New Zealand 3: Wanaka

comments 23
Landscape / New Zealand / Photo Log / Photography / Sunset


June 21, 2018, Wanaka and Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. You can’t go to the South Island of New Zealand without going to Wanaka and getting your own shot the famed lone willow. Here’s mine. Water: Mirror flat. Late-afternoon sky: Entertaining. Tree: Noble.

Gary and Don showed us shots they made just a week earlier when the water was all the way up to the base of the trunk. Conditions change fast.


Just before dinner we went to Glendhu Bay on Lake Wanaka for sunset. No clouds but no one was heartbroken. It was sun star day, so there you go. No extra charge.

One of the peaks — the one to the left of the sun I believe — is Mount Aspiring. Our guide, Steve Norris, told us it is the twenty-third highest mountain in New Zealand. I asked him what it was aspiring to be. He said it was aspiring to be the twenty-second highest.

Now you know the rest of the story.

(Nikon D850; Tamron SP 24–70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. In three days it’ll be one year since you took this picture. Does at least part of you wish you could be back there this Friday to celebrate the anniversary in person? You followed in a long tradition. I’d read about and seen photos of that tree but didn’t know it’s in Glendhu Bay and so never went there, even though we spent a night in Wanaka.

    When I followed your Trips & Tramps link and saw Caitlin Chew, my morning mind thought she was going to be listed as being in charge of chow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A huge part of me wants to pick up lock stock and barrel and move to New Zealand! The tree is actually in the town of Wanaka itself. The sunset was from Glendhu Bay. Steve Norris is the owner of Trips & Tramps and he is an amazing person. Extremely knowledgeable. Great sense of humor as well. We stayed in hotels and they handled the chow. (Oops. My morning mind didn’t get the pun.)


    • Thank you. Very fortunate to have these conditions. The following morning was supposedly going to be the formal shoot. But the weather was gray on gray on gray.


  2. I’m nuts for the first photo, Michael! 🙂 What’s not to love? The branches made the most wonderful calligraphy, and the sky and water complemented it. If you were tempted to include the entire reflection, which I would have been, I’m glad you didn’t, and instead darkened the lower part of the frame a little. It works perfectly! The rest of the story was fun…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is why the tree is such a favorite subject to anyone who comes to New Zealand. And that particular day the water level was so low that we were starting to get dirt and mud much lower than the bottom of the frame. So mother nature sort of made that decision for me. If you Google Wanaka Willow you’re going to see amazing photographs done by other people.


      • I see what you mean…. way too popular, with wedding photos and a climber breaking a limb. I like what you did with the conditions you encountered better than almost any of the photos I saw on a Google image search.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much. That’s the drawback of being a tourist in a group on a schedule: you get the conditions you get. First afternoon was quite good. Following morning was disappointing. (Climber breaking a limb. Sacrilege.)

        Liked by 1 person

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