Categories
Adventure Animals Bees Birds Cape Palliser flowers Lakes Landscapes Lowry Bay Machinery Pauatahanui Wairarapa

March 1, 2022 … diversion from the serious stuff

An old joke asks “what am I doing in this hand basket, and where am I going?” Recent world and local events seem to reflect this theme. I lack the kind of spirit that might cause me to be personally involved, other than expressing my opinion. (Putin is a war criminal and the local anti-mandate protest movement is based on culpable disinformation.) And so I divert myself by seeking the beauty around me. Mostly, I find it in small scale things. For sure, New Zealand has a lot of beauty on a grand scale, but this is not the time to be travelling and among crowds of people. In recent times, the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi has appealed to me. Crudely summarised, it seeks beauty in imperfection. Imperfection is a specialty of mine ūüôā

Word of Mouth

Out in the Pauatahanui inlet there is a resident flock of royal spoonbills. They are wabi-sabi personified. While its cousin the white heron is undeniably beautiful, the spoonie wears a clown costume. The grotesque bill is efficient at dredging the mud for food, but makes it hard for me to take them seriously. Watching a pair squabbling is akin to seeing two people engaged in a duel using salad servers.

Black Swans

Near the yacht club at Foxton Beach, Mary and I were enjoying a picnic lunch on the stop bank when a flight of black swans came over low and slow. I grabbed my camera and lined them up but even so, they were past me when I finally got them in the viewfinder and in focus. If you thought the black swans were all black, then this shows otherwise.

Bumble bee with sweet pea

There was a clump of sweet peas beside the lookout platform at Foxton Beach. It was being visited by a number of bumble bees. To my surprise, they were not all of the common black and yellow bumble bee variety (Bombus terrestris). There were several others and various expert groups have suggested that the strangers were the large garden bumble bee (Bombus ruderatus). This is narrower, and is more black and white than my old familiar friend.

Wairarapa Moana

It is a rare visit to Featherston that I don’t divert down Murphy’s Line to the Lake Domain Reserve. I am often disappointed. On this occasion, the lake was perfect, and reflected the silvery blue clouds beautifully. The rusting steel piles of the old Hansell’s jetty make a delightful focal point for the photographer. Yes, I have made similar shots before, but I take joy in beauty no matter how often I encounter it.

Chicory

The lovely blue chicory flower seems to spread along the roadside grasses of the back country roads in the South Wairarapa. How does it get distributed? I assume that somehow the slipstream of passing vehicles is involved in the spreading of the seeds.

Lowry Bay in the mist

Misty weather is always interesting to me, and I always imagine a more romantic picture than the one I capture on the day. One day I shall get the picture that I envisaged when I pressed the shutter.

Waves of bark

Wabi-sabi means different things to different people. For some, it involves simplicity and beauty, akin to minimalism. Other interpretations include age and decay, and the deliberate inclusion of imperfection. I thought I saw elements of it in this sheet of fallen bark that Mary brought home for me.

Reading

There was a time when I went to the city library every two weeks and would take home a bag of eight or ten adventure novels. If I finished them all before the fortnight was up, I would refresh my stash ahead of time. Now I find I lack the necessary attention span to deal with books at that rate. Instead I load books into the Kindle app on my iPad/iPhones and read my preferred styles of adventure as and when the mood takes me. I can divert to YouTube if I wish, and go back to Kindle when I am ready to resume.

Newtown barber

As I walked the streets of Newtown, I passed the open door of a traditional men’s barber shop. I think the barbers are of middle Eastern origins, judging by the posters with Arabic script on the walls. Whatever, the shop was immaculate and attractively presented. I walked on by and then thought, if I don’t ask, how can he say yes? So I went back, scanned the QR code at the door and went in. I asked permission to shoot from the door. Both he and his client consented and here we are.

Old style greengrocer

Newton is a place of magical diversity. As well as the middle Eastern barbers, there are specialist shops and restaurants from many different countries. In the few shops nearest me in this image we have a Mexican restaurant, Mr Bun (a Chinese-owned bakery and coffee shop, a Halal butcher, a (Japanese) sushi shop, and the ever colourful Jimmy’s Fruitmart. Jimmy’s is an old school greengrocer that, as well as the fruit and vegetables with which I am familiar, sells many interesting items that are welcomed by the people of the varied ethnicities that make Newtown so special.

The graveyard

I always suggest that Ngawi, on the South Wairarapa coast is where the bulldozers of the world come to die. Despite their decrepitude, almost all of the bulldozers on this beach are hitched by a very long drawbar to a large steel trailer, crudely welded out of girder stock and on large rubber tyres. These trailers are backed down the steep shingle beach into the sea to launch and retrieve the owner’s fishing vessel. No matter how rusty and run-down these tractors, they all seem to fire up on demand and trundle down to the sea. When it finally dies, it is replaced soon enough by another of similar condition.

The iconic OLB

The most common truck of my childhood years was the Bedford OLB. I have an affection for them, though now they are either beautifully restored by enthusiasts, or else quietly rotting in rural situations. In their prime, they looked just how I thought a truck should look. This old girl is near the bulldozers in Ngawi and is slowly being absorbed by the trees growing up around and through it.

New Zealand Fur Seal pup

If you drove the 120 or so km from Lower Hutt to Ngawi, then it would not be sensible to not drive the extra 5km to visit the New Zealand fur seals nursery at Cape Palliser. There is a sheltered pool among the vicious rocks where the new season’s pups frolic and splash. They are a joy to watch if you can get close to them. The limiting factor is the protective mothers. Mostly they snooze in the lee of the rocks, but if you come between them and the sea, or worse, between them and their pup, expect trouble. A large boulder with halitosis and big teeth suddenly turns into a raging matriarch, and you had better run. This wee pup is probably a few weeks old and is curious about the guy with the camera.

Mother and child

This pup scuttled to its mother’s side when I got too close (sorry, pup!) Mother was a bit irritated to have her siesta disturbed, but make no mistake she was aware of my presence and swift action might have followed had I got closer.

Thanks for visiting. I always appreciate any constructive feedback.

Advertisement
Categories
Adventure adversity Airport Aviation Birds Family flowers harbour Landscapes Light Maritime Oriental Bay Pauatahanui Rongotai

July 27, 2021 … taking life as it comes

After some mysterious point, the ageing process suddenly starts forcing certain changes. No longer can I hop confidently from rock to rock. Nor can I clamber down steep slopes. The only way in which my spatial awareness has improved is in my knowledge of the direction and distance to the nearest public toilet.

These gradual changes have made their presence felt in my photography. I started thinking about this after a consultation with a health practitioner recently. She suggested I might be losing my enthusiasm for photography. I rejected that idea vigorously, but realised that the kind of the images that I observe are being brought about by the gradual changes brought on by age. Most obviously, I find myself treading old familiar paths and more rarely finding the energy or enthusiasm for long trips to new places.

One of those days

When the sky is clear and blue and the water mirrors it back, Oriental Bay has a special charm. I prefer the openness of the old Clyde Quay Boat Harbour to the regimentation of the Chaffers Marina on the city side of the wharf. On this particular day, I was tempted to hang my camera underneath the tripod as close to water level as possible. I know that the green algae on the concrete ramps down to the water has an evil reputation for being slippery. In keeping with the increasing caution I mentioned earlier, I was edging gingerly towards the water when a janitor called out and warned me that two others had already slipped and come close to taking an unexpected swim that morning. I find that the heightened risk awareness limits my mobility even further, so I didn’t quite make it to the water’s edge. Incidentally, if you want to moor your boat there, the annual fee is NZ$1,293.

New Zealand Native Wood Pigeon

The next image was made without leaving home.This magnificent bird was munching happily on the fresh leaves of a kowhai tree less than two metres from our front door. I saw it through the window so very quietly unsnibbed the front door and let it swing slowly open. I stayed well back from the door and used the long lens to get close to a bird that was very near to begin with.

Alpacas

Again, close to home I went over the Wainuiomata Hill and down the coast road to the beach. It was a frosty morning, which happens less often than it used to in my opinion. Anyway, on the way, a small herd of alpaca was casting long shadows and defrosting patches of grass.

Clinker built

Certain weather patterns raise the idea of going to places that have been previously successful in similar weather. Mist suggests a trip to the Wairarapa, or perhaps the upper valley or maybe Evans Bay. Calm water prompts me to go to the Hutt estuary, Pauatahanui, Oriental Bay or again Evans Bay. Strong Southerly wind takes me to the beach on the Wainuiomata Coast, or anywhere along Wellington’s rocky South coast.I suppose that the region’s folded landscape constrains human access to places where roads can more easily be made, leaving the ridge lines free to be farmed or to remain in native bush. And so it is that the number of accessible photo sites is fewer than the overall land area might suggest. On this occasion, the stillness took me to the Hutt River estuary. There, I struggled to to make an image different to those made in my many previous visits. Down low and select just one of the small boats, perhaps. A splash of red is always worth having.

Walkway

High tide or low, I love the Pauatahanui Inlet. Of course, I prefer it when there is no wind, and the water is totally still as it was on this day. Well done to the Porirua City Council and its various sponsors who now have a well made walkway beside the water along the entire length of Grays Road from Pauatahanui Village to the Camborne Walkway. Even when the bird life is modest, I love the reeds that lend such colour to the landscape.

Sacred Kingfisher

A trip to the Waikanae Estuary brought me close to this kingfisher. It was sitting on a branch beside the road. I didn’t even have to get out of the driver’s seat to make the image. Apparently this fellow is well known locally and is not as skittish as most kingfishers I have encountered.

Royal Spoonbills

Pauatahanui is not only a place that you have to pass through on your way north up SH1 from the Hutt Valley, but also a site worthy of visitation in its own right. Apparently there is a flock of royal spoonbills who hold a similar view. For them, the attraction may be the small mud crabs which number in the thousands per square metre. Not for me though, to deny them the enjoyment of the visual beauty of the place.

Ivey Bay

At Paremata on the South Western end of the Pauatahanui inlet where the water passes under the motorway and rail bridges to the Porirua Harbour, is Ivey Bay. It provides sheltered moorings for some of the old classic motor launches. From Camborne on the opposite shore, it provides a lovely view of the little known suburb on Moorhouse Point. I knew murky weather was imminent, so had to take advantage of conditions such as these. Blue skies are well enough, but the quilted effect of the clouds really appeals to me.

Lily parts

And then came the rough weather. I stayed home. Perhaps this is part of that decreasing appetite for discomfort and adventure. Happily, Mary had recently celebrated a birthday and I got very close to the inner workings of a lily which was part of a bouquet she had received. Not being gifted with a green thumb, I have not bothered to familiarise myself with the reproductive organs of flowers, but the lily is quite spectacular. I know that the anthers (the rough brown bits) leave a vicious almost indelible stain on fabrics. Handle with care.

Another familiar view

After the worst of the storm passed, the weather was still murky, and it was utterly unappealing to wander out. So this image was shot from the front door looking across the valley along High Street towards Naenae.

Faithful old workhorse

If memory serves (and it doesn’t always) this old girl (NZ7004) entered RNZAF service in 1969. As with the rest of the five-strong fleet, it underwent major life-extension upgrades in the first few years of the new century, and is now fated to be replaced by much more capable C130J aircraft beginning in 2024. I love the condensation around the tips of its massive propellers in the moist conditions as the captain pushes the throttle levers forward.

King Alfred Daffodils

A very pleasant lunch with friends in Waikanae allowed us to see early daffodils. I always regard them as one of the first portents of spring. In mid-late July, this is perhaps a bit optimistic, and there is probably plenty of rough weather to come before the season of lambs and new growth. These flowers from the garden of our friends are of the King Alfred variety.

Magic morning

Back to where we began, though from the other end of that little harbour. Last Friday Wellington was still and bright though a little hazy. Again, I was very cautious about walking on the green algae at the water’s edge so this image was made from a higher viewpoint.

Naval Whaler

Rear Admiral Victor Montagu apparently proposed this design as a standard workboat for the Royal Navy in 1890. Originally there was no engine housing inboard, nor was there a mount for an outboard hanging off the stern as on this one. Sailing was done with a fore and main mast, and rowing was with six oars and a coxswain at the tiller. They served with the navies of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in these roles until as late as 1970, and to this day remains in use by many youth organizations. I have always loved the elegant simplicity of the design. This one in the Clyde Quay Boat Harbour and the one in Evans Bay have been shot by me on many prior occasions.

And then came the calamity. It was, as you can see, a beautiful morning so I began crossing the carpark on Clyde Quay Wharf to see whether there might be some useful reflections in Chaffers Marina. With my eyes fixed firmly on the boats ahead, I missed the fact that there were some barriers on the ground to stop cars from banging into the electric charging stations. Whoops! I crashed to the ground and to add to my pain, I heard the camera and tripod bounce beside my head.

I lay there for a minute or so before some other seniors came rushing over to my rescue. To be honest, I needed their assistance to get up. I was assisted to a seat nearby where I gathered my scattered wits and checked the hardware. As the old cliche has it, ageing is not for sissies. Be assured that I am well, though going to a physiotherapist this afternoon. Photos will continue to be made.

Categories
Adventure Architecture flowers Horowhenua Landscapes Light Pauatahanui Reflections Rivers sunrise Tararuas Vehicles Wairarapa Weather Wellington

August 8, 2018 … undirected wandering

As I was uploading the images for this edition, I wondered how much of my allocated space I had used, and how many images were there. It seems that, since I started this photo-blog manifestation of WYSIWYG on January 1, 2012, I have shared 6,579 images with you. That’s a little scary. However, here we are again with another 12 images.

Owhiro
Relative calm at Owhiro Bay

You may recall that we had a wonderful sunny summer. Winter has gone the other way, and I can’t recall such an extended period of greyness. Still, I try to find something even when it is grey so here we are in Owhiro Bay, looking in the direction of Kaikoura.

Lake
Magic conditions on Lake Wairarapa at the Northern end of the lake

One of those days that started out misty at home, led me over the hill to Lake Wairarapa where the conditions were just delightful. I am unsure why, but there is some charm in the contrast between rusting relics and perfect nature. This jetty was constructed in 1973. It has not lasted well.

Naenae
The morning sun sends its beams sliding down the hillside

There was even more mist the following day , leading to these long shafts of light echoing the slope of the hills in Naenae.

Convy
Rubber Duck: “looks like we got us a convoy …” (C.W. McCall)

I was lucky to be offered a seat in the lead vehicle of a club outing by the local off-road club, and we went up into the Tararuas near Levin to the Mangahao Hydro dams. It was a fantastic day.

Mangahao
National white water centre – Mangahao

 

At the Mangahao power station, which was the first, and for a long time the biggest generator in the country, I was astonished at the apparatus suspended over the river downstream from the station’s outflow. It seems that many of the world’s top slalom athletes choose to come here for their off-season training in various white-water sports.

Lowry Bay
Morning mist at Lowry Bay

More mist the next day and lovely still conditions on the harbour. Mist was wreathed over the Eastern hills and it was, to my eyes, beautiful.

Oil
Pt Howard oil terminal at Seaview

Even where there was no mist, the stillness itself was a delight.

tulips
Tulips

A really rough day brought about a change of pace, and the opportunity  to try out my newly acquired light box. Mary had some early season tulips so here we are.

Pauatahanui (1)
Pauatahanui Inlet looking Westward

The rough weather stepped aside for a while and I found some nice reflections on Pauatahanui Inlet

St Albans
St Alban’s is a much loved landmark in Pauatahanui village

When the water is really smooth like this, I like to invert the centre column of my tripod, and have the camera dangling inverted a few centimetres above the water. The tide was low and I walked across the gravel bed at Ration Point to take in the view back towards the historic St Alban’s Anglican church at Pauatahanui village.

 

Chapel
Chapel at the monastery of the Holy Archangels, Levin

Yesterday, I chose to retrace some of the area traversed by the off-roaders and went to Levin where I visited the Greek Orthodox monastery of the Holy Archangels. It is a delightful setting with a tint chapel and a retreat centre. I sought permission from the resident monk and explored it.

Interior
Chapel interior

The interior of the chapel was fascinating to my eyes, and the various icons were stunning.

Enough for this edition … oh good grief … I did everything but press the publish button so it has sat in draft for a week

 

 

 

Categories
Adventure adversity Birds Cars Cook Strait Haywards Hill Kaitoke Landscapes Light Maritime Pauatahanui Vehicles Wairarapa Waves Weather

June 8, 2016 … through the lower middle

True to my word, I have returned more quickly than last time.

Sandra II
Sandra II now seems to be a permanent resident at Hikoikoi

We have had an astonishing spell of fine weather in the last week, not only sunny, but for the most part, flat calm. Those who have been with me for a while know that if there is calm, I will be near the harbour. Down at Hikoikoi, a newcomer has joined the J.Vee thus doubling the number of working boats moored there. She is the Sandra II.

Web
Nature – the master jeweller

With further fine weather in view, Mary and I chose to go to Dannevirke on Friday. This was a “just because” trip with no other purpose than to enjoy the journey, and perhaps to make an image or two on the way. It was a crispy day to begin with, and just North of Upper Hutt, there was mist wreathed around the hills and gullies, and many of the roadside fences were decorated with dew-coated spider webs.

Woodville
Pastoral landscape near Woodville

I had hopes of capturing the turbines spinning above the Manawatu Gorge near Woodville. I do love flat calm, but of course, that spins no turbines. Accordingly, I zoomed back out and settled for a landscape from just South of Woodville.

Wreck 1
Inside the old wrecker’s yard at Dannevirke

We got to Dannevirke, and enjoyed a very nice lunch at the Vault Cafe. Then to lend some semblance of purpose to our journey, we bought some splendid beef sausages from “The Meat Company”, a butcher shop just near the vault. They are the best beef sausages I have found so far. And then I finally managed to make contact with the owner of the old car-wrecker’s yard I saw last time I was in the area. He generously granted permission¬† for me to climb the fence and wander through the property.

Cars
Vehicles from almost all eras are being swallowed. The Ford Transit van, the Vauxhall Velox from the mid fifties and a real oddity on the right, the Utility model of the Hillman Imp were all intriguing.

I spent over an hour there, and saw perhaps five percent of the property. It is a truly post-apocalyptic scene, withe a large proportion of the old vehicles almost entirely engulfed in brambles or the pest variant of the clematis, “Old Man’s Beard” . Few surfaces are not covered with lichen ans the place was a photographer’s delight.

Waihi Falls
Waihi Falls in the late afternoon

Choosing the scenic route home, we passed through Waihi falls where the water was putting on a fine display. From there we went down through Mauriceville and Alfredton and suffered a blow-out at some 90 km/h on a patch of gravel road. After laboriously emptying the back of the car to reach the spare, and then jacking up the car to swap the wheel, we were soon on our way again, through Masterton and down through the Southern Wairarapa. It was nerve-wracking to drive over the Rimutaka hill with no spare, but we made it home without further incident.

Yacht
The yacht made speedy progress across the horizon near Red Rocks

On Sunday, we went to the South Coast and while Mary explored the seal colony at Sinclair Head, I made images near Red Rocks.

Stilts
Pied stilts at Pauatahanui

On Tuesday, the clam conditions were still lingering, so I went over to Pauatahanui. I have heard of houses on stilts, but here, reflected in the pond, are some stilts on houses.

Herons
White-faced herons are wary

Further around the inlet, a handsome pair of white-faced herons paused in their preening to keep an eye on me as I attempted to get close.

Inlet
Reflections on the inlet near Ration Point

It was a morning of breathtaking beauty and undisturbed reflections .

SH2
Near Haywards Hill on SH2

Remarkably, the fine weather persisted until today (Wednesday) and so I went North to Silverstream where a friend had predicted spectacular landscape opportunities on a frosty morning.

Silverstream
Misty morning at Silverstream

My friend was right, the mist on the frosty grass was just delightful. See you next time.

 

Categories
Adventure Birds Cook Strait Kapiti Island Landscapes Maritime Paekakariki Paremata Pauatahanui Porirua Pukerua Bay Waves Weather

April 11, 2016 … filling in time

Reading is dangerous. It fills your head with strange ideas. Likewise, listening to people whose photography you admire is disruptive. I am becoming accustomed to not feeling guilty if a day or three go by with no images made. On the other hand, I am much harder on myself if I tolerate mediocrity in the images I decide to keep. By this time last year, I had almost 5,000 images. This year to date, I have 1,061, and that is a massive drop. I am trying harder to see images that are worth taking, and to walk away if there is nothing there.

birds
Admittedly a surplus of black swans, but I also see Caspian terns, royal spoonbills, pied stilts, masked lapwings, shags, ducks and gulls

I still love photographing birds, but lack the patience of some of my birding friends who will lie on the belly in mud and shells for hours trying to sneak up on rare birds in their nest. For my part, I tend to arrive at a location, and shoot what I can see, from where I can see it. Naturally that process is a lottery. When I arrived at Pauatahanui on Saturday, I thought I had won the big one. I have never seen so many waterfowl there before.

stilts
Hasty dispersal – they were having a stilted conversation anyway.

A significant gathering of pied stilts at the pond looked like a group of men dressed for a white-tie dinner and they seemed to spend a lot of time admiring their own reflections. A passing jogger on the walkway caused them to scatter.

Strait
Many a homesick South Islander has stood on this beach and gazed across to the hills of the Marlborough Sounds

The next day Mary wanted to do the new 10 km walkway that runs along the steep escarpment from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay. It is advertised as a four-hour walk across some steep and narrow tracks with 490 steps and a couple of wire swing bridges. The brochure says “not for those who suffer vertigo or fear heights”. I drove Mary to the beginning of the track and agreed to be close to the other end three hours later, so I was free to wander. I began under a sullen sky at Paekakariki Beach, looking across the calm Strait to the South Island.

Kapiti
Kapiti Island looking dark and moody in the distance

From the same spot, with a 90 degree swing to the right, there was a nice view of Kapiti Island. That little spot on the water near the Northern (right) end of the island is a man on a stand-up paddle board.

Kate and friend
Long term residents at their moorings in Ivey Bay. The white spots are bubbles emerging from crab holes as the unusually high tide flows quietly across the sand

From there, hoping to find a post office open at Porirua, I went South. On the way I paused at Paremata where an extraordinarily high tide put the idea in my head that I should get the camera as close to water level as possible for a different view of an often seen subject.

Kayak
A splash of red is always welcome

The camera was sitting on a miniature tripod with its feet in the water, and I was operating it remotely through my mobile phone. At that moment I spotted a man in a bright red kayak paddling across my field of view. In the few seconds I had, all I could control was the focus so I tapped the screen to focus on him and took the shot and he was gone.

IMG_8942-Edit

I got to Porirua where the post office was shut. A shag which my birding friends agree to be an immature pied shag was sitting on a stick  in the harbour reflecting on life on a calm day.

And then it was time to head back towards Pukerua bay where I thought to browse through the splendid Archway Books for an hour or so. I just pulled up and heard my name called as she walked up the hill having completed the “four-hour traverse” in 2:45:00. Crazy woman. I never even got into the bookshop. But, having just celebrated our 46th anniversary, I remain fiercely proud of her.

Categories
Animals Birds Pauatahanui

December 19, 2015 … Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit*

At Pauatahanui, the water was not still.

Thrush and Rabbit
” … the carrots are great, but watch out for Mr McGregor”

The birds were hard to find, so I drove off. And then I stopped because there was a proliferation of rabbits on the grass by the shore on the Western side of Motukaraka Point. If you are of an anthropomorphic turn of mind, you might imagine a conversation between the rabbit above, and the song thrush, perhaps discussing the quality of Mr McGregor’s latest crop of carrots.

thrush
Song thrush

The thrush sat on a pipe gate for a while and that allowed me to get closer.

uma rapiti
… uma rapiti, uma rapiti, uma, uma, uma” (Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run, as learned by most kiwi kids as they begin to learn elementary Maori

There must have been at least a dozen rabbits on a very small patch of grass, reeds  and bracken, and though they were nervous they did not vanish as quickly as they have done on previous occasions.

That will be enough today.

  • Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943)
  • Thanks to my friends Judi and Neil who noticed the weird green cast on the pictures … now corrected
Categories
Animals Granada North Landscapes Pauatahanui Weather

November 16, 2015 … another grey day

We are owed a lot of good days if the average spring weather is to be maintained.

Whitby
Whitby in the rain, from across the Inlet

Way too many wet days suggest that our spring will have been the worst for a while.  I started making pictures at Pauatahanui where the low clouds were hiding the upper slopes of Whitby.

Horse
Somewhat depressed

From there I went to Takapu Rd. I should know better because, although it has some nice spots, wherever there is a good view, there is a power line in view. I confined myself to the somewhat depressed looking animals.

Alpaca
The alpaca fleeces were heavy with rain

A herd of alpacas displayed some interesting varieties n their fleece colours.

Skyline
Trees on the skyline

From there I went up the road to Granada North and managed to avoid the wires to catch a long view despite the rain. As much as I grizzle about the rain, I rather like the effects made possible by mist or soft rain.

That’s all for today.

 

Categories
Birds Food Miranda Pauatahanui Seasons Weather Wellington

November 5, 2015 … breeding plumage

On my way to lunch, I chose the route that gave me a view  of the harbour.

Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas reminds me of the old P&O liner Canberra which served so well in the Falklands War in 1982. Canberra was a big ship at 45,000 gross Tonnes. This monster is over 90,000 Tonnes

Brown silt from the swollen Hutt River coloured the harbour and made Matiu/Somes and Mokopuna islands stand out. Suddenly, between them was a huge white ship. Most cruise ships arrive in port by 8am to give the passengers a full day of shopping or touring. In fact the Dawn Princess was already berthed. This was Radiance of the Seas. a 90,000 Tonne monster ready to add her 2,500 passenger to the 2,000 from the other ship. Unfortunately, early season cruise visits to Wellington can be a lottery and these guys were out of luck with cold winds and driving rain.

Featherston St
I love my city, but I concede that it can be a bit mean-spirited with its weather from time to time. Featherston St/Johnston St intersection.

My friend and I enjoyed the magnificent bowls of mussels steamed in blue cheese and mustard sauce at Leuven, a Belgian Beer restaurant. After an excellent coffee, we regretfully made our way out into the cruel weather outside where there were few cruise passengers to be seen.

Spring
Spring when, according to Alfred Lord Tennyson, a young man’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love.The dark blur in front of the weeds is a Welcome Swallow passing by.

Because I am determined to complete my five years of photo-a day discipline, I went North and headed homewards around Grays Road along the Pauatahanui Inlet. A group of Royal Spoonbills was browsing in the ponds by the bird hide. I have seen the word “canteen” proposed as the appropriate collective noun for spoonbills, but I doubt that my source was especially authoritative.

Spoobills (2)
By my count, there are thirteen Royal Spoonbills and two pied stilts here.

Though I tried to remain inconspicuous (though there were few other idiots with cameras there), the birds got nervous and moved towards the water ready for flight. They are not as glamorous as the more elusive white heron, but the Royal Spoonbill is a handsome bird in its own right.

That’s all for now.

Categories
Birds flowers Landscapes Light Pauatahanui Plimmerton Weather

September 20, 2015 … finding it in the chill grey weather

Protracted grey cloud, rain and chill winds dampen the spirits.

Spoonbills
Royal Spoonbills in a huddle

Nevertheless, until the end of the year, sat least one every day is still the rule. I hadn’t been to Pauatahanui for a while, so that’s where I went yesterday. You know the conditions are tough when the Royal Spoonbills huddle together in the shallow pond by the bird hide.

Spring
Enough promises already, where is the warmth of spring?

At Motukaraka point, the tide was out, but despite the somewhat bleak conditions, spring blossom is an antidote to the misery. I think this is an apple tree.

Heron
White faced heron dining on crab.

Around the corner of the point, a white-faced heron was silhouetted against the reflected light of the late afternoon sun. It was getting a lot of the small mud crabs that abound in the harbour.

Mana
View to Mana Island from Karehana Bay

Across SH2 to Plimmerton, the same late sun peering from behind a heavy cloud provided interesting conditions for a seascape from Karehana Bay.

That’s all today.

Categories
Architecture Pauatahanui

September 7, 2015 … implores the passing tribute of a sigh*

A chill breeze took some of the pleasure from the sunny day.

Straitsman
Straitsman at her berth while the Picton bound traffic drives up her stern ramp

In the city, the Bluebridge ferry “Straitsman” was at her berth, surrounded by lesser vessels, tugs and trawlers.

Fishing vessels
There are those whose working days are spent in these conditions

The fishing vessels that berth in the inner city are a motley lot. They range from decrepit impounded Japanese trawlers, to smaller local boats in various states of repair. This particular wharf is one of the few outside of the port’s security fence. Here you can stand and gaze at the workings of real sea-going vessels rather than the polished wood and cabinetry of the hobby boats in the marina. These are scruffy but honest boats. Having spent my entire working life in warm, well-lit offices, I am always intrigued by the ruggedness of the people who sail in them.

Church
St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui

Later in the day, when the wind had dropped I had a look at Pauatahanui. Despite the apparent calm, the water was still ruffled and uninteresting. The sun still shone, so I walked up the driveway of historic St Alban’s Anglican church at Pauatahanui.¬† This is the church that you can see above the village¬† and it was looking smart and clean.

Graves
The iron rails rust red, awaiting the competing colour of the roses

However the real interest here is in the historic graveyard. It seems to be a state of benign neglect, with many  wildflowers and weeds. Some of the fences surrounding graves are rotting or rusting as the case may be. A deliberate policy of planting heritage roses in the cemetery adds some seasonal colour, but most of them are rambling varieties so they contribute in their way to the wildness of the place.

Grave (2)
A grave selected at random, and nature provides the only tribute

Thomas Gray’s elegy related to an older, and probably more disciplined churchyard on the other side of the world, yet I am sure that he could have written it here too:

“Yet even these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.”*

It’s a restful place.

  • Elegy written in a country churchyard” by Thomas Gray