Piha the Black Sand Beach of Auckland

Two or so hours drive west of Auckland you can find one of New Zealand’s famous black sand beaches in a place named “Piha”. Despite the obvious touristy location there is a noticeable lack of the usual tourist trappings in the area. Whether that’s because the local government are against building on the natural land or if it’s just a case of investors not yet capitalising on it, I don’t know. Either way it’s a welcome reprise from the consumerist culture surrounding tourism.

I didn’t hike as much as I should have whilst in NZ but this particular walk was brisk but memorable. From the car park to the tip of the cliff you can see below it’s a short 30 minutes walk. To then get down to the beach is another 20 minutes. The sand at Piha beach is very dark (some would call it black) due to tiny fragments of basalt deposited from a volcano as most interesting natural occurrences tend to originate. The sand is surprisingly soft under foot but there are plenty of stray rocks from the cliffs so watch where you walk. The whole hike took just under two hours. Just enough time to build an appetite for the fish and chip shop sat on the side of the road on the way back to Auckland.

When shooting landscapes it’s always a good idea to use a lens intended for it., I for whatever reason only had my portrait lens with me so instead of broad beautiful scenery shots that the New Zealand landmark demands you take, I took some closed in, more intimate shots. These pictures aren’t going to be framed and hung on a wall, but they do feel like something a family would take  on a day out in between the usual bickering.

The colour finish is reminiscent of old Kodak Colour film and I’m happy with the nostalgic feel to them, each image giving you the impression that they could have been taken at any time in the past five decades.

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