Adventure Cook Strait Family South Coast Waves Weather

September 30, 2015 … rockpools and waves

School holidays are upon us.

Maggie explores the beach looking for sea horses

Maggie and Cooper spent a couple of nights with us, and yesterday we went to the South Coast , and specifically  to Houghton Bay. Mary has hopes of finding a sea-horse to add to her collection of coastal memorabilia and she wanted to enlist the kids in searching the beach and rockpools. Maggie wandered up and down looking.

Cooper (in the blue top on the left) explores the pools with his newfound friends

For his part, Cooper got sidetracked and had soon made friends with a punch or random strangers and joined them in a fantasy world around the rock pools.

The waves beyond the rocks were moderate, but enough to cause the water to surge in and out

For my part, I believe I have a better chance of winning Lotto than finding a sea-horse, so I documented the project in my usual fashion, but like Cooper, I am easily distracted, so I put the ND filter on and watched the water surge in and out of the pools.

The tide was coming in, so the small pools we saw to begin with soon became part of something bigger

Waves are endless fascinating, so I spent quite some while looking at the surging sea from different angles. No sea horses were found.

That’s it for today.



Botanic gardens flowers Light Maungaraki Moon

September 29, 2015 … moonset and tulips

When I think of moon photographs, I usually think of moonrise.

Moonset over Maungaraki

Yesterday morning while it was still dark, I emerged from my bedroom and saw the “super moon” approaching the Western horizon. Of course the camera was nearby and ready for action. There was cloud, and in the other direction the sky was getting lighter as dawn approached. I don’t bother with shots of moon against a dark sky as there is nothing to distinguish a good moon shot from a million other identical moon shots by other people.  Up on the skyline, lights were starting to appear  as the day began.

Tulips (1)
Tulips at home

My brother-in-law has been with us for a few days and he bought his sister a nice bunch of tulips down at the market on Saturday. Mary suggested I have a look at them before they past their best.

Tulips (2)
Tulips in the botanic gardens

There is a difference between florists’ tulips and those on display in the garden. Or perhaps it’s just the better light outside. These were taken in the Botanic Gardens where we took the grandchildren yesterday.

Poppies and pensioners

Spring festival in the botanic gardens was in full swing and there were many vans from retirement villages creeping through the paths normally the exclusive preserve of pedestrians. Some of the occupants enjoyed getting out for a talk with the gardeners. We took the youngsters up the hill to the playground, had a picnic lunch and came home.

That’s all for now.

Art Birds Camera club Forest Lower Hutt Trees Weather Wellington Zealandia

September 28, 2015 … with other eyes

Sometimes the gift of a visitor helps to see a familiar place in new ways.

Green with a dash of duck

We took my brother-in-law Paul to Zealandia yesterday. The weather was surprisingly good, and interrupted a span of wet and wind. On the lower dam, a pair of scaup were snoozing amidst the bright green reflections from the surrounding bush.

Tui checking out how effective its territorial display had been

Birdsong was everywhere, and the tui were especially visible. I am not sure if they are adopting magpie tactics but they were swooping over the visitors to the park as if to deter them from their nest sites. When we were undeterred they perched nearby and gave us the “side-eye”.

Bellbird merges beautifully with the bush

Up in the “discovery area, stitchbird, North Island Robins and bellbird were feeding. I could hear saddlebacks but didn’t get a clear view of them. The robin walked across my foot, so close that I couldn’t focus on it. And then there was a bellbird music fest. Second only to the grey warbler, the bellbird is one of the best songsters in the New Zealand bush. It has a clear liquid chiming note that is a joy to hear.

Kaka – the lowland native parrot

The “character” bird of the sanctuary is undoubtedly the kaka. The kaka is a big lowland bush dwelling parrot with a beak that looks capable of amputations. Though there is a great deal of celebration at their reestablishment in the city, they are capable of ring-barking trees so not every gardener is pleased.

My friends from the camera club discuss the placement of images in the early stages of setting up the annual exhibition

Later in the day, I had to deliver my prints to my friends and colleagues who were setting up the annual exhibition of the Hutt Camera Club which will be open daily from 10 am to 4 pm in the Odlin Art gallery, Myrtle St., Lower Hutt from 30 September until October 11. If you are in the area, please drop in. I feel honoured to have four images in the exhibition.

That’s all this time

adversity Animals Cape Palliser Landscapes Martinborough

September 27, 2015 … mixed outcomes

A visit to the South Wairarapa seemed like a very good idea.

Each fishing boat in Ngawi has its own bulldozer for launching purposes

Weather wise, it was a gamble with the forecast suggesting it could go either way. Sure enough, it did. We went over the hill and down through Martinborough, and Pirinoa until we were on the road towards Cape Palliser.  Near the end of the road is the little fishing village of Ngawi. This is where all the old bulldozers come to die. Actually, they are put into service pushing and pulling the big crudely welded launching cradles for the fishing boats down, and back up the steep shingle beach in any weather.

Cape Palliser
Mary and Paul descent from the lighthouse.

We went as far as the Cape Palliser Lighthouse where Mary and her brother Paul climbed the 253 steps yo the top. I heroically volunteered to stay at the bottom to get a photographic record of their attainment. In this image they have just started the descent.

Amazing eyes

We ate our lunch near the seal nursery and enjoyed the company of a large number of soulful New Zealand fur seal pups with the biggest most liquid eyes imaginable.

Kupe’s sail

From our chosen spot, despite the intermittent rain we had a good view of “Kupe’s Sail” an extraordinary sandstone outcrop near the tiny settlement of Mangatoetoe. From this angle, the layers are visible. From the West, the huge triangular sail is visible.

South Wairarapa in the rain

On the return journey we took the road through Kahutara to the East of Lake Wairarapa. It is lovely pastoral landscape, and in the odd lighting with the Rimutaka range as a backdrop, it was very dramatic in places.

Over the hill

From there we passed through Featherston, and into some dreary weather for the remainder of the journey home.

That’s all for today.


adversity Belmont Regional Park Landscapes Lower Hutt Weather

September 26, 2015 … poverty in the midst of plenty

Somehow, there are days when I find myself in great places and see nothing.

The stream in the Takapu valley

The  Takapu Valley is just over the ridge from us. We are n the Eastern side of the Belmont Regional park,. It is on the West. It is a narrow and winding road following a similarly meandering stream. Despite all the pastoral scenery, there was little I really felt that I needed to make pictures of. The stream shot was really taken to ensure that there was at least one image on the camera’s card.

Hutt Valley near the end of the day

Later in the evening, with some nice light, I went to the water tower at the top of Maungaraki and used the wide angle to get a shot. Ho hum.

Better luck tomorrow

adversity Landscapes Light Lower Hutt Maritime Weather Wellington

September 25, 2015 … from drab to dynamite

The usual whining at the start of the day.

Drab drizzle … the port goes on.

In the city, steady drifting rain caused the view from Oriental Bay to the port to drift in and out of focus. The freighter ANL Elanora was being assisted into her berth by the Tapuhi and Tiaki, and frankly, that was pretty much all got for most of the day.

Attempting to fill the photographic void while giving the lathe its periodic spin.

As the day wore on and desperation started to mount, I decided to go down to my garage and give my Dad’s old Myford lathe its occasional spin. This is nothing more than making sure it is lubricated. I haven’t used it for a year or two now.

Rainbow fragment

As I went back up the steps to the house, I saw a rainbow fragment starting to form over near the bottom of the Wainuiomata hill. I tried my best to include the koru but … meh!

Boom! What a perfect rainbow.

And then the sun snuck under the clouds to the West, just as a light rain shower started. Boom! A full glorious rainbow, and I had the wrong lens. I raced back up to the house and swapped lenses, certain in my heart that it would be gone when I came back. It wasn’t. It made the rest of the day worthwhile.

Something else tomorrow.

adversity Birds flowers Landscapes Rimutaka Forest park Rivers Wainuiomata Weather

September 23, 2015 … play Misty for me*

When a photographer meets a barrier, the only option is to photograph the barrier.

Rain and road
On the Wainuiomata Coast road

Rain, wind and mist have been the constant feature of recent days. Yesterday was particularly misty and though I don’t want a constant diet of it, I like misty scenes. Perhaps the Wainuiomata Coast road might offer some chances of catching the mist.

Kereru and the willow

As I drove down towards the forest park, I spotted a native wood pigeon or kereru. This week is the annual census for kereru with people asked to report all sightings to a special website. I stopped to watch this heavyweight systematically mowing a very small willow sapling. If you look closely you can see the fine water droplets on its plumage. There were more of them inside the forest park.

This ford is dry on about 362 days of the year.

Then I came to another barrier. There is a ford where the road to the carpark crosses the Catchpool Stream. Normally  the stream passes through a culvert under the road, but there has been so much rain recently that the stream had swollen beyond the capacity of the culvert and was running about 30 cm above the concrete ford. A big Toyota Landcruiser from the police search and rescue unit had just crossed it. I contemplated the idea for a millisecond or two,  but the signs said do not attempt to cross when the water is over the road. My car is simply too light to withstand that volume of water so again, I had to photograph the barrier. On several previous occasions I have posted images taken from the middle of the ford, of the upstream reflections in the normally placid stream.

Motherly patience

Retracing my tracks brought me past this world-weary ewe with her twin lambs.

Gorse and trees

A little further up the road, there was another misty landscape, with bright gorse in the foreground. I like the delicacy of the receding landscape provided by the mist, but I have had my fill of it for now, so please don’t play Misty for a while.

That’s all for today.


Cook Strait Evans Bay harbour Maritime South Coast Waves

September 22, 2015 … down to the deep rolling sea*

For the last two days we have experienced gales with gusts around a hundred km/h.

Solid green water

That always promises some action on the South coast. Though the waves were far from the biggest I have seen out there, they were solid long waves with a period of about 12 seconds. Don’t be fooled by the froth at the surface. The luminous green water speaks of energy imparted by strong winds out to the South.

In the washing machine

At the Western end of Lyall Bay, there was some amazing turbulence happening around those cruel rocks.

Torea backing into Miramar

Inside the harbour, the tanker Torea which we saw yesterday at Seaview, was being moved from the marine fuel berth on Aotea Quay to the aviation fuel berth at Miramar. She is obviously capable of handling a range of fuels all at once. As the tugs Tapuhi and Tiaki fussed around her, she was swung around so that she could leave the wharf bow first. Like many tankers, Torea has just one lifeboat of the free-fall type mounted on a ramp at the stern. I often wondered what the launch process would be like and found a very shore video here that shows how it happens. You would need to be well strapped in to survive the launch.


  • “Blow the wind Southerly”, a traditional song from Northumberland
adversity Eastbourne Hutt River Maritime Matiu/Somes Island Seaview Trees Weather

September 21, 2015 … no end in sight

Endless dreary grey as far as the ten-day forecast will stretch.

Looking South from Petone beach across Matiu/Somes Island to the harbour mouth and the incoming weather

At Petone beach, there is a certain sense of adventure as you look down the harbour mouth and see the heavy weather coming towards you. Nobody was walking on the beach which, as usual after prolonged rain, was littered with driftwood from somewhere up the river.

Torea discharging fuel at Seaview

Around to the Eastern side of the harbour, the coastal tanker Torea added a touch of red relief to the greyness. I imagine that unloading was happening with minimum human intervention. Certainly there was no one visible on her deck.

What strange fruit grows in a forest like this?

In the marina at Seaview, the forest of masts brought strange ideas to mind as to the kind of crop that might be grown in such a forest.

Mostly grey with a patch of yellow springtime

In Eastbourne, I lifted my gaze to the hills and enjoyed the contrast between the kowhai tree nearby and the misty ridges behind.

Enough for now.

Birds flowers Landscapes Light Pauatahanui Plimmerton Weather

September 20, 2015 … finding it in the chill grey weather

Protracted grey cloud, rain and chill winds dampen the spirits.

Royal Spoonbills in a huddle

Nevertheless, until the end of the year, sat least one every day is still the rule. I hadn’t been to Pauatahanui for a while, so that’s where I went yesterday. You know the conditions are tough when the Royal Spoonbills huddle together in the shallow pond by the bird hide.

Enough promises already, where is the warmth of spring?

At Motukaraka point, the tide was out, but despite the somewhat bleak conditions, spring blossom is an antidote to the misery. I think this is an apple tree.

White faced heron dining on crab.

Around the corner of the point, a white-faced heron was silhouetted against the reflected light of the late afternoon sun. It was getting a lot of the small mud crabs that abound in the harbour.

View to Mana Island from Karehana Bay

Across SH2 to Plimmerton, the same late sun peering from behind a heavy cloud provided interesting conditions for a seascape from Karehana Bay.

That’s all today.