Sunday, 30 September 2012

Unexpected ...

Unexpected sights this weekend...

 I wasn't expecting this in the parking area at shops in Auckland

or this when I went up a side road off SH16, next to Alan Gibbs property, thinking I might get a better view of his artworks.  It turned out the side road lead to an alternative entrance to his farm and there, just inside the gate, was the welcoming committee.  It strutted across the gateway in front of us, then turned shy.

I hadn't planned on going to Auckland until the middle of the week when I learned my English niece would be in town for a few days.  I invited my grand-daughters to come and keep me company for the drive, and Shayde accepted - for which I am very thankful. 

As well as catching up with my lovely niece, I also got to go to my other grand-daughter, Jami's end of year hip hop concert.    That made two concerts in one week, as I'd gone to a dance concert Shayde was performing in during the week.   No photos were allowed at Jami's concert, for privacy reasons. At the end of the show we were invited to line up and buy the video.  Strange that!   Privacy issues aren't so important when it comes to profit. 

Those who know Shayde will be able to pick her out performing in her concert.  As luck would have it, hers is about the only face that is recognizable.  So I shouldn't be in trouble with the privacy police.

Friday, 28 September 2012

FSO - What does home mean to you?

When you stop to think about it, this is a pretty hard topic to capture photgraphically.  I think so, anyway.

After thinking about it all week and making no progress I decided to simplify the process and think about it as I drove home, so all my photos, except for the very last, are taken from the car. 

It wasn't a long drive.  When I've been 'away' the first time I get the feeling that I'm nearly home is when I come over the top of the Brynderwyns and Bream Bay opens before me.  From here I know I will be home in around an hour.

I know I'm nearly home when the sealed road stops and the rough road starts.

After heavy rain overnight I check the height of the murky creek and catch glimpses of the fog lifting from the mountains. 

I check my favourite tree which is just now springing into new life.  That's it in the middle of the shot.  It has a better profile going the other direction but I wasn't going that way today, I was heading home.

Bright bursts of yellow catch my eye at a couple of places -  kowhai flowering beside the road, another sign of spring.

 When I reach my driveway I know to look right towards the mountain, that no matter what the mood of the weather, I will find beauty there.  And comfort, knowing I am home.

 Today there were no traffic jams.  The ones below occurred on a miserable, rainy day just like today.

Home at last I know what home really means to me - putting my feet up unconcerned about holes in my slippers.

If I had to choose one word to describe what home means to me, it would be comfort.  I am comforted by those around me and my surroundings.  A feeling is hard to capture but I've given it my best shot.  To see how others of the team have approached this, just pop over here.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Random from Inglewood

When my daughter announced she and her little family were moving to Inglewood I had images of murder.  For some reason I remembered cases of murder most foul occuring in Taranaki, in Inglewood in particular.  It's not as if we've never had bad things happen in the north but I had decided a long time ago I didn't like Inglewood, it was murder town in my mind, the psychopath centre of New Zealand.  

I first drove through the town in 1982 with news reports of a gruesome double murder fresh in my memory and I didn't like the energy of the place.  And I think I remembered every bad thing I heard about the town after that. The most recent was the perverted goings on amongst the local rugby team.

So I had a few prejudices to get over.  I know I went silent on the topic of my daughter's future, thinking it best to keep my dark thoughts to myself.  It takes me a while to sort out some thoughts and emotions but eventually I got over it and determined to look at the town through new glasses.

I like it's old buildings and how they have been cared for and restored.  This one is called the Shoe Store Building, a Category II heritage listing, so I guess that's what it was for many years.

It's a picturesque town with Mt Taranaki providing the backdrop.  I think the building on the right is the old hotel, maybe it is still an hotel, don't know.  The low building on it's right, can't remember it's name Mc something, is a very good cafe, good coffee, good food. 

I don't like the railway line cutting through the town, the level crossing putting the kink into SH3 as it passes through.  SH3A follows the lines to the crossing, turns right to cross it, on the other side meets SH3,  then turns left again as part of SH3 and follow it on the other side of the tracks.

You know me, I had to check out the churches.  I've already posted shots of two of the town's churches.  These are in the surrounding area.

This fellow was keeping the grass down around the back of the church.  I watched as he approached the electric fence, lifted his head, stretched his neck, then gingerly leaned down to nibble on the grass on the other side.   The grass is always greener?  Smart horses at Tarata.

 Holy Trinity Anglican Church, founded 1845, in New Plymouth

St Marks, Lepperton

The only unlocked churches I found were in Inglewood and the tiny church at Kaimata.  Whenever I come across a locked church I hold my camera up to a window so I can get a peek of the inside.  On future visits to Justine I must see if I can get into St Marks.  I thought it looked quite lovely despite the dust motes, or maybe because of them.  

Isn't this just the cutest little church?  It has a prominent position on SH45, otherwise known as the Surf Highway.  It is St John's at Omata and is registered with the NZ Historic Places Trust. 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

More from on high

When I was flying back home from New Plymouth last week I made sure I got to the airport early so I could argue with the automated check-in machine/boarding pass issuer for a window seat.  I was quite proud of myself for doing it without creating a fuss and gaining a window seat on my third attempt.   

So, can you imagine how unamused I was when I boarded the plane to find a young man in my seat? And the impudent pup was not about to relinquish his/my seat.  I should have called the flight attendant and made a fuss!  Instead I told him to stay there if he was so determined but be warned I would be leaning across him to take photos out the window.  

We ran into overcast weather and rain before too long, so I only took two opportunities to make a right royal pain in the ass of myself.  I'm very good at pulling the little old lady act when it suits me and a moving plane is a wonderful excuse for old ladies losing their balance and stumbling and managing to nearly end up in the lap of their fellow traveller.  The plane was't very big and the propellor was in the same mood as I was - determined to get in the way.

On the positive side, there is one young man who now knows that Seat D in those little aircraft are the window seats, starboard.  And that not all little old ladies are as innocent as they may look. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

FSO - Get High: Shoot from above

Today I have a few more photos from my Taranaki adventure when I took a walk through the bush to see a beautiful waterfall.  This is a Silver Tree Fern or Ponga growing below the track to the falls. The silver fern is a symbol of New Zealand and the New Zealand people and is becoming increasingly recognised overseas as the national symbol of NZ.  It looks a bit silvery in this light but it is actually the under side of the fern that glows silver in the night and which can be used as a signpost for travellers in the bush.

You can see more Ponga fronds in this shot of the steps going down, down, down.

And, finally, way down there is the stream into which the waterfall plummets.

I found it really hard to capture a sense of distance or depth when taking shots looking down at things.  I look forward to seeing how others in the FSO team managed it.  They will be here.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Taranaki Adventure

Wednesday of last week I set out from my daughter's home headed for the Mount Damper Falls.  But I took a back road and got distracted by churches and got to the main road around 11 am.  I thought it was a bit late to be heading off on a drive when I didn't know what the road was like or how long it would take, as I needed to be back by 3 pm to collect the little man from Day Care.  So I picked up my friend Bev and used her local knowledge to find a couple of churches I was interested in.

Thursday the weather was fine and clear and I was out the door and on the road early.  I was very strict with myself and didn't stop to take any photos no matter how tempted I was - and there were many temptations. 

 You don't see little one lane tunnels every day.   I don't, anyway.

Impressive road side waterfall.

I didn't take the mileage from my starting point but remembered when I was just north of Waitara and my destination was less than an hour and 67 kms from there.  But I wouldn't say it was an easy drive.  Although the road was sealed most of the way it was a bit of a challenge, very narrow and very twisty.  I just hoped that anyone coming towards me would be travelling as slow as I was - and that I wouldn't have to be the one to reverse to allow us to pass.

 I can't remember how I heard about the Mount Damper Falls but I thought they were the second highest in New Zealand and therefore were a must see for me.  I was wrong about that, but they are one of the highest in the North Island (74 metres). I don't think many people have them as high on their Places to See list as I did, the car park wouldn't have accommodated too many visitors.  The other vehicle here beside my daughter's is a Dept of Conservation vehicle with dog box for a Conservation Dog on the back.  There was another one just inside the gate with a trailer which I guess would have transported a quad bike.  

The walk starts across open farm land.  A little footbridge leads from the farm, across a little stream into the bush.  This little stream feeds the falls - hard to believe.

The walking path on the other side of the bridge was well maintained and the walk was easy going.


with little baby waterfalls beside the track.  


The track follows the path of the creek, the sound of it keeps you company and there are occasional glimpses of rushing water as the path goes down a little more steeply. 

And then I came to the steps - and on my first step down I felt that old familiar twinge in my knee.  But I figured I'd travelled too far and already walked too far by that stage to turn back so down I went, one step at a time, telling myself there was no hurry - and no other soul around to see my crippled hobble. 

And it was worth it.

 The little rainbow playing in the spray at the bottom of the falls was a lovely bonus. 

And there was another bonus, too.  I was doing some heavy breathing as I was going back up the steps in my slow one step at a time fashion and decided to stop and just sit there for a while.  I could no longer see the fall but the sound of it was peaceful and I was enjoying my moment just listening to it and looking up at the sky through the trees.  Then I heard another trickling of water. When I carried on, I looked carefully for tracks going to the left towards the other water sound.  I eventually found one but it was for the young and very sure footed, I didn't feel sure enough of my balance to do more than creep forward on my bottom.

Sorry about the funny angle but I didn't figure it was worth putting my life at risk to get a straight shot.  I was trying to see how far it dropped - and by then I was inching forward on my tummy. 

If ever you are in Taranaki and have a few hours to spare, I highly recommend you leave the beaten track and head inland on Okau Road.  It's well worth the trip.

Friday, 14 September 2012

FSO - weather

The day to day meteorological conditions, esp temperature, cloudiness, and rainfall, affecting a specific place. 

The specific place I've been this past week is in Tarannaki which is way south of where I live.  To me the weather here is all about the mountain, beautiful Mt Taranaki, whether I can see it or not.  The locals have a saying which is something like, "If you can see the mountain, it's not raining."  That proved true for the first four days I was here, then when it did come out to play there was a jolly cloud hanging around that simply would not go away.  I hope these photos don't take too long to download, can't figure out how to reduce them on my son-in-law's computer.

The cloud is lifting:

Just a little wisp left:

Then finally, at the end of day 6, just before dark, there he is in all its beauty.  We know he is a he because of this beautiful legend.

In Māori legend, Taranaki is a mountain being that lived peacefully for many centuries in the centre of New Zealand's North Island with three other mountains, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
Nearby stood Mount Pihanga. Covered in a cloak of deep green forest she presented a stunning sight and all the mountain gods were in love with her.
Taranaki dared to make advances to Pihanga and was reproached by Tongariro and a mighty battle ensued between them. The earth shook and the sky became dark as the mountains belched forth their anger. When the battle ended the lovely Pihanga stood close by Tongariro's side. Taranaki, wild with grief and jealously, angrily wrenched his roots from the ground and left the other mountains.
Weeping, he plunged towards the setting sun, gouging out a deep wide trench. When he reached the sea he turned north and stumbled up the coast. As he slept that night the Pouakai Ranges snared and trapped Taranaki in the place he now rests.
The next day a stream of clear water sprang from the side of Tongariro. It flowed down the deep scar Taranaki had left on his journey to the coast to form the Whanganui River.
There are those who say that Taranaki is silently brooding and will one day try to return inland again to fight Tongariro. Consequently many Māori were wary of living in the area between the mountains.

Love that legend and personally think little Mount Pihanga needed her head read, she should have just run off with Taranaki rather than causing all that trouble.  Then again, maybe she enjoyed the attention.

This one was on the camera, my mountains up north, taken weekend before last from the back of the farm as I turned to head for home and realized there was rain in the mountains and that I'd probably get wet before I made it home.  (I didn't, my daughter-in-law happened along on the farm quad and gave me a lift.)  I got a couple of good storm shots last weekend but, in my first effort to download on to this computer, deleted them.  Ahh well.

I haven't had time to visit everyone from last week's shoot out yet but I will get around everyone when I get back home.  Meanwhile, check out the weather from the rest of the team.