Category Archives: photography

Pretty in Pink

Revisiting Venice in March I am overwhelmed and enchanted by the colour pink.  In sky, water, buildings, lamps, mosaics, paintings, furniture, fabrics, outdoors and indoors – pink is everywhere!   So I give you a pink post.  The photos (taken over seven days)  begin in the early morning, move through the day and finish at night.

Sometimes bright, sometimes subtle – “Pretty in pink, isn’t she?” – “The Psychedelic Furs” ( and by the way, who remembers that song?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Coast of Most

Wellington Cable Car

Home is where the heart is – and this past week I’ve been there.  Let me show you ‘my place’ – where I lived for the first eighteen years of my life (the formative years).

Zealandia Ecosanctuary in Karori

I grew up in Karori (the only bit of this post that isn’t on the coast).  Here we find Zealandia, an ecosanctuary where ornithologists are dedicated to studying and re-establishing native bird populations in the Wellington bush and suburbs.  What an inspirational area to visit – and I recommend you do.

A kaka sizes me up.

Matthew and I stay at Island Bay, one of the southern beaches.  The view is so different depending on the weather that throughout this post there are several photos of views from our lounge window.  The hills beyond are the eastern ranges of Pencarrow.  This is a pearl of a morning.  (We watch the planes coming in if it is a northerly and going out if it is a southerly.)

Island Bay calm morning (but cold!)

Several times per day the Interislander ferries sail past us commuting between North and South Islands.

Island Bay stroll.  (These must be locals because they are dressed as if it is warm – which it isn’t.)

The next beach along is Owhiro Bay.  The mountains in the distance are the Kaikoura mountains of the South Island.  They have fresh snow on them – gorgeous – due to a sudden southerly blast the previous day.

Owhiro Bay houses

Owhiro Bay life.

Kaikoura mountains, ferry and SPRAY!

Right in the heart of Wellington city is Oriental Bay.

Oriental Bay

Oriental Bay sky on a breezy afternoon.

Late afternoon lounge view.  The end of a sapphire day in Wellington.

The following morning the weather has changed.  Clouds and northerly gales are the order of the day.

Island Bay view from the lounge

We drive across the Rimutaka Range to Palliser Bay.  To call it windy is a gross understatement!

The coastline at remote and wild Lake Ferry.

Southern black-backed gull

White-fronted terns and black-backed gulls.

Matthew, flying cormorant and tern flock.

Wild windy sky over Lake Onoke.

Further around the coast (another 50 kms) is Ngawi where crayfish are caught.  Lack of a harbour means that bulldozers have to haul the fishing boats up onto the sand.  “A graveyard for bulldozers” is how it is described to me.

Ngawi

New Zealand fur seals live here.

“Hello”

Two friends.

Cape Palliser is the southern-most tip of the North Island.

We approach the lighthouse

250 steps – rather scary as they are so steep!

We make it to the top! And the wind is screaming!!!

On the drive home the northerly gales are so strong that rubber piping on the roof of our hire car actually peels off and starts to flap about!  We have to get out (hold onto the car) and pound it back in with our fists and finger tips.

Sky patterns on the drive back.

Back in the lounge at the end of the day.  (We had been on the other side of those far hills.)

By next morning the wind has changed back to southerly – so in our lounge view planes are taking off.

Southerly morning at Island Bay

A ferry pushes through the swell.

We drive over to Makara to see our dear friends Jenifer and George Welch (who used to own Makara Riding School where I spent as much of my teenage years as I could riding horses).  Jenifer and George give us a huge treat, a history and geography tour over the hills into Terawhiti Station, completely out of bounds to the general public.

Karori Rock lighthouse at Tongue Point.  Kaikouras in the distance.

The wild coast of Cape Terawhiti, and far away a ferry approaches (a distant white dot).

…the white dot has materialized into the ferry…crossing the Cook Strait.

Looking north, wind turbines on the skyline of Makara hills.  Mana and Kapiti Islands beyond.

Our dear friends, Jenifer and George with Tick, at their bach.

Later that afternoon, back in Island Bay…

On the move – cruise ship, plane and seagull.  (Our view again).

I hope the passengers remembered to take their seasick pills.

Finally it is our turn to fly out of Wellington.  We take off to the north.  Can you see our Air New Zealand shadow?

Flying over the bays

Goodbye Fair City – for now.

The Coast of Most what?  Most hills, cliffs, waves, spray, swells, seabirds, winds, rain, clouds, sun, planes, ships, inter-island ferries, rugged landscapes, distant mountains, seaside cafés with great views, friendly locals, narrow winding twisty roads, and constantly changing light.  And because Wellington is just a little bit seismic, what you see today might look different tomorrow.  You just never know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Your Heart Speak

How to get to the island of Burano from Venice – arise early.  Alicia and I are two of only four passengers aboard the 07:10 vaporetto on a bright Sunday in November 2018.

The ferry skits past Murano.  Venice is framed in the distance.

Here we are in Burano, an artist’s paradise of multi-coloured dwellings.  And we seem to be almost the only people up.

We immerse ourselves in the joy of colour.  We become part of the colour.

Like the other islands in the lagoon, Burano has a network of canals.

At first the water remains inside them.

But then –

Look at this!!!

The tide is coming in.  Even the town square is morphing into a lake as water pops up through holes.  The locals are laughing at me as I exclaim madly and photograph their morning coffee turning wet.  They’re perfectly used to it.

Raised platforms are erected, ready for the spread of water.

A nonchalant local goes about his day as usual…

…while a tourist improvises…

I am overwhelmed by the almost silent beauty of the changing landscape.  A little lapping sound perhaps…and a breeze.

Alicia and I continue our walk and our photography.

(Let there be light)

We wander across a pedestrian bridge to Mazzorbo, a tiny piece of land adjoining Burano.  There is a market garden/vineyard which is open to wander through.  In the garden is a sign which reads, “Let your heart speak“.  This is a message to the school children of Burano who are invited to partake in the creativity of the garden.  I am touched, and write it down so I don’t forget.

We peek inside the 13th century Chiesa di Santa Caterina, then pay our respects to those who reside in her graveyard.   This is a view back to Burano through chrysanthemums outside the cemetery.

By the time we meander back to Burano the tide has receded.  Wet pathways glisten.  Any remaining water has been pushed back into the canals by brisk brooms.

The tourists have arrived.  Shops are open.  The town begins its Sunday trade.  Alicia spends time in the lace museum while I walk and photograph.  (The dog comes over to say hello and gets a warm reception from me.)

The cat (typically) ignores me.

Colours, colours, colours!!!

I discover that Burano has its very own leaning bell tower (17th century).

And finally I return to Alicia back at the designated meeting place.  I manage to capture her while she is unaware of me.

Thank you Burano.  This morning excursion is one of the highlights of our Italian trip.  It is nothing short of a magical mystery tour…a mother-and-daughter special!

Let us all endeavour to take the message in the Mazzorbo garden into 2019 – and beyond.  Happy New Year!  Let your heart speak.

 

 

Enchanted Venice

It’s true.  Venice is a tourist trap.  It is groaning under the weight of people as much as it is soaked by increasing washes of acqua alta.  It is claustrophobic and impossible not to get thoroughly lost…continuously!  When the tides are very high the waterbuses (vaporetto) stop running leaving one stranded.  It is wet, wet, wet.  Who would go there?  Who, having been, would ever want to go back?

(After five days I said to my traveling companions, “I don’t think I’ll ever come back here”.  They nodded in agreement.)

It’s a lie!  I don’t mean what I said about not wanting to go back.

The enchanted city has caught me. In the few weeks since I was there its spell has been intensifying, working its way into my emotional landscape as surely as an incoming tide.

Venice – wait for me!  I will surely return.

Venetian selfie

 

Finders Keepers

When I explore with my camera I really have no idea what I am looking for.  But when I see it, I recognize it.  Here are 20 photos, taken with an open mind from a recent trip to Europe.

Innsbruck, Austria:  At first glance I see street art. Then I notice I have been fooled by advertising masquerading as street art.  Still, I like it.

Innsbruck, Austria:  On a dingy railway underpass I am impressed by this abstract composed of ripped posters and graffiti.  Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A huge poster – the spirit of Innsbruck…

…and the setting for it…

Verona, Italy:  A very small car takes my fancy.

Desenzano, Italy:  Sorry, Sandro Botticelli, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this.

Desenzano, Italy: An Aussie on an Italian street.  (Actually it’s Matthew.)

Desenzano, Italy: I am moved by this piece of prose pasted on the outside of a church wall.

Desenzano, Italy: A roasting hot Sunday, an art stall in the local markets. I would like to think the cyclist is looking at the art however she is studying her phone.  (Yes, this is out of focus on purpose.)

On a wall in Ivrea.  This town was once Olivetti’s operations base – hence the typewriter!

Geneva, Switzerland: An eye-catching window display employing the use of the complementary colours of yellow and violet.

Geneva, Switzerland: Looking into the window of a Caran d’Ache boutique.  Divine!

Geneva, Switzerland: Juxtaposition of shapes and textures on a wall.

Geneva, Switzerland: Warning – (curious) guard dog.

Chamonix Mont Blanc, French alps: a rook jumps from his perch into nothingness.  Air and snow.

Chamonix Mont Blanc, France: Soft toys on display and soft dogs to lure you in.

Furkapass, Switzerland: Motoring sedately on a Sunday afternoon.

Approaching Munich, Germany: Shapes as we flash by on the autobahn while listening to  “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk playing on the car stereo.  (Fantastic!)

Freising, Germany: a haunting image on a signpost.

Freising, Germany: I don’t know what this says but I am drawn to it anyway.

I search out images when I walk with my camera.  When I find them, I make them my own.  Some will become drawings.  Finders keepers.

 

 

 

 

 

Bay Watch

On the South Island coast I’m on the alert for local fauna.  My first sighting is a sea lion flinging an octopus about in Blueskin Bay.  That dark shape in the water is the sea lion’s head, octopus dangling from mouth.  (If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can make it out.)

Next morning I see the sea lion again.  This time breakfast is flounder (so I’m told).

…down the hatch it goes…

On the Otago coastline between Oamaru and Dunedin is an outcrop of rocks called Shag Point.  There, all year round, you can see a colony of New Zealand fur seals.  On this day it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale.  I can’t step out of the car without getting soaked so I take these photos from my car window.

At the turn off to Shag Point is a cottage.  Wow!  What an outlook.  Location Location!!

The next day we return to Shag Point as the rain has stopped.  I take a five minute walk from the car park and look down over the cliff.  Can you make out the seals on the rocks?  (It can be hard to tell a seal from a rock.)

This must be the nursery.

…and this is surely Father.  “Wake Up Father“.

After a few days in Otago we find ourselves back in Canterbury.  We stay in this heavenly homestead near Little River (not far from Christchurch).  The house was built in 1900.  We feel we are in a Katherine Mansfield short story.

I am always drawn back to Birdlings Flat, a beach entirely made up of stones.  A group of South Island pied oystercatchers make their way along the beach.

A black-backed gull ruffles his feathers.

Red-billed gulls rest and think about what to do next.  (My aim is to photograph without disturbing the birds, which I succeed in doing.)

The surf continuously pounds this southern-facing coastline.  I lie in the stones and watch the white-fronted terns as they preen themselves…

…call to one another…

…fly in…

…and fly out.

In the lagoon behind the beach a solitary white heron sounds an alarm.  Is it me he is worried about?  There is quite a body of water between us.

But still he flies away.  (Perhaps he always meant to fly away and it is nothing to do with me.  I hope so.)

Driving over the hills of Banks Peninsula we encounter a flock of sheep.  The farmer looks like Jed Clampett.

The view from the top of the hill is outstanding.  That must be Akaroa on the far side.

I suggest to Matthew he might like to check out some Barry’s Bay cheese.  While he is sampling the famous cheeses I hop across the road to photograph the birds.

A paradise shelduck forages during low tide.

On a small island in the bay birds not of a feather stick together.

Toi toi.

A pukeko takes me and my camera in her stride.

…and the next day we fly back to Australia.

 

 

A box of birds

“A box of birds” means happiness.

One morning two weeks ago my sister-in-law Clare, Matthew and I sit outside at Blueskin Nurseries Café in Waitati.  Clare suggests taking us to Orokonui Ecosanctuary just up the hill as we all love birds.  The sparrows watching us think this is a good idea.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary is an ecological island wildlife reserve developed by the Otago Natural History Trust in the Orokonui Valley, 20 km north of Dunedin.  The 307 ha nature reserve was surrounded by a predator fence in 2007.  The forest is being restored to its former glory by keeping pests out, revegetating and bringing back species that were locally extinct. 

The first birds we see are takahe.  These flightless birds were for a long time thought to be extinct.  What a joy to see a species of bird for the first time ever.  Here is the chick!

The following three photos show one of the parents feeding this chick.  Look how they use their legs, scooping up grass.

New Zealand forests are too often eerily quiet as populations of songbirds have been decimated by introduced predators over the decades.  But the forest at Orokonui is an absolute symphony of song.  No words of mine can describe what it is like to hear this orchestra of birdsong.   Here are some of the musicians.   First – the tui whose loud song is interspersed with clicks and rattles…

The melodious bellbird or korimako…who is belting out a tune while I photograph.

I have written a post about a New Zealand parrot called the kea, but here is a parrot I had never seen before called the kaka.  These gregarious birds are extremely entertaining to watch as they get up to their various antics.  I want to capture the red under-carriage during flight but they are too fast for me.

The brave little robin likes to come very close to us because she is after the insects we disturb as we walk along.

A bird who evades my camera most of the time because he is so quick is the fantail.  This bird flits and teases as he pursues flying insects.  Only when he ever-so-briefly perches do I have any hope of a photo.

How I love the tomtit – a tiny bird with enormous presence.

Even when we can’t see any birds at any particular moment, we can always listen to their music.

…and enjoy the scenery…

When our excursion is over we descend back down the hill to Waitati.

A pony walks over to be patted.

A spoonbill flies across Blueskin Bay.

The day is a box of birds.

Happiness.