The big idea was to head out again to the 'wild' west coast, to Muriwai beach, one of our regular and favourite locations, in the afternoon before Cyclone Pam was due to strike NZ. We were hoping for dramatic skies, and both Sven and I had dreams of long-exposure landscapes with clouds streaking across the frame. This was not to be, unfortunately, as Pam veered out to sea a bit and hardly touched NZ. After giving up on our first plans, we instead played around in the sand dunes and also the edges of Woodhill forest.
I had a good time playing with a recent acquisition - a 1970's era Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI lens, which as well as being dirt cheap is also excellent for shooting video due to the smooth and direct manual focus ring. Most modern lenses are terribly difficult to manually focus, and are not at all repeatable shot-to-shot when filming video, so collecting vintage lenses is both very worthwhile and significantly cheaper than modern options. Even though I bought it for video, it still takes quite an admirable image in still photography too. It is a bit soft wide open at f/1.4, but very sharp from f/2 onwards, and even the soft vintage look wide open can be fun sometimes too.
Lens geekery aside, it is always good to get outdoors and explore places with a camera, even when it's a location we've visited many times before. This time we pushed a bit further up the beach onto the horse tracks, and around the edge of the forest in parts we'd quickly walked past before. Just goes to show there is always something new to see if you look hard enough, which is not always easy to do in familiar locations.