Sunday, October 28, 2007

Out in the hills again

Last night [Sat] Roger, Dougal and myself headed off to check out some sunset photos south of the Snow Farm. It was very cold at 1500 meters, but a lovely walk. The sunset was spoilt somewhat by a very unusual haze [will try to find out about it tomorrow].

The shot posted is looking south down the Roaring Meg. We got back in the dark with very wet feet as both Roger and myself broke through a freezing snow crust into pools of water - something I've not done for a few years, but we were not over a creek [v. dangerous], but instead encountered it on the edge of a track where we simply underestimated the depth of a ditch made years ago. Lots of snow had drifted over it and in the spring, underneath the melt water has eroded away most of it leaving a thin lid!

Shirley left a comment on my last post asking what sort of camera I use. You can see it here:

It's been very challenging mastering it's scope - what it does well it does exceedingly well, while it's short comings are the other extreme. But most of all it's mobility is what I cherish, and since it's 10 x optical zoom does not show as a lens poking out, my potential subjects keep behaving in a relaxed way, as I don't look very serious in the distance.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Long holiday - Labour weekend

I don't think I've ever known such a long and drawn out vibrant
spring. Maybe I increasingly appreciate things more, or it's the
persistent wild and changeable weather, or both.

I did my usual for this weekend and attended the Cardrona Folk
Festival. This year I took a lot of photos and as my camera is a bit
unusual looking with no big lens poking out and mounted not on a
tripod, but on a single leg mono-pod' some people thought I had a
type of flute!

I was also in Twizel for a house warming and once again the driving
had to be mindful of the negotiation of staying between the road edge
and the center line in high winds. However there was a delightful
lack of traffic in the evening so I stopped a bit and took a few
photos, even if the wind did freeze my butt off.

Anyway there were 8 adults at the house warming and several kids
under 10. So we ate and then we danced - kids and all. I tried my
rusty salsa, and was just getting into it, but the others flagged
early. My old mate Mike Bros was there and he's done Latin/flamenco,
so we cut quite a scene for awhile and his age 75 did not hold him
back, but who was leading was a really funny issue we never quite

There was a lot of traffic coming back and I was tired and in the
mood to <truck on> to get back to work, where I'm busy shifting web
sites so I can shut down my old tried and trusty web server in the
carport. It's technology is a bit dated and really I don't want the
burden any longer of keeping it going 24/7 what with Wanaka's
Internet services becoming a bit flaky, and then there is the power,
and when I'm not here.... well it's just an added stress I don't
need. And when the sun was shining between fronts [stacked up all the
way back half way around the world it seems], I mowed the lawns.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

International blog day - subject environment

Beauty, passion, love and laughter - these are the inscriptions on a sculpture at the outlet of Lake Wanaka, by local artist Ernie Malluschnig, as featured in the above photo taken especially today - International Blogging Day, where all bloggers are encouraged to write something about the environment.

We New Zealanders live in a landscape in many places devoid of people, so Ernie's work should remind us that in all walks of life we must never forget his inscriptions and to Shine On [another inscription on the south side of the work - it faces our northern noon sun, across water]!

As readers of my weekly blog many of you will have noted my passion for landscape photography, but I've never written much about the "zen" of it.

Well considering that every 2 mins on earth a jumbo plane load's worth of new souls is born and that at this rate within a week there are enough new kids to make up a city, we should ponder [and act] on how such numbers impact on landscapes and resources. It's fashionable now to cite global warming, but that's only part of the story!

While my strengths may not be in ways to solve these issues I can in my own way draw people's attention to our environment in New Zealand by what I choose to photograph, in what light and what to exclude to draw the viewers attention to one thing at least that really matters: to increase sensitivity and awareness in our environment, and I don't mean just landscapes here, but human interaction. In every exchange we have one simple choice: do we instill beauty, passion, love and laughter into the person, or make their day worse!

Every child under age 15 today is, in their mid years, going to have to grapple with a population density that is beyond out current imagination and resources. We have to bring love to bear to give us the energy to prepare them. One way to raise such energy is to observe and appreciate beauty - it is all around us. My discipline is landscapes, but there are many brilliant portrait photographers that capture the essence of the soul, and many artists like Ernie who make us stop and think: what is this journey all about? He etched the clues on the base of his work!
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Sunday, October 14, 2007

A riot of colour, and the quest for a simple life

After a satisfying weekend of gardening and filling up the trailer with a huge load of surplus memorabilia I'm left at least feeling part way to a more simple life. Travel lightly seems to be the motto of late, and I do get satisfaction in throwing out stuff that has been with me for years. The criteria goes something like: hmmm.... a tin of assorted bolts and screws, and they've been shifted how many times!? Have I needed them in the last x years [x being a variable, based on the value monetary and otherwise].... usually the answer is "no". Then I ask myself : if someone had thrown them out or stolen them, would I have known or cared? Usually the answer in all honesty has to be a "no"!

OK, so having used words above to shed even more baggage [in the mind now eh - or am I doing self affirmation!] lets move on:

It felt like a reward for the decisions all the rubbish in life brings up when Dougal and myself went for Sunday stroll in Wanaka Station Park and the light was perfect, so out came the camera for the shots accompanying this dispatch.

With my photos of late I've eaten a little humble pie: I used to think that modifying images in PhotoShop [apart from cropping and contrast and removing the odd blemish] would not let me be in touch with my inner purist - my need for realism. However I've learnt a couple of techniques of late that have changed my mind, especially as I've realised that they actually help us see the image more closely to how the scene was. You see whatever device we use to capture an image, it not being as sophisticated as our mind and eyes, excludes information. And then it gets worse when we look at the image on a screen [with back light] or on paper [reflected light]. The image below is one I've "adjusted" so that the shadows throw up some of the detail in the camera image [that I never knew was there], and likewise with the inverse - the clouds are not so burnt out. The end result, and it's got a lot to do with tricking our vision, is that there is more detail in the tree. I've gone a bit extreme you may also sense a halo effect which helps highlight the tree and make the eye travel further to take in the back ground.

Have a good week dear readers.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Lots of driving with lots of wind

Last week work-wise was too busy to comment on as it went by with
little time for reflection.

On the weekend I visited an old friend who is [terminally?] ill
Chch., and stayed with my old school mate in Rolleston. It was a
pretty amazing time. My stress was lowered significantly too as he
lent me his in-vehicle GPS navigation device, and it was amazing. I
don't mind using maps and my own tramping GPS, but there are now so
many roads in Chch. that don't make it easy to pull over. This gadget
speaks the directions and so makes all the difference in traffic. I
shall be buying one as soon as the need arises to visit any big city

I also managed to avoid all the 130Kmh winds - more by good luck than
anything. Actually the worst were SE yesterday [Sun.] on my return.
Many very solid road signs were uplifted in mid Cant. But not much
tree damage these days - I think they now manage them better with a
view to wind, with those huge hedge and tree clippers that just drive
along lopping off all.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Been away...

I'm a bit late with the week's news so will keep it short: Dougal and
I have just spent a lovely few days with my cousin Deirdre and
Murray. We visited some amazing high country stations and I took
lots of photos [for some web sites featuring historic buildings]. The
weather was wild, and is still so... there is lots of new snow around
Wanaka on the hills... the sun is elusive.
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