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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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Airport Aviation Birds Cook Strait Day's Bay Family flowers harbour History insects Landscapes Light Maritime Masterton Military Paremata Waves Weather Wellington

March 13, 2021 … Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth*

I begin this edition with a tribute to a valued friend and long time reader who died last month. George Combs Berger, Lt Col USAF (Ret) died on 2 Feb 2021 aged 98. In my experience, George was the ultimate gentleman, and was a frequent and very generous contributor to the earlier versions of WYSIWYG News back when we paid an assistant to format the news. He and his late wife,Patricia had a particular affinity with New Zealand and most years he would attend the ANZAC ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral, and then post me the printed programme from the service. George told me the story of him flying a B47 Stratojet bomber across the Atlantic to the UK and having its generators fail mid-journey. He turned off everything that could be done without, and arrived at the RAF base with barely sufficient battery power to illuminate his navigation lights. My condolences to his family. He will be missed. Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Photographically it has been a mixed period. I was quite pleased with myself, almost smug in the previous issue. This time some of my shots have fallen back into the mediocre category but, what the heck, keep shooting.

Ferry and the fisherman

I have made similar shots to this one many times before. On this occasion Kaitaki was leaving the harbour, hotly pursued by a fisherman in a “fizz boat”. As with my similar prior shots, the attraction to me was the delightful “blue on blue” of the clear sky over a calm sea.

Surface confusion

Across the harbour on this near perfect day, a young couple were setting out fishing from Lowry Bay in their little boat. Across the harbour, anyone with a nostalgic connection with Victoria University of Wellington will see the red brick of the old Hunter building above the yellow buoy on the left.

An extremely rare selfie

It has long been part of our family tradition to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Our kids always loved this, and we are passing it on to the grandchildren, or at least those who live close enough to join in. This year, Mary had other commitments on the day so I brushed off long neglected skills. To my great delight, I had not lost the knack of tossing them from the pan, and contrary to the skepticism of some friends did not spoil or lose any. The device in my left hand is my iPhone which I used to trigger the camera on its tripod. Who says men can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?

Hawkweed flowers

I always thought they were dandelions. Apparently not. These are hawkweed or more scientifically, Hieracium. These examples were found on a riverbank in Wainuiomata

Days Bay Ferry

Unless the weather is really rough the two little catamarans, Cobar Cat and City Cat scuttle across the harbour on a regular schedule carrying tourists and commuters between the Queen’s Wharf terminal in the city and the jetty at Day’s Bay. They drop in at Matiu/Somes Island for people who wish to explore the island (highly recommended), and on a few trips, they divert to the jetty at Seatoun. One is seen here approaching Day’s Bay as observed from Lowry Bay.

Paremata Boat Sheds

In many parts of the world, it seems to be a tradition that any collection of boat sheds should be painted in motley colours. The sheds at Paremata follow this plan, and each owner seems to have had their own pot of leftover paint to use up. This is seen from across the inlet at the Pauatahanui Wildlife sanctuary.

Economy class

Over in Ivey Bay, there are some character-filled moorings where boats seem to sit and rarely move. I suspect that the owners have dreams of restoration that rarely come to fruition. I occasionally see the owners sitting on their deck beside the water, just basking in the pleasure of being there.

Military relics

Over the hill from Upper Hutt is the Mangaroa Valley where there are some old buildings which once served as part of the Maymorn military camp. If I understand correctly, they are long surplus to the needs of the defence ministry and have been given to the local iwi in part reparation for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. History hangs heavy on the buildings.It has been a long while since they saw any paint.

Moonlit bay

I rarely go out at night for photographic purposes. If conditions are still, I will carry my camera and tripod when I go to camera club and see whether there is anything worth shooting near the harbour after the meeting. On this particular night, I went down to Lowry Bay and looking to the North made this 40 second exposure. Despite the long exposure, the boat moved very little. Remember that boat. You might see it again.

Blue Globe Thistle

Our very good friends, Jane and Roy are superb gardeners and their home is often visited by the local garden circle. From my perspective, as one who avoids most forms of physical labour, I love their results but am unlikely to follow in their footsteps. I enjoy strolling around their property seeing all the unusual and interesting flowers. This specimen is a Blue Globe Thistle which I would not have known without the aid of https://identify.plantnet.org which is right more often than it is wrong.

In stillness

It was a nice still morning at Petone, but I was struggling to find anything of interest. There is a set of small piles just to the Western side of Petone wharf. I speculate that they exist to hold an old stormwater outlet pipe in place. Anyway, I was intrigued by the multi-coloured weeds growing on the ancient timbers.

It’s that darned yacht again

A misty day in the city imposes a moody atmosphere. Not so much waves, but sharp ripples arrive on the beach at Lowry Bay. The mood was worth the effort, I think.

If you have no interest in aviation, please skip the next three images.

Atmospherics

Last time I went to an airshow, I was disappointed and said I would probably not bother again. I backed down and joined my Son Anthony, daughter-in-law Sarah, and grandson Jack at the recent “Wings Over Wairarapa” airshow at Hood Aereodrome, Masterton. One of the highlights for me was the Yakovlev YAK-3U, a radial engined version of a Russian WWII fighter. It has a very powerful P&W R2000 engine and is extremely fast. In this shot you can see the condensate spiralling back from the tips of its propeller during a high speed run . The trails at the wingtips are made by oil burning.

Scribbles

The Yak pilot put on a masterful performance in a beautiful machine with an engine almost twice the power of the original. He zipped through the sky leaving smoke trails with which he made the most amazing patterns.

Age is no barrier

For the 2019 iteration of this air show, the US ambassador used his influence to persuade the US Air Force to do a fly-by with a B-52 on its way from its base in Guam to the much larger airshow at Avalon in Australia. Sadly, a mechanical malfunction meant that it didn’t arrive. So here we are again, and truth to tell, the promise of a B-52 was a strong influence in my decision to visit one more air show. It came from Avalon this time and was on its way back to Guam. The B-52 is notoriously smokey so its presence was visible long before the aircraft itself. They did three wide passes, including one with its bob doors open. I hope I am never beneath one when it does that in anger. I don’t want to glorify war or militarism, but this grand old machine is a tribute to its designers and builders, and to the brave crews that fly them.

When shall we three meet again?**

Mary has a sharp eye for things that might be photo-worthy. She saw the shed exo-skeletons of these three cicada nymphs all clinging to one little stick. Astonishing! I have never seen two together before, let alone three.

Help from the sky

This air ambulance was basking in the sun at Wellington Airport. Used mainly for the transport of patients between various specialist hospitals this Jetstream 400 makes a brave picture. Lurking behind it is the local search and rescue helicopter.

A rare visitor

Were this just a common white-faced heron, which is what I thought I had taken, I would have discarded this image. It wasn’t until I got home that closer examination showed I had caught a very rare reef heron. Apparently the total number of them in NZ lies between 300 and 500.

What, again?

Yes, it is that darned yacht again. The excuse for this image, however is that rainbow fragment behind it. You will be relieved to know that the yacht has since been moved from the open mooring into the nearby marina, so it no longer offers itself as a feature of the landscape.

The oil terminal

Sometimes, the light falling on the oil wharf lifts an otherwise banal structure and makes it quite attractive. I liked it anyway.

That will do for now. See you next time.

  • *High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, RCAF
  • **Shakespeare, Macbeth
Categories
Architecture Art Bees Birds insects Landscapes Light Maori Maritime Paremata Plant life Weather Wellington

November 23, 2018 … a weird mixture

Days of alternating weather have meant different styles of photography as the week has gone by, We have had some grey misty days and a few nice days and a few that did nothing for me at all.

heron
White-faced herons are not as glamorous as their distant cousins the white heron, but they move with the same careful elegance

On one of the calm days, I went to the estuary and watched a white-faced heron doing its slow deliberate stalking through the shallow water, pausing now and then to spear a fish or crab.

spoonbills
Royal spoonbills seem to sleep on one leg with their extraordinary bills tucked among the plumage on their backs

Later the same day, I spotted a small flock of royal spoonbills  all dozing on one leg while a black swan cruised among them.

Hei tiki
The hei-tiki is an ornamental pendant made by the Maori. This is not one, but the similarity is there.

As I was climbing out of the estuary basin, I spotted something half-buried in the sand. My first thought was that I had found an intricately carved wooden hei-tiki, I was only mildly disappointed to discover that it was just a piece of driftwood, shaped by long immersion in the ever-moving sand.

Hutt
Looking down the Hutt River from home with the Eastern hills getting a good soak

A few nights ago, as the sun was setting, there was a heavy rain cloud moving down the Eastern side of the valley. The combination of clear sky in the west and heavy cloud in the East produced some interesting light.

Koromiko
This plant is so common as to be almost a weed, Nevertheless it has at least three names: Hebe, Veronica or Koromiko 

The next day the weather was unhelpful, so I played about with some flowers in my dark box using my excellent macro lens and the technique of photo-stacking. I quite like this image of a sprig of Hebe.

Harbour
Steel grey harbour

The weather changed several times and I liked the silver-grey view down the harbour.

Bee
Inbound heavy freighter

Today was pleasant and I found myself at Paremata at the entrance to the Porirua harbour. There was not much happening from a landscape perspective but I enjoyed the sight of bumble bees exchanging pollen for nectar on a bush that I later learned is Tree Mallow.

boat sheds
Paremata boat sheds

My final shot in this edition was made from the edge of the beach at the mouth of the Pauatahanui inlet. I wanted still water so opted for a long exposure. The boats moved with the water’s flow but the colours and forms of the boat sheds appealed to me.

That’s all for now

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Adventure Architecture Camera club History Landscapes Light Otaki Paremata Santa Rosa sunrise Sunset Weather Wellington

October 13, 2017 … around the region and further afield

Sometimes I have to work hard to find an image in otherwise drab circumstances, However, sometimes the effort pays off.

Harbour and CBD
A moody evening in Wellington

We have had a lot of grey weather recently, but even in such circumstances I love our city.

Waiwhetu
In the heart of Lower Hutt on the Waiwhetu Stream

Even in dull weather, as long as the wind is absent, I can usually find something worth a look. This is the Waiwhetu Stream on Riverside Drive, near Gracefield. Just out of view above the trees is the Wainuiomata hill with its busy traffic.

Exhibition
Hutt Camera club’s annual exhibition

Every year at about this time, the Hutt Camera club (of which I am president) holds its annual exhibition, and as I have done before, I made a panorama that includes all sixty images. Three of them are mine.

Drizzle
Early morning drizzle in the Hutt Valley

And on the subject of weather, or indeed any other obstacle to my photographic endeavours, sometimes it is an idea to photograph the obstacle itself.  This view from our house looks along High Street through morning drizzle to the Hutt Hospital.

Camborne
Towards the setting sun from the water tower at Camborne

Then the obstacle disappears, and we get what with tongue in cheek, we call “a typical Wellington day at last”. This image was a panoramic stitch made from a small hill in Camborne, looking out towards Mana Island.

Dotterel
Banded dotterel just below the swirling wind and sand

Then the wind returned and outside shooting was just plain uncomfortable. When I say wind, I mean a North Westerly blast in which standing up was actually difficult. I chose to follow the coast road from Wainuiomata to the South coast which was, in many ways a stupid idea. Wind of that strength picks up a significant portion of the sand on the beach and attempts to inject it into any opening, eyes, ears, nostrils, lenses. Nevertheless I struggled down the beach and then lay flat on my back in the lee of a small sand dune. I could hear the wind shrieking and feel the sand bouncing off the back of the hood on my jacket. I lay still and pointed the camera downwind and was lucky to catch this banded dotterel. It seemed unperturbed by the wind and may in fact have been small enough to be in a relatively calm boundary layer.

Otaki Forks
High water levels in the fast flowing Waiotauru River

A day or so later, Mary and I went to Otaki forks. It was a grey day with intermittent rain, but we arrived at Boielle flat in a period of little wind and no rain. Mary explored the beginnings of the Southern Crossing which, for the fit and well-prepared is a three-day hike across the Tararua range to Featherston in the Wairarapa. While she did that I fiddled with my camera to catch this view of the Waiotauru River.

Yachts
Good sailing days are not lost just because it rains

Later in the week we had one of those soft days. In fact it as the day on which I was  to lead the Wellington occurrence of Scott Kelby’s 10th annual Worldwide Photowalk through Newtown. In fact the day was more than soft, it was downright wet. But, since this is Wellington, local sailors were undeterred.

Mist
Though it’s time to go, I shall really miss this view

My last picture for this edition is from a viewpoint that must be familiar to long-term readers. We have lived here since October 1980 … our  five kids grew up here. There have been moments of celebration, of joy and of sadness as you would expect in any house you occupy for such a length of time. We have weathered various storms and remained shaken but not stirred through many earthquakes in the last 37 years, but now, recognising our changing circumstances, it is time to move on, and today we signed a contract with an agency to put our house on the market. We know exactly where we want to purchase, and  it is exactly in the middle of that river mist down in the flat part of the valley.

Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa’s famous “round barn” in July 2012 …. looking Westward in the late evening. The flat grey roof below the ridge was the Fountaingrove Inn. Both are now destroyed along with devastation to housing and lives lost. Ironically the red sky in this image was attributed to wildfires near Clearlake, CA.

Well, it was going to be the last image, but I can’t let this issue end without expressing my sympathy and grief for the people of beautiful Santa Rosa and other parts of  Northern California. In my past life, I spent many months on several occasions working with the New Zealand Dairy Board whose North American headquarters were in Santa Rosa. I spent a lot of time in the Fountaingrove Inn just below the historic round barn on the hill. A large part of this lovely town in the heart of the wine country is destroyed. Lives and homes have been lost and even from this great distance, I grieve with you.

 

 

 

Categories
adversity Cook Strait Evans Bay harbour Landscapes Maritime Paremata Weather Wellington

Mana marina
Mana marina – water as I like it

Happy new year to all who persist in reading or viewing this blog. Here in Wellington on the 4th of January, 2017, I still await anything resembling a summer. Often enough I wake and all is still, but I am not fooled. I watch the flax leaves, and soon after sunlight comes, they quiver and begin to oscillate as the lightest of breezes escalates into a near gale and I know that there will be no stillness on the sea. But every now and then, the flax is still. I give it a while and if it persists will then gather my gear and head out to whichever coast is more likely to stay calm the longest according to the forecast. In this case, it was Mana Marina at Paremata

Mana marina
Setting out for a fishing trip from Mana

Days like this have been rare this season, so far. The Marina has been busy, and Mana has a reasonable percentage of people who actually live on their boats, some of which are quite big. It has been nice to see a few of the vessels being loaded up for a summer break in the sounds and then heading out to sea.

Down the coast from Paekakariki Hill
Down the coast from Paekakariki Hill

It was a fantastic morning so I went to Queen Elizabeth Park hoping to find dabchick chicks. Alas, none were found and they are perhaps a couple of weeks away yet. Oh well, I decided to return home via the Paekakariki Hill road with a pause at the lookout near the top. Out to the South West we see Arapawa Island and other features of the Marlborough Sounds across an unusually flat Cook Strait. It’s a long way down to the coast road below.

Coastguard
Spirit of Wellington on a damp grey day

Since then the weather has been grey, often windy and sometimes wet. Yesterday was grey and wet, but relatively calm so I tried the Evans Bay Marina. There I found the Coastguard vessel “Spirit of Wellington” being prepared for a training day. I got low and with the water so calm, the camera was within a few centimetres of the surface.

Again, happy New Year to all.

 

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Birds flowers Landscapes Light Maritime Paremata Seaview Sunset Weather

November 2, 2016 … stillness on the face of the waters

Much of the time, there is the whining of the wind rising and falling, and making life uncomfortable. Sometimes, though, the whining you hear is me, complaining about there being too much wind. For a couple of days in the week just past, there was a startling silence. Into the car, then, and off to find some still water.

Tui
Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) in the flax

At Mana Marina, in Paremata, though the wind had dropped, the water was not yet still so I watched the tui flitting from flower to flower on the flax bushes now in the early stages of flowering. The tui is a nectar feeder with a long tongue that extends far beyond is beak into the depths of the flower.  From a distance it is easy to mistake them for blackbirds, unless you see the white ruff at the throat, but up close, they wear a magnificent coloured plumage. In this season, they are so fixated on the nectar that you can often get very close.

Ragwort
Purple ragwort (Senecio glastifolius) at the roadside in Ivey Bay

A day or so later, I went to Mana Marina again, pausing in Ivey Bay to take a few shots of boats at their moorings. As I was returning to the car, my attention was caught by the prolific purple ragwort. This South African invader is absolutely everywhere along the roadsides, and especially on hillsides. Despite its status as a pest, the flowers en masse put on a wonderful seasonal display.

Mana
Mana marina with no wind

At the marina, conditions were near perfect, and despite popular belief, most photographers hope for a few clouds to relive the monotony of an empty blue sky.

Seaview
A lovely warm evening at Seaview Marina

Maintaining the marina theme, I went to Seaview on Monday night. Odd to name a suburb “Seaview” in a city with so few places that don’t have a sea view.

Seaview
Sunset reflection at Seaview

I lingered as the sun disappeared and despite having to tidy up a few flares caused by dust on the filter glass, was happy with the result. Perhaps I should stop whining, even though the wind is back.

Categories
Architecture Birds Kapiti Coast Landscapes Light Maritime night Paremata Paremata Reflections Sunset Upper Hutt Waves Weather Wellington

May 31, 2016 … after the longest gap in my blogging history

Life has been a mixture of ordinary routine, and intense busy-ness. This does not excuse the long lapse in my blogging, and I shall try to rein that in.

Lake Wairarapa
Lake Wairarapa as the incoming weather from the South turns it grey.

My first image this time, was made in the South Wairarapa the weekend before last. It was a fine day in Wellington and Mary and I decided to explore a little of the Ocean Beach road. If you follow it (on foot or by bicycle), you come round the South Coast to Wainuiomata. We were less ambitious and planned a picnic near DOC’s Corner Creek camp site. Sadly the weather turned to custard, and by the time we were halfway down the Western shoreline of Lake Wairarapa, blue skies had yielded to unremitting grey. For the time being, there was no wind and I liked the gentle shades of approaching winter.

Makara
Makara in a stiff Nor-Wester

In the week that followed, I went to Makara where a strong Nor-Wester was tumbling the surf onto the growling pebbly beach. It was bleak and cold, and I was the only person there.

Beehive
The Beehive at Sunset

The same day, I had been invited to drinks at the university to mark the departure of one of my erstwhile colleagues. At the conclusion of the event, as the day was fading into night, I noticed that the ensign on the flagpole of the Beehive (our parliamentary office complex) was floodlit. This is new.

Belmont
Mist wreaths the foothills of the Tararuas as seen from the suburb of Belmont

Yesterday, the morning sky was blue, but there was a lot of low-level mist drifting about. I set out in search of places that might give a good view. The sun was my enemy in this enterprise as it was causing the mist to burn off quickly.

Taita
Taita Gorge in the morning

In the  shade of the Taita Gorge, it lingered a little longer but that was the last of my attempted mist shots.

Heron
Heron in the stillness

As I turned for home, I realized that the morning had transformed into a beautiful still Wellington day. A hasty diversion over Haywards Hill took me to Motukaraka point on the Pauatahanui inlet where I enjoyed watching a white-faced heron picking its elegant way through the shallows finding crabs. As you can see it scarcely disturbed the water.

Inlet
“A typical Wellington day at last”

Because the day had become so picturesque, and because my scales tell me I desperately need the exercise, I went along the Camborne Walkway beside the inlet towards Paremata. Fluffy clouds reflected beautifully in the perfect waters of the inlet.

Boatsheds
The boat sheds at Paremata

The boatsheds at Paremata are often photographed, and this is not the first time for me either. I love the random use of paint such that two adjacent walls are rarely the same colour. I hope not to leave it so long until the next edition.

 

 

 

Categories
Adventure Birds Cook Strait Kapiti Island Landscapes Maritime Paekakariki Paremata Pauatahanui Porirua Pukerua Bay Waves Weather

April 11, 2016 … filling in time

Reading is dangerous. It fills your head with strange ideas. Likewise, listening to people whose photography you admire is disruptive. I am becoming accustomed to not feeling guilty if a day or three go by with no images made. On the other hand, I am much harder on myself if I tolerate mediocrity in the images I decide to keep. By this time last year, I had almost 5,000 images. This year to date, I have 1,061, and that is a massive drop. I am trying harder to see images that are worth taking, and to walk away if there is nothing there.

birds
Admittedly a surplus of black swans, but I also see Caspian terns, royal spoonbills, pied stilts, masked lapwings, shags, ducks and gulls

I still love photographing birds, but lack the patience of some of my birding friends who will lie on the belly in mud and shells for hours trying to sneak up on rare birds in their nest. For my part, I tend to arrive at a location, and shoot what I can see, from where I can see it. Naturally that process is a lottery. When I arrived at Pauatahanui on Saturday, I thought I had won the big one. I have never seen so many waterfowl there before.

stilts
Hasty dispersal – they were having a stilted conversation anyway.

A significant gathering of pied stilts at the pond looked like a group of men dressed for a white-tie dinner and they seemed to spend a lot of time admiring their own reflections. A passing jogger on the walkway caused them to scatter.

Strait
Many a homesick South Islander has stood on this beach and gazed across to the hills of the Marlborough Sounds

The next day Mary wanted to do the new 10 km walkway that runs along the steep escarpment from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay. It is advertised as a four-hour walk across some steep and narrow tracks with 490 steps and a couple of wire swing bridges. The brochure says “not for those who suffer vertigo or fear heights”. I drove Mary to the beginning of the track and agreed to be close to the other end three hours later, so I was free to wander. I began under a sullen sky at Paekakariki Beach, looking across the calm Strait to the South Island.

Kapiti
Kapiti Island looking dark and moody in the distance

From the same spot, with a 90 degree swing to the right, there was a nice view of Kapiti Island. That little spot on the water near the Northern (right) end of the island is a man on a stand-up paddle board.

Kate and friend
Long term residents at their moorings in Ivey Bay. The white spots are bubbles emerging from crab holes as the unusually high tide flows quietly across the sand

From there, hoping to find a post office open at Porirua, I went South. On the way I paused at Paremata where an extraordinarily high tide put the idea in my head that I should get the camera as close to water level as possible for a different view of an often seen subject.

Kayak
A splash of red is always welcome

The camera was sitting on a miniature tripod with its feet in the water, and I was operating it remotely through my mobile phone. At that moment I spotted a man in a bright red kayak paddling across my field of view. In the few seconds I had, all I could control was the focus so I tapped the screen to focus on him and took the shot and he was gone.

IMG_8942-Edit

I got to Porirua where the post office was shut. A shag which my birding friends agree to be an immature pied shag was sitting on a stick  in the harbour reflecting on life on a calm day.

And then it was time to head back towards Pukerua bay where I thought to browse through the splendid Archway Books for an hour or so. I just pulled up and heard my name called as she walked up the hill having completed the “four-hour traverse” in 2:45:00. Crazy woman. I never even got into the bookshop. But, having just celebrated our 46th anniversary, I remain fiercely proud of her.

Categories
Adventure Birds Landscapes Light night Paremata Pauatahanui Reflections Weather Wellington

August 28, 2015 … what a magnificent day

When I opened the curtains yesterday there was a golden haze in the North East.

Morning
Into the golden haze, on SH2 just North of Naenae

Not a single cloud in the sky, not the slightest breath of wind  and all the signs were there that this would be one of those perfect Wellington days. Much earlier than usual, I set out for Pauatahanui, hoping to catch the mirror calm that had eluded me the previous day. Even on the road out there, that golden haze persisted, and I ducked off SH2 onto a little slip road called Hebden Crescent to try to catch the sense of the morning.

Fight
I am guessing that this is a dispute over mating. The bird in the air is trying to get away from the one below with its beak firmly clamped around the throat of its rival.

Over the hill and through the village on Gray’s road, there was a brief stop to watch the many pied stilts in their immaculate black and white uniforms  feeding, flirting, fighting and flying.

calm
Breathless calm

Did I mention my hopes for a mirror calm day?  I made lots of panoramas, this one looking from Ration Point back towards Pauatahanui village and the Eastern edge of Whitby. It’s been a while since I enjoyed such a prolonged period of perfect windless calm at the inlet and it  was still calm when I drove home almost two hours later. Wonderful.

Kingfisher
Kingfisher with crab

At Motukaraka Point, I took the Canon out for a walk and managed to catch some kingfisher action. I still need to get more practice. Each time a bird left the tree I had trouble picking it up in my autofocus system, and the bird had dived, got the crab and was on its way back with dinner by the time I caught it.

Paremata
Perfect Paremata

From there, I lingered a little with the white-faced herons near the bridge and then went on to Paremata. This area is my happy place in circumstances like these.  I came home from the inlet with a couple of hundred images and spent a happy afternoon processing them. Normally that would be a good day, but it was not over yet.

Lux
The Lux festival at Frank Kitts Park

In central Wellington there is the Lux festival. In case you think of soap, the word Lux is Latin for Light. A cluster of lighting special effects is set up around Frank Kitts Park and crowds come to enjoy the show and to eat at the many ethnic food stalls set up for the occasion.

Crowd
Crowds of people ignore the chill as they walk to the lux festival

The night was clear, but by now the wind had risen and the temperature had dropped to around 7 deg C . That didn’t deter the crowds strolling along, perhaps buoyed and still warmed by the perfect day behind them.

That will do for now.

 

Categories
adversity Animals Birds Landscapes Light Paremata Sunset Weather

August 22, 2015 … sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days*

Another day almost done and another late-in-the-day panic-stricken search for images.

Heron
White-faced heron in calm waters

The afternoon was kind to me, as was the Pauatahanui inlet. At Motukaraka point, a white-faced heron was nicely silhouetted against a patch of still water. It’s not a monochrome image, but now and then nature presents itself in black and white. Close inspection reveals the green weed on the foreshore.

Seal
New Zealand Fur Seal pup dozing on the boat ramp

At the launching ramp of the Paremata Yacht club, there was a seal pup sleeping in the late sun, ignoring the ladies fishing a few metres along the dock. I moved with as much stealth as possible and put my camera within a metre of its nose. It opened a huge liquid dark eye, and went back to sleep.

Paremata
Paremata at Sunset

By now the sun was getting low in the sky, and commuter traffic across the bridges was building up, though the noise was muted by distance.

Panorama
Ivey Bay – a seven shot panoramic stitch

A hundred metres or so up the road, is Ivey Bay beach. The surface at low tide is a little treacherous with lots of vegetable matter in piles concealing soft muddy spots, but the panorama possibilities seemed worth the risk.

Another sunset.

*”Fiddler on the Roof” by Sheldon Harrick and Jerry Bock