Evening twilight over Mt Taranaki, view from Tongaporutu Beach

I took this photograph late in the winter of 2001, during one of my regular visits to Tongaporutu. Although I was hoping for clear conditions when I arrived, this particular day had started off cloudy and rather indifferent with a thin, misty haze whiting out the views along the coast. It wasn’t particularly inspiring from a photographic perspective, and so my camera gear had remained packed in its bag for much of the time.

Towards the end of the afternoon, however, a weak southerly change passed through, calming the sea and sweeping the sky clean of cloud as the afternoon waned. Up until I’d noticed the southerly approaching I had been thinking about heading off for the day, but once I realised things were changing I decided to linger for a while longer to see what sunset might bring. This viewpoint from the clifftops overlooking the Tongaporutu River mouth offers a stunning vista of the coast south towards Mt Taranaki and the adjacent Pouakai Range, and so I headed up here to wait for the sunset.

Most times I find that a sunset without cloud is nothing too special, albeit nice – from a photographic perspective I normally prefer some cloud to be in the picture as well to add a bit of texture and colour to the sky. However, as the sun dipped below the horizon on this particular evening the twilight colours in the now-empty sky were particularly vivid – perhaps this unusual clarity was something to do with the newly-arrived, dry wind that blew coldly from the south. Whatever the reason, it was well worth hanging around for. I sat and watched in silence as the sun disappeared, waited momentarily for the twilight sky to deepen in colour, then took this photograph just a few minutes before the display faded into the night.

Sunrise at Castlepoint

View south from Maunganui Bluff

Pingao on dunes, 90 Mile Beach

Evening twilight over Rangitoto Island

Coastal cliffs, Tongaporutu

Piha, West Auckland

Pingao, Mangawhai Heads, Northland

Castlepoint Lighthouse at sunrise

Coastal cliffs at sunset, Tongaporutu

Australasian gannets, Muriwai

Sand dune, 90 Mile Beach

Twilight over Mt Taranaki

Pools at low tide, Oakura Beach

Waves on rocks, 90 Mile Beach

Australasian gannet colony, Muriwai

Wreck of the "Gairloch", Oakura Beach

Sunrise over Rangitoto Island