Birds

I also photograph our beautiful native birds, there will be a bias towards the Tui, because it’s my favourite New Zealand bird. Enough words, now the birds…

angry-robin
Robin, yes we have our own Robin, a couple of different kinds.
bellbird-red-eye
Bellbird.
kea-face
Kea.
kereru-front
Kereru, or New Zealand Pigeon.
reef-heron
Reef Heron, quite rare.
shearwater-shadow
Shearwater.
spoonbill-and-stilt
Royal Spoonbill and Pied Stilt
tui-flax-awesome-pose
Tui
tui-flight
Tui leaving.
tui-step-off
Tui, leaving again.
falcon-one
New Zealand Falcon.
kowhai-tui
Tui.
southern-giant-petrel
Giant Petrel.
takahe-colours
Takahe.
spoonbill-manawatu-wet-side
Royal Spoonbill.
heron-single2
Kotuku, or White Heron.
white-heron-sunday-admiring
Kotuku.
white-heron-sunday-flight
Kotuku
kaka-colour
Kaka

The Lonely Mountain

I was looking at my photography blog and realised I hadn’t put a post up for a while. I was also considering the rubbish weather we have had over the past few weeks. I seem to remember the sun coming out, and staying out all day one Saturday.

For no good reason I decided to create a new post about one of our most iconic mountains. I titled this ‘The Lonely Mountain’ because Mt Taranaki occupies a place all by itself, far from other mountains. There is a Maori legend you might like to look up about how Mt Taranaki got all the way over to where it is, so far from the other large Volcanoes in the North Island. Mt Taranaki is actually a live volcano but it’s last activity was in 1860. It’s a pleasingly symmetrical mountain.

lake-view-taranaki
A nice photo of some Geese and Ducks in Lake Mangamahoe, with extra Mountain for effect.
te-rewa-rewa-bridge-sunrise
The Te Rewa Rewa Bridge is quite famous for looking like a Whale’s skeleton or something.
taranaki-distance
On a clear night you can see for miles. About 200 kilometres in this instance as this image of Mt Taranaki was taken from the Central Plateau.
taranaki-sheep
Sheep, relaxing.
taranaki-road-trip-2
Road trip, the road less travelled.
taranaki-from-himi-2
Like the earlier photo of Mt Taranaki really far away, this is farther. About 230 kilometres from Himatangi Beach.
mt-naki-triumph-cheese
They don’t make that anymore.
mt-naki-derelict
Cardiff. True story, not the Welsh Cardiff though.
mt-naki-rail-bridge
Cloudy coolness.
mt-taranaki-from-plateau
That’s also really far away. I just can’t remember where from.
odd-tree-and-taranaki
Tree weirdness.
cabbage-trees
Pastoral, volcanic.
mt-naki-african-tree
Looks like Kilimanjaro.
mt-naki-barn
I like a nice barn in my photos.
mt-naki-hay
Hey, Hay!
mt-naki-hydrandeas
Hydrangeas but not in anyones garden. Opunake side.
mt-naki-red-barn
Red barns are best.

So there you go. Epic Symmetrical live volcano, all by itself in Taranaki. Mt ‘Naki, as I like to call it, which is probably frowned upon by those who value pronouncing things properly, is mostly covered in cloud, so this lot took a while to accumulate. The mountain actually makes it’s own clouds. You’ll see that happening while you are driving around looking for a good place to take it’s picture.

 

Before the sun comes up

Once upon a time. I spent a lot of time out and about before and during the sunrise. I should do that more often.

epic
State Highway One in the Rangitikei, from Leedstown Road. Most people don’t know where that is.
cows
Halcombe cows don’t care about the sun coming up.
shed
Shed, early.
road
Road to nowhere, literally.
06-june
June the 6th.
dawn-best
Same place, different day.
epic-morning
I love Kawau Bay.
stilts-at-dawn
Once again, Kawau Bay, different day. Place of contrasts and all that
red-sky
You know the phrase ‘red sky in the morning’? Well this is an epic warning.
seagull
The sunrise was so awesome, even the seagull stopped to watch
early-mist
Low fog, or mist, or whatever. Creeping over a farm fence. Manawatu.

Get up early. Sunrise is often way cooler than sunset.

Back In The Capital

We had a big earthquake recently. Bigger in the South than it was in the North, but big none the less. There are many buildings in Wellington still closed, cordoned off and some to be demolished. Big buildings. We also had a Tsunami warning. So I thought I’d go and take some photos of the capital city before it gets destroyed in the next big earthquake and washed away in the following Tsunami. You know, for the archives. I took an eclectic mix of photos, not the stuff people usually photograph in Wellington. It is quite a diverse, colourful and interesting place. See? Due to the number of photos, I’ve gone for the ’tiled mosaic look. Welcome to Wellington.

‘The Big Smoke’. Auckland

In New Zealand, as I believe they do in some other places, we refer to the big city as ‘The Big Smoke’. Auckland is the nearest thing we have to a big city, however it’s not very big and is more like a collection of villages. The population of Auckland is about 1.4 Million which is a big chunk of our total population of around 4.4 Million. New Zealand is quite empty of people. I have attempted to convey that by photographing some parts the inner city of our largest city. The Auckland CBD between 8.30 and 9.30am on a Saturday morning. Plus some other bits during the day.

zhous-alley
No Smoking
vulcan-lane-walk
Walk on by
vulcan-lane-parking
No Parking
s-and-c
Closed
vulcan-lane
Belgian beer at the Occidental, the pub was built by an American sailor.
stables
No horses
fountain
Tiled
arcade
Arcade
art-gallery-front
Art house
art-gallery
Open soon
library
No books here today
wynyard-1
Feeding winged rats at Wynard Quarter.
wharf-work
Smoko break, probably.
wharf
The Wharf bit of North Wharf.
queeb-street
Queen Street, Auckland City.
lagoon
Apartments and Sky tower
ponsonby-bus
Ponsonby Road.
esplanade
The Esplanade, I once won a surfing competition in there.
mt-eden-road
Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden Village, 8:30am, Sunday Morning.
up-mt-eden-road
Looking the other way, towards the city
mt-eden-village-art
Mt Eden art stuff
bakery
Paris, Mt Eden.
st-heliers
Busy Saturday at the beach
boat-sheds
Boat sheds beside Tamaki Drive.
city-cloud
City Skyline, from Stanley Bay.
paraitai
The view rich people on Paraitai Drive have.

Auckland, it’s not always what you think.

Capital

I’ve lived in Wellington for about 6 months now, it’s not the first time I’ve lived here. Last time I lived in Wellington in 1990, was for about 6 months. That’s not to suggest it’s time to leave though. Not a bit of it. Not yet anyway. A selection of random shots from around Wellington, not so much in Wellington, as around it.

erskine-walls
Erskine College, Island Bay. Derelict old convent school, probably haunted.
island-bay-mountain-backdrop
Winter in Island Bay. I live in Island Bay so you may experience a bias in these photos
island-bay-sunset
Sunset in Island Bay, see? Bias.
island-bay
That Island is called Tapu te Tanga. It’s in Island Bay.
oruaiti-reserve
That’s the way in to Wellington Harbour. If you come by boat that is.
titahi-bay-surf-beach
Surfer dudes at Titahi Bay.
wellington-long-exposure
Wellington from Wrights Hill, long exposure to get that cool line of light thing on the motorway from the Hutt Valley.
houghton-bay
Oh look, it’s Island Bay again. Actually this is Houghton Bay, the next bay along.
epic-sunday
Cool clouds above Owhiro Bay. The Kaikoura Ranges in the distance, 200 kilometres distant.
pauatahanui
Pauatahanui, Porirua Harbour, Not many Paua in there though I reckon.
lighthouses
Pencarrow Lighthouses at the Wellington Harbour Entrance, for when one Lighthouse isn’t enough.
container-ship
Pilot boat escorting a container ship out of Wellington.
makara-sunset-cloud
Cool Sunset clouds above Makara, making the huge wind turbines look puny.
driftwood
Sea thing. Karaka Bay
lowry-bay-boatshed-close-up
Boat shed thing in Lowry Bay. Hasn’t stored any boats for a while. Not sure what it’s for now.
chopper-dude
Chopper dude, Lyall Bay. Probably reading ‘Zen And The Art Of Bicycle Maintenance’.
lower-hutt-and-tararuas
Tararua Ranges above the Hutt Valley. Taken from Oriental Bay.
waves-1
Those rocks are really big. This was the day after the ‘Great Storm’. I call all good storms, the ‘Great Storm’. It amuses me.
owhiro-bay-interislander
The Interislander ferry heading for the South Island. I take this boat every month. There and back, obviously. Otherwise I’d live in the South Island now.
wave-colour
Wavey.
kite-surfer-two
Kite Surfer in Lyall Bay. Good and windy.
Dolphins AIr NZ
Two things, Air New Zealand didn’t crash into the hill and the sea is full of Dolphins, Lyall Bay.
Colourful garages 1
Colourful, in Lyall Bay.
Wave photo
He survived, so did his cell phone. He actually ran away. I also have a photo of that.
Sheds
I believe those shed are empty and the land soon to be used for something more modern. Flash apartments would be best. Wait and see.
Epic tube surf
OK, so this could be anywhere of course, but this cool surf shot was taken by me in Wellington. Houghton Bay to be precise. 
Wrights Hill Awesome cloud
That’s a Nor’Wester blowing above Wrights Hill at Sunset. Windy Welly.
oriental-bay
Miramar Peninsula, in the mid-ground.
oriental-bay-sunday
Oriental Bay, people walk along the waterfront there, or run in colour co-ordinated lycra wearing headphones carrying an unnecessary water bottle.
hawkins-hill
The Road to nowhere, one of those ‘there and back’ sort of roads.
green-and-red
Like everyone, I love a brightly coloured boat shed
flowers-and-mountains
Spring, Princess Bay. Pretty.
boat-shed
Boat shed in Ivey Bay, Paremata.  Actually many boat sheds. Just that one is more obvious.
wellington-cable-car
The Classic Cable Car shot, you can buy a postcard just like this one.

So there you go. There’s much more to Wellington of course. But I’ve had enough of thinking up things to write in captions now. You could always visit and see for your self.

Tourist

I spent a couple of days in Queenstown, for work. Lucky me. Much of the trip was inside but I was able to get out for a wander about. Fortunately you don’t have to walk far in Queenstown and surrounds to see the awesomeness. Herewith, a couple of snaps while I had a moment to take them. This can be a travel blog thing. For people who like to travel and read about travelling. I think it qualifies as a travel blog because I took photos of a tourist destination.

wing
The obligatory wing shot on the way into Queenstown.
remarkables
The mountain range is called ‘The Remarkables’. Can’t imagine why.
remarkable-lenticulars
Same mountains, different day. Those awesome clouds go by the name of ‘Lenticular’.
queenstown-sunset-tuesday
Sunset over Lake Wakatipu. Looking South if you are interested in that sort of thing
lake-whakatipu-1
Same view, slightly different spot, different time of day.
forest-colours
On the hills above Arrowtown. I thought the colours and textures of the trees were cool enough to Photograph. It’s my camera, I get to choose that sort of thing.
falcon-one
That’s a New Zealand Falcon, not the Swamp Harrier. The Falcon is pretty rare and even harder to photograph. This was a good day.
cottage
Because who doesn’t like a photo of an old derelict cottage?
chinese-workers-cottage-2
Chinese Gold Miners huts in Arrowtown. Small.
blossoms
I liked the juxtaposition of Spring blossoms and snowy peaks. Arty and all that.
queenstown-tree
There’s a famous tree in Lake Wanaka which everyone with a camera feels compelled to photograph. This isn’t it. This is a small Willow tree beside Lake Wakatipu which I’ve decided can be ‘That Queenstown Tree’. It looks striking early in the morning with the sun on it. Which is superfluous explanation really.

Queenstown, probably New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. It’s nice there.

New Gear

IMG_0126I’m going to try to create at least one blog post a month. I’ve been slack, well only in writing blog posts. I’ve been out and about an awful lot and taking a lot of photos. But have been neglecting this bit.

The big news is that I finally have my dream gear. Anyone who takes photography reasonably seriously will know that the right gear is important, they also like to have a lot of gear. The ability to ‘see’ a photograph is actually more important, all important. But you need the good gear to be as awesome as possible.

So camera gear is really important to keen Photographers. I actually don’t have much though. My thing as you should know by now is ‘minimum gear, maximum impact’. I still need a tripod. As an observation, the WordPress Blog Website sucks a bit of the awesomeness out of the shots, you really do need to click on each photo to see the best quality.

Back to the gear. My needs/wants were quite specific. I needed the ultimate multi-purpose but best quality lens for the landscape and shooting on the move stuff. I also wanted a good quality telephoto lens for wildlife and sports. Finally I really wanted a Full Frame camera. I now have all three. I should still get a tripod though, I have my eye on one. The details on the Camera and lenses if you are interested are:

Camera – Canon 6D

Telephoto Lens – Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

General Purpose lens – Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS

So…What can one do with the good gear? Let’s have a look.

Kaka colour
That’s a Kaka. A New Zealand Parrot. It’s a cool characterful bird less well known than our most famous Parrot, the Kea. But look at the clarity and colour.
Saint Gerards
Saint Gerards Monastery above Oriental Bay in Wellington. I don’t think there are any monks there anymore.
Ships bow
The Blue bow of a boat. The boat is a cafe, Wellington has a lot of cafe’s.
South Island dusk
Looking across the sea to the Kaikoura Ranges in the South Island from Island Bay in Wellington. About 230 kilometres away. You’re supposed to also notice the calm reflective rock pools in the foreground.
Jetty mirror
Derelict Piers at Miramar in Wellington. Mostly used by Seagulls.
Plateau Bend
State Highway One approaching Waiouru at 8:00am on a Sunday Morning. I was just passing through. That’s frost on the ground, not snow.
Barn
Barn, Wairarapa. Needs work.
Railway Escarpment
I don’t think the Railway Escarpment Nature Reserve is out there. I could be wrong. I might have been standing on it.
Ruapehu Mirror
Mt Ruapehu, reflected in a puddle to add a little something to a hard mountain to photograph.
Saddleback foraging
That’s a Saddleback foraging, shot in quite dark woodland. fast moving bird, in the dark forest. Looks like daytime.
Titahi Bay bright Boat Sheds
I didn’t really want the pink polar fleece clad local in the shot, but it’s her shed. Boat Sheds at Titahi Bay.
Wrights Hill Awesome cloud
That’s what the classic Nor’Wester looks like. Just like that.
City ship
Handheld shot of Wellington from the Interislander Ferry. Taken in the dark, without a tripod. Tripods are useless on the ferry.
Tory Channel fishing
You should have seen what happened about 5 minutes before I took this photo. Put it this way, this was almost a news story rather than a photograph.
Box Bridge
Bridge. That’s all you need.
Cafe
That building on the left is a Cafe, in Nelson. This is Tahunanui.
Church
Early in Marlborough. There are 5 Alpaca’s just out of shot to the right. They are cute, they are not locals as a general rule so I excluded them as they made the simple photo require too much description. Alpaca’s would not have enhanced this photo.
City half light
Wellington waterfront. from the ferry. I like lights on the water.
High Tide
This is a boat called Click in Nelson. With snowy mountains over there.
Spoonbill wading
The Royal Spoonbill. You don’t see a lot of those about.
Wellington evening long exposure
This is from the top of my street at night. Well early evening to be precise. Had I mentioned I have moved to Wellington?
Heath Goal strike
Finally, I did mention sport, this is my nephew, scoring a goal for his soccer team.

I’m in love with my new camera gear. I still need a tripod though

From The Side Of The Road

One of the great things about New Zealand is all the awesomeness, everywhere. In many countries you have to travel to see cool stuff. Get in a vehicle and make a special trip. We have that awesomeness everywhere. Right there beside the road. Part of my photographic ‘thing’, is that none of the photographs I take require any special equipment or even robust footwear. All the photos on this blog were taken near the side of the road except the one where I went for a bit of a walk. Theoretically you could take any of these photos with your phone camera while wearing a pair of jandals. All I did for each one of these shots, is pull over as I was driving past. We see this stuff on the way to the shop.

Charolais Cattle
Charolais Cattle first thing in the morning. I do like a nice cow. You may have more photos of cows to follow
Cottage on a hill
Old cottage and Macrocarpa trees, we have a lot of derelict cottages about the place.
Hawkes Bay from Te Mata shadow
Clean green New Zealand, get’s a bit dry in the summer sometimes. This is Hawkes Bay. Looking South from Te Mata Peak. You can drive up there.
Tree
Almost good enough to eat, but I think they make beer with this lot.
Clydesdale War Memorial Hall
The Clydesdale War Memorial Hall, Manawatu. I don’t think it sees too many parties anymore.
Shade
Sheep know a shady spot when they see one. Well most of them do.
Ohau River
Rail bridge over the Ohau River looking towards the Tararua Ranges. This is a common sight in NZ. Rail bridges of this type that is. The Tararua Ranges aren’t a common sight unless you are in the vicinity.
Central Hawkes Bay
That’s where Hawkes Bay starts. Looking North from a prominent view spot.
Misty Mountains
Misty Mountains, that’s not their name though, they just are sometimes.
Whanganui River Valley
Whanganui River Valley. One of the best drives in New Zealand. Almost nobody goes up there.
Estaury stumps
Bit of driftwood in the Foxton Estuary. Looks a bit moody.
High country shack
I like an old corrugated iron shack as well. This is at the end of Heights Road. Nobody goes up here either. You can walk into the Tararua Ranges from the end of this road.
Himi Rays
Remember I mentioned being on the way to the shop? This was on the way to the shop.
Mountain Cows2
Cows and mountains. Perfect photographic combination. Well one mountain. That’s Mt Ruapehu.
Himi Red sky 1
Down on the beach, Himatangi Beach. This is about 200 metres from my front door. It can be quite scenic in the evening.
Ruahines
This was a while ago, bit of snow there on the Ruahines.
Manawatu Rail line
This scene appealed to me. That’s the main New Zealand rail line. Just there.
Windmill
Pastoral, this is also on the way to the shop. Clothes shop rather than food shop, but a shop nonetheless.
Tararua manawatu morning
Taken a couple of paddocks down a few days earlier than the last photo. The one below. I like a fetching paddock scene.
Cows dawn
Dairy cows in Manawatu. Making milk. Looks a bit like a painting this one. It isn’t though.

Most New Zealanders simply pass by this stuff everyday, taking it for granted. I am constantly amazed at the natural beauty, wilderness and amazing pastoral imagery all around me. Maybe you have to go away for a while to appreciate it here. I know I view New Zealand differently since I’ve been back after so long away.

Road Trip

My happy place is in my car, on the road. I love driving around New Zealand as often as possible. If things are a bit dull around the house, I’ll go for a drive. I don’t have to go far to see epic things as luck would have it because I live in New Zealand. Epic is just around the corner. Last week I went for a slightly longer drive. Down to Christchurch, over Arthurs Pass to Franz Josef, down to Lake Matheson, up to Westport and back to Picton via the Buller Gorge and the Marlborough Sounds. This was my delayed Christmas holiday. I took a few photos along the way.

Sinclair Head
Sinclair Heads from Cook Strait. That’s the last bit of the North Island you see as you cross to the South Island.
Seal pups misbehaving
Looks like someone’s in trouble. Seals in Kaikoura.
Arthurs Pass approach
The Road into Arthurs Pass.
Arthurs Pass barren
Arthurs Pass Highway. It’s a bit barren up there. A lot of tourists though. There are only 3 roads that cross the South Island. This is the middle one.
Arthurs clouds best
Awesome clouds above Arthurs Pass
Waimakariri River Arthurs Pass
The amazing Waimakariri River Valley at Arthurs Pass. Mid summer. Bit of rain must be due?
Whataroa River
Glacial Water in the Whataroa River. It’s very cold.
Heron River Bank
That’s where the White Herons nest in New Zealand. Just there. Only that little bit of forest, nowhere else. It’s quite amazing really. When I say that bit of forest. Just that little bit there. That’s all of it, their entire nesting area.
Two Heron babies
Young pair of White Herons.
Lake Matheson purple
Lake Matheson in the pre dawn light. The clouds rolled in and covered up the mountains quite quickly. So you only get a shot in the dark on this particularly day.
Lake Matheson Reflection Island
Lake Matheson with Mt Cook visible in the gap in the clouds. Mt Cook is Aoraki, the cloud piercer. True story, see?
Moutain spotlight cool
Morning dawning near Fox Glacier
Moutain side sheep2
In that gap in the mountains is Fox Glacier. There’s probably less of it than there used to be
Punakaiki One
Punakaiki Rocks. Like stacks of pancakes
Punakaiki Rocks North East2
That’s the ‘West Coast’. Near Punakaiki Rocks. The entire West Coast of New Zealand is the West Coast, but this bit is called the West Coast.
West Coast Look North hill top
Looking north up the West Coast. It’s rugged and remote. I like it here.
Buller Gorge
Buller Gorge. You can probably fish in that.
Buller Gorge sun
The Buller Gorge. Better than the Manawatu Gorge if anyones asking.
Buller River upstream
Buller River.
Te Mahia Bay
This is Te Mahia Bay in the Marlborough Sounds. It’s nice here.
Tory Strait Exit
Crossing through the Tory Channel from Queen Charlotte Sound into Cook Strait.

So that’s just the top half of the South Island. I didn’t take any photos of the Kaikoura Coast on the way down apart from the seals as I have a load from the last time I was there and the sky was pretty gloomy on this trip. Bonus seals though.

Happy travels…Just watch out for tourists paying more attention to the scenery than the road.