Wanaka Willow

In my opinion, New Zealand may be the most amazing place on the planet. The landscapes you see in every direction are unsurpassed. The mountains, lakes, rivers, valleys are captivating and the views seem to go on forever.

Driving from Mt. Cook to Queenstown, we made a stop at Wanaka to get something to eat and enjoy an afternoon at the lake. While here, I had to have a go at the famous tree that grows near the shore…the Wanaka Willow…and by near the shore, I mean IN the lake.

On this afternoon the wind was strong, creating choppy waves in the shallow water. Most images of this tree are long exposures that flatten out the waves/water, causing a glassy/sandy effect. I have seen numerous beautiful images using this technique, primarily at sunrise or sunset. I had planned on doing something similar, but when I saw how surreal the tree looked surrounded by waves, I decided to keep the texture of the water.

This may very well be one of the most photogenic trees in the world. It has become the symbol of Wanaka and even has it’s own hashtag – #ThatWanakaTree. What is also amazing is that this tree started life as a fence post at least 77 years ago. A local historian remembers the fence back in 1939 and has watched it evolve from a "hacked off branch from nearby willows" to a symbol of determination…it has been growing slowly ever since.