Monday, February 28, 2011

59: St Peter's Church

When I first moved to Palmerston North, I didn't like this church building at all, and wondered how people could. It seemed so grey and dreary. But obviously I only noticed it on the grey, dreary days..... because in the afternoon sunlight, you can see it is quite lovely. And the varied shapes at the front of the building will call me back with my camera another time I am sure.

As an aside, it was very close to this spot where I had my pedestrian accident last year and broke my arm....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

58: A vélo

Today's photo is especially for Michèle. My poor vélo was a bit upset that someone could think she was pink! Here, on the closest end, is my very elegant and beautiful blue-grey vélo padlocked to a cycle stand at the Esplanade, where it was the 'Open Day' today. Notice the lovely comfortable seat.... a 'must' in my book!
And this makes a triplet- three cycling posts in three days...

More draincovers

Andrew, my distant Scettrini rellie from Melbourne, directed people to this blog to look at some of the interesting draincovers we have in Palmy, so I thought I had better add another one....  This is an example of the 'artistic' series that I love finding: the giant umbrella sedge.

I seem to have eight different ones now. Four are of plants, and warn people not to connect stormwater to sewer drains, thus overloading the wastewater treatment plant. The other four are of our small native fish and warn that if you put anything toxic in the stormwater drains, it will go into streams- and might kill the fish etc.
But these interesting ones are the exception: most are more utilitarian, like the three below.  Firstly comes the fire hydrant cover.
And I have to show my ignorance here. I think the round one is stormwater. And I think the S on the other one might indicate something about the sewer..... but I might be quite wrong!

I am not sure how many more 'artistic' variants there are to be found. I will have to keep my eyes open when I am out cycling!

Addendum: Ahha- another one of the 'pretty' ones found when I cycled to the Esplanade for the 'Open Day'.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

World Women's Cycle Tour

This morning there was a cyclists' breakfast in the Square, before the cyclists in the World Women's Cycle Tour headed off for their next stage, back to Masterton via the Pahiatua Track. Here are just a few photos of their departure.

 There was a large support contingent for the cyclists, and here is Snr/Sgt Nick Dobson posing for me, ready to accompany the cyclists. (I taught his son for a few months quite a few years ago...)
 Here the women cyclists are lined up behind the race director's car.

 Motorbikes with race officials were all lined up revving their motors behind the leading police car, ready to go. Then a minute's silence was announced to think about those who had perished in the Christchurch earthquake. And everything became quiet and still. 

 The clocktower chimed 10am, and it was time to go.
The leading police car used its siren loudly, 
and the women were led off by the race director's car. 

And here they go, off around the edge of the Square....

It was a privilege to get a glimpse of such elite cyclists in action, and I hope they come again!

57: Cycling Breakfast

This morning the World Women's Cycle Tour was departing from the Square at 10am. And so Sport Manawatu organised a cycling breakfast from 9am for anyone who cycled to the Square. Delicious. 

I did some housework and hung the laundry out before I took a leisurely cycle ride the 2.5km or so downtown. There were 'all sorts' of cyclists present, but not everyone is quite as lazy/ laid-back about cycling as I am. Some had done a lengthy training ride before arriving for the breakfast, eg the "Velo Girls" group pictured here...

Friday, February 25, 2011

56: Cycling Criterium

It was an interesting evening here in Palmy, with the 'World Women’s Cycle Tour Criterium' happening around the Railway Land- as well as a Mayoral Challenge and Bike Manawatu Criterium races. It was a pleasant, calm evening- much to the surprise of more than a few visitors I think :-)

This photo shows the leading four women in the elite women's criterium. It was the woman in blue and red who took the race out in the end. She took off at the bell for the last lap, while the other three seemed to be racing tactically, waiting to see who would break first. And while they dithered, the eventual winner got too much of a gap on them. Exciting stuff!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

54: Perspective

Spire of Christchurch Anglican Cathedral, 10 January 2011

There was no heart in me to take a photo today. 
This is from January in Christchurch.

This spire and part of this cathedral collapsed yesterday,
and possibly people were trapped in the rubble.

The Christchurch earthquake puts life in perspective.
Much love to friends and family.
Sympathy to all those bereaved, RIP.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

53: Esplanade again

Another glorious summer's day here, and I cycled to the Esplanade again this morning. Couldn't choose which photo to show you today, so you are getting double trouble...

 Monarch on a dahlia

fungus high on tree trunk

Monday, February 21, 2011

At the Esplanade

Today was a glorious summer's day here in Palmy- 28C- and everything looked beautiful in the Esplanade.

If you click on this photo to enlarge this red dahlia,
you can see yellow pollen scattered on the petals. 

Monarch butterflies were very obvious around the dahlia gardens. 
But these little white butterflies
-that my father used to very much dislike as their green caterpillars ate up the cabbages!- 
were around in profusion as well, just not so blatantly.

I'm not entirely sure why I went into the Conservatory on such a hot afternoon- 
but there are always interesting tropical plants flowering in there.

And this afternoon I 'discovered' the aquarium setting on the camera,
that helped 'see' under the water more clearly and brightly. 

 I tried to take photos of some of the monarch butterflies, but they were much happier on the tall dahlias at the back, rather than on the handy ones at the front of the garden!

Finally it was time to cycle home. I chose to go via the Bridle Track as there was a bit more shade from the sun in part of the route. The summer cumulus cloud was reflected nicely in today's calm waters of the Manawatu River.

52: Orange at the Esplanade

It was a glorious day in Palmy today, so I organised myself to cycle down to the Lido for a swim, then came home via the Esplanade.

I know I have put a photo here before (Day 18) of a monarch in the Esplanade, but the monarchs were flying around in great abundance this warm afternoon, so you are getting another shot. It was noticeable that they preferred to land and feed on bright orange flowers. This photo doesn't show the most 'vivid' close-up butterfly, but it does show the profusion of orange it chose to land in.

The friendly PNCC gardener told me that she saw lots of monarchs hatch out this morning, then of course they stayed in one place while opening their wings. It is supposed to rain tomorrow- but if it doesn't, I might return there in the cool of the morning to look for more butterflies...

Hopwood ClockTower

I headed downtown to the Square just after sunset last night
to try and capture some of the lights of the Clocktower.

As you can see it is rather pretty, and keeps changing...

This was only the second time I have experimented with the camera in low light,
and I was amazed by how much detail it captured...

and this is hand-held, not with a tripod.

Pink for girls.... blue for boys.... purple for Margaret...

And this last one has nothing to do with the clocktower.
But I wanted to try out the way car lights worked with a long exposure and moving the camera.
I never got much practice though:
Sunday nights everyone is safely tucked up inside at home, and town is very quiet and calm.
Another time...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

51: Clocktower at night

I have brought you a photo of the clocktower in the Square before- way back on Day 28. But a few days ago, when the large moon was amazing us across the globe, I tried shooting lights at night, starting with the moon.

And tonight I decided I would try a few more night shots, at the Clocktower. I was amazed at how good the camera was at capturing detail, even when it had become quite dark. I couldn't read the time on the clock, but the camera could... And herewith, I share with you this 'crooked clocktower' photo this evening.

(See more clocktower photos here.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Himatangi Beach

Some people turn up their noses at our Manawatu beaches, since they have grey sand, and lack 'pretty' bays. But I love the wildness you can have on the west coast, and here in the Manawatu, you can walk for kilometres along sandy beaches. And in fact, the Manawatu dune field is massive, on a world scale.

Today I left home early-ish to walk along Himatangi Beach before the sun got too high in the sky. But as it turned out, there was lingering coastal cloud that kept things cool until I had finished walking.

First, I wandered slowly down beside the stream, which had a lot of driftwood in it, and reflections of driftwood- that I had to stop and photograph. (I am always a sucker for reflections...)

If I had been rushing, I think I would have missed seeing this white-faced heron entirely: on the grey sand of the dunes it was well camouflaged.

And here for Maalie, is a black-backed gull, Larus dominicanus, which has a distinctive red spot on its bill.

And here the gull is flying away towards the dunes... They are planting more native spinifex on the dunes here now, which helps build a more stable dune, lower in height. Previously, a lot of marram grass was planted, but it isn't a New Zealand native, and it led to the building of very steep dunes that were not so stable, and were easily blown out by erosion.

Here are some seed heads from the dune building plants, that get rolled around on the sand in the wind, and thus become quite widely dispersed. 

Several fisherman were trying to catch some fish, but I spoke to this fisherman, and he wasn't having much luck in the conditions which were fairly calm.

By the time I was ready to leave, the coastal cloud was breaking up a bit, and I was able to take this photo of some cloud/sky reflections on the stream...

50: Dune whirlygigs

This morning I was up early-ish so I could go for a walk along Himatangi Beach before the sun's rays got too intense. Here is a 'whirlygig'  I saw on the sand- the rolling seed disperser for a dune building plant. If you walk along the beach on a windy day at the right time of year, you can see zillions of these rolling along on the sand. This one has been trapped in some driftwood, and thus the cycle might continue...
You can find a few more of my photos at the beach here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Night Lights

The moon just looked amazing in the sky tonight when it rose, and I headed out to the back deck with my camera. I have never had much luck with moon shots from there before, but tonight the moon was in just the right position for me to rest my arms on a wooden support. So I discovered the zoom on the camera could focus on some remarkable detail, that I certainly couldn't see with my naked eye.

Recently I have been inspired by my nephew, who took some wonderful night shots when the lights were on show in Pukekura Park this summer. (The linked photo is someone else's- but my nephew's shots were amazing too.) It was time for Aunty to get to grips with how to set the long shutter speed on her own camera for some night shots. And actually it was easy.... I was just playing around outside my house with the next three shots- trying for a movement effect, not a still one.

 There is one of those tall bright orange lights outside my house, as it is on a curvy intersection where there have been lots of crashes in the past, and that lights up the tree.

And this last shot is my favourite experiment. Two cars were coming up the hill around the corner one behind the other, and I moved the camera back and forth. Such fun! I can see I will have to go downtown soon and catch some lights in the Square at night...

49: Cloud

Some clouds just seem to sit in the sky posing
almost asking to have their photograph taken
and reminding you of childhood days
when you idly stared at the sky
wondering about the passing animals skimming by above.