Rangitoto Island, New Zealand

Wandering around Auckland late one morning before our program started, I chanced on a view of a volcanic-cone island, just offshore.

Looking for an interesting perspective, I noticed some wooden bollards, and crouched down to use them to frame the island.

Volcanic cone island on horizon, framed by two wooden bollards. Beach in foreground.

Rangitoto Island, mid-day

I was kinda tickled with the shot, but not sure how it would work out. Looking at it now, I see that something is a tad off square – whether it was the bollards or me, I have no idea!

Two days later, we were on another beach with a view of the self-same island, also roughly mid-day. But as a rain storm rolled in and through, the view was completely different. Let there be light, indeed.

Volcanic cone island and storm clouds on horizon; blue-green sea in mid-ground; beach in foreground.

Rangitoto Island, mid-day again

But lighting aside, again I see that it isn’t lined up squarely. Could I have found a vantage point that would have equalized the width/depth of the beach across the breadth of the photo (and, similarly, that amazing aquamarine sea)? I have no idea! Geometry never was my strong suit.

Nor do I know whether the lack of left-right symmetry makes the picture better or worse. But I do know that I’m learning to look at photos differently.


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6 Responses to Rangitoto Island, New Zealand

  1. Marion Neiman says:

    I have found that after-the-fact cropping does wonders for my photos. I also am able to straighten them. I’m usually quite surprised to see that I was listing to one side for most of a day of sight-seeing.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Indeed! Straightening is a Good Thing, Martha. (Umm, Marion.) As my good-photographer neighbour says, he either goes for dead straight or really off-kilter: A little bit off-square looks bad. As for these bollards, I need to move them just a smidge without moving the island behind them – and I can’t do that!

  2. Just as Whitman wrote “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines,” squared alignment has nothing to do with awe-inspiring photography, which your view of Rangitoto Island most certainly is.

  3. John Whitman says:


    I think your slanted pictures are the result of ‘advancing technology-itis’. Now that I use digital cameras, I too suffer from the occasional unintended slanting picture. When I was in the Forces, I took hundreds of pictures with my 35mm SLR film camera and never experienced the same level of unintended slanting pictures (even with a 205mm telephoto lens) as I did when I first started using a pocket digital camera – and to this day, I still get a lot of slanted pictures with that camera, which I blame on the fact that it doesn’t have a viewfinder.

    Now that I am using a 35mm DSLR with viewfinder and am more careful framing my pictures, I mostly get the results I intended, even with my 300mm telephoto lens. So here is a case of advancing technology that gives instantaneous and sharper pictures as compared to the old film variety, but in turn requires the user to be more careful in its use. If that’s not the case, why do they provide a vibration reduction on/off switch on the camera? And I still haven’t figured out why you would ever turn that switch off.

    In a lot of ways, what you are experiencing is like when the first HD TVs came out and people discovered that their favourite actresses or actors had facial skin blemishes that never showed up on CRT TV screens. Another example is Bill Gates’ constant harangue asking me to upgrade my O/S from Windows 7 on my desktop and Windows 8.1 on my laptop to Windows 10. I’m really happy with Windows 7 and I’ve finally mastered Windows 8.1 to my satisfaction, so I don’t think I’ll be migrating to Windows 10 – unless there is a way to prevent Windows 10 from putting every one of my files on the ‘cloud’. Anyway, that’s just my personal peeve concerning Bill Gates and advancing technology-itis.

    John W

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – That’s a perspective I hadn’t thought about – of course, some of my shots were with an DSLR that did have a view finder, but many were done with the screen, and the camera held at a significant distance from my body. As for the things that are composition errors (not outright crooked camera), those are a result, I think, of not paying attention to that level of detail. That can be learned, even if not executed properly every time! I have only to think of the first-rank golfers putting a shot in the woods . . .

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