North Island Images : Cathedral Cove

Sail Rock dominates the skyline of Cathedral Cove

Sail Rock dominates the skyline of Cathedral Cove

Nearest access town : Hahei – carpark is at the end of Grange Rd on the edge of town

Access to location: 10 minutes jog, 20 minutes brisk walk, 40 minute amble – excellent path, steps.

Tide considerations: Access is to Mares Leg Cove with access to Cathedral cove a few hours either side of low tide.

Time of day: Beach faces ENE . Good for direct light at dawn and subtle hues at dusk.

Cathedral cove map

About the area: The walk to Cathedral cove starts with spectacular views of all of the coves along the way . They do seem much closer to the eye from the viewing platform than they actually are. Gemstone bay and Stingray bay are both great locations , particularly Stingray bay at low tide. Between Stingray bay and Cathedral cove is a grassy path to the Northern tip of Stingray bay. There are amazing top down views from here but only one precarious photographic vantage point free of obstruction. Mares Leg cove and Cathedral cove are joined by Cathedral cave. Be sure to walk the entire length of the beach at Cathedral cove as the appearance of Sail Rock changes dramatically depending on the vantage point. In the summer months, there will be almost no direct sun facing the coast due to its orientation hence and strongly front lit shot are best done in the winter months up to the equinox.

Pre and post editing

Pre and post editing

About the image: This was taken at dusk with a 10 stop ND filter. At the time, clouds were moving rapidly over head with subtle pink light from the sunset behind the cliffs. The tide was a midtide with little foreground interest in this orientation which was chosen for the direction of cloud movement. The Lee big stopper has a terrible blue/cyan tinge which needs heavy correction in post processing. This involves a correction of white balance several thousand degrees warmer and a hue shift to magenta of 20-30 in ACR. Even so, I have found that correcting white balance for separate parts of the image in separately exported files is the best way to go about finding the right balance. There was a little noise in the image which was dealt with in the foreground using a horizontal motion blur to accentuate the smoothness of the water (which is naturally green). Local contrast enhancements were done in luminosity mode to bring out the detail in the rock.

Good luck with the conditions there! We didn’t get any real stunning sunsets or sunrises but tried to adapt!



Posted on November 6, 2014, in How we..., New Zealand, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Nice work – and thanks for detailing some of your PP work as well. I’d be intrigued if you could elaborate on “correcting white balance for separate parts of the image in separately exported files” – do you mean you imported the same RAW multiple times, adjusted w/ different white balance values and then blended the resulting JPGs as needed?



  2. Nice post, you share great information, i also share your post with our friends
    Thanks for sharing this !!

  3. Keith Williams, Whitehorse, Yukon

    Brilliant Dylan. I often wondered how you achieved those signature DT colours in your landscapes, (thought maybe the sky was always pink/magenta in NZ 🙂 ) It’s good that you shared what you do, and I’m guessing this is probably how Marc Adamus gets his signature tones. I think an exceptionally gifted photographer will share processing techniques and exif data freely, feeling unthreatened and knowing that it’s mostly about the vision and the photo, not so much the technical side, which is icing on the cake. Not sure how I got here, but thanks so much, I was looking at ‘blend if” techniques to handle exposure tones.

    • Thanks Keith! Sorry for the late replies. Our influences for photography come from all over the place and Adamus is a major one. We have resisted using the same techniques of other photographers in order to keep our processing at least a little different 🙂 Given the choice of green v magenta, I usually reduce the green channel , the skies in NZ are just like anywhere else hehe 😉

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