February 19, 2021 … happier days

This is a rare occasion. I can say that on the whole, I am pleased with this edition’s images. And did you notice that I didn’t feel the need to add the usual semi-apologetic disclaimer?

Being a photographer in the way that I am is perhaps parallel to being a general practitioner. Unlike the specialist portrait makers, I rarely use artificial light. Though I dabble in the mystic arts of architectural images, I don’t have the experience or the right tools for the highest levels of achievement. I am much too introverted to engage in portrait or street photography, so my natural habitat includes elements of landscape, nature and still life, with a strong preference for water. Of the fourteen images in this edition nine include the sea. So let’s have a look.

Black-fronted dotterel

I suppose it is natural to return to the places where I have had good results before. Hokio Beach is situated at the estuary of the Hokio stream that runs to the Tasman Sea a little to the South of Levin. On weekday mornings, if the conditions are right, it is a place of serenity and sea birds. It is always a delight to encounter the black-fronted dotterel. Somehow it is almost invisible against the dark West-coast sand. I find it necessary to sit down among the driftwood and wait. Eventually a tiny patch of grey fluff will scuttle across the beach in a away that catches the eye. Once the target is acquired, it resolves itself into this beautiful tiny bird. It is very cautious and tends to stay on the far side of the stream away from the occasional passing vehicle. They delight me.

Kaitaki leaving port

Conditions such as this are all too rare. When the trees outside my window are still, I look out the other side and look for reflections on the river and harbour. I love to get my camera close to water level and find a suitable target across the water. In this case, the ferry Kaitaki on the 9am service to Picton is about to pass between Ward Island and Point Dorset on her way to the harbour entrance and a turn to the West.

Ancient piles

Truth to tell, nothing man-made in New Zealand is really ancient. The original Petone wharf was erected in 1883 and I guess some of the inshore piles may date from then. Some recent earthquakes caused five of the piles to slump and the wharf was deemed unsafe. This much loved structure is currently closed to the public while repairs are effected, I was walking on the beach and looking at the reflections and saw this. Many of the piles are riddled with marine worms, so it’s a little scary to know that there are three or four trucks and a substantial crane on the deck overhead.

The Port of Wellington

Nicholson Road, Khandallah, is a narrow winding road that twists its way along the East-facing hills above the harbour. It provides few places to stop safely but offers some splendid views down into Oriental Bay and the port area. When I made this picture the harbour was still and the Singaporean registered Kota Lembah was exchanging containers and the Panama registered Pan Gloris was loading logs. Note the thousands of logs waiting on the wharf, mostly bound for China.

Cowgrass Clover

Our lawns were overdue for mowing and this cluster of cow grass clover had popped up on its edge. I decided that since the weather had delivered an ugly day I would have a closer look. My “dark box” was used with reflected light from the window to illuminate the plants.

Brisk Northerly

It was a clear but windy day , and it seemed that the view from atop Brooklyn Hill might be worth a look. On the way up the access road I saw the rapidly spinning turbine at the top of the hill and with the aid of a neutral density filter slowed the blades a bit.

Food for thought

Our son Anthony, his wife Sarah and our Grandchildren Maggie-May and Jack joined us for dinner recently and Mary delivered what the kids refer to as her signature dessert – lemon meringue pie. Pure magic, though it does nothing to diminish my shadow. As you can see if the conditions don’t lend themselves to outdoor photography, then I will point my camera at anything I can find.

Seeking the light

Summer, such as it has been, is withdrawing. A lovely sunset and a relatively calm sea persuaded me to to dash down to the harbour’s edge at Petone. Alas, to photograph the best moments, it is necessary to be there waiting for them. In the ten minutes or so that it took to get to the beach, the glory I had seen was gone. What saved the day for me was the sudden emergence of the Kaitaki from the shadow of the Miramar peninsula into the last glorious rays of the setting sun. The sudden explosion of light demanded a hand-held grab shot so as not to miss it.

Little red tugboat

As I often do, I was driving around the Miramar Peninsula and saw CentrePort’s two Damen 2411 ASD tugs crossing the harbour to assist the departure of an oil tanker from Seaview. I think this is Tapuhi which was built in China.

Citizens’ Tribute

While the peninsula, I chose to walk up to the Massey memorial which sits atop Point Halswell. Our 19th Prime Minister, William Ferguson Massey served from 1912 to 1925 and died in office. The memorial and mausoleum was funded largely by public subscription, despite his controversial right wing politics.

By land and sea

As I drove around Karehana Bay in Plimmerton, I noticed people fishing from boats in the bay as well as from the yacht club’s wharf. I am a very bad fisherman and always end up snagged on the rocky bottom.

Old school

Some of the upmarket marinas are filled with modern plastic vessels filled with electronics and appliances. In the older mooring areas such as Ivey Bay, it is more likely to encounter older vessels with planked wooden hulls and not a radar aerial to be seen. These appeal to my sense of marine aesthetics.

In need of attention

Sadly, many of these old boats are laid up with the best of intentions and then nothing happens. The planked hulls do not take kindly to neglect. I am not suggesting that the boats in the image are neglected but they do have that forlorn appearance that comes from a long time without attention.


In Evans Bay, there is a troop of sea scouts. Many of my previous shots of the area have included the blue vessel pictured here moored and without the masts stepped. What a pleasure to see her sailing briskly with a crew all well equipped with life jackets. Another seas scout crew is sailing the clinker built cream coloured boat with the number 45 on her sail.

That will do for this edition . I hope to improve in the next edition.