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Arachnids Birds Festivals and fairs flowers Maritime Moon mountains Weather Wellington

February 29, 2020 … I’ll take what I can find

I seem to have fallen into a rhythm of posting every two weeks, perhaps in the hope that I might have produced sufficient images that I am happy to share. Obviously, I would like to produce great images, but even the best photographers produce a modest number of great shots out of the hundreds of images they make.

Let there be no illusion, my images are rarely, if ever, in that “great” category, and any that come near are usually the result of serendipity. On the other hand perhaps it is not too immodest of me to hope that I can deliver five or six images each week that, to my own eye at least, are pleasing. If you like some of them too, that’s a bonus.

Courting ritual

Dabchicks fascinate me. Like others in the grebe family, their legs are very far back on their body and they are designed for water propulsion rather than walking. I love their parenting technique which includes hiding their chicks in the plumage on their backs. I hoped to see the little black and white chicks sticking up like periscopes from one or other of this pair. Things seem to have moved further on than I thought. I am told the dance I observed is a part of their courting ritual, so the previous youngsters are on their own and the parents are thinking of a second brood.

Photographs such as this would be better taken from nearer to the waterline, perhaps at their eye level. Sadly, neither my agility nor my sense of balance is what it once was, and if I get down low, I have to think about getting back up again. So I tend to shoot from a standing position. I am working on solutions to this that don’t involve getting the camera wet, or me actually falling in.

Super moon

Though I tend to take it for granted, the view across the Hutt Valley from the front of our house is one to be treasured. This shot was taken from our front lawn at about 9 pm on the day of our most recent super moon. I am a little cynical about moon shots. Unless there is something else in the image, and provided the shot is basically well exposed, there is very little to distinguish one moon shot from another. I concede that high quality optics and a solid tripod can help make a better image, but I prefer to have a recognisable context. In this instance, the foreground includes the Avalon tower, formerly headquarters and production studios of TVNZ. The tower is not artificially lit here, but is catching the last light of the setting sun behind me.

Just hanging around

This branch may look familiar. It should. I have used it many times before as it is a favourite roosting site for various shags. I have a particular affinity for the little blacks and the lovely patterns visible in their plumage. These birds made me smile for their gangster-like pose. Apart from small numbers of rooks, New Zealand has no significant population of corvidae, so these are the nearest we come to seeing the sinister bird characters portrayed so well by Edgar Allan Poe. The setting is the Waiwhetu stream where it passes through the channel at Seaview. It often provides nice background colours.

Get your warthogs sharpened here

Petone retains its own separate character, despite having been absorbed into Lower Hutt City. It is slowly becoming “gentrified” which is a matter for regret. A few weeks back it had its annual street fair in which Jackson Street was blocked off for the day and filled with various food and craft stalls. Though I rarely make images of people I thought I had better have a look. This stall made me laugh out loud. I am sure the company concerned makes really good sharpeners but the ambiguity of their name amused me. I should mention that Warthog Sharperners is a reputable company based in South Africa,

Nature’s architects

My workshop has not been seriously used for a very long time, so other tenants have moved in. Mary drew my attention to the amazing curves of a spider web. A little exploration revealed that it was made by the “daddy long legs” spider. Their webs are notoriously messy but every so often they achieve some beautiful curves.

A scented gift

I am happy to observe that my kids all really appreciate their mother, and that this is often demonstrated by a random “just because” bunch of flowers. In this case, she received red roses, and to Mary’s great pleasure they were quite strongly scented. Sadly, most roses supplied by florists lack any scent. Not these. They are lit with natural light from the window against the blackness of my “dark box”.

Sunset in the Eastern Sky

Often, if the clouds are right, a lovely sunset in the west projects its colour in the East. This is another view from our front door looking across the Hutt Valley. Though it was taken at 9 pm the sun is still lighting the lenticular clouds and provides a little colour down on the valley floor.

Midsummer drizzle

Summer cruises around the New Zealand coast and especially to Wellington seem to be a lottery. It is sad that a one-time visitor to our fair city who strikes it on a day of bad weather goes away with a warped view of the place. Still, as a photographer, I find that the misty conditions have a charm of their own. I hope that the visitors travelling on Europa come again on a better day.

Armada

In the bird viewing hide at Queen Elizabeth II park near Paekakariki I waited in vain for any interesting bird life. The only thing moving was the vast cluster of feathers from some moulting event. They put me in mind of a vast fleet of sailing ships. I have to say that this is my favourite image in this edition.

Lingering on after the wind has died

A few days of consistent Nor’Westerly wind can usually be relied upon to generate some lenticular cloud above the Eastern hills. They often linger for a while even after the wind drops. This image was made from the park at the Western end of Petone Beach looking towards Eastbourne.

Wary, but standing its ground

Petone wharf is on shaky ground, and is not as straight as it once was. It has wooden hand rails on most of its length, and these serve as a handy perch for the variety of gulls and shags in the area. The little shag is the most common of the varieties in New Zealand. They can be easily identified by their long tail feathers and short beak. This one was less skittish than normal and allowed me to walk past it without it taking flight.

A summer morning

I use and like the paid online video tuition provided by Scott Kelby. Almost his first piece of advice for making good landscape images is “go somewhere where there is a good landscape”. Most of us tend not to think of our own back yard in those terms. And indeed there are days when I look cynically at a grey wet Wellington landscape and dream wistfully of distant scenes of great beauty. However, if I wait long enough, the harbour goes still, the sky clears and the Tararuas provide some lofty mountain grandeur as a backdrop.

It’s raining as I write this, but earlier in the week we had several days of pure magical stillness. I was driving from Evans Bay around Pt Jerningham in the late morning. The temperature was a modest 24°C … not really hot, but sufficient to deliver a haze on the distant mountains. The harbour was almost perfect, and the various vessels moving about were leaving clean sharp wakes. On such a day, I did not have to go far to find a pleasing landscape. In case you were wondering, Mary and I live on those distant hills just a little to the left of the edge.

That will suffice for this edition. I hope you enjoy what you see and read here. Your feedback is always welcome.

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adversity Birds Cook Strait Festivals and fairs Food fungi Landscapes

July 13, 2019 … did anybody get the number of that truck?

I had my surgery ten days ago, and all went well. However, even though it was a minor procedure done with an epidural anaesthetic, it seems to have drained my energy and enthusiasm for chasing images around the country. Many days of ugly weather have not contributed to the recovery. But it will return.

Matariki
Marking Matariki

Matariki is increasingly celebrated in New Zealand as an important national season. It is the time that most Maori recognise as the start of a new year. It is marked when the constellation Pleiades (Matariki) first appears in the Eastern sky. The Mayor of Wellington city persuaded his council that it would be more appropriate to spend money celebrating Matariki than having fireworks for Guy Fawkes day, the anniversary of a British attempted assassination plot. And so it has been for the last two years. I decided that rather than getting in close, I would mount a long lens and with the aid of a tripod and remote trigger, shoot from Lowry Bay on the far side of the harbour. This helped me to avoid the jostling crowds, and the smoke that obscured things if you were downwind.

Esmeralda
Esmeralda anchored behind Matiu/Somes Island.

A visitor to Wellington every few years has been the Chilean Navy’s sail training ship, Esmeralda. During the Pinochet years, she was misused as a prison hulk and torture chamber for political prisoners. This shame has remained with her over all the years since and there are often protests when she visits other countries. From my perspective, she is a beautiful ship and an inanimate object incapable of active participation in human atrocities, and I am always glad to see her.

Grapes
Unrealised wine

After the surgery, I have not gone far looking for photographic subjects and found these in the fridge. I just liked their texture in natural light from the window, and they tasted alright afterwards.

Fungi
Fungus on the lawn

I extended my range by about 30 metres to the front lawn and noticed these little fungi in the damp grass. The tallest was about 50 mm (2″) tall. I have no idea whether or not they are edible, though I did hear that everything is edible at least once. If you get it wrong there is no second chance.

Crossing
Crossing the strait.

A few days ago, I started stretching things and drove out around the coast from Lyall Bay and spotted these two vessels heading for the harbour entrance. The container vessel ANL Elanora and the car carrier Trans Future 7 stood out nicely against the mountain behin Kaikoura. Sadly I ran out of steam quite quickly so retreated home for a nap.

Kingfishers
Sacred Kingfishers

Not wanting to admit defeat too early I went out to Pauatahanui the next day, where I sat and watched the kingfishers hunting for crabs. Initially the bird on the left was alone on the log and then the second bird arrived and devoured a freshly caught crab. The first bird seemed to get grumpy and after complaining loudly, flew off in a huff.

But it happened again, and minor procedure or not, it is clear that anaesthetics and surgery disrupt things. So that is all I have to say this time. I hope and expect that normal service and more images will resume next time.

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July 21, 2018 … some nice opportunities

Most of this week’s images depict nature in human settings. I rarely photograph people, and concentrate on things that, in my judgement, work well for me. But you can be the judge of that.

Hutt
Sunlight through the valley mist

At the end of last week, I delivered Mary to the airport as she flew to Queenstown to be with our son and grandchildren for some of the school holidays. It was an odd sort of day, with patches of mist, cloud and sunshine. With Mary safely despatched to the South, I went up Hungerford Rd to the hills overlooking the airport and looked back across Evans Bay to the misty Hutt Valley. The Tararuas were obscured, but I was attracted to the trees and the odd tall building peering through the mist.

Rainbow
When you see something like this, you stop and take the picture now, in case it is not there in a minute or two

From there I went around the Miramar Peninsula and screeched to a halt when I reached Point Halswell. If I were a gambling man, I might have carried on around the corner to catch the full arc of the rainbow, but in my experience, every time I delay taking a shot, it evaporates when I eventually get to it. This was the most intense rainbow I have ever seen, and if you look closely there is a second one outside it.

Fireworks
Matariki Fireworks from Oriental Bay

In recent years, New Zealand has begun to adopt the celebration of Matariki. This is the time when the star cluster Pleiades appears above the horizon each year. Many Maori iwi (tribes) regard this as the start of their year. In Wellington City, the mayor has ceased to provide funding for fireworks to mark Guy Fawkes, and has instead diverted it to a display for Matariki, arguing that it is more appropriate to celebrate a New Zealand event, than a failed political assassination plot in the UK. I agree with him.

Island Bay
Island Bay fishing fleet under a dramatic sky

I had intended to do a road trip during Mary’s absence, but the weather forecast was unpromising, so I confined myself to day trips. Some of them were to old familiar haunts such as this one in Island Bay on Wellington’s South coast. I liked the clouds.

Sunrise
Sunrise artistry

Sunrise and I are very loosely acquainted. Sunsets are no problem, but I am not normally a morning person. Sometimes, if I haven’t closed the curtains properly a flare of red will grab my attention as it did on this day.

Maersk Jabal
When I first joined camera clubs in the 1960s, this would have been called a “contre jour” (against the day) photograph. Happily the pretentious adoption of French phrases is less common now. Maersk Jabal leaves Wellington bound for Napier

Most landscape photography experts advocate that photos are best made in the golden hour (the hour following sunrise or before sunset) or even the blue hour (the hour prior to sunrise or after sunset). I agree that some superb images can be had in those times, but I see no reason to put my camera away in the rest of the day, or even at night. This image from the summit of Mt Victoria was made at 1 pm. It catches the container ship, Maersk Jabal in silhouette against the glittering waters of Wellington Harbour.

Wadestown
Winter traffic

I tend not to venture far at night. However, Mary was still away so without worrying her, I went into Wadestown on the Western Hills above the ferry terminal and made a long exposure on a still (but moonless) night.  It was still early enough to catch the tail-end of the two-way rush hour.

Fountain
The Carter Fountain in Oriental Bay

That same evening, I went to Oriental Bay. The Carter fountain was playing and the water was still. I used a feature of my camera that allows me to make a composite image over an extended period. The coloured floodlights changed several times during the 18 seconds of this exposure. I expected that the additive result might be a muddy colour, but was delighted at the way it separated three of the colour phases.

Nightlights
Waterloo Quay all lit up

From the same vantage point, I turned 90 degrees to the left and loved the night cityscape. The building on the left presents an obsidian black face during the day, but with the lights on at night, all is revealed. As much as I love nature, I also love the colours and textures of of the city.

See you next time

 

 

 

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Adventure Architecture Art Festivals and fairs flowers harbour Lakes Landscapes Light Plant life Reflections Rivers Upper Hutt Weather Wellington

June 1, 2018 … challenging every shot

It may be an illusion, but I seem to be making progress. Whether or not that is so, I continue to enjoy the process.

Lily
Stamens and pistil of a lovely lily

This edition begins with a macro shot to fill in a wet and stormy day. Mary had a lovely arrangement of flowers including a large lily, so I got up close and personal to its working bits.

Lagoon
A stairway in the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park

When the weather relented I went to town and enjoyed the stillness on the Whairepo lagoon in Frank Kitts Park. As with the lily, I seem to have decided that sometimes, a part tells more than the whole.

Waterfront
To the left of Victoria University’s School of Business is the classical facade of the parliamentary library. Above and behind that to the left is the front of the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral.

Wellington’s urban architecture is varied. It ranges from the brutal utilitarian to the classic. No matter how it is classified, I find it makes a pleasing contrast with the harbour and the hills.

Lux
Robotic butterflies for the Lux festival.

Recently the city enjoyed a festival of light. I didn’t manage to visit it during the hours of darkness but enjoyed seeing the various components during the day. The stained-glass butterflies apparently flapped their wings when they were turned on.

Apparitions
Apparitions

I am unsure whether this screen which is part of the festival was actually one of the illuminated exhibits or merely an advertisement for the festival itself. In any event, I liked the ghostly translucence and the ordinary things in the background.

Titahi Bay
Titahi Bay boat sheds

Now and then I get out to the Western areas. In this case, the boat sheds at Titahi Bay make a bold statement.

Jonquils
Jonquils out of season

Today, June 1, is officially the beginning of our Winter. How then does it come about that I am seeing a lot of jonquils, the traditional harbinger of spring? Whatever the reason, they are a joy to behold.

QEII
Patterns at QEII park, but no birds

I went to Queen Elizabeth II Park in Paekakariki in the hope of seeing water fowl on the wetlands. Not a thing. No swans, ducks, dabchicks or geese. Not even a swallow. It was necessary to make do with the background.

Dam
On Birchville Dam

After a few days of persistent rain, Mary and I went up to Upper Hutt, well wrapped, and with my camera in its storm jacket, and walked up the Cannon’s Point walkway to the Birchville Dam. I got lucky and the rain stopped just before I got to the dam. Perfect stillness reflected the beauty of the bush.

Bridge
Kaitoke Swing Bridge

A day or two later, still in conditions of cold damp drizzle, I went to the Kaitoke Waterworks Reserve, and made my way around the Swingbridge Loop. This hour-long walk begins with a wobbly crossing across the Hutt River. I have referred before to my dislike of heights, and I can add to that, the lack of rigidity. Gritting my teeth, I set up the tripod, and waited for the oscillations to stop.

More next time.

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Adventure adversity Art Cook Strait creativity Festivals and fairs flowers Kapiti Coast Landscapes Light Maritime Otaki Rivers Waikanae Waves Weather Wellington

February 22, 2018 … a need to take control

I suppose it’s a bit late in life to reach this conclusion, but I really need to stop letting life just happen to me. Every morning, there is a new day. And each day just seems to do what it likes with little or no guidance from me. Of course, any new policy of decisiveness will have to take into account that the weather will be unimpressed and just carry on as if I were not here. But there is more to this notion than weather, and perhaps that will become clear as I continue.

Petone wharf
Nice to see the Petone wharf reopened to recreational users after the earthquake damage some fifteen months ago.

You probably got the idea that we had one of those truly spectacular summers which is likely to be a future standard against which other summers are measured. It seems to have come to an end. Not suddenly, nor with an act of meteorological violence, but rather a soft drifting off into mists and grey cloud. For the most part the wind has remained calm so I can cope nicely with that.

Waikanae
Stillness at Waikanae

There were even some days when summer made a brief attempt at revival. This was at the Waikanae Estuary. I was just setting up when the thud of feet and the sound of dripping sweat and heavy breathing heralded the arrival of a secondary school physical training class. They promptly started attempting to form five-high pyramids with limited success. I grabbed my shot and moved on in the direction of Otaki Forks

Otaki
tumbling brown water near Otaki Forks

The rivers were running quite high and the roads were crumbling in places as the recent rain had undermined a number of the edges above and below the road.

Dandelion
Now is not the time to sneeze

The weather really crumbled after that so I was reduced to still-life. Mary found a dandelion seed-head and I decided to get quite close.

Maple
I don’t know if this is the last of spring or the first of Autumn on our Japanese Maple

The next day, with everything still wet, Mary found another target for me … a solitary new shoot on our Japanese maple. I confess to having fiddled a little with this to separate the new pink shoot from the green leaves in the background.

windmills
I titled this image “the spin doctor”

At the weekend just passed, there was the annual fair at Petone. Crowds are not my thing and you need not scroll back far through this blog to recognise that I don’t often shoot images of people. But it is a colourful occasion and I found someone selling windmills, made of various durable materials.

Evans Bay
Evans Bay calm after the storm

 

Then cam ex-tropical cyclone Gita. Howling winds and heavy rain passed much further South than initially predicted but still gave us a hefty clip during the twelve or so hours of its passing. The prediction also suggested there would be some very serious waves to be had. By the time I got to Evans Bay in search of them, I knew there would be none.

Noordam
Holland America Line’s Noordam stops to pick up the pilot to enter Wellington Harbour

In fact at the South Coast, the cruise liner Noordam was arriving, presumably diverted from somewhere that actually was disrupted by the storm, but this view is of the Pacific Ocean, looking South towards Antarctica. As you can see there is an absence of big waves.

ferry queue
Backlog of trucks waiting to cross the strait after the storm cancelled some ferry sailings

On my way back to town, I spotted what seemed like a colourful ribbon across the harbour. It wasn’t until I put the long lens up to the eyepiece that I realised I was seeing the heavy traffic queue waiting for the next interisland ferry. So, that’s the week as it happened to me.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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
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Birds Children Family Festivals and fairs flowers harbour Maritime Weather Wellington

December 28, 2016 … aimless wandering

Wai Aniwa
Wai Aniwa – once a world champion

After settling back in  from our trip to Waiheke, I have tried to get back into some sort of photographic rhythm, with marginal success. I am still working on my marina-based project, but the weather has not only been unkind, but downright cruel. The wind has been almost unrelenting, so in a brief period of calm I made my way to the marina, but saw little that was new. You can rarely go wrong with a splash of red so I went to the pier where I found Wai Aniwa. Last time I saw her she was in the basin at Oriental Bay. This cup was a world champion way back in 1972, racing in the One Ton Cup, which was held in Sydney that year. Skippered by Chris Bouzaid, she won and was briefly the talk of the nation, long before we dreamed that America’s Cup  could ever leave America.

Mantis
Orchid Mantis … this model is about a metre across

Later that week, our Son Anthony and grandchildren Maggie (whose 12th birthday is today) and Cooper invited me to accompany them to “The Bug Lab”, an exhibition at Te Papa put on by Weta Workshops. It is about some interesting and exotic aspects of various insects, and as is often the case with Weta, involves hyper-real models scaled up to several times life-size.

Dragonfly
The dragonfly exhibit was rotating under strobe lights and was astonishingly realistic as a simulation of the dragonfly’s darting flight

Of course, with school summer holidays just started the place was absolutely buzzing even with the insects. It was an interesting exhibition and I always love time with the grandchildren.

Ovation
Fascinating in its own way, but my worst nightmare – the Ovation of the Seas

A few days before Christmas, the cruise-liner, Ovation of the Seas visited Wellington. The weather was a surly grey with a bitter wind and intermittent rain. All of  the worst stereotypes of Wellington confirmed for 4,900 passengers. She is the biggest vessel ever to have visited New Zealand and for that reason I made an attempt to record the event, bu was not particularly impressed with the resulting image, but she was here.

Flowers
Christmas flowers

Christmas was quiet for us, though the local family came for breakfast, and we had friends around for Dinner.  In the quiet part of the day I recorded a bouquet received from our family in Brisbane.

Tui
Tui and the flax flowers

I think I said recently that with the flowering of the flax we are absolutely saturated with the Tui which is here gathering the nectar, and the more it gets, the less fear it seems to have.

 

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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
Birds Children Family Festivals and fairs Food Titahi Bay Whitireia Park

December 26, 2015 … a day to treasure

Christmas Day in Wellington, 2015 was one to treasure.

Pavlova
Mary’s pavlova before the addition of cream

It was fine, warm, and clear. We had family gathered, and held those who couldn’t make it in our hearts. All six grandchildren were with us for brunch , as were two of our five children and three daughters in law. Food was eaten, gifts exchanged, fun was had and all was right with the world. In the evening, we were a smaller group for dinner, though we enjoyed the company of a friend. Mary produced an excellent pavlova with fresh Wairarapa berries and cream for those who needed it.

skylark
For the skylark, Christmas is just another day

During the day, after a pleasant siesta, I judged that I was superfluous to requirements and took myself off for some photographs. At Whitireia Park, there are usually skylarks hidden in the long grasses that cover its hills.

Titahi Bay
From Titahi Bay beach looking across the strait to the South Island

Heading homeward, I stopped briefly at Titahi Bay and the scene there was just idyllic, people in the water, on the beach, having picnics, having fun as you would when Christmas comes at midsummer.

Sand castle
A bigger than usual sand castle

Of course a family trip to the beach is a great opportunity for sand castles.

Christmas Day was great.