Architecture Blenheim

April 26, 2014 … Conference and ANZAC Day

Mornings keep happening to me.

IMG_5202A rustic setting
The pleasant tree-lined stream flowed slowly through the estate.

At least this one was less extreme than the previous one, though a real breakfast proved elusive. My chosen workshop was led by a visiting Australian expert, and we went to “Old St Mary’s Convent” just out of Blenheim. This is a vineyard estate set up to provide luxury accommodation and a wedding venue. While it is true that the building was once a convent it wans never so on this site. Instead , it was transported from its original location in Blenheim to its current location in the vineyard. My colleague and I travelled independently of the bus used by the rest of the group and were thus the first of us to discover its magnificent riverside location.

Wooden architecture
Old St Mary’s convent, Blenheim

The building itself retains some of the grandeur of early colonial wooden church architecture, but for me, the star of the show was the splendid setting.

Fungi – type unknown (to me) . These were very delicate and perhaps 5cm tall

I took many shots but I was taken by the small details. For example these tiny fungi were on the leaf-covered path beside the river. I got down very low for this shot. Someone more knowledgeable than I on these matters said that these would not last the day before melting away.

ANZAC Day, Blenheim
RNZAF unit heads the parade of veterans, territorials, cadets, scouts etc.

After a session with our workshop leader in which we learned a few new tricks in Photoshop, we went back tp the conference centre for lunch. We arrived at the same time as the town’s main ANZAC day parade was reaching its conclusion at the same spot, Since RNZAF Woodburn is nearby, the parade was led by a platoon of RNZAF personnel with bayonets fixed and swords drawn. As an aside, for a military unit to do that in a civilian area in peacetime usually signifies that the unit concerned has been “given the freedom of the city” .

ANZAC Parade
Lest we forget … the youngest marchers in the parade

behind the RNZAF came the old soldiers or their surviving relatives. Then came contingents of the emergency services and finally the youth of the scouts and other service organizations. I found it profoundly moving that, at the terminal point of the parade, the youngsters marched passed the veterans and rendered an eyes right and salute. There are some fairly arcane military protocols about who should render salutes to whom and in what circumstances. The past and present service personnel replied to the salutes with applause as the young people moved by.

Blenheim Camera club Landscapes Light night

April 25, 2014 … conference day 1

Photographic conventions don’t provide as many opportunities for photographs as you might think.

Wither hills lookout
Looking down on the lights of Blenheim to the left and Eastward to the sea. Though there is light in the sky, sunrise is still some way off.

The day is full to overflowing with keynote speakers, workshops, and other sessions. There is also the trade show with many temptations. Yesterday however began at some mythical hor of the morning which I am astonished to learn occurs every day. At 6 am we were trudging up the walkway to the Wither Hills lookout above Blenheim. It was completely dark except for a few small glow-worm type flashlights  carried by foresighted people.  We arrived at the lookout, some of in better condition than others. Our hope was to catch the sunrise (whatever that is) spreading its golden rays across the hills and plains.

Wither Hills
Though the sun may have risen the clouds and the hills prevented a clear view.

Sadly, the Eastern sky remained sullen for the most part, and the anticipated spectacle happened in a very filtered kind of way. Photographers in groups are funny to watch as they shuffle to get a clear view of their common target without including other photographers in the image. It’s a bit like watching Emperor penguins shuffle their eggs to the sheltered spot in the flock.

View to the West. Omaka airfield is just behind the second line of trees to the right of centre

As I was heading back to the carpark to attend the first conference session of the day the sun finally broke through and the colours of the Marlborough landscape were at last revealed.

And that’s all I have from yesterday.