Architecture Birds Camera club Karori Music Staglands Uncategorized

March 22, 2016 … stopping the runaway

Whatever shortcomings the photo-a-day discipline had, the resulting posts were at least reliable. I now have to rein in that well known thief of time, procrastination.

The altar in the Futuna chapel, illuminated by the stained-glass windows

Truth to tell, my photography since my last post has been lacklustre, and I am posting now as my first attempt to regain control. Mary and I have a road trip planned in the near future and I hope that will reignite the fires of creativity.  Anyway, let’s begin. Sunday the 13th, I went to the Futuna chapel in Karori to hear a concert buy a group called WOSOSI (World Song Singers). The Architectural award-winning chapel was a familiar and loved venue for me, since I had participated in a number of spiritual retreats there. The retreat house has long gone, and the chapel itself is de-consecrated,  but it is a registered historic building and the concert was part of a fund-raising endeavour to help in its preservation.

WOSOSI in song

One of the co-leaders of WOSOSI is a former colleague from my days at the New Zealand Dairy Board, and though I saw her posting about it on Facebook, I went with no real expectations. They were an absolute delight. Their repertoire is global and in this concert we had songs from Norway, various parts of Africa, France, Australia and New Zealand. They are an a capella group, so the voices had to be perfect, and they were.

Loving what they do

Part of the group’s charm is that they absolutely love what they do and take great joy in singing, whether it’s a psalm, the softest of lullabies or full-throated drinking songs.


More recently, I joined members of our camera club on a trip to Staglands Wildlife reserve on the Akatarawa road. Like our choristers above, my fellow club members love what they do which is why it is a pleasure to join them, despite my natural inclination to solitude. We began with a pleasant lunch in the cafe and then followed the ranger to feed the birds in the kea enclosure. The kea is an alpine parrot, and it is rare to be this close to one outside of the mountains.

White-fronted terns

Today I went out to Plimmerton where I was happy to get close to a very large flock of white-fronted terns on the rocks near the fire station. I find the tern a very attractive bird, clean agile and graceful.

I hope for better things to come.

Architecture Art Camera club creativity Light night Weather Wellington

March 11, 2016 … to the beat of a different drum

I think I am one of those people who can be alone in the midst of a crowd. On Tuesday this week, our camera club had one of its two annual “walkabouts”. The task of planning an interesting route was delegated to one of our more extroverted and energetic younger members. She chose to start in Midland Park in Wellington City. The weather was marginal so the turnout was small, about twenty or so of our seventy-five members turned up. It was a happy gathering and we all chatted together until the event started.

The Katherine Mansfield statue on Midland park. It is illuminated from within, and some of her words are laser cut into the surface of the statue.

Then I went into a different world. I saw people getting into all sorts of interesting positions to see what they could make of the well known state of Katherine Mansfield. I tended to drift to the outside of the group and took a long view.

Sky blues
Camera Club outing at the base of Sky Blues”

Next, we wandered along Customhouse Quay to the Post Office Square where the identified attraction was Bill Culbert’s neon sculpture, “Sky Blues”. My friends gathered around and under the poles around which the neon tubes were crafted. This five-second exposure suggests we are not a fast-moving group.

Homeward bound traffic on Customhouse Quay

I saw some wonderful interpretations of the “Sky Blues” sculpture, and even gave it a shot myself. However, I was more interested in the colours of the passing traffic on Customhouse Quay.

Colourful bunting thrashing in the strong wind

From there we crossed to Queens Wharf, and strolled along the waterfront. Part of a current festival in Wellington includes a children’s playground which, at this time of night and in this damp and windy weather, was deserted. A flag-decorated structure invited a second look. The necessary long exposure amidst the loudly flapping bunting gave an interesting impression.

City lights
City lights … probably mostly the cleaning crews at work

Next we gathered for refreshments at “Mac’s Brew Bar” at the end of the wharf and after a time of happy conversation, I set off back towards my car. As I walked over the bridge across the entrance to the lagoon, the night lights of the city seemed worth an attempt. I decided that a panorama might work. Eight shots were stitched to make this image, and frequently, I had to pause for other pedestrians to leave the bridge. The tread of even a  single pedestrian induces a perceptible bouncing in the structure.

I wonder whether anyone is seeing a  qualitative difference in recent images. I have certainly noticed a great improvement in my enjoyment of the process. Your constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Art Birds Butterflies Paekakariki

March 2, 2016 … improve each shining hour*

Despite the long gaps, I am not being totally idle.

I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree**

Images are being made, selected, worked on or discarded. Sometimes they arise by chance, and sometimes I set out with determined intent. Mary and I went to a local outdoor art show which has, in the past had some good work. The best thing I saw this time was the light on the leaves of the trees in the grounds.

The image doesn’t show how those hard heavy fronds were thrashing in the wind.

There had been some butterfly chrysalises on a fence that I had decided to keep an eye on. Of course, I missed them. On the other hand, Mary spotted one of the newly minted monarchs risking its life and its scarcely dry wings in some flax plants in the garden. I say this because there was a near gale, and the bush in which it took shelter was lashing around and the butterfly was in constant danger of being crushed. I was happy to get a shot before the perfect symmetry of its wings was destroyed.

Chorus cicada

Yesterday, a friend alerted me to the presence of some dabchicks with chicks in the wetlands of Queen Elizabeth Park to the North of Paekakariki. He gave me directions which I, of course got wrong, so I walked the 45 minute loop through a delightful forest remnant where the song of the cicadas was deafening.

The most delightful companion in the bush

Further along the winding trail, there was a spot where there must have been eight or ten fantails flitting about. Fantails are a joy and a nightmare to photograph. Getting them still is relatively easy. Catching them in flight is a challenge that I failed completely this time.

Dabchick with chick.

And then I came to the pond. Sure enough there were the dabchicks. One parent was acting as an aircraft carrier for the chicks, allowing them to nestle in his or her own feathers while its partner went diving for whatever it is that dabchicks eat.  Every now  and then the chicks would disembark and the parent would be free to accompany its mate in the constant search for foods, while the two little chicks were blown across the surface of the pond like tumbleweed in a desert. These chicks must be at the extreme limit of size for being carried around. Their markings are extraordinary.

Yes, I am having a lot of fun.

* How doth the little bee by Isaac Watts

** Trees by Joyce Kilmer