Little Sheep Below

Little Sheep below


Moving up past the tree in yesterdays posting, the view down towards the southern side of Cornwall Park starts to show our elevation, with sheep turning into small ant size…sheep.

As mentioned yesterday, One tree Hill is covered in Trees. However, back in the day, it had a big tree on the summit of the hill. Visually recognisable from miles around, the tree was cut down in 1852 by the ‘white settler’ either for fire wood, or as an act of vandalism. Sir Campbell attempted to plant new native trees on the summit (Totara being the preference for its cultural value), but they did not survive, and in the 1870’s two radiata pines were planted and grew. Along came the 1960’s and again one tree was felled (but is ok, there was still one left!). We then reach the 1990’s and the surviving tree was subject to a number of attacks from Maori activists (I won’t go into great detail here, but the activists were making a point about injustices from the past). Sadly (regardless of which side of the fence one sits with the activist points), in 2000, after a second attack, the tree was deemed a danger, and a lost cause recovery wise and was felled.

(more tomorrow)

Shot on the Sony Nex and edited in Gimp.

Marmite Returns

Marmite returns


On February 22nd 2011 tragedy hit New Zealand with the earthquake that struck Christchurch. During the earthquake, part of the Sanitarium factory was damaged and production of Marmite ceased. Roll forward to March 2012 and the company announced their own stocks of Marmite had all but run out. Marmageddon was declared. Online auction site TradeMe featured numerous jars, both new and used selling for many many times the retail price as Kiwi’s hunted high and low to store supplies of their much loved spread. Also made overseas (UK), the taste was different, and not what we knew. The largest competitor, Australian produced Vegemite became the only viable option for many,

News and whispers spread across the land that the factory was being rebuilt. Delays occurred, but then finally, earlier this week, it was announced that Marmite would be back for sale in the stores on Thursday 20th March 2013.  An initial batch of 500,000 Jars was released to the public, with the reassurance the factory was sound, and request not to stock up – so all New Zealanders would have the opportunity to sample the loved, lost, and reborn spread. Marmageddon was over!

Whilst some buyers flocked to supermarkets at midnight, I waited until morning (hurriedly on my way to work). I have to admit, I am a fan, and was quite pleased to see its return!

Warkworth Prison

Warkworth PrisonWhilst I did manage to get some picture taking in today, it was of someone at work for an article, so I wont feature it here. So- another archive image. A scene from the old Warkworth Prison… well holding rooms from the old village police officer days. Moved and displayed at the Warkworth Museum, it paints a fairly basic, yet not surprising look at the local shack you may have once found yourself locked up in back in the day if you committed a nuisance. Constructed almost entirely of wood (pretty heavy wood), it did have a small iron bar window on the front door.

Shot on the Ricoh, I added heavy vignette in CS5 and desaturated the image a little.


Beach Migration


New Zealand, being fairly isolated on a country scale, has a vast history of migrating. The indigenous group of New Zealand, The Maori have legends of the great Waka that brought them to New Zealand from Hawaiki. Some time later the European discoverers came to the South Seas of the Pacific – Abel Tasman,and most notably Captain Cook. Soon enough people from England (and other areas of Europe) came to the brave new land and settled. Skip forward a few hundred years (we are a fairly young country) and we still see people coming to New Zealand for its beautiful lifestyle.

As a side, this got me thinking about passports and the process involved in moving from place to place. If anyone has any interesting articles/books on when exactly the world was divided up to the level one needed ID and permission to move from one land to another please add a comment. We take it as the norm now, but it cannot have always been such.

Todays image, ‘Beach Migration’, influenced by my thoughts, is of a group of paddle boarders of Aucklands Takapuna Beach. Cutting out the beach in the foreground, I wanted to create some form of impression that they are heading to Rangitoto Island.

Shot on the Ricoh GRD IV and edited in the OSX version of Gimp 2.8

Stairs to Freedom

Stairs to freedom

In today’s post, Stairs to Freedom, I wanted to create that visual experience we all get when adjusting to different light sources. Be it turning on/off a light in the middle of the night, or coming out of a dark tunnel into bright daylight as in this image. The eyes take a moment to adjust to the differing light. Until then things are not quite clear.

Today’s image was shot in one of the old tunnels used for WWII. Coming from the other side, ones eyes slowly adjust to the darkness, only to turn a corner and be greeted by a staircase with bright light shining down.

Shot on the Sony Nex with a old legacy Industar 61 lens, using Gimp I converted to B&W, added a light vignette and adjusted the levels.

Out from the Kitekite

river runs in

About a 5 minute drive from Piha is a track leading to the Kitekite Falls – a 40m drop waterfall (or 80m if you count the 3 tier of pools above it). A beautiful, well maintained bush walk, well worth visiting whilst in the area. There are several tracks to choose from, the shortest taking one about 20minutes of fair pace walking to reach the falls. Here you can take a cool dip in the chilled fresh water.

The falls were used once in attempt to transport felled trees downstream for processing. A fairly commonly used method in New Zealand, dams were built at the top of falls and rivers, logs floated, dams opened, and logs rushed down to the mouth of the river. This practice always damaged a number of logs, but in the KiteKite case, more logs were ruined than saved and it was not used again in the same manner.

Today’s image was shot downstream on my journey back. Leaning out at a corner, I focused upstream and captured the river straight on, disappearing into the bush. Using Gimp, I cropped the aspect a little, adjusted the levels and used the ‘National Geographic’ plug-in.

The Lion of the West Coast

Lion Rock West Coast

Taken from the lookout point at the south of Piha, today’s image is a great profile of Lion Rock. If you look carefully (or imaginatively) you can see the lions eye and nose on the left, his Mane and lower back. Climbing up, one come from the right hand side of this image (clearly we don’t start in the  ocean) and take the gradual carved staircase up.After the first 1/3rd, you can see where the most recent slip from a number of years ago occurred.As you hit the lions ‘mane’, approx 2/3rds, that’s where the track now finishes. It used to come along the side a little more before going inwards again (back when you could climb to the summit).

Although a very overcast day, looking in the background, one can see the sea spray drifting overland towards the dense bush areas. I think the tide was more out than in at this time of the day when the photo was shot.

Once a place of camping and a few holiday homes, Piha is now a growing in population area. In 1951 it had 73 residents. in the 2006 census that figure had grown to 822. 6 years on, I expect it will have easily cracked the 1000. Many of the houses are fairly flash now days, and a great option for the work from home types who love to be by the sea and surf. There are still multiple camping grounds in the area (although very limited shops), and its well worth a stay if you are in Auckland for a period!

Piha also had its own TV show – Piha Rescue. Essentially a real life lifesaver show filmed around the typical summer periods of Piha.

Shot on the Sony Nex 5N and post-processed in Gimp. I adjusted the levels a fair amount – this helped a lot with the hazy, slightly over exposed original. Cropped the aspect a little and added wording.

That will do for facts for today. I’ll let the image say the rest! Have a good Friday!

Welcoming the New Year

Welcome 2013

After limited sleep following the midnight welcoming of 2013, today welcomed a hot sunny and beautiful day to Auckland. With many of the shops closed for the public holiday (sadly not all for the retail and essentials workers) masses went to the beaches for a near perfect midday high tide.

Being New Zealand’s largest city, the Christmas/New Year period is always a little interesting in Auckland. People often leave town to go on their summer vacation. As a result the roads are generally a little quieter, and for those of us who stay (in reality the vast majority I’m sure), as long as you are not shopping in things like the boxing day rush, it feels like the city has itself taken a break.

I mentioned resolutions  in yesterdays posting. No doubt around the world many people are waking up today with new goals and intentions. I cant say I made any specific ones at this stage. I have been suffering from a bad back of recent, so I think one goal will be to sort that out more!

Photo wise, todays image was shot at North Head on the North Shore, looking towards Bastion Point. Both North Head and Bastion point historically have been used by locals since Auckland (or pre-Auckland) was populated. In early pre-european times, local Maori had Pa (fortified villages) on these sites. Later they were used for WWII operations. In the late 1970’s Bastion Point was part of a land protest (it had been taken from Maori from the crown earlier) and eventually in the 1980’s given back to the local Iwi (local group/tribe). North Head is now looked after by the Department of Conservation, and open for all to explore the old WW tunnels and various tracks and pathways.

The only post processing for today’s image was putting on the rounded corners after resizing. Image was shot on the Ricoh GRD IV.

I have also been trying to finish off a few films. One in my Ricoh GR1, and the other in my newly acquired Pentax MG. I must say, the Pentax is a really nice SLR to use. Very light and compact and fits into the hand well. It does loose manual shutter control (although one can adjust ev compensation and film speed to work with this), but all else is manual. When I have finished either I will develop and hopefully have some interesting shots to share.

Auckland Trams

In 1902 Auckland got its first electric trams, and again closed down operation in 1956. With the Rugby World Cup last year, Wynyard quarter again brought the W2 Tram back into operation, albeit on a tourist 1.5km route one can also cover on foot.

It was nice to see them put back on the road in Auckland, and I believe they have plans to lengthen the track – possibly making them of more use to locals as well as visitors in the future.

Taken on the Sony Nex 5N with the pancake 16mm lens, I just did a little cropping and a slight contrast push in Gimp before posting.

The French Moat

Scanned from film, I caught this image when visiting France for the UK. Moats are a rare sighting on this side of the world, so it was always a novelty for me to see one. Found in many of the continents of the world, ones like this were possibly just as ornamental as anything, but they have/had been used for protection for about 4000 years going by findings archeology. When you look at the steep walls in this image its no surprise they could be very effective in defending from invaders.

Taken on the Minolta Dynax 700si in 35mm, scanned and post edited in Gimp, I brought down the saturation and added a light sepia filter. Finally I upped the contrast a little. It looked fine from the negative really, but I quite like this slightly more ‘washed’ look.

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