Adventure Airport Animals Architecture Cook Strait Evans Bay Landscapes Lower Hutt Reflections Seaview Weather Wellington

May 16, 2018 … for the simple pleasure of it

The more I think about the recent photographic convention, the more I am persuaded that my favourite keynote speaker was exactly right. I should be attempting to create images that convey how the opportunity to make that picture made me feel. Most of the time, that should mean that the viewer should sense the simple pleasure I get in making the image.

Stairs and shadows at Seaview

Sometimes I get a guilty sense that I am borrowing from those who have gone before. There can be few photographers who have not at least contemplated the old shadow of the stairs on the oil tank. OK, I have got that one off my chest now.

Jervois Quay
Golden moment in the traffic

Opportunities often present themselves at inconvenient moments. This one occurred while I was paused at a traffic light on Jervois Quay and the reflection of a nicely lit building just stood out. My camera was on the seat beside me, so it was grab, shoot, and whoops, the light is green again.

Evans Bay
Evans Bay in a moment of stillness

Recently, we have been blessed with some days of flat calm, the kind that has me leaping into the car to seek opportunities wherever they may be. This one offered itself in mid afternoon, and thee red-hulled yacht just screamed for attention. The fluorescent green car-rental building in the background provided some kind of counter-point.  But for me the pleasure was in the smooth surface of the harbour.

Panorama from the Kaukau lookout


Calm days persisted for a while, and I knew of a place in Broadmeadows up behind Johnsonville from where there were some nice views to be had. I went up the steep walkway, and made a few shots. As usual, I looked behind me and saw the transmission tower on Mt Kaukau looking very close. OK, up to the next  crest and see what can be seen from there. Incrementally, one step at a time, I found myself at the summit of Kaukau looking down on our lovely city. It may have been calm at sea level, but was less so at the lookout. In case you think my photography has distorted that seat in the lower right, not so.  The seat is in a state of collapse, as was I after so much unaccustomed exercise.

Across the cold blue water of the Cook Strait

From the same viewpoint, I looked to the West and there through the blue haze across the Cook Strait were the Brothers Islands with Cape Jackson just out of frame to the right. I love those receding planes.

Upper Hutt
Swirling mists in Upper Hutt

The weather changed, but still the wind stayed away. Things went dark and grey and the hills were wreathed with cloud. I wandered around the upper and lower parts of the valley and caught this shot near Upper Hutt.

Matiu/Somes Island

I have a weakness for contrasty shots in shades of grey, though not black and white. From Petone Beach looking Southward, Matiu/Somes Island made its presence felt against the still grey water of the harbour.

Just having fun

My final image in this edition is also on Petone Beach. Some people who seem to be professional dog-walkers turned up and let their charges loose. The sheer joy of these dogs was a delight. See you next time.

Bees Birds flowers harbour Maritime Oriental Bay Seaview Weather Wellington

January 12, 2017 … “watching the tide roll away”*

I don’t think I could willingly move to an inland city. The sea will always be part of the world in which I live.

Ovation of the Seas returns to Wellington from Lyttelton

And so here I am again, at Eastbourne this time, watching the Ovation of the Seas enter Wellington Harbour. Have you noticed the phenomenon that makes a very large object appear to move more slowly than a smaller one at the same speed? Stand near a runway and watch a B747 or an A380 on approach and they seem to hang in the air. A B737 or an A320 by comparison zips in to land vary quickly. It’s an illusion. Likewise with the Ovation of the seas. Perhaps my eyes are reluctant to believe that anything that big can move at all.

I’ve done it before but I am delighted to see honey bees in significant numbers

While I was waiting for her to move into a different spot, I was aware of some buzzing behind me. It’s peak pohutukawa season or just past it, and there were hundreds of feral honey bees. For the longest time, I thought they had been eradicated by colony collapse disorder. I hope it isn’t too soon to hope that they are making a comeback. I have seen them in ones and twos , but apart from close to farmed hives, this was the first time I have seen them in the hundreds for many years.

Oriental Bay
Close to the water in Oriental Bay

Of course, much of the time, there is nothing at all moving at the harbour entrance other than the relentless swells from the deep ocean beyond. When that happens, I seek solace in the harbour and the marinas This image is inside the breakwater near the iconic boatsheds below St Gerard’s Monastery in Oriental Bay. I mounted the camera on the bottom of my tripod’s central pillar and placed it within centimetres of the water’s surface for a very low angle. A neutral density filter stilled the water even further though I had to limit the exposure to avoid the boats moving during the shot.

Seaview 1
Stillness at Seaview

Later in the week, another still day, this time at Seaview. The water was still and the sail must have been hoisted to air it, because it didn’t move at all. Low angles are harder here, because that rocky foreshore is very tough on my aging ankles and I am sure that passers-by snigger at my cautious clamber down the seawall to the “beach”, using the tripod as a prop to maintain my balance.

Work boats
Work boats at Seaview

Elsewhere in the marina, at the Southern end where the work boats gathered, I liked the somewhat scruffy looking vessel nearest the camera. I am guessing it to be a work boat though it carries non of the registration numbers a fishing boat wold normally display. Nevertheless, it has character.


Recently I have resumed walking for health (long overdue, some say) so a favoured course is the Petone Esplanade. The return walk from the car park at the Western end to the Port Rd intersection is 7.2 km and I am encouraged by my nearest and dearest to leave the camera behind. Sometimes I carry it anyway, just because I want to. Walking past Petone Wharf which has been firmly closed since the earthquake of November 14, I saw the extent of the problem. It seems that the footings for two of the piles have been seriously undermined. That’s quite a kink.






* Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

Birds flowers Landscapes Light Maritime Paremata Seaview Sunset Weather

November 2, 2016 … stillness on the face of the waters

Much of the time, there is the whining of the wind rising and falling, and making life uncomfortable. Sometimes, though, the whining you hear is me, complaining about there being too much wind. For a couple of days in the week just past, there was a startling silence. Into the car, then, and off to find some still water.

Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) in the flax

At Mana Marina, in Paremata, though the wind had dropped, the water was not yet still so I watched the tui flitting from flower to flower on the flax bushes now in the early stages of flowering. The tui is a nectar feeder with a long tongue that extends far beyond is beak into the depths of the flower.  From a distance it is easy to mistake them for blackbirds, unless you see the white ruff at the throat, but up close, they wear a magnificent coloured plumage. In this season, they are so fixated on the nectar that you can often get very close.

Purple ragwort (Senecio glastifolius) at the roadside in Ivey Bay

A day or so later, I went to Mana Marina again, pausing in Ivey Bay to take a few shots of boats at their moorings. As I was returning to the car, my attention was caught by the prolific purple ragwort. This South African invader is absolutely everywhere along the roadsides, and especially on hillsides. Despite its status as a pest, the flowers en masse put on a wonderful seasonal display.

Mana marina with no wind

At the marina, conditions were near perfect, and despite popular belief, most photographers hope for a few clouds to relive the monotony of an empty blue sky.

A lovely warm evening at Seaview Marina

Maintaining the marina theme, I went to Seaview on Monday night. Odd to name a suburb “Seaview” in a city with so few places that don’t have a sea view.

Sunset reflection at Seaview

I lingered as the sun disappeared and despite having to tidy up a few flares caused by dust on the filter glass, was happy with the result. Perhaps I should stop whining, even though the wind is back.

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.

adversity flowers Maritime Railway Seaview Trees Weather Wellington

December 2, 2015 … my roof’s got a hole in it and I might drown*

Despite my hopes to the contrary, the rain did indeed come down.

Cabbage tree
Cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) makes a nice showing

Steady grey drizzle, all day. From my front door, there is normally a view towards Point Howard, but today the greyness obscured everything beyond the neighbour’s cabbage tree. I think almost every cabbage tree in the country is in magnificent bloom at present.

Wellington Railway Station ceiling

In the city I was inside the central railway station, and looked up in the entry hall. With a wide-angle lens, and the camera lying on its back in a conveniently marked central spot on the floor, I tried to capture the splendour of the ceiling detail. This required standing guard over the camera while crouching low to stay out of its field of view. This had the added advantage that the passing commuters were so worried by the odd behaviour that they stayed well clear of me and the camera.

The office party on the harbour … in the rain

In the afternoon, I had to deliver granddaughter Maggie to her cheer-leading practice, so had a look around Seaview for additional opportunities. The fishing boat “Daniel” was idling offshore and I suspect that a Christmas charter may not have been lucky in their scheduling of the office party.

Damp moorings

In the marina, the greyness persisted, though the wind was at least calm.

Wet grass

At home, I noticed some of the grasses that I had photographed a week or so ago was drooping even further under the burden of the rain. If you look closely in the dark areas, you can see the rain falling.

That’s all for now.

* “Don’t let the rain come down” by Ersel Hickey and Ed E. Miller

adversity flowers Industrial Light Machinery Maritime night Seaview

October 14, 2015 … at the last minute

Oh good grief, I forgot!

Chatham Island Forget-me-not with the aid of a little focus stacking

It’s been a while since I forgot to post, so here is the belated edition of WYSIWYGPurple for October 14. On Tuesday I was preoccupied with resolving software upgrades and conflicts, mainly around the new Apple OS.X El Capitan operating system, and the ways in which it interacts with the almost simultaneous release of a disastrous and controversial upgrade to Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop products. Then it was club night. I did take photographs on Tuesday, but simply forgot to write the blog on Wednesday. I began in fairly desperate mode, resorting to close-up shots of plants in our garden, beginning with the Chatham Island Forget-Me-Not. How ironic is that?

Though it has no legal status as such, the kowhai is widely acknowledged as New Zealand’s official flower

Our miniature Kowhai is at the end of its season just as the full-sized kowhai trees around the valley are coming to their flowering peak.  One or two flowers still linger on.

Dangly bits in a lighting shop window

After camera club, I was conscious of how little I had done earlier in the day. A display in the window of a lighting shop offered a possibility.  There were a number of chandeliers with various cut glass ornaments, so I tried several options.

Marina at night

As I was doing the shots through the window of the lighting shop, I became aware of the general stillness, so as I have done on several other occasions after camera club, went down to the Seaview Marina. Idiot! I didn’t have my tripod with me. Oh well, let’s see how the Olympus’s image stabilization helps. This image really pushes the bounds of what is possible in hand-held shots. This is exposed with the aid of my car’s headlights, but the exposure is 0.4 seconds at f7.1 and ISO 3200. The capability of that little processor to hold the image sensor perfectly still even as my hands wobble the camera all over the place is little short of miraculous.

The fleet of tanker trucks work day and night to keep our service stations supplied with petrol

From there I began the journey home, but stopped at the Oil terminal to observe one of the fleet of petrol tankers filling up ready for its round of service stations in the region.  Where would we be without them.

That’s all until Thursday’s edition which should follow very close behind this one.

adversity harbour Landscapes Maritime Seaview Weather Wellington

October 7, 2015 … difficult choices

Despite being joyously retired, I seem to be very busy.

Pt Howard
Across the harbour from Pt Howard

The hours in the day slip though my fingers and I scramble to grab some shots. A few days of strong wind and salt-laden vistas are making my photographic life difficult. I wandered around Seaview and Point Howard  yesterday and as my pictures show there was a lot of haze.

Seaview Marina in a shimmering sea

Bright sun towards the late afternoon caused a glittering seascape, but had little impact on the salt haze.

Chemical/Oil tanker STI Olivia discharging

Down at the oil terminal a tanker called STI Olivia was discharging petrol from Marsden Point, and the Miramar Peninsula was almost invisible.

The Eastern Bays

Along the Eastern bays from Lowry Bay to Eastbourne, there was a little more clarity.

And tomorrow my not be much better

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.

adversity Art Maritime Seaview Weather Wellington

August 20, 2015 … a day of mourning

Very early in the morning, my friend died.

Heavy rain removes the background from the oft-photographed fountain

He was Gary Eugene Gorman. He was a professor of Information Management at Victoria University, and a tireless editor of academic journals in his field. He was something of an expert on qualitative research methods and authored several books on that topic. He and I co-supervised a few doctoral students together, but after our retirement we would often get together with our good friend Dan, have a whisky (always a single malt) and then go out for dinner together to laugh, joke, reminisce and enjoy each other’s company. I shall miss him.  The day was perfect for the mood.

Container ship through the murk

Rain was quite dense though unusually, for Wellington, it was falling vertically.  From Oriental Bay it was almost impossible to see the big freighter a few hundred metres away.

A corrugated reflection in the Waiwhetu Stream

In the afternoon, the rain stopped and the stillness was reflected in the recently channelled Waiwhetu stream at Seaview.

Barney the purple bus

Looking back upstream, the traffic heading to Eastbourne or Wainuiomata was heavy as it crossed the bridge, but the big purple bus gave me a big splash of colour.

That’s the day.