Monday, January 31, 2011

31: Convolvulus with raindrops

raindrops on convolvulus flower, in my garden

Days are numbered for this convolvulus flower, on one of the many vines that have invaded the native trees in my back garden. If today had been fine, it would have been ripped from its dwelling place. But it has rained, so it is safe for another day. The raindrops look so heavy on its delicate petals. I hate being violent towards such beauty!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Some holiday birds for Maalie

Ok Maalie, you wanted some bird shots from my holiday.  The challenge is to find the 'odd one out'. A prize for the best answer.

A gaggle of shags in Kaikoura.
Red billed gulls waiting patiently for my fish and chips on the beach in Kaikoura. 

A white-faced heron somewhere south of Kaikoura.
Two black oystercatchers on the beach at Okains Bay, part of a gaggle of 3. I presume the grey/black-legged one is a juvenile- would explain the dive-bombing of a distant, quiet photographer with a zoom lens by one of the 3, on several different occasions.

 Pied oystercatcher in the Lagoon at Okains Bay.
 A nice horse in the village. Don't tell it it isn't a bird, it might be offended.

 Sheep ready to take off into a flying position so might soon be a bird.
 A bird talking on the phone too long in Akaroa.

A bird back home in Palmy. Its natural colours seem to have been bleached by the summer sunshine.

(The runcible award goes to me today.)

30: PNCC sewer draincover

 Sewer drain cover, Palmerston North

When I was traveling overseas I noticed some elaborate drain covers in some cities. But until I started taking more photos for more regular blog posts at home, I don't think I had ever noticed that Palmerston North has an exquisite set of its own drain covers. They feature some of our native fish and plants. This one shows the toetoe.  It is often confused with pampas grass, a non-native, invasive pest species.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

29: Apples ripening

apples ripening at a friend's house

It seems to have been a good long summer this year, the sort I remember from my childhood. And now as we reach the end of January, there are signs -like these ripening apples- that we are heading slowly but inexorably towards autumn.

Friday, January 28, 2011

28: Cycled to the Square

 Clocktower in the Square, Palmerston North

I did it. I did it. I cycled downtown. My bike has sat in the shed since I broke my arm last July. But yesterday evening I did a cycle safety course run by Sport Manawatu to give adults confidence cycling on the road. And today I cycled downtown to the Square and felt quite confident about it. So here's a photo of the Clocktower I took just before midday as I wandered in the Square.
I really wanted to show you a photo of the flagpoles with the flags not moving. But the angles came out too stridently odd. Another day perhaps. Shame really, as now you will never believe that in Palmy, sometimes the wind doesn't blow!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

27: Window at St Pat's

This stained glass window is in the gathering area for St Patrick's parish, adjoining the Catholic Cathedral for Palmerston North.  You can see some hints of blue sky and white clouds through the glass, which shows how photography is all an illusion. From most angles the skies around the Cathedral were full of dark grey clouds when I took this photo- though fortunately summer has now returned.....

(You can see more photos from this Cathedral here, and I am sure to add more of my own on this blog before the 365 is up!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Random Rejects'

Since the beginning of the year, when I decided to do a 365/365 photo blog for 2011, I have often  taken my camera out with me, hoping/planning to find a quiet few minutes somewhere to take some photos. Some days I end up with having to make a choice between photos I like for the 365 blog. So here are just four 'random rejects' that never quite made the cut!

 some beautiful roses in the Square

 the fence at Ma's place in Foxton Beach

 the reflections of All Saints and the Clocktower seen in other buildings around the Square

26: Marigolds in the garden

marigolds in the front garden

More of the golden flower theme today- but I have spent all morning gardening and now it is too hot to venture out far from home. After days of taming, the front garden is now actually way too bare! But these marigolds have been providing some summer gold at the front door for a while now. You can see the little weeds coming up again already. It doesn't take much in the way of rain to bring that about- and we just had two days solid rain followed by warm temperatures again- those weeds just love it...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Summer at the Esplanade

We just had two drought-breaking days of rain, but the weather today is beautiful again. I worked in the garden for the morning (amazing I know!) then headed off to the Lido for an afternoon swim, and followed it with a short walk in the Esplanade. Here are a few of the treasures I saw there.

 The sunlight looked so delicate on this dahlia.

 And here you can see a monarch perched on a dahlia. Last week I saw a monarch on a different dahlia and put the photo on my 365/365 blog. But I didn't want to put another monarch-on-dahlia shot on that blog, so you are getting to see this here instead of there!

 It was nearing 3pm when I was in the Esplanade, and the light was too harsh for many shots. So I took a quick look in the Conservatory, always a place that holds interesting surprises in the flower line. Here are just two of the precious flowers in there today.

 I loved the way the 'starburst' of this flower caught the light.

And just to show you that people really do exist in my world - though I mostly keep them out of my blog- here is the Esplanade train passing by. I love it when I have children staying/visiting and have an excuse to go on this wonderful little train- one of Palmy's best kept secrets!

(For those of you following my blog, the dates might be getting confusing. I might 'manipulate' the dates of my 'away' holiday postings soon so they follow in the order the holiday happened in!)

25: Dahlia in the sunlight

dahlia in the sunlight

After two days of rain, the sunshine emerged brightly again today, reminding us quickly of the glories of summertime. By the time I picked up my camera mid-afternoon, after a refreshing swim at the Lido, the sunlight was quite harsh for many photos. But it caught the petals of this dahlia quite delicately.

(I took another shot of a 'monarch on a dahlia' today, but didn't want to 'repeat' last week's subject too soon on this 365 blog. If you want to see it, you can check it out on my Kiwi Nomad blog instead.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

24: Manawatu River running high

Manawatu River running high after heavy rain
Yesterday, according to the wonderful new Met Office website, we had 61.4mm of rain- and while that felt like an awful lot as the rain kept falling, falling, falling.... it ranked well down in the 'wettest places' location list for the day.

This afternoon finally, it has stopped raining, and I took a quick walk along part of the Bridle Track along the river. Others were out doing the same. And if you look at the very black clouds, it looks like we were all hoping to get our walks in before the rain started falling again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

23: Raindrops on the Rhodo

I realise this is the first day in my 365/365 project that I have been faced with a rainy day for taking a photo. So I decided to just take some quick photos of raindrops on plants outside in the garden.

 VoilĂ , raindrops on a rhodo!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

22: Fountains in the Square

Fountains in the Square, Palmerston North

There is plenty of inspiration for photographs in the Square:- Today I chose  the fountains in one of the duckponds. (You are sure to see more Square-inspired photos in this blog before long!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

21: Summer on Milson Line

hay harvested, crops growing

A rural scene along Milson Line today- summer progresses on the Manawatu Plains...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

19: Neighbour's cat in the shade

I don't have a cat of my own. I tend to be too nomadic. I also want to enhance the survival rates of the native birds that visit my garden. But the neighbour's cats don't know that, and have worked out their own visiting arrangements.

Neighbour's cat in a shady spot in my back garden aka the jungle

This cat is one of my most frequent visitors and has lots of favourite places to laze around in- some of them provide shade, and others shelter from the wind or rain.

33 degrees Celsius

Palmerston North can have some warm-ish days in summer, and sometimes the humidity can be uncomfortable. But yesterday was the highest temperature I have felt here ever. It was 33C and humidity was oppressive as well. It was like being in Singapore....

From TV3 news- screen shot

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

18: Monarch on the Dahlia

Monarch butterfly on a dahlia at the Esplanade

I took a very short walk in the Esplanade after my swim- very short- it was 30C and very muggy! A monarch butterfly was flitting around the garden area near me, then alighted on this dahlia. I was so pleased it stayed there long enough for me to get this shot!

Monday, January 17, 2011

17: Coot at the Lagoon

Coot at the Hokowhitu Lagoon

In the springtime I visited the Lagoon several times, and was lucky enough to see a coot sitting on a nest, and also to see young coot just hatched. Today I saw quite a few coot- some were slightly smaller and I imagine they are the babies from springtime. I am always fascinated by their feet ;-)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

16: Manawatu River

Manawatu River with flood protection work on bank

A summer's day beside the river- not as peaceful as it appears- those white spots on the river are 'white caps' blowing upstream as the wind is so strong!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

15: Mt Stewart

Rural scene in a field near the roadside at Mt Stewart, Manawatu.

The bright green colour is a crop grown presumably to feed the animals. The grass is starting to brown off considerably.

Friday, January 14, 2011

14: Pukeko sculpture

Pukeko sculpture, cnr Princess St & Broadway

On two columns at the corner of Broadway and Princess St, two bronze pukeko sit atop some steel raupo. Sculptor: Paul Beaurepaire 1994. (Thanks to Bronwyn Zimmerman for the new Arts Trail Guide that lists such details!)

Taken 12:00pm 14.01.2011; Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Shutter: 1/1000     Aperture: f/4.5  Focal length: 26.79mm    ISO: 320

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13: Back home again

Juvenile tui on flax bush in the backyard

The reality of trying to take a photo 365/365 hits home now that I am 'home', away from some of the dramatic landscapes that were my holiday fodder! But this young tui visited the flax bush in my backyard today to provide a 'home' photo. I saw tui visiting two weeks ago before I left for my holiday, but didn't expect them back as the flax flowers have now mostly turned into sturdy seed pods. The bird's background is provided by some of my holiday laundry on the washing line!

Taken 2.49pm 13.01.2011; Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Shutter: 1/200     Aperture: f/5   Focal length: 62.49mm    ISO: 400

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

12: Picton

Waterfront garden in Picton, near War Memorial Gate

I had 'spare time' before my ferry crossing to explore the township of Picton. This view of the harbour is from the waterfront garden by the War Memorial Gate.

Taken 11.01am 12.01.2011;    Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Shutter: 1/640   Aperture: f/4   Focal length: 5mm    ISO:80

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11: Glass ornaments

Glass vases

My friends have some very beautiful glass ornaments of various kinds. I loved the way the light gently touched these two vases, and the way their colour matched that of the flax outside.

Taken 2.32pm 11.01.2011;      Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Shutter: 1/640    Aperture: f/3.2     Focal length: 7.6mm      ISO:125

Christchurch and Darfield

I had a few days in Christchurch before it was time to head home to the North Island. I must admit to some nervousness about this, as my local friends and family were clearly anxious about aftershocks still happening after the major 7.1 earthquake centred near Darfield.

I headed off downtown to see the sights and the Ron Mueck exhibition that my friends had recommended. There was a building being demolished beside the carpark I found.

But the city has done very well clearing up so much of the damage from the earthquake. Roads have been patched, and many dangerous buildings have been demolished and removed. In a few places in town you could see where buildings had been 'propped up' pending repairs, and on this historic building someone had taken advantage of the props to install some sculpture.

 After seeing the damage in the Akaroa cemetery, I decided that I wanted to check out the group of four family headstones in the Darfield Catholic cemetery in case they were in need of repair, and I must admit I was expecting to see some damage. However, despite being only kilometres away from the eathquake epicentre, I could see as soon as I reached the gate, that they were fine.

Yes, my great-grandmother was only 29 when she died, as many did at the time, of 'consumption'.
 I drove home via what was the family land at Charing Cross, where my great-grandfather used to run sheep.  This year the present-day farmer has planted crops here to feed the sheep over summer, as this land gets very dry. The epicentre of the earthquake lies very close to this old family land.

I returned to my friends' house. I love some of the glass and pottery ornaments they have in their home, and took some time to photograph a few bits and pieces. Soon it was time for farewells, but not before a party was held. Usually I keep 'people' private and out of this blog, but in this case I will make an exception for an exceptional event. It was the eleventh birthday of the eleventh grandchild, on a date filled with 1s. So the camera had to be switched to mark the date on each shot!

Monday, January 10, 2011

10: Earthquake damage in Christchurch

A sculpture with several human figures 
decorates the props for an earthquake-damaged building in Christchurch.

Downtown in Christchurch, life has returned to 'normal' for many businesses, but signs of the major earthquake are still obvious. Many of the most damaged buildings in the quake area are older brick or stone buildings. Some have been demolished, and only 'gaps' remain. Others are closed with red-stickers, some of those closed only since Boxing Day when a strong shallow aftershock hit the central city. This historic stone building has been propped up, and some-bodies have 'decorated' the props with sculpture.

Taken 10:59am 10.01.2011;    Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
Shutter: 1/640     Aperture: f/5.7    Focal length: 88.18mm      ISO:160

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The road to Wainui

After some shopping and a late breakfast in Akaroa- oh what a wonderful tourist I can be sometimes!- I began the journey back to Christchurch, with a diversion via Wainui.

 Near Duvauchelle were these boatsheds- which I always find picturesque.

And in Duvauchelle itself, yet another older brick building that had suffered damage in the big Darfield earthquake.

I was soon to be very glad I had decided to take a diversion via Wainui Bay. En route there was this spectacular view of the heads of the Akaroa Harbour.

Another revelation on the way home was this 'peninsula' view. I had been mystified by a wood-cutting print made by a Dutch artist in Le Bons Bay, Saskia van Voorn, as her print of two 'islands' seemed to be reversed from the view of two islands I had seen near Okains Bay. Now I could see the place her print was representing.... I hadn't seen this view previously, as I had taken a different route onto Banks Peninsula.