flowers Hutt River Landscapes Machinery Maritime

May 10, 2021 … easing back in

“Hi, I’m back.”
“Oh! Have you been away?”

Well yes, I have. Without over dramatising, I had a carcinoma removed from my scalp. Then the skin graft intended to cover the site didn’t do as well as expected and a second surgery was required. Now I look as if I lost a battle with the zombies. I still have a bunch of staples holding me together and a very unpleasant experience that is. However, that too shall pass in the week ahead. I can report that the biopsy was clean and I believe all is good around the operation site.

I have been a stranger to my camera f0r several weeks, and had little or no interest in my keyboard. And so eight weeks have passed. Let me dip my toes gently into the water.

Seasonal scene

That may not have been a well chosen metaphor. At the end of summer, even such a mediocre one as we had, water is not plentiful in the Wairarapa.Golden grass will turn white unless rain falls soon.

Xin Rui Hai at anchor

Wellington’s port is much less busy that it was in my early memories of it. The most numerous visitors these days seem to be the various bulk carriers that take a never-ending stream of logs to China to be processed. The log carriers seem to be the only vessels that have to wait for a berth in the port.

California Poppy

It’s received wisdom in camera club circles that no matter how beautiful the flower is, the image will not do well unless the treatment by the photographer has added something to the image beyond the flower itself. I liked the flower anyway, and shot it in front of some mottled green tissue paper. My fellow judges may not give it much credit, but I liked it.

On display

Anyone who loved the British sitcom, “Blackadder”, will remember Baldrick’s battlefield poem:

Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Boom! Boom!

Titan Cranes have their depot down in Seaview, and on this day, they had a selection of their cranes on display to demonstrate differing capabilities to visiting clients.

Doing it the hard way

As I drove along Grays Rd at Pauatahanui, I saw an artist working at his easel making a landscape down on the mud flats beside the creek. I stopped and, with his permission, made my own image of the scene.

De Molen – Foxton

A trip to the Horowhenua in search of shore birds was disappointing. On the other hand a visit to the beautiful replica of a Dutch windmill in Foxton was rewarding as it had sails set and was spinning briskly.

Nothing New Under the Sun

Whairepo Lagoon has a bridge that crosses over the entrance and like so many other places has that grid that allows those unoriginal people to lock a small padlock through the grid. Sadly the interaction between the various metals causes some regrettable corrosion.

Perhaps the last of her kind

Hikitia was launched in 1926 in Glasgow. She travelled all the way from Glasgow to Wellington and despite a few trips for maintenance, is still working to this day. Her original coal boilers were replaced by an oil fired boiler in 1963 and then replaced again by modern package boilers in 1980. She is still licensed to lift large tonnages somewhere in excess of 100 Tonnes. Wow!

See you again soon.

adversity Cars Hutt River Maritime Petone Seasons Weather Wellington

August 7, 2016 … winter starts to bite

If you live in far Northern parts of the world, you will probably sneer, but nevertheless, Wellington is capable of inflicting bone-chilling teeth-chattering winter misery. It is rarely accompanied by snow, but the Southerly wind with near horizontal rain is a mean-spirited phenomenon. However, at this time of year, everything is variable.

Towards Avalon from home. The mist is drifting slowly towards the sea,

There have been days that were still, and marked by river mist drifting like a serpent down the valley.

Hill St
State Highway 1 arrives in the city on its way to the airport

There were a few clear golden winter days. I found myself on such a morning on Hill Street in the city. I was strolling happily in the bright (but not warm) sun while the traffic on the motorway below suffered the last of the morning rush.

High tide and fair weather at the Hutt River estuary

On another such morning, I was checking for herons, as I often do, and just enjoyed the bright still conditions on the Hutt River.

Sandra II
Sandra II is a sturdy little work boat, seen here at rest in Hikoikoi

Following the 180 degree rule (always check behind you), this shot of Sandra II at her mooring gave me some pleasure.

Taranaki Street and Courtenay Place intersection in a howling Northerly

However, as I indicated at the beginning, this is winter, and the last few days have been brutal in their typical Wellington way. My last shot is on one of those notorious street corners where pedestrians need to hang tightly to the street light poles to stay in place while waiting for the cross light. When the light does at last turn green, pedestrians battle valiantly into the swirling wind and take one step back for every  two forward. But they are brave Wellingtonians and it is a fair price to pay now and then for the privilege of living in our beautiful city.

Birds Butterflies Hutt River Industrial Landscapes Machinery Reflections Seaview Weather Wellington

June 25, 2016 … an eclectic mix

Since I last wrote, I have spent a lot of time at the Hikoikoi reserve as I do whenever George (our annual resident white heron) is present. He seems to have made a derelict boat his home for the last three or four years at least.

George on a slow fly by

If you wait patiently and still on the breakwater nearby, he will show himself. Occasionally, if you are really lucky, he will launch himself and do a low slow flight around the basin, to arrive back near his launch point. In this case, I didn’t get him fully in my viewfinder until he was three-quarters of the way round his circuit.

A heavy lifter. The size is revealed by the man standing on its crawler treads.

When I stood up after my session observing George, my eye was caught by a huge crawler crane in the colours of the local Titan Cranes. I diverted past the crane on my way home an indulged my small-boy love of big machines by stopping for a few shots. This particular monster is a Liebherr LR1400/2 capable of lifts up to 400 Tonnes. It has recently been involved in lifting bridge members for the new Kapiti Coast expressway, and is being reconfigured for work at Wellington Airport.

Rainbow disappearing rapidly

My next image was a few days later from Petone foreshore after a night of heavy rain. The rainbow caused me to stop for the shot.

Chaffers marina

Later that day I had lunch with a friend in town who is also a photographer , so we walked around Chaffers Marina. I was attracted to the fresh rain-washed colours and textures of the city behind the masts and rigging of the yachts.

Tanks in alignment

Yesterday I was wandering in the Seaview area and liked the shape and textures of the tanks in the oil terminal.

A near perfect day

Coming back the other way, and a beautiful Wellington Winter day, I paused to construct a nine shot panorama stitch on the road around Pt Howard, beside the oil and chemical pipes that transfer essential cargoes from the ship at the wharf to the tank farm nearby.

Inside the breakwater at Hikoikoi

From there it was back to the estuary where George chose not to reveal himself. The trip wasn’t wasted, though as I caught some nice reflections.

Sandra II
Sandra II at her mooring

The quality of the day is revealed in this shot of recent arrival, Sandra II at her mooring inside the breakwater.

A well-travelled monarch butterfly

Then my phone rang, and it was Mary letting me know that there was a mini-swarming event among the monarch butterflies at Te Omanga Hospice. Overall it was a very rewarding day.



Birds flowers Hutt River insects Landscapes Maritime Otaki Seaview Sunset

May 8, 2016 … stillness and water

Most days since I last wrote, I have made pictures, but most pictures were fairly ordinary.

Roses all the way

A bouquet of flowers for mothers’ day arrived, and I hijacked them, using the TV screen as a background. I confess to focus-stacking to achieve sharpness front to back.

The boatsheds at Hikoikoi reserve. We seem to have acquired some visitors … two more boats than usual.

It may have become apparent over the years that I am irresistibly drawn to reflections on still water. Combine that with the warm light of a setting sun under a nearly clear sky and I am ready to go.

Golden glow

From the estuary around to the marina. I have made many images there over the years, in rain and shine, by day and at night. Conditions alter so much that I shall always regard each new day as an opportunity for a new image even if the subject is the same.

Looking back towards the Tararuas from Otaki Beach

Today (Mothers’ Day), Mary and I set out for Otaki Beach. The bird life was plentiful and varied, but mostly at a distance. That left me with the opportunity for a landscape at the estuary of the Otaki River.

Skylark waiting for its lunch to come within range

As we drove towards the beach for lunch, I spotted this little skylark perched on one of the boundary posts at the edge of the lagoon. I coasted to a stop and wound Mary’s window down, and took this shot through her window. The insect to the right was unaware of the danger it was flying towards. The skylark, on the other hand was on full alert, and as the insect came into range it was snapped up with one movement of the head, and was seen no more.

Hutt River insects Motorcycles Rivers

December 6, 2015 … a day of randomness

Sometimes it is hard work to extract a halfway decent image from opportunistic picture grabbing.

Heavy metal … waiting for the charity ride

A friend alerted me to another of those charity bike rides. You may have noticed that I rarely show pictures of people, so this didn’t excite me much. However, I thought that the combination of black leather and chrome and interesting engineering might be interesting. Sadly, I arrived there too early and just as the batteries in my camera went flat. Mirrorless cameras are notorious battery hogs, so of course I carry spares. Oh wait … I took them out   of my bag and can picture them sitting on my desk at home.

Striped longhorn beetle

At home, I was about to hang out some washing (I am semi-house-trained) when I spotted a beetle strolling about on the window of the conservatory at the back door. I believe it to be a striped longhorn beetle (Navomorpha lineata) the grubs of which burrow into live twigs.

By the river at Avalon (nothing to do with Boney M)

In the afternoon, I wandered looking for shots to grab, without much success. I was in the Avalon area of the Hutt Valley and saw the willows thrashing about on the river bank.  Perhaps a long exposure on the tripod might capture this and make the river look more interesting too. The trees are not out of focus, they are thrashing about under the lash of a stiff Northerly.

Rushing downstream

I looked downstream and tried a different angle. If you look closely, there is a man seated on the river bank enjoying the isolation.

That’s enough for now.



Hutt River Landscapes Rivers Weather Wellington

November 10, 2015 … images thick and fast

It was a thick and fast kind of day.

Morning traffic heading into the mist towards Wellington. This is from the Horokiwi Rd

There was thick fog in Wellington and fast water in the Hutt River. The fog seemed to have a severe impact on city bound traffic, and when I got to the city I saw lots of opportunities with no chance of parking anywhere near the viewpoint I wanted. Being inherently lazy, I gave up on the nice shots I saw but didn’t make. Instead, I drove back to Horokiwi, and looked back towards the city.

Looking West from Horokiwi

There was little or no fog in the Hutt Valley so I went on up the side roads and narrow lanes of Horokiwi. There was some heavy fog or cloud to the West.

Turbulent water over the rocks below the weir

In the afternoon, in reasonable sunshine I went to the weir in the Hutt River near Silverstream. The last time I was there the river was in full flood and the thick brown water was thundering over the pipe. Yesterday, the flow was still fast and turbulent over the rocks but the water was much clearer.

Until I met some engineers yesterday, I thought the upstream structure was a weir. It turns out that it is simply a sewer pipe that has become increasingly exposed as the river bed gets scoured out by successive floods. Either way, it still offers some interesting effects.

I sat on a downstream rock and, with the aid of my trusty ND filter got what I think is a nice shot upstream.

This exposure of just 1.8 seconds produces an interesting view of the flow

And then in keeping with the old dictum that, to the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail, used the ND filter again.

And that will suffice for the day.

adversity flowers Hutt River Landscapes Light Mana Island Sunset

October 11, 2015 … tough start, happy end

Mary and I did a late afternoon drive.

Purple ragwort – a real pest, but undeniably attractive when it grows in great masses at the roadside

At first there was nothing useful. The Okowai Lagoon near Porirua is disgracefully polluted, five years after work to rehabilitate them was reported to have started. I have all but given up on finding birds there. As we walked back up the hill, I snatched a shot of the purple ragwort flower which infests Wellington’s hills at this time of year. I use the word “infests” advisedly since it is an invasive pest of South African origin that displaces the native plants.

Porirua Harbour entrance near sunset

Up at the Camborne Water tower, there was a nice view towards the late afternoon sun coming down over Mana Island and Whitireia Park.

Hutt River from under the Melling Bridge

Nothing useful revealed itself as we went through Pauatahanui and I had given up hope by the time we reached Lower Hutt. However, I glimpsed a lovely reflection from the Hutt River as we traversed Block Road. A long exposure aided by a neutral density filter gave me this picture which I thin is the best of my day.

That will do for today.

Birds harbour Hutt River Landscapes Rivers Weather Whitireia Park

October 1, 2015

Wasn’t it Christmas just last week?

Skylark (Alauda arvensis) was looking for food but then realised it was being watched so the crest goes up

October already seems impossible. However, yesterday saw September go out with a burst of fine spring weather. I decided to go to Whitireia Park because it was the kind of day that could see lots of skylark activity. I did find skylarks but mostly hopping along on the ground. They are shy birds that erect their crest when they are alarmed.

Transmission tower, Whitireia

Near the entrance to the park there is a nice view to the North East across rolling parkland and the old transmission mast which is, I believe, the third highest structure in the country.

I lack the balance or the fearlessness to do this

In the afternoon, I meandered around Seaview and the Eastern Bays. This fisherman on the outer edge of the breakwater at the mouth of the Hutt River has much better balance than I.

Little Black shags

In Lowry Bay, there were a number of Little Black shags preparing to roost on the rocks. The sea was calm enough for me to get down low.

Enough for now.

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.

Hutt River Silverstream Weather

August 26, 2015 … endless drizzle and rising river

It was a good moody day for a funeral.

Home, as seen through the rain, from the valley

From the Hutt Valley, the view up the hills towards home was variable, coming and going as the rain drifted by.

Brown water, dark clouds

After the funeral service in the afternoon, I paused to look at the mud-stained Hutt River, a metre or two higher than normal.

Ready to go in the morning

In the evening, it was camera club where I was delighted to get an honours award for one of my images in the latest round of the club’s internal competition.  On the way home I diverted to Seaview and tried to capture the sense of the Oil terminal with its gleaming trucks and a fleet of tankers ready to deliver petrol to the lower part of the island.

Sun is pouring in my window so I had better go and do something new today.