Architecture Art Camera club Cook Strait flowers harbour Light Maritime Weather Wellington

November 30, 2018 – stillness, real and constructed

My term as president of the camera club is over and I have to say that though I enjoyed it, I am relieved.  Now I can make more pictures. Note the careful choice of the word “make” which frees me from the tyranny of the notion that you stick with what you take.

Sweet pea
Sweet pea in flower

My first image this week was of a sweet pea found as a roadside weed in Paremata. The curling tendrils appealed to me

Kota Lihat
Kota Lihat departs

Wonderful stillness on a misty morning took me to a high lookout in Maungaraki as a large Hong Kong registered container ship, Kota Lihat was departing for Napier.

Sail training in various forms

A day or two later, and closer to sea level, I was paying attention to a small fleet of Optimist yachts at Petone when I got photo-bombed by the sail training ship, Spirit of New Zealand.

These white peonies are about 20 cm across

Mary was gifted a small number of peony blossoms, so of course I had to play with them. They are huge and delicate.

Cruising in bad weather

My lifelong fascination with all things maritime is no secret, Earlier this week we had an absolutely rotten day with wind and steady drizzle most of the day. Two cruise liners, Golden Princess and Sun Princess turned up with 4,600 hundred sun-seeking tourists between them and turned them loose to enjoy themselves for the day. I suspect many of them stayed on board.

Sail training
Spirit of New Zealand

On Wednesday I spotted the Spirit of New Zealand again, cruising along in the mist off the South  coast. Here, I confess to manipulating the image to flatten the sea and to show the reflection. It’s a much nicer image than the original, and I assert firmly that I do not regard the “straight out of  camera” image as especially sacred or privileged. What I offer are images that I have made in pursuit of my art. I do not promise documentary accuracy.

Pines in the mist

The mist was fairly random in where I could find and use it. This scene was up the Brooklyn hill at the bottom of the road to the wind turbine.

Sea Lion
Sea Lion

The Sea Lion has been a working vessel around the coasts of Australia and New Zealand since it was completed in  1956. Her latest colour scheme is interesting to say the least

New Architecture on the waterfront

The new Deloitte building on Waterloo Quay on Wellington’s waterfront is an imposing presence.

And that’s all for now.

Architecture Art Bees Birds insects Landscapes Light Maori Maritime Paremata Plant life Weather Wellington

November 23, 2018 … a weird mixture

Days of alternating weather have meant different styles of photography as the week has gone by, We have had some grey misty days and a few nice days and a few that did nothing for me at all.

White-faced herons are not as glamorous as their distant cousins the white heron, but they move with the same careful elegance

On one of the calm days, I went to the estuary and watched a white-faced heron doing its slow deliberate stalking through the shallow water, pausing now and then to spear a fish or crab.

Royal spoonbills seem to sleep on one leg with their extraordinary bills tucked among the plumage on their backs

Later the same day, I spotted a small flock of royal spoonbills  all dozing on one leg while a black swan cruised among them.

Hei tiki
The hei-tiki is an ornamental pendant made by the Maori. This is not one, but the similarity is there.

As I was climbing out of the estuary basin, I spotted something half-buried in the sand. My first thought was that I had found an intricately carved wooden hei-tiki, I was only mildly disappointed to discover that it was just a piece of driftwood, shaped by long immersion in the ever-moving sand.

Looking down the Hutt River from home with the Eastern hills getting a good soak

A few nights ago, as the sun was setting, there was a heavy rain cloud moving down the Eastern side of the valley. The combination of clear sky in the west and heavy cloud in the East produced some interesting light.

This plant is so common as to be almost a weed, Nevertheless it has at least three names: Hebe, Veronica or Koromiko 

The next day the weather was unhelpful, so I played about with some flowers in my dark box using my excellent macro lens and the technique of photo-stacking. I quite like this image of a sprig of Hebe.

Steel grey harbour

The weather changed several times and I liked the silver-grey view down the harbour.

Inbound heavy freighter

Today was pleasant and I found myself at Paremata at the entrance to the Porirua harbour. There was not much happening from a landscape perspective but I enjoyed the sight of bumble bees exchanging pollen for nectar on a bush that I later learned is Tree Mallow.

boat sheds
Paremata boat sheds

My final shot in this edition was made from the edge of the beach at the mouth of the Pauatahanui inlet. I wanted still water so opted for a long exposure. The boats moved with the water’s flow but the colours and forms of the boat sheds appealed to me.

That’s all for now

Adventure Bees Cook Strait Horokiwi Landscapes Light Maritime Wellington

November 17, 2018 … Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow*

Day by day, time passes. Of course, there is no other way to get here. That’s how we get older, how our kids got older, and how our grandchildren are starting to graduate from high school and so on. It comes at a cost, of course. Creaking bones, uncertain balance and perhaps a bit less confidence than I used to have. But I would not change a thing. I am loving where I am and who my kids are, and who my beautiful grandchildren are.  And until the final recall notice, I shall just keep on enjoying life as it comes, day by day.

Coming through the mist, two ferries return home


Even the grey days bring their pleasures. I was standing on the Eastern end of Petone Beach when I spotted the ferries Kaitaki and Strait Feronia emerging through the mist at the harbour entrance. The sharp horizon line contrasts with the softness of the weather in the South.

I like the contrast between the sharp lines of the oil terminal and the softness of the hills beyond

If you know the children’s movie, “The Never Ending Story” in which the world is steadily being eaten by “the nothing” you get a sense of what I saw as I looked past the Point Howard oil terminal to the distant city being relentlessly swallowed by the mist.

Rock pool
Blues and greens, ebb and flow and beauty in the simple things

But a day or two later, reality was restored. I explored some rock pools in Island Bay, and put the steady surge and suck of the water on hold for a few seconds.

Prettier than many a glass fibre gin-palace

If you have read more than a few of my blog entries, you will be familiar with  my constant battle with debilitating self-doubt as I struggle to see the essential simplicity that makes for a better image. This one, at least, I like. It is a simple working dory, moored in the shelter of the breakwater at the Hikoikoi reserve in the Hutt River estuary. Warm varnish, red boot topping and blue-green  water combine nicely, I think.

Bee on flax
How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower! (Isaac Watts)

Among my fellow bird photographers, many of us are members of “the tail feathers club” … membership is attained by pushing the shutter too late, and catching no more than a glimpse of the rear of the departing bird. I think membership could be extended to similar photographs of any life form. Here, we see the North end of a South-bound honey bee, looking for nectar among the flax flowers.

The never-ending restoration project … step one: start

This image is very similar to an image I made just a few weeks ago, but the light is so much better this time, I just had to try again.

Looking in on the city from the North

I like looking at Wellington from different angles. In this instance, I was on a narrow road high up in the semi-rural suburb of Horokiwi, looking back across Newlands to the central city, up to Kelburn  and to Brooklyn and the wind turbine and airport radar  on Hawkins Hill

Manuka flower

I was visiting a friend and saw a lovely mass of red on a shrub in his garden. He purchased  it as a Boronia. I think he should seek a refund from his garden shop. This is clearly Leptospermum scoparium … the manuka

Such short-lived beauty

Then Mary was given some roses so I had some more fun with the light box. In camera club circles you will rarely do well with simple flower images, but as William Blake wrote, “to see a heaven in a flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand” … who cares about camera club success?

Makahika Stream
Perfect peace

To the East of Levin, over the hill from the Kohitere Forest is the Makahika Stream at the edge of the Tararua Forest Park. A pleasant place where the only sound apart from the wind in the trees and the flowing river is wonderful birdsong, dominated by tui and the grey warbler.

Enough for this week. See you again soon.

* Shakespeare – Macbeth

Birds Camera club flowers Landscapes Maritime Plant life Reflections Rimutaka Forest park Rivers Wellington

November 8, 2018 … a little washed out

After five years as president of the Hutt Camera Club, and several years prior to that as newsletter editor and secretary, I am absolutely ready to stand down. Somehow in the last few months, I have run out of steam and the burden of office has taken a toll. About now you might hear the sound of the world’s smallest violin playing sympathetic music. Yes, there is a little self-pity at play, but I am looking forward to getting the most out of my photography time to help me become a better image maker.  Just two more weeks.

At the estuary (again)

As you may have heard me say before, I will always seize a calm day, and I grabbed this one down at the Hikoikoi Reserve on the Hutt River estuary. The boats moored in the shelter of the breakwater are unglamorous small fishing vessels. Even so, they create pretty reflections in the unusually still water.

I am sure someone really intends to restore the boat, but it has sat unchanged for several years now.

I was hoping to see my old friend “George”, the white heron. After a few brief stops he seems to have found other places to be, so I settled for a shot of the derelict boat in which he practices his skills as a master mariner.

Gerbera glory

On days when the weather is less accommodating, I look for still life opportunities. Mary received a bunch of gerberas from a neighbour in gratitude for her care of their cats while they were away.  I just loved their luminance.

Purple Tansy

A random weed in our garden caught my eye and I plucked it and then looked again and decided it was worth a closer look. One of my several flower identification apps said it was a Phacelia or Purple Tansy. I put it in the opening of my dark box and used the stacking technique to get the clearest image.

Little shag – mottled

It is said that if you don’t like our climate, wait twenty minutes, it will change. The reality is that change is a little slower than that, but a nice warm morning earlier in the week found me at Shelly Bay, the old RNZAF flying boat base in Evans Bay. There I found a Little Shag (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) sitting at the foot of the sea wall, cautious but willing to stay put. It is one of the mottled morph in this variety.

Once were flying boats

The old jetties at Shelly Bay are much admired by photographers and this time I tried for a different angle. I admit to removing a number of plastic road cones from the rad works along the far shore.

The Catchpool stream heading outwards to the sea

A windy day and I went down the Wainuiomata coast road to the Rimutaka Forest Park and Catchpool Valley. I clambered down the rock banks of the stream and got the camera perilously close to the water for this shot. I am not good where footing is uncertain, since I have weak ankles and a poor sense of balance.

To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower (William Blake)

There were lots of wild forget-me-nots so I stole one and got very close.

That’s all for this time. I hope that my next edition will be crafted on my shiny new iMac since my 6-year-old MacBook is, like me, getting slower by the day.