Eastbourne Evans Bay Forest harbour Maritime Uncategorized Weather

March 16, 2019 … a time of grief

Our time of innocence is ended. For a very long time, New Zealand has been blessed to be  largely free of hate crimes. Yesterday, Friday 15 March, a deluded white supremacist burst into a mosque during Friday prayers. In an act of supreme cowardice, he opened fire with an automatic weapon aiming at men women and children. When he and his cowardly accomplices were done, there were 49 dead and 48 seriously wounded. Our collective heart is broken. We want no part of his so-called racial purity. He awaits trial, and I hope a very long time in prison.

Dead trees in the mist above Eastbourne

I have relatively few images to offer this week, but let’s begin with this shot taken from the main street of Eastbourne on a wet and misty day. There are tracks up through the bush to the ridge, and over to Butterfly Creek. This might not have been the best day for it, but I always like misty conditions.

Tapuhi bustling to keep an appointment

A day or so later, we got one of those “blue-on-blue” days, and I got lucky as one of Centreport’s bright red tugs scooted across the horizon on its way to assist a tanker about to leave the oil terminal. The red against the blue is quite striking I think

Shelly Bay
Shelly Bay fading into obscurity

A grey day later, I was at Shelly Bay, a one-time flying boat base of the RNZAF. The city has dithered over the future of the base for as long as I can remember, and all the while, the old jetties are slowly collapsing.

A mighty Liebherr 1400 crane makes easy work of a concrete beam placement

Out at Pauatahanui, the works associated with the Transmission Gully motorway are becoming increasingly visible. This crane has a 400 Tonne lift capacity and is seen here placing bridge beams in place. The moody sky adds to the image.

Lowry Bay
Across the harbour from the Eastern bays

One of the on-line photographic tutorials that I watched this week referred to magic light. It classified this as when the light picks out the subject of your image and leaves everything else in the shade. This view of downtown Wellington as seen from Lowry Bay comes close to that light.

Golden Princess
Golden Princess … available by the kilometre

The cruise season is almost at an end with perhaps  just a few weeks more to run until next spring. Today, we had Golden Princess in port. Though I yearn for the grace of ships from an earlier era, I was impressed by the sheer grandeur of this vessel.

That’s all from me this week as I join my country in mourning the disgusting act of violence.


Children Eastbourne Festivals and fairs flowers Photographic commissions

December 7, 2015 … the reason for the season

My friend Phil normally does most of the socially necessary photographs for the community at Eastbourne.

Six images are sandwiched to give a suitably focused composite image

Unless, of course, he is taking an active part in the event to be photographed, in which case he often calls on me to stand in for him. Yesterday was Eastbourne’s annual carol service organized jointly by three churches in the area, and held at the Muritai School Hall. As usual, I arrived early, so wandered around outside practicing macro photography in the flower beds outside. I have no idea what kind of flower this is, but I used multiple exposures and focus stacking. It wasn’t until later, I spotted the tiny spider in between the stalks of the flowers on the top left and another small insect (aphid?) in the top right corner.

In need of care and attention

I must moderate this extreme punctuality business. I wandered around into the Eastbourne shops and was pleased to see this unrestored old Ford truck. I hope that it gets the treatment one day.

The community carol service at Eastbourne

In due course, the service started, and there were lots and lots of families with young children and several children’s choirs, as well as the Hutt City Brass Band. I was amused that several of the youngsters in one of the school choirs held their hands over their ears when the band played. Brass in an enclosed space can be too much for some. This is the first time I have attempted a multi-image panorama on a crowd scene, and it seems to have worked well enough.

The children of San Antonio’s School, Eastbourne open wide to sing

During one of the children’s performances the siren went off next door to summon the local volunteer fire brigade. A few members galloped off to the station, but to their enormous credit, the choir kept singing and were not drowned out.  Traditional carols were sung with feeling and a few new ones were learned. It was all topped off by the arrival of Santa

That’s it for today.

adversity Camera club Eastbourne flowers

November 19, 2015 … flowers and seeds

Today, we flew to Queenstown.

Wind-blown poppy

This put an additional squeeze on photography time yesterday, so my options are limited.  I had to visit a fellow committee member in Eastbourne, so I saw some bright poppies near his house. They were being beaten about by the wind but I liked the bright colour and the hairy stems.

Arum lilies on a river bank

Next, I paused in Sladden park and liked the lilies and their reflection in the river which was sheltered from the wind above.

Seed heads

At home,I saw that more of those shimmering grasses had developed seed pods so I tried for an open air shot in the wind.

And in the immortal words of Mr Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.


Birds Eastbourne Lower Hutt night Weather

November 6, 2015 … hidden treasure

A fellow photographer alerted m to the presence of some dotterels at Eastbourne.

Decaying driftwood

It was a beautiful day, so that’s where I went. For quite a while I saw nothing. I sat as still as possible and looked around, and to fill in time photographed some decomposing driftwood. I am sure there must be a correct technical description for this process of decomposing in what looks like a crystalline structure.

Banded dotterel

And then I heard it. Though I had hoped to see the new season’s chicks, the beautiful little banded dotterel was a joy to behold.

This one bobbed up and down to ensure I was following it rather than going near the chicks.

It was clearly aware of me and judging by its little dance it was trying to divert my attention from the nest which is usually nothing more than a shallow scrape in the shingle. Since I did not wish to cause any distress I left it at that, but may try again this weekend.

If you click to enlarge, and look closely you should see lots of domestic fireworks

New Zealand as a former British colony still celebrates Guy Fawkes Day (Nov 5), commemorating the failed plot in 1605 to blow up the British Houses of Parliament and to assassinate King James I. This is traditionally observed with bonfires and fireworks. In New Zealand, at least, legislation has become increasing restrictive as to the power and type of fireworks able to be bought and set off by ordinary members of the public. Across the valley, there were lots of eruptions of skyrockets and cascading sparks, but they were scattered far and wide. In my effort to capture the scene, I mounted the camera on a tripod, made six exposures each of about 40 seconds and then blended them together in Photoshop. The result should show the various explosions over a four or five-minute period. Of course the low powered rockets are nothing like the explosions of a public display.

That’s enough for today.

adversity Eastbourne Hutt River Maritime Matiu/Somes Island Seaview Trees Weather

September 21, 2015 … no end in sight

Endless dreary grey as far as the ten-day forecast will stretch.

Looking South from Petone beach across Matiu/Somes Island to the harbour mouth and the incoming weather

At Petone beach, there is a certain sense of adventure as you look down the harbour mouth and see the heavy weather coming towards you. Nobody was walking on the beach which, as usual after prolonged rain, was littered with driftwood from somewhere up the river.

Torea discharging fuel at Seaview

Around to the Eastern side of the harbour, the coastal tanker Torea added a touch of red relief to the greyness. I imagine that unloading was happening with minimum human intervention. Certainly there was no one visible on her deck.

What strange fruit grows in a forest like this?

In the marina at Seaview, the forest of masts brought strange ideas to mind as to the kind of crop that might be grown in such a forest.

Mostly grey with a patch of yellow springtime

In Eastbourne, I lifted my gaze to the hills and enjoyed the contrast between the kowhai tree nearby and the misty ridges behind.

Enough for now.

Children Eastbourne Family Food

December 31, 2014 … the first three years

It’s New Year’s Eve here, and this marks the end of the first three years.

Maggie May (aged 10) with her new haircut.


I have been committed to taking at least one photograph every day for four years now, and have been blogging along with it for three years. I like to think that, slowly, oh so slowly, the discipline is helping me to see more clearly, and to make better images of what I see. My first picture from yesterday was of my lovely granddaughter Maggie who had her tenth birthday a few days ago. She wanted a particular hairstyle for the new year, so her mother took her to get it done. Personally I have more conservative preferences, but the joy of having it her way just lights up her face.

Perfectly done barbecued lamb


My friend and fellow photographer Evan had a birthday yesterday and kindly invited me to join in the celebratory barbecue at his home in Eastbourne. Vegetarians avert your eyes, but the marinated barbecued lamb was amazing!

“Where’s mine?”


The family cat didn’t get any of the lamb and protested about it.

A magnificent pavlova made by Dawn.


The rest of us were enjoying everything on offer and making silent promises to our bathroom scales that we really will start the new regime on Friday. Evan’s wife Dawn produced a magnificent pavlova which ticked all the boxes in this nation of pavlova critics. Brilliant! And in case there is any lingering doubt about whose national dessert it is, here is the last word.

kite surfer
Airborne kite surfer


On the way home in the late afternoon, I saw this fellow kite-surfing off Eastbourne beach. The wind was quite strong so he was getting some serious air time with what seemed like ten or fifteen second flights.

That’s it, I refuse to write another word until next year. Have a good one.


Eastbourne harbour Hutt River Kelson Maritime Wellington

November 15, 2014 … looking down from the heights

Random side tracks sometimes pay off.

The wide view from Kelson to the South


Yesterday, as I was looking for pictures, I chose to drive to the upper reaches of Kelson. It is the most Northerly of the suburbs on the Western hills of the Lower Hutt, and by far the highest. Needless to say, it affords some spectacular views.

Eastern Hutt
Looking over the Eastern suburbs of Lower Hutt from Kelson


Looking a little to the East we see the same tank farms we saw just two days earlier, though from a different angle> Eastbourne is around the coast behind the ridge on the left. and the bridge over the Hutt River estuary at Petone is on the right.

Kaitaki running late


Looking straight down the harbour mouth we can see the ferry Kaitaki  coming in. It normally leaves Picton at 1:15 pm , but at this stage it still has at least half an hour to berthing and is about 50 minutes behind schedule.

See you tomorrow, perhaps.

Eastbourne harbour Light Maritime Miramar Newlands Petone Sunset Weather Wellington

October 9, 2014 … at the end of the day

It’s no secret that I am strongly attracted to all things related to the sea.

Stena Polaris
She keeps finding her way into my camera … the Stena Polaris at Miramar

I could never live far from the sea, and when the weather is fine, or indeed when it is rough I like to see what is happening around the harbour and coast line. I was wandering about yesterday, and found myself coming along the ridge towards Mt Victoria. Down below me was a sight that was by now quite familiar. Yes, the Stena Polaris popped up again, this time at the Miramar oil wharf where I presume she would be offloading avgas for the tanks that supply the airport. That’s the last time, I promise.

A hazy panorama from Petone Beach

In the evening, I had a committee meeting to attend in Eastbourne. Since Daylight Saving Time is with us, I reached the Esplanade at Petone as the sun was creating some interesting “magic hour” effects. The hills above the glittering water are the suburb of Newlands and somewhere in the haze straight ahead is Wellington city. Then the sky went grey so I headed on around the bays to Eastbourne.

A spectacular sky over Miramar

As I arrived at my destination the sky flared again and I spent a few moments snatching a sequence of shots that I could stitch as a panorama. This view is from the shingly beach at Eastbourne looking across the harbour mouth to the Miramar Peninsula. I love being near the sea.

That’s all for now.

adversity Eastbourne harbour Light Maritime Petone Weather

August 2, 2014 … grey and damp

Bad weather continues and I didn’t get excited.

On the beach near Burdan’s Gate

Along the Eastern Bays I went looking for something that was worth making a picture of, and didn’t really find it. A patch of sunlight and some more crepuscular rays between Ward Island and the city were about as exciting as it got.

Solitary Man

Coming back towards Eastbourne from Burdan’s Gate, I saw this man walking along the beach. He was kicking occasionally at the sand but provided the classic opportunity for a solitary person on a beach.

Oil tanker
Atlantic Innovator

At York  Bay there was a view towards Petone that included  the Panamanian registered tanker, Atlantic Innovator discharging fuel at Point Howard. Our home is in the mist above and slightly to the right of the vessel. That hose crane is pointing in the right direction.

That’s all I found.

Eastbourne Family Food harbour Landscapes Light Models

April 6, 2014 … I don’t remember growing older, when did they?*

Still running a day behind in posting.

Model Messerschmitt
David’s model of a Messerschmitt Bf 109k4

This blog relates to Saturday 5th of April. In the morning I went with our eldest son, David to a model show in Upper Hutt. David is an avid, and in my admittedly biased opinion,  expert model maker. He discovered that he would be in Wellington at the same time as the local exhibition, so naturally enough, he brought a model over from Brisbane to enter into the competition. His Messerschmitt Bf109K4  is shown here, sitting on the table at the exhibition. If it looks scruffy, it is because part of the modeller’s art is to make the model look like the real thing as it appeared in the field,  complete with chips, scratches, oil leaks, exhaust stains,  wear and tear and general weathering. He got a third place for this.

IPMS competition
General display of the exhibition hall at Upper Hutt … modellers are still delivering their models to the competition

This was a reasonably large exhibition as these things go and as I understand it was well patronised and well-organized.

IMG_8120Day's Bay
Warm bright afternoon at Day’s bay

In the evening, as an ongoing part of the celebrations sneakily organized by Mary, the whole family and some close friends gathered for dinner at Eastbourne. The day had been nearly perfect, and the evening was pleasantly warm and bright, and was the last day before we put our clocks back an hour to NZ Standard time. People were out and about enjoying themselves.

Mary and I with our children
Our kids. We have been mightily blessed and are proud of each and every one of them. L to R, Anthony (Ants), Catherine, Mary, me, Helen, David and Andrew (Drew) (Photo by Phil Benge)

It seems there is no limit to my wife’s sneakiness, because she had even arranged a photographer to come and do some family photographs before dinner. For the second time in the history of the blog, I include some pictures taken by others. Mary and I are seen here with our five children.

Here are the people I love most in the whole world. It was a great joy to me that they all honoured me by coming home for my birthday (photo by Phil Benge)

My friend and fellow camera club member, Phil, did a good job organizing and marshalling the whole tribe, and after each formal set, said “now talk to each other”. Here you see all eighteen of us together. It seems just a few days ago that the youngest grandchild, Grace was a baby … look at her now … and those other lovely children who are a total delight to me. No wonder I am reminded of Tevye’s song “… when did she get to be a beauty? When did he get to be so tall?”*

Cobar interior
What an excellent setting for a celebration – the Cobar restaurant, Days Bay. The front doors are open and some customers are out at the tables on their deck.

The chosen venue, the Cobar Restaurant has long been a favourite of mine and I heartily commend it to anyone who can get to that side of the harbour. The food is great, they have some very nice wines and a lovely situation on the seashore.

Birthday Candles
The culmination of the celebration , and the secret number uncovered (Photo by Mary

It was a very happy occasion and concluded as birthday celebrations often do with a cake, and the candles should dispel any remaining mystery.

That’s enough for now.

*from “Sunrise, sunset” lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, from “Fiddler on the Roof”