harbour Landscapes Light Lower Hutt Maori Maritime night Wellington

October 25, 2016 … some variety

Artist at work applying ta moko to the face of a young man in the kapa haka group at Hutt Valley High School

This week started out differently. The Kapa Haka group at Hutt Valley High School wrote to the camera club and asked if anyone was willing to take individual and group images of their members at an annual event. I have mixed feelings about people asking for freebies. As a general principle, it undercuts the local professionals and also tends to place low value on the time and talent of the amateur. I will never do pro bono jobs just for the “recognition”. I don’t need recognition. On the other hand, some causes are worth supporting. You would not meet a finer bunch of young people than this anywhere,  and HVHS and the local community should be very proud of them. I was intrigued to see the process by which the temporary tattoos or moko are applied. Latex stencils are inked with rollers an applied carefully in the appropriate position. I think there were seven pieces for each boy’s face, but it was quite a production line. Just one stencil in the chin for each girl.

Island Bay
Island Bay. Notice that the water in the bay is photographed with a long slow exposure, while the breaking water in the foreground is an instantaneous shot

A spell of almost reasonable weather on Saturday made it worth looking at the South Coast. I experimented with some long exposures and then had the idea to merge with conventional shots, Not sure whether it was entirely successful, but it works in principle.

Lower Normandale

In the afternoon, Mary coaxed the grandchildren and me to walk down the road  to “Minoh House” and from there I saw a potential panorama. Eight shots were merged to make this view looking South towards the harbour entrance from the lower slopes of Normandale.

Still but sombre mood

Stillness on Sunday evening drew me back to the marina, and though the sunset didn’t live up to its promise, I liked the mood and the tones in the water.

Wellington Harbour from Maungaraki

Maggie had left her bag at our house, so on the way home from the marina, I dropped by their house to return it. They have a priceless view across Petone and Matiu/Somes Island and straight down the mouth of the harbour. As I arrived there, the day was coming to its glorious close.

Splendid sunrise across the valley

Mornings are not my thing, but the colour of the light through the gape in the curtains triggered something. I got up and caught this moment as the glory was just past its peak. It’s a pretty good way to start the day.


adversity Birds Evans Bay Landscapes Machinery Waves Weather

October 19, 2016 … persistent hostile weather

Earlier in the year, I was ecstatic to experience a prolonged period of calm. Now we are paying for it with seemingly never-ending wind. Ugly blustery wind, gusting to around 50 km/h.

Canada Goose at QEII park

Late last week I went back to Queen Elizabeth park to see whether the dabchicks had produced any offspring. Again, none were visible, though two pairs of adults were cruising about. Despite my grumbles about the wind, parts of the wetland are nicely sheltered and I liked the contrast between the green weeds and the Canada goose on the still patch of water.

Tram no 151 was manufactured in 1928.

While I was there, I heard an odd rumbling noise and was pleased to see one of the tramway museum’s trams trundling along. It was an unlikely combination of photographic genres.

Some birds hop, others run. The dotterel is definitely a runner.

Over the weekend, and yesterday, I followed the road through Wainuiomata to the south Coast, and to my great delight encountered some pretty banded dotterels. There is a large fenced off area designed to protect the nesting area. However, beauty is not matched by brains and many of the birds have made their shallow nesting scrapes outside the fence. If you get close to a nest, you hear a shrill indignant cheeping and see rapidly moving birds trying to lure you way from their nest.

The Pt Halswell light is at the Northern end of the Miramar Peninsula. From here, there is a nice view up the valley

This morning I went looking for some weather shots in Evans Bay. I tried long exposures with neutral density filters, I learned the hard way, that even with a heavy tripod, long exposures with shuddering wind gusts result in blurry pictures. Some thought required. This shot at Point Halswell  is without the ND filter and aims to capture the cloud formations accompanying that mean-spirited Northerly.

adversity Airport Aviation Camera club Cook Strait Family flowers Landscapes Maritime Seasons Waves Weather Wellington

October 12, 2016 – seasonal transitions

Our city has a reputation for the speed at which its atmosphere moves past. It’s citizens get defensive, and some are even in denial. However, for a week now, the harbour and other bodies of water have ranged from ruffled to tempestuous.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms in Lower Hutt

But let’s start at the beginning. The annual exhibition of the Hutt Camera Club ended on Sunday, but prior to that I spent time at the desk, welcoming visitors and answering questions. At the end of my shift, I went across the road to the Cherry Blossom walk in Riddiford gardens. They are performing beautifully.

Grace greets her Gran while Mum does the heavy pushing

On Friday, our daughter-in-law Rowena and our granddaughter Grace flew in from Brisbane to see the World of Wearable Art show. Before they moved to Australia, Grace was a frequent visitor. Sadly, trips are much less frequent than they used to be and much more valued. Our mischievous little imp has become a tall beautiful young woman who has to bend over a long way to give her Gran a hug, and Gran has to stand on tip toes to receive it. It was a delight to have them both stay with us, and now they have gone again.

Evans bay
Evans bay in a Northerly

This morning I wandered looking for my insights the blustery weather might give. I drove around Miramar Peninsula beginning at Evan’s Bay. The wind was lifting sheets of water and slapping waves into the oil wharf.

Breaker Bay
Breaker Bay gusts

Around the peninsula at Breaker Bay, the spiteful nature of the wind was evidenced by the great curtains of spray blowing out near the harbour entrance. The growl of jet engines alerted me to an Airbus A320 climbing out after an aborted approach to the airport. This was a seriously gusty day.

Kaiarahi inbound from Picton

Near Moa Point, I saw the ferry Kaiarahi on the horizon With the wind on her beam, I am guessing it was a lively crossing for her passengers. More howling overhead indicated another captain slamming the throttles wide open to abort the landing of a Q300 turboprop from Nelson. I hope for a quick return to calmer days.

Cherry Blossom riot

If nothing else it might keep the cherry blossoms around for longer.


Academic Architecture Camera club History Kelburn Landscapes Light Military Paekakariki Railway Weather Wellington

October 5, 2016 … the sun comes back again

There was a dinner in town for my friend, PhD supervisor and former colleague, Emeritus Professor Pak Yoong to mark the occasion of his retirement. Several of us who were successfully navigated by him to our doctorates gathered to honour his dedication to our success. It was a delightful occasion.

The Hutt Valley as seen from the Cable Car terminus at Kelburn

As always, I arrived early, so to fill in time went up to Kelburn and made some landscape shots from the top of the cable car. This image is looking up the harbour to the Hutt Valley. My home is just around the corner of the hill on the left.

They serve excellent coffee and make some fine hamburgers, I am told

On Saturday, for the fourth year in a row, I was the leader of the Wellington Worldwide Photowalk. Each year, up to 50 photographic walkers in any one location gather and walk for somewhere between one and two hours around a route planned by the leader, making images and enjoying each other’s company. We usually conclude our efforts in a hostelry and share the successes and failures of the walk. This year, the numbers were down with just 18 registered, but those of us ho walked, despite grey and damp weather had a good time anyway. One of my shots, taken at the starting point on Abel Smith St, was of a bus that has been converted to a coffee shop.

Tables and chairs, usually more congenial when the sun is out

The customer seating inside the fence is just as quirky as the bus.

War memorial … one of my walkers gives it scale

From there, we walked along to the national war memorial at Pukeahu Park on Buckle St. I had timed this walk to be close to sunset, knowing that this was the first weekend of Daylight Saving Time, and anticipating warm sunshine and interesting shadows. Sadly, the strongest colour came from the red stone of the Australian contribution to the memorial. It had rained before we started and again, heavily after we finished, so I suppose we should count ourselves lucky.

Seaview Marina on a grey day

The greyness continued for a few more days , and I decided to try the new adapter I had acquired to allow me to use my ND filters on my wide angle lens. As you can see, I wasn’t kidding about the grey.

US Marines memorial at Paekakarariki

A visit was made to Queen Elizabeth II Park, on the Kapiti coast, in the hope of finding dabchick chicks. I found dabchicks and a few ducklings but no chicks.I did get a slightly different view of the memorial to the United States Marines, in honour of the 15,000 or so young men who camped and trained here before setting out to fight and in many cases die,  in  the famous battles of the Pacific War. This particular memorial is n the form of profiles representing the little huts that typified the camps.

Commuter train at Paekakariki

A train bound for Waikanae held up the exit from the park. The track curves, here, so be assured I was taking no foolish risks.  Look closely at the waves in the tracks. I saw a similar perspective in a shot of a high speed train in Germany recently and was struck by the absolute precision of their tracks. A fast train would go airborne  on this kind of engineering.