Architecture Kilbirnie Lyall Bay Waves Weather Wellington

September 10, 2015 … Southern suburbia

I can’t remember why I went there.

Lyall Bay
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home* … I think that’s Lyall Bay School in the foreground

I was probably just following my nose, as I often do when looking for images, but whatever the reason, I found myself on Duncan Terrace which is on the Western side of Kilbirnie, just below the town belt. This narrow winding street offers some interesting views down onto central Kilbirnie and Rongotai as well as South across Lyall Bay. I suspect that Kilbirnie is undergoing a slow process of “gentrification”, but historically, it has been an unashamedly working class suburb, home to everyday people. The houses are mostly modest, well-kept and close together.  I confess that the boundaries between the suburbs of Rongotai, Lyall Bay and Kilbirnie are a mystery to me.

Swells in straight lines

The higher streets in the suburb tend to enjoy great views, but you can understand that if you can see the South, then the South can see you, and they are interesting places to be in the worst of Wellington’s Southerlies. Yesterday, though the wind was not too wild, it was nevertheless generating a good onshore swell. The lens foreshortens the image, but those waves were ten or twelve seconds apart and that suggests slow heavy waves arriving on Lyall Bay Beach. Oddly, there was just one solitary surfer visible (on the left, between the second and third waves).

Bus barns
The Kilbirnie bus barns need to be rebuilt

Looking back to Kilbirnie itself, a long-term feature on Onepu Rd has been the bus barns. When the first stage was built in 1910, they were of course, tram barns, and to this day there are lengths of tram line inside on either side of many of the inspection pits. They have reached the end of their life, and are deemed earthquake prone. As I understand it they will be demolished, with some attempt to retain some token historical brickwork. At one stage there were plans to redevelop it for housing and retail, but it seems that the present owner still needs it to be a bus depot. For now, at least, it is a vast rust-red eyesore from my viewpoint on the hill.

That’s all for today.

Adventure Architecture Cook Strait Kilbirnie Landscapes Light mountains Wellington

September 5, 2015 … chilly in the South

My location sometimes comes about by way of other obligations.

I liked the contrast between the tree and Newtown Park Flats

Yesterday, I was in Newtown to visit a bookshop. From there I began my wandering and was going past the Zoo on my way up to Karitane House. As I reached the sharp corner that turns towards the zoo, I noticed an architectural feature on a block of flats. My guess is that this is a perforated steel wall intended to provide shade and privacy while still allowing the passage of air. The tree in the tiny garden at the front provided an interesting contrast between the organic and the mechanical.

Passing glory … blooms on Roy St., Newtown. I think the trees are Magnolia stellata.

Applying the “look behind you” rule, I liked the magnificence of the row of magnolia trees lining Roy St.  As I understand it, magnolias bloom for somewhere between one and four weeks. I suppose that this short-lived glory is not much different to the splendor of the pohutukawa season.

Bharat Bhavan and the AB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie

At Karitane House, the view down onto Kilbirnie prompted me to find out about the interesting building on Kemp St. It is Bharat Bhavan, the home of the Wellington Indian Association. It contains a 1,200 seat auditorium and a 300 seat dining/conference centre.  The larger tortoise-like building to the top right is Wellington’s ASB Sports Centre. It contains 12 sprung-floor sports courts and can seat up to 3,000 spectators.

Gleaming distant view

From there, I followed the ridges down to Houghton Bay from where I enjoyed the light gleaming on the snow-clad upper part of Tapuae-o-Uenuku, far across Cook Strait, near Kaikoura. I have used images from a similar viewpoint often, but the light deserved another look.

That will do for the day.

adversity Birds Kilbirnie Landscapes Light Rivers Upper Hutt Weather Wellington

August 21, 2015 … around the region

Various tasks took me North to Upper Hutt and South to Kilbirnie.

Enlarge the picture to look at the trees

In the North, the river mist so common at this time of year was lingering in the upper valley. What really stood out for me were the foreground trees next to the river road. They looked as if they had been drawn with Indian Ink on to a wash on canvas. You may have to click to enlarge to see what I am talking about. Though I have never been a practitioner of it, it is an art form I like a lot, so the picture was irresistible.  Unfortunately the place where I stopped offered no really safe place to stand for a better view, so I did my best from behind the Armco barrier at the edge of the busy road, and tried to get a clear shot through the heavy traffic in both directions.

Boat shed
The confrontational colours of the Havana Yachting boat shed were just in the right place

Later in the morning,  as  I passed through Evans Bay the much photographed boat shed, resplendent in new paint, presented itself in a dramatic light against a dark and threatening sky. Minutes later there was a  downpour.

A pair of Little Blacks

Since I was this far out, I ate my lunch in the carpark at the Pt Halswell lighthouse. From there I went to Kilbirnie and on the way passed this pair of Little Black shags. The Little Blacks have a lovely texture to their plumage.

That’s all for now.



Architecture Kilbirnie Landscapes Light Machinery Sunset Wellington

April 17, 2015 … on the buses

Slowly, I am becoming acquainted with all the strange foibles of “Ollie”,  the new camera.

Images made by members of the Hutt Camera Club on the ceiling of a Wellington bus.

User manuals are a little unfashionable, but it says something of the complexity of the modern camera, that the English version of the user manual runs to 177 pages. Yesterday, I took a huge risk, using the camera on an important job. I took one of the Canons as well, but did very little with it. Our camera club was invited by one of the major bus companies in the region to submit some tourism-relevant images to be displayed in the buses. For whatever reason, the original idea didn’t work out. so they took a whole bunch of our images, printed them on vinyl, and stuck them to the ceiling of two new buses. Two of us went to the bus barns at Kilbirnie yesterday to make some record shots of the installations.

Buses under repair
In the maintenance section of the barns. The two nearer trolleybuses are Designline bodies on Volvo chassis. Behind them, a MAN diesel bus.

We were outfitted with an escort, bright pink fluorescent jackets and visitor cards and taken into the bus barns. We made our images, and were then allowed a little while longer to capture something of the atmosphere of the old barns. They were built in 1924 for the housing and maintenance of the city’s tram fleet, and here and there, embedded in the concrete floors, are some remnants of the tram tracks. These days, of course, the barns are full of big bright yellow buses. A large part of the barns are simply for secure storage of the buses, but one large section is where the repairs are done.

One of the new ADL Enviro200 buses in for inspection. A manager told me that the exhaust is almost cleaner than the air they breathe in.

The inspection pits revealed that the floor of the barn is on piles, and that there is a vast space underneath, most of which is in darkness except at the pit openings. It was interesting to note the rails at the edges of each pit.

Ration Point sunset

As I said already, I have a lot of learning to do, so I took Ollie out to Pauatahanui. I should have checked the tides and the angle of the sun because from a birding point of view, it was unproductive. Nevertheless I liked the silhouetted trees at Ration Point on the inlet.

It will get better.

adversity Food Kilbirnie Landscapes

February 7, 2015 … seeking a new point of view

Occasionally, I seek new viewpoints.

Looking down on Kilbirnie from Hataitai

Yesterday I followed a string of back roads around Hataitai until I came to a spot overlooking Kilbirnie. It was an odd point of view looking into the back of houses that were familiar enough from hundreds of pauses waiting at the traffic lights below. It’s a feature of any hilly city, I suppose, that some dwellings will disappear into the shadows as the sun moves. Since most New Zealanders still hang washing outside to dry in the sunshine, these people will have to get their laundry done early.

Kilbirnie Rec
Kilbirnie rec with summer in progress

From the same spot looking South, the Kilbirnie Recreation Ground below was occupied with games of cricket with varying degrees of formality. The game in the foreground is characterised by the traditional whites, whereas the other game is  quite informal. In the distance, the open sea is a bright blue-green.

Omega plum (yes, I took a bite)

At home, in the late afternoon, I mounted a rarely used macro lens and attempted to capture the textures of that most splendid of all stone fruit, the magnificent Omega plum. Its season is all too brief and I make the most of it while it is here.

That’s all for today.

Island Bay Kilbirnie Machinery Wellington

November 2, 2014 … bus barns to cricket bats

Yesterday was a follow-the-nose day.

Airport bus
An orange bus is going to or from the airport. These big Scanias are getting old, but are comfortable to ride in.

My nose took me through Kilbirnie where my eye was caught by the big bold blocks of colour at the bus barns. Wellington’s buses operate under contract to the Greater Wellington Council and the buses are, in some sense, colour coded. The airport flyers are bright orange, Wellington City buses are black and gold, and the Hutt Valley has a disgusting purple and orange scheme reminiscent of Barney the Dinosaur. Newlands and Mana operate in a fluorescent green colour.  Some of the orange buses were parked outside the depot so that’s where I started.

Wellington buses
Sleeping Wellington buses in the dark of the old tram barns

The barns themselves, once home to Wellington’s trams are large dark spaces and for me the main attraction is that they contain large collections of brightly coloured buses and I am sure there are pictures to be had. Not having permission to enter,  I stood at the door and got the next shot by leaning the camera on the door post for steadiness, and making sure a bus returning to the depot didn’t sneak up on me. If I have it right, these are some of the new Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 buses.

Island Bay
Fishing boats, a generation apart

Of course, Kilbirnie is close to the South Coast so I followed the road to Island Bay and paused to catch these two fishing boats tugging at their moorings.

Cricket at Adelaide Rd

From there, I went up the Parade into Berhampore and Adelaide Road. At the top  of the hill, I stopped to watch some club cricket in action. If memory serves, the batsman swung and missed but the ball missed the wicket.

That was the day.