Adventure Camera club Lake Taupo Lakes mountains Taupo Tauranga

May 4, 2015 … tired and happy, homeward bound

Conventions are hard work.

The last tea break of the convention. Pastries were nice, though not necessarily appropriate for me.

This particular convention required a great deal of concentration since one of the major speakers was explicitly expert in a highly technical area. Many of us watched the things that could be done with no hope of remembering how to do them, but at least we learned where to look for the detailed knowledge. I imagine that the organizers of next year’s convention in Queenstown may wish to have keynote speakers who address the aesthetics of photography rather than its mechanics. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of this, but I saw many participants whose eyes were as glazed as mine.  The last morning tea break happened amongst the trade stands. Some brown powder in sachets pretended to be coffee but wasn’t. Then the last session, and with my passenger Helen, we set out for home.

Looking to Ruapehu (with snow, on the left), Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) and Tongariro. This is from Five Mile Bay near the North East of Lake Taupo.

At the urging of a fellow photographer, we took the route from Tauranga through Rotorua to Taupo. Contrary to the advice I received, it is not only 27 km longer than the route over the Kaimai range to Putaruru but seemed at least half an hour longer, especially given the crawl through suburban Rotorua. Never mind, I forgive her. We carried on to an entirely unmemorable lunch at Waiotapu.  After the Taupo bypass, we paused for a photo break at Five Mile Bay south of Taupo township. We could see cloud building up behind the mountain, and feel its chill despite the calm surface of the lake.

Pleasant but busy conditions on SH1

From there, it was the long haul down SH1 on the Eastern side of the lake to Turangi and up to the volcanic plateau.

Ruapehu slips the cloud from its shoulder. This is an active volcano.

We caught glimpses of the mighty mountain as we followed the narrow winding approach to the plateau, but by the time we were on the high part of the road, it was mostly obscured. It disappeared entirely long before we got to Waiouru.

It’s great to be home.

Art Camera club Tauranga

May 3, 2015 … busy, busy, busy at the convention

Saturday had no holes in it.

Julieanne Kost
My Lightroom/Photoshop heroine, Julieanne Kost casts a big shadow. Her photography is inspirational and her product knowledge is amazing. Comedy on top of all that was a totally unexpected bonus.


The convention programme went from one good speaker or workshop to the next. There were few spaces in between. There are still those at the convention whose model of photography is similar to that of the film days. For them the photographer’s job is pretty much done once the shutter button has been pressed. Anything done on a computer after that is akin to cheating. My totally unscientific guess is that about 15% of the 300 or so present are uncomfortable with the merger of photography and computers. I, of course, utterly repudiate that attitude and rejoice in the creative options given to me by Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop software. There can be few people who use Adobe’s photographic products who have not encountered Julieanne Kost who rejoices in the title of “Principal Digital Imaging Evangelist” for Adobe.  Julieanne’s normal style in her many free teaching videos is serious, straight down the line. In person she was a delightful comedian who still managed to be a remarkably effective educator amidst all the comedy.  At times, it got a bit dense for me, but as she promised, it’s all accessible through the many free online videos accessible through that link above. If you are keen to improve your skills, watch the videos.

Large empty spaces at Greerton


In the tea breaks (there was nothing resembling coffee available) I sometimes found myself in the fresh air on the grandstand at the racecourse which was the venue for the convention. It’s an awful lot of space for twelve or so race meetings a year.  It still turns a buck, when I looked at some of the vehicles in the car park.

At the end of a long and busy day


At the end of the working day on Saturday it was back to the motel to change for the banquet. As on previous days there was a delightful rosy sunset after a clear day. It was hard to find a good vantage point though, so this shot is through the glass of my motel room across suburbia to the  East to catch the near full moon rising.

I left the camera behind for the banquet.



Adventure Architecture Landscapes Light Railway Tauranga Uncategorized Waihi Weather

May 2, 2015 … revisiting old haunts

Friday was the day for field trips at the photographic convention.

At the edge of the abyss. The Martha open-pit gold mine in Waihi

I chose to visit the Martha Gold Mine at Waihi. From about 1970 through about 1984 I was a regular visitor to the electronics factory in Waihi, Back then the price of gold was such that extraction form the remains of the old Martha Mine was uneconomic. Subsequent events have seen the development of the massive open cast mine that exists today. It seems it was an inopportune time for a visit by a bunch of photographers. During the week there had been a large subsidence which carried away the access road used by the giant haulers to carry the ore from the pit to the processing plant. In addition, the mine has h=just been sold by its present American owners to an Australian company. Everything was at a  standstill.

The landslide made the lower reaches of the pit inaccessible for now

Nevertheless, the pit is spectacular and the 45 minute walk around the rim was very pleasant.

Pump house
The remains of the old Cornish Pump Engine’s house peers above the rim of the pit. Waihi township can be glimpsed through the trees behind it.

Photographers must be one of the few groups who hate it when there is a clear cloudless sky.  Everybody else is exclaiming over the beautiful day, and the photographers are looking for cunning ways to avoid a boring empty sky.

In the tracks

From the mine, we got back on our bus and went to the Goldfields railway at the Western end of Waihi township. There is a small residual section of the railway that this preservation society can use to run short train rides behind a rather nondescript diesel shunter.

Vintage steam engine, covered in dust and rarely steamed

However grander things are in view, and at the very back in the darkest corner of the shed, there was a lovely little 1938 Peckett 0-4-2T steam engine.

Corrosion of the a serious kind

Our next stop was at the tea-rooms in the old Waikino railway station where lunch was provided prior to a walk through a part of the old rail trail through the Karangahake Gorge. This led past the remains of the old Victoria Battery which was built in 1897 to stamp the ore extracted form the mines nearby for subsequent chemical extraction of the gold. The old concrete footings of the once extensive plant and some corroding remains of the cyanide tanks are fascinating to explore.

Owharoa falls with a clear blue sky

A kilometre or so further on, there is access to the Owharoa Falls which are pretty without being overpowering.

Tauranga Harbour just before we placed our dinner order. It was dark before we ate.

On our return to Tauranga, we were left to our own devices until the convention programme resumed in the early evening. Paul and I went to the inner harbour area in Tauranga city. The evening was still and there were many patrons int he many bars and restaurants along the sea wall. We saw people eating fish and chips outside an obviously well patronised fish shop, so we decided hat fresh fish would be good. Popularity is well and good but comes at a cost. The 45 minute wait between order and delivery of a simple fish and chip dish must make this the slowest fast-food” joint in history. We had thought to watch the sun go down as we ate our meal. It was very dark when we got it.  The food was good, though.

More tomorrow


Adventure Camera club Railway Tauranga

May 1, 2015 … in the sunny Bay

So the convention gets under way.

A grey start to a day that turned out fine in the end

The days are full and the schedules hectic. I chose to go down to the inner harbour area after breakfast and before the first session. Looking under the rail bridge that crosses to Bayview I liked the rather old-fashioned fleet of vessels moored in the harbour.

Rail bridge in the morning light

The bridge itself imposes itself on the eye from this part of the harbour. Eventually the handrails persuaded me that there was a footpath beside the rails.

Around the curve

As far as I know there are few curved rail bridges in New Zealand. This is obviously one of them.

Time to get back to work.


Adventure Camera club Tauranga Travel Uncategorized Weather

April 30, 2015 … wet road trip

Road trip!

The image can’t describe the awful stench of pulp cooking at a chemical paper mill. The distinctive chemical is methyl mercaptan.


With my friend Paul I set out for Tauranga, site of the 63rd annual convention of the Photographic Society of New Zealand. It was wet. Mountain? What mountain? We saw no mountain. The first scenery I saw (at a time when I was not driving) was near Tokoroa when the steam and smell of paper pulp cooking told me that Kinleith, where I spent the first five years of my working life was just over that ridge.

Hauling up the Kaimai range passing one truck at a time


Following the instructions of Paul’s Navman, we went through Putaruru and over the Kaimai ranges to Tauranga. I have not been in such a traffic jam for quite a while, and it’s frustrating when the really slow truck ahead of you blocks the passing lane by pulling out to pass an even slower one.

XF Jaguar


At the Tauranga Racecourse which was our convention venue, a smart-looking car caught my eye. Whatever failings it may have, the Jaguar XF has lines of exquisite elegance.

The trade stands


Soon the conference was in full swing with the trade stands doing a brisk trade. Without wishing to exacerbate any stories doing the rounds about senior politicians and pony tails, the lady with the blond hair in the centre foreground is the world-famous Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop expert and evangelist, Julianne Kost. Having flown directly from the USA, she looked exhausted, but soldiered on prior to some amazing presentations the next day.

That’s all for now