adversity Bay of Plenty Miramar Seatoun Uncategorized Weather Wellington

April 29, 2015 … ooooooh this is going to be hard

A friend and I left home at 8am this morning.

Point Halswell Light at High Tide

By three pm after a couple of brief stops, we were in Tauranga 520 km away, and getting involved in the 63rd annual convention of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.  So far so good, but I am exhausted after the end of the day and ready for bead and have done nothing with yesterday’s pictures. Here they come, ready or not, beginning at the Point Halswell Light.

Little Black Shags take shelter. They have not yet seen me.

A few steps around the corner, a small flock of Little Black shags were sheltering in the overhang of a tree hanging onto the shoreline. As far as I can tell, the Little Black is the only member of the shag family that hunts as a pack.

Weather from the South
Southerly threat

Near Seatoun, there was a somewhat ominous view to the South  which did not promise much at all for today’s travel.

I’m tired. Bed time.

Adventure adversity Landscapes Lyall Bay Maritime Miramar Seatoun South Coast Wellington

March 30, 2015 … wobbling heights

Seeking high places often gives some nice results.

Hutt Valley
The Hutt Valley as seen from home. Any movement blur in this seven image panoramic stitch will be the result of my knees knocking. You can see the scaffolding on the right.

Yesterday I gritted my teeth, and climbed up the scaffolding that currently surrounds our house as it is repainted. Like most scaffolding, this is a system that all locks together and at least in theory, nothing can go wrong. Of course, nothing did go wrong but given my oft-asserted fear of heights I was pleased to get up there, grab the shots I wanted and then hasten back to the blessed relief of being at ground level. The result is a panorama of the Hutt Valley on a moist morning. I am not sure it was worth the agony, but having endured the agony, I am not going to let it go to waste.

Miramar and Seatoun

I went up the road leading to Mt Crawford on the Miramar Peninsula. A little short of the old prison, there is a knoll on which there are two water reservoirs, and a mountain biking park. There are views in all directions. My first shot from here is down into the heart of Miramar which is nestled between two ridges and further South to the heights of Seatoun.

Across Miramar to the Airport and beyond

On the Western side of the Peninsula, on the isthmus, is Wellington Airport, the suburb of Kilbirnie and beyond that Lyall Bay and then the Cook Strait and the Pacific Ocean all the way to Antarctica. I liked the cloudscape.

I go quite a long way to avoid bumps in the road. These people seek them out.

As I turned to walk back to the road I had to dodge as I was perilously close to the designated mountain bike track.

Into Harbour
FPMC 20 and Kaitaki entering Wellington Harbour. In the background is Pencarrow Head and the two abandoned lighthouses

Having survived the near miss with the bike, I got back in the car and drove along the ridge towards Seatoun. As I did so, a tanker arrived from China carrying who knows what. It had the weirdly prosaic name “FPMC 20“. As I was lining up for the shot, the interisland ferry Kaitaki burst into view and proceeded to overtake the tanker. With the foreshortening effect of the long lens, it probably looks more dramatic than it really was.

See you tomorrow.


Birds Landscapes Light Miramar mountains sunrise

March 14, 2015 … an early start and a varied end

Somehow I woke early yesterday.

Morning light on the Tararuas

At first sight, the day was drab, but a closer look to the North East revealed a lovely layered look to the various hills leading up to the South wall of the Tararuas.

Little Black Shag

In the afternoon, I was around the Miramar Peninsula and encountered a Little Black Shag. It was preening itself and I managed to creep closer than usual. I liked the small white feather perched on its nose.

Terns mark their perch

At Scorching Bay, there is a rock outcrop which is a regular haunt of the white-fronted tern when they are in that area. Yesterday there was a moderate sized flock, all weather-cocked into the wind. They certainly leave their mark.

Pied oystercatcher at Scorching Bay

As I tip-toed around the beach, I tried not to disturb the pied oystercatcher which was browsing along the water’s edge. It was wary and shuffled off into the distance.

Enough for today

Landscapes Light Maritime Matiu/Somes Island Miramar Petone Reflections

January 21, 2015 … a blue water day

Given the steady breeze, it was improbable that there would be good images.

Seaview Marina in the stillness of the morning


I tried anyway, beginning at the Seaview Marina where, to my huge surprise the water was almost glassy calm. I should add that today’s images were all made on the Fujifilm XT-1. The more I use it, the more I like it. Colours are crisp and clean, focus is sharp. It has a WiFi capability which means I can connect it to my iPad or phone and see what the lens is seeing, and refocus or adjust the exposure, and then trigger the shot without touching the camera.

Scorching Bay
Scorching Bay … I am trying to remember when the terns come back to the rocks in the middle of the picture


At lunchtime, Mary and I did one of our “you bring the food, I’ll provide the location” picnic lunches. I chose Scorching Bay on the Eastern side of the Miramar Peninsula. Children are not yet back at school, so the beach was busy. We set ourselves up on a grassy place on the South side of the beach.

Petone wharf
Sundown at Petone


In the evening, Mary had a meeting so I seized the opportunity to cash in on the golden light. At Petone wharf, as the sun neared the horizon, there were people walking, fishing, swimming and walking their dogs. A very nice evening.I was lining up on the sunlit haresfoot grass when I spotted the young man balancing on the handrail of the wharf under the approving eye of his grandparents. It’s a long drop to the wharf and an even bigger one to the beach below.

Fishing, skating, walking, diving … it’s all happening at the wharf


The wharf as a whole was buzzing with all kinds of activity.

South view
Looking South from Normandale Bridge to Matiu/Somes Island with Seatoun in the background.


From there is was back home, but one last scene appealed  as I crossed the Normandale Bridge.

What will tomorrow bring?

Architecture Food Landscapes Miramar Wellington

December 28, 2014 … bright cloth, fresh fruit and razor wire

Yesterday was a quiet day.

Filling in time waiting for the shopping to be over


In the morning Mary had some shopping and I decided to wait outside. Some shops just don’t work for me. On the other hand the bright fabrics on the stand at the door caught my eye.

Fresh picked the same day


While we were out, I learned that one of the growers from the Wairarapa had sent a truckload of fresh berries over the hill and was selling them at the roadside in Silverstream. Will the day ever come when we can evoke not only the colour, but the feel and smell of such things in a photograph?

The harbour entrance seen from Mt Crawford


After lunch I wandered in the Miramar area. There is a nice view from the top of Mt Crawford, towards the harbour entrance, so that was captured with no great distinction.

The receiving pen. The prison van would arrive here from the court and the prisoners would go through the door on the right to begin their sentence


Behind me was the dismal institution, Mt Crawford Prison. This was a low to medium security prison which is now closed, and perhaps will be demolished one day. For the present, it sits atop one of the best viewpoints in Wellington, surrounded by its shield of gloomy pines.

That’s all for now.

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 Landscapes Light Maritime Miramar Weather Wellington

July 3, 2014 … darkness is the absence of light

Yesterday’s hiding from the weather was embarrassing.

Clouds over Miramar
From a slip road just North of the Ngauranga Interchange, I got this shot of the clouds over the Miramar Peninsula. A meteorologist friend tells me those streaky clouds are indicative of falling snow.

I enjoyed fiddling with the macro approach, but thought my sons would tell me to “take a concrete pill” (harden up). I suspect my daughters would find subtler ways to let me know. Anyway, yesterday was very chilly with some hail around Wellington, and snow to low levels on the mountains. From home, I could see the front advancing from the South, so I went into the city to meet it.

Oriental Bay
The Eastern hills are hiding somewhere, and that wind from the West is moving the fountain’s spray a long way from its base.

Oriental Bay, though grey, was spectacular with the fountain playing and the heavy clouds rolling overhead.

Wellington Harbour
Northwards to the Western Hills of the Hutt Valley … the Day’s Bay ferry is on its way to the city

Much of the time, the Hutt Valley was obscured by rain and cloud, but the Western Hills around Horokiwi and Korokoro were drifting in and out of view. The ferry bound for the city from Day’s Bay was picked out by a stray shaft. It was not so much in a patch of light as an area of less darkness.

Yacht undeterred by the dark sky

Oddly, a pair of yachts chose that moment to go out for a sail. I surmise that these were rental yachts, used by corporates for team-building exercises, or some-such. The sails were far from white, but the prevailing darkness made them look quite nice.

It was cold, so that’s all.


adversity Architecture Evans Bay harbour Maritime Miramar

June 7, 2014 … running on empty

The well came close to running dry yesterday (Friday).

Architecture preserved
The Old Bank Shopping Arcade (in case there is any doubt).

In the whole day I took just three shots. This is partially lack of inspiration, and partially a lot happening on the day.  My first shot is of a much loved Wellington landmark on the corner of Lambton Quay and Willis Street. The old BNZ building is now mostly home for a cluster of rather expensive boutique shops.  I have seen it from many angles and in many modes. I just decided to get close.

Evans bay
Red and blue

Evans Bay provided these two boats and their contrasting colours on an otherwise drab afternoon.  The three stacks of colourful boxes in the background are part of a series of wind sculptures. Called “Urban Forest” and created by Leon van den Eijkel and Allan Brown, they consist of cubes that spin horizontally in the wind.

Domestic textures
Miramar housing in the old style

My last and fairly desperate shot, is of the suburban housing in Miramar. It caught my eye mainly for the textures and angles.

And that’s all.

adversity Architecture Evans Bay harbour Miramar Tararuas Waves Weather

May 29, 2014 … around the harbour

Yesterday was a photographic drought day in the midst of a meteorological downpour.

Pt Halswell
Point Halswell Light from Mahanga Bay looking across to Khandallah and Mt Kaukau

In the city for lunch with a friend, I took a detour around Miramar first. On the Eastward side of the peninsula, there was a pleasant view of the Pt Halswell light, newly painted, vandalised and repainted. Mt Kaukau is in the background and you may get the impression that it was a damp and somewhat grey day.

Hutt Valley
Dirty weather in the upper valley

Looking to the North, the receding planes of the Western hills, and the South wall of the Tararuas attracted my attention.

Pt Halswell again
Point Halswell Light from across Evans Bay

From Balaena Bay, I looked back across the harbour to Pt Halswell again, with the Eastern Hills in the background. I think 80% of Wellingtonians will tell you that they are looking at the Orongorongos. Geographically, it seems they are wrong, and that there is no such place on any official map. As far as I can see, only the Orongorongo River  bears that name.

From Mt Victoria
The new “Clyde Quay Wharf” apartments nearing completion

I went up to Roseneath and then around the Northern face of Mt Victoria, pausing near St Gerard’s Monastery to take advantage of one of the view windows down to the harbour. As you can see, the new apartment block where the Overseas passenger terminal used to be is nearly complete. It retains the roofline and the steeple as designed by former mayor and architect, Sir Michael Fowler.

That’s all for today.

Birds insects Maritime Miramar

February 28, 2014 … terns and cicada

My trip to Australia was an abject failure.

White-fronted tern
Lots of glare off the water

At least, it was a failure with respect to birds. In all other aspects, it was a delight and I had a great time. And even the failure to see the birds, except for the kookaburra and a tern, was the result of my own inertia. I just didn’t go looking.  Well it was time to fill the void yesterday so I went out to the Miramar Peninsula. For a while I thought I would be disappointed. However, at Point Gordon, a cluster of rocks between Mahanga Bay and Scorching Bay, there was a small flock of white-fronted terns.

“Make a hole”

Though there were many possible rocks to choose from, most were rejected and the flock settled on one apparently undistinguished cluster just offshore. It was crowded, and there were frequent comings and goings. I find it difficult to be ready for a departure. They just seem to leap into the air from a sleeping state. Even the arrivals seem to teleport into the vicinity pf the rock from another dimension, so in-flight tern shots involve a great deal of luck and a lot of exposures that miss.

Rising water level
You swine! You promised me a seaside holiday! I didn’t expect the room to be flooded!

Some birds unable to find a place on the chosen rock, settle on neighbouring outcrops and I was amused at the indignation of the second bird  in this image as a wave washed over their perilous refuge.

Stena Alegra passes in the background

It was a warm day with a moderate Northerly breeze, and a pleasant day to cross the Strait. In the background the heavy rumble of her four big diesel engines alerted me to the passage of the Stena Alegra inbound from Picton.

Chorus cicada
They sing best in still hot conditions

In the afternoon, Maggie and Cooper were coming to our house after school until their parents could pick them up, so I walked up the road to meet them. As I said, it was a warm day and the Cicadas were on full song.

And that’s all I have today.