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May 16, 2018 … for the simple pleasure of it

The more I think about the recent photographic convention, the more I am persuaded that my favourite keynote speaker was exactly right. I should be attempting to create images that convey how the opportunity to make that picture made me feel. Most of the time, that should mean that the viewer should sense the simple pleasure I get in making the image.

Stairs
Stairs and shadows at Seaview

Sometimes I get a guilty sense that I am borrowing from those who have gone before. There can be few photographers who have not at least contemplated the old shadow of the stairs on the oil tank. OK, I have got that one off my chest now.

Jervois Quay
Golden moment in the traffic

Opportunities often present themselves at inconvenient moments. This one occurred while I was paused at a traffic light on Jervois Quay and the reflection of a nicely lit building just stood out. My camera was on the seat beside me, so it was grab, shoot, and whoops, the light is green again.

Evans Bay
Evans Bay in a moment of stillness

Recently, we have been blessed with some days of flat calm, the kind that has me leaping into the car to seek opportunities wherever they may be. This one offered itself in mid afternoon, and thee red-hulled yacht just screamed for attention. The fluorescent green car-rental building in the background provided some kind of counter-point.  But for me the pleasure was in the smooth surface of the harbour.

Kaukau
Panorama from the Kaukau lookout

 

Calm days persisted for a while, and I knew of a place in Broadmeadows up behind Johnsonville from where there were some nice views to be had. I went up the steep walkway, and made a few shots. As usual, I looked behind me and saw the transmission tower on Mt Kaukau looking very close. OK, up to the next  crest and see what can be seen from there. Incrementally, one step at a time, I found myself at the summit of Kaukau looking down on our lovely city. It may have been calm at sea level, but was less so at the lookout. In case you think my photography has distorted that seat in the lower right, not so.  The seat is in a state of collapse, as was I after so much unaccustomed exercise.

Brothers
Across the cold blue water of the Cook Strait

From the same viewpoint, I looked to the West and there through the blue haze across the Cook Strait were the Brothers Islands with Cape Jackson just out of frame to the right. I love those receding planes.

Upper Hutt
Swirling mists in Upper Hutt

The weather changed, but still the wind stayed away. Things went dark and grey and the hills were wreathed with cloud. I wandered around the upper and lower parts of the valley and caught this shot near Upper Hutt.

Matiu/Somes
Matiu/Somes Island

I have a weakness for contrasty shots in shades of grey, though not black and white. From Petone Beach looking Southward, Matiu/Somes Island made its presence felt against the still grey water of the harbour.

Dogs
Just having fun

My final image in this edition is also on Petone Beach. Some people who seem to be professional dog-walkers turned up and let their charges loose. The sheer joy of these dogs was a delight. See you next time.

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Adventure Balloons Birds Camera club Canterbury Christchurch Cook Strait Dunedin Family insects Lakes Landscapes Machinery mountains Museum Queenstown Weather

May 2, 2018 … A South Island Ramble

For the last two weeks, more or less, Mary and I spent time in the South Island. We visited the family in Queenstown, though I also had the ulterior motive of the Photographic Society of New Zealand’s  annual convention in Dunedin. The weather forecast was gloomy but somewhat ambiguous as we set out.

Kaiarahi
The Kaiarahi comes in to berth in the place our own ferry has just vacated.

I am always baffled by the loading process on the Interislander ferries. I imagine that they attempt to distribute vehicles fore and aft, port and starboard so that the vessel is properly balanced. However, the selections of who goes next and who goes where is seemingly quite random.

Swan
An elegant white swan at Liffey wetlands near Lincoln

We stopped on the way South at a nice AirBnB in the Lincoln district, near Christchurch. It was a lovely rural location that I might never have found without the aid of a GPS. As we left there on our way to Dunedin, we passed Liffey Springs, a spring-fed creek that flows into the Lincoln wetlands where there are a lot of waterfowl of one sort or another.

Alps
The broad flat lands of South Canterbury bump into the distant Southern Alps

Despite the forecast there was a clear view Westward to the snow-capped Southern Alps, seen here from somewhere near Dunsandel. Our travels took us to Musselburgh in Dunedin where we spent the night before I loaded Mary onto a bus bound for Queenstown the next day.

Harbour
The harbour in Otago looking out towards Port Chalmers and the Taiaroa Heads

Prior to the opening of the convention, I took the road out to Port Chalmers and marvelled that the Otago harbour is more often than not, very calm when I meet it.

Albatross
A white-capped or shy albatross cruises past the boat

The convention was well enough, offering a number of pre-booked field trips, each suited to one of the many genres of photography. My first such adventure was on the charter-vessel Monarch which took us down the placid harbour , offering some nice landscape opportunities, and then past Taiaroa Head to the open sea. There, as expected, we encountered a variety of the great pelagic seabirds including various petrels and gulls, as well as the Buller’s Mollymawk, the White-capped or Shy Albatross, and the greatest of the all, the Southern Royal albatross with its wings spreading over three metres.  Despite my notoriously queasy stomach, my only difficulty on the voyage was maintaining my balance as the vessel pitched and rolled in a swell that seemed to be around two metres. One hand for the ship and one for yourself is the ancient maritime wisdom, which leaves little for the camera.

Steam
A stationary steam engine spinning almost noiselessly at the Gasworks Museum

The trip I chose for the following day was to the Gasworks Museum in South Dunedin. The host club had laid on a local group of steam punk enthusiasts to liven up the trip. To my engineering-oriented mind, they simply got in the way and obstructed my view of the wonderful old steam machinery.

Millers Flat
From the bridge at Millers Flat looking North up the Clutha River

The convention came to its conclusion at lunchtime on Sunday and I set out to rejoin Mary and the family in Queenstown. I took the Southern route in the belief that the weather was going to be miserable. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and the Autumn colours at Millers Flat and Clyde were just magical.

Lake Hayes
Lake Hayes in Autumn

A few days in Queenstown with the family were a delight. I also managed a few side trips to Lake Hayes and even managed some times when the lake was flat calm. All to quickly, it was over and we began the journey homeward.

Balloon
Hot Air balloon near Arrowtown

First we crossed the Crown Range, pausing as we climbed the hill to admire the hot air balloon settling into a paddock near Arrowtown and then it was around Lake Hawea and over the Haast Pass and up the West Coast.

Paringa
Lake Paringa, with another 230 km to Hokitika

A lunch break at lonely lovely Lake Paringa was well worth the hassle of the flying pests. We paused for a travel break spending two nights in Hokitika.

Near Reefton
Near Reefton

As we set out on the long last leg, there was mist and rain, and as day broke, we were near Reefton. The road from there to St Arnaud is narrow and winding and having a logging truck ahead of you is no fun. You just have to wait patiently for a “slow vehicle bay” and you are past, only to find another one ahead of you.

selfie
Gulls leave their signature

Soon enough, we were at Picton where I discovered the ultimate in primitive art, or as I prefer to think of it, a seagull selfie. And then we were home, sad to leave the family behind, but glad to be in our own environment.

dandelion
Seed head

Photography took a very brief rest, and then a little still life took place. Who knows what will follow from there.