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July 29, 2018 … the soul of wit

This week I offer just six images. I am revisiting the idea that when I have nothing to say, I should remain quiet. Photographically, this suggests to me that it is better to offer less than to pad my posts with mediocrity.

Wainuiomata
Wainuiomata River emerging from the water catchment reserve

Though it is a mere 10 km away by road, Wainuiomata is a different world to the rest of Hutt Valley. Among its many positive attributes, it has some great recreation areas. It was on one of those rainy days recently that I thought to visit the water catchment area. I saw no one else in the several kilometres of walkways, perhaps because it was  cold and drizzly day, and everyone else was sensibly staying inside in the warmth.  Even in the rain the Gums Loop walk is a delight.

Sunrise
Hutt Valley sunrise

Our recent climate has alternated almost daily between rainy gales and soft calm days. Likewise we have had a succession of spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Mist
Mist streaming over the hill from Wainuiomata

One of the better days began with mist. From our front door*, I looked across the valley  and was entranced by the mist pouring over the summit of the Wainuiomata Hill road and pouring down the hills to the valley.

Tree
It was necessary to be quite close to a tree to get a clear view, as the mist obscured backgrounds

Whenever there is a mist I hope to find the swirling conditions on the Remutaka Hill road. And if I don’t, then at least I am in the Southern Wairarapa which has many other possibilities to explore. On this occasion, there was an extensive mist stretching from Lake Ferry in the South to at least Masterton in the North. I liked the contrast between nearby trees and the white background.

Wairio
Wairio wetlands – perfect calm

If I am in the lower part of the Wairarapa I usually visit Boggy Pond and the Wairio Wetlands, especially if there is no wind and the water is calm. Despite the moodiness of the clouds and mist the wetlands were breathtakingly beautiful.

Sunset
Sunset over Normandale

Clouds in the West yesterday prevented a view of the lunar eclipse. I thought yesterday would end without an image, but as it was coming to an end, almost as if to compensate,  clouds in the West flared into life and gave me a picture.

* Not sure if I told you, but we have abandoned plans to move from our present home, so unpacking has begun.

 

 

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July 21, 2018 … some nice opportunities

Most of this week’s images depict nature in human settings. I rarely photograph people, and concentrate on things that, in my judgement, work well for me. But you can be the judge of that.

Hutt
Sunlight through the valley mist

At the end of last week, I delivered Mary to the airport as she flew to Queenstown to be with our son and grandchildren for some of the school holidays. It was an odd sort of day, with patches of mist, cloud and sunshine. With Mary safely despatched to the South, I went up Hungerford Rd to the hills overlooking the airport and looked back across Evans Bay to the misty Hutt Valley. The Tararuas were obscured, but I was attracted to the trees and the odd tall building peering through the mist.

Rainbow
When you see something like this, you stop and take the picture now, in case it is not there in a minute or two

From there I went around the Miramar Peninsula and screeched to a halt when I reached Point Halswell. If I were a gambling man, I might have carried on around the corner to catch the full arc of the rainbow, but in my experience, every time I delay taking a shot, it evaporates when I eventually get to it. This was the most intense rainbow I have ever seen, and if you look closely there is a second one outside it.

Fireworks
Matariki Fireworks from Oriental Bay

In recent years, New Zealand has begun to adopt the celebration of Matariki. This is the time when the star cluster Pleiades appears above the horizon each year. Many Maori iwi (tribes) regard this as the start of their year. In Wellington City, the mayor has ceased to provide funding for fireworks to mark Guy Fawkes, and has instead diverted it to a display for Matariki, arguing that it is more appropriate to celebrate a New Zealand event, than a failed political assassination plot in the UK. I agree with him.

Island Bay
Island Bay fishing fleet under a dramatic sky

I had intended to do a road trip during Mary’s absence, but the weather forecast was unpromising, so I confined myself to day trips. Some of them were to old familiar haunts such as this one in Island Bay on Wellington’s South coast. I liked the clouds.

Sunrise
Sunrise artistry

Sunrise and I are very loosely acquainted. Sunsets are no problem, but I am not normally a morning person. Sometimes, if I haven’t closed the curtains properly a flare of red will grab my attention as it did on this day.

Maersk Jabal
When I first joined camera clubs in the 1960s, this would have been called a “contre jour” (against the day) photograph. Happily the pretentious adoption of French phrases is less common now. Maersk Jabal leaves Wellington bound for Napier

Most landscape photography experts advocate that photos are best made in the golden hour (the hour following sunrise or before sunset) or even the blue hour (the hour prior to sunrise or after sunset). I agree that some superb images can be had in those times, but I see no reason to put my camera away in the rest of the day, or even at night. This image from the summit of Mt Victoria was made at 1 pm. It catches the container ship, Maersk Jabal in silhouette against the glittering waters of Wellington Harbour.

Wadestown
Winter traffic

I tend not to venture far at night. However, Mary was still away so without worrying her, I went into Wadestown on the Western Hills above the ferry terminal and made a long exposure on a still (but moonless) night.  It was still early enough to catch the tail-end of the two-way rush hour.

Fountain
The Carter Fountain in Oriental Bay

That same evening, I went to Oriental Bay. The Carter fountain was playing and the water was still. I used a feature of my camera that allows me to make a composite image over an extended period. The coloured floodlights changed several times during the 18 seconds of this exposure. I expected that the additive result might be a muddy colour, but was delighted at the way it separated three of the colour phases.

Nightlights
Waterloo Quay all lit up

From the same vantage point, I turned 90 degrees to the left and loved the night cityscape. The building on the left presents an obsidian black face during the day, but with the lights on at night, all is revealed. As much as I love nature, I also love the colours and textures of of the city.

See you next time

 

 

 

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July 12, 2018 … wanderlust strikes again

When I wander, it is rarely any great distance, and most often is either to the Wairarapa or Horowhenua districts. This is logical as they are the only two provinces which are contiguous with Wellington. In short, I can drive there. Sometimes this is a bit of a trial as it means passing through large tracts of familiar territory. On the other hand, someone just reposted the famous quote from Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  I am working on it. Meantime, may I remind you that the images you see are but thumbnails, and to get the full detail, you are urged to click on the image for a full view.

Ruamahanga
Lake Wairarapa near the Ruamahanga River

At the flood barrage at the Southern end of Lake Wairarapa, I was entranced by the dramatic cloudscape and its reflection.

Lake Wairarapa
Lake Wairarapa on the Western Lake side

From there, I followed the East-West bypass road to Western Lake road where I paused at a favourite resting spot to admire Lake Wairarapa in its most beautiful still state. All too often the surface is ruffled but on this visit, it was perfect.

Mangaroa
The Mangaroa lifestyle

A day or so later, with an interesting morning mist at play, I went over into the Mangaroa Valley to the East of Upper Hutt. A pair of horses with a cycle escort came over a ridge towards me.

reflections
Disrupted reflections

 

Days alternated between spiteful wind and chilly stillness. At the edge of the Waiwhetu stream, I was attracted to the reflections of a corrugated warehouse wall, and then got “photo-bombed” by a little black shag surfacing in the middle of the intriguing patterns. The random splashes of colour are from the signs on the building.

Night
Wellington by night

A few days in which I neglected my camera led to a dose of cabin fever. I could tell that the wind had abated so I went out into the cold night and caught reflected city lights from Petone Beach.

Whale
The rare visitor, a Southern Right Whale in the harbour

 

A very rare visitor to Wellington Harbour became a major talking point in the region, and a target for every photographic device in town. A Southern Right Whale spent almost a week frolicking in the harbour, occasionally breaching and sometimes just waving his tail.  He has since left the harbour, but I hear that he is still nearby just off the coast near the airport.

Rain
And the rain came down

 

And then the rain came. I decided to make a feature of it and was driving along Grays Road at Pauatahanui when the sky really opened up. Sadly it eased off before I could find a safe place to stop, but I hope this image conveys a sense of the day.

Sunrise over the valley

Yesterday morning offered another of those breathless misty starts and the sunrise was a thing of beauty. The day lived up to its promise, and that will suffice for this edition.