Adventure Architecture Art Geology Lakes Landscapes Machinery Maritime Reflections Tora Wairarapa

August 31, 2018 … at the end of Winter

In New Zealand, there is an ongoing debate as to the boundaries of each season. We have a meteorological calendar which says that Spring begins on September 1, and an Astronomical calendar which has it beginning at the vernal equinox (about Sept 23) . Either way, I have been seeing daffodils and lambs for at least a month already.

Not so long ago, the Waiwhetu stream was notoriously polluted. It has been cleaned up in recent times, and can look pretty in the right light

Despite the arrival or approach of Spring, the weather has been extremely changeable so whenever there is stillness I am out and about. Sometimes, when the air is still, it is possible to get a pleasant image from the midst of an industrial zone. This image is of the Waiwhetu Stream as it passes through Seaview among all the light industry.

Some of Mary’s lavender

Then it turned rough again, so I played with my lightbox and some lavender that Mary grows in a pot at the back door.

Dominion Farmers
Dominion Farmers Building, Featherston St

I have an interest in architectural photography and chose to wander the CBD. I have always liked the old Dominion Farmers building on Featherston street. These days, only the facade remains as there is a modern building inside the shell. I am glad they retained the facade.

Lambton Quay
Lambton Quay

On Lambton Quay there is a mix of old and new. The Hallensteins building on the left was once home to Whitcoulls, the bookseller, but they vacated due to earthquake risk. I presume remedial work was carried out before Hallensteins moved in. To the right is one of Wellington’s new double-decker buses made by Xiamen Fengtai Bus and Coach International. The introduction of the new fleet with new routes and new timetables has been a total circus and has met with almost universal condemnation for its perceived  ineptitude. A major redesign is promised.

Through a pub door darkly, the structure of the floating crane Hikitia

I was walking along Cable Street and glanced into the door of Mac’s Brewbar, a popular waterfront hostelry. The door was closed but the glass panels gave an interesting view through the opposite window of the Hikitia. According to Wikipedia, she is thought to be the only working steam-powered floating crane of her type left in the world. She sailed under her own steam from Scotland to Wellington in 1926. That is seamanship.

Propeller from F69 HMNZS Wellington

While we are on a maritime kick, here is a phosphor-bronze propeller. It is one of  the two removed from the Leander class frigate, HMNZS Wellington before her hull was scuttled as a dive site off the South coast of the city. They were gifted to the city by Rotary as art works if I recall correctly. Her other propeller is on the Esplanade in Houghton Bay not far from the wreck. Imagine how fast they had to spin to get the 2,500 tonne ship up to 50 km/h

Rankine Brown
The Rankine Brown building from Dixon St

Back on the architectural kick, this image was made from Dixon St, looking west to Thorndon and Victoria University of Wellington. The Rankine Brown Building is home to the university’s library. The semi-circular protuberance is a stairwell which I trudged up far more times than I could count in my years there.

Pukerua Bay
Pukerua Bay

Even comparative calm is good. I took myself up to the Kapiti coast and went down to the rocky beach at Pukerua Bay. It used to be home to many ramshackle cottages. These are steadily giving way to some rather up-market seaside homes. Lovely as the place is, it is not where I would wish to live in the event of a serious tsunami.

Lake Wairarapa looking South

Yesterday, before the weather turned ugly, I deemed it worth a trip over the hill to Tora on the Wairarapa coast. On the way I stopped at Lake Wairarapa and just loved its perfect stillness.

A geologist friend once told me that you should get a geology degree in NZ by driving around on buses. He said all the workings are on the outside, and open to view

From there it is approximately 70 km over winding and mostly gravel roads to the coast. Just where the road turns North to Te Awaiti there are some rock formations off the coast that fascinate me. They put me in mind of what I am told is the impasto style of painting, wherein the artist lays the paint on the canvas thickly with knife or brush (think of Van Gogh) .

That’s it until Spring



Art Camera club Landscapes Maritime Martinborough Tora White Rock

January 3, 2015 … a convoy to the sea

Photography is not a team sport in my opinion.

The dry landscape just to the East of Martinborough


My preference is to wander at my own pace, to see what I see, and to make images that evoke the sensations of being in the situation as I saw it. That does not have to mean as it actually was it the time. I have spoken before about eidetic writing. I would extend the idea to images, if they enable the viewer to experience something of the same sensations that the image maker had. Yesterday I joined in a camera club expedition to White Rock on the Southern coast of Wairarapa. We met up in Featherston, and drove in a loose convoy though Martinborough and then to the South East towards White Rock. Though it is a mere 73 km from Featherston, Google Maps suggests it takes two hours. With photographers this could blow out to three.

River bed
A shingle river bed near the coast. I suspect the thistles in the foreground had been sprayed


This was a road I had not previously travelled so there were many new views to take in. Not very far from the coast, this view back the way we had come gave a good sense of a wide valley with a broad bed of river shingle. This would be impressive with the river in flood, but at present there is the merest dribble.

Near White Rock
There’s always room for a few more curves as we make our way to the coast.


From the same ridge, and looking in the other direction towards the coast, there was a nice view of the road winding its way down to sea level.

White Rock
White Rock … a limestone outcrop


and then there is White Rock itself. To quote a report from Boffa Miskell Ltd (2101) “The rocky shore platform and formations at Te Kaukau Point are uplifted layered limestone, sandstone and mudstone sediments. The White Rock Reef is the exposed end of a tilted limestone sheet that extends about 700m offshore.

The Opua ran aground on October 2, 1926 and is now rapidly disappearing. This is her stem


After we had taken our fill of pictures around White Rock, we meandered collectively back towards the Gladstone Country Inn where we were booked for dinner. Since I was a passenger in somebody else’s vehicle, I was happy that we had time to go to Tora, a little further up the coast. I had visited Tora before, and was quite surprised at how suddenly, the wreck of the steamship Opua had deteriorated. After being part of the landscape for about eighty years, the old ship seems to be yielding to wind and waves, and the only significant remnants above the water are her stem and the boiler.


Looking North up the coast, I was reminded of how beautiful the area is. And apart form the dinner, that was the day. I enjoyed the company of my fellow photographers and had a lot of fun with them, but I remain convinced that photography is a solitary art form.

That’s all for now.

*Wairarapa Landscape 2010 by Boffa Miskell Ltd