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adversity Architecture Birds Cook Strait flowers Industrial Landscapes Light Machinery Maritime mountains Seasons Vehicles Waves Weather

July 3, 2022 … winter is upon us

Winter solstice was in the week just ended. Spring seems so far away. And yet there are signs already. We have had a few bright winter days but for the most part, strong winds, cloud and rain. I try to convince myself that there is beauty to be found even in bad weather, but some days do not encourage me to venture out with the camera.

Nevertheless, I do get out in rough weather now and then, especially if there is the hope of large swells on the South or West coast. If, however the water is merely ruffled, and the weather is grey and bleak, I stay home. I seem to have got out reasonably often since my last posting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pukerua Bay normally offers a view across the water to Kapiti Island. On this day a howling Nor’Wester was driving swells in excess of 4 metres directly towards the beach. I chose to make my images from inside the car, using the passenger window as my portal to the storm, and the width of the car to protect my lens from the spray. I got some reasonable wave shots, but my favourite of the day was this image taken after I rolled the window back up. And that’s when I found that the passenger seat was absolutely soaked!

Seed spreaders

Aaaghhh! I had finished typing this edition when WordPress suddenly decided to stop saving and to go back four days and lost everything from here forward. Everything from here on is a rewrite.

Another dull day and my attention turned to the birds in the tree just outside our dining room window, Common house sparrows were doing battle over access to the birdseed bell that Mary had hung out there. They are messy eaters so if there any viable seeds on that thing, there is a strong likelihood of something exotic growing from fallen seeds around the tree. Last season, it was sunflowers. Who knows what next.

Steam excursion

The observant among you may notice the red light on the right hand end of the locomotive’s buffer beam. Yes, this is the back of the train. Steam Inc were running out and back trips between Paraparaumu and Manakau. If you look closely or click to enlarge, you will see a vintage diesel locomotive down the other end. The diesel hauls the train in the Southbound trips, and the steam locomotive leads the way back North. It burned 5 tonnes of coal in the two days on which the excursions were running.

Under tow

In contrast this ship, La Richardais was burning no fuel except by the generators. She had lost power a few hundred km off the coast of New Plymouth and had been under tow ever since. The large tug is MMA Vision which normally spends her time as a tender to the Taranaki oil fields, and was released to tow La Richardais first to New Plymouth and then to Wellington. They are seen here arriving in Wellington assisted by the two local tugs, Tiaki and Tapuhi. They spent a week in Wellington. I suspect that no local firm was equipped to achieve a repair so the tow resumed. MMA Vision will take her to New Caledonia and another tug will take her onwards to Singapore and presumably a repair.

Weight of water

Long long ago, when I almost understood such things, I did an applied mathematics course at the University of Auckland. I bandied around terms like amplitude, frequency and period and knew a few formulae on how to find one of those if I had the other two. I have a lingering sense of the importance of those characteristics of a wave. The ones that impress me the most are the amplitude (Height from trough to crest) and period (the time between successive crests). I know I am in for a visual spectacle if the amplitude is greater than 4 metres and the period is greater than 10 seconds. This image was made at Pukerua Bay.

Kaitaki bound for Picton

In a different set of circumstances, I was at Owhiro Bay when the view across the strait was crisp and clear. Mighty Tapuae-o-Uenuku was soaring skyward up into the clouds hovering around its peak. The Interisland ferry Kaitaki which seems sorely in need of a paint job passed at speed across the face of the mountain., heading towards Tory Channel and Picton.

Straitsman bound for Wellington

Even as Kaitaki was heading West, the competing ferry Straitsman emerged from Tory Channel. She has recently had a major overhaul, and her crisp clean paint job was quite a contrast.

Throw no stones

From Oriental Bay, the high-rise blocks of Wellington’s CBD are eye-catching. The Deloitte building is especially so. Recent seismic losses were undoubtedly in the minds of the architects when they used such a thoroughly triangulated structure. I imagine that those angled tubular columns are a nuisance in the building’s interior, but offer some reassurance whenever the earth moves, as it often does in Wellington.

Spotlight

I have no idea which site is served by this crane, but the way it was picked out of the late afternoon gloom by that shaft of sunlight made it an image worth taking.

Ash clearance

As I mentioned earlier, the weekend of running up and down between Paraparaumu and Manakau consumed 5 Tonnes of coal. This produces a lot of ash, much of which remains in the firebox and the rest is carried through the boiler tubes and falls to the base of the smokebox. There are access hatches in the sides of the locomotives, but that is the only concession to convenience. After that, it is shovelled by hand from the collection area into a wheelbarrow, and then wheeled to a tipping area behind the locomotive shed. It is a tedious task, but these members of the crew laboured away until the job was done

Steel grey

Crepuscular rays are a magnet for most landscape photographers. This view from Oriental Bay looking North conceals the usual view of the Tararuas. It’s a full colour image that could easily pass as monochrome. The steel grey colour of the harbour is probably a good indicator of just how cold the day was.

Dandelion

I am sure there is someone who could dispute the botanical identity of this seed head. I don’t care. It walks like a dandelion and quacks like a dandelion, so … I struggle to choose an exposure that does justice to the outer sphere, and to the spectacle of the inner parts where each seed attaches to the plant.

Kelburn Park

Kelburn Park fountain is perhaps outclassed by the Carter Fountain in Oriental Bay, despite its spectacular coloured lighting at night. Nevertheless, it is worth a look. It wasn’t until I got home that I saw that I had caught a gaggle of sightseers the lookout platform atop Mt Victoria 2,240 metres away.


Pineapples and Bananas

The Kakariki is less than a year old, and her paint reflects that. The only significant marks are those left by the black rubber buffers on the nose of numerous tugs assisting her into her berth.

That will do for this edition. I hope to see you again soon.

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Architecture Birds Day's Bay flowers harbour Industrial Landscapes Light Lowry Bay Lyall Bay Machinery Paremata Reflections Seasons The Plateau Waves Weather

June 12, 2022 … back to normal

With the road trip behind me, my challenge now is to keep the photographic flame alive. That can be hard while living an everyday life in suburbia. Many times before, I have referred to seeing familiar things in a different way. Some of my photographic friends have the gift of “finding a different place” to stand when making pictures of things that I see every day. What I need to do in my search for something worth photographing is to pause, and to not make the picture until I have considered other ways of looking at it. This might be to go round the other side. It might be to include (or exclude) another element. Perhaps it is looking at the subject through a different lens. The wide angle offers a different picture to that made by the telephoto. Anyway, for now at least, we are at home on the Western Hills of Lower Hutt and Winter has officially begun.

Before I totally forget the road trip, many thanks to all the nice readers who sent kind words and affirmation. Your messages were greatly appreciated.

Fizz

A crranberry flavoured tablet made a spectacular fizz. I tried to catch it in my lightbox. That went OK, but I wondered whether a dark box might give a better image. The illusion of a reflection is createrd by the simple trick of standing the glass on the base of an identical glass inverted.

Receding planes

One trick for seeing a view differently is to make a part of the scene substitute for the whole. Looking from Oriental Parade up the harbour, Wellingtonians are familiar with the view of the hills to the North. I have tried to present that view differently. The dark mass in the foreground is Matiu/Somes Island. Behind that are three folds in the Eastern hills of the Hutt Valley and I suspect the highest visible hill through the haze is Mt Climie behind Upper Hutt. A popular track with runners runs 6km from Tunnel gully to the summit. Masochism at its finest.

Depth charge?

Big swells on the South coast tend to attract the surfing community to Lyall Bay. It also attracts photographers. I am not sure why. Though the surfers may be different, it’s essentially the same picture each time. The only thing that rescues such an image from being the same as last time is the extent to which the light conditions or the waves are different. In this case I think the explosive burst of a big swell on the breakwater at the end of the airport runway makes a difference.

Royal spoonbills

Recently a flock of Royal spoonbills has taken to spending time on the Pauatahanui wetlands. It is often the case that, even when the rest of the inlet has a bit of a chop on the surface, the wetlands are perfectly still. These birds are still not quite the equal of the white heron, but they run a close second.

Morning glory

On Ivey Bay, there is often a variety of shore birds. In this case, a pied shag is proclaiming dominance over the bay. Across the inlet, the hills to the North of Grays Rd tower above the foreshore. I mainly liked the light.

Ivey Bay anchorage

That same morning, the water was perfect and one of the classic older wooden boats in the bay served as a focal point for my image making. I have no idea which boat it was, but as with previous captures, I have a preference for the simple old-fashioned working boats.

Swells in Owhiro Bay

We have been blessed with a relatively mild winter thus far. No deep cold, no sign yet of snow on the Tararuas. The only real symptom of winter has been a few heavy swells from the South. I like to try to catch these big waves, and hope to convey the weight of water behind each one. I am fascinated by their slow ponderous advance. I know conditions will be interesting when the gap between each wave is about ten seconds.

Lodden Lily

In the grounds of St James Church, Lower Hutt, shared by the public library except on Sundays, there is a lot of history and a great deal of horticulture, mostly carried out at the expense of the Lower Hutt City Council. I spotted these little beauties and thought they were some kind of spring flower that got confused. These Loddon lilies, however, are a winter flower so they were perfectly on schedule and it was only me that was confused.

Abandoned

Unilever has been part of Petone’s scenery scenery since 1919. The big factory building with its constantly steaming exhaust stacks came much later, sometime mid-century. At its peak, about 600 people worked there. Automation in the latter years apparently reduced the on-site numbers to about 30. The distinctive glass office block was built in the 1980s. In 2014, pursuant to global restructuring, Unilever transferred its New Zealand operations to Australia and the Petone factory fell silent. Some of the lesser buildings at the Eastern end of the 5 hectare property seem to have been leased or sold to small businesses. The office block remains dark and reflects the equally still factory block.

Wet feet

A long-proposed cross-harbour pipeline will improve resilience of Wellington’s water supply. The present sole pipeline runs alongside the main highway and crosses known seismic fault lines in several places. Construction began on the new line this year and is expected to be complete in 2025. A barge with some heavy machinery has been in Lowry Bay for several months now and has established some piles. I saw these two intrepid workers being lowered on a work platform to inspect one of the piles. I got the impression that they were controlling the crane themselves. If so, they were not afraid to get their feet wet.

So many still days lately

I shouldn’t tempt fate with a caption like that. We have endured some vile weather in recent days. No surprise then, that when conditions are good, I seize the day. This image is from the walkway beside the marina below Pt Howard. You can see traces of the morning mist dissipating over the Western Hills.

May I urge you to click on any image that appeals to you to see a larger version.

I don’t know why I didn’t discover it earlier, but WordPress has a feature that allows its readers to sign up to receive each new edition of a blog by email. Simply enter your email address once in the space below. Once only and not if you are already getting it by email.

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Adventure adversity Architecture Art Camera club Family Industrial Landscapes Light mountains New Plymouth Rivers Taranaki

March 15, 2017 … to the provinces

Our seasons of weather woe continue. An occasional redeeming day causes me to seek frantically for photographic opportunity before it evaporates.

fleet
A tiny fraction of the school kids prepare to race on Pauatahanui Inlet

On an otherwise fruitless trip to Pauatahanui, I was returning via Paremata and spotted a line-up of some thirty or more small yachts about to be launched from the beach. I assume that this was some sort of school exercise, but after a seemingly endless procession up the channel into the inlet, they were soon lined up in race-formation.

North Mole
Despite the sun glittering on the water, there was a bleak wind blowing in from the sea

Last week, I had an appointment as a trainee photographic judge in Whanganui. We combined that with Mary’s ambition to walk the Pouakai Crossing on the NorthWesterly slopes of Taranaki. We found accommodation in Whanganui on Wednesday and prior to the judging session that evening, I went down to the North Mole at the mouth of the River and enjoyed the light on the seas rolling in from the Tasman. Coincidentally, today, Wednesday 15 March is the day of the third reading in parliament  of the Te Awa Tupua bill which “makes the Whanganui River and all its tributaries a single entity with the rights of a legal person.” If you want to know more, follow the link for the text of the bill.

Light house
Cape Egmont Light house

On Thursday, we drove to New Plymouth taking the coastal road through Opunake, and diverting briefly to Cape Egmont, and the lighthouse to the West of the mountain. Don’t be fooled by the blue sky. It was intermittent at best, and totally grey again by the time we reached New Plymouth. After checking in, we drove up to the visitor centre at North Egmont where they showed us the Mountain Forecast for the next few days. It predicted heavy rain on Friday and a few light showers on Saturday. The Doc rangers recommended that we ignore Friday and make the crossing on Saturday.

 

Len Lye Centre
The exterior of the Len Lye Centre is almost as fascinating as the art works within

And so it was, that on Saturday, Mary visited her beloved aunt Marie at Fitzroy while her brother and I explored bits of the city.  Paul is an artist in his own right, so the Govett Brewster Gallery and the Len Lye Centre were inevitable destinations.

Twisters
This huge kinetic work by Len Lye was painful without the ear defenders

Len Lye is perhaps most famous for his kinetic art and the largest of his featured works at present is called “Flip and Two Twisters”. It consists of large strips of stainless steel sheet. The two outermost strips (twisters)  are connected at one end only, to a ceiling-mounted motor that has a vertical axis. The centre piece (flip) is a longer strip, attached at both ends on either side to another motor that operates in a horizontal plane rather like a skipping rope. The motors are computer controlled and put the strips in precisely controlled motion. The surprise for visitors who turn up for one of the scheduled showings is that they are offered serious industrial quality ear defenders. When sheets of steel that big are shook and twisted the noise is calamitously loud.

Rewarewa
The Te Rewarewa bridge at Fitzroy, in New Plymouth is photographed often. On a fine day, from the North side, Taranaki is framed in the curve of the bridge. On this day, there was no view of the Mountain so I shot from the South

Saturday came, and contrary to the forecast, was very much wetter than the previous day, on which hardly any rain fell at all. The rangers told us that our intrepid duo could possibly do the walk, but that they would be in danger of being swept away by waterfalls, and that the tracks themselves would be like rivers. Wisely, they chose not to brave the mountain and instead did the coastal walkway from Te Rewarewa bridge at Fitzroy to the port 9 km away.

Kaihihi Stream
The Kaihihi Stream at Okato was carrying far more than its usual volume

We set out for home on Sunday. and having enjoyed the emptiness of the coastal road on the way up, took the same route back.

Patea
Patea Freezing works – most of the fragile bits have been demolished and I suspect the remains will be there for many years to come

We passed through Patea on the way home and I took the opportunity to look at the solid remains of the old freezing works.  And that’s all this time.

 

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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.

 

 

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Arachnids Family Food Industrial insects Whitireia Park

February 23, 2016 … and now it has gone

Time slips through the fingers. Before I know it, it’s nine days since my last blog. I must set myself an automated reminder to ensure regular action. Nevertheless, I remain convinced that the decision to abandon the daily commitment was the right one.  Before I go on, I should warn those of a timid disposition that my last two images today are of the creepy crawly variety.

Whitireia Park
Climbing through the slippery wet grass looking for a good vantage point. Most of these people checked the weather before they left home. I didn’t.

Last week, the taller of the remaining transmission masts at Whitireia Park in Titahi bay was demolished. A friend who works for the company doing the job alerted me to this opportunity, so in the early hours of Tuesday morning, I set out to record the event. We had a week of wonderful summer weather, and the forecast was for more of the same. Dressed, therefore, in shorts and a tee-shirt I was shocked to arrive in Titahi Bay in drizzle and a chilly gusting wind. The park had been closed to the public, except for a hillside  area reserved for spectators which had been roughly mowed to provide easier access through the long dry summer grass.  Of course, it was now wet and slippery.

Mast
Until its demolition, this was the second highest structure in New Zealand. The demolition was effected by explosive cutting of the Southern guy wires.

Having found a suitable position, I wrapped myself and my cameras in the cold nylon groundsheet which was the only thing I had in the car to protect myself from the weather.  Then I sat and waited.  The low cloud swirled around the mast and there was no sigh of activity. It was a somewhat miserable two hours.

Falling
Composite falling shot.

My vision for the event was to capture a sequence of shots as the mast fell. I had practiced and decided that the camera would get enough shots at the slow setting of five frames per second, to cover the entire arc of its fall, before the camera’s buffer filled. I was wrong. Obviously I had not practiced enough.  My grand vision was, alas, only partially met and then the camera  stopped to think for a while. If I had waited until I saw movement, instead of starting from the explosion that severed the guy wires, I might have got the complete arc. Or if I had selected a slightly lower resolution.  This is a composite of 28 images. I am told that the tip of the mast was doing 350 km/h when it hit the ground in a shower of dirt and a formless tangle of rusted steel.

Wellington
Across Wellington to Victoria University on the hill – from the old quarry

During the days that followed, I found a new lookout spot in an old quarry at the top of Ellice Street near the Western entrance of the Mt Victoria tunnel. I really thought I had found most of the good vantage points in the preceding five years, yet new ones keep emerging.

Dessert
Mandarin Bavaroise at Cobar restaurant. I enjoyed every wicked calorie.

For the last few days we have had the parents of our Brisbane daughter-in-law as house guests, so we took them to one of our favourite restaurants on Sunday. Cobar in Day’s bay is a rarity that has both a superb view and wonderful food. Usually, you have to choose between view and food quality. I could have done yet another sunset from our table, but chose instead to capture the delightful Mandarin Bavaroise dessert. Recommended.

WARNING: Creepy Crawlies ahead. Avert your eyes now if you are squeamish.

 

Spider
Vagrant spider

Mary encountered a large spider under the steps into her place of work. I think it is a vagrant spider (Uliodon albopunctatus).

Weta
Wellington tree weta – a gentle creature despite appearances

My next guest is a fine male specimen of the Wellington tree weta (Hemideina crassidens). They are nightmarish creatures to look at, and can inflict a nip with those big mandibles, but are generally shy and gentle creatures. Or so I’m told.

See you soon.

 

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Adventure Architecture Art Industrial Landscapes Machinery Manawatu Maritime mountains night Waikato

February 3, 2016 … they are not the hills of home*

When I last wrote, we were still in Whakatane.

Pohaturoa
Pohaturoa with river mist creeping around its shoulders at Atiamuri

From there, in the wet darkness of Thursday morning, we set out for New Plymouth via Rotorua, Atiamuri, Te Kuiti  and Mokau. At Atiamuri, beside the Waikato River, the rain had stopped but there was a lingering mist around Pohaturoa. This rocky outcrop reaches 240 metres over the river and is a homecoming landmark for the residents of Tokoroa and Taupo, depending on the direction pf travel.

Benneydale
Someone once lived here. The nearest “town” was Benneydale

We drove beside the river where to my strong regret, I ignored some magical reflection shots on the river. We crossed the Whakamaru dam and followed the road towards Te Kuiti, pausing at Benneydale to record this abandoned pioneer cottage.

New Plymouth
View from my bedroom over New Plymouth Port

At Mokau, it was lunch time, and I could not resist the stunning whitebait fritters for which the restaurant is famous. And then on to New Plymouth. The house we rented was not in the first flush of youth, and I suspect a safety inspector might have some reservations, but it met our needs, and was splendidly located near the port. I woke very early the next  and wondered if I could catch the view over the port at work.

Taranaki
Between a rock and a hard place … the port on one side and this magnificent mountain on the other

Breakfast the same morning caused me to look in the opposite direction and from the deck we had a good view of the mountain.

Len Lye
Detail of “Four Fountains” by Len Lye

In New Plymouth there is a new art gallery dedicated to the works of the late Len Lye. As I understand it, he gifted a significant collection of his work to the City of New Plymouth in trust for the people of New Zealand. Though I enjoy some of his kinetic works, I have the same reaction here as I did in the Guggenheim, in New York. I admired the architecture more than the artworks on display.  This image , part of the “Four Fountains” was a thirteen second exposure attempting to catch the slowly rotating bundles of illuminated swaying rods. Tripods were prohibited for reasons that the person on the desk could not articulate, but which she somehow associated with copyright. Ah well, I wedged the camera on a chair and blocked it up with keys, a wallet and anything else I could find.

Steel
Cladding n the Len Lye Centre on Devon St, New Plymouth reflects nearby buildings

As I said the building itself is interesting, though much of its clever design is overshadowed by the immaculate polished stainless steel cladding on the Southern and Eastern walls.

Waterfall
The waterfall at the Festival of Lights kept changing colour

That same evening, we went to Pukekura Park to visit the “Festival of Lights”. Though less densely presented than in previous years, the festival as worth a visit, and lots of families were walking, riding and rowing around and across the lake as thee chosen mode of travel dictated.

ENSCO 107
Offshore oil rig – about 10 km away

The next morning, while Mary visited her aunt, I went to the mouth of the Waitara river where I saw the oil rig ENSCO 107 about 10 km offshore.

Fowler
Just a little faster than walking pace – a 1905 Fowler traction engine

And then, the next morning, we were homeward bound. On the long hill don into Whangaehu, we passed two steam traction engines, clattering their way from Whanganui to Feilding. They had left Whanganui at 9 pm and took just on twelve hours to cover the 65 km to Feilding. I sat in the long warm grass to get the angle, and was rewarded with a toot from the steam whistle as each engine passed.

clover
Clover in bloom

At Bulls, there was a paddock that caused me to stop. A field of pure clover is not as common as it used to be, so I thought it was worth a shot.  It was a wonderful journey, eight days in all. We saw lots of beautiful landscapes but as the late Andy Stewart sang, “they are not the hills of home”*.

So now we are back in Wellington, and who knows what comes next?

  • The Scottish Soldier by Andy Stewart
Categories
adversity Cook Strait Industrial Maritime Rivers South Coast Wainuiomata Weather

December 4, 2015 … I like not this news*

… bring me some other news!*

Torea
Going back for more

I read in the Dominion Post this morning, that Wellington’s summer, far from the sunny promises of a month or two ago, will be characterized by wind and drizzle. It has been thus throughout Spring, and I had hoped for a significant improvement. Yesterday was typical with some heavy rain in the morning, fading to drizzle in the afternoon, and wind persisting throughout the day. Bah! Our house guests moved on so I went out through Wainuiomata to the South Coast. No great inspiration was found, but I reached the beach as the coastal tanker Torea was passing by on its way back to Whangarei on its way to the refinery for another load.

River
Wainuiomata River from the bridge at Holmdale

On the way back through Wainuiomata, the Wainuiomata River at Holmdale was worth a look. Wellington Harbour is on the other side of the hills in the background.

Unilever
Silent evermore – the factory reflected in the administration building

In Petone, I noticed that the old Unilever factory was still and quiet, no steam emitting from its stacks. As I understand it, the factory is now permanently closed, and it will be interesting to see what becomes of the site. I saw a reflection in a window, and inspired by a similar shot by my friend and fellow club member, Helen Westerbeke, tried to catch the essence of the place.

Pohutukawa
Someone turned on the Christmas decorations early

 

Applying the 180 degree rule, I was rewarded with an early flowering pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa)

The greyness continues

 

*Brian Blessed as King Richard IV in Blackadder Series 1

Categories
Industrial Maritime Weather Wellington

October 25, 2015 … at the water’s edge

One of the great losses in life, is free access to the ports of New Zealand.

Strait Feronia
Strait Feronia in Wellington , ready to load for its next trip to Picton

I know that today the ports are subject to the same threats as airports. However, as a youngster at school, I recall wandering along the wharves in the Port of Auckland,  beside ships unloading general cargo in those distant pre-containerisation days. There were no safety officers back then to be horrified at the idea of a school lid wandering among swinging loads, net slings full of  chilled mutton carcasses, pallets laden with butter, inbound sacks full of mystery. There were the rough but kind-hearted watersiders who would “accidentally” put their hook into a sack of peanuts and reach in to give me a handful of nuts to munch on as I explored. There are very few spots from which to get close to working ships these days. Yesterday I found myself near the new ferry Strait Feronia. She is a handsome beast, of her kind.

Diver
Diver with underwater camera

The two trucks near her bow belonged to a commercial diving company, and from what I could see the divers were engaged in some problem solving near the foremost of her three bow thrusters.  I watched the diver drop into the water from the wharf, then  leave a trail of bubbles across to the thruster. From his hand-held camera he seemed to be transmitting live images back to his workmates by way of a large screen in the truck.  After a while, he swam back with the camera in front of him.

Skidder
Random items ready to cross the strait

Being a Ro-Ro ferry, most of her cargo consists of trucks which might contain almost anything. Among the trucks lined up for the next journey South was a low loader carrying a very solid-looking rubber-tyred log skidder, The next truck over had a wide-load tracked digger, but mostly the trucks were canvas-sided B-train rigs carrying wh knows what.

Krishna
In sunny weather the bean bags on the grass outside the bars are very popular. The passing Hare Krishna troupe didn’t seem to attract much attention

From there I went along to the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park and since the weather was a brilliant  warm day, the bars and cafes were in full swing. A group of Hare Krishna devotees came through the crowds dancing, twirling, chanting drumming, and the crowd took scarcely any notice.

That’s all for now

 

Categories
adversity flowers Industrial Light Machinery Maritime night Seaview

October 14, 2015 … at the last minute

Oh good grief, I forgot!

Forget-me-not
Chatham Island Forget-me-not with the aid of a little focus stacking

It’s been a while since I forgot to post, so here is the belated edition of WYSIWYGPurple for October 14. On Tuesday I was preoccupied with resolving software upgrades and conflicts, mainly around the new Apple OS.X El Capitan operating system, and the ways in which it interacts with the almost simultaneous release of a disastrous and controversial upgrade to Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop products. Then it was club night. I did take photographs on Tuesday, but simply forgot to write the blog on Wednesday. I began in fairly desperate mode, resorting to close-up shots of plants in our garden, beginning with the Chatham Island Forget-Me-Not. How ironic is that?

kowhai
Though it has no legal status as such, the kowhai is widely acknowledged as New Zealand’s official flower

Our miniature Kowhai is at the end of its season just as the full-sized kowhai trees around the valley are coming to their flowering peak.  One or two flowers still linger on.

Lights
Dangly bits in a lighting shop window

After camera club, I was conscious of how little I had done earlier in the day. A display in the window of a lighting shop offered a possibility.  There were a number of chandeliers with various cut glass ornaments, so I tried several options.

Marina
Marina at night

As I was doing the shots through the window of the lighting shop, I became aware of the general stillness, so as I have done on several other occasions after camera club, went down to the Seaview Marina. Idiot! I didn’t have my tripod with me. Oh well, let’s see how the Olympus’s image stabilization helps. This image really pushes the bounds of what is possible in hand-held shots. This is exposed with the aid of my car’s headlights, but the exposure is 0.4 seconds at f7.1 and ISO 3200. The capability of that little processor to hold the image sensor perfectly still even as my hands wobble the camera all over the place is little short of miraculous.

tanker
The fleet of tanker trucks work day and night to keep our service stations supplied with petrol

From there I began the journey home, but stopped at the Oil terminal to observe one of the fleet of petrol tankers filling up ready for its round of service stations in the region.  Where would we be without them.

That’s all until Thursday’s edition which should follow very close behind this one.

Categories
adversity flowers Industrial Seasons Seaview Weather Wellington

July 22, 2015 … is the worst behind us?

At this time of year, sunrise comes a minute earlier each day tha the day before.

Seaview
The Seaview Oil terminal wharf at Point Howard. A winter view.

 

Nevertheless, there is probably a lot of winter yet to be endured before the warmth returns.  Yesterday was a gloomy day, weatherwise. Point Howard was the start point for my late-in-the-day run, and I had to pass through a police drink/drive cordon to get there. It was a surprise to be breath tested at 3:30 pm, but as the nice young policewoman told me, they still catch people, even at that early hour of the day.

Pipes.
Oil and chemicals run beside the harbour. It seems risky.

There was no tanker at the oil terminal, but I was interested in the pipelines that carry oil and chemicals from the tankers to the various storage tanks nearby. At least one of the pipes is so corroded that I sincerely hope it is not in use now. I wonder how often, and by who these pipes are inspected. In this seismically active city, these are surely a huge risk to our harbour and marine life.

Jonquils
Take notice you Northern hemisphere people, we want our summer back. Jonquils in the breeze.

Near the Lower Hutt town hall, there are some gardens with a fernery and other features typical of civic gardens in various parts of the world. The eye-catching feature was a clump of bright yellow jonquils, the earliest of our Spring flowers, waving cheerfully at me from their bed at the base of a pine tree. Now there’s a promise of better days to come.

Valley
Even in the rain, the valley looks nice, but I was glad to close the door and get warm.

As the day reached its inevitable conclusion, the winter view across the valley seemed worthy of capture.

Enough for now.