Adventure adversity Art Boggy Pond Camera club Children Cook Strait Lakes Landscapes Weather Wellington

July 28, 2017 … erratic swings of the weather pendulum

A true pendulum swings from one extreme to another at a steady and predictable rate. The idea of the pendulum as an analogy for weather breaks down completely with sudden and unexpected (by me) shifts, sometimes within the same day.

Rain (1)
Locals (and perhaps a visitor) on Willis St

Towards the end of last week, we experienced some really heavy rain over several days. It was sufficient to cause localised flooding and a few landslides. It caused some inconvenience in the city as people rushed about their business, trying to pretend it wasn’t happening. People with umbrellas are probably newcomers to the city or else incurable optimists, as few last more than a few trips before being wrecked if the wind comes up.

Rain (2)
People don’t look surprised or concerned, do they?

Despite the rain and the dark cloud, the city seemed cheerful enough as people did whatever it is that working people do in their lunch hours. As I keep saying to members of the camera club, you can still get some interesting shots even if the weather is unkind.

Rain (3)
Mother shepherds her infant over the crossing at the Wellington City Library

I make sure that, although it is advertised as “weather resistant”, my camera stays reasonably dry, so I shot this image from the shelter of the city library on Victoria St.

Cuba St
This “art” must have cost a fortune in spray cans

A day or so later, it was all dry, so I went looking for images to meet a specific topic for the camera club and found this splash of colour on Cuba St.

Akatarawa Mood

After that, things got moody but the rain stayed away for a while so I was in the Upper valley on the Akatarawa Road and loved the mist drifting along the river back towards Upper Hutt.

Boggy Pond
Boggy Pond on the edge of Lake Wairarapa

Early this week, I went over the hill to the Wairarapa area to a favourite location – Boggy Pond on the Eastern side of Lake Wairarapa.  The weather was still moody, so Boggy Pond was at its dark and mysterious best.

Tapuae-o-Uenuku as seen from Tarakena Bay

Yesterday I went to the South Coast at Tarakena Bay  where the sun was shining, albeit weakly. The sharp rocks of the Wellington coast formed an interesting foreground to Tapuae-o-Uenuku all that distance across the strait near Kaikoura.


Adventure Animals Arachnids Birds Brisbane Landscapes Waves Weather Wellington

July 23, 2017 … there and back again

Since I last wrote, Mary and I spent eleven days in Queensland with our eldest son and his lovely family. In so doing we missed most of the wildest and coldest storm Wellington has had in four or five years.

Fishing at Tinchi Tamba Wetlands Reserve

The very first evening in Brisbane was just the opposite of hat was starting to happen already back in Wellington. It was a warm evening  with a delightful rosy sunset starting to happen on the North Pine river at Tinchi Tamba wetlands.

Wild Kangaroos at Tinchi Tamba

On the way in, Mary and I had spotted the mob of feral kangaroo and I really should have taken the shot then before the sun disappeared.  I am told this is a mature female with its immature offspring.

Glass House Mountains
Glass House Mountain sunset

Rowena and David had arranged for us all to spend three days on the Sunshine Coast at Noosa. On the way there, we visited the stunning Mary Cairncross reserve. If you are in the area North of Brisbane and like nature this is not to be missed. Regrettably we arrived rather late in the day, so it was very dark inside the rainforest area. Happily, there was a lovely view out over the Glass House Mountains, before we carried on to Noosa.

Lagoon at Noosaville

As luck would have it, it rained on our first day at Noosa, but it didn’t prevent a nice sunset glow on the lagoon behind our accommodation.

Brush Wattlebird at Noosa

On our last day there,  we went out on Noosa Sound on a rented boat, and during a brief walk ashore at the Noosa Spit Recreation Reserve, I managed a shot of this handsome Brush Wattlebird.

Golden Orbweb Spider

Not to everyone’s taste, but equally handsome to my eye was this Golden Orbweb spider … apparently a small one at about the size of the palm of my hand.

There’s always one who can’t keep the rhythm – Pelicans

The youngsters went back to school and parents back to work, so Mary and I spent some time exploring the delights of the Brisbane River on the excellent Rivercat ferries.  It was a  delight to see the formation of Pelicans flying over us against a clear blue sky.

Water Dragon
Water Dragon – Gardens Point

Back in the city, in the magnificent gardens at Gardens Point, we encountered a water dragon. In summer there are dozens of them, but since this was midwinter and the temperature a mere 22 deg C, they were harder to find.

Goodbye to Brisbane til next time … not bad for an iPhone shot

All to soon it was time to return to reality. Having stowed my camera in the overhead locker, I resorted to my iPhone to capture a departing shot of this lovely city.

Into the storm over the Marlborough Sounds
Adventure Cook Strait Lakes Landscapes Light Maritime mountains night Sunset Weather Wellington

July 2, 2017 “So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing”*

Somewhere on our bookshelf is a book of meditative quotes and poems called “In the stillness is the dancing”**. I always found that book helpful. In the last several months, Wellington has been blessed with a lot of stillness, mixed with fewer windy days than we normally expect. I love every minute of it, and as someone else said, the stillness allows my soul to dance.

Stillness on the water

My stillness cliché is always water. And so it was on this day. People strolled along the waterfront by Frank Kitts Park, and the rowing fraternity were taking every advantage of the morning’s stillness.

Abstract reflections

In the inner basin, by Queens Wharf, there were reflections worth remembering. Someone suggested that they were Dali-esque.

Anemones in Lower Hutt

Driving through Lower Hutt CBD, I spotted a bed of what I first mistook to be poppies, but which I now think are Anemone coronaria. It was a delightful splash of mid-winter colour.

Ration Point, Pauatahanui

And then the stillness persisted, so I spent a delightful sun-bless morning at Pauatahanui Inlet. As well as the lovely landscape there was a good-sized flock of pied oystercatchers basking on the sandbank.

Kaitaki – waiting for its load of cars and passengers

And then it was back across the Cook Strait, to share with my youngest son, the celebration of his 40th birthday in Hanmer Springs.

Leaving the Harbour

The crossing was serene, and the sea was blissfully flat all the way across. The shot above was taken in the harbour entrance looking back past the leading light and Ward Island towards the misty Hutt Valley. There was a some brief  lumpiness near the Karori Rip, but otherwise nothing to disturb even the most queasy of sailors.

Lake Rotoiti
Lake Rotoiti

Earthquake damaged State Highway 1 from Picton to Kaikoura is unlikely to be restored before Christmas, so it’s a long long haul to Hanmer Springs via Murchison and Maruia Springs, especially since we had three kids with us. A brief pause at St Arnaud allowed us to enjoy yet more stillness on Lake Rotoiti.

Panorama from Hanmer Springs

We enjoyed our time in Hanmer Springs, apart from having to drive all the way to Christchurch to find a replacement tyre for Anthony’s car which had hit a rock the previous night. I trudged up the track on Conical Hill at the back of Hanmer Springs hoping for a spectacular sunset panorama. The light was disappointing to I settled for this panorama to the Organ Range in the SouthWest.

Maruia Falls
Maruia Falls

After two nights, it was time for Mary and I to leave the youngsters and head home. We set out at 8am. There was fog on the road from the Lewis Pass towards Murchison and I hoped for some dramatic photographic possibilities if it were still there at the Maruia Falls. Alas, no mist at the falls, but they are attractive in their own right.

Buller River at Gowanbridge

From there we paused for coffee in Murchison and then travelled back towards Picton. I had to stop at Gowanbridge where SH6 and SH63 intersect to catch the scene where the road crosses the Buller River. At this point, the river is serene. A little further West it becomes a fierce tumbling torrent.

Lake Rotoiti again

Our last stop before Picton was back at Lake Rotoiti. It was a chilly wait in grey overcast at Picton followed by a night crossing to bring us home by 10:30pm, a long day on the road.

**Mark Link, SJ