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Adventure Architecture Birds flowers harbour Lakes Landscapes Light Maritime Melbourne Museum Railway Vehicles

2 May, 2019 … back from the dead

Perhaps it’s just that I was too lazy to find out how to use it properly, or maybe it was the lack of a feedback mechanism. Whatever the reason, my venture into another platform  for the regular sharing of my photography and writing proved unsatisfactory.  I overlooked the difference between a portfolio and a blog.

So it is that the blog lives on for a while longer. I shall retain the Adobe Portfolio site (https://harmerbrian.myportfolio.com) as a receptacle for a permanent core gallery, but I have resuscitated the Wysiwygpurple site for periodic posts of recent work. Perhaps not weekly as in the past, but we shall see how it evolves.

Accordingly, in this post, you will find a collection of 18 images that I liked best in the month of April.

post
Red painted post

April in Wellington was grey. We had some long periods of rain which might be expected to slow down my photographic urges. On the other hand there is cabin fever, and I ended up hoping to make a feature of the weather. This was a puddle in the gravel road into the park at the Western end of Petone beach. It was just a puddle except for the red-painted post and its reflection which transformed it.

Geese
Canada geese in flight

Another grey day and comparative calm led me to hope for still water on Pauatahanui inlet. Sadly there were a lot of residual ripples on the water. On the other hand there was a substantial flock of Canada geese. I attempted to sneak up on them, but they have sharp senses and flew off as I got near. Shooting season starts in the coming weekend and many of them are smart enough to gather on these protected waters.

reflection
Stillness and light

A little further around the edge of the inlet, I found that a small pond was blessed with exactly the kind of stillness I was seeking and reflected the reeds beautifully. And then a break in the clouds caused the Belmont hills to light up. If I were judging, I would say I now have two separate disconnected images, one of the reflections and one of the hills.  Not a prizewinner, but interesting.

Ja1271
Parked, cold and still Ja1271

At Paekakariki, Steam Inc restore and maintain their fleet of locomotives and other rolling stock. As I was driving past I spotted Ja1271 parked on a siding between the sheds and the road. They needed the space in the shed to work on another locomotive. It’s fairly rare to get clear walk-around access to one of these splendid machines. How odd that I should have made an image from the same sort of angle that I might have done inside the shed. On the other hand I like the contribution that the tracks make to the image.

Wet
City bound traffic on a wet morning

As I said it has been a dull month, and this shot looking North up SH2 from the Normandale overbridge catches the general spirit of the day. Despite the headlights and windscreen wipers, this is 9:30 am in Lower Hutt.

orchid
“Feed me Seymour”* … detail of an orchid

No matter the weather outside, there is always colour to be had in the begonia house of Wellington’s Botanic Garden. This shot is down the throat of a lovely orchid, taken close enough to exclude all background distractions.

Water lily
Water lily in the begonia house

Also inside the begonia house there is a pond full of carp and water lilies. I always love getting close to water level for a different perspective.

Sea Lion
Sea Lion launched in 1946 and looking her age

Sea Lion is an old and well-loved work vessel with lots of character. In recent times its owner has either caused or allowed it to be painted with cartoon birds. Though I think this 73-year-old vessel deserved a more dignified treatment it makes me smile nevertheless

Lady Elizabeth
Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV engaged in inshore rescue duties

Lady Elizabeth IV is the Wellington police launch. It is seen here bouncing in choppy waters off Shelly Bay and its RIB cradle is empty because the inflatable is effecting a rescue closer inshore. I have the sad memory of watching her next but one predecessor sailing out through the heads in a gale and never returning.

Tram
The 109 tram leaving Graham St, Port Melbourne

On Good Friday, Mary and I flew to Melbourne to spend a week with our elder daughter Catherine and her husband Mark. We had a great time and enjoyed their tremendous hospitality. I love Melbourne, though I wonder if the day will ever come when there are not at least a dozen new high-rise buildings under construction, each with multiple tower-cranes. The world’s most extensive tram system and the Myki electronic ticketing make it an easy city to get around, though I don’t enjoy the rush-hour.

Beacon
One of the two navigation beacons in Beacon Cove

Port Philip Bay is a vast expanse of water and it puzzles me just how often it is glassy calm. I confess to assisting it a little in this case with a neutral density filter and an 8 second exposure. Just to the West of the Tasmania Ferry terminal is Beacon cove where this beacon and an identical one a few hundred metres inland provide a navigational aid for ships bound for the port.

Shrine
Inside the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne

We visited Melbourne in the week of ANZAC day and took the opportunity to visit the Shrine of Remembrance in the city’s stunning Royal Botanic Gardens. We went inside the main building and I was intrigued by the interior of the pyramid-like roof.

Melbourne
St Kilda Rd and Swanston St, downtown Melbourne

From the upper levels of the shrine’s roof there is a great view of the city’s downtown skyline. This view looks past the spire of the Art Centre, across the bridge over the Yarra. St Paul’s Cathedral and up the length of Swanston St. In the distance (three km away) is the Portrait building. This 32 story apartment block has the portrait of Aboriginal leader William Barak etched in the white concrete of its balcony facings.

Lake
Lake Daylesford, Victoria

The next day Mark and Catherine took us on a very pleasant road trip to Daylesford, 110 km to the North West of the city. Daylesford is a very pretty rural spa town at the foot of the Great Dividing range. With a population of about 2,500 it seems to cater for the tourists who visit the many spas nearby. We spent some time at Lake Daylesford before a pleasant lunch in a local restaurant and a leisurely  trip back to Port Melbourne.

Arcade
Shopping arcade, Melbourne

Melbourne’s CBD has a large number of shopping arcades, most of which have been restored to their original glory or better. There are some great restaurants in the various lanes, and far too many chocolate shops for the good of my waist line.

Miner
Noisy Miner on colourful shrub, Port Melbourne

I walked down to Beacon Cove again, and on the way through Port Melbourne’s Garden City Reserve, spotted this very musical bird which, as far as I can tell is a Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala), an Australian Native, not to be confused with the introduced Common Myna from India. It is a member of the honeyeater family.

Port Philip Bay
A grey wet morning in Melbourne

Several visits to Beacon Cove produced some interesting opportunities. This was a wet morning on which Port Philip Bay disappeared into the grey distance. The iron fence is on Princes Pier. It’s like one of those comic book gates with no surrounding fence. There seems to be nothing to stop people walking out to the pier itself.

Piles
The historic piles of Princes Pier

That being the case, I went around the end of the fence and stood on the edge of the restored part of the pier and attempted to capture something of its original piles. Again the neutral density filter was used to enable a 25 second exposure and provide stillness on the water’s surface. In the local ANZAC memorial service which we attended, much was made of this pier as the departure point for the Australian soldiers setting sail for the Gallipoli campaign.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them**

* Little Shop of Horrors by Frank Oz

** For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon

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Adventure Architecture Art Birds Brisbane Family Light Maritime Melbourne Weather

December 7, 2016 … a happy conclusion

Now I am home. No matter how much I love being with my sons and daughters and grandchildren, there is an inevitable time when being home is the right place to be.

Brisbane
A bright day in downtown Brisbane

Last Wednesday in Brisbane started off in spectacular Queensland fashion, with bright sunshine and high temperature. I went to town to meet my son, David and the day seemed perfect. After lunch, he went back to work, and I set out to take in the sights.

Curlew
Bush Stone Curlews in Brisbane’s botanic garden

The Botanic Gardens in Brisbane are intrinsically beautiful but are also a place where you can find exotic wild life such as water dragons and lizards of various types. For me, the greatest joy was coming across a family of the somewhat rare bush stone curlew. I got down on my belly and wriggled close. These birds have as their first line of defense the habit of freezing in place when disturbed, so I was doing quite well. Then a pair of lead-footed runners came galloping through and scattered them.

storm (1)
Coming back towards the city on the River Cat, into the approaching storm

From there I used my Brisbane transport card and boarded one of the River Cat ferries and went upstream to St Lucia and then back down to the city terminal. Remember that perfect weather? It disappeared before my very eyes and the sky got dark very quickly.

Bridge
Victoria Bridge and everyone knows the rain is coming

I got off at the North Quay and looked over my shoulder across the Victoria Bridge from Queen Street. This was starting to look serious.

Rain
There are a lot of gaps in the verandahs in Brisbane. I think I found most of them

Then there was a flash and the stunning crash  to signify that the skies were now officially open.Oh Lord, didn’t it rain!  I was unwilling to stand out in the open with almost continuous lightning strikes and a calamitous downpour.  By the time I got back to David’s work, I was drenched.

Brisbane
Brisbane Panorama from High over Southbank

The next day, the family took me out to dinner on the city’s Southbank area where we were able to look at the brand new workplace where my daughter-in-law Rowena works. Outside another storm was threatening but I took the opportunity to compile a nine shot panoramic stitch of the the view from her floor. I like Brisbane very much.

Port Melbourne
On the beach at Port Melbourne

The next day I flew out to Melbourne to visit my elder daughter Catherine and her husband, Mark. Though still warm by Wellington standards, Melbourne was being gentle with me. Port Melbourne is a delightful suburb and gives access to some wonderful views out over the vastness of Port Phillip Bay.

Pier
Prince’s Pier, Port Melbourne

One of the great cliché photos from Port Melbourne is Prince’s Pier which was once a busy working wharf, but is now a mixture of preserved piles and a work of art. My stay was over all too soon, and it was back home. I loved visiting the kids, but being back home with Mary and in our own house just feels right.

Categories
Adventure Birds Melbourne Petone Waves Weather Wellington

April 16, 2015 … flight home and a new friend

I was not impressed by the Met Service’s idea of a welcome home.

Melbourne
Goodbye Melbourne. At this moment, the plane had started its take-off run and I was being pushed back in my seat.

We left Melbourne a little behind schedule at 1 am. We enjoyed every moment of our stay over there except for the previously mentioned incident, and now it was time to say goodbye. We were travelling economy, so despite an empty seat beside me, sleep was elusive. We arrived in Wellington after a three-hour flight  at about 6:15 am (you are smart enough to work it out).

Petone Wharf
Welcome home weather … Petone Wharf looking mean and green

There was a light Northerly breeze and a fine day was forecast. What lies! The wind soon went round to the South, the temperature plummeted and suddenly, people were talking massive waves on the South Coast. I was cold, tired, grumpy, and when a friend suggested I go to the South Coast, since waves were my thing, I was resistant. Of course I should have gone, but I had another excuse. My new “new camera” had just arrived. You may recall that I got all excited with a mirrorless camera back in December. Sadly it proved to have persistent problems with imbedded dust in its sensor, and despite three replacements, each with the same problem, it ended up going back to the vendor for a full refund. I now have an Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mk II (Ollie, to its friends). I rejoice to say that a photograph with a  lot of clear sky now has no detectable blemishes except seagulls.  Anyway, I had to take Ollie for a test drive.

Waves
View to the city from the car park at the Western end of Petone

Did I mention the Southerly? I stayed in the car as much as possible and shot through the briefly opened window.

Terns
The Terns hunched down getting what little shelter they could from the dips in the road surface

At the Western end of Petone Beach I found a bunch of white-fronted terns shivering in the cruel buffeting wind.

Petone Beach
This is not a welcoming shore. Petone Beach in a blustery Southerly

Looking back along the beach, I decided I should go home to a warm room and spend some time reading the manual and learning how to use the camera. There is so much to learn.

Though I loved family time on the other side, I am glad to be home.

 

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Adventure Architecture Birds Melbourne

April 15, 2015 … wet and dry

And so we are home again.

Porsche
The rain it falls upon the just and on the unjust fella, but falls more on the just ‘cos the other fella’s stole his umbrella (source unknown)

 

It is hard for me to believe that ta this time yesterday, we were dining with Catherine and Mark in Melbourne. Mary  was cook for the day so Mary to St Kilda where I could wander about taking photographs while she continued to work by phone with her organization.  Melbourne seems to have more than its share of affluence and this shows up in the brands of the cars all around. Even the upmarket ones get wet though.

Art
Wet art

 

Earlier in the day, I had rushed into the city to buy a new lens, and while I was there, I saw more rain drops, this time on something that is either a work of art or else a public seat.  Either way, it is shaped like a blob of mercury, and it too looked more interesting when it was wet.

Trams
Trams in the city

 

With my new lens in hand and receipt ready to reclaim the goods and service tax as we left the country, I went down to Collins Street to catch the tram home, I was under strict instructions not to run after trams as there is always another within a few minutes. Sure enough you can see the 109 tram approaching in the distance this view along Collins St as another tram heads down Elizabeth St towards the  Flinders St Station. You can see that the blue skies were seemingly at an end.

Skyline
Skyline from St Kilda

 

But back to St Kilda, where I walked slowly along the pier and liked the busy skyline across the marina.

dabchicks
I prefer to think of them as dabchichs

 

Swimming in the calm waters inside the breakwater was a pair of hoary-headed grebes. In New Zealand, we know them as dabchicks.

We arrived in Wellington at 6 am so I am very sleepy.

 

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Adventure Architecture Maritime Melbourne

April 14, 2015 … almost home

I have loved every minute of our visit to the big brown land (with the exception of the nose dive while running for the tram).

Port Melbourne
Port Melbourne housing area

Now, in Port Melbourne, our journey is almost over, and tonight we shall catch a plane that arrives in Wellington around 6am tomorrow. We arrived back from Echuca yesterday morning and have enjoyed time with our elder daughter and son-in-law. I went for a walk around the waterfront, drawn back to Princes Pier. I am not sure what was in the surrounding area in early times. but the port has undergone serious residential development in recent years, and I can see that it is an attractive area to many.

Canberra
HMAS Canberra being fitted out at Williamstown

At the end of the pier, I looked across to Williamstown at the naval vessel which I understand will become the name ship of the Canberra class of assault vessels. As I understand it, there will be two of them, capable of launching helicopters from the deck, and landing craft from an internal dock. I am a little mystified by the bow ramp which I understand are useful for Harrier jump-jets, but as far as I know the Australian defence forces have none of those.

Port Philip Bay
Busy Port Philip Bay

Port Philip Bay is usually a busy place and yesterday was no exception. Tankers were coming and going, two tug boats and a police launch were out on the bay and the piles provided an interesting foreground.

Piles
Piles of Princes Pier

I turned my attention to the piles themselves. I lament that airline baggage restrictions make it impractical to carry a sturdy tripod so some shots I wanted were impossible. I had to make do with what was available.

Firefighting
Firefighting practice

Meanwhile, out on the water, one of the tugs was exercising its fire-fighting water monitors and sending spectacular arcs of salt water across the bay. The police launch returned to base as we are about to do.

Next post will be from Wellington.

 

Categories
Adventure Birds Echuca Landscapes Melbourne

April13, 2015 … wide open spaces

Being back in Melbourne helps me to think about yesterday.

tree
The classic lone tree in the empty paddock

We went Westward from Echuca, through a tiny town called Mitiamo on our way to the Terrick Terrick National Park.I know the spell checker will complain about that duplication, but that’s what it’s called. On the way, I was struck by the vastness of the horizons, the emptiness of the land, the amount of bare brown soil exposed to the elements. A recurring feature that I liked was the single lonely tree in the middle of a usually immense paddock.

Mitiamo
Wide open spaces near Mitiamo

We got to Mitiamo and went up the track into the park. I have decided that Australia, or at least Victoria does its best to baffle tourists by having the least possible signage pointing the way to anywhere, or when there absolutely has to be a sign to label it in the way that is least useful to the stranger. Despite their best efforts we found our way to Mt Terrick Terrick which is the highest point in the park and we walked up the hill to get a higher view. As you ascend, you get a better sense of the enormity, the majesty and the dryness of this landscape.

Panorama
A sixteen-shot stitched panorama from the summit of Mt Terrick Terrick … about 150 degrees of arc.

At the top, 148 metres above sea level, there is some sort of satellite dish, and a splendid 360 degree view of Northern Victoria. Of course, the distance fades into the heat haze very quickly so despite the height advantage, you don’t see far at all.

Eagle
Wedge-tailed eagle

I was lined up on a bird in he forest when we came down, and Mary called out. I reacted unkindly since she had spoiled my shot, but she was pointing upwards and I stood there like a slack-jawed yokel as the most beautiful wedge-tailed eagle circled overhead. I didn’t even have the wit to lift my camera until its second circuit by which time it had drifted to my left and I missed the clear shot of the bird as the trees obscured one wing.

Always listen to your wife!

Categories
Adventure Birds Echuca Landscapes Maritime Melbourne

April 9, 2015 … arriving on one leg

Happily my foot is much better.

farmland
Rural landscape in Northern Victoria, very dry, very large

 

Unhappily, the day we travelled from Melbourne to Echuca, it had not yet reached this happy state. The upside is that, with Mary driving, I could catch some of this great land of distant horizons. After a few adventures and missed exits on Melbourne’s lunatic highway system, Google maps came to our rescue, and we got back on the right road. Of course, this is nowhere near the real “outback” but even so the distance from the roadside fence to the fence on the far side of the paddock is usually massive, to New Zealand eyes.

Corella
Squawking loudly, these members of the cockatoo family were near the Echuca port

 

Eventually we arrived in Echuca at the cottage we had booked for or stay. We leave on Monday morning and the forecast is good, with clear skies but surprisingly cool temperatures. Unable to walk far at all on Wednesday, I got Mary to drive me to Echuca Port in the evening. It was all locked up. A flock of birds which I think to be the Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea)  was swirling noisily above the trees beside the river and squabbling over landing rights.

Hero
PS Hero is reputedly the most luxurious of the fleet at Echuca

 

I peered over the corrugated fence and spotted one of the port’s several paddle steamers at rest for the night. PS Hero was built in 1874 and can carry 75 passengers.

Magpie lark
Australia has a lot of handsome and colourful birds but this one in plain black and white caught my eye

 

At my feet, I spotted a Magpie Lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) hopping about beside me. The horizontal bar running back from the eye indicates a male bird.

Hoping for better things with improved mobility tomorrow.

Categories
adversity Architecture Family Festivals and fairs Melbourne

April 8, 2015 … discomfort and frustration

It seems I am not so nice to know when I am frustrated.

Knives
Knife block

The combination of cold wet weather and the still painful foot limited my possibilities yesterday. I stayed with the in-house still life shots, seeing what caught my eye in the house of my daughter and son-in-law.

Lights
Light fittings

Various angles and fragments challenged me to do something.

Gingerbread
Wrought-iron gingerbread, typical of Melbourne houses of the era

 

It is a house from the early part of last century that has been nicely renovated.

art
Mirror and selected art

Catherine and Mark have added their own touches of course.

Wet
Wet, wet, wet outside

Meanwhile, outside the window, the wind and rain lashed at the bamboo in the planters.

And that’s all I have for the day except to observe that despite my bad mood my birthday was observed in style.

Categories
adversity Architecture Family Melbourne

April 7, 2015 … parked on the husband bench

Most large shopping centres have a row of seats where husbands can be parked while wives shop.

Atrium
One of the main atriums at Chadstone

Yesterday, out of curiosity rather than a need to shop, Catherine took Mary and I to Chadstone, a major regional shopping centre in Malvern East, a suburb in the South East of the city. Truth to tell it was the still painful ankle that confined me to the husband park, rather than wifely instruction.  Chadstone claims to be the largest shopping centre in the Southern hemisphere. I am always skeptical of Southern Hemisphere claims as they rarely examine claims from the great cities of Latin America. Nevertheless, with 510 stores it is a big place and with the ladies somewhere in the distance I made a slow journey through some of the closer parts of the mall.

Ground floor
In the same atrium as before … the place I took the first photo is the second bridge back.

There is a certain sameness to malls everywhere, but I tried to capture the essence of this one.

Palm
Palm tree doing well

There are a lot of palm trees, some of which are a healthier colour than others.

Apple
The temple of Apple. Every station and every device was pored over and there were people waiting their turn for each

I had a look in the only camera shop in the mall, and found no compelling bargains. I went next to the temple of Apple where the uniformed acolytes were waiting to pounce on anyone who came near the entrance. I had a look at large monitors but again, found no compelling bargain.

Food court
Food court at Chadstone

Looking down into the food court, it looked to be several classes up from most mall food courts. There was no sense of greasy fries and litter. It looked almost civilised.

Then it was back home to rest the leg.

Categories
adversity Architecture Maritime Melbourne

April 6, 2015 … not quite the holiday we planned

To begin with, I expected to have the full use of both legs.

Bikes
Bicycle fence around a restaurant

Since my crash in pursuit of a tram the other day, I would estimate that my left leg has less than 20% of its normal load-bearing capacity, and even when I am not attempting to stand or walk, it is reminding me it is there. Yesterday afternoon the family went to the big outlet centre near South Wharf on the banks of the Yarra. The intention was that I would hobble no more than a few metres while the others looked for bargains inside the thronged shops. It was, of course, Easter Sunday. The weather was grey and cool, so the outlet centre was packed. I wandered slowly, very slowly, along the restaurants on the water’s edge. I rather liked the brightly coloured bicycles used as a demarcation fence for one of the restaurants, though I noted that the pedals had all removed as a deterrent to theft.

Polly Woodside
Polly Woodside in her dock. Sadly she was not open on Easter Sunday, despite website advice to the contrary.

Around the corner of the main restaurant block, the Polly Woodside sits in the splendour of a special dock. Polly Woodside is a three-masted barque built in Ireland in 1885. She sailed the world as a trader under various names until her working life came to an end in 1922. She is now handsomely restored and part of the wonderful riverside precinct in Melbourne.

Bridge
seafarers’ Bridge … so named as a recognition of the Mission to Seamen that used to stand nearby.

There are many bridges across the Yarra, including some quirky footbridges. This, still limping heavily, I made my way to the middle of this one.

Yarra
Tourism on the Yarra with at least a visual nod to the canals of Amsterdam

As I looked to the East, one of several tourist vessels that ply their trade on the Yarra cam towards us. I am sure that even if they were not built in the Netherlands, they are modelled on the canal boats of Amsterdam.

I hope this foot improves soon.