Pingao on dunes near Te Paki Stream, 90 Mile Beach, Northland
Much of my time out photographing tends to be spent waiting: waiting for the right weather, waiting for the right light, perhaps even just waiting for a single cloud to move a bit before Im ready to hit the shutter button. In general I prefer winter trips, mainly because the sun is less harsh then and so Im not faced with a long wait through the middle of the day as is often the case in summer. However, sometimes a long wait through a summers day is just the ticket, especially if Ive been on the go for a few days and am feeling in need of a break for a few hours.
Such was the case when I visited the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach in early December 2006, near the summer solstice and right in the middle of the harshest part of the year as far as sunshine goes. While the early mornings and late evenings suited the particular kind of photography I was here for, it also meant that I had anything up to eight hours through the middle part of the day where the sun was just too high and too strong for photography. These hours were instead rather pleasantly passed on the beach by listening to the car radio, a swim or two in the sea, dozing in the shade, and a few short walks to seek out places to come back to later on when the light was better.
By evening the light was once again soft and mellow and the sun low enough to throw enough shadows to make photographs come to life, so it was the perfect time to head into the sand dunes near Te Paki Stream for a look around. This small scattering of Pingao caught my eye about two kilometres in from the beach, high up on the face of one of the many massive dunes that rise above Te Paki Stream.