This simple, moody abstract is a long exposure in north Taranaki, further north from Turangi Rd (my previous post). The view is from a small headland, looking down on a tide-washed sill above a bouldery seabed. A small aperture (unrecorded) was used primarily to extend the exposure, rather than the depth of field, although this was probably helped too, given the limited focus inherent in a telephoto lens on a 6×7 Pentax. I had enjoyed camping here with my sisters and friends at New Year’s Eve 1980 but had not been back for 30 years. This second visit I was surprised to see the old foreshore road had disappeared completely, and much else besides. Another visit now, ten years later, would no doubt show further erosion.
This is a companion piece to my post from December 2010, of a seascape taken from the same position:
This unusual view at Turangi Road was an obvious candidate for monochrome. I like the four textures so suggestive of Taranaki: the skinny macrocarpas, corrugated iron, long tufts of hardy kikuyu grass and the Michael Smither-like stones and boulders. The sky was grey and cloudy behind. This scene will have eroded more since, as the mudstone coast is disappearing with surprising speed. Here however the face suggests an old riverbed, one which drained the mountain. The shed belongs to an old house now threatened by cliff collapse. The state of the tide prevented a longer view, and a wide angle lens was required, along with a balancing act atop a boulder, the only elevation available.
This uncommon view of Mt Taranaki from the roadside at Kaimiro required a careful climb on to my car roof with the heavy Pentax 6×7 and tripod in hand, as I wanted the mountain to show well above the roofline. Elevated viewpoints so often improve a shot and sometimes I had a stepladder on board for this purpose, although nowadays a closed tripod held above the head will do instead (misaligned digital shots carry no cost).
In composition terms the macrocarpas interrupt the mirrored forms and make up for the lack of interesting cloud. Strong texture is added to form by the twilight reflecting off the ribbed steel. I usually give my monochromes a tint and this involves converting the scanned image to RGB and mixing the three colour values to my satisfaction. I then add vibrancy and sometimes saturation.
Winter turns to spring (in the southern hemisphere, that is) and my thoughts turn to summer, when I will re-visit this favourite place with friends – but not with the 6×7 Pentax SLR that I used here. Of course the roll film in the big camera did not have a digital stamp on it, but the lightweight LX3 Lumix I had along did. The two types of camera could hardly be more contrasting, but I have not used either for some years – nor I have been back to this memorable scene since.
The view looks northeast over half-buried nikau palms to the southern buttresses of the impressive limestone escarpment known as Luna. The steep dune (foreground), former wetland drained by a meandering stream and distant talus slope below Luna (with tiny sheep) sum up Kaihoka’s great range of landscape. My forays into monochrome are only occasional but I enjoy the medium, whose success depends so much on texture. I feel sure this image – freshly processed after ten years “in the can” – meets that requirement.