Our last morning in Takaka and we decided not to wake up for sunrise, the bad weather blowing in overnight and the lack of good location nearby did not grant us much hope. Instead, we hit the road early and made our way towards Kaikoura.
We were on a bit of a side mish to try and find something to clean our cameras with. The fine dust around farewell spit combined with the wind had not ended well...
In Nelson we were led down the google path to a closed camera supplies store, never mind won't be getting it here! After a pitstop, we kept going through to Blenheim. It is funny how different the scenery around Nelson is depending on the tides. Rodney always makes fun of the time he asked me whether there is ever any water around Nelson or when high tide was and I replied, "I don't know, I live/d in Blenheim, google it." This is going back some years before we knew each other well.
The windy roads over to Blenheim were not my friend. (I forgot about this part of the trip on the way to Takaka until now) Luckily I had pre-empted it and picked up some gingernuts to soothe me for the rest of the trip. Not that I get properly sick, just enough to be uncomfortable, but the cookies do the trick.
In Blenheim, we stopped only for lunch and McDs, but if I recall rightly I didn't eat anything (due to previously mentioned loss of appetite plus snacking on gingernuts). As much as I think there is some great potential in Blenheim for images, we weren't there in good lighting. It is another location to plan a trip to and make the most of the vineyards and hills!
We stopped in at Ward beach on our way through. It was a very short stop as I discovered the toilet there was only good if you're a male (BYO TP... WTF?) Since I needed to go, we left.
We got to Kaikoura super early and saw a signpost for a lavender farm, something on our photography bucket list. We took the detour, all good adventures begin with a detour!
Lavendyl - Kaikoura's Lavender Farm - http://www.lavenderfarm.co.nz/
The farm itself was a bit smaller and more overgrown than expected, not the tidy little lavender bushes we were hoping for, but we made the most of it and spent a decent amount of time there.
Next, I switched lenses to start playing with my depth of field and getting some pretty flower shots. Here are a few I really like.
There were hundreds of bees attracted to the lavender so of course, we were chasing them with our camera! I don't actually think having so many subjects to choose from made it any easier though, and led to busy backgrounds in places. I think I'll keep trying (of course).
The next one is a technique they call "intentional camera movement". It gives a nice painted feel to the photo and focuses more on the emotion of an image rather than the subject matter. I just thought I would try it out since there was a nice combination of lines and colours plus a gentle breeze to add some cross movement.
That's the end of our adventure at the lavender farm. I had finished the loop and got the pics I wanted for the day so after having a look for Rodney at the end and at the start and not being able to find him I guessed he was still off having fun somewhere and decided to wait for him back at the shop/carpark, you know, the logical place to wait... Little did I know that he was waiting for me somewhere in the middle - he didn't even realise that the farm was a loop! LOL! Here I was trying to be considerate and not cut his time short just 'cos I was finished and he was on the other side of the farm doing the same thing. Doh!
Dinner @ Allure Cafe
Next, we sorted dinner from Allure Cafe, being the only place I could find in Kaikoura that had chicken dishes for takeaways. Unfortunately, they were all bone-in pieces so I opted for a fillet burger - it was okay but I wouldn't order it again. I remembered dining at Allure before and it being okay, they used to have a schnitzel on the menu but not any more. The art on the wall was interesting, local artists I presume.
On the hunt for sunset...
We started heading towards the mountains as there were three matching ones grouped together which would make a cool image if you could get close enough. Rodney took us down random roads, dirt tracks leading to who knows where. We didn't have much luck finding a location for sunset but we did stop and take photos and I ended up with probably one of my favourites for the trip.
After giving up on that route, we headed towards the beach. Sunset produced a weird glow of colour produced from the Australian wildfire smoke. Could have been really good but the colour just did not come out. I was borrowing Rodney's adjustable filter as wasn't happy with my 10 stop one, finding it too dark, but didn't have much luck with his one either. Nevermind, we were heading through Christchurch the next day and had already made mental plans to buy a new one...
Accommodation for the night - Airbnb - Studio 729
Our accom for the night was at Studio 728 in Kaikoura, which was nice and tidy and comfortable, and after I fixed the wi-fi connection we had reliable internet again! The shower was good and the unit was mostly private, only other people around were the one adjoined unit. Would stay there again (and good thing as we were staying there again in a few nights' time).
The highlight of the day was definitely the lavender farm - even more so now that I have played with the images and found some that I really like.