Up the Harbour

Up the HarbourOut for a stroll we ventured to the Beach Haven Wharf. Looking North West’ish has us looking up to the end of the Waitemata Harbour.

Long been used as the areas main anchorage point (pre european), the harbour is sheltered from the ocean by Rangitoto Island and other small surrounding islands. The modern translation of Waitemata is ‘Sparking Waters’.

Shot on the Sony Nex with pancake 16mm


Zorki 1

Zorki 1No longer with me – in a moment of weakness I sold it (possibly in a moment of weakness I brought it!) – My old Zorki 1.

The ‘poor mans Leica III’, and competent rangefinder camera in its own right, we dont see too many of them down here in NZ. I’ve imported a few Zorki and Fed’s (Soviet Rangefinders similar to the old Leica) over the years. The above being the best copy of a Zorki 1 I have ever had – complete with box and manual!

With its collapsable M39 screw mount 50mm lens, its really a very small, fully manual camera. Great for those with a light meter in their eyes, or at least to practice the sunny 16 rule.

Being over 50 years old now, its amazing how many are still available to buy – lets see any of the current digitals being sold fully working in 50 years!

For the tinkerers among us, these are great cameras to get to learn about CLA (clean lube adjust). And done right may go on for another half century. The shutter curtains are often the first to go – getting pinholes in them. One can use a little thinned down silicone painted on, or simply replace (simply probably an understatement as thats the biggest job one would do on such a camera).

Might just have to go on the hunt for another copy. My sunny 16 skills are fairly junior. I have a light meter. I just wish it had a built in one. Fantastic vintage 35mm camera for the coin!


Snowflakes Come Down

Snow FlakesA shot from the archives today. Ohakune Ski Field.

Shot on my old Samsung Galaxy 3, I recall we were getting a bite to eat after I had managed to tumble ski my first time down the mountain. As we sat the clouds came in and the snow began falling. Some ran inside for shelter, the rest of us donned our hoods and continued on with what we were doing.

I still remember my first time in the snow – well into my teens, it was somewhere we never when whilst I was a child. The soft crunch under my feet was somehow very familiar.

I’ve still only been a good handful of times, which is a shame being its a half day trip in the car to get to. I guess one of the problems is finding reasonably priced accommodation thats not miles away from the ski fields.

Still, last season was my first go at skis…next time I will try a snowboard – possibly a more skateboard familiar option!


Fast 4s…and Economy

Car MagOnce, when I was training to be a mechanic, a lot of my youth was spent in, under and around cars. Numerous project cars (and bikes), its no surprise I brought the monthly car mags. Reading over tips, projects and general car stuff, I never really used them as inspiration for my own projects, but enjoyed them none the less.

One thing I always liked in the photos they featured in magazines like Fast Fours and Rotaries, or Performance Car was the shot of a car with the ‘see through bonnet ‘ (or hood for you alternate naming lot). Seeing the lines of the car, but also that beautifully detailed engine always made for a interesting and technical looking photo.

Years later after my transition from film to digital I had a play around in Photoshop and learnt how easy (and quick) it is to make a basic copy of this.

I’ve been trying to finish off a film these last few days, so short on recent images, I quickly caught the last of todays light to shoot my ‘performance car’.

Sony Nex and 16mm lens on a tripod I positioned the camera to where I wanted the shot. First I took a frame of the car with the bonnet closed. I then opened the hood and took a shot, still in the same fixed place on the tripod. Being a little dark I adjusted exposure and essentially took an over exposed image to get a little more engine bay detail.

Back inside I opened Gimp (Photoshop will do the same, but as discussed in the past, I generally favour Gimp to use). Discarding that first shot with the hood opened, I pasted the shot of the car with hood closed over the shot with over exposed hood open. I then selected the bonnet and reduced opacity to a level that we can still see the bonnet lines, but can also start to see ‘whats under the hood’ (nothing powerful I’m afraid).

So there we go. How to make a quick and simple version of the performance car shoot…with a economy focused car 🙂

Plans to follow Hibernation

My beautiful picture

Cutting firewood in my workshop, I glanced over at my poor bike. Sitting neglected, it dawned on me it must have been a season since I took it out on the road. I have a mate coming over from Australia in a week or so, so all going to plan I will get it out then.

Linked to this got me thinking about exercise and fitness. Between having several colds and now being mid winter, I must admit to practicing my bear like hibernation regime of doing very little fitness wise.

With tickets already purchased for this years Auckland Marathon, I know its only time till I need to push myself into gear…but for today, a film shot from the archives, and back to the warm fireplace!

Shot on the Pentax MG and scanned to digital.


Family Pride



Lions. Those giant cats of nature. Fearsome fighting machines, yet beautiful animals whom are generally fairly social and family, or pride orientated.

The Auckland Zoo is home to a small pride of lions, sitting on top of their little half island (the un-glassed/walled part open to the public is separated by a strip of water). With the poor weather during our visit, it looked as though they were enjoying some of the sun for what was left later in the day. Often this small pride is given interesting toys to play with – things they dont see in the wild. This keeps them inquisitive and playful.

Lions are the second biggest of the cat family (Tigers taking that award). Interestingly, in captivity, Lions can live a little longer than in the wild (10-14 years wild vs 20+ years captive).

With a top speed, for a limited time, of 80kph (50mph), one would not want to be on the receiving end of one of these cats. Luckily they generally dont hunt humans…although thats not to say there are not a number of lion attacks and deaths around the world. Some interesting reading for able googlers could be the Tsavo Man-Eaters.

Lions can be bread with tigers to make Ligers and Tigons, with Leopards to make Leopons…not that any of you will be doing such…

Shot on the Olympus e-500 and cropped in Gimp.


Jungle Den

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABattling on/off rainy weather, we ventured out to the Auckland Zoo today.  Some animals looked to enjoy the rain, others indifferent, and then the rest – the primates all sheltered out of vision, keeping dry.

Armed with the Olympus e-500 I got a number of shots today. Some good, some average. With the larger zoom, it had troubles with focusing today in the average light. Even though todays image is in B&W, I still enjoy the colour from this older four thirds DSLR.

Todays shot, the Chimpanzee enclosure, was captured just after one chimp swung out to check the weather, and then back under the building out of sight and in shelter. Using Gimp I converted to B&W after first tweaking the separate colour channels.


Orko and childhood toys

OrkoThis little character brought me back to my childhood. Orko. One of the characters from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Although not this particular copy, I recall having Orko alongside He-Man, Skeletor, Moss-man…I sure I had some more of the vast array of characters in the collection.

Orko was a Trollan, and one of the few who knew He-Mans identity. Although a little bit of a easily scared character, he always did the right thing and could be counted on when it counted. (in ones typical lesson learning childhood cartoons). Some countries knew him as Gorpo in the earlier series.

I think most of all (as far as ‘action figures’ go) I was into Transformers. I dont know where they all went – likely part of my take apart to see how it works stage, but I had a ton of them. Who else… GI Joe of course – their rubber band waist’s were hard to get back on when taken apart, I do remember that!

Reflecting on these toys of the 80’s, there were a ton of them. Many have since been re-released, with originals being worth a few dollars for the collectors. Like many, mine were handed down, given away, or boxed up and taken to charity.

Then there are the long standing toys – Lego!, Matchbox cars – unless you are a hot wheels or Corgi fan – I recall the hot wheels being faster, but suffering more axle bends. The Corgi’s were well made, but slow. Matchbox was the leader in my day. Meccano. I had some hand me down Meccano. It never seemed to be that big when I was a child, but I loved building with real metal and nuts and bolts etc etc.

Memory lane. TV shows are another. I’ll need to find an appropriate image to shoot for that post though!

Shot on the Ricoh GRD IV in very low light – hence the ‘grain’.


Remembrance Walkway

Graveyard WanderA quick stroll after work around one of the local graveyards. The weather has been pretty bad around the whole country these last few days, so it was nice to be out in the clear blue (and fairly chilly) sky.

Graveyards are interesting places to walk through – something I have featured in the past. Its an interesting walk through history, looking back a hundred years at lives once been. For me, in New Zealand, none of my close family have been buried- cremation being the final step in the bodily life. I know back in UK I have more buried family, from many generations ago.

Its also interesting to look at different funeral practices from culture to culture and religion to religion. For some its a bright and colourful celebration of ones life, for others a mourning and dark passing. Some cultures openly talk about it, and for others its one of those unspoken taboos that we avoid, perhaps in fear of the unknown?

Walking through the graveyard shows a mix of maintained and kept tombstones, as well as overgrown, forgotten and illegible ones. Have the family moved  out of the area, are there any family left? Who knows?

Todays shot was taken on the Ricoh GRD IV and post processed in Gimp. In this I gave the image a mild squish profile wise, converted to B&W and adjusted the contrast.


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