Monday, May 30, 2011

A Weekend of Social Intercourse

Many of you will be aware that 'The Lads' - a group of 5-6 of us have gone away into the mountains every March/April since 1981 - 31 years! This year was to be no exception but events on 22 February threw a spanner in the works - at least in the short term. There was a strong reluctance on the home front for us to away from home - and understandably so.
So what were we to do? Take them with us was the answer!! So we searched for a mountain retreat - and found it in the form of Glenthorne Station at Lake Coleridge - in the shearer's quarters no less (we highly recommend it to you). One of the 'girls' offered to cook dinner -it would have been rude to decline. Our airline pilot looked after the Single Malts, and I was given given the onerous task of getting the weather perfect for the occasion. No pressure Johnny!!
Well, the company was excellent, the wine and the malts perfect, the food was to die for, and the weather, as you can see, was bang on. Phew!
We walked and we talked........and then we talked some more! On Sunday morning four of us really walked - ~15 kms all up. From Lake Catherine through to the Harper/Avoca rivers (photo), then back via Mystery Tarn.
A great weekend everyone. Thanks heaps. An annual event (but minus the quake to precipitate the weekend)??

Friday, May 27, 2011

Born Again - briefly!!

I met with the 'Coffeeshots' girls this morning for a few hours. Great cafe - good coffee and excellent scones!
An enthusiastic and lovely group - yearning to absorb. Their challenge for the next two weeks is 'munted' - the new word in Christchurch.
It got me thinking - although I'm flat out with framing, if I set them the challenge, then I should be prepared to accept it myself. So, mid afternoon I slipped away from the workshop for a five minute shoot. Yeah right!! (I feel I have a historic right to that 'yeah right' quote - the Tui brand hails from the Mangatainoka Brewery, just north of Pahiatua, where my Mum was born and my Dad settled with his parents after they emigrated from Wales - and where they met). The guy responsible for the demolition was up for a chat. One hour later....!! Apparently it is going to cost me a coffee when I go back there next week. So here it is.... and now I'd better get back to the framing!
We're off to Coleridge for the weekend, but that's another story.
By the way, the building in the image was ~120 years old. It was bought ~30 years ago by 60 members of a lapidary club. Figure out how much each of them would have paid back then - and what it might be worth today - just for the land. The building is 'munted'!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Eyes

Now I have to say from the outset that this is not my image. It was captured on my camera. The artist is my elder daughter, Rachael.
She met up with Chris and I at Fox Glacier at Easter. At the end of a lovely day I decided to walk back to the village via the Minehaha track. To my delight, Rach chose to accompany me. So off we went in the drizzle and failing light at the end of a dull day, me armed with my camera bag and tripod over my shoulder. I don't think we stopped talking for the next two hours. In between sentences Rach started to interrupt and mention nice scenes that she thought might be worthy of capturing.
With a minute of instruction, mainly on coping with my dodgy tripod head (the result of years of abuse and hard work in the desert) she was off and took over my gear, and did see some lovely scenes. This is one such scene. I hope I can have her as my photographing companion again soon.
I got two of her images printed at 'Photo and Video' and then custom framed them for to hang in her lounge. She certainly deserved them. Well done Rach, I'm proud of you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Has the Earth Moved for you Dear?

At 0559 this morning my radio alarm went off.
At 0600 this morning the six o'clock news started.
A good start to the day - so far.
At 0601 the earth moved - again!
Not a huge aftershock. Mag 4.1 - enough to really get your attention and put the power off in many of the eastern suburbs.
It was Wednesday morning - weekly walk with the boys! Six of us today plus three dogs. We were scheduled to walk up onto the Summit road and survey the damage from the 22 February quake - and see if any more rocks had come down on to the road. And so we did, arriving there at 1010. Before 'morning tea' (we are civilised!!) we were naughty enough to jump the barrier in order to get a decent photo. 100 metres further on I captured this image before we retreated to the barrier and a safe spot to discuss the issues of the day and a brew. I think it's going to be a long time before the Summit Road is open to the public again.
Later in the day, out of curiosity (a daily curiosity for all Cantabrians!!), I looked up the 'Quake Live' website to discover that indeed the earth did move again - at 1014 (mag 3.3), centred just down in the valley below where we were. Mmmm..... those barriers are there for a reason. Naughty boys!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Napier again!

Just around the corner I found this a few moments later!


What will it be today? I feel like putting up an image but my mind has gone blank - a frequent occurrence of late. Earthquakes, old age, dementia, too busy.........??
I offer you this one - no particular reason - an old warehouse on the waterfront at Napier's harbour - late afternoon on 2nd January this year. There are a number of old buildings in the vicinity and with more time one could could enjoy a few hours here.
I just happen to like this image. It's not going to win any prizes, but I don't take photos for that reason any more. Hope you like it too.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

And so, what was the mystery object???

You will recall this image I posted a few weeks ago (6 May) and asking what you thought it was.
Well, I got a few interesting responses!! Were any of these responses correct? Of course they were all correct. It was what YOU saw that mattered.
So what did I see?
I was walking along the beach at Ship Creek having just taken the image posted on Tuesday 3 May, and I spied this rock in the sand and shingle. What I saw was an animal's head. The ear, the eye, and the mouth. I know I have spent a lot of time in the Middle East out in the desert where there are goats, sheep and camels. The animal I see is a sheep, but with a camel's bottom lip!! Mmmm... I hear you say!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Astronomy Lesson

The attached image was taken in the Rub Al Khali, Oman several years ago. To be precise on 21 January 2009 at 0332. The exposure was approximately 40 minutes. The duration of the exposure was dictated, not by the exposure meter or my guesstimation of correct time, but by the length of time the camera battery lasted!! The camera was set up in the Bedouin tent we were sleeping in. Mark, my expedition mate slept blissfully right beside me throughout the exposure. You can see the roof of the Bedouin tent at the top and the nearby sand dunes at the bottom.
So why am I suddenly here telling you all this after two years? Well, if you look closely at the star trails you will notice there are two circular patterns - one to the left and one to the right. I never noticed this until the end of the expedition. We were perplexed, but figured it had something to do with the equator.
Just last month, Mark was back in UK doing a celestial navigation course down at Arundel. He showed this image to his tutor and here is his response......

"This is a great picture. This is what I can work out:
It was taken looking approximately 15 degrees south of west, i.e. 225 degrees. I could work it out precisely but it would take a few minutes. It was not taken on the 7th, 8th or 9th January (moon would be in picture).
We can see Orion's Belt just above the horizon one third the way in from the right of the picture. The brightest star, near the middle of the picture, is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. The two bright stars near the top right are Pollux and Castor, the heads of the Gemini Twins. Between Sirius and Gemini, there is Procyon, which is another star we can use to find the celestial equator (go from the fainter star to its right of Propyon, on to Propyon then carry on double that distance).
The curves are caused because we are indeed looking at both the northern and southern halves of the celestial sphere simultaneously. All the stars to the right of Orion are wheeling anticlockwise about Polaris which is a long way to the right of the picture. All the stars to the left of Orion are wheeling clockwise about the south celestial pole, which would be well to the left of this picture and 18 degrees 'underground'. We are seeing the outermost stars of the great 'wheels' that turn about each celestial pole, hence the gentle curves".

I was gobsmacked at this awesome answer. I just had to share it with you. I do have some friends who are keen amateur astronomers who would be interested in this.
So there you have it - a lesson in astronomy.
Thanks Mark for forwarding the information on to me. I look forward to my next lesson in the desert!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fellowship Images For Sale

Two days ago I posted this image (see below) due to demand.
What I forgot to mention was that these individual images are for sale right now.
Image size is 370x250mm. Each is matted in a warm white colour.
Matted size is 500x385mm.
Price for each matted image is $95.
And if you are keen and want to get your purchase framed nicely, then I know just the person. Me!!

Also, I have a suspicion that my 'Contact Me' on the website may not be working. Am following this up with my 'webmaster'.
If you want to contact me in the interim my mobile is +64(0)210690901. Home number is 03-3317400.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fellowship Images by Demand!!

I commented on being awarded a Fellowship of the Nature Photography Society of New Zealand in the blog back on 6th April. As well, on 15th May I mentioned it. So in response to a number of you requesting to see the set together, I have attempted to put them together here. Click on the image to enlarge.
I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed the six days wandering the dunes from our bedouin tent capturing them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homeward Bound - Kaikoura Coast

It was almost dark. The sun had gone down. We were tired after a hectic but lovely North Island holiday. A rushed visit to the Te Papa museum in Wellington to view Brian Brake's photographic exhibition, onto the Picton Ferry, and off down towards Kaikoura for dinner.
Kaikoura was jumping! We have never seen so many people there. A one hour wait for our fish n chips. It was worth the wait. On down the coast for 10 minutes, find a spot off the road, and into an eating frenzy!
Here was the view we had to endure as we finished up and prepared for the final long drive home to Christchurch.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reflections of Bath

We have very dear friends who live in Bath, UK. We met in Saudi Arabia and used to go running with the Hash in the desert together.
Bev expressed a desire to see my Fellowship images for NPSNZ. I referred her to the Nature Photographers website (go to then click on Honours and go to my name). She commented that it would have been good to see them as they were presented. So, I am going to try and put all 18 images into a template and create a filedump ready to get printed when Ken's Cameras is up and running again after the earthquake - or when I find another printing option. Watch this space - I'll post a low res version of what I come up with here asap.
Bev also commented on an image she loved that I captured in Bath when we were last there with them. It was taken in The Crescent, incorporating the reflections of a clean car roof.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Well, I'll be Shagged!!

Remember this? Am just framing this image of mine for a client, and I was reminded of a funny incident recently.
This image of course is Shag Rock out near Sumner. It was taken a few years ago, but looks nothing like that now. It crumbled a little in the September earthquake and was totally demolished in this year's February quake. It now looks like a broken tooth.
My dear mother-in-law saw a photograph in the newspaper of the rock as it is now, pointed to it and said "Oh that's Shag Rock - it really is shagged now, isn't it" and burst out laughing. Her dementia is not so bad some days - and she still has a sense of humour!!!
If you know of anyone wanting a nostalgic image of the rock as she was, I have a selection here at home for them to choose from.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waiting Patiently

We 'met' this group of ladies on Christmas Eve at the Toko community hall on the Forgotten Highway, east of Stratford.
I love the juxtaposition of the man and the three ladies.
Long live corrugated iron - it is a great medium to photograph in all its forms!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mystery Object found on Beach!!

I found this curious object lying on the beach near to where the last image was taken. Whilst I 'captured' my image successfully, this object remains at large and is only considered a minor danger to the public.
What is it?
First 'correct' answer wins a chocolate fish. This will also give me an indication if anyone is actually looking at this blog. Quirky answers welcome!!
I will tell you what attracted me to sneak up and photograph this later....
Remember to contact me, go to main website by following link above, then go to 'contact me'.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Photo of the Day

A moody moment at Ship Creek, north of Haast a few weeks ago. The rain held off until we got back to the vehicle. We had the place to ourselves.


Many of you have said you would like to post comments to my blog. Should I be flattered or be nervous??
Well Rome wasn't built in a day and I think I've done well to get this far. My webmaster/blogmaster is about to become a proud Dad for the first time so I don't want to hassle him right now.
The facility will come soon. In the meantime, you can contact me by clicking on the 'Return to Refocused Homepage' above which takes you to the main website and clicking on the 'contact me' link.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Waiau Weekend

Seven of us from one of the photography groups I belong to (PPNZ) spent last weekend up at Waiau, North Canterbury. What a hidden gem of a place. Highly recommended for a relaxing weekend. Below are a small sample of images from the weekend. We were given permission to photograph at Highfield Station, let loose in a paddock full of rusting trucks, and gifted with a beautiful Sunday dawn complete with valley fog. The journey home took us through the Leader Valley to Cheviot. Met this rather curvaceous lass at the Twin Rivers Cafe at Cheviot. A cafe well worth a visit for coffee and lunch.

Rural church at Hope Field in the Leader Valley.

A foggy start to the day on the Waiau River.

First rays of sun on the Waiau River over a sleepy Waiau village.

First light over Waiau from road out to Leader Valley.

Old Morris truck peeking out from the undergrowth.

Old mother time takes its toll.

The old woolshed at Highfield Station.

Looking out the Highfield Station woolshed window.