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August 31, 2016 … time for another change

Oh my goodness! I am embarrassed that I let more than two weeks slide by without posting, and I am now determined to get back on a regular schedule of publication. I aim to publish weekly on Wednesdays hereafter. However, to catch up, there are thirteen images today. I hope you like them.

Light and mist in the Hutt Valley in the early morning

Meanwhile, I have been out there enjoying myself enormously with the camera. While I am the staunchest defender of Wellington, it does have a slight reputation for occasionally elevated levels of breeziness.  Well for almost two weeks now, there has been no significant wind, and for days on end, the sea has been flat calm. I know that, regardless of early cloud, it’s going to be a good day when it starts with slowly drifting mist in the upper valley.

Stillness in the marina

If you have been with me for more than a month or two, you know that I am a sucker for mirror-calm water. This has made the local marina almost a second home in recent weeks.

Sustained calm is very much to my liking

No matter how often I go, I seem to find a new angle, and I loved the simplicity of the Southern part of the enclosed area.

Toia and Tapuhi scuttle back to their city base

The tanker in the preceding image departed a few minutes later and as I was driving along the esplanade I saw the port’s two tugs bustling (why do tugs always “bustle”?) back  towards their base. Note that we are seeing them across the broad expanse of the harbour, and note that the water is flat.

city architecture reflected in the harbour

Some days later, I was wandering on a wharf near the operating base of the tugs and pilot boats, when my attention was again caught by the surface of the water in the basin. The NZ Post Headquarters building was interestingly reflected in the slow syrupy slop.

A recent extension to the marina still has the bright colour on the buffer rings around the piles

Back at Seaview, I was looking for images to be part of a new project so the continued stillness was a joy.

Ghosting home

A yacht returning to base under power created scarcely a ripple as she approached her berth, and the low cloud in the background obscured the Western hills, adding to the nice mood of the image.

New season magnolia

I am soon to lead a photographic walkabout in Wellington, and was walking around the route when I spotted a lovely magnolia tree showing off. Magnolias almost always have inconvenient branches that impede a clear view of those lovely flowers. I was forced to overcome my fear of heights and to climb up on a precarious perch to get a clear view.

The gentle hiss of steam building up, and the occasional slap pf the boiler pump

A few days ago, Mary and I chose to drive up to see if the dabchicks at Queen Elizabeth Park.  At the approach to Paekakariki, an unmistakable plume of smoke suggested that one of the steam locomotives there was being fired up. Sure enough, the mighty Ja1271 was being readied for its annual boiler test, prior to running the Daffodil Express to Carterton on September 11, a few weeks from now.

Ja1271 in all her splendour

I have never hidden my geekiness, and I love engineering in all its forms. The latter days of steam are particularly interesting to me, and the Ja class locomotives are a fine example of the  era.

Dabchick in hiding

Moving on to the wetlands at QEII park, my hopes or chicks were not realised. However, there was a dabchick lurking under some overhanging flax and clearly trying to avoid discovery, so I shall visit again in the near future.


Mary and I enjoyed a stroll around the wetlands loop and heard a huge variety of birdsong. Most things moved too quickly for me, but one small fantail obliged with a pose on a nearby branch.

Sail experience inside the breakwater

My last piece of overcompensation in this extended issue is back at Seaview Marina where, from time to time, a group called “Sailability” provide sail training or perhaps just the enjoyment of sailing to people with different abilities. The marina seemed flat calm, but there was sufficient light air to fill the sails and move the brightly coloured yachts around.

Clearly the ad hoc approach to publishing doesn’t work for me, so I have set up a reminder to publish each Wednesday until further notice.


Birds Haywards Hill Landscapes Light Lower Hutt Maori Maritime sunrise Weather Wellington

August 16, 2016 … lovely light regardless of the weather

I really want some serious storm weather for a project I have in mind. However, all I am getting is a range of weather that is neither one thing nor the other.

Magical mystical morning in the Hutt Valley

Nevertheless, sometimes the variable weather can present a dramatic face to the world.

The Snow-capped Tararua range provides a lovely backdrop for the early morning traffic on SH2 near the Haywards Hill

There have been some very nice days, and the view to the North East in the mornings is particularly spectacular. This view from a pedestrian overbridge near Naenae nearly came to grief as I slipped on the ice on the wooden boards.

Magic in Mana Marina

From there I went to Paremata where a perfectly still morning made the Mana Marina very attractive.

Stillness at the Paremata boat sheds

Across the road to Ivey Bay I spotted another patch of very still water, with some interesting boats behind it. The Neutral density filter and a long exposure helped to make it a better image.

Keeping the place warm for the boss

A day or so later, I was on my way to town for lunch with some former Dairy Board colleagues and called by the Hutt Estuary in the hope that our friendly white heron, George might be there. He wasn’t, but two of his cousins, the white-faced herons were keeping his spot warm.

Inner harbour from Mt Victoria

As is my custom, I was in town well ahead of the appointed hour, so went up to the Mt Victoria lookout from where our beautiful city was at its sparkling best.

Ceremonial waka rehearsal

Back down at sea-level, near the entrance to the lagoon at Frank Kitts park, I saw this waka (canoe) with a trainee crew practicing for ceremonial paddling. The waka was a fibreglass replica rather than the real thing, but even so, the rhythmic chanting raised the hairs on my neck.  See you again soon.

adversity Cars Hutt River Maritime Petone Seasons Weather Wellington

August 7, 2016 … winter starts to bite

If you live in far Northern parts of the world, you will probably sneer, but nevertheless, Wellington is capable of inflicting bone-chilling teeth-chattering winter misery. It is rarely accompanied by snow, but the Southerly wind with near horizontal rain is a mean-spirited phenomenon. However, at this time of year, everything is variable.

Towards Avalon from home. The mist is drifting slowly towards the sea,

There have been days that were still, and marked by river mist drifting like a serpent down the valley.

Hill St
State Highway 1 arrives in the city on its way to the airport

There were a few clear golden winter days. I found myself on such a morning on Hill Street in the city. I was strolling happily in the bright (but not warm) sun while the traffic on the motorway below suffered the last of the morning rush.

High tide and fair weather at the Hutt River estuary

On another such morning, I was checking for herons, as I often do, and just enjoyed the bright still conditions on the Hutt River.

Sandra II
Sandra II is a sturdy little work boat, seen here at rest in Hikoikoi

Following the 180 degree rule (always check behind you), this shot of Sandra II at her mooring gave me some pleasure.

Taranaki Street and Courtenay Place intersection in a howling Northerly

However, as I indicated at the beginning, this is winter, and the last few days have been brutal in their typical Wellington way. My last shot is on one of those notorious street corners where pedestrians need to hang tightly to the street light poles to stay in place while waiting for the cross light. When the light does at last turn green, pedestrians battle valiantly into the swirling wind and take one step back for every  two forward. But they are brave Wellingtonians and it is a fair price to pay now and then for the privilege of living in our beautiful city.