Monday, January 23, 2012

Wanderings between Wanaka and Dunedin and some good wild weather for photos

Since I'd not been to the Dunedin for awhile, the nearest large city to where I live, a couple of weeks ago I trundled off in the first rain we'd had for ages, for a little break.

There was some heavy rain in the Maniototo so water on the Pigroot highway...Pigroot 1Pigroot 2

Getting near the east coast I could see a clearance developing, so knowing full-well this presents opportunities and good light for landscape photography I took the Coast Road through to Warrington.

This is the classical view photographed by the greats such as Geoffrey Chance, so with respect to them I tried a B and W rendition with cooperating sheep...Karitane 1Looking south to Doctor's Point...Karitane 2East out to sea...Karitane 3Karitane 4Time for something brighter - a chandelier in a cafe in Portabello. It had some neat prism type glass hanging, so figuring this would cause some strange behaviors with how my camera calculates focus, I went to work on it... Portabello 2Portabello 1

For months now I've been exercising / walking to the point of addiction so while in Dunedin I could not resist a walk up to Flagstaff from George St. So lots of vertical!

The variety of bush and tree species in the Dunedin environs is amazing and it's a credit to the city founders and those since, and the Council etc. that tracks like this are made and maintained. And despite it being a Monday I was impressed with the numbers out enjoying them...Flagstaff 1Not quite so many up here though in the Silver Peaks proper. Once again I was reminded of the extreme weather that can make it's home in these low hills covered in snow-grass and sub alpine vegetation - conditions that have caught many out over the years, to their cost...Flagstaff 2Great views though - North Dunedin...Flagstaff 3Saddle Hill to the south...Flagstaff 4A magnificent stand of trees on the Whare Flat Road - after taking the long way back over Flagstaff then down into the suburbs and turning north through Wakari, and heading for a return route through the bush ...Flagstaff 5Horses by Wakari Road...Flagstaff horseThe colour of this letter box has been one of my favourites since childhood...Flagstaff 7Ross Reservoir, which supplies a lot of the cities water was quite low...Flagstaff 8So trip over and back home to work punctuated with yoga - one of my favourite activities - my friend and teacher Jen...YogaAnd back into the local hills for more of my walking and wandering addiction...Rocky 2And like Flagstaff the weather has been mean for January. Here Mt Aspiring shows it's current mood in keeping with it...Rocky 3
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tarras, that little whistle stop on the way to Cromwell, Queenstown and or Wanaka

It's been awhile coming, but I'm settling at last into the year. I must admit I use this summer holiday time to do more varied things, especially thought wise as to the bigger picture - this year's work!

So distractions abounded, and one was a few evening photo trips with my good mate Roger Wandless.

We headed east from Wanaka in search of suitable grist for the mill of landscape photography, and found ourselves visiting a few side-roads near Tarras, 20 mins. drive from Wanaka. This stopping place gave us a unique view of the Grandview Mountains...Tarras 1The north Dunstan Range...Tarras 25The Lindis River Valley as it sort of meanders to meet the Clutha at Lake Dunstan. These truncated terraces have intrigued me for years, and I've yet to get the definitive photograph of them that meets some, as yet hidden aspect of my mind...Tarras 23North to the mighty Saint Bathans Range. Many folk don't realise this range, along with The Remarkables above Queenstown, hosts Otago's highest points...Tarras 24Tarras itself, well OK not quite, this is of the house / farm just south of the store and tearooms...Tarras 26A self portrait...Tarras 22Those terraces again - playing with them I was working on a dreamy look...Tarras 27
Do you think I achieved that "look", or is it looking a bit muddy?
Tarras Church - never knew it existed, as it's off on a modest hill top just minutes from the main road...Tarras 28
How often in life do we head somewhere in the distance to find something different? In our case we were reminded that under our very noses in terrain we've photographed almost to death, there are still hidden places we've overlooked!
Roger in action...Tarras 29

Some of you maybe interested in Roger's new book:

Fiordland Landscape and Life is one of the most ambitious photographic publications undertaken not only in this remote region, but in New Zealand.

The book has over 140 images including every fiord, major lake and of many other areas, both iconic and hidden throughout the extent of Fiordland National Park.. more >>...Fiordland Landscape and Life
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wanaka Search and Rescue has been too busy...

Five call-outs in a couple of weeks! Too many accidents and deaths of a tragic nature for Wanaka Search and Rescue of late. I've been on standby, so bags packed I took quite an interest in what might be coming up! I don't mind waiting, and understand the need - any operation is sophisticated and military like, and it has to be.

The last operation finished yesterday and it was for a hunter who went missing in this terrain in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Not easy country the Rob Roy valley and glacier...#alttext# A typical operation begins at search HQ Wanaka. And sooner rather than later a team is dispatched. There is a nice helicopter landing area up behind the Dept of Conservation HQ in town. Here members get ready to fly into Cascade Saddle a couple of years ago at this time of year, to look for a missing tramper. It's sort of opposite Rob Roy...#alttext#It was a shock to be landed on Cascade Saddle in cold mist, with the odd snow flake threatening...#alttext#A last briefing between SAR members about to start a close area contact search on foot on Cascade Saddle, with the Dart Glacier in the back ground... #alttext#The success [and safety] of any operation has a lot to do with communication and trust. It's not all training though, as pre Xmas every year we have a get-together and a meal, with speeches and awards [we've been recognised nationally more than once]...#alttext#Training has many aspects in many different environments, such as this river safety day...#alttext#

All too often I reflect on why some tragedies are not averted! It's a complex topic, and after the above mentioned Cascade Saddle operation I blogged extensively, hoping my advice would be found. I've had a few email me, so this has been encouraging.

Enough to post here on the same topic again, adding to the below older one, dated Jan. 2009!
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to take a few more shots while helping search for a missing tramper [Irina Yun - now presumed drowned - if you wish to read a comprehensive overview of the scenario then Bob McKerrow a highly respected and experienced NZ mountaineer has compiled an overview on his blog].

The Cascade Saddle is actually the low point on...

>> more via Cascade Saddle Search and Rescue operation in Mt Aspiring National Park.
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