The Wanaka Tree

New Zealand’s most famous tree. Also known as That Wanaka Tree, 100-year old willow tree stands alone in the cool water of Lake Wanaka at Roys Bay. In the early 1900s the tree started its life as a fence post in that very spot – just a branch chopped off a large willow plugged in the ground. The determined willow wasn’t interested in life as a fence post and began to grow into the graceful tree we see today (Marjorie Cook, Stuff 2016).

Instagram has over 43,000 photographs of this tree at #thatwanakatree and its renown has been published in newspapers as far afield as the UK. There’s usually a crowd of photographers huddling on the shore to get the perfect shot. Professional and amateur photographers travel from around the world to see it. I photographed the tree on a bitterly cold morning at sunrise. I was the only person there and could choose the best position. I captured this long exposure just as the sun was breaking through the rolling mist. The misty backdrop over the Southern Alps beautifully frames the stark tree and the lake’s tide level is serendipitous – I love the way the branches gracefully caress the water.