Located on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, the Moeraki Boulders are a tourist magnet, particularly at sunrise. Visit during the warmer months of summer, and you will be jostling in a crowd. But in winter you can sleep in til 6am, and still be first on the scene. Actually, in Maori language, Moeraki means = sleepy skies.
Timing is critical to achieving successful landscape photos. So, I planned to visit this location when dawn coincided with full tide. Shooting into the light, the round concretions became black silhouettes, floating in a flat ocean. However, my Hi-Tech ND filter created an ugly magenta colour cast, which, in my view, ruined the shot.
It dawned on me (excuse the pun), to look over my shoulder. The warm light of the Golden Hour was illuminating the beach and shoreline. I decided to find a creative composition, rather than the tried-and-true.
So, in the image below, I have repeated the circular shapes of the five boulders in the curvy shoreline. Repetition is a key element of good design. It was also important to give each boulder its own space, (so they didn't appear to touch.)
A final consideration, when repeating similar objects, is The Rule of Odds. Using three main boulders (not two, or four), seems to give this image a pleasing balance.
Sometimes, less is more. Here is a solitary spherical boulder. Again, shooting at 90 degrees to the sun, this side-lighting creates the illusion of 3D form.
This image is a blend of two exposures, and utilises a simple HDR technique to bring out the textures in the shadows.
View the video of this on YouTube:
LOCATIONZ EPISODE 5 | Moeraki Boulders - lessons on composition
[ Hey, if camera settings are confusing for you, enroll in my Discover Your DSLR course ]
Keyword: landscape photography south island nz, new zealand landscape photography