September 10, 2013 … night crossing

Most of my photography is for my personal enjoyment.

Every so often, I do some shots for the local hospice where Mary works, so my day began yesterday with a piece of greenstone which I was asked to photograph for them.

In Maori, greenstone is known as pounamu and has a special status as a treasure or taonga  in the Maori culture. Known to jewellers and mineralogists as nephrite jade, it is often used in the production of various pieces of jewellery and works of art.  This piece, about 15 cm in length is in its raw, unprocessed state, but even so, was a pleasure to hold and to handle.

Raw nephrite jade or greenstone

The official Maori name for the South Island is Te Wai Pounamu which makes it the place of greenstone

Outside, the sun was shining, so, lacking any other inspiration, I went to see what was happening at the Porirua harbour. I had been told that the white heron had been seen in the lagoons beside the motorway, so I began there. No luck. Perhaps the blustery conditions were a deterrent.

I lingered a while but saw nothing more exciting than this Little Black Shag. Most other local shags have yellow bills, but the Little Black has a lead-grey bill according to my trusty field guide.

Little black shag on a depth marker post in the Okowai lagoon

No substitute for the white heron

Disappointed, I went on round Gray’s Road to Motukaraka Point. At first there was a whole lot of not very much, but I sat and waited. After a bit, several kingfishers appeared. Since I had not set myself up properly I was not in the best place for shooting. As I was lining up on this one perched on a stump, its companion flew across the shot, albeit below the line of the reeds.

Kingfisher portrait photobombed

If I had got clear of the reeds that would be a shot

Last week sometime, I posted a long exposure shot of a train crossing  bridge. My friend and fellow photographic blogger, Toya suggested it would be interesting to try the same kind of shot at night. So I did. (Toya’s blog is well worth a visit, by the way, and she really does birds superbly).

My daylight shot of the train required a neutral density filter to allow a long enough exposure to achieve the required blur. I decided that this would be superfluous in the dark.  This was true up to a point. The picture was complicated by the presence of fixed lights across the bridge and along the adjacent walkway. I had consulted a timetable to see when trains would cross, and was there in the chill of the night for about five minutes before the first train arrived.

With a  five second exposure, you really get just one shot at each train.  Even if I set the camera on burst mode, the train has gone by the time I am ready for the second shot. That’s why I looked for a spot on the time-table where there was an up train and a down train within minutes of each other.

My first attempt was just too bright so some hasty adjustments were completed just as I heard the train blow its whistle coming through Woburn station. A minute later, it was clattering across the bridge. This is the better of my two trains last night (click to enlarge). The next train was an hour way so that was the end of my efforts for the day.

Train bound for Wellington crosses the Hutt River at Moera

It’s not the image I envisaged, but it’s a start. More attempts will follow. Thanks Toya for the suggestion.

Another spring gale is predicted. What will blow my way today?

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About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in Art, Birds, Lower Hutt, night, Railway, Rivers. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to September 10, 2013 … night crossing

  1. Toya says:

    Thanks for the plug for my site 🙂 it is appreciated. I love the night shot and look forward to seeing more attempts at it. I was sort of expecting to see other lights on the hills as well. I love the green streak that is or was the train and the reflection is clear in the water also. A fun project for a hot summer night – please don’t go freezing on my suggestion 🙂

    • It’s a different bridge so there were no lights behind this one. From my position I would be looking out towards the harbour entrance. If I had gone back to Plimmerton I could have got lights behind. The green streak is part of the colour scheme on the new trains … and the red streak is made by the door lights. The water was quite ruffled so it is interesting to learn that the flattening effect of the long exposure brings a similar reflecting ability as for truly calm water.

  2. nzvideos says:

    I agree with Toya regarding the wonderful train-at-night shot. Also I very much enjoyed the Kingfishers, so I guess we disagree about that one:)

  3. Cliff says:

    My choice was the little black shag. I like birds perched on vantage points like that.

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