Adventure Animals Architecture Birds Landscapes Light Lower Hutt Maungaraki Naenae Reflections sunrise Weather Wellington

August 9, 2017 … a thing of shreds and patches*

There is little or no coherence to the images I have been catching recently, except that in each case, I have been trying to see. I want to look behind the obvious.

The as yet un-named building at 20 Customhouse Quay

My first image this time was taken on Customhouse Quay where a new building is nearing completion. It stands where the BP Tower once stood until it was deemed incapable of economical repair after recent earthquakes.  The new building is a steel structure with glass curtain cladding. It presents a bold face to the world though I had to work hard to get a full frontal image of it. I shall try again once it is complete.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Ohariu Valley.

In the depths of the Ohariu Valley, there is a one of those delightful little colonial churches built in Wellington’s earliest days. The Holy Trinity Anglican church was built in 1870 and is the oldest Anglican church still in active use in the region.

A new day begins in the Hutt Valley

I have often said that I am not a morning person, but there have been some interesting mornings recently. Perhaps it is the quality of the light sneaking through the curtains that wakes me. On one day last week, I opened the curtains and then literally ran for my camera, knowing that this would be a fleeting opportunity. Crepuscular rays are always interesting to me, but on this occasion they were aligned perfectly with the angles of the hills across the valley at Naenae. Within minutes of the shot, the light was gone.

Fog (1)
Morning fog fills the valley as seen from my bedroom window

A day or so later, another strange morning  occurred. A fairly heavy mist was filling the Hutt Valley and drifting out into the harbour, while Wellington City was in clear bright sunshine.

Fog (2)
Valley fog drifting towards the harbour mouth

I got in my car and went around the hills to Anthony and Sarah’s house in Maungaraki. They have a stunning view across the harbour to the city. However, the mist was already thinning as the sun rose higher in the sky.

A banded dotterel in the shingle at Wainuiomata beach

It had been a little while since I last went to the coast at Wainuiomata and I knew that it was coming up to the time when dotterels nest. At first sight there was nothing there, but the thing with dotterels is that you don’t tend to see them until they move. I sat and waited and after a while they began to move about. As tiny as they are, they need to come close to allow a good shot, so I lay face down on the shingle and waited, and in due course, was rewarded.

Harbingers of Spring

On the way back from the coast, I saw some early spring lambs walking on wobbly legs in the late afternoon sun. Truly a gilt-edged investment for the farmer.

“Architextural” photography

On Monday I spent some time in the city again, looking as always to see things differently. From the parking deck of Pastoral House where I used to work, I looked across Lambton Quay and saw reflected in the tower block opposite, the two adjacent buildings. I was thinking of coining a new word to describe this  -“architextural”photography.

Definitely Spring

Finally in this edition, to reinforce the notion that Spring is imminent, I set up to photograph what I hope to be the first of many daffodils. Time now for me to seek “a dreamy lullaby”*

* A Wand’ring Minstrel by W.S Gilbert

harbour Landscapes Maungaraki Normandale Weather Wellington

January 8, 2016 … close to home

Curse you, Facebook!

From the lower part of Normandale Rd looking up to the lookout tower on Poto Rd. As you can see the magnificent spell of blue skies has come to an end.

You sent me a picture from four years ago, in which I was very much slimmer than I am now. Perhaps 18 kg slimmer. And so it was, that I walked the Petone waterfront on Wednesday, and up around the block here in Normandale yesterday. Snacking is also off the list (mostly). Anyway, I took my camera with me, though Mary always believes that the presence of the camera destroys the aerobic value of any enterprise.  As I trudged up Normandale Road, I got a glimpse of a new lookout tower erected by the council as a pay-off for the disposal of public reserve to private housing development.  As you can see, they have scraped the once bush-clad hill back to bare clay.

Wildflowers, or perhaps domesticated flowers scattered randomly

My walking has some rewards, since it allowed me to see some wildflowers by the side of the road.

Matiu/Somes Island from Normandale

I kept trudging and eventually arrived gasping, but virtuous at the top of the tower, from where there are great views to the South and across the harbour to its entrance.  Matiu/Somes Island seemed closer than it really is, and I enjoyed looking at tracks and buildings that I visited last year.

Water tank
Maungaraki Reservoir keeping the pressure on

Around to the right, the water reservoir at the top of Maungaraki was a dominant feature of the view.

It is not my intention to publish quite this frequently, but it’s taking me a while to adjust to my new-found freedom. New posts will appear at random intervals whenever I feel I have something to say. If I have nothing to say, then nothing will be said.


adversity harbour Landscapes Light Maungaraki night Wellington

November 8, 2015 … the rockets’ red glare

Yesterday got away from me.

Mt Vic
Looking towards Mt Victoria from the top of Maungaraki

Before I knew it the day was over and Mary and I were due to dine at a friend’s house. In desperation I took a slightly long way there, stopping at the top of Maungaraki, just below the water tower for a long shot across the harbour to the city. Perhaps the distant clouds would bring something to the image.

Red Sky
Blazing sky to the South and West

We were enjoying re-dinner drinks when someone drew attention to the splendid red sky and retrieved my camera to grab this shot.

Long view
The fireworks were some 12 km away so I was pleased to catch them

After dinner, the city’s official Guy Fawkes fireworks display began, and the dining room offered a splendid view. Again, with permission, I attempted to catch the spectacle.

The fireworks were launched from a barge moored off Frank Kitts Park

For a bout ten minutes the crash and boom of exploding shells followed after the flash and star-bursts. All very nice. It is my understanding that the phrase “rocket’s red glare” in the words of the Star  Spangled Banner, refer to the defense of Fort McHenry. I have had the privilege of visiting Fort McHenry, though I was unaware of its significance at the time.

That’s all for now.

Botanic gardens flowers Light Maungaraki Moon

September 29, 2015 … moonset and tulips

When I think of moon photographs, I usually think of moonrise.

Moonset over Maungaraki

Yesterday morning while it was still dark, I emerged from my bedroom and saw the “super moon” approaching the Western horizon. Of course the camera was nearby and ready for action. There was cloud, and in the other direction the sky was getting lighter as dawn approached. I don’t bother with shots of moon against a dark sky as there is nothing to distinguish a good moon shot from a million other identical moon shots by other people.  Up on the skyline, lights were starting to appear  as the day began.

Tulips (1)
Tulips at home

My brother-in-law has been with us for a few days and he bought his sister a nice bunch of tulips down at the market on Saturday. Mary suggested I have a look at them before they past their best.

Tulips (2)
Tulips in the botanic gardens

There is a difference between florists’ tulips and those on display in the garden. Or perhaps it’s just the better light outside. These were taken in the Botanic Gardens where we took the grandchildren yesterday.

Poppies and pensioners

Spring festival in the botanic gardens was in full swing and there were many vans from retirement villages creeping through the paths normally the exclusive preserve of pedestrians. Some of the occupants enjoyed getting out for a talk with the gardeners. We took the youngsters up the hill to the playground, had a picnic lunch and came home.

That’s all for now.

Birds Landscapes Light Maungaraki Pauatahanui Sunset

July 1, 2015 … rosy sunset

I am still in dogged pursuit of those kingfishers.

The slow and graceful wing beat of the Royal Spoonbill is always a pleasure to watch

I even got one yesterday, but still too far away for a serious image. The Royal Spoonbill, on the other hand flew quite close. The wind-ruffled surface on the inlet spoiled the shot though.

From Horokiwi, a view up to Mt Kaukau with a view over Johnsonville and Broadmeadows

To the heights of Horokiwi next, where there are some rarely seen views of the city and Northern suburbs. It seems the good citizens of Horokiwi don’t really welcome visitors. There is a sign on the roadside just above the quarry that says rather ostentatiously that “your presence has been noted” with a picture of a CCTV camera to make the point.

Red sky over Wellington as seen from Maungaraki

I had a commissioned task in the evening, and there was a nice sunset on the way home. Of course between the dithering over whether to stop, the driving to the preferred vantage point and the set up, the values all degrade significantly.


From the foot of the water tower at the top of Maungaraki, I liked the silhouetted treeline up in the Belmont Regional Park.

That’s all today.

Animals Birds flowers Maungaraki

November 25, 2014 … the mysterious swamp sheep

There were parts of Pauatahanui that I had yet to explore.

Wildflowers in the swamp


On Monday I decided to explore the parts of the reserve to the North of Grays Rd.  At first I found little of interest, though I liked the splash of colour in the patches of wildflowers along the path. I have no idea what they are, but I got down really low for the shot and got grass stains on my trousers as a result.

Sheep lurking in the swamp


As I followed the winding path through the rushes that typify this salty wetland, I became aware of some sheep grazing in the boggy areas on either side. I must say I was surprised, as I recall from my year 8 geography lessons in school that sheep don’t do well if the ground is wet, and that foot rot is a likely consequence.



After reaching the Northern boundary fence I came back and spotted this handsome kingfisher perched on pine trees and retrieving insects from the grass below.

Panorama … looking South from Maungaraki


I had not long been home when Mary came in from work, keen to show me a hill and lookout she had visited over the weekend. I’m glad she did. From the little knob called Puketirotiro on the Western side of Maungaraki Road there was a view I had not previously seen. This is a nine-shot panorama stitch which you might need to click on to see the detail.

That’s enough for the day.

Children Family harbour Maungaraki Moon night Weather Wellington

April 5, 2014 … the celebrations begin

I did mention the possibility of chaos, so this post is a day late.

Sunrise from the front door
Sunrise … an unfulfilled warning

To my great delight, all of our kids came to Wellington for my 70th birthday (which doesn’t actually happen until Monday). My lovely wife’s hitherto unsuspected talent for concealment of devious plots is alarming. However, the day started very well with a lovely sunrise.

Flowers for the old guy … Andrew in the green shirt keeps the food cooing to perfection on the barbecue

After various activities during the day,  there we all were, with our five kids and their respective spouses and the six grandchildren. Friday was as near a perfect day as you could hope for at this time of year, and in the evening, there was a barbecue on the deck at Anthony and Sarah’s house in Maungaraki. It was just great and the youngest members of the family popped out with a lovely bouquet. Middle son, Andrew, who with his wife Abbey, owns a Mexican restaurant in Queenstown was the unchallenged master and commander of the barbecue.

party time soon
Helen (L) and Grace (R) doing the beauty salon thing on Billie and Maggie

As the food was being prepared, the lounge mysteriously became a beauty parlour with our younger daughter Helen, and eldest granddaughter Grace doing hair and nails for Billie and Maggie. The boys were outside playing war games. Stereotyping much?

Maggie and Vasely
Maggie performs an impromptu vocal solo accompanied by Uncle Vasely

Our very talented son-in-law, Vasely astonished the youngsters with his versatility and his ability to produce music out of anything resembling a musical instrument. His own equipment is of course much more up-market as befits the lead guitarist in a very successful heavy metal group just back from a tour of several states in the USA.  On this occasion he chose much more gentle acoustic guitar music than his normal repertoire and accompanied Maggie as she sang for us.

Citrus Venus illuminated as she crosses Evans Bay

As the evening passed, good food was eaten, and we enjoyed our drinks (in moderation)  and the day began to close down just as elegantly as it had begun. Lovely golden light on the harbour illuminated this ship , the Citrus Venus, coming into port.

City lights
The city lights from Maungaraki

Night descended and the lights of the city across the harbour became more beautiful.

Crescent moon
Crescent moon

As our evening came to a close, a waxing crescent moon added the perfect end to a lovely day

More later today for yesterday, if that makes sense.