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Architecture Birds Butterflies Cook Strait flowers Landscapes Light Maritime mountains Paremata Porirua Rivers Sunset

July 17, 2022 …

One of my favourite mentors, Alastair Benn this week asked his subscribers what makes a good photograph/photographer. Any of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that this is a sure way to trigger all my anxieties and self doubt. He also asked whether we thought it was feasible to judge your own work.

Solely in relation to my own work, I regard a good photograph as one that I like, that I am pleased to have made and one to which my first reaction is not how much better it could have been “if only I had done something else.” In my view, although I love to get affirming opinions from others, the vital component is that I like it myself. I take it for granted that the image is made competently. After that it is a matter of what I saw and how I extracted that seeing from all that was in front of me.

So here follows the usual collection of images made since the last edition of this blog. I like some of them. Others not so much.

Cape Halswell Light in the mist

Winter mist on the harbour and all is blank beyond Pt Halswell. The Hutt Valley is probably still out there, though there is no evidence of it.

Little Black Shag hanging the laundry out to dry

I like the little black shags. Their plumage is beautifully patterned but not coloured. This one was hanging the wings out to dry in whatever thin substitute for sunshine was available.

Misty on the Wainuiomata Coast Road

Misty conditions appeal to me, though the resulting images rarely match the vision I had when I made them. This was on the road South to the Wainuiomata coast. Silhouettes against the mist always appeal to me.

A constrained view from Wright’s Hill

Now and then I get the urge to go up Wright’s Hill at the Western end of Karori. The problem with geographic lookouts such as Wrights Hill, is that they are constraining. Every time I go up there, I end up in the same place looking at the same view. Only the light, time of day and the weather change. I need to get more inventive.

Evans Bay looking inland

Unlike Wright’s Hill, Evans Bay offers myriad different vantage points. Some face East, some West. Some look into bays, others look out. I liked this view because it is an angle not often seen.

White cabbage butterfly

As far as I can tell, this caterpillar is going from left to right. I will further venture that this is probably a white cabbage butterfly seen here hanging under a parsley plant. Two aspects caught my eye. A droplet of water on the caterpillar’s back was interesting because I have no idea where it came from. The other thing that drew my attention was its pointy little feet.

Sunset over the Hutt Valley

A seemingly perfect day seemed to promise a spectacular sunset. Sadly, it didn’t happen. Instead, a wall cloud developed to the West and we had a fairly ordinary sunset. The only consolation were the glittering reflections in the Hutt River and the Waiwhetu Stream.

On Ivey Bay (again)

Ivey Bay is a frequent haunt of mine. Among other things, I like it because of the character of the boats moored there. As I have observed before, these are not plastic “gin palaces”, but rather, honest working boats, probably built by the original owner.

Tapuae-o-Uenuku

Looking from the top of the Wainuiomata Hill across the Cook Strait, there is usually a splendid view of the Kaikoura mountains. Tapuae-o-Uenuku is always magnificent, especially considering that summit is 130 km away.

Tākina – the Convention centre

Here is the new kid on the block. This is Tākina. It is the almost finished Wellington Convention Centre. I quite like it, though birders are not pleased with so much glass that could injure the birds.

Aquilla coming home

Aquilla is one of the local fishing trawlers seen here returning from the Cook Strait with a swarm of sea birds hovering hopefully in her wake.

Porirua Harbour

Porirua Harbour has its moments. I especially like it when there is no wind, and that is much more often than you might think. This is a multi-image panoramic stitch made between two trees near the Whitireia Polytchnic.

Tulips

Mary had a birthday recently and the family turned up and provided morning tea at a local cafe. Jack (15) arrived with a bunch of tulips for the occasion. Flowers for the win!

And that’s another edition in the can, though I had a repeat of that sudden loss of editing. I might have to see if there is something more reliable than WordPress.

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Adventure Arachnids Birds Butterflies insects Lakes Landscapes Light Moon night Plant life

November 29, 2021 … with new eyes

That’s a fairly heavy handed reference to my cataract operation scheduled for later today, for which I have high hopes. So, for now, let’s see whether my metaphorical new eyes are making progress:

Improve each thing hour … (Isaac Watts)

Wellington’s Botanic Garden is always worth a visit in my opinion. Some seasons are more spectacular than others, but there is always something to see. I was too late for the tulips, but a few prolific Rock Rose shrubs were displaying nicely. and were attracting the Honey bees.

Primulaceae

There are seasons of the year when certain flowers have dominance. I love it when there are tulips or poppies for example. At other times, there are random displays of less spectacular species such as a cluster of primulas just above the duckpond. This particular bed of flowers contained a lovely variety of colours arranged in small geometric clusters.

Upstream

Just a little upstream from the duckpond, the creek runs between some stepping stones and the creates little rippling ladder of water which, to paraphrase the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, sparkles out among the fern and bickers down a valley.

Love’s Labours Lost

Beside the steps to our front door, there is a collection of shrubs most dominant of which is the kowhai much loved by the kereru. As I get older, I find my gaze is directed downwards more. This is a self-defence mechanism to avoid trip hazards. It has the advantage that I spot treasures that, in the arrogance of my youth, I would have passed by. I have no clue which bird lost this egg, nor whether its loss was by accident or enemy action. However it came about this is as I found it under the kowhai shrub.

I’m called Little Buttercup

The weather has prevented lawn mowing for a week or two and consequently our lawn is rich with a splendid crop of buttercups and daisies. I am so glad that the American notion of the Home Owners’ Association (HOA) has never been a thing here. Buttercups have always presented a photographic challenge to me. I suspect this might be overcome by the use of a polarising filter to tame the reflections in the flowers. On this occasion I managed to get the surface of the petals reasonably exposed without the aid of the filters. I was a bit surprised after all these years on the planet, to learn that they are poisonous to humans and many animals.

Your best guess?

Many people wondered why I made pictures of new potatoes. If it helps, these little objects are about 1mm x 1.5mm x 2mm and in this case are firmly stuck to the painted surface at the top of a bedroom door. With no idea of what I was looking at, I posted this image to the FaceBook group, “NZ Bug Identification – Spiders, Insects etc”. Within minutes someone said those are the eggs of a Gum Emperor Moth. We have no gum trees nearby so I was baffled. We reasoned that if a gum emperor had laid them, it would be still in the room somewhere, so we started a more thorough search. Mary found it on a window sill

Gum Emperor Moth (female)

The Gum Emperor is among the most spectacular of the New Zealand Moths. This was a moderate example with a span of about 120 mm (about 4.75″). She was absolutely flawless, Like many moths she emerges with neither mouth parts nor waste disposal. Her sole function is to mate, lay eggs and then die. Sadly she found no male so the eggs duly withered and died and a few days later, so did she.

The source

We wondered where our Gum Emperor moth had come from , and the penny finally dropped. Mary had found a fallen eucalyptus branch which had a cocoon on it, and she thought I might wish to photograph it. I had forgotten about it, and in the meantime, the moth had emerged, laid eggs and died. Nature is so extravagant.

Treasure Flower

The wind was howling across the valley and I was waiting outside the War Memorial Library in Lower Hutt for Mary to collect a reserved book. This flower caught my eye and when I found an example that was in a relatively sheltered spot, set up to make the picture. I had no idea what it was, but should not have been surprised that it is yet another South African immigrant. It is Gizania riggers, or more commonly, Treasure flower.

Australian Shoveler

I need scarcely tell you that a favourite place is the wetlands at Queen Elizabeth Park near Paekakariki. I had been looking for the dabchick carrying its young on its back. I was unsuccessful on this particular day, but did catch this handsome Australian shoveler drake. Look at the length of that extraordinary bill.

Welcome Swallow

This image has a comic back story. Again I went to the bird hide at the Queen Elizabeth park wetlands. Although the door is normally closed with heavy magnetic catch, I couldn’t get in. I administered a hefty kick which should have opened it. It didn’t. Then a voice from inside asked me to wait a moment. There were sounds of hasty rearrangements followed by the bench being dragged away from the door. A few moments later an embarrassed young couple emerged red-faced and made themselves scarce. I felt guilty that I had interrupted them, but it gave me access to this view of the Welcome swallow which is beautifully coloured.

Ripples

The longest arm of the wetlands is surrounded by dense bush and when the water is relatively still, it reflects the green of the bush beautifully. This black shag cruised rapidly across and completed the picture for me. The closely spaced ripples made a beautiful background of black and green.

Parental duty

Then came the sight I hoped to see. The dabchick or weweia is a member of the grebe family. It is apparently rarely found in the South Island. Despite the glossy brown colours of the adult, the chicks are born with dark stripes on a white background. They are carried about in the plumage on the adult’s back until they get too big

Manuka

A visit to the home of daughter Lena and son-in-law Vasely let me see a beautiful manuka specimen. The intensity of the colour attracted me to make the image

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A small pine in the pot next to the manuka had what appeared to be prolific flowers. Closer inspection identified them as tin seed cones.

Before the eclipse

Last week there was the partial eclipse. We got lucky with relatively clear skies over the Hutt Valley. Early in the evening, the red moon rose in the North East and I made this image. Perhaps because I don’t have the very high quality optics and thus rarely do one of those amazing moon shots, I always like to capture some foreground. In this case we can see both sides of Stokes Valley and in the background, the foothills of the Tararuas. Later in the evening when the eclipse proper occurred, the moon was higher in the sky and was obscured by clouds at our place.

That’s all for now. Might see you again in a few weeks.

Categories
Architecture Art Butterflies Family flowers Landscapes Maritime Railway Waves Weather Wellington

January 30, 2021 … the road goes ever on and on*

I occasionally evaluate my reality. Mary and I are retired, living in leafy suburbia in a small city (pop 104,700) adjacent to our small capital (population 215,100) in a small peaceful and politically stable country (pop 5 million) in the bottom right hand corner of the world (population 7,794,798,739). We have so much to be grateful for.

From my perspective as a photographer, while other parts of the country may offer more spectacle, even the region in which I live offers many opportunities within an hour’s drive and even more within a four hour round trip. So why, you might ask, have I been so grumpy of late? Well, I continue to claim the right to grumble about almost two solid months of grey dismal blustery weather, but remain hopeful of some semblance of summer weather in the remainder of the season. I know I should be more appreciative of what I have. The landscape and seascapes around me have good bones. When the weather precludes those shots, there are interesting possibilities in the close up.

Tree Mallow

Sometimes I encounter a plant or flower and identify it confidently. Then I find that I have been wrong for years. In the certain knowledge that this flower was a hollyhock, I submitted the image to my favourite plant identifying site looking for the scientific name. It seems that this is in fact, a tree mallow. Pride cometh before a fall.

Monarch butterfly

Mary came in from her walk in bleak and blustery conditions, carefully nursing something very delicate. A monarch butterfly! It was unwilling to sit still and fluttered about until it settled on a piece of foliage I had been using for other purposes. Snap. Then it flew away.

Unexpected stillness

A promised and long awaited calm day appeared, and brought some mist with it. I can live with that. My wandering took me to Hataitai Beach in Evans Bay. I loved the appearance of the distant yachts sandwiched between the cloud above and the glutinous sea below. The tiny wavelets lowered themselves almost silently onto the gravel beach.

Paint and varnish, masts and rigging

The conditions in Evans Bay allowed me to narrow the focus onto a few of the yachts. I like these “old school” yachts, with no sign of moulded plastic or meaningless shapes. These are the shapes taught by the sea, shapes that have served generations of mariners well. I suspect that these will still be here even as the plastic gin-palaces crumble to dust.

Van Gogh Alive (1)

At the instigation of Mary’s brother Paul and his wife Robyne, we went together to see the “Van Gogh Alive” at an exhibition centre on the Wellington Waterfront. I used the word “see” … perhaps I should have said “experience”. This was an immersion with beautifully selected elements of Van Gogh’s art projected on the multiple surfaces at various angles all around us. If this exhibition comes near you, don’t miss it. It is a joy.

Sunflowers

The final element of the Van Gogh exhibition was a mirrored room filled with artificial sunflowers. The effect was truly spectacular. As I said, don’t miss it. That pink sunflower against a black background in the back centre is not a sunflower. It is me. A rare but inadvertent selfie.

The city railyard on a public holiday

An actual fine day came as a surprise, so I drifted along the less travelled roads around the city. It was Wellington’s provincial anniversary day and a public holiday, so the town was quiet. I paused at a gate on Thorndon Quay where I had a view of the railyards and many commuter units sitting dark and quiet in orderly rows.

In Wellington

That same public holiday, I was walking around the inner city and found myself at the intersection of Willis Street, Manners Street and Boulcott Street. Across the street, the little old house, now a pub, was long known as “The House of Ladies” due to its time as a massage parlour. It was physically relocated from a little to the right, to make way for the 116 metre “Majestic Centre” tower block behind. The spot from which the image was made, used to be known as Perrett’s Corner. It was so named for the Chemist shop which was a significant landmark through most of the early twentieth century, and I have added a link to a fine National Library photograph.

Italian grace

I had a brief flirtation with the idea of buying upmarket cars as a photographic portfolio topic. I had no intention of buying such a car. With the dealer’s permission, I made several trial images and decided that I was less excited than I expected to be. Nevertheless, this Maserati does embody my expectations of Italian automotive style. The idea is paused rather than abandoned.

A cliche but a good one

No matter how often I drive from Evans Bay around Pt Jerningham to Oriental Bay, my breath is always taken away by the great Southern Wall of the Tararua ranges. On days such as this when the morning light makes layers the view is especially wonderful.

On Bowen Street

Behind the parliamentary precinct, Bowen Street curves up the Thorndon gully to Tinakori Rd. It passes through some of Wellington’s oldest and most picturesque dwellings. To my regret, the government (I presume the State Services Commission) seems to be transforming the area into an administrative precinct. Whereas I think the old houses are protected by legislation, glass and steel are changing the nature of the area.

Wild Onshore Wind

There have been ugly blustery winds for most days over several weeks. I shall be glad when they depart. On the other hand, the kite surfers at Lyall Bay reveal in the conditions.

See you again in a week or two. Stay safe. Keep recording your locations and observing your local protocols to avoid the virus.

*J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Categories
Adventure Architecture Art Brisbane Butterflies creativity Family Landscapes Light Museum Reflections Sunset

November 30, 2016 … on the West Island

Here I am in the big brown island next door. It’s 8:20 am and already the thermometer is telling me it’s 26 deg C, and heading for 28. I am enjoying the hospitality of my eldest son David and his wife, and loving being here with them and our two beautiful grandchildren. Apart from the weather, a slight bonus is that the earth has not moved at all while I have been here.

Sunset
Sunset at Bald Hills

I came over on Wednesday, flying into the Gold Coast airport at Coolangatta. An old friend and former colleague kindly transported me the 20 km or so from the airport to Varsity Lakes railway station, which is the southern limit of Brisbane’s commuter rail network. It was a pleasant run of about 90 minutes into Brisbane Central station where I met up with David who drove us home. Nearing Bald Hills in the heavy evening traffic, I enjoyed the magnificent sunset.

Swan plants
This was a tiny part of a vast field of swan plants

On Friday, David took me to a favourite location nearby, the Tinchi Tamba wetlands. Unlike Wellington, South East Queensland has been experiencing a prolonged dry spell, so the “wetlands” were not so fruitful as they have been in the past. However, there was a large open area full of swan plants, that favourite food of the monarch butterfly. It seems we missed the peak event but there were still a lot of butterflies flitting about.

Art
Grace’s art project

The next day, David, Grace, Isaac and I went to Kelvin Grove where Grace is a student at the Queensland Academy of Creative Industries. I can’t say I understood the assignment, but she got very high marks for the project, and she produced a piece made with cane and tissue paper … as I understood it, the mark was for the exploration in writing of the artist(s) who inspired the work and analysis of the creative process.

Scarborough
Scarborough Harbour

On Sunday, with Isaac, David and I drove North to Redcliffe. We had a great fish and chip lunch at the Scarborough harbour where you can be sure the fish in your lunch is fresh.

Brisbane Port
Brisbane is a big city and has a big port whose cranes are visible across Moreton Bay

We came back along the coastline from where there was an interesting view of the distant cranes of Brisbane’s port.

Architecture
Restoration nicely done

Yesterday, Grace and I went to Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (more her thing than mine, but you don’t often get an excuse to hang out with your 15 year-old granddaughter. The museum is on Southbank and has some interesting architectural neighbours.

Reflections
Reflections in a table

From the third floor of the gallery, I spotted a reflection of the city across the river. It wasn’t the river doing the trick though, but a large glass-topped table up against the window. Brisbane’s river is customary brown and silt laden, so the glass did a better job.

Art
The two islands of New Zealand? A piece by Michael Parakowhai who is also responsible for a statue of an elephant standing on its head outside the gallery.

A piece in the gallery was eye-catching. It was by New Zealand artist, Michael Parakowhai and according to the tour guide it referenced the two islands of New Zealand with all the culture in the North and all the fun bits in the South.

 

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Birds Butterflies Hutt River Industrial Landscapes Machinery Reflections Seaview Weather Wellington

June 25, 2016 … an eclectic mix

Since I last wrote, I have spent a lot of time at the Hikoikoi reserve as I do whenever George (our annual resident white heron) is present. He seems to have made a derelict boat his home for the last three or four years at least.

George
George on a slow fly by

If you wait patiently and still on the breakwater nearby, he will show himself. Occasionally, if you are really lucky, he will launch himself and do a low slow flight around the basin, to arrive back near his launch point. In this case, I didn’t get him fully in my viewfinder until he was three-quarters of the way round his circuit.

Crane
A heavy lifter. The size is revealed by the man standing on its crawler treads.

When I stood up after my session observing George, my eye was caught by a huge crawler crane in the colours of the local Titan Cranes. I diverted past the crane on my way home an indulged my small-boy love of big machines by stopping for a few shots. This particular monster is a Liebherr LR1400/2 capable of lifts up to 400 Tonnes. It has recently been involved in lifting bridge members for the new Kapiti Coast expressway, and is being reconfigured for work at Wellington Airport.

Rainbow
Rainbow disappearing rapidly

My next image was a few days later from Petone foreshore after a night of heavy rain. The rainbow caused me to stop for the shot.

Marina
Chaffers marina

Later that day I had lunch with a friend in town who is also a photographer , so we walked around Chaffers Marina. I was attracted to the fresh rain-washed colours and textures of the city behind the masts and rigging of the yachts.

Tanks
Tanks in alignment

Yesterday I was wandering in the Seaview area and liked the shape and textures of the tanks in the oil terminal.

Seaview
A near perfect day

Coming back the other way, and a beautiful Wellington Winter day, I paused to construct a nine shot panorama stitch on the road around Pt Howard, beside the oil and chemical pipes that transfer essential cargoes from the ship at the wharf to the tank farm nearby.

reflections
Inside the breakwater at Hikoikoi

From there it was back to the estuary where George chose not to reveal himself. The trip wasn’t wasted, though as I caught some nice reflections.

Sandra II
Sandra II at her mooring

The quality of the day is revealed in this shot of recent arrival, Sandra II at her mooring inside the breakwater.

Monarch
A well-travelled monarch butterfly

Then my phone rang, and it was Mary letting me know that there was a mini-swarming event among the monarch butterflies at Te Omanga Hospice. Overall it was a very rewarding day.

 

 

Categories
Art Birds Butterflies Paekakariki

March 2, 2016 … improve each shining hour*

Despite the long gaps, I am not being totally idle.

leaf
I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree**

Images are being made, selected, worked on or discarded. Sometimes they arise by chance, and sometimes I set out with determined intent. Mary and I went to a local outdoor art show which has, in the past had some good work. The best thing I saw this time was the light on the leaves of the trees in the grounds.

Monarch
The image doesn’t show how those hard heavy fronds were thrashing in the wind.

There had been some butterfly chrysalises on a fence that I had decided to keep an eye on. Of course, I missed them. On the other hand, Mary spotted one of the newly minted monarchs risking its life and its scarcely dry wings in some flax plants in the garden. I say this because there was a near gale, and the bush in which it took shelter was lashing around and the butterfly was in constant danger of being crushed. I was happy to get a shot before the perfect symmetry of its wings was destroyed.

cicada
Chorus cicada

Yesterday, a friend alerted me to the presence of some dabchicks with chicks in the wetlands of Queen Elizabeth Park to the North of Paekakariki. He gave me directions which I, of course got wrong, so I walked the 45 minute loop through a delightful forest remnant where the song of the cicadas was deafening.

fantail
The most delightful companion in the bush

Further along the winding trail, there was a spot where there must have been eight or ten fantails flitting about. Fantails are a joy and a nightmare to photograph. Getting them still is relatively easy. Catching them in flight is a challenge that I failed completely this time.

Dabchicks
Dabchick with chick.

And then I came to the pond. Sure enough there were the dabchicks. One parent was acting as an aircraft carrier for the chicks, allowing them to nestle in his or her own feathers while its partner went diving for whatever it is that dabchicks eat.  Every now  and then the chicks would disembark and the parent would be free to accompany its mate in the constant search for foods, while the two little chicks were blown across the surface of the pond like tumbleweed in a desert. These chicks must be at the extreme limit of size for being carried around. Their markings are extraordinary.

Yes, I am having a lot of fun.

* How doth the little bee by Isaac Watts

** Trees by Joyce Kilmer

 

 

Categories
Adventure Boggy Pond Butterflies Cars Family Festivals and fairs Lakes Landscapes Light

February 15, 2016 … random wandering

That groove I seek is still elusive.

Nevertheless, I enjoy my photography more without the self-imposed pressure of a daily photograph.  Since I last wrote, I have looked at sunsets several times, tried some still life, and had a trip to the Wairarapa, so here goes.

Paremata
Paremata sunset

Sunsets come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are subtle, and some are spectacular. The photographer’s standpoint makes a difference too. This time I wanted to get down to water level, and perhaps have a different foreground to recent efforts. Ivey Bay at Paremata is my first shot.

Petone
Golden haze on Petone foreshore

The next day, another calm night, and Mary persuaded me that a walk along the Esplanade at Petone would be a good thing. Both this and the preceding image embody a great deal of flare, but that’s unavoidable when you point a lens directly at the sun. To some extent, the flare accurately captures the golden haze of the moment.

Cicadas
The Ghosts of Cicadas Past

For a completely different exercise, Mary found a couple of discarded cicada cases, and was keeping them to discuss with our grandson, Cooper. I decided to fiddle with macro views. With no particular logic, I decided that a spare Seagate 1TB disk drive lying on my desk would make an interesting background, so here is an image that I have called “The Ghosts of Cicadas Past”.  I think the polished black plastic adds to the image.

Kahutara
Parched South Wairarapa Landscape

Then yesterday, Valentine’s Day, Mary and I went to a place called the Boggy Pond wetlands adjacent to Lake Wairarapa a little South of Kahutara. The day was perfect, perhaps to excess. According to my car, the outside temperature was 33°C. The lakeside landscape was parched, and against all photographic wisdom, I tried this landscape in the heat and overhead light of midday.

Dust
Dryness

On the way to our location, I had seen some possibilities in the plume of road dust that followed us along the unsealed road. I asked Mary to drive away and then come back at around 60 km/h. The dust and the dry golden grass tell a story of impending drought.

Swamp
Boggy Swamp Wetlands – it pleases me that neither snakes nor crocodiles infest this landscape.

Next we stopped at Boggy Pond itself, and here is one of the shots I made. Lots of dead trees and some rapidly evaporating ponds added character to the area, but we decided that the dry Wairarapa heat was just too much, so we headed South.

Butterfly
The white butterfly is present in plague proportions

At Lake Ferry reserve, on the shores of Lake Onoke we found a shady spot to set up our picnic chairs and enjoy Mary’s delicious Valentine’s day lunch.  I was intrigued by the multitude of common white butterflies throughout the Southern Wairarapa … there must be hundreds of millions of them.

I am still looking for that groove.

 

Categories
adversity Architecture Birds Butterflies flowers harbour insects Maritime Military Newtown Plant life Wellington

November 11, 2015 … consolation prize

For the second time I trudged up the steep tracks of Te Ahumairangi in a  fruitless search for the New Zealand falcon.

Tradescantia
This plant has some regrettable common names of which the least offensive is Wandering Willie. It’s sale is banned in New Zealand because of its invasive nature. Nevertheless, it is pretty in the right light.

I saw one in the far distance, but I obviously followed the wrong track. Nevertheless, it was a delightful walk, despite the mean inclines which encouraged me to turn frequently to admire the view unfolding below. And close at hand, nature put on quite a show. Even the Tradescantia fluminensis weeds were attractive.

Butterfly
Yellow Admiral on another invasive weed.

There were birds and butterflies, bees and flowers. Since this is the national week for butterfly survey, I include this Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea) sitting on a purple ragwort flower.

Frigate
HMNZS Te Kaha waiting for her companion

I mentioned the unfolding view. Down in the harbour, the frigate HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) was sitting patiently while HMNZS Wellington (P55) was flying the red refuelling pennant as she took on oil near the ferry terminal. Not often we get to units of the Royal New Zealand Navy in port.

Architecture (1)
Cross the bush on the lower slopes to the houses on Bolton St, and beyond to the tower blocks on The Terrace

There are those who despise all modern architecture preferring to cling on to the perceived superiority of ages past, no matter that the buildings are unsafe and inefficient. It reminds of W.S. Gilbert’s “I’ve got a Little List” –  Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own … they’ll none of ’em be missed!  I like modern architecture unashamedly and I love the colour and contrasting textures of a cityscape.

Architecture (2)
A wide mixture of architectural eras looking South towards Newtown

There are zones within the city that have a transitional quality but I still enjoy the variety as we take the long view.

Architecture (3)
A concentration of black and white cladding on the Terrace

To be clear, I don’t dislike the old buildings, though I am glad I no longer have to work in them  I just refuse to join in the fashionable distaste for glass and concrete. I particularly enjoy the proximity these buildings with a predominance of black and white on the Northern end of the Terrace.

 

Houses
Tinakori Village

In case anyone is hankering for yesteryear, there remains plenty of it in Wellington and this collection of houses on Tinakori Rd is a fine example. I particularly love the little building with the splendid arched window towards the right and desperately hope it serves as an artist’s studio.

No falcons, but I am content.

 

Categories
Butterflies flowers Light Lower Hutt Railway

July 18, 2015 … back in time

Pictures of things other people see, rarely work for me.

Camellia
Camellia

That’s not to say I am not grateful for a good tip-off. Mary gave me a call to let me know that there were lots of monarch butterflies at her place of work. I went down there, and the first thing I saw was a camellia in bloom. This held some significance for me. My very first serious camera was an Asahi Pentax SV way back in 1968, in Tokoroa. I got it home, and without reading any manuals, took it into the grounds of the house built for Sir David Henry, founder of the New Zealand Forest Products empire. He was a camellia lover, so my very first exposure, on Kodachrome (ISO 25)  was of a camellia. Astonishingly. I had to wait two weeks to find out whether it was any good, since the 36 shots had to be used carefully. Each press of the shutter was expensive, and I could afford to use a roll a week, back then. The exposed film was posted to the Kodak lab in Wellington, and about a week later, the much loved yellow box with 36 slides  appeared in the letter box. The image was unmemorable, but the experience and the excitement live on.

Monarch
Monarch butterfly at rest

Butterflies were what I came for. A few seasons ago, this garden had been the focus of a swarm of monarchs. Yesterday, a few dozen of them were flitting about landing occasionally, but usually as singletons, on one or other of the trees in the garden.

Monarchs
Monarchs and rhododendron

While I always enjoy watching the monarchs, there was nothing spectacular happening so I prepared to leave. A butterfly fluttered past me and I decided to follow it since it looked to be about to land. I saw it heading for a rhododendron flower and lined up to catch it there. My jaw dropped when I realised that there were five other lepidoptera on or around the single flower.

Bridge
Moera Rail bridge over the Hutt River

From there I went down to the rail bridge at Moera. I am not sure what I hoped to find, but I found a spot with a relatively uninterrupted view across the bridge. I waited about fifteen minutes and took this shot of a four-car Hyundai-Rotem set on its way to Upper Hutt from Wellington. Looking at the state of the down-line tracks nearest the camera, I now have a much better idea of the hammering noise the trains make as they cross this bridge.  Of course, the foreshortening effect of the long lens exaggerates the unevenness but they look to be in serious need of maintenance.

Something different tomorrow

Categories
adversity Butterflies flowers Lower Hutt Normandale

February 26, 2015 … pedestrian perspective.

With the car in the shop for new brakes and other issues, I was of necessity a pedestrian.

managers
A pride of managers

Walking from the Northern end of the CBD towards home, I spotted these guys in Riddiford Gardens. The Lower Hutt City Council’s administration building is just to the left of this image, and is being extensively reconstructed to make it safer in the event of an earthquake. I guess these folks are mostly managers of the company doing the work. The business shorts tend to give them away. Ear defenders on two of the helmets suggest that these two actually work on site routinely.

Gorse
Come to my arms

Halfway up the hill to home, a gorse bush demanded attention. It is wise not to ignore anything as well armed as this. Whether it is a seasonal die-back or the result of a weed killer, this plant appears to be on its last legs. Either way, a close encounter would still be an unpleasant experience. Gorse was introduced to New Zealand as a suitable hedge plant to contain stock, and in much of the country it still performs that function. However, the original importers did not foresee  the damage it would do as it thrived exceedingly well in the wild.

Monarch
Monarch butterfly on a Buddleia plant

On an altogether more gentle note, it seems to be the season for Buddleia plants to bloom, and that brings lots of Monarch butterflies and small birds  to the vicinity. I was surprised to learn that the otherwise attractive Buddleia is classified as a pest plant.

On with the day.