The Ruakokoputuna Chasm challenge

“This place is amazing” says Paul, “you have to come see it”.
Paul was sitting next to me watching a movie , a bourbon in his hand, which was now being waved around with little concern  as to how it may stain my carpet , the wild gesticulating  of arms continued while he described a place that seemed more from a medieval fairy tale than a natural landscape feature.
Plans were made for a future visit as bourbons were being consumed and like most of my future plans go, the day came when those plans were realised.
Paul was to be my model for the day.  lol

Scorching hot, the drive through the Ruakokoputuna valley was very pleasant; it didn’t take long before we turned off the road up the drive way that led to Patuna Farm.
A short talk to the owner of the farm in which the Patuna or Ruakokoputuna Chasm,( take your pick on the name) is located and we set off across the farm along a well-marked track.
We followed that track until it turned sharply and there before us was a ladder that descended down into darkness and down we went into the depths.
Once down the ladder you’re in the creek so you need to be aware that your feet will be wet for the duration of the walk.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

Water seeped through the moss covered banks making delicate water displays as they cascaded into the creek.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

I knew that I would not be able to capture with the camera what I could see with my eye because of the extreme light conditions.
The bottom of the chasm was quite dark with bright sunlight peeking in from the top so I set up my camera on my tripod and set about making multiple exposures (exposure bracketing ) at one full stop apart, starting from the correct exposure at the top and increasing one full stop for three exposures to capture the darker innards of the creek bottom.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

My 5D mrk11 has a setting that helps me set up initially, but I have to decide what exposure spread I will require and I have to blend these images together later in Photoshop .
Many modern cameras that have come out in the last few years the camera does all the work in camera and if you have such a camera its more than worthwhile learning how to put this technique to good use.
If you have an older camera this video may be your best friend to help you learn how to make the best out of a difficult situation  or you could book a workshop with me and I will help you sort it out 😀


Now pretty soon in your travels downstream you’re going to have to get wet proper.

One part of this walk requires one to get very wet depending on your height.
you may even have to swim if you go early in the spring.

Make sure you have a set of dry clothes back at the car.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

Paul  is starting to get worried here

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

with his bag removed he felt a little more relaxed about it

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

There is an awesome sunny place to lunch and dry off immediately  after your dip in the cool water.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

The walk is roughly a 2 kilometre walk and as you head down the creek the towering limestone walls form caverns and at other times its like being in a tunnel.

Paul enjoying the high walls and the feeling of being some what dwarfed by it all.
Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

and some times its very closed in.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

I knew it would be a challenge and making mostly  bracketed images  with the tripod on running water  was indeed a challenge as  each image must be exactly the same  except the exposure values.
any change in the position of the image makes it impossible to line up the multiple images and get one sharp one when super imposing them or stacking them on top of each other in Photoshop  and blending them together.

still I was happy with my efforts .

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

there are a few perfectly places to just sit and soak up the atmosphere

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley


there was heaps  to look at and soak in .

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley

One thing is for sure , I will be back again this year to reshootthe place and see how Tammy handles the deep bit, at 5 foot and 4   it could lead to a photographic opportunity  😀

anyone interested in joining a workshop day in there contact me .

Yes sir I will be back.

Patuna Chasm Ruakokoputuna  valley Tel: 06 306 9966


5 thoughts on “The Ruakokoputuna Chasm challenge

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