Back Home

By back home, I mean I traded the Olympus Mirrorless camera back in for a Canon. I missed having what I feel is a proper camera. A big Digital Single Reflex Camera. I like Canons so I bought the Canon 6D MkII. Actually it’s not quite as simple as that. The 6D MkII is the camera almost made for me. It’s more clever as one of Canons best ever camera’s, the 5D mkIII. I’ve also had one of those, a second hand one which I traded in for the Olympus Camera as I thought I would enjoy the drop in camera weight. It wasn’t worth the change sadly, still, you live and learn.

I wanted my own new Canon DSLR camera though and the 6D MkII came along at the perfect time. It’s got great image quality, plenty of pixels, it does a bunch of stuff I don’t care about or understand and it has built in wifi which is awesome in so many ways. It does what it says on the tin and has delivered a number of quite fetching images already. My only issue with it is that the shutter isn’t as quiet as I’d like. I know right? That’s literally the only issue. I love this camera and I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. Herewith some imagery from my 6D MkII. It’s not all about the camera though. For those who are interested, I mostly, currently only, have a Canon 24-105 L series walking round lens on the front of my camera.

Ariana and Millie
People standing in my shot, I may have asked them to.
Shed door
Door, needs work
Shepherds Delight
Shepherds Delight, Himatangi Beach. This is home.
St Andrews Side
St Andrews Church, Turakina.
Turakina Cottage
I like this building.
Wake boarding one handed
KIte surfer, practicing at the new place in Foxton. It’s called ‘Off The Loop’ Cable wake boarding among other awesome adventure activities.
Weds 03-01-18 part 2
Home, of an evening.
Akld Roads
Auckland at night
Akld
City Lights, Auckland
Cottage
It’s still there.
Dry as
Been a bit dry off late.
IMG_0434
Portrait of Miss J, Wearing my hat.
Mt Taranaki early am
Mt ‘Naki
Muapoko Street
That’s my street at night. Awesome sunset.

Eclectic mix. See you soon.

On The Road

I’m not even going to pad this out with words, well not many words. If you come here a bit you’ll know I spend a lot of time on the road. I’m lucky that I live in New Zealand which is the worlds greatest road trip. People travel from all over the world to see this stuff  and I just have to leave the house. These images are some that I have captured since my previous Dolphins post, which was just over a month ago. As far as a travel experience goes, it’s truly epic out there in New Zealand. I almost couldn’t believe I’d covered this much territory in under a month. I should get out more…

Bush Rays
Near Pipiriki, Whanganui Region.
Fence Light
Raetihi, Central Plateau
Ratana Side
Ratana Church, Raetihi, Central Plateau
Ruapehu Reflection
Waitonga Falls Walkway, Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau.
Ruapehu Sunrise
Sunrise near Raetihi, Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau
Green Boat House
Otago Harbour
Eglington Valley-3
Eglignton Valley, Fiordland National Park
Portobello Sunset
Portobello, Otago Peninsula
Lake Benmore Blue
Lake Benmore, Mackenzie Country. Canterbury
Lake Benmore Road trip
Mackenzie Country, Canterbury
Pukaki shore road
Lake Pukaki and the Southern Alps, Mackenzie Country.
Taiaroa Head
Taiaroa Head, Otago.
Te Anau Autumn Dawn
Te Anau, Southland
Nelson Marina-3
Nelson Marina, Nelson.
Pelorus Sound light show
Pelorus Sound from Queen Charlotte Drive, Marlborough Sounds.
Mt Taranaki Print
Mount Taranaki from Lake Mangamahoe, New Plymouth, Taranaki.
Island Bay Brew'd front on
The Pub in my local village. End of the trip. That’s not my car though.

So, where too next?

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.

 

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.

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.

Sheds and barns

A really cool feature of our landscape in New Zealand is some of the stuff that sits in it or on it. Few fans of ‘architecture’ would spend too much time marvelling at many of our buildings in this country. Certainly none of them are particularly old, or characterful. I disagree on the characterful, it depends what you call character. I love our barns and sheds. So many have a rustic ‘New Zealandness’ all of their own. They are part of the fabric of our pastoral landscape. New Zealand as a modern nation was ‘founded on the sheep’s back’. This simply meant much of our income was derived originally from sheep farming. We subsequently have a lot of old Wool sheds. We also have a lot of barns. Here is a random selection  of a few I drove past on my adventures. All of these were photographed from the side of the road.

Old barn, farm paddocks and the Ruahine Ranges. Stark light, morning tea time.
That barn isn’t there anymore, shame, it was a nice barn
Wonky shed
The photo is straight, the barn is wonky
Schools out
Technically, this is a school
Gentle Annie Barn
Wool shed, in what my father used to call ‘tiger country’ because it’s the middle of nowhere. Odd phrase as we have no Tigers in New Zealand of course.
Mountain Barn
Always site your small barn on the very edge of a precipice over a river, always.
Rangiwhaia woolshed two
Rangitikei Wool Shed, needs painting really.
Cow-Barn
I call this photo cow-barn. I know, but naming photos when you have a lot of them gets challenging sometimes.
Rangiwhaia woolshed
This is near a place called Rangiwahia, which is more of a vibe than a place.
SH32 Whakamaru
Because I also like a hill with it’s head in the clouds
snowy barn
That barn is also gone now. Must have been in the ‘great storm’
Wool barn after
This is an example of superb photo editing. There was another sheep in this photo, but it was standing in an unattractive manner. It had to go, it was delicious.
see through shed
When all you really need is a roof
Red Shed green haybales
Those bales are an example of stock feed being past it’s use by date.
Green Barn
How Green is my valley?
Do-er upper. This is on the way home, or out, depends on where I am going
This is also high in the Rangitikei Hill Country, an old woolshed looking cool ij the snowy morning sun
Who doesn’t love a derelict barn with a tree growing out of the window on a remote country road. Just a hint of the Ruahine Ranges in the background.
Barn, needs work.
Rustic Barn
This old wool shed is beside the Vinegar Hill Road, I don’t know why it’s called the Vinegar Hill Road. The Road is also called State Highway 54
Windmill Farm
The Te Apiti Windmill Farm on the hills near the Manawatu Gorge. Many people hate windmills because they are an ugly blight on the landscape. If you’ve ever seen this windmill farm, you might change your mind. I think the word you might choose over ugly, is awesome. Even though awesome blight on the landscape still doesn’t sound like a good thing. They are an amazing sight and apparently also generate an awful lot of electricity. Which is a good thing.

Some of these photos have featured in this blog before, so I’m cheating a bit by putting them up again. The thing is though that it’s my blog and I make the rules, so that’s allowed.

Road trips

One of the best things about New Zealand is how easy it is to hop in a car and go. Driving from A to B in New Zealand is generally a pleasure rather than  a mission as it can be in so many countries overseas. I say generally because while the roads outside Auckland are mostly empty, the roads in Auckland are not. Still, this is about the wide open spaces beside the road in the central bit of the North Island. Time to hit the road….

The Roadhouse, perfect Roadhouse blues setting. Middle of nowhere Manawatu
The Roadhouse, perfect Roadhouse blues setting. Middle of nowhere Manawatu
That's a road, there's a speed limit, see?
That’s a road, there’s a speed limit, see?
A bit of driftwood beside the road at Himatangi, the beach is a road remember?
A bit of driftwood beside the road at Himatangi, the beach is a road remember?
I call this 'Angel'. You'll never guess why
I call this ‘Angel’. You’ll never guess why
Manawatu, from the road, old hay barn. Tararua Ranges. nothing to see here...
Manawatu, from the road, old hay barn. Tararua Ranges. nothing to see here…
From beside the Manwatu River Estuary. It's Whitebaiting season. There's one. A Whitebaiter that is. Don't think it's Beaver.
From beside the Manwatu River Estuary. It’s Whitebaiting season. There’s one. A Whitebaiter that is. Don’t think it’s Beaver.
You know what that is? That's an unremarkable view from the side of the road in New Zealand. I bet nobody has ever taken this photo before
You know what that is? That’s an unremarkable view from the side of the road in New Zealand. I bet nobody has ever taken this photo before.
Old barn, farm paddocks and the Ruahine Ranges. Stark light, morning tea time.
Old barn, farm paddocks and the Ruahine Ranges. Stark light, morning tea time.
The light was rubbish, photographers would say don't take photos in this sort of light. I don't care.
The light was rubbish, photographers would say don’t take photos in this sort of light. I don’t care.
One for the DIY enthusiast, after a heavy rainfall, in the King Country
One for the DIY enthusiast, after a heavy rainfall, in the King Country
Looking south down the Waikato River from the Glen Murray Bridge. I have no idea if that's the name of the bridge, but that's roughly where it is.
Looking south down the Waikato River from the Glen Murray Bridge. I have no idea if that’s the name of the bridge, but that’s roughly where it is.
Road trip south, Eastern side of of Lake Taupo, SH32. 1st sighting of the Volcanoes of the central plateau.
Road trip south, Eastern side of of Lake Taupo, SH32. 1st sighting of the Volcanoes of the central plateau.
Lake Taupo is actually a giant volcanic crater, still, looks peaceful enough today.
Lake Taupo is actually a giant volcanic crater, still, looks peaceful enough today.
Boating on the crater of a super volcano sounds more dangerous than it looks, Southern end of Lake Taupo seen from SH32
Boating on the crater of a super volcano sounds more dangerous than it looks, Southern end of Lake Taupo seen from SH32
Classic Kiwi Road Trip shot, from beside the Te Ponanga Saddle Road. Which is a cool name for the road from Turangi to National Park, SH47.
Classic Kiwi Road Trip shot, from beside the Te Ponanga Saddle Road. Which is a cool name for the road from Turangi to National Park, SH47.
Lake Rotoaira, looks beautiful, it is.
Lake Rotoaira, looks beautiful, it is.
Looking up a Mountain Stream towards Mt Ruapehu. Near National Park
Looking up a Mountain Stream towards Mt Ruapehu. Near National Park
Mt Ngauruhoe is about to disappear under the clouds.
Mt Ngauruhoe is about to disappear under the clouds.
Finally, this is also a photo I'm confident nobody else has ever taken. A paddock and some trees side the road half way between Palmerston North and Himatangi Beach. I think it's the sky that carries it though, to be fair.
Finally, this is also a photo I’m confident nobody else has ever taken. A paddock and some trees beside the road half way between Palmerston North and Himatangi Beach. I think it’s the sky that carries it though, to be fair.

See? That’s just a short there and back trip. Come to New Zealand, go for a drive

While out driving.

I spend a lot of time in the car, by choice. It’s my happy place. When I’m out driving I have one eye on the road and one eye on the scenery, keeping a look out for any place that might offer a nice photograph. Here’s a selection of sights I’ve seen lately, while out and about.

Top Dressing plane in an attractive orange to set to off against the wilderness, like on purpose.
Top Dressing plane with attractive orange detailing to set it off against the wilderness, like on purpose.
The New Zealand Swamp Harrier. Common Raptor, hard to photograph, getting this shot only took me about two years.
The New Zealand Swamp Harrier. Common Raptor, hard to photograph, getting this shot only took me about two years.
Cows and trees, pastoral farm land in the middle of nowhere, upper Rangitikei.
Cows and trees, pastoral farm land in the middle of nowhere, upper Rangitikei.
Early snow on the Ruahine's and a fetching barn. Nice
Early snow on the Ruahine’s and a fetching barn. Nice
Low cloud on the Ruahine Ranges.
Low cloud on the Ruahine Ranges.
Early morning sun, mist, trees, fence and spiders webs combine for a this arty number. It reminds New Zealanders of when they were little, apparently grown ups don't look for dewy spiders webs.
Early morning sun, mist, trees, fence and spiders webs combine for a this arty number. It reminds New Zealanders of when they were little, apparently grown ups don’t look for dewy spiders webs.
Day Breaking in the Manawatu. Love how the sun strikes over the distant ranges. You have to get up early for this stuff.
Day breaking in the Manawatu. Love how the sun strikes over the distant ranges. You have to get up early for this stuff.
Call that a valley? This is a valley, upper Rangtikei.
Call that a valley? This is a valley, upper Rangtikei.
The Te Apiti Wind Farm early morning. I'm sure there are all sorts of interesting facts about the Te Apiti Wind Farm.
The Te Apiti Wind Farm early morning. I’m sure there are all sorts of interesting facts about the Te Apiti Wind Farm.
Rangitikei River. You can see this particular view unless you are paying attention to where the river is going. There's no official view point here.
Rangitikei River. You can’t see this particular view unless you are paying attention to where the river is going and pull over on the Vinegar Hill Road. There’s no official view point here.
Misty Morning in Hunterville. I'll give the caravanning a miss this year.
Misty Morning in Hunterville. I’ll give the caravanning a miss this year.
Look, a photo of New Zealand. Literally.
Look, a photo of New Zealand. Literally.
There's that Mt Ruapehu again. I found this lake, in the forest. As you do. OK, I had to walk about 15 minutes to get to this one.
There’s that Mt Ruapehu again. I found this lake, in the forest. As you do. OK, I had to walk about 15 minutes to get to this one.
The Rangitikei Valley at 8am. It's cool to look down on the clouds
The Rangitikei Valley at 8am. It’s cool to look down on the clouds
Mt Ruapehu, about 10,000 metres. Live Volcano. Right there behind that farm.
Mt Ruapehu, about 10,000 metres. Live Volcano. Right there behind that farm.