This place just can’t help itself.
Regardless of my occasionally curmudgeonly view of resort towns everywhere, Queenstown is magically situated. It can be bleak when the cloud is low and the wind blows. When the sun shines, it just can’t hide its party personality.
Yesterday, the day started slowly, with overcast and low temperatures. I accompanied my daughter-in-law Abbey and grandson Otis to the supermarket at Frankton for some shopping and a light lunch at a nearby coffee shop. Like many children in his two-year-old age group, Otis likes the Supermarket.
After my siesta in the afternoon, I was delighted that the sun had rejoined us and the region was dressed in all its finery. I went back to Lake Hayes. Late afternoon sunlight in flat calm conditions leads me into all sorts of temptation. I know there are those who prefer gritty sombre images. For my part, when I see beauty, I want to make the best picture I can of it, regardless of the disapproval from certain quarters.
It may be landscapes, or perhaps birds. This Australian Coot (Fulica atra), for example, chose some attractive ripples as a contrasting background.
And then an ordinary Mallard drake (Anas platyrhynchos) in breeding plumage insisted on showing off his finery as he swam among the willow roots near the shore.
A pair of Australasian Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus) swam round the corner to see what was going on. I find them to be fascinating birds, very elegant on the water, but a bit shy about being near people, hence the long distance view.
There were New Zealand Scaups (Aythya novaeseelandiae) by the dozen, but I did them a day or two ago. Interesting though, were a pair of what I believe to be a pair of South Island Pied Oystercatchers (Haematopus finschi) flying in tight circles low above the Scaups. I suspect a case of unrequited lust. It gave the impression of an eager suitor chasing a reluctant maiden. The flight at least, was elegant.
And then, by way of something completely different, I encountered some people demonstrating the possibilities of remote-controlled helicopters as a camera platform to a group of Korean film makers here to shoot some commercials. Apparently the scenario is that the camera will circle the actor who will be standing on the edge of a precipice up in the mountains. A minion was detailed to stand still and take the part of the actor for the purposes of the demonstration and the two person crew circled the device alarming close to him … well he looked alarmed. One person flew the quadricopter while the other person independently controlled the behaviour of the camera platform on the machine. By way of air to ground transmissions, she could see on her screen what the camera was capturing. This was a very serious payload. The camera was a Canon EOS 5DIII with a wide angle lens attached. It was an impressive demonstration.
But then, the landscape caught my eye. I don’t care who thinks these are “biscuit tin lids”. This is a photogenic landscape and it deserves to be photographed. This is from the shore of Lake Hayes looking across the lake.
Did I mention that there were lots of birds about? A song thrush serenaded my departure as I left to come home for dinner.
More from this region tomorrow.