Adventure harbour Landscapes Machinery Maritime Petone Sport Wellington

August 23, 2015 … need for speed

My friend Adam had an idea.

Lady Liz
Lady Elizabeth IV with the throttle open

I am not suggesting that this is unusual, he has lots of ideas. This particular idea was to make images of him on his motorbike using panning techniques. I am up for most challenges that don’t involve cucumber, heights or black and white photography, so we agreed that Port Road, Seaview would be a suitable venue with relatively light traffic over the weekend. As I usually do, I arrived ahead of time, and began practicing. The Wellington Police Launch, Lady Elizabeth IV was crossing the harbour with a much greater than usual application of throttle. She was too far away to generate any panning blur, but it was nice to see her opened up.

Indoor Karting

Then I heard the sound of a million bees. Or perhaps it was just the kart racing in the nearby facility. They allowed me to come inside to take more shots. Unfortunately, customers pay by the ride, so when the ride is ended, it all goes quiet. I got to see a few laps anyway.

Adam at (modest) speed

Adam arrived and after some discussions about technique and strategy (he is no mean photographer in his own right), he did a few runs at a steady 50 km/h. I really must read the manual about the clever autofocus features but a few shots came out the way I imagined.

Round the bend … hmmmm

We also used the ninety degree corner at the end of the road to catch some banking shots. Being road-legal at all times and not on a race track we didn’t get too dramatic.

Thanks Adam, it was fun.

Birds Pauatahanui Sport

July 2, 2015 … the meteorological pendulum

As the heat wave rolls across Europe, our midwinter continues to baffle.

The native wood pigeon or kereru is buried deep in its work as it trims our shrub.

We seem to oscillate between howling winds and flat calm days. Yesterday was  almost  calm so I set out in search of pictures with that in mind. I had set one foot outside the door when I saw a native wood pigeon sitting in the crown of a miniature kowhai shrub at the front door. These are big birds, about the size of a chicken, and they crop the tender shots at the top of selected plants like a hedge trimmer. They are so beautiful and so endearingly clumsy that I have to forgive them.

Midwinter sports in Wellington. The corgi seemed happy too.

As I said at the start, this is midwinter, so the scene at Pauatahanui was doubly delightful. Could you do this on the North American Great Lakes at the start of January?  The corgi seemed remarkably placid  as its owner paddled off across the inlet.

Heron gathering at Pauatahanui

Further along Grey’s Road, there was a major gathering of white-faced herons. I counted 24 of them in close proximity. These were the most I could fit in with the long lens zoomed out to a mere 100 m.

Two of the assembled herons fishing for crab.

Of course the white heron is the star of any local show, but the white-faced heron is an elegant bird in its own right, and I loved watching them gathering crabs.

That will suffice for now.

Adventure adversity Art harbour Island Bay Sport Weather Wellington

March 6, 2015 … around the edge of the land

One of my cameras was in the shop for a sensor clean yesterday.

Homeward bound

So while I was waiting, I did some coastal roaming, beginning near Lyall Bay where I saw a white sail progressing steadily behind the jagged offshore rocks.  Given that  this yacht has a self-furling jib, I am intrigued as to why she is travelling under main sail only.

Casual seating at a cafe/bar by Frank Kitts Lagoon

I collected the newly cleaned camera and wandered the waterfront. It was a very pleasant afternoon, and several establishments make a thing of throwing bean bags or other soft furnishing around so that the young and flexible can sprawl and enjoy their drinks in the sun.

The statue of Kupe now cast in bronze after years of neglect

Just behind the Star Boating Club is the Statue of the Maori explorer, Kupe standing on the prow of his canoe while making landfall in Aotearoa. The statue was made by William Tretheway for the Centennial exhibition in Kilbirnie in 1939/40.  It was located for many years in the atrium of the Wellington Railway Station and was removed in 1997. The statue was recast in Bronze in 1999 and placed in its present location in 2000.

Who can make the biggest splash?

In the Frank Kitts Lagoon, groups of young people were practicing for dragon boat racing which is hotly contested at this time of year. A group of boys who were filling in time while they waited for the bus, were swimming from the wharf and were making stupendous splashes as each tried to make a bigger show than the predecessor.

It’s as if he found the plug hole in the harbour

I caught one of them seeming to make a hole in the harbour.

That’s all today.

adversity Birds Lower Hutt Sport

February 15, 2015 … do not adjust your sets

Normal service is expected to resume after today.

Hutt Rec
A mini-stadium for the followers of a minority religion in New Zealand

Things seem back to normal, though I didn’t have the energy to leave the house yesterday. As a consequence the images on offer are still poor thin things made somewhat half-heartedly. The first was from my bedroom window looking down to the Hutt Recreation Ground  which was, unusually, hosting a significant football game (the round-ball variety) between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City. Because of commitments to the Cricket World Cup, the Wellington Westpac Stadium was unavailable yesterday and for the next several weeks, so temporary stands and lighting have been installed. Apparently 9,232 patrons attended. I wouldn’t have been one of them even if I had felt well, but I was desperate for a shot.I wonder if they counted the guy in the fluoro jacket in the cab of the hydraulic crane who had to keep the floodlights in the air throughout the game. He got a great view.

Wasted craftsmanship … worthless nest eggs

On a different track, in fact on several different tracks, Mary has brought home some discarded nests. I suspect these have been predated by rats or other pests, as the shell of the eggs were pierced but not enough to suggest that a successful hatching occurred.

Self-pity should now cease and normal service should resume.

Light Oriental Bay Sport Weather Wellington

October 16, 2014 … sittin’ on the dock of the bay*

Oriental Bay is a delight when the sun is out and the wind is still.

volley ball
Volley ball on Oriental Bay Beach

My exploration yesterday started there, and a group of young men were playing some variant of beach volleyball.  The afternoon was warm and there were a lot of people at the beach considering that it was a work day.

Dock of the bay
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay

Around the corner in Evans Bay, I spotted this couple just sitting and hanging out on a small jetty which is why I thought of Otis Redding for today’s title.

Drifting spray from the Carter Fountain. The wrapping around the building behind it seems to be standard practice when buildings are being worked on or painted.

Coming back into Oriental Bay towards the Setting sun, I was delighted with the backlit spray from the Carter Fountain, though the extensive drift suggested that the breeze had arisen in the half-hour since I had left there.

That’s all.


* (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay by Steve Cropper and Otis Redding

Landscapes Light Sport Wainuiomata Weather

August 18, 2014 … warm sun and little or no wind

Sunshine is an opportunity to be seized.

Paragliding from Baring Head

Wainuiomata’s south coast seemed like an idea, so I went down the coast road to the steep rocky beach where the waves crash endlessly to make the pebbles growl. As I arrived, I noticed a paraglider  soaring off Baring Head near the aerials at the lighthouse. He didn’t get enough wave lift to gain any altitude but managed to weave back and forth a few times before landing on the beach.

I shall refrain from any mention of mint sauce <oops!>

As I mentioned yesterday, spring is coming. No surer sign of that in New Zealand than the arrival of lambs. They seem to be everywhere. This one was very curious about the bark of a pine tree. Take notice Northern hemisphere, your lease on summer is up and we are claiming it back!

The Catchpool stream in the Rimutaka Forest Park

Further up the road towards Wainuiomata I diverted into the Rimutaka Forest park and played with a slow exposure at the ford where the stream tumbles out of the bush. I know this treatment of water scenes is not to everyone’s taste, but I shall keep experimenting.

Lovely light and still water … my favourite conditions

By the time I crossed the hill back to the Hutt Valley there was no wind at all and it was a truly golden afternoon. The marina was at its best offering almost perfect reflections.

Enough for now.

night Railway Sport Wellington

March 30, 2014 … into the den of the Tiger

Rarely do I go to a sports event.

Westpac Stadium
A busy part of the stand. Large tracts of seats were empty. The few Tigers fans were wearing orange

Even so, a Rugby-league game is a first for me. I have to confess that I would not spend my own money to watch a league game. In this case, however, my ISP gave me two free tickets as the prize in a draw. Mary said she wasn’t interested, so my youngest son Anthony joined me. We took the train from Ava to Wellington and then walked up the ramp from the platform to the stadium. All very convenient. However, Wellington is not a stronghold for league and it is relatively rare for a first class game such as this to be played in the city. Despite its rarity value the crowd numbered a mere 22,100 in a stadium with 34,500 seats.

Tigers fan
A dedicated Tigers fan, full of hope, but broken-hearted at the end

Most of the crowd were wearing the colours of New Zealand’s only first class team, the Warriors. Perhaps 5% of the crowd, if that, had the orange of the Australian “Wests Tigers”  who were the opposition for the night. Despite the odds offered by the TAB, in favour of the Warriors, most media commentators seemed to be picking a Tigers win, so their supporters came in with a spring in their step.

Segway-mounted photographer
Perhaps the ultimate photographic accessory

Waiting for the game to start, I took an interest in the equipment being used by the media contingent on the sidelines. Of course, the broadcast media were well equipped and as well as the various cameras in fixed positions they also had an especially mobile camera on a Segway.  Deep envy.

Sports photographer
Big lens, and clever software

More envy still, looking at the huge lenses in use by the still photographers, and their tethered cameras connected to their laptops to ensure razor-sharp images, and immediate transfer back to the office.

Curtain raiser
Juniors entertain the crowd before the start

The game itself  was preceded by a couple of games from the juniors which was lustily cheered by the parents and families in the stand.

Rugby League action
Close to the goal line though this movement didn’t quite make it

The main game was a typically physical affair, and to the surprise and delight of the crowd, after a slow start, the Warriors began to pull ahead. The tails of the Tigers fans began to droop. The full-time score was 42-18 to the Warriors.

Home again
Leaving the train at Ava

On the train home the fans were fizzing and very happy, and I imagine that those who stayed in the city to party onwards had a good night, unless they were wearing orange.

See you tomorrow.





Architecture Aviation Sport Wellington

March 29, 2014 … in pursuit of my nose

Yesterday was a “follow your nose” day.

Jervois Quay
Evening traffic is starting to build up on the Quay

I got into the car and went towards the city. On Jervois Quay, I saw from the corner of my eye, that the ice-skating rink is back at Queens Wharf.  After navigating the one-way streets I found a park on Harris Street and crossed the busy traffic on the Quay.

This young man was by far the most confident skater on the rink. Look at the wake behind his rented skates

Eventually I got to the rink. I had to laugh at the tiny rink, the only ice in Wellington, outside of a refrigerator, and compared it with descriptions from my friend who lives on the shores of lake Huron and speaks of solid ice as far as the eye can see. The equipment seemed to be really struggling to freeze the surface as skaters were leaving wakes behind them in the excess water on th rink. A pair of assistants were skating about with big rubber squeegees trying to push the unwanted water through the drain holes at the sides. Despite its shortcomings, the rink was giving its customers some fun.

The Kumutoto precinct
Tugs at rest

Walking back towards the car, I found a viewpoint that included all four of Wellington’s tugs. I haven’t seen the two older ones Toia and Ngahue move in quite a while. The building behind them is the Wellington headquarters of the Bank of New Zealand. It suffered damage to ceilings and other suspended fittings in last year’s earthquakes, though the main structure is sound. It is only just coming back into service.

IMG_84Robinson Helicopter1
“If your wings are moving, either your plane is broken, or you are in a helicopter. Either situation is dangerous”

Further along the walkway, I had a good view of one of the Helipro helicopters coming in from a  joyride. If my life absolutely depended on it, I might get into a Robinson, Because they are relatively cheap, they are in widespread use, and they seem to get pushed beyond their design limits by some operators.

Something different tomorrow.


Cook Strait Lyall Bay Maritime Sport

March 22, 2014 … a bitter wind, time to play

Again I was deceived by the wind.

Kite surfer (1)
It takes a lot of energy to displace that much water

Calm conditions at home were not mirrored at the South Coast where a bitter South wind had me reaching for an extra layer of clothing.  But hardier souls than I were revelling in the conditions as that harnessed the wind to skim across and sometimes above the surf at Lyall Bay. Some like this one seemed to be well protected with a wet suit.

Kite surfer (2)
The wet suit may not have been enough to keep him warm

Headgear varied from full rubber through to extremely casual baseball style caps.

Kite surfer (3)

This fellow seemed extremely relaxed, and flashed me  a grin and a hang loose sign.

Wind surfer
Old school


It seems that kite surfing is dominant at Lyall Bay, though the more conventional sail boards are still in use. They are certainly easier to photograph. With the kites, if you get both the kite and the surfer in the same image they are usually too far away.

Kite surfer (4)
Lots of altitude

I know the sailboard guys can to amazing things in the right wind and surf, but the kite guys were regularly leaving the sea for quite long periods. I’ve always had a bit of a snitch on all forms of surfing. I was reading how to select the right sized board. There was a table of board lengths for various weights. It got to me and said “buy a boat”.

Spectacular to watch though





Children hobbies Normandale Sport Weather

Marh 17, 2014 … the day that the rains came down*

The weather threat lingered on.

This is practiced with and without the sticks

There was little sign, however, of the threatened disruptive weather. Since we had seen advertisements for it, and it was at Minoh House which is a few hundred metres down the road from us, we walked down to see the martial arts display.

Attack in unison
The young woman at the left appeared to be the sensei for this particular group.

A variety of disciplines were demonstrating their various skills in a variety of age groups. Karate in particular seems to sprout new sects with alarming frequency.

more karate
High speed

There are undoubtedly all kinds of good outcomes, both physical and mental from participation. On the other hand, they all seem to focus on lots of sound and fury and even the youngsters are scary.

still more karate
It would be unwise to make this young woman angry

Gender is no barrier to participation, and I watched a young woman who weighed no more than 75 kg pick up a fairly solid sumo wrestler and carry him out of the ring. Likewise, some of the fiercest cries came from the women.

Kyudoka in action
This is a highly stylised art form

Most fascinating to us were the practitioners of the ancient art of Kyudo or Japanese archery. This seems to be as much about the elegance of the action as it was about hitting the target, and one kyudoka in particular was very striking in his actions.

A robin sang a song of love,
A willow tree reached up to the heavens
As if to thank the sky above
For all that rain, that welcome rain*


Then the rain came down. And even so, it was not the much threatened storm, though we got thoroughly wet as we dashed home.

The storm came and went overnight, leaving little significant mark for most Wellingtonians.

* “The day that the rain came down” (1958) by Lawrence Hayward and Maurice Deebank, originally performed by Jane Morgan