The Lion of the West Coast

Lion Rock West Coast

Taken from the lookout point at the south of Piha, today’s image is a great profile of Lion Rock. If you look carefully (or imaginatively) you can see the lions eye and nose on the left, his Mane and lower back. Climbing up, one come from the right hand side of this image (clearly we don’t start in the  ocean) and take the gradual carved staircase up.After the first 1/3rd, you can see where the most recent slip from a number of years ago occurred.As you hit the lions ‘mane’, approx 2/3rds, that’s where the track now finishes. It used to come along the side a little more before going inwards again (back when you could climb to the summit).

Although a very overcast day, looking in the background, one can see the sea spray drifting overland towards the dense bush areas. I think the tide was more out than in at this time of the day when the photo was shot.

Once a place of camping and a few holiday homes, Piha is now a growing in population area. In 1951 it had 73 residents. in the 2006 census that figure had grown to 822. 6 years on, I expect it will have easily cracked the 1000. Many of the houses are fairly flash now days, and a great option for the work from home types who love to be by the sea and surf. There are still multiple camping grounds in the area (although very limited shops), and its well worth a stay if you are in Auckland for a period!

Piha also had its own TV show – Piha Rescue. Essentially a real life lifesaver show filmed around the typical summer periods of Piha.

Shot on the Sony Nex 5N and post-processed in Gimp. I adjusted the levels a fair amount – this helped a lot with the hazy, slightly over exposed original. Cropped the aspect a little and added wording.

That will do for facts for today. I’ll let the image say the rest! Have a good Friday!

Lion Rock, Piha

Lion Rock

For visitors to Piha, the most memorable, or at least recognisable part of the area is the famous Lion Rock. a 16 million year old piece of volcanic neck standing ~101 metres high. It got its name from the shape of a sitting lion when viewed from the south of the beach (left in the photo).

Over the years Lion rock has claimed a number of lives – both from people falling, and also from those fishing off the dangerous yet rewarding rocks of the unforgiving surf beach. As a child I recall the terror of climbing to the top up a (at least what felt to be) dodgy eroding track. The reward once at the top was a magnificent view (and sandwich with Piha black sand stuck in it somehow). In the late 1990’s, there was a significant landslide with the double tragic result of dis-forming the lion a little, and preventing all but foolish risk takers from now climbing to the summit (another example of tragedy).

Now days one can climb up about 2/3’rds of the rock where you will reach a Maori stone and blessing of the area and valued rock. You may also be able to make out a small plaque near the middle of the base with the roll of honour for WW1 soldiers from the local area.

There is something special about Lion Rock for me & I love photographing it. One day I will get the perfect shot of it (for me)…one day.

Image wise, it was shot on the Sony Nex, with duo-tone filters and edited in Gimp. I adjusted the levels, added a vignette and converted to B&W.

Some more Piha tomorrow probably!

Lion Rock

After taking work home, I only had time for an archive hunt again today, ‘Lion Rock’. Located at Piha, which is a west coast surf beach about 40km from Auckland’s central city area. Although this shot is of the back of the ‘lion’ and erosion has taken its toll, from the side one with imagination can make out a lion sitting and watching over the ocean. As a child I recall being scared to death as dad egged me on to climb to the top. Its since been fenced off halfway up and people can no longer go to the top, so I’m glad he made me back in the day. I recall the cold morning I got up and left to get this shot at about 5am on my day off. Looking to get it at sunrise, I was happy to also have the moody clouds in the background. Shot on my Sony A230 with a 20mm focal length, I later converted to B&W in photoshop and brought the contrast out a bit in the clouds.

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