Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back into cross country skiing

I've not had much time to sort the numerous photos taken on my holiday, of landscape and sea in Fiordland. Preservation will have to wait to be blogged as skiing is on the scene and nice low temps. make for a great snow pack, [and there is a lot of it this winter].

I've been up both days over the weekend and probably logged over 30 Kms at about an average speed of 7 Km/hr and my top speed was 22.5 [for those wondering I ski with a GPS sometimes]. So all-in-all quite a good start for the season, and over the next 3 weeks I can make up my mind if I want to race in the Merino Muster again in the 21 Km category.

While New Zealand's north island is being ravaged by some of the worst storms for a decade or more, we've escaped the comparatively warm moist air these systems can bring to our delightfully cold snow pack, and instead over the weekend a number of user friendy SW to SE fronts arrived at the Snow Farm with attendant cold Antarctic air. Here we see an ice crystal rainbow out by the Bob Lee hut, on the leading edge of such a front...

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Back from adventures in Fiordland and thoughts on the abundance that is New Zealand

This is a short write up with just one photo of 480 taken last week while away "down south" in Preservation Inlet. Now back only a matter of hours I'm reminded so vividly that we live in an amazing country of abundance. Not only in terms of the amazing landscapes I've seen and experienced in such a primal way, but that back home we experience amazing prosperity in the way we live: that we can go into such wilderness at will and come back again so easily to warmth and food - just a simple hot shower even takes on a whole new meaning!

It's going to take a while to assimilate the photography and experiences [even typing is foreign!], but it was all made possible by our good friends Arthur and Barbara sharing their yacht Elwing - here seen anchored off Cemetery Island just near Kisbee Beach in Preservation Inlet...

For those of you wondering where Preservation is, try this map link
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

A perfect evening for cross country skiing and the art of landscape photography

Well, it had to be done: get out the gear and head off from Wanaka to the nearby Snow Farm, into the sunset on skis. I blogged a few day ago about interacting with landscapes in all seasons and conditions as a way to pursue the art of using a camera effectively for good New Zealand landscape shots. It's really the play of light though that makes it an art form, and being there:

I'd just finished an energetic 12 Km warmup to Meadow Hut and back here to Merino Glen, and I started to marvel at the colour of the sky post sunset, and thought "there's a shot here somewhere". And so it's all about "seeing" in regards to landscape photos...

... and just what is "seeing" Is it awareness coupled with an ability to compose by subtraction - leaving things out so as to bring awareness to chosen elements which then lead to a feeling, an interaction with a landscape through an image? Be it art in the form of photography or painting, or graceful movement, does the medium really matter though if it achieves the "experience"!?
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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our first decent winter storm arrives on our landscape

There has been much "a do" about the current weather, but what's different for this time of year!? "Not much" I say! We get a snow storm or two from a depression heading for Milford Sound, and the media, it being cheap news, make much "a do" about it! Consequently the public, rather than learning how to cope simply seem to over-react. The messages on road reports are pervasive, but it seems to be forgotten that by the time they reach an audience the messages are already often out-of-date. I guess then the good news is that should you travel, you'll be safely alone! By this I mean, with a good vehicle, chains, a dose of common sense, good clothing, food and sleeping bag, there is not much to fear apart from the ill advised "antics" of others.

This was the view last Friday evening just before the weather worsened on Lake Wanaka..

OK, the past many weeks the theme on this blog has been New Zealand landscape photography. I started on this significant part of my life, way before blogs, as a boy with a folding Kodak B. and W. folding camera, complete with bellows etc. I then began wandering about in my "landscapes". Forty years later not much has changed here either! I still do so much "solo". This is my way, and apart from personal preferences it does ensure an unhurried approach to composition. But there is something missing with regard to solo wanderings in our amazing New Zealand landscape, and that is, when something stunning is "on view" then it's rather meaningless in one sense when you cannot share it with others! This maybe the most compelling reason I take landscape photos and it's coupled with a desire to enhance awareness of how our raw environment can affect us, and simply because we know it's there, can give us a little something extra in our daily lives to "ground" us.

Most of the current snow that was about fell south of Wanaka or to the east, however on Sat. Roger and I did a sortie to see what was on offer "light" wise, and we found ourselves at West Wanaka at the mouth of the Matukituki river...

Since my last post I've been doing some "Ansell Adams" reading, and he's said that landscape photography is the most demanding discipline of all. This surprised me, coming from one so "acknowledged' in this field, but it also has to be said that to create competent works is a lot easier when you understand your subject, and this includes in all seasons, to the point that nothing "phases" you be it deep snow, sub zero temps., searing shimmering heat, or high winds.

The Matukituki river with the mountains just to the east of Treble Cone in the background...

My son Dougal has totally grown up in this landscape, whereas I was a bit more urban when I was age nine, when he wrote this thoughtful work...


The melody of the chirping song birds surrounds me
Along with a sweet warm breeze.
A glassy dew tickles my feet
as I sit here
taking in everything around me.
By Dougal

It therefore maybe no accident that when he does pick up a camera he takes shots like this one taken from the bow of the yacht Elwing in Acheron Passage, Dusky Sound in 2005, his composition can be stunning...

... and on this note, we're both off next weekend on another "Elwing" adventure to Preservation and Chalky Inlets [near Puysegur Point] in Fiordland. You can see lots of my shots here in this web site I built for them... more >>
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