New Zealand 5: Lake Pukaki

comments 21
Impressionism / Landscape / New Zealand / Photo Log / Photography


June 25, 2018, Peter’s Lookout, Mount Cook Road, New Zealand. Lake Pukaki is fed by the runoff of two glaciers. The fine silt in the runoff, known as glacial flour, makes the water turquoise. Take a look at satellite photos of the Southern Island and it will stick out like a turquois thumb. We stopped for a lunch break on the way to Lake Tasman and fed our stomachs and our cameras. These two photos were taken exactly an hour apart.

The first, above, looks east — straight across the lake toward Mount Dobson.

(There is a northward view in my Betterists post.)

_DSC1863_DxO11 FCBlog

This second shot looks southeast in the direction of Grays Hills, the Grampian Mountains, the Dalgety Range, and the Kirkliston Range.

Conventional wisdom has one put something in the foreground in landscape photography. I am not conventionally wise. Rather than attempting to create a third dimension, I was going for a two-dimensional feel. Sort of like my ocean horizons, but with landscapes. Vaguely impressionist, but not.

(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. I felt the emphasis on two dimensions before reading your text. I especially resonate to the horizontality of the first image and all the layers running across the lake, the land, and the sky.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. IMHO “conventional wisdom” doesn’t apply to the landscapes of the Mackenzie and Central Otago – they’re big, wide, expansive landscapes and horizontal layers help get that perspective across to the viewer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Non-conventional is just as appropriate in photography as the other kind. If one wants to showcase a subject there are many ways to do so and the lack of a foreground doesn’t negate value. Both of these images prove that point.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I especially like the sense of simultaneous flows in the first image: water, land, and clouds apparently moving to the right, with the mountain as impassive observer. It reminded me of a haiku I once wrote but haven’t featured, being a little short on mountains around here:

    Unmoved, the mountain
    rises over human pain
    waves wash and recede

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many thanks, Linda. The clouds and the water ripples were moving to the right, in fact. This made the alternating bands of light and dark even more apparent. I saw Mount Dobson “Watching the whole thing come down in harmony” as Taj Mahal said fifty years ago.

      I love your haiku.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I totally get what you’re talking about with creating a two dimensional look, and you did it so nicely. I prefer the second shot – I think it feels even flatter, which I really like, even though it’s less symmetrical. The mountain comes forward more, the water recedes, it’s all in the same plane. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks again. I agree with you. Strange thing is, for a long time I preferred the top shot, and now I prefer the bottom shot. I’ve had a chance to live with them both a while and sometimes that’s what it takes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Looking at the photos fill me with joy and calmness. This is utterly beautiful, both scenes. It’s hard to pick a favourite, so I’ll just enjoy masterly captured landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. That is the intended effect, and I am glad to see that it works. It is interesting that the top photograph was my first choice for a long time, but the second photograph has gradually crept up on me and now seems to be the favorite.

      Liked by 1 person

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