Academic Art flowers Kaitoke Maritime Rivers Weather Wellington

December 18, 2018 … reaching a seasonal climax

It has been a busy week with various end of year functions with camera club and friends and a graduation ceremony (of which, more later). The week ahead looks no better, so let’s see what happened this week.

Sunrise in the Hutt Valley


I woke early one morning and found the sky ablaze  with something that is apparently called sunrise.  Having my camera nearby, I stuck it out my bedroom window to capture this phenomenon in case others might not believe me. Who knew?

Nightfall at the marina

In more familiar territory, at the end of the same day, I went down to the marina at Seaview where the last light of day had just left. I like the stillness, and despite the long exposure, the boats stayed still for me.

Still tied up but ready to go

In one of the following days I found myself at Oriental Bay and noticed the two Centreport tugs, Tiaki and Tapuhi positioning themselves to assist the container vessel Lori to leave port. I went down onto the beach and positioned the camera at sea level. and had to make sure that incoming wavelets did not splash the lens.

Rock pool
Rock pool, Lyall Bay


In the Western side of Lyall Bay,  there are some rock pools full of interesting life and lots of Neptune’s necklace (seaweed). Every part of the this coast has a  picture to offer if only I can see how to extract it.

African daisy

Just above the rock pool, the shore is covered with white daisy-like flowers which I believe to be the semi-succulent African daisy (Osteospermum fruticosum). It seems to be quite invasive and covers a lot of the shoreline above the beach.

My friend Rashidah is second from Left, front row. She has earned that smile

And then there was the day of graduation.  When I retired from the university way back in 2011, I was forced to hand over the supervision of my very last PhD student to my colleagues. Hailing from Sarawak where she is the chief executive of that state’s library system, my friend Rashidah was studying how institutions such as museums libraries and galleries should acquire and display the intangible cultural assets  of indigenous peoples. Things that were regarded as secret and sacred needed to be treated respectfully and in accordance with the wishes of the people to whom they belonged. It was a joy for me to be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony and to wear my academic costume for the very last time.  I took the picture from my position on stage with my smuggled camera, of the moment when the chancellor declares the graduands to be graduates and thus able to wear the headgear appropriate to the degree. Well done Rashidah., and congratulations to my colleagues who brought their supervision to a successful conclusion.

Thunderstorm in the distance

Weather has featured in my consciousness this week, and it even included a brief thunderstorm which is relatively rare in Wellington. I rather liked this image taken from a hilltop site in Kelson on the Western hills of a heavy cloud formation. The storm never quite reached Wellington.

Mangaroa River

Just a little north of Upper Hutt, the Mangaroa river comes in from the East to join the Hutt River . It’s not a big river but fast flowing and popular with people who come bouncing down through its many rapids on various inflatable devices.

The reason for the season

Mary and I don’t do much in the way of Christmas decorations at home, but one constant feature over the last twenty years or so has been this elegantly simple nativity scene. The figures are made of artfully folded fabrics by a gifted artist from Blenheim.


My daughter-in-law, Sarah has a garden which as a few spectacular opportunities such as these spectacular lilies

Flower of uncertain identity

In the same garden, I found this, As far as I can tell, it is a close relative of the white African daisy above … I think it is Osteospermum ecklonis.

That’s all this week. See you round.

Architecture flowers Kaitoke Maritime Weather Wellington

November 9, 2016 … staying close to home

I decided not to mention the (expletive deleted) meteorological circumstances, so moving right along …

The Eastern facade of the former Whitcoulls building

A walk on Lambton Quay gives views of some rather nice old buildings, though for now it is difficult to evade the trolley wires. Happily (from my perspective), the trolleybuses are soon to be replaced by hybrid buses and the wires which have been an eyesore for so long will be removed.

Into the mist at Kaitoke

Rain in copious quantities turned the skies grey and the bush wet. I wandered up towards Kaitoke, the city’s water catchment area at the foot of the Tararua ranges. I like misty landscapes but so far have not achieved the level of impact that I would like.

Hutt River just downstream from the waterworks at Kaitoke

Under the dripping canopy of the bush, I got to look out on the upper waters of the Hutt River sliding by. The rattle of pebbles was almost drowned out by the hiss of rain on the water and on the leaves above.


At the riverside market on Saturday, Mary bought a few peonies and mentioned to the vendor that the image being used to advertise them was one of mine. The lady gave her a couple of extras by way of thanks. I was happy for the opportunity to spend more time with these magnificent blooms.


They are very sensitive to temperature and if not kept cool will open up prematurely and get droopy. In their prime, they are magnificent.

Model of HMS Warrior by Mr Graham Beeson

My last shot this week is of a model displayed in a local gallery as the centrepiece of a naval-themed exhibition. Built by Mr Graham Beeson, the ship is representative of the Royal Navy’s Warrior class of armoured cruiser, 1905. It is painted in the then novel “dazzle” scheme on the starboard side, and naval grey on the port.

See you next week.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Reflections on the inlet near Ration Point

It was a morning of breathtaking beauty and undisturbed reflections .

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.

Misty morning at Silverstream

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


adversity Kaitoke Landscapes Rivers Weather

October 30, 2015 … if the river doesn’t rise

It had rained steadily for a day or two, and the river was rising when I wrote my previous blog.

Hutt River in flood at the Silverstream weir

Nevertheless, I find myself startled by the speed with which it subsequently rose. It rose so much, in fact, that it undermined the central support of a bridge to a small community in Birchville, Upper Hutt. Seventy houses have road access by that bridge, and without it, they are cut off. Furthermore, water and gas supplied are carried on it, so they may be in for a few weeks of severe inconvenience. I decided to avoid that area as the news came in, and went instead to the weir on the Hutt River. Except in very high water conditions the weir itself is usually visible.  Yesterday it was totally submerged as the river raced towards the sea.

Turbulent thundering water bouncing off the rocky river bed beneath the wear.

This was not a day for taking risks, and I am certain that the force of the water will have scoured out the river bed beneath the weir.

Flood conditions

A slow exposure gave a nice impression of the river in flood at the weir, and to some extent cleaned up the silt laden flow.

Water catchment collecting our water supply

I carried on up the river and then out to the Kiwi  Ranch side road at Kaitoke. A nice misty view into the water catchment area for Wellington gave some hint as to where the river was getting its energy.

Another day tomorrow.

adversity Kaitoke Landscapes Weather

August 2, 2015 … drifting drizzle

Grey sheets of drifting rain were the order of the day.

Kaitoke Regional Park … I may have been the only person in there apart from the ranger

Towards the end of the day, I decided to head North on SH2 towards the Rimutaka summit in the hope of some atmospheric swirling clouds. Alas, the further I went, the more the sky became a flat featureless grey with no distinct clouds, and no windows into the landscape.  I turned off at the Kaitoke regional park where I saw a glimpse of the landscape through the mist and rain.

Wet car , wet landscape

That was a frustrating trip, not least because I had left my camera’s storm jacket at home, so I turned around an came back to Normandale. Clutching at straws, when I had parked in the garage, I saw something in the raindrops clinging to the recently waxed roof of the car. This was taken inside, looking back out the door across the Hutt Valley.

Some of Mary’s collection of seashore items

Late in the evening, I decided to add to the catch of the day with another focus-stacking exercises. I used the same heavy glass jar that I used a few days ago. This time I shot from directly overhead (not though the glass). The process of merging the sharp bits really makes Photoshop work for its living and it takes something like twenty minutes to produce the final blend.

Animals Forest Kaitoke Landscapes Weather

November 17, 2014 … into the depths of the forest

In the afternoon, I decided to go to a less visited place.

Eager for company the calves canter over


Kaitoke is the main water catchment area for the Hutt Valley and Wellington. Not only does it supply a vast amount of water, but it also provides a wonderful scenic recreational reserve.  As I drove in the approach road I admired the green and gold paddocks of the farm at the entrance.  As I lined up my camera, a trio of calves eager to get their pictures in the supermarket magazines, cantered up. Their excitement came to a sudden stop at the electric fence.

Swing bridge
I really dislike bridges like this


I have mentioned my fear of heights before, so you can imagine it took some gritting of teeth deep breathing for me to cross the wire suspension bridge. I am certain it is well made as these things go, but it is decidedly wobbly and a long way above those very hard looking pebbles on the river banks.

In the bush
Not ten metres from the bridge and there is a different world


Once on the other side, it is a different world. Birdsong and greenery, tall trees and the peacefulness of the bush.

Forest giant
High above the lower canopy you can see epiphytes growing and far above that, the upper canopy


There are some astonishingly tall trees in this reserve. The great Redwoods of California are bigger, of course, but in New Zealand these are mighty mighty trees. And everywhere there are epiphytes growing in branches and crevices.

Fern patterns


It was late in the afternoon, but the sun was shedding a golden light and drawing stunning patterns on the canopy.

I must go there again, soon.