Introspection is a mixed blessing for any artistic endeavour. As you might recall if you read my post from May 15 , I seem to spend a lot of time doing it. What I keep hearing from other photographers, however, is that self-assessment is better than being driven by the responses on social media. And so I continue to articulate my internal warfare for your entertainment. I really appreciate the constructive feedback I get from some of you, so please keep providing it.
Whitireia Park is a large area of hilly grassland on the South headland of the Porirua Harbour. Even if they don’t know the park, most Wellingtonians will know it as the place where the old YA and YC station radio aerials are. The day I visited there recently was characterized by relatively flat light and some haze. After some fruitless wandering, I settled on the wooden posts used to prevent cars from entering the grasslands as my subject. And then I saw the separation between the green grass of the park and the background hills.
Exploring the area of the city where I walk less often, I encountered this fence. With a limited view of the yard behind it, I formed the opinion that the owner was deliberately playing up to the Bohemian character of the Cuba St precinct. This was shot from across the street so I had to time the exposure to give a view of the fence in between passing cars and pedestrians.
At a recent camera club night, I heard a fellow member exclaim in delight that someone had shown images with people in them. It wasn’t me. I am sure those who have been watching for a while have noticed that I rarely “do people”. I like people (in small numbers) but don’t like the necessity to meet their expectations in my images. Anyway, in my unpopulated shot above, I enjoyed the quirky design, and the careful colour-matching.
Ekim Burgers is a popular coffee and burger stop on the the intersection identified in the street signs. The old Valley Flyer bus has been converted to serve as a kitchen and customers sit in the chaotic courtyard. It’s a colourful place with partial shelter that seems to do well in better weather.
After a few days of ugly windy weather in which I was not motivated to go out, there came a still patch at the end of the day. I went North to see if there might be some reflections on the lake in the newly refurbished playground at Fraser Park. There were, and even better, this rather lovely tree posed against a rosy sky. I adopted a low angle to make the playground equipment as inconspicuous as possible. I rather liked the quasi-safari atmosphere.
Stillness is a relative thing. I had hoped for better on the South Coast on this particular evening, but had to settle for a slight chop on the sea. However, as I looked across the strait to Tapuae-o-Uenuku (2,885m), I was taken by the light and texture on the Seaward Kaikoura range. Click on the image to enlarge and look at the the hills below and left of the high peak. I also liked the dramatic contrast of the rocks off Sinclair Head, one of which seems to be pointing up the Wairau Valley which runs from Blenheim to St Arnaud. Despite the ruffled water, I got an image.
When true stillness comes at last, I apparently get a look of longing on my face which prompts Mary to say ” oh go on, you know you want to get out there”. And so I go, burdened with guilt, but rejoicing in my good fortune. From a lookout on Mulberry St in Maungaraki , the view South to Antarctica is a constant joy. The dark shadow on the horizon suggests that the stillness might be brief.
I thought this patch of weather would move on quickly, but to my delight it lingered for several days. From Petone Beach, I had spotted a fleet of yachts engaged in a very slow race. The wind was so light that they were not able to spread as far as they might in stronger conditions. However, I also wanted to capture the beauty of the harbour in these conditions, so I pointed my camera at Ward Island 7km away in the entrance to the harbour.
Then from the corner of my eye, I spotted a waka ama approaching from the East. The ancient outrigger canoe has been transformed into a fibreglass racing class, and this crew were out practicing. They certainly shot across my viewfinder much faster than any of the yachts.
A change of pace was made when I went to the weir on the Hutt River at Silverstream. There was a moderately fast flow across the weir and the water was tumbling over the downstream rocks in the late-afternoon sun. This image was made in full colour, but with the aid of a neutral density filter to get a silky look on the flowing water from an 8 second exposure.
That elusive stillness seemed as if it might have moved to Lake Wairarapa, so I crossed the hill to Featherston where the water was just as ruffled as it was in Wellington. I really need a Wairarapa correspondent who can flick me a text when the conditions are right, either dead calm or misty. Anyway, I settled for this shot of a pair of Welcome swallows (Hirundo neoxena). They were adjacent to a pond sparkling in the sun hence the bright spots in the background which I quite like,
I walked up the track to the Massey Memorial on the Miramar peninsula and saw something in these tree roots. My thought was that since the earth had crumbled away from them in front, they were having to hang on to each other for dear life. I hardly ever shoot monochrome, but decided to try it in this instance. I am unlikely to change.
Mary has a small potted anthurium that has been very prolific this year, and vivid in its colour. I always struggle to do anything useful with an anthurium plant. Despite my preference for simplicity I added a cut-glass fruit bowl against the window in the background. I like it, I think.
A pleasant afternoon at Eastbourne led me to Burdan’s gate beyond which only pedestrians and cyclists proceed as a general rule. There are exceptions. It’s a few years since I last walked this trail out to Pencarrow lighthouse or beyond. Either of the prevailing winds can make the inward or outward journey less comfortable. And if you are really unlucky, an untimely wind change can give you a headwind in both directions. I liked the appearance of two walkers on one of the very many headlands.
That will do until I have gathered another dozen or so images that I like. See you later.
*Misty Mountains Cold – the Hobbit J.R.R Tolkien
**Thanks Michael Witbrock