May 4, 2015 … tired and happy, homeward bound

Conventions are hard work.

Break

The last tea break of the convention. Pastries were nice, though not necessarily appropriate for me.

This particular convention required a great deal of concentration since one of the major speakers was explicitly expert in a highly technical area. Many of us watched the things that could be done with no hope of remembering how to do them, but at least we learned where to look for the detailed knowledge. I imagine that the organizers of next year’s convention in Queenstown may wish to have keynote speakers who address the aesthetics of photography rather than its mechanics. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of this, but I saw many participants whose eyes were as glazed as mine.  The last morning tea break happened amongst the trade stands. Some brown powder in sachets pretended to be coffee but wasn’t. Then the last session, and with my passenger Helen, we set out for home.

Taupo

Looking to Ruapehu (with snow, on the left), Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom) and Tongariro. This is from Five Mile Bay near the North East of Lake Taupo.

At the urging of a fellow photographer, we took the route from Tauranga through Rotorua to Taupo. Contrary to the advice I received, it is not only 27 km longer than the route over the Kaimai range to Putaruru but seemed at least half an hour longer, especially given the crawl through suburban Rotorua. Never mind, I forgive her. We carried on to an entirely unmemorable lunch at Waiotapu.  After the Taupo bypass, we paused for a photo break at Five Mile Bay south of Taupo township. We could see cloud building up behind the mountain, and feel its chill despite the calm surface of the lake.

SH1

Pleasant but busy conditions on SH1

From there, it was the long haul down SH1 on the Eastern side of the lake to Turangi and up to the volcanic plateau.

Ruapehu

Ruapehu slips the cloud from its shoulder. This is an active volcano.

We caught glimpses of the mighty mountain as we followed the narrow winding approach to the plateau, but by the time we were on the high part of the road, it was mostly obscured. It disappeared entirely long before we got to Waiouru.

It’s great to be home.

January 29, 2015 … this old house*

Home again and glad to be here.

Sunrise

Looking to the rising sun across Lake Taupo from the historic wharf at Tokaanu

It was a great trip in all its various parts. Yesterday began very early in Tokaanu, where I overcame my habitual avoidance of mornings. I went down the road towards Little Waihi to catch the sun rise over the lake. Click on this and all the pictures for a better view.

Colours

The duck enjoys geothermal warmth and fits right into the wondrous colours of the new day at Tokaanu

Beside the road there are places where local rivers mingle with geothermal steam and the growth in the various pools is lush and colourful The duck is incidental. It  was the colours that attracted me. Other shots not shown here show clouds of steam hovering over the surface.

Weather

Heavy weather to the East of the Desert Road

After breakfast, we completed our packing and took a fairly direct route home down SH1. The Desert Road was less clear than on the Northward journey and there were some heavy-looking clouds out to the East.

Mountains

The central mountains – Ruapehu in the Centre and Ngauruhoe to the Right

On the other side of the road, there was more clear sky, but the mountain peaks were shrouded in cloud.

Taihape

Memories of days gone by – Taihape

Down the road, a little past Taihape, there is an old derelict house. It is obviously photographed often because the sign posted beside the door is apparently a notice telling photographers that they are unwelcome. I never got close enough to see.  However a friend said it put her in mind of the lyrics to the song by Shakin Stevens Stuart Hamblen …

This old house once knew my children,
this old house once knew my wife,
this old house was home and comfort
as we fought the storms of life*

Mangaweka

Fruit trees around this old house in Mangaweka suggest it was a happy place

At Mangaweka, another old house demanded my attention. It was obviously someone’s well-loved home because it is surrounded by pip and stone fruit trees, many of which still bear fruit. Stevens Hamblen comes to mind again:

this old house once rang with laughter,
this old house heard many shouts,
now it trembles in the darkness
when the lightning walks about.*

LAV III

They take a firm approach to speeding motorists at Hunterville (kidding). The army passes by.

A comfort stop at Hunterville was made more memorable as a squadron of Canadian-built LAV III armoured fighting vehicles passed through. I think they belong to the Queen Alexandra Mounted Rifles, a regiment of the New Zealand Army, Based at Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North. I think we are blessed as a country that, except on ceremonial occasions, we very rarely encounter the weapons of war.

And now, as I said, we are home again.

* This Old House by Stuart Hamblen

Note: The use of the lyrics to This Old House is not intended to refer in any way to the real owners or occupiers, past or present of the houses pictured.

October 18, 2013 … landscapes in transit

Oooh, owww, ahhh!

After a day on the Tongariro crossing (about which, more tomorrow), this is going to be a short post. We began in Rotorua, with a flat tyre, which the nice guys at Firestone fixed at no charge. On the road again, we headed South down to Turangi, and just a little way before Taupo, we passed Ohaaki geothermal power station. Mary was driving so I could shoot out the window as we passed at 100 km/h.

Ohaaki geothermal station

I think that’s a cooling tower

A little closer to Taupo, I rather liked the military formation of trees on the skyline.

Nearing Taupo

… he marched them up to the top of the hill, and he marched them down again

After a pause for refreshment at Turangi (which was closed), we went up over the saddle from Tokaanu to Lake Rotoaira, and stopped at the lookout on the hill to compose this multi-image panorama looking North over Lake Taupo.

Lake Taupo from the saddle road

Have a look at the enlarged version

On the other side of the hill as we approached the Rangipo turnoff, I liked the lovely carpet of golden canola with Ruapehu in the background.

Canola seed with Ruapehu behind

Lovely colour in the flowers

As for tomorrow, have I got a story for you!