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New Caledonia Waterhole

This sphere image was taken with my GoPro Hero3, stuck on the handle of my walking stick. I just rotated the walking stick while using the wireless remote to trigger the Hero3. I did an up and down shot and presto - done. The whole "rig" fits into a tiny pouch, is totally waterproof, weighs next to nothing and the images need practically no fiddling with before stitching. I am really impressed with this tiny camera. It gets nice blue skies when shooting towards the sun and good texture in the clouds, too. Very few compact cameras can do that, the sunward skies usually being overexposed and clouds blown out. This little beauty can even get blue skies when shooting up through tree branches in a forest - something even my big Canons can't do.

Plus the resolution of the fisheye lens is amazing with almost zero flare or vignetting. This is the first camera I've ever had that does a nice job of a direct image of the sun (something most sphere images have to contend with). Not only that but when shooting against a bright sky or clouds even tiny little branches on trees are clear and sharp - where other cameras have the twigs vanish against the clouds. 

Now, about this image. 

This is on the famous New Caledonia NC-GR1 walking trail not far upstream from the magnificent Carenage waterfalls. The sign on the GR1 says "Source" but as you can see from the map view the river actually goes a long way beyond this point.

I wanted to show the break between the calm clear pool and the rapids on the outflow from the pool. Plus I liked the big rock which, to my mind, looked like a crustaceans claw. I knelt in the cool water concentrating on the difficult task of rotating my walking stick just right and simultaneously clicking the WiFi remote.

Half way through the sequence I was attacked by a vicious - or at least a hungry - crayfish! I nearly lept out of my skin (which was the only thing I was wearing) when he nipped my knee. Admittedly he didn't nip very hard and turned out to be just a little over 50mm in total length, but he was very determined and continued to worry away at my leg hairs while I captured this sphere image of his home.

It turns out the pool is home to a lot of the little monsters and while Freddy and I ate lunch under the trees I tossed crumbs into the pool and watched the crayfish fight over them. Crayfish are, of course, munchable themselves and people do fish for them in many of New Caledonia's rivers. But this spot is a long hike from anywhere and nobody has bothered these little guys.  

Copyright: Richard Chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 11486x5743
Taken: 13/01/2013
Uploaded: 15/01/2013


Tags: new caledonia; river; waterhole; wilderness; trekking; camping; swimming; nc-gr1; gopro; hero3
More About New Caledonia

New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.

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