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Adventure Birds flowers Geology Lakes Landscapes Maritime Masterton Masterton mountains Reflections Rivers Seasons Tararuas Trees Wairarapa Wellington

September 29, 2018 … to be in the same place but see it again

Since I last wrote, it has been a crazy couple of weeks. As an accredited judge for the Photographic Society of New Zealand, I get to view and assess entries for competitions held by other clubs. Now if only I could get my head together, I would not accept judging for three different clubs with results due all within the same three-week period.  I really must keep better records of what I have agreed to.  On the other hand, I get to see some superb work, and to be truthful, some work that is less  so.  So, an insanely busy period in which I still found time to go out and make a few images of my own.

Kereru
New Zealand native wood pigeons (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae), or in Maori, kereru. If startled they depart with much thrashing of wings and clattering of broken twigs.

I didn’t have to go far for these two splendid wood pigeons who were busily demolishing a shrub a few metres from our front door. Part of the charm of these birds, apart from their irridescent feathers is their clumsiness on takeoff or landing. They seem to aim at a tree at full speed and stick out an arrester hook in the hope of catching a branch. Not so much a landing as a controlled crash is a phrase I have heard elsewhere.

reflections
One of the reflecting pools at the Supreme Court of New Zealand, stripped of distractions

A beautiful day in the city found me outside the Supreme Court building. I liked the reflecting pool but wanted the reflections without the passing traffic or pedestrians. I used the statistics feature of Photoshop. Basically this means taking several identical photos and then Photoshop extracts anything that is not present in all of the images. Thus the buses and the passers-by disappear. The only vehicle in the image was parked.

pigeons
Litigants awaiting a hearing at the Supreme Court. Or perhaps they are just pigeons

I needed no such trickery for these two common pigeons sitting in the pool at the side of the same building.

Kotuku
George has come home for the season – welcome back White heron (Ardea modesta) or in Maori, kotuku

On the way home, I went to the Hikoikoi reserve at the Hutt River estuary where, to my great joy I renewed my acquaintance with “George”, our resident white heron returned after a long absence. I imagine that he has been down to their only known nesting colony in New Zealand at Waitangiroto near Whataroa. This is 450 km away  on the West Coast of the South Island. Welcome back, old friend.

George
Warp 5 Mr Sulu!

George is something of a character, and one of his favourite spots to rest as at the wheel of a derelict motor boat on a slipway in the reserve. If he had more flexible lips, I can imagine him at the wheel going “Brrrrrm, brrrrrm”.  Or perhaps he imagines himself as Captain Picard saying “make it so, Mr Data”

tulips
Wellington Botanic Gardens tulip display

It’s tulip time again. Although the gardeners are apologetic that the flowers are less than perfect this year, they looked fine to my eyes. One of the pleasures of retirement is the ability to visit the gardens at times when the crowds are small.

Cherry
Flowering cherry display in the Aston Norwood Garden

A new discovery for me has been the Aston Norwood Gardens at the foot of the Remutaka Hill on SH2 just North of Upper Hutt. There has been a restaurant there for a long time, but the current owner has developed the gardens to a place of stunning beauty. Right now they are coming to the end of the cherry blossom season and I understand there are over 300 mature trees in the grounds. The result is magnificent.

Aston Norwood
Cherry blossom petals drift over the pond

I got down low, close to the surface of one of the several ponds on the property and with the aid of a neutral density filter made a long exposure (13 seconds) as the breeze pushed the fallen petals in interesting paths across the surface.

Aston Norwood
The Remutaka stream flows though the Aston Norwood Garden

The Remutaka stream runs through the property and again, the ND filter was used to good effect. I shall be visiting this place again (and again, and again)  as they have rhododendrons and camellias as well.

Dory
Finding another Dory – at Hikoikoi reserve

This little boat is a newcomer to the Hikoikoi reserve and I think it falls into the classification of a dory. I visited in the hope of seeing George, but he  was having an away day, so I looked for other subjects and was pleased to find this. It is a good example of going to a familiar place and seeing it with new eyes.  It’s a matter of pointing the camera at the bits of the landscape that constitute the picture you want to make, and leaving everything else out.

Spring
A breath of ice on a spring day

Despite all the signs of spring, the winter snow lingers on the tops of the Tararua range as seen here from Masterton in the Wairarapa.

And so

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Adventure Animals Architecture Botanic gardens Cook Strait creativity Lakes Landscapes Light Maritime Rivers Seasons Waves Weather Wellington

September 13, 2018 … getting out and about

Uncharacteristically, I have been feeling good about some of my recent images. Of course, this bubble can easily be burst by submitting them to the tender mercies of a photographic judge. However, in the cycle of my moods I seem to be on the upswing at present. Or at least, I think that my images are improving compared with where they were a while ago.

Ferries
The Aratere is on her way to Picton via the Tory Channel, The Kaitaki and Strait Feronia have just come from there on their way to Wellington

For the second time in just over a month, I scored a ride with the Wellington Cross Country Vehicle Club. This time the route was around the South West coast of the North Island as far as Cave Bay beyond the Karori Rock Lighthouse. This is almost as close as you can get to the South Island while still being in the North Island. Looking across the strait, I saw that three ferries were all going to be in the same area, so I waited until the Aratere, Kaitaki and Strait Feronia were close but evenly spread.

Wave
The boom of solid water smashing into an immovable rock is felt all the way through your being

 

The sea is fairly turbulent in this area, so I enjoyed watching the swells bursting on the red rocks characteristic of the area.

Kaitaki
I liked the light as the sun squeezed through the low cloud base

Technically it is Spring in New Zealand now, though winter seems reluctant to let go. Grey days have been plentiful and from Oriental Bay, a few days later, I caught this view of the Kaitaki leaving port. On a clear day, the Tararuas would be visible behind the ship, but as you can see, low cloud obscures the mountains.

Rocks
The rocks at the end of Island Bay, awash withe the spray from incoming waves

Experimenting with long slow exposures has been fun, aided by a neutral density filter. This ten second exposure flattens the surf and makes a mystical fog where the bursting spray would be. People seem to love or hate these things. I am going through a phase of enjoying the technique.

Pauatahanui
Pauatahanui Inlet … a fantastic morning

A few days later and Spring peered through the clouds. I wandered around the Camborne walkway on the North West corner of the Pauatahanui Inlet. One of my favourite places in the Wellington Region.

Lake Ferry
The thick brown flow of the Ruamahanga heading into the Sea

Earlier this week, I went over the hill to the Southern Wairarapa area, and went first to Lake Ferry. This is where the Ruamahanga River passes through Lake Onoke and out into Palliser Bay and the Eastern Cook Strait. The Southern edge of the Lake is the Onoke Spit, and depending on the way in which the gravel is deposited, it alters the way in which the water gets to the sea. Since I was last here, the spit had extended by a few hundred metres and the fast flowing water was scouring the beach as it flowed to the bay. You can see the colour difference between the pale green water of the bay and the thick brown silt-laden flow of the river.

Seals
Seal pups in the nursery pool

Being this close, I chose to drive from Lake Ferry past Putangirua and Ngawi to Cape Palliser where there is a rocky area used by the NZ fur seals as a nursery. There is a sheltered pool in which the pups gain water skills before they face the violence of the waves off the open sea. I could not get as close as I have in recent years. There were just too many basking adult seals blocking access. They look cute and soulful with their big brown eyes, but if you get too close, they rear up and their teeth turn to fangs and the halitosis would stun an ox. They will chase you and they will bite.  So I stayed my distance.

Cape Palliser
This is the absolute cliché postcard shot of the lighthouse, but since I walked up and back, I had to do it.

A kilometre further on, is Cape Palliser itself. The lighthouse has stood there since 1897, and I read that the keepers rejoiced mightily when the staircase was finally installed , eliminating a dangerous and slippery climb up the rocky hillside. Since I was alone, and not holding anyone else up, I trudged slowly up the 252 steps to the platform and enjoyed the views in all directions. When my pulse returned to normal, I came down again.

Tulips
Tulips in the Wellington Botanic Gardens

I may have mentioned it before, but it is spring, and that means tulip time in the Botanic gardens.

Breaker Bay
A derelict boat shed in Breaker Bay and some wild flowers

Yesterday, I went around the Miramar Peninsula and paused in Breaker Bay. I used that ND filter again to flatten the sea, but enjoyed the juxtaposition of wildflowers and the pebble beach. ]

See you next time.