The Untamed Waterfall

Koropuku Falls, New Zealand, March 30th, 2015

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Koropuku Falls, New Zealand, March 30th, 2015

Some men hunt lions. Some hunt leopards. Some hunt buffalo, and some hunt bears. But I, my friends, hunt a creature more wild and wily then all those beasts. You see, I hunt the untamed waterfall. My quest to capture this particular beast began on dreary day where the clouds hung low and heavy in the sky, spitting and spurting rain in fitful bouts. My faithful guide indicated a rough and rugged track down which the falls had often been sighted. And so, with my coat drawn tight about me to afford some protection from the elements, I plunged into the bush. The path was narrow and grasping ferns clawed at me from all sides with their wet fingers, every brushing encounter soaking my clothes anew. After some minutes of tramping -more like constant leaping to avoid the omnipresent pools of quickmud that threatened to swallow my boots with every misplaced step- I began a steady ascent and soon saw unmistakable signs that my prey was close at hand: splashes of raw wetness on every rock and branch, the strong pungent smell of moss soaked in moisture, and most exciting and frightening of all: the low bass rumble of the falls itself. Despite the treacherous path the fluttering of my heart forced me forward and suddenly, without any warning, I saw the falls through the bush. It was just a glance but the raw power of the thing was still enough to make me shiver. I creeped forward, slowly, carefully as to not disturb the beautiful beast where she lay, fat and slumbering, after gorging herself on a recent rainfall. Sneaking around to her left I eased my camera from my satchel and fired off a quick shot. Alas! A miss! I had struck the falls but failed to hit her heart. This would require more careful aim. I found a precarious perch nestled amongst the slippery, moss covered logs which the falls had ingested and disgorged in some meal gone by. I hoped it was not a tragic omen to be standing on the bones of the fall’s previous snacks, but I cast my doubts aside as I knew it was my only chance to capture this beautiful creature. This time I took more careful aim and fired a shot I knew would strike true. Straight to her heart! A hard earned but well fought trophy!

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Captain, Klingons are Approaching

McLean Falls, New Zealand, May 12th, 2015

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at McLean Falls, New Zealand, May 12th, 2015

Plants never cease to amaze me. That some seed or spore was able to alight on this tiny precipice and put down roots is incredible. But to do it, to grow, and to flourish under the constantly onslaught of a waterfall is nothing short of astounding.

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McLean Falls, The Catlins, New Zealand

McLean Falls, The Catlins, New Zealand

 
Taken at McLean Falls in the Catlins, South Island, New Zealand on April 28th, 2012

The Catlins in New Zealand are famous for three things: wildlife, a storm-dashed coast, and waterfalls. And if you explore the area around the tiny hamlet of Curio Bay, you’re bound to see all three. At the very end of a photo trip to New Zealand, I hit the Catlins for a bit of R&R -after all, I had just spent the previous three weeks driving like a maniac all over the South Island, shooting, hiking, and exploring. Now it was time to relax before heading back to the States. Or so I thought. The lure of seeing a beautiful waterfall was too great a temptation for me so on the afternoon before I flew home, I hiked out to McLean Falls to snap this shot.

McLean Falls, New Zealand

McLean Falls, The Catlins, New Zealand

Taken at McLean Falls in the Catlins, South Island, New Zealand on April 28th, 2012

The Catlins in New Zealand are famous for three things: wildlife, a storm-dashed coast, and waterfalls. And if you explore the area around the tiny hamlet of Curio Bay, you’re bound to see all three. At the very end of a photo trip to New Zealand, I hit the Catlins for a bit of R&R -after all, I had just spent the previous three weeks driving like a maniac all over the South Island, shooting, hiking, and exploring. Now it was time to relax before heading back to the States. Or so I thought. The lure of seeing a beautiful waterfall was too great a temptation for me so on the afternoon before I flew home, I hiked out to McLean Falls to snap this shot.

Nugget Point

Nugget Point sunset, The Catlins, New Zealand

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken at Nugget Point in the Catlins, New Zealand, on October 16th, 2007

It almost didn’t sound worth visiting. The guidebook described Nugget Point something like “a few large rocks in the water, and nearby there’s a spot where you have a small chance of seeing some wildlife.” Hardly enticing, I thought, and was ready to pass by altogether. But my travel partner was intrigued by the chance of seeing penguins and albatross and so convinced me we should check the place out.

Driving down the long dirt road to Nugget Point I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once we arrived it was more than clear that we had made the right decision to come. Those “large rocks” the guidebook mentioned were actually a series of gargantuan seastacks stretching out toward the horizon. The sense of depth and space they created was simply breathtaking, and I’ll remember this as one of the most beautiful ocean views I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Of course, it didn’t hurt that long, textured clouds rolled in in the afternoon, creating one of the top five sunsets I’ve ever experienced.

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