The week just ended was an odd one. I had a lot of opportunities that, in my assessment, I failed to use to best advantage. I think I need to take more time at each site and each opportunity. I need to evaluate constantly whether it is sufficient to merely “be there”, or whether what I am seeing really makes a good picture. In short, I need to have a more critical approach. I offer just seven images this week, so here we go.
Our eldest son David came from Brisbane this week with his wife, Rowena, daughter Grace, and son Isaac. It was, as always, a joy to see some of our far-flung family, and they sweetened the visit with a floral gift for Mary. One of the blooms stood out to me, so I isolated it and have tried to capture my response to it. I like its radial symmetry and the delicacy of its colour. However, the technique of of full frontal approach and focus-stacking does tend to produce the same result each time I face a flower.
Last week we had the “wolf moon”, so I looked at the most widely used photographer’s tool for predicting angles and times for astronomical events (TPE). It let me down badly. Not only was it five degrees out in the azimuth, but the moon rose almost 35 minutes after the predicted time. If the azimuth had been correct I could have placed the moon against the background I had chosen when I selected my viewing point. Either way, Wellington chose to offer a blanket of thin low cloud that somewhat obscured the rising moon. Whenever I do a moon shot I always try to get some of the locality in the background. Otherwise, one well-focused shot of the moon in space is identical to anyone else’s shot. As fate would have it, I caught the trig station at the top of Cannon’s Point near Upper Hutt.
Later in the week, I visited the workshops of Steam Inc at Paekakariki. They allow visitors by donation, requiring only that you first report to one of the staff to learn of the hazards. They don’t want you falling down an inspection pit, or worse, being crushed under some of the very heavy steel objects in the sheds. This was a place that I should definitely have given more time and thought to. That will be rectified soon. The shot above is of one of the two motion sets of the huge ex-Rhodesian Railways Beyer-Peacock locomotive. Briefly, the Beyer-Peacock is one firebox and boiler connected to two complete 4-6-4 locomotive chassis. The weight and scale of everything about this locomotive is impressive. Sadly, it is classed as “in storage” with no sign of any restoration activity. There are many missing parts but I wanted to capture the massive over-engineering of this monster.
There are many other locomotives in the shed, in various states of running order and restoration. I was drawn to the firebox and boiler of the mighty Ka945 (a large 4-8-4 mainline express locomotive) undergoing its second restoration. They really do strip things back to the basics. Those pimples are “fusible plugs” designed to melt and release the forces safely in the event of significant overheating. If you want to see what she looks like in her glory days, go here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/ka945
On the Paekakariki Hill Road is Battle Hill Farm Forest Park and in the stream that runs though it there is a place where the native long-finned eels gather. People are allowed to feed them, though bread is considered harmful, and red meat is encouraged. The Mallard ducks compete fearlessly with the eels to receive the gifts offered by tourists and will walk across the writhing swarm of eels. I did note that one of the ducks had just one leg, so perhaps there are some risks to their behaviour.
David and I took Isaac to Staglands, a farm park on the Akatarawa road that winds from Upper Hutt to Waikanae. They have in their collection, many interesting animals, including a pair of emus called Mork and Mindy. I don’t know which of them posed for me, but am pleased with the result.
When we had completed our circuit of the farm, we returned to the cafe and ordered lunch. While we were waiting, we were entertained by the sparrows hoping for a share of, or at least the droppings from our lunch. The common sparrow is not the most spectacular of birds but sometimes it poses nicely.
That’s all this week. See you soon.