Sunday, September 23, 2007

The hallowed ground of Mr Explorer Thomson

Another week into spring! The highlights:

On Wed. I had a half day trip cross country skiing with my old friend Vicky. She was just back from Alaska, and wanted a ski before the snow runs out. What took me 35 mins. in winter turned into over an hour - in fact I walked and jogged a lot of the trip to Bob Lee hut, as it was mostly rotten ice on a hard base. However I thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and luckily I had just the right day pack on to carry my skis.

Not satisfied with a normal week, to get a good photo or two 4 of us made an ascent of Mt Grand on Friday. That's to the nor east of Wanaka and is aptly named - explorer Surveyor Thomson named the range Grandview during his explorations in 1857, and was the first white man to see Lakes Wanaka and Hawea with Mt Aspiring in the background. He approached the area from the Waitaki Valley by horse crossing the Lindis Pass. He was also quite an artist and produced a memorable painting of the view with his horse and some rock outcrops in the foreground [I found the rock outcrop once, but the view from it does not line up with the painting, so I've always assumed he used artistic license]. For our exploration we set off at 5 am to catch the sunrise [see photo - Mt Maude on the left, and Aspiring hiding, and almost invisible, in the background to the right, and shrouded in a westerly fast approaching]. Thanks to my truck we were back by 10 am for work. It always amazes me just how much you can do around here if you set your mind to it and know the way.

After all the above, the weekend saw me catching up on some serious sleep. Anyway the weather was indifferent.

School holidays are now on and we're hoping to head north for a bit of a break.
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Monday, September 17, 2007

Spring is here

It's been a quiet week for me on all except work fronts. I did go up x/c skiing a couple of nights, more to take some sunset shots I'd been after than to ski - I simply used that means to get there and back.

However as spring is the more dominant theme I've inc. a blossom shot here instead of my usual snowy scene. I took it at Johns Creek over by Lake Hawea late yesterday. The smells were pretty heady with a gentle northerly wind pushing them to towards Dougal and myself. We were out there for a lake side picnic sort of tea in the camper truck.

I see this morning some daffodils out in my garden, so I'm about to pick a couple for my office desk - a nice way to start another busy week.
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Monday, September 10, 2007

Wind ravaged tree, snow, races, traffic and space ships

The above photo is one I've been after for sometime. It's on the summit of the Crown Range road that links Queenstown and Wanaka - the high alpine route. Imagine my surprise to find this lone tree, the object of my creative desires to be plastered so... by a good overnight bout of bad weather. As you may also imagine the skiing since this storm has been awesome. I'm averaging 13 Kms every couple of days, and now with no racing to train for I please myself when to push the fitness and technique, and it continues to be totally addictive and fun as the investment in both becomes realised.

On the subject of photos, part of the mission in Queenstown was to pick up my first print from the camera I've been using and learning for the last several months. I was very pleased with the results, and on the strength of the high quality output I've decided to push on with my self imposed artistic project - a photo essay of part of our local area.

Yesterday [Sat.] was a busy day as I once again helped with the annual local Mountain to Mountain multi sport race [Treble Cone to the Snow Farm]. Mostly I did traffic control and it was very scary initially until I learnt that the most effective technique is to stand right in the center of an intersection, be theatrical with arm movements, decisive and even if you're not quite correct as to who has right-of-way, act as though you're God! Then smile a lot and mouth "thank you" often. However it got a little bizarre when some back packers stopped mid traffic and asked for the location of one of the local back packers. I pointed across the rear of their van and said "that way", so they continued on in the direction they were pointed, then did a "U" turn, came back and again parked in the middle of the road and traffic and asked for further confirmation. All I can say is it's better to field this behaviour than road rage! And in case you're wondering the race organisers are a bunch of off-duty local Police, including my neighbour Mike, so I was coached in the technique of traffic "pointing".

The other shot on this post is of the Snow Farm x/c skiing Lodge. Part of the building is often referred to as "the space ship" and in this double reflected light [off of clouds then off the building] the sunset on it gives me at least, a sense of the ethereal.
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Sunday, September 2, 2007

A busy week looming

Another shot above which I think is quite unique, of Dougal playing Helios in the school production Trial by Gods. As he put it himself, and since he learnt an Asian accent for his lines, he is holding his "chi". The reality of the shot was he'd just taken a flash assisted photo at the exact instant I took the shot.

It's been a bit hard in the last week to realise I must now withdraw from skiing regularly and be quite opportunist, as the weather is now into an unstable spring pattern. Often now the snow will be going through a melt/freeze daily cycle and the trick will be to be on it just as it softens.

This week is going to be busy though, as I have to make two visits to the Snow Farm to help, by van driving in relation to a new thing for NZ: training for biathlon. However I'll be taking work with me and if the snow is not conducive to a recreational ski, I'll work. But, I've also got a trip to Queenstown for work, and I'll be picking up my first colour print - a test one on one of the panoramic shots in this blog, to see how large the camera can handle. The printers told me 2.4 metres wide, but I've settled on 0.8 of a metre as I don't want to be wasteful. Either way I'm delighted as these sizes will let me move onto stage 2 of the photography plan.

Next Sat. the Mt. to Mt. race is on and I'm helping with that. Competitors leave from the summit of Treble Cone and finish at the Snow Farm - all done with skis, bikes, kayaks and running. It's a lot of fun helping.
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