The Many Faces of Mt Egmond
This morning I wake up at 07:05 hours, but I am still quite tired. Now, the fight begins again which I win almost every day but do lose sometimes. Today I lose. I can not get myself ready to leave the warm comfortable bed. First the positives, ‘sunrise Mt Egmond will be great’, ‘you are here now, so get out’, followed by the excuses ‘the sun has already risen’, ‘most probably clouds will obscure it’. Unbelievable, how creative your mind can be at these time, just to make sure you stay just long enough in your bed, that it does not matter anymore.
The most important point against going out is that I am lacking a plan. Driving around at random around sunrise, looking for a good sunrise location, fails more often than not. I stay in my bed for another half hour and finally manage to kick myself out.
Yesterday I have seen two postcards with good locations to shoot from, a pond and the park. The sun has been above the horizon for one hour already, but the light is still ok. On the road to New Plymouth I suddenly notica a brown signpost with the name of the pond. I enter this little area and indeed you can shoot some nice ones from here.
Sunrise would not work here very well, because all the trees would be in shade at the time. I skip the other location, the park, because it will be comparable most probably.
I drive a towards the mountain, searching for a location with a more open view, like farmland. In the direction of the forest I have been yesterday I find a place close to what I am looking for. I position my tripod in the farmland, but keep myself on this side of the fence. I move the tripod back towards me sticking one of legs through the fence, to be able to look through the viewfinder.
Completely unexpected, I am hit by an electric shock. JAIIIKS, the fence is electrified! I try to free the tripod from the fence wiring and by rocking it, it comes lose before I am hit by the next one. Luckily for me I did not climb over the fence myself, otherwise the family jewels most probably would have suffered a direct hit.
The summit is nicely contrasted against the blue sky.
From the car I shoot a last one, to capture the fence that almost ‘killed’ me.
I continue on a road that is getting more narrow and finally ends at a farm. I am welcomed by a happy farmer’s wife and her two dogs. ‘Whether I know that I am on private property?’. Nope, did not see that one coming. But they (the farmer as well apparently) really like getting company, so I am allowed to take some photographs. She tells me I can walk a bit further through their land to the forest, but I do not feel like going there. It will be much the same as I have seen already. I appologise for trespassing, but my excuses are waived away. Finally I have the photograph I have been looking for: Mt Egmond with a grassy foreground.
Then I start driving south, constantly looking for photo opportunities. For the time being I focus on Dawson Falls. The road flows through the forest that covers the slopes of Mt Egmond.
The light stays good quite unexpectedly and the mountain itself becomes even more attractive on the south side. The reasons for this are that there is more snow around the summit and the top itself has a more distinct shape.
The top is under a steel blue sky, but clouds are already materialising. I stay for a while on the parking lot, waiting for these moments that everything is properly illuminated by the sun.
Meanwhile I am shoving a Subway Footlong Chicken inside. After a while, the trees are also basking in warm sunlight.
Slowly, more clouds come into being and weird enough they al seem to float towards the mountain. I focus my attention on the top itself. A nice detail is the warmly lighted little ridge left from the crater edge.
Until around 10:30 I can still shoot some decent photographs.
After that, the light becomes really ugly and the top is shrouded by a cloud layer, as is usually the case.
I walk back along the road to the waterfall and soon I am getting a feeling of deja vu. I have been here before. It already looked familiar while I was driving to this place. It must have been during my first trip to New Zealand, that I have been here. After 600 meters, I arrive at the waterfall but soon I am certain, nothing is going to happen here. Back to the car I go.
The Lord of the Rings – Rivendell
Now all photo opportunities are exhausted here and I commence a long drive again (as it seems) to Wellington for the ferry to the South Island.
Soon, I am certain that I will not manage today. It takes some 3 hours to get to the other island and I really want to see the ferrying. I can manage to be in time for the late ferry, but then I will not be able to see anything and have to start looking for a motel on the other side after 23:00.
In the hours following, I stop two times. The first one is at a Beech forest, but that one is far from spectacular. The second one is nice though. Among other things there is a film location of The Lord of the Rings (Rivendell).
I have to scramble from a 5 meter vertical drop off, to get to the pebble beach.
Finally at the beach there is not that much to see. It feels special to be on an actual film location, but everything has been restored to its original state and there is nothing left behind.
I really would like to see the The Lord of the Rings movie once again, only to see whether or not I recognise this location.
Apart from the film location, there are a couple of forest walks of which I do one. This again is rain forest, so many ferns, liana’s and old trees.
Some roots have peculiar forms and snake along the forest floor before diving underground.
Finally, I find a motel in Upper Hutt some 30 kilometers from Wellington. I book the ferry by telephone, for tomorrow morning 08:25.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file gpx file here.