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June 26, 2018 … and still it goes

With a very few exceptions, in the last week or so, we have been experiencing Wellington’s version of winter. That translates as heavy overcast, strong wind, interspersed with rain or occasionally hail. We rarely get snow, but some of our worst days are chilling to the bone. And then there are the exceptions. So let’s see what happened since the last post.

White fronted terns on parade, with a gull seconded to learn from them

You know it’s a rough day when you see the terns taking shelter. It was very unusual to see them lined up on the handrail of Petone Wharf with one red-billed gull intruding.

The dog was having great fun ignoring all orders to hand over the stick

A day or so later, the wind died away, though the overcast persisted. Nevertheless, the day was sufficiently benign that people were out walking their dogs on Oriental Bay beach.

HMNZS Hawea leaving port

While I was at Oriental Bay, a different shade of grey made its way into my field of view. The Inshore patrol vessel, HMNZS Hawea was visiting the city. Despite its ferocious military appearance, this is a typically New Zealand version of the military as the ship is unarmed except for hand-held weapons. It has neither missiles nor a main gun.

Pied stilt juvenile at Pauatahanui

Then we had one of the exceptions, so Pauatahanui called me. A juvenile pied stilt is seen here stalking slowly around the pond looking for food.

A lovely morning on Pauatahanui Inlet

From a little further around the inlet, the reflections were very nice and Mt Rangituhi and Colonial Knob appear above and below Paremata.

Winter fires in Naenae

The next day began well enough, but very cold with a deep frost making the roads icy. Across the valley, home fires added to the river mist drifting Southward from Naenae.

Hokio Beach

A day later, Mary and I took a packed lunch and went up to the Foxton Beach area in search of birds or pleasant scenes. Unsuccessful up there, we arrived at Hokio Beach just South of Levin where the water was perfectly still. I turned to pick up my camera and the wind came in from the West destroying the perfection I had just glimpsed. We ate our lunch in the shelter of the sand dunes and went searching for some fragment to recover from the day. A small fishing boat being recovered was the best I could manage.

Tiny fungi – type unknown

Then the wind came back in earnest. I suggested to Mary that we visit Trelissick Park which follows the Kaiwharawhara  stream as it flows down the sheltered Ngaio Gorge. I was delighted to spy these tiny fungi, each smaller than the nail of my little finger. Note the two aphids on the rear-most fungus.

School of business – Wellington … I used to have an office on the fifth floor

Yesterday I was in the city to collect a replacement iPad, so while I was waiting, walked around Thorndon from a different direction. Here is Victoria’s Business School where I worked until 2012. They have added more office and teaching space in that addition to the left since I took my leave.

“Rush” hour at Ngauranga

Having collected the new iPad (that’s how Apple deal with defective batteries) I set out on the return home, and for the first time in a long while found myself entangled in the evening rush hour. Since my Apple repair people were in Thorndon, I followed the Hutt Road and rejoined SH2 at Ngauranga where everything ground to a halt. The moon was rising at about the same rate as the drivers’ blood pressure, but things cleared up and I got home to spend the next several hours restoring my iPad from the iCloud backup.

Kaitaki on her way to Picton

This morning was threatening dire weather and from Houghton Bay I saw the ferry Kaitaki on its way to Picton crossing the Wairau Valley where there was snow on what I think is Mt Richmond.

Inland and Seaward Kaikoura ranges with a good dusting of snow … as seen from Wellington

Is Winter here yet? The coating of snow on the Kaikoura Ranges would tend to support that idea. We are past the Winter Solstice and should be headed in the direction of longer warmer days, Spring and Summer, but I suspect we have t

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September 27, 2016 … the spice of life

My photographic week continued to be shaped by the weather. Soft grey chilly drizzle was the main feature. Nevertheless, as long as the wind is absent, I can usually find a point of view worth recording.

The Stena Provence was the most colourful object in a grey landscape

From Lowry Bay, the tanker Stena Provence was the most visible object. That lifeboat scares me. When everyone is aboard, and strapped into their seats,  the coxswain releases the trigger and it shoots down the ramp at that ridiculous angle and plunges into the sea. I have seen a video of such a lifeboat pitch-poling end over end, so the chances of injury seem high.

“George” showing off his breeding plumage

The same day I carried on round to Hikoikoi where I thought I might try a wide-angle shot from just above the water … about duck’s eye level. I had made such an image when I noticed a splash of white. George was back, strolling up and down the deck of a boat house next to his favourite boat. This time he was in full glorious mating plumage, and must surely be due to fly South to Waitangiroto near Okarito where it all happens for white herons.

The only way to compete with other photographers on a landscape outing is with the elbows

In the weekend, I attended the Central Regional Convention of the Photographic Society of New Zealand. This was based at Whitireia, a  polytechnic institute in Porirua. Most of the speakers were interesting and I chose the four-wheel drive field trip. A hazard of field trips at conventions is all the other photographers getting in your way.

Cloudscape over the Marlborough sounds as seen from Colonial Knob

Our convoy of eleven off-road vehicles bounced and scrambled their way up to the top of Colonial Knob, taking great care to pause and give way to the many walkers and a few cyclists we met on the very steep road.  There was a steely grey sky with dramatic clouds reflecting on the unusually still waters of the Cook Strait. If you click to enlarge the picture, you will see the Brothers Islands just this side of Arapawa Island, and to the right of that, Cape Jackson on the other side of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Ohariu Valley to Cook Strait and the South Island

Taking a different angle, I loved the light on the water and on the rolling hills at the Northern end of the Ohariu Valley.

Yes, I took this, and no, it’s not my usual style. A large part of its attraction is in the grace of the dancer

On the Sunday morning of the convention, there were a number of workshops, some of which were more interesting than others. None was directly aligned with my photographic preferences, but one that I decided to try was conducted by a very highly regarded photographer from the Wairarapa, Esther Bunning. Esther was teaching a particular whimsical approach, and had brought along four attractive young women from a local dance school. This was well outside my comfort zone, but I gave it a shot. As I wrote elsewhere, grabbing an electric fence is a learning experience, but not one that most of us repeat.