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September 1, 2020 … a change of pace

Oh my goodness, time has slipped by and it has been almost a month since my last post. I have no clue how many regular readers still remain, but if you are one, thank you.

Winter morning – Oriental Bay – August 1

I know that August is generally the kindest of our winter months, but this one was extraordinary. According to the books, Spring is now with us I shall not be surprised if we now get some of the rough weather that we missed in winter. Even as I write, we have a howling Norwester with rain. On this morning, at the beginning of August, my attention was caught by the black-billed gulls at rest on the water at the Eastern end of Oriental Bay. That, and I am always intrigued by the textures of the cityscape from here.

Looking good for 112 years – August 4

At the intersection of Lambton Quay, Mulgrave St and Thorndon Quay this grand old lady has stood in various states since 1908. As the engraved letters attest, this was once the headquarters of the long defunct Wellington Corporation Tramways. Indeed I remember being here in the early sixties when the trams were still operating. My memory is of a constant stream of uniformed drivers and “clippies” coming and going through those doors. The rooftop amendments are not entirely to my liking but I suppose they could have been worse.

Off-peak storage – August 5

Just behind the spot from which I made the image of the old tramways building is a stairway that leads to the concourse of the city’s Sky Stadium. It is a featureless flat concrete walkway that crosses the railyards. This image was made just after 10 am., long after the morning commuter rush is over. I liked the moody atmosphere and the glittering tops of the Korean-made commuter units as they wait for the rush to resume in the afternoon.

At Te Haukaretu Park, Upper Hutt – August 6

The duck pond in Te Haukaretu Park, Upper Hutt is sheltered from the wind and often provides a peaceful scene. I particularly like the form of the trees in the pond.

Atrium – Wellington Station – August 9

Having seen some of the truly great rail terminals of the world, I know that Wellington railway station is a relatively small competitor. Nevertheless it has a handsome and well proportioned main atrium. It lacks the stalls and shops that you might find in Washington or New York, but on the other hand it has a mere 30,000 passengers per day compared with 750,000 in New York.

At Pencarrow Head -August 10

I have the privilege of being allowed to accompany a group of conservationists who specialise in the care and observation of the dotterel population along the South East coast of Wellington harbour. This gets me to Baring Head and beyond in comfort in a car as opposed to the four hour return walk. We saw few dotterels on this day, but I enjoyed the view across the harbour entrance. I should acknowledge that this was one of the few windy days in August.

Pipit – August 11

A second trip to Baring head was also a bust as far as dotterel sightings went, but I enjoyed the company of this New Zealand pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae). They characteristically bob their tail up and down as they walk.

Dabchick at QEII park – August 15

When there is little or no wind, the wetlands at Queen Elizabeth Park in Paekakariki are a favourite place for me. The still dark waters reflect the green of the surrounding bush and provide a lovely contrast for the water fowl that visit. In this case, the dabchick is moving quickly to escape the photographer.

Pauatahanui Inlet – August 17

Some calm days are better than others. In this case, the water on the Northern side of Pauatahanui Inlet was just perfectly still. I rather liked the pattern made by the rocks.I almost wonder whether I should have cropped out everything above the sandbar.

Shoveler ducks – August 17

I am always fascinated by the Australasian Shoveler duck (Anas rhynchotis). It is the duck equivalent of a baleen whale. It feeds by filtering water through a curtain of fibres in its extraordinary bill to catch plankton, seeds and other edible material. This was also made at QEII park.

Puzzle time – August 20

I mentioned a change of pace. We had long planned trips to see our more distant grandchildren. Sadly the virus has taken away the possibility of a visit to Brisbane any time soon. However, since New Zealand is at alert level 2, domestic travel is possible, so we could fly to Queenstown in time for our youngest grandson’s tenth birthday. For that journey I love to get a Westward facing window seat, and Mary always generously yields it to me. I look for interesting land forms below. I can usually identify the larger settlements and geographic features, but I have fun with the smaller places, grab the shot and try to match it against Google Earth when I get home. In this case, the river caught my eye and then the little township sliding into the view at bottom left. It took me a while to identify the town as Luggate and the river as the Clutha.

Lake Hayes Estate – August 22

Our middle son Andrew lives in Lake Hayes Estate which can be described as a dormitory suburb about 15 km to the North East of Queenstown. I was intrigued by the oak trees that lined many of its streets,. The leaves had turned colour and died many months ago, but refused to let go. Spring in New Zealand is generally regarded as the months of September through November, so we are still seeing Autumnal brown even as nature starts applying some green to the landscape.

Wild Irishman – August 22

Despite the severe economic impact of the covid virus on Queenstown’s tourist industry, there is still a great deal of development to provide new housing. At the Southern end of Kelvin Heights, on the narrow part of the isthmus just beyond the golf course, a large patch of land has been cleared for development. Among the few plants remaining was a sturdy example of the matagouri (Known in colonial times as Wild Irishman). Happily, it is relatively rare in the North Island. It too will go to be replaced no doubt by upscale housing.

Para-penting in Queenstown – August 22

Before anyone gets too excited, no I did not lash out the $219 required for a tandem jump. I don’t do heights, remember. We were at the base of the gondola to the skyline complex where the young folks were about to have a ride on the luge when this pilot and his passenger caught the light as they passed in front of the gondolas.

On Lake Hayes – August 23

I can’t visit Queenstown without spending time at Lake Hayes. I mean the lake itself which seems to enjoy a lot of shelter from the wind. The bird life is interesting and varied. I always hope to see and get close to the crested grebe which we just don’t see in the North. Alas, I saw coots and scaup, oystercatchers and a huge variety of ducks but no grebes. This common mallard drake gets the call because it was bold enough to take centre stage.

Rushing in Arrowtown – August 23

Down below the historic huts in which Chinese miners lived, Bush Creek tumbles through the bush to join the Arrow river. I liked the little waterfall. The light was low enough that I didn’t need a neutral density filter. The rushing effect is conveyed well enough with a mere 2 second exposure.

Clyde Bridge – August 26

Andrew was at work, and the children were at school so Mary and I did a tour through the Kawarau Gorge and Cromwell to Clyde, Earnscleugh and Alexandra looking for whatever the landscape might reveal. After a great morning tea in Dunstan House, Clyde, we drove over then under the historic Clyde Bridge to catch this view of the Clutha.

Rock of ages – August 26

When we reached Earnscleugh, I made a fortuitous turn into Conroy’s road (recommended) and up through the scientific reserve where the rocks are shaped in fantastic ways. This view from near Black Ridge Winery includes one such formation and then looks beyond across the Manuherakia Valley to the Dunstan Mountains in the background. Somehow, the plentiful birdsong did not spoil the silence of the magnificent landscape.

Coronet Peak – August 27

Family trips always come to an end and so we were homeward bound. Mary gave me her window seat again, and as we left Queenstown we passed over Coronet Peak where the ski-field operators were desperately trying to wring the last out of a virus-ruined season. The snow guns were working hard overnight to keep the popular trails useable. We loved our time with the family, and as always, loved coming home.

I am Groot – August 29

Our amazing spell of benign weather was obviously coming to an end so we looked for a walk that kept us out of the boisterous wind. I suggested the Catchpool Valley area of the Remutaka Forest Park. Mary set out on a brisk circuit of the various tracks while I explored the beech forest areas.This tiny shoot, growing out of a dead log tickled my fancy. The title of the image is borrowed from the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Remutaka Forest Park, – the Five Mile Loop Track – August 29

That tree root in the foreground is fairly obvious so I crossed it without incident. I failed the test on the next one which was concealed in the leaf mould, and did a face-plant. I landed on my camera which ripped my recently repaired macro-lens in two pieces. Waaaahhhhh! No significant personal injury, so I returned to the car park to await Mary.

I hope to post again after a shorter time lapse.

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adversity Birds Children Family flowers Food Maritime Plant life Reflections Rivers Weather Wellington

October 13, 2019 … what did I see?

I suppose that a useful technique for improvement might be to ask myself questions about the images that I like. Why did I make this image? What appealed? Now that I’ve made it, what might I have done better? Let’s have a look.

Mallard drake on green water
On seas of green

Just to the North of Upper Hutt is Haukaretu Park with a large pond that, in most circumstances, is sheltered. As you might know, I love still waters. This image includes a mallard drake crossing the luminous green waters of the pond. I love the syrupy texture of the water, the green reflection of the surrounding bush and the lovely colours of the bird itself. It might have been a better image if I had achieved a better result of focussing exactly on the bird’s eye.

Wellington in the rain with passing car raising spray
Wonderful weather for a photographic walkabout

Last weekend, for the sixth successive year, I was the leader of the Wellington part of a world-wide photowalk. Because the idea is that the walk takes place on the same day all around the world, postponement for bad weather is not an option. So, we were a small group of just seven doing a somewhat damp photowalk with about 900 other groups involving more than 10,000 photographers. Did I mention that it was raining? I made this shot as a record of the conditions. It was hand-held and intended to catch the spray kicked up by passing cars. I didn’t want to pan (swing the camera with the car) because I wanted to get the wet background of lower Taranaki St. I needed a much faster shutter speed to “freeze” the car. One member of our group normally participates in the walk in his native Manila. This year he was working as a staff member on the cruise liner “Radiance of the Seas” so he joined our walk. What a miserable day for the passengers to spend in Wellington.

The cruise-liner Majestic Princess reflected in a puddle
What a difference a day makes

The very next day, another large cruise liner was in and enjoyed much better weather. Here I have caught “Majestic Princess” reflected in a puddle left over from the previous day. These reflection shots rely on a suitably placed puddle and a wide angle lens. I could only just catch the full 330 metre length of this vast vessel. I would have preferred a puddle that allowed a full broadside shot, but this was the best I could find. I really liked the sheer scale of the vessel.

Red tulips
Luminosity

Tulip season in the Wellington Botanic Gardens is always worth a look. However it is a challenge to do more than capture a snapshot. You should understand that, in photographic circles, “snapshot” is a pejorative word. Somehow, the mere record of being there needs to be transformed into something with artistic merit. The gardens are laid out more or less the same each year, so it is necessary to select a different viewpoint or find lighting conditions that make a difference. I liked the vivid lighting in this bed of red tulips.

Rangiora tree flowers
The Rangiora

This has been a season of prolific growth for many of our spring-flowering trees and shrubs including the Rangiora (Brachyglottis repanda). I decided to get up close to the the flowers on a small branch. I need to find other ways of interpreting such flowers. I tend to put the camera in front of the flowers and press the button. It works but it fails to add that artistic dimension that I so desperately seek.

Hutt River rapids

Just a little to the North of the Upper Hutt CBD near Maoribank on the Western side of River Road, the Hutt River comes in from the West and is forced into a sharp turn to the South. I made this a long exposure. It may have been a mistake. The creamy streaking of the water does not match what we expect running water to look like. Sometimes you can get away with it but I am not so sure of this one.

Tree trunks in the pond at Te Haukaretu
Stillness

The duckpond in Te Haukaretu Park in the same area is a delight to my eye. It offers still water and some spectacular trees which reflect beautifully in the green water. And if you are quick, you can catch a shot without the wake of a passing duck. This image appealed to me for the shape of the trunks, and the green of the moss on the trees and in the reflections. Next time I might try a wide angle lens to include more of the trees.

Mary provides a rainbow cake to help celebrate Jack's birthday
Jack’s 13th birthday

You may have noticed that I rarely make images of people. But our grandson Jack turned 13 this week. He is a really great kid and we love him dearly, as we do all of our six grandchildren. He came to have lunch with us the day before his birthday and Mary provided a rainbow cake to finish things. This image is more of a record shot than an attempt at the photographic art.

Willis St and Manners Street corner
On Willis St

When I first came to Wellington, back in the 1960s, this spot on the corner of Willis St and Manners St was universally known as Perret’s Corner. It was named for the pharmacy that occupied the corner that is behind and to the right in this view. There were tram lines in all directions back then. The name has faded into history and few Wellingtonians know it now. The image catches the narrowness of Wellington’s pre-eminent shopping precinct. I have friends who disagree with me, but now that the trolley wires are gone, I love being able to see an almost clear sky between the tower blocks.

And that will suffice for this week.

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Architecture Art Birds Children Evans Bay harbour Landscapes Light Lower Hutt Maritime Oriental Bay Reflections Rivers Wellington

July 25, 2019 … almost back to normal

I am happy to report that I am restored to near normal after a period of recuperation. This restoration seems to have coincided with a a particularly mild period in what would normally be a bleak winter month. I am enjoying it immensely.

Boy
In his own good time

Mild weather does not necessarily mean every day is fully fine. On a recent wet Sunday, I set out to practice a skill demonstrated by a photographic friend … that of using rain puddles to get symmetrical reflections. I hadn’t understood the trick as I made this image outside the Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt, but it worked, after a fashion. I enjoyed a human sideshow as a mother and father tried to persuade their small boy to join them in the museum cafe. For his part, stamping in every available puddle was much more fun.

Still life

While I was taking things easy, Mary was attempting to lift my spirits by fetching home various items that she thought I might like to use for still life images. Bless her. What we see here is a double exposure comprised of a sprig of manuka over a small (but photographically enlarged) sheet of bark. I quite like the result.

Sunset at the back door

There were a few days in quick succession in which we enjoyed blazing sunrises and sunsets. This image was made literally at our back door step, looking Westward towards Maungaraki. The wonderful colours lasted for about 15 minutes and then faded to grey and died.

At the waterfront

It’s great when the penny finally drops and you learn at last how your friends achieve their results. The trick to those lovely reflections is to use a wide angle lens and to have the camera so low that it is within millimetres of actually touching the puddle in which you seek the reflection. The puddle need be no bigger than a dinner plate and no more than a few millimetres in depth.

Getting down so low is not so much a problem as getting back up again. However, I have trick for this too. I hang the camera upside down on the centre-post of my tripod and lower it until it is almost touching the water. Then I use my iPhone as a remote trigger and can see on its screen what the camera sees. Thus these low shots are made with me standing comfortably upright. The building in the centre is the former offices of the Wellington Harbour Board. Now it contains the gallery of the Academy of Fine Art and some rather nice apartments.

The fog was just enough to to be charming (though it did close the airport)

Most people who have a passing acquaintance with our city associate it with wind rather than fog. And yet, for three successive days this week, our mornings have begun with flat calm and varying degrees of fog. I love such days. This image is taken from the Wellington waterfront looking back towards Lambton Quay. It’s a rare day that you can look West from downtown Wellington and see no hills.

Oriental Bay Marina

The same morning was just paradise for me. Oriental bay was perfectly still and provided an enchanting background for the boats moored in the marina. The old marina on the Eastern side of Clyde Quay is typically home for elderly wooden vessels with fewer of the plastic gin-palaces that seem to abound in Chaffers Marina to the West of the quay. I hold that blue naval whaler in the foreground in particular affection.

Evans Bay and splashes of colour

Round in Evans Bay, the fog was still present but rapidly thinning. The sun was breaking through and the colours were just breathtaking. My use of a wide-angle lens in this shot made it harder for me to see it as I was composing the image, and it wasn’t until later that a meteorogically expert friend drew to my attention the “fog-bow” in the backround at the right. Apparently fog-bows are caused in the same way as rainbows, as the sunlight works on the tiny droplets in the fog to produce the white arc.

Red

I am sure I have caught this yacht several times before, but its bright red in contrast with the blue-grey of the sea and fog was irresistible. The simplicity of the shot just worked for me. Normally you would see the Northern end of the airport behind her.

Gentle morning in the Hutt Valley

More fog the next day seemed different in character to that of the previous day. This shot was made from the front door of our house as I was setting out in the hope of more fog at sea level. It is looking slightly East of North and on a clear day, we would see the Avalon tower block in the distance.

To my regret, the fog around the harbour was already thin and disappearing. At Seaview, the tanker “British Cadet” was preparing to leave after delivering its load. At the same time as two Greenpeace protesters were climbing the face of the Majestic Centre in Willis street to attach an anti-oil banner, here was a 46,000 Tone carrier of the product not only delivering oil and chemicals, but emitting visible exhaust fumes. While I have some general green tendencies, I sincerely hope that those protesters who want there to be no more oil exploration anywhere, ever, walked to the site, and climbed using ropes with only natural fibres. As a society we are irrevocably dependent on petrochemicals.

Pied shag – Waiwhetu Stream

As I wandered still hoping to find effects of the fog. I enjoyed the presence of this pied shag which created rings on the still surface, and dived every time I pointed the camera at it. It always has to come up somewhere, and this time, I was ready for it.

Breathessness in Evans bay

Despite the early disappearance of the fog, Evans Bay was sparkling and worthy of an effort to capture it. It is almost the same shot as this week’s image number seven. Though people often get excited about blue skies, I think the clouds make the image more interesting.

Soundless water

Those days when the sea is so calm that it seems to develop a skin are always pleasing. This little pier adjacent to the Coastguard base just begged to be photographed. I think this looks better if you click to enlarge.

In Waiwhetu Stream

My last image this time is back in the Waiwhetu stream near Seaview. The log swept downstream from who-knows where has jammed itself into a state of permanence, embedded in the stream floor and has become a favourite resting spot for a variety of shages.

That’s my lot for now. Constructive criticism is, as always, welcome.

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Academic Children Day's Bay Evans Bay flowers Landscapes Light mountains Petone Seasons Upper Hutt Weather Wellington

August 17, 2018 … nor any drop to drink*

Though I am not an ancient mariner, I seem to find water, water everywhere*.

Hutt River
Hutt River rounds the bend

My first image this week is of the bend in the Hutt River near Totara Park, Upper Hutt. Apart from the patch of white water, the river looked clean and blue.

School
Children of Owhiro Bay Primary School listening to their teacher

A day or two later, I spotted what we used to refer to as “a crocodile” … a column of primary school kids walking in an orderly fashion down Happy Valley Road towards Owhiro Bay. A while after that I saw them again, all sitting on the beach listening to the senior teacher. Being nosy I asked what school they were from and what they were doing.

Seal
One eye open – NZ Fur Seal at Owhiro Bay

They were from Owhiro Bay School and were there because, while walking to work earlier, their principal had spotted a New Zealand Fur Seal  sleeping among the rocks on the shore. So I tagged along and when they had finished looking and then moved on to explore other aspects of the local environment, I got a close look. You can see that the lower eye is open, watching that I don’t get too close.

Sunset
Sunset in Normandale

No water in this image, just a rather nice sunset as seen from our back door.

Petone
Magic morning at Petone

Then we had one of those days. I have mentioned them  often enough, the kind where the great expanse of the harbour is flat calm. From Petone Beach to the Miramar Peninsular just right of centre is eight kilometres, and apart from the few ripples close to the beach, there is nothing to disturb the surface.

Yacht
Sailing in light airs

I drove round to the city and then to Evans Bay and looked back the other way. The solitary yacht was just ghosting along in a nearly non-existent breeze.

Red Yacht
Red yacht in Evans Bay

Further round Evans Bay at Hataitai Beach, the red yacht emphasised the utter stillness of the harbour.

Daphne
Daphne

Then the weather changed, so I played around again with my new light-box and a sprig of daphne provided by our kind neighbour.

Yanker
Tanker in the rain

Did I mention that the weather changed? To avoid cabin fever, I went out anyway and from Lowry Bay looked back to the tanker “Ocean Mars” looming though the rain at the Seaview oil terminal.

Leaving
Leaving port

My last image this week is the departure of the container ship “ANL Walwa” assisted by Centreport’s two tugs.

  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner  by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A personal request now:

For readers not resident in New Zealand, family or friends. Though it is now six years since I retired I still like to assist students struggling to gather data for their post-graduate thesis. In this case, the student is Marlini Bakri who is exploring the influence of photographic images on friends and relatives who might decide to visit New Zealand. I provided a number of images to Marlini and said I would ask some friends and family if they would be kind enough to complete the associated survey.  I would be most grateful if you would consider participation.

The survey which can be completed on a computer or a mobile device, can  be found at http://vuw.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3OWArxbrb8teeAB

Here is her Participant Information Letter:

My name is Marlini Bakri and I am a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate in Marketing at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). Your friend/relative Brian has expressed interest to participate in my study, titled “More than words: Decoding the influence of user-generated images on VFR (visiting friends & relatives) travel”. They have provided your contact as a prospective participant for my study. The study would involve you completing a simple survey. The objective of this research is to understand if photographs shared online can communicate information about a destination to overseas friends and relatives.
You can access the survey on desktop computers and mobile devices (e.g. tablets and mobile phones). The survey should not take more than 30 minutes, and can be terminated at any time. The survey platform saves your answers automatically, allowing you to return to the form, using the same device, at different times. All information you provide is completely confidential, and only the researcher and her supervisor will have access to the information. The data will be destroyed three years after the completion of the thesis (estimated June 2021).
To participate click here: http://vuw.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3OWArxbrb8teeAB

Should you require further information about the study, please contact:

Human Ethics Committee information
If you have any concerns about the ethical conduct of the research you may contact the Victoria University HEC Central Convenor: Dr Judith Loveridge. Email hec@vuw.ac.nz or telephone +64-4-463 9451.

PhD Candidate:
Marlini Bakri
PhD Candidate
School of Marketing and International Business
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
6140 New Zealand
marlini.bakri@vuw.ac.nz

Supervisor:
Dr Jayne Krisjanous
Senior Lecturer
School of Marketing and International Business
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4636023
jayne.krisjanous@vuw.ac.nz

Supervisor:
Dr James E. Richard
Senior Lecturer
School of Marketing and International Business
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
6140 New Zealand
+64 4 463 5415
james.richard@vuw.ac.nz

 

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Bees Children Family flowers insects Landscapes Light Lower Hutt Weather Wellington

January 24, 2018 … summer takes various forms

This has to be the warmest Wellington summer since we came here in 1980. I do not remember temperatures exceeding 31ºC, ever. We have had a lot of blue sky days and some grey ones, but it has remained warm and humid on most days, even when it rained. More of the same is forecast for the week ahead.

colour
A splash of colour on a grey day

On one of the grey days I went looking for images that used the grey-ness and then, at the Taranaki St Wharf, saw this splash of colour that just stood out. I am not sure of the purpose of the building but my memory suggests that it housed the controls for the now removed loading ramp when the trans-Tasman Ro-Ro service used to berth here. The Union Steam Ship Company brought ships such as  Marama, Maheno, Union Rotorua, Union Rotoiti, Hawea and Wanaka to load and unload here on the coastal and Australian runs. Back then, I worked for Philips, the Dutch multinational and my office window was on the top floor of the hexagonal building just below the “M” of the central Datacom sign.

not monochrome
No colour at all here, and no, it is not a monochrome image

As I said, I was looking for greys, and the view from Wellington towards the Hutt Valley in the North certainly met that need. Despite the appearance, the rain didn’t amount to much.

Mist
Last light at Lowry Bay and the sea mist lingers on

That same evening, there was a stillness on the earth and though there was greyness everywhere, the last rays of the sun picked out the redness in the rocks at the North end of Lowry Bay.

Ptilotus
As in ocean swimming, the P is silent in Ptilotus exultatus. The bee wasn’t.

Mary and I were guests for lunch at the lovely Waikanae home of some friends of very long standing. They are garden people, and there is always something to see. This lovely flower is Ptilotus exultatus “Joey”, an Australian perennial known over there as the pink mulla mulla. The flower spikes are about 10 cm long , so that’s a good-sized bumble bee (Bombus terrestris).

Orderrrrr . Arms! Cooper at the Anti-Aircraft battery site.

Grandson Cooper is a history buff with special interest in matters military. Though he lives in a fantasy world much of the time, he takes somethings very seriously. I took him up Brooklyn Hill to the WWII gun emplacements at Polhill reserve. He was deeply offended and outraged that the graffitists had dishonoured the soldiers who had served there by defacing the installation. Despite the Nerf gun and the helmet, he is a gentle soul and I think he is a flower child at heart.

e-bikes
e-bikes in the red

On the waterfront for lunch with former colleagues yesterday, my eye was drawn to a line-up of rental e-bikes parked against a re-purposed shipping container.

See you next week.

 

 

 

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Adventure Animals Art Aviation Bees Birds Boggy Pond Children Cook Strait Festivals and fairs insects Lakes Landscapes Light Maritime Martinborough Masterton Masterton Rimutaka Forest park Rivers Sunset Upper Hutt Wairarapa Wellington

December 31, 2017 … closing the curtains on another year

I hope the year has been kind to you, as it mostly has for Mary and me.

Lagoon
From the lagoon – Wellington offers interesting views even n grey days

Since I last wrote, photographic opportunities have been variable, and there have been times when I have had to make my own luck. I prefer it if any water in the picture is not too ruffled. On this occasion the day was a bit drab so I went under the edge of the walkway bridge at the edge of the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park.

Demolition
Defense HQ Demolition

Later in the day I had a coffee with our younger daughter Lena (long time readers will remember her as Helen) . Across the road from her place of work, the headquarters building for the Ministry of Defence is being demolished. It was supposedly strong enough to withstand a hit from a cruise missile. A Wellington earthquake was stronger so now, a year later, it is being reduced to rubble.

Dry
On Dry Creek Road – near Martinborough

Then there were days of such perfection that a road trip was needed. Over the Rimutaka Hill near Martinborough, conditions were very dry.

Spoonbills
Royal spoonbills in mating plumage – Wairio Wetlands

A little further down the road from there, are the Wairio wetlands on the Eastern shore of Lake Wairarapa. There were a lot of Royal spoonbills browsing the ponds and they were wearing their breeding plumage.

Pohutukawa
Feliz navidad – the national flower of Christmas – the pohutukawa

Early in December, someone threw the switch that initiated the pohutukawa flowering season. Almost overnight, there were crimson blooms everywhere. I tried for a different take.

ferries
Ferries crossing – mid-strait

Another lovely evening with a golden sunset prompted me to go to Moa Point above the airport. The ferries Aratere and Kaitaki passed each other in the middle of the Cook Strait, and the Kaikoura ranges can be seen in the haze at the rear.

Grass
Hare’s Tail grass

Sometimes the simple things appeal. Backlit hare’s tail grass always catches my eye.

Christmas
Unto us a child is born

Then it was Christmas. Mary and I like to attend the children’s Mass on Christmas eve, and this image is of our parish priest, Fr Michael carrying the statue of the Christ child to be installed in the crib. The sculptor was obviously unfamiliar with the actual dimensions and character of a newborn.

memorial
Memorial

Passing through the city I caught a glimpse of the newly revealed  sculpture in the Pukeahu National War memorial. It is a gift from the people of Britain to the people of New Zealand, and is intended to represent the shelter formed as the royal oak and pohutukawa intertwine. It has had a mixed reception from the artistic community, but I quite like it.

River
Hutt River

And then another fine day in that lost period between Christmas and New Year. The Hutt River has a few interesting spots. This one is just on the corner near Totara Park in Upper Hutt.

slow and easy
Gladstone rush-hour

From there I went back over the hill to Gladstone, to begin with, where I encountered rush-hour traffic. This image is taken through the windscreen of my car which needed a clean.

Grain
Ripe Grain

I went from Gladstone via the back road to Masterton and was again attracted to a dry-looking field of ripe grain.

Sir Peter
BE-2C taking care not to run over the boss, Sir Peter Jackson – Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit … love the bare feet

As I was setting up my tripod for the grain, I saw some biplanes overhead and instantly knew that there was activity at the Vintage Aviator Limited, on Hood Aerodrome, Masterton. I drove there in all cautious haste and managed to wheedle my way onto the apron outside their hangar. It was apparently a private event for “friends of friends” so I was fortunate to be allowed inside the barriers. I got some shots I liked. This one captured the spirit of the event. A BE-2c taxiing slowly behind the boss, Sir Peter Jackson. He is the ultimate aviation nut and those of us who live near enough are grateful for the opportunities to see the magnificent work done by the Vintage Aviator Limited (TVAL).

Wairarapa
Lake Wairarapa in a rare calm moment

From there I drove south via Boggy Pond and across the East-West link and then back up the Western Lake road where I caught this panorama of Te Moana Wairarapa (Lake Wairarapa). It was a stunning day.

bee
Everything here has a sharp point … bee and thistle both

My last image for 2017 was captured at the Catchpool Valley in the Rimutaka Forest Park. We had to vacate the house while our real estate agent showed a potential buyer through. We think an offer may follow. Meanwhile, I saw a honey bee enjoying a Scotch Thistle.

And so the year is ended. Thanks to all who follow my somewhat self-indulgent rambling. Thanks to everyone who has offered supportive comments. Thanks for your company. Warmest wishes for a safe and happy new year in 2018. May it be your best year yet.

 

 

Categories
adversity Airport Aviation Children Cook Strait Festivals and fairs flowers hobbies Landscapes Light Military night Upper Hutt Weather Wellington

October 27, 2017 … creeps in this petty pace from day to day*

Once you commit to shifting house, nothing is the same again. Though we have yet to sell, or to place a bid in our hoped-for new home, we have begun packing. And now the silly decisions of 37 years and 27 days of hoarding come back to bite me. How often have I said, I won’t throw that away, I might need it?

Wave
Wild water at Rongotai

Anyway, suffice it to say that I have had little time to get out and make images recently, even on those few days that have been conducive to it. Rarely in recent weeks have we had both clear sky and no wind. This image was made on a sunny day with the wind howling in from the North  and ripping the crest off the big swells on the breakwater beside the airport.

Bahá'í
Bahá’í children wishing peace to the world

A friend who is a member of the Bahá’í  faith asked me to record part of the children’s celebration of the 200th birthday of the founder, Bahá’u’lláh. The wind was dying away as night fell and the youngsters launched candle-lit “lotus blossoms” across the lake at a local golf club.

Fireworks
Carnival of Lights in Lower Hutt as seen from our lounge window. The fireworks are launched from the roof of the library.

In Lower Hutt, last weekend, there was a “Carnival of Lights”, coinciding with, but apparently not connected with the Hindu festival of Diwali. It concluded on each of its three nights with a modest display of fireworks. On each night, the wind was cold and vicious. Nevertheless the fireworks seem to go straight up.

Archery
Randwick Archery Club members at the range … note the flying arrow

This week was camera club, but because our real estate agent was holding an open home at our place, I set out early. As I was driving somewhat aimlessly, I spotted the Randwick Archery club at play. With their permission, and while they went down range to retrieve their previously shot arrows, I set up my camera on its tripod, in front of their firing line, then retreated behind the line  to trigger the camera remotely and safely as they shot again. I was delighted that at least one of the hundred or so images caught an arrow in flight.

Black Falcons
The Black Falcons against a dramatically dark sky

My last shot this week is of a rare appearance in Wellington of the RNZAF’s aerobatic display team, the Black Falcons. A flight of five Beechcraft T6 Texan II trainers was supposed to fly down over various Wairarapa towns and then from Featherston to the Royal Wellington Golf Club’s course at Heretaunga. With a friend, I waited on yet another chilly open space for them to appear over the hills in the East. They came in from the North. Due to extreme upper-air turbulence in the Wairarapa, the came due South from their base at Ohakea. What’s more, due to a last minute illness, there were just four aircraft in the flight.

Back to the packing.

  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Categories
Adventure adversity Art Boggy Pond Camera club Children Cook Strait Lakes Landscapes Weather Wellington

July 28, 2017 … erratic swings of the weather pendulum

A true pendulum swings from one extreme to another at a steady and predictable rate. The idea of the pendulum as an analogy for weather breaks down completely with sudden and unexpected (by me) shifts, sometimes within the same day.

Rain (1)
Locals (and perhaps a visitor) on Willis St

Towards the end of last week, we experienced some really heavy rain over several days. It was sufficient to cause localised flooding and a few landslides. It caused some inconvenience in the city as people rushed about their business, trying to pretend it wasn’t happening. People with umbrellas are probably newcomers to the city or else incurable optimists, as few last more than a few trips before being wrecked if the wind comes up.

Rain (2)
People don’t look surprised or concerned, do they?

Despite the rain and the dark cloud, the city seemed cheerful enough as people did whatever it is that working people do in their lunch hours. As I keep saying to members of the camera club, you can still get some interesting shots even if the weather is unkind.

Rain (3)
Mother shepherds her infant over the crossing at the Wellington City Library

I make sure that, although it is advertised as “weather resistant”, my camera stays reasonably dry, so I shot this image from the shelter of the city library on Victoria St.

Cuba St
This “art” must have cost a fortune in spray cans

A day or so later, it was all dry, so I went looking for images to meet a specific topic for the camera club and found this splash of colour on Cuba St.

Akatarawa
Akatarawa Mood

After that, things got moody but the rain stayed away for a while so I was in the Upper valley on the Akatarawa Road and loved the mist drifting along the river back towards Upper Hutt.

Boggy Pond
Boggy Pond on the edge of Lake Wairarapa

Early this week, I went over the hill to the Wairarapa area to a favourite location – Boggy Pond on the Eastern side of Lake Wairarapa.  The weather was still moody, so Boggy Pond was at its dark and mysterious best.

Tapuae-o-Uenuku
Tapuae-o-Uenuku as seen from Tarakena Bay

Yesterday I went to the South Coast at Tarakena Bay  where the sun was shining, albeit weakly. The sharp rocks of the Wellington coast formed an interesting foreground to Tapuae-o-Uenuku all that distance across the strait near Kaikoura.

 

Categories
Adventure Aviation Children Family Masterton Masterton Military Weather

February 1, 2017 … drifting without a rudder

Swimming
A batch of competitors rush to the water in the Wellington Classic swim competition

Perhaps it’s the lack of a specific project, but I have made fewer images than usual in the week just passed. It was a while since I had done the South Coast so I went round Moa Point and the end of the airport and as I approached Lyall Bay saw a lot of people gathered on the beach. The coastguard vessel “Spirit of Wellington” was stooging around off the beach as were three surf rescue RIBs and several people on paddle boards. I stopped to look and realised it was some kind of swim event. Sure enough a signal was given and all these lemmings rushed into the water. It seems there is an annual event based at the Freyberg beach in the harbour, but the Northerly gale forced its relocation to Lyall Bay.

Pencarrow
Pencarrow upper lighthouse

Around Palmer Head, I looked across the spry-covered harbour entrance to the upper Pencarrow light. This is the original one that was replaced for visibility reasons by the lower light which in turn was replaced by the light on Baring Head.

BE2c
BE2c reconnaissance aircraft in its bleached Irish Linen scheme looks for all the world like a tissue-covered model

Later in the week, Anthony and I took Cooper over the hill to Masterton for an open flying day at The Vintage Aviator Limited. On these days, the pilots who want to keep or obtain type ratings on specific aircraft get to spend time flying the aircraft. It’s not specifically an airshow, but the joy of watching these museum class restorations and reproductions take to the air is amazing. Each aircraft is immaculate and presented as a specific aircraft at some verifiable moment in history.

Camel
The Clerget rotary engine at the front of a Sopwith Camel. Incredibly, the propeller is bolted to the engine and the whole engine spins around the stationary crankshaft which is fixed to the firewall. A bit of oil gets spread around, but all those drips will be cleaned off before it is tucked away for the night.

Cooper loved them all and spent the day wandering round with his notebook, writing down every marking and notice on each of the aircraft.

Categories
Aviation Birds Children Cook Strait Family flowers hobbies Landscapes Light Maritime Models South Coast Weather Wellington

January 25, 2017 … how did we get to here already?

I may have mentioned that we are seeing a lot of our grandchildren in this period between start of school and end of parental holiday entitlement. Cooper is ten and has a (passing) fixation on World War I and biplanes, so told his parents that he wanted to build one with me.

F2B
Cooper and his ridiculously complicated chuck glider. He was happy

I should have talked him down a bit, and of course I did. We went from a large radio-controlled scale model with guns to a chuck glider more in keeping with a beginner. However, I gave him a reference book and the one he liked was the Bristol F2B fighter.  I sketched out a simplified caricature of the F2B but the odd characteristic of this big fighter is that neither of its wings mount directly to the fuselage. A degree of complication quite inappropriate for a total beginner. Thank heavens for cyanoacrylate glues. It flies when thrown, but is fragile so a more sensible choice will be made next time.

Tiger Moth
ZK-AJO was among the very first top-dressing planes in the world, serving with James Aviation from around 1948

Later in the week, we visited Te Papa, our National Museum. Frankly, as a museum, it mystifies me, and I have probably said before, I regard it as more of theme park than a true museum, The thing that is most on display seems to me to be the art of curatorship, rather than the artefacts used to make the displays. Still, the Tiger Moth was worth a look.

Wind
The wind flattened the waves inshore, though there were apparently some large waves out in the strait.

On Thursday last week, we had a forecast that suggested swells of up to six metres might be expected. It occurred to me that huge slow swells rolling in might make an interesting image in the first light of day. Sadly, the huge swells didn’t eventuate, though the wind was gusting at up to 150 km/h, so I gave it my best shot anyway.The surface of the water in the harbour mouth was buried beneath a layer of flying spray into which the ferry Kaitaki was battling to enter harbour. The loom of Baring Head can be seen behind the lights of the ship.

Sparrow
Sparrow in the spin-cycle

On Friday, there was a brief period of calm, with bright warm sun. A sparrow in a puddle caught my eye as it used the fresh rain water to cleanse its plumage, rotating its moving parts so rapidly that I called this image “the spin cycle”

Gum
Flowering gum near the parliamentary precinct

It’s that time of year when the pohutukawa blossoms are almost done, but the lurid color of the Australian flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia) takes its place, so I tried to place the flagstaff on the Beehive as a backdrop. The flag is not at half mast, but there is a lightning conductor atop the mast itself which can give that impression