This is the first shot of my latest five week New Zealand South Island landscape photo travel. It was a risky shooting on a rock platform at low tide on a West Coast beach just below a 100 m vertical rock cliff. The tidal hub in this area is about 3.5 m and access to this sea stack coastline is only possible at low tide as at high tide the waves are crashing ashore. Even at low tide a few waves of the swell out at sea are high enough to completely flood the rock platform with water levels rising up waist-deep. Escaping from the rock platform is not possible in these cases as the waters surrounds the rock platform fast and rises beyond a depth of 2 m along the beach. These conditions make the shooting at this location freakily adventurous but its well worth it! The area is crowded by bright orange starfish up to 35 cm in diameter, called Stichaster australis, which feed on the mussel beds, usually horse mussels. The channels between the rock platforms almost fall dry in between the waves. So the long exposure allows shooting at the moment the next high wave comes in leaving a ghostly appearance of the water rushing through the channels and finally flooding the whole area. Being out there at dusk and dawn for about the week that coincided with low tide was an unforgettable experience. At three occasions during this period I was rewarded with beautiful light situations while the starfish are truly the stars of the scenery.

April 2013
Canon 5D MkII, Canon L 16-35 mm, f/16, 6 sec, ISO 100, tripod

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