Arrow Rock | Nelson, NZ

Sometimes the most interesting landscape shots are a combination of several critical factors; a perfect storm coming together at the right time. Call it serendipity if you like, or attribute it to careful planning and research.

Here, I needed low tide to access the beach; timing this with the Blue Hour, which provided some colour in the sky; no wind so the ocean was flat, and artificial light to illuminate the rock itself.

Fifeshire (or Arrow) Rock was named after two immigrant ships which scraped over this conspicuous outcrop circa 1842, when beginning the colony of Nelson.

The rock makes for a solid focal point, but because it is back lit by the setting sun, it is usually a black silhouette. Fortunately, the local council have installed a floodlight, which illuminates Arrow Rock, along with the phosphorescent street lamps. (I'm sure the resident shag colony don't approve).

Compositionally, I have employed the Rule of Thirds to place the rock off-centre, and the horizon near the top. If the sunset was striking, I may have placed the horizon further down, but in this case, it was the reflections I wished to feature.

Settings:

Aperture: f/11 | Shutter Speed: 2 seconds | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 106mm Canon 5D MarkII on Manfrotto 190X PRO B tripod.

YouTube Tutorial: HOW TO SHOOT THE BLUE HOUR View the video and understand how Ray got these amazing shots.

It always pays to be at your location AN HOUR EARLY. This allows time to scout for the ultimate composition, and stops you rushing (and making silly mistaks).

As they say... Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

In the shot above, I was rewarded for being early. I hid behind the rock, then waited for the setting sun's rays to break through - without dominating the seascape. A tiny aperture of f/32 created a striking sun-star effect.

Settings:

Aperture: f/32 | Shutter Speed: 1/20th second | ISO: 100 | Focal Length: 127mm Canon 5D MarkIII on Manfrotto 190X PRO B tripod.

YouTube Tutorial: HOW TO SHOOT THE BLUE HOUR View the video and understand how Ray got these amazing shots.

Keyword: landscape photography south island nz, new zealand landscape photography

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