a wetland on the east side of the lake, not far from our camp. And out there on the point just to left of that little willow you'll see a mass of colour- more lupins! And a really good patch because most people can't be bothered walking all the way out there.

That's it for now but I can guarantee you're going to be seeing plenty more lupin shots before too long. You'll be all lupined out by the time I'm finished with you! 


  1. The more lupins the better! I was so facinated by lupins that I purposely planned our 4th South Island trip in late November to hunt them down. We did get an eyeful with various kind of long spike flowers, not sure whether all of them were lupins! Some yellow ones could get rather tall and bushy. Saw a lot of the yellow ones along the Catlins beaches and Wakatipu lakeside towards Glenorchy. Though it was magical to see them under a silvery full moon in Curio Bay, we thought we have accidentally hit the road to heaven when we saw the colourful lupins basking in surreal rose gold sunlight of a gorgeous sunset, on Godfrey Peaks Road towards Lake Alexandrina. Looking forward to your macros of the different colours!

    1. You're in for treat then...if I ever get to sort the 100s of lupin photos I now have. I think I'll have to be brutal and choose the very best otherwise I'll be there forever sorting flower photos. The tall and bushy ones you describe was probably broom, there's a blog post coming up that'll have plenty of broom photos for you to compare- broom is an extremely bright yellow. Yellow lupins are usually a very pale yellow and they mainly appear in the riverbeds towards the coast. It's possible the coloured lupins need a cold winter to produce their colour. Thanks for stopping by.

    2. I like your word 'brutal', 'cause I dread the pain of sorting out photos, each NZ trip left me thousands to sort...
      By now I've become your loyal follower. It's a great pleasure seeing new post appearing in my mail box each time. Feel as if I'm also travelling out there, seeing through your eyes. Thanks for sharing all those wonderful pictures and stories. They sustain me till our next trip.
      P/S: you might have noticed I also wrote 'Godfrey' instead of 'Godley', that because I was lazy, just copy and paste from your text :-)


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