Adventure Cars Family Landscapes Maritime Southwards Car Museum

July 13, 2016 … elapsed time

Oh darn, another guilt trip. I did not envisage ever letting so much time pass between editions. My defense is that we had a major family event and visitors over the last week as a major distraction from the routine pf blogging.

Flapping in the breeze

I recently sold an unwanted device and applied the proceeds to the acquisition of a high quality neutral density filter for my Cokin filter holder. I really did try to support my local retailer, but the price in that direction was $550. It saddens me that I can get the same item freight paid from the astounding B&H store in New York for less than half of that.  I did try, but I suspect the national distributor wanted too great a cut.  As soon as it arrived, I began experimenting.

Across the water – a clear day

The South Coast near Island Bay offered a view across the unusually calm waters of the Cook Strait to the distant mountains of the Kaikoura ranges.

Hispano-Suiza Mascot

The family event I mentioned brought our son David and grandson Isaac across from Brisbane, so we made a trip up to the splendid Southwards Car Museum a little North of Paraparaumu. I find that taking general shots in there is unsatisfying, so I settled on representative fragments and samples. I know tha Rolls Royce’s  “Spirit of Ecstasy” is among the most prestigious of hood ornaments, but for sheer elegance the stork in flight which adorns the mighty Hispano-Suiza is my favourite.

Brass and chrome worth a small fortune

Rolls Royces do have a certain presence, and a row of them with their cousins, the Bentleys are eye-catching.

Fire for a disaster

My last shot this edition was made when we accompanied our younger son Anthony who is a specialist in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI). He was preparing to conduct a training day for his fellow police officers and was setting up a roaring fire on a farm in the Akatarawa Valley. In due course, he would throw some animal parts from the local abattoir onto the fire and the next day, set the course members to sifting through the remains. I choose not to display the more graphic shots.

Birds Cars Southwards Car Museum Waikanae Weather

July 31, 2014 … food, feathers and fast cars

Good friends can be the source of trouble.

Welcome Swallow in high-speed pursuit of insects

This is because there is usually food involved. I met with a friend of very long standing (he gets stroppy if I refer to him as an old friend) for a very pleasant lunch at Waikanae yesterday, and after we had eaten we went to the lagoons at the Waikanae estuary. There were scaups and swans, shags and dabchicks and a veritable horde of swallows. Swallows are particularly challenging to photograph. They are fast and agile, and since they are chasing insects, they change speed, direction and altitude. I keep trying but rarely catch one close enough to make a good image. Even if I do get them in the viewfinder, they rarely stay there for long enough for the autofocus to work. so there is a great deal of luck involved. This is my best shot of the Welcome Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) in flight so far.

Waimeha stream mouth at Waikanae

From there we went along to the Waimeha stream in the hope of seeing wading birds at the beach. The sun on the water made photography quite difficult, but worth a try.

Oystercatchers staying out of the tumbling surf at Waikanae

As it turned out there were a few oystercatchers about but it was otherwise quiet. Ah well, in accordance with all the best recipes for the disposal of lemons I tried to make something of of a “high key” image with the tumbling surf as backdrop.

Luxury motoring on a grand scale – Southwards Car Museum

On the way home, I called in at the Southwards car  museum. I have been there many times before and try always to make something of the juxtaposition of so much polished paint and gleaming chrome. A cluster of Mercedes-Benz cars with a Rolls-Royce Phantom V and a huge Hispano-Suiza seemed like a place to start.

I have red that all Italian cars are red, no matter what colour they are painted. One of Signor Bugatti’s masterpieces. They were said to have poor brakes. His alleged answer was “I build my cars to go, not to stop!”

There are so many superbly restored cars there that it is hard to keep track of which ones are the most spectacular. For pure Italian flair, this wonderful Bugatti saloon is among my favourites.

An American racing car … no surplus weight on this, not even doors.

Few people these days are familiar with the Stutz racing cars and since this one dates back to 1915 that’s no surprise . It looks purposeful, doesn’t it?

Something different tomorrow.

Camera club creativity Machinery Reflections Southwards Car Museum

July 22, 2013 … upon mature reflection

Deliberate photography produces different results.

Opportunistic subjects that are happened-upon in transit are less likely to be successful. I was discussing photography with a good friend and mentor yesterday, and concluded that camera clubs are a parallel universe. Different things are important in that world. I find them fun, but they are probably less important than the court of the photographer’s own opinion about what is pleasing.

Yesterday, I went out with the intent to make images to fit this month’s specified club topic which is entitled “Wet, chrome or reflective”. It suddenly occurred to me that the greatest collection of reflective chrome in the Wellington region is the superb Southwards Car Museum at Otaihanga, to the North of Paraparaumu.  First let me pay tribute to a museum that was entirely unfazed by my request to be allowed to use a tripod.

Classic cars are fun, but the cars themselves were almost incidental to my visit yesterday. What I wanted was reflections. Short of a shop selling mirrors, I can’t think of a better place to find interesting reflections.

Rolls-Royce headlight reflects another Rolls-Royce
This is a wonderful museum

A huge chromed headlight, in this case the one attached to a large Rolls-Royce chassis, acts as a distorting mirror for the enormous Rolls-Royce Phantom V next to it. I thought I had extracted myself from the image but there I am on the left. I was using my remote trigger, and should have got out of the line of sight.

The grand sweep of a Cadillac's fin
The white lines are reflections of the overhead fluorescent lights

Not all reflections were from chrome plated surfaces. The extravagant fins on a Cadillac convertible above were throwing up some interesting patterns in the glossy black paint.

Elegance captured
This would be banned under today’s regulations for the injury it could inflict on a pedestrian

This is a place to see vehicles that were once objects of desire for the very rich and famous. I think the automotive brand Hispano-Suiza disappeared after WWII, so the magnificent is a great example of the glory days of motoring.  The stylized stork which was the hood ornament for these cars is contrasted nicely against the  red Bugatti behind it. (All Italian cars are red, no matter what colour they are painted).

Spirit of Ecstasy
I confess to a little tweaking to emphasise the statuette and nameplate

Oddly, or perhaps not so, most of the glitter came from the grand names. Several Rolls-Royces were on display, each with its “Spirit of Ecstacy” flying proudly.  I have always thought the Spirit was a nicely understated piece of art, unlike some of the grotesquely mis-proportioned imitators.

The Bentley
Ettore Bugatti who was famous for light elegant cars called the Bentleys “the fastest trucks in the world”

The “blower Bentley” on display was also elegant in its simplicity (apart from the sheer expanse of chrome). I wonder how many of the modern fans know that this was the original car assigned to James Bond by his creator, Ian Fleming. Of course his one was gun-metal grey rather than the more popular “British Racing Green”.

Polished copper on steam fire appliance
I can imagine a lot of time was spent in the station house polishing this

My final shot for the day is not a car at all, nor does it involve chrome. It is part of a Merryweather steam fire engine. Its polished copper pressure vessel is undeniably reflective.

So am I.