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Point Taken | Castlepoint Lighthouse

There are two ways to approach planning your photography trips: Book accommodation well in advance, and accept whatever happens with the weather, good or bad.

  1. Go during winter when there are less tourists. Then you can book accommodation the day before, and travel to locations that promise suitable weather. You are then free to shoot to your heart's content, with more days of good weather but less traffic.

By planning spontaneously, we managed to enjoy clear weather at Castlepoint, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. Three days of photography bliss.

Castlepoint Lighthouse at dawn

Camera Settings: Canon EOS 5D MkIII | f/11 | ISO 100 | 3 exposures blended


The image above was shot at sunrise on a windless, winter morning. Because I was shooting into the light, the foreground was very dark. So, I bracketed a series of 3 exposures to capture the high dynamic range in this scene. Later, in Photoshop, I used Luminosity Masks to blend the 3 photos together.

The image below was shot later the same day, during the Golden Hour. However, a mild breeze messed up the reflection in the pond. ND filters to the rescue! By using a 6-stop ND filter to slow the shutter speed, the ripples in the water were 'averaged out', creating a stronger reflection.

Check out the exact filters I use here: NiSi filter gear review | Youtube movie

Camera Settings: Canon EOS 5D MkIII | f/11 | 30 secs | ISO 100 | 27mm | 4 exposures


Q) Do you prefer the dawn, or dusk image? Please leave a comment below this blog.

If you want to see how I set up these shots - step by step - watch my Behind The Scenes tutorial on YouTube:

Caslepoint Dawn & Dusk | How to shoot the Golden Hour Or... follow along with me as I processes my best images in Photoshop. Enroll in the landscape masterclass, LOCATIONZ where you can fast-track your own photography journey, saving years of mucking around.


Keywords: landscape photography north island nz, new zealand landscape photography, wilderness, castlepoint, lighthouse, nz, south island nz, wairarapa

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