Sunday 9 July 2017

Reflections & Ice- Wairepo Arm


While David fished the canal, I caught up on blogs & photo processing and waited patiently over three or four days for the cloud to lift and the wind to drop, and if at all possible, both together. I wanted to capture some early winter reflections around the two small lakes; Wairepo Arm & Kelland Pond, which are attached to the Ohau B canal, which in turn flows out of Lake Ruataniwha. 

A couple of times I was out the door and about to jump in the ute when the slightest breeze would blow in, ruffle the water and spoil the still waters for the rest of the afternoon. Eventually I timed it right, I had to drive down the canal to the power station and cross over and then back up the other side of the canal from where we were parked at the NZMCA Camp.

The last time I drove around this way the gate was locked, blocking access around the ponds from the canal end. I could have come in at the south end of the pond from the main road but the mud was thick on the ground. This time the gate was open and there was good access right along the edge of the water. 

It's the small shallow coves like the ones above that offer great reflection opportunities, any breeze takes it's time reaching into these narrow fingers. Don't forget to click on the photos to view them in detail.

The bare and colourful branches of the various willows, birches and poplars make ideal subjects. 

I stopped numerous times to walk out to the the tips of the coves, often through spongy boggy patches where the water had seeped under the lake edge. I checked in all directions for suitable subjects; this one is looking back towards the canal and into the sun.

And in this one (not a reflection) you can see us parked on the canal edge, just behind the salmon farm. The ponds are a great wildlife refuge and we've often walked around them looking for grebes and coots. Today the swans, ducks and scaups are milling about in the centre not too sure what the person is up to that keeps popping up behind trees along the edge. It's the middle of duck-shooting season so they have reason to worry even though the ponds are a safe haven for them.

Looking across the main pond of Wairepo Arm as a light breeze ruffles the water, disturbing any reflections from this vantage point but making a lovely panoramic capture.

I drove around the lake until I reached the main road, the wind had settled again and from two or three viewpoints along the side of the road, the reflections are magnificent.

While I'm taking photos a big flash black car with smoky windows pulls up beside the ute and out hops two puffer jacketed, beanie & scarf wearing guys and one Asian bride (sans groom) in a thin slinky white strapless number.

They clamber down to the water and her photographer poses her on the edge with these reflections behind. The other guy fiddles with photography gear. She will be freezing her butt off, don't let the blue sky and sunshine fool you, it is freezing cold, around 4-5c. 

They take numerous shots and then climb back up the bank, into the car and off. Because there was no groom, I'm thinking she was a model and they might have been doing a photoshoot for advertising. 

New Zealand is a top destination for Asian weddings, wedding photo shoots, second ceremonies and honeymoons. We must have seen a couple of dozen couples in various locations on our travels. And after all that build-up (see how I filled in the gaps between photos), no I didn't take a photo of her. I was too busy doing my own shots before the breeze returned.

The evergreen pines behind these bare willows make a lovely contrast.

And here they are in a pano shot.

I crossed over the road to Kelland Pond, just as the breeze returned, you can see it heading up the lake from the south.

And here it is just about to destroy my reflection.

It didn't matter, I had found a new subject. Tucked along the edge and in the shadow of the bare trees all day, ice had formed amongst the reeds.

Beautiful ice formations that were slowly melting leaving thin ice bridges that formed stars between the reeds. What was more interesting was the fact that the ice actually sat about 2-3 inches above the water level. The hydro canals rise and fall quite a lot over a day and sometimes even over a few hours. And so do the ponds as they are fed by the canal, the ice would have formed on a 'high tide'.

Many people pass through the MacKenzie Basin on their way to somewhere else and comment that it's a dry and barren landscape devoid of interest. They don't know what they're missing.


  1. Water, reflections, clouds, power pylons are a few of my favourite things

  2. My wife and I have been down that way many times .Twice this year ,and there is some awsome country to take in.These are very cool pics.
    Yes we are MH members

    1. Thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed the blog. You'll be very familiar with the MacKenzie and it's stunning vistas then.

  3. Photos of reflections are simply stunning and yours (as usual) are just that. The ice formations look amazing.

    1. Thanks Katrina, much appreciated. It won't be long before you'll be spending a cold winter looking for reflections too!

  4. So beautiful - your loyal readers appreciate all the time and effort you put into your gorgeous pics and most of all for sharing them. Bet we all wish our photos would be half as good!
    Robin and Jenny
    Romany Rambler

    1. Hi Jenny, great to hear from you and thanks so much for your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

  5. Thanks Shellie, all lovely but I particularly like the one featuring the contrast of the darker pines.
    Gail Mullon
    (Twizel Artist)

    1. Hi Gail, thanks for taking the time to comment. I liked that one too, you are very lucky to have such a wonderful landscape to inspire you.

  6. Again, some lovely photos... some don't even look real! The contrasting pine shot is my favourite. I must admit, I was waiting for that Bride photo too! :)

    1. Thanks, I knew I should have taken that bride photo, you are about the 10th person who has told me they wanted to see it. And that pine shot is also a favourite of many. Glad you enjoyed them.


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