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Best Kept Secret | Tunnel Beach, Otago

The city of Dunedin is surrounded with spectacular coastal scenery. Local landscapers are spoiled for choice. Just a few clicks south of the city, Tunnel Beach is, perhaps, the best of them all. This is a primal place which exudes raw beauty. The pounding Pacific collides with towering cliff faces.

The city founder's son, John Cargill, owned this land. For his daughter's birthday present, he had a contractor dig a narrow tunnel through the headland. This accessed a small sandy cove, where his girl could bathe away from the crowded beach at St Clair. Legend has it that she drowned here, in an ironic twist of fate.

When we arrived, the feeble winter sun had not [ see above ].

I fitted an ND Grad filter to my lens, to tame the bright sky, and a timer remote cable so I could trigger the shutter exactly when the waves slammed into the rocks. Still images don't do this place justice, so I blurred the seething whitewater a bit to show some motion.

Our patience was finally rewarded when the chiselled cliff faces were lit up, and the clouds dissipated. Compare the shadowed scene above with the sunlit one below. What a difference the sun makes, saturating the colours of the land, painting the topography in 3D.

But also notice that I moved my position, 10 metres to the left. The best rule of composition is to USE YOUR FEET. By doing this, my photograph is better balanced and more interesting. What do you think? [ Comment below ]

In post, I chose a base layer, then using Layer Masking, added 3 different wave splashes to add drama to the composition.


You can watch us shoot these photos on YouTube : EPISODE NINE | Tunnel Beach & New Brighton Pier. Or follow me as I process these exact same images in Photoshop. Enroll in the ultimate landscape masterclass, LOCATIONZ.


Settings: Aperture: f/8 | Shutter Speed: 2 seconds | ISO: 100 | Focal length: 17mmCanon 5D Mk3, using NiSi 4-stop ND Graduated Filter and V5 kit [ Click to see video review ]

[ If camera settings are still confusing, enroll in my Discover Your DSLR course ]

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

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