Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rain and more rain, with more snow up high...

It's been a frustrating week weather wise, not only for skiing but living also, as a constant succession of fronts prevail on us. Westerlies keep continuing then tend back more northwesterly and then freshen again with rain followed by tending to colder west to southwesterlies with snow lowering on the mountains.

Some nice light was to be had for making landscape photos, just before the next bad weather to the west arrived...

Did I mention the snow? Above about 1500 meters there is more than you can wave a stick at - below this... well the inaugural Winter Games, while aspects such as the cross country skiing at the Snow Farm were on track as they were held over three successive days and the weather cooperated mostly, over at Coronet there have been delays due to storms for days. I've found it very sad too that TV coverage on the main NZ channels has been lacking for such a huge event that in essence leads up to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in several months time, and sets the tone that NZ can be a serious player in winter sports.

My fellow time keepers for my Winter Games volunteer day on Tuesday. We started in cloud and wind and ended in rain and a snowstorm...

Last chance for a few hours for seeing the sun on the snow - looking at the area where the Criffel and Pisa ranges intersect...

For press releases on the Winter Games events held at the Snow Farm, I've put together a collection of links on one page on

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

A busy week, a short storm and the inaugural New Zealand Winter Games

In the week past I was able to relax again into some pretty steady work after too many diverse things going on over the last few weeks. Weeks before this I somewhat thoughtlessly volunteered to help for a couple of days right now on the cross country skiing aspects of the inaugural New Zealand Winter Games, and as the time grew nigh I was fretting a bit that I'd have to sacrifice a few things. However as it turned out yesterday I did not miss competing in the prelude event, the Snow Farm's Merino Muster - I simply did not feel the need to ski 21 Km to the tune of a clock.

As it turned out, just like last Sat., I really enjoyed pottering around town and home noting the first signs of spring, and having Dougal about. And besides, as forecast the high cloud moved in a bit and last night, to the consternation of friends organising the first Nordic ski event in the Games, it rained heavily in town - a warm rain too, which is not good, however the snow line was just low enough as it turned out.

I was away from home in the dark for my time keeping job at the Games this morning, and made these dawn shots when I arrived in the car park at the Snow Farm...


As my job demanded an alertness out of keeping with such an early start I contented myself with making photos of the start/finish area...

Not a rainbow as such, but more an ice crystal bow...

Helping on these events is both mentally and physically demanding, but I do find it's a really good way to get to know people, as we're often teamed up with another local for 3-4 hours, and during the quiet moments we can learn quite a lot. In this case it was one of my client/friends Andrew who has done many expeditions diving and camera work in Fiordland and Antarctica - two of my favourite places, so it was far from the "sacrifice" I've mentioned above. Andrew has been diving doing film work for more than 35 years around Fiordland, Stewart Island, Chatham Islands, Otago and the subantarctic islands. too and with such a broad knowledge of the natural world, is really interesting company.

Andrew gets a mention in this rather long page of text, but there are some great still shots

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blast from the past favourites, and more on the idea of dams on the Clutha

It's been one of those weeks of reflection, and I've made no new landscape photos. Instead I'm settling into the moment after a few weeks of all sorts of varied upheavals: friends passing on, my son dealing with the astounding growth of mind, spirit and body associated with the teen years, and friends hitting the wall so-to-speak, on their journeys towards growth.

So since that's been the theme it seems fitting to delve into the past tonight and post and share some of my old time favourites.

Mt Aspiring probably taken from a flank of Roys Peak. That's Lake Wanaka's Glendhu Bay down on the left...

Mt Aspiring again - this time an unusual, more European Alps style of viewpoint, obtained from near the Albert Burn Saddle, Mt Aspiring National Park...

One of my most favourite of vehicles - a VW 1500 that I used for years, often like a Land Rover to capitalise on the rough roads on the early 1970s. Here photographed after a snowfall in the Danseys Pass area that links North Otago to Central Otago...

Naseby gold workings. A landscape photography dream in the 1960s, when it looked more like the surface of the moon, just before wilding pines turned it into the forest it is today. Naseby Forest as it is now known as, is a mecca for technical mountain biking, and is near the famous Central Otago Rail Trail...

The long wide and barren summit ridge of the nearby Pisa Range, host to the Snow Farm where I nordic ski...

Fence posts made from rocks on The Old Dunstan Road. A favourite photo I made back in the 1980s...

From near the Great Moss Swamp on The Old Dunstan Road, looking west on sunset right across most of Central Otago's block mountains...

And as mentioned in the blog subject, lastly some new links on the ill conceived idea to dam the Clutha River...

The fledgling Upper Clutha River Guardians website just went online... more>>

... and the Otago Daily Times website is sporting a poll, which will be well worth the time to fill in, as we know it's monitored by decision makers. There have been some very thoughtful posts opposing.. more>>

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Moon struck on the Pisa and all downhill at Treble Cone

In this week ending the planets aligned for myself: Over the years I've skied under the stars lots at the Snow Farm and learnt to wonder not so much at the sparkle of them, but what lies between. But on Wed. the weather, snow conditions, work load [less is good] and the near full moon came into sync.

I was casting a shadow to my right on the way back and on my left the moonlit snow was a sort of orangy colour - not quite pinkish, not quite mauvish, but more a shade that reminded me of Aust. bushfire smoke with the sun shining through.

It was a slow trip back - I kept stopping to marvel at the scene, and the beauty of it was that conditions were so good there was no hurry. I certainly did not need my headlight

Moonrise over the Pisa...

Just a little while before the moonrise, I made this landscape photo in quite a desperate hurry in an attempt to catch the pink glow...

And today, just to keep life varied I took my son to ski Treble Cone. He's been a bit down-in-the-dumps of late so the idea was get some excitement and sunshine in his life. I used to do huge mileage there before he was born, and indeed even worked there a couple of winters on avalanche safety work, that was until I fell under the beguiling spell of Nordic skiing.

By the time I'd done two runs I just had to take him to the best viewpoint and make a photo. Here we see the Matukituki valley to the right, and Mt Aspiring hosting a cloud cap on the left and far away...

Riding the six seater chair...

I did enjoy the skiing btw. Conditions were perfect and we had a great time. I even met a few old time Treble Cone friends. They don't tend to understand why I switched, but I can live with that!

Fellow blogger friend Robb has just posted a very good write up of a recent Ruahines's winter tramp, and worthy of note is the top photo... more >>

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Firewood, reflections and more on snow

One of my favourite local spots is the NE corner of Lake Hawea, and as I've been burning firewood at an alarming rate this winter it's the preferred spot to not only gather some driftwood, but sample sunset, skip stones on the lake surface and do yet some more iconic New Zealand landscape photography...


Looking across the lake to Kidds Bush...

In between lots of yoga practice this week gone, and having the grief and shock of three deaths that affect me in one way or another, I've kept on keeping on doing ski tours at the Snow Farm late in the day and into the dark, being mindful that it's avalanche season. All good therapy!

You can see the severe loading in the middle to right of this hillside...

And here all slopes have a sort of pregnant pillow look...

I've never seen the head of the Roaring Meg stream here so choked up with snow...

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