Driftwood dreamscape

The first time I saw this beach, more than 20 years ago, I fell in love with it, and I have revisited it as often as has been possible, probably around ten times by now. It lies very close to the small airport on the outskirts of the small city of Wanganui (wahn-gah-NOO- ee) on the southwestern coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Wanganui Beach 6231I have good friends who live very close to Wanganui and, shortly after my arrival in the country (in fact, on the same day), I traveled down from Auckland to visit them. I requested an outing to the beach and they were happy to fulfill the wish.

Wanganui Beach 6226It has not only a happy mixture of black (volcanic) sand and lighter (shell) sand, which have different densities and form wonderful patterns in the prevailing winds, but also a very impressive natural collection of driftwood, which is always changing as a result of varying sea and weather conditions.

Wanganui Beach 6228I hope someday to be able to catch it on a really foggy day but, for this trip, I was very happy to have an overcast sky rather than bright sun and deep, sharp shadows.

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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30 Responses to Driftwood dreamscape

  1. Vicki says:

    Welcome back to the Blogasphere Gary.

    Your images reveal what looks like a very interesting beach. The final image of the beautifully shaped lines on the driftwood would certainly draw my eye. No wonder you love it so much. I imagine it would look rather eery on a foggy day.

  2. Jeff Sinon says:

    Great photos Gary. I really like them all. The second one makes me think of bones.

  3. Dan Traun says:

    Beautiful scenes; love the color of the sand.

  4. seekraz says:

    Very nice, Gary…I find that black sand to be compelling…and what a treasure of driftwood….

  5. lauramacky says:

    It looks like velvet.

  6. I envy you this trip, Gary. Three nice images and I really like the first. Those are great clouds on an overcast day and add a lot of mood.

    • krikitarts says:

      I was very grateful for their presence. I’ve been to this beach in high summer before, and when the sun shines unhindered on that black sand, you wouldn’t believe the temperatures it can generate. Care is needed even with good shoes, and under such conditions, fllip-flops (very popular here–they call them jandals) are not an option. Apart from the photogenic qualities of these clouds, when I’m out and about with a camera (which is most of the time), given a choice, I’ll take an overcast day every time.

  7. Adrian Lewis says:

    Hi, Gary, good to see you back! Good pictures, especially the top and bottom ones – the latter gets my mono hormones moving! Hope your arm is mending well. I’ve had a very minor operation on my nose and recovery seems well under way so far. Adrian

    • krikitarts says:

      Hi, Adrian, and thanks for your good opinion! I considered offering the closeup as a mono image (and thought of you as the thought occurred), but I like the hint of earth-tone color in the wood and it wanted to stay. And yes, the shoulder is mending extremely well, I’m most pleased to report, and I wish you continued uncomplicated recovery from your surgical adventure. I’m glad it was minor, but the nose–oh, my, that’s much more in-your-face than a more-distant shoulder. Looking forward to your next selfie to see if there’s any noticeable improvement!

      • Adrian Lewis says:

        Noticeable improvement???!!! I wouldn’t hold your hopes up! I mean, don’t bank on it, or you may end up having to turn to drink! The surgeon said that I may end up with a slight kink in my nostril but, as I’ve already said somewhere here, at least that’ll make sneering easier. There’s always a silver lining …

  8. Such a beautiful wilderness sort of place, Gary. :)

  9. Meanderer says:

    What a wonderful place! I love the soft steely greens against the grey sand in the top image. It all looks so wild and abandoned – in a poetic sense. Lovely.

    • krikitarts says:

      The grasses certainly provide a large measure of the magic that makes this place special. Unfortunately, it has become far less abandoned than I have it in memory from my previous visits, as whenever the weather is decent, it is invaded by young folk with all-terrain vehicles of all sorts, as well as motocross bikes. Not only to they inject noise pollution, but they tear up the silky smoothness of the sand stretches, and some of them can’t resist the nasty temptation to take their destructive paths into, among, and even directly over the dunes and grasses. Thankfully, they seem to be in the minority, but it’s a very sad development nonetheless. Still, much beauty remains for those of us who take the time to edit out the effects of the fools and savor it.

      • Meanderer says:

        That is sad, indeed. Similar things happen in beauty spots here. Peace and tranquility aren’t rated very highly these days (I sound old :-) ).

      • I’ve been noticing for years that even supposedly educational television programs like the ones on PBS now often have a lot of gratuitous noise, especially percussive, in their soundtrack. Maybe the makers of those programs think they’ll attract young viewers that way, but I can’t believe the noise would be enough to attract and hold young viewers who wouldn’t otherwise already be interested in the subjects being dealt with. A few times the noise has been so bad that I’ve turned off a PBS program part-way through.

  10. The first two images have such great mood, bordering on drama. I love them!

    • krikitarts says:

      I’m always drawn into a mood of contemplation here–it’s hard to explain, but I feel my senses sharpen and reach out. There are definitely spirits here, and they always feel benign.

  11. Wonderful photos! It is interesting to see the similarities in Pacific beaches, even thousands of miles apart. Looks so much like beaches I’ve visited here in North America. Love your final photo of the driftwood in the sand. I posted on beaches this week, too- photos from the coast of OR. I am happiest walking on a beach. Best wishes, WG

    • krikitarts says:

      Thanks a lot for that. Just this past November I had my first chance to walk on a few Pacific beaches, though we didn’t make it any farther north than Redwood National Park above Arcata, and I very much enjoyed it. Yes, there is something magical and restful about walking on an ocean beach, and I try to do it whenever the opportunity arises. That piece of driftwood was the end of a longer branch, mostly buried in the sand, and the exposed section was only about three inches long.

      • The texture of the water sculpted sand against the grain of the polished driftwood is so interesting. All of the photos are interesting and beautifully composed, but that one shows such perfect detail. I never visited a Pacific beach until about nine years ago, and the difference between those, and the ones I grew up on here in the East, are stunning. I love the smell of drift-wood smoke as friends gather and light camp fires on those beaches at night, and I love the rock formations rising out of the sand covered in small creatures. There is a vastness which echoes the Pacific itself, which your first photo captures so well. Best wishes, WG

  12. The dark sand and dark skies
    Seem to me to harmonize.

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