4 – 10 June ’11
To celebrate the Queen’s birthday, we get a day off from work and school. We decided a family trip to the capital would be great way to spend the day. The weather was grey. We experienced fog, thick fog, cloud, extreme low cloud, mist and a light drizzly rain. Must be winter…
From the web site of the Wrights Hill Fortress Restoration Society Inc:-
Built during World War Two, the Fortress consists of an underground network of tunnels, operation rooms and three gun emplacements. Society members take the public on a one hour long guided tour on Open Days. You can also wander around yourself with the help of a free history pamphlet and map. The experience is fascinating for people of all ages and gives adults and children alike an insight into the measures taken to protect New Zealand during World War Two.
We managed to arrive a little early, not realising that the Open Day didn’t officially start ’til 10am. But the door was open, and we were invited in as the first visitors of the day. The volunteers who comprise the Restoration Society were dressed in various period military uniforms, adding to the atmosphere.
It’s rather a maze down there. All the tunnels and stairs look the same, luckily there are plenty of signs to assist the directionally-challenged, such as myself. We spent two and half hours wandering the passageways and tunnels. It really is an interesting place to visit. I’m glad we got there early. By the time we were ready to leave the crowds were building up, and my does it get noisy in a warren of concrete tunnels filled with yahoo-ing children!
Photography in a dimly lit tunnel is …. not easy. I’d taken my 18-125mm with me, knowing that I would need the wide angle in tight spaces. However this left me with a max aperture of f/3.5, and the necessity to crank the ISO way up. Even after processing there’s a fair amount of noise. But I think it suits the old-time subjects, we can pretend it’s film grain 🙂 .
Fort Ballance was a coastal artillery battery, built to protect Wellington harbour from the threat of Russian invasion in 1885. It is located on Point Gordon, above Mahanga Bay. I am sure that in good weather it would afford wonderful views around Wellington. Sadly, there was fog/mist/drizzle when we were there. All that is left are concrete walls, stairs and gun emplacements. Every available space is ‘decorated’ with graffiti. Normally graffiti annoys me but for some reason it seemed fitting up there. Maybe it was simply because the day was so very gray – the cheery colours of the paint brightened up what would have been a dull and drab scene.Exif F-Stop f/3.8 Exp Time 1/80sec ISO Speed ISO-200 Focal Length 18mm Exif F-Stop f/3.8 Exp Time 1/80sec ISO Speed ISO-320 Focal Length 18mm
Lunch time rock pooling
After buying some picnic supplies from a shop keeper who seemed about as vibrant as the weather, we drove around to the end of the airport. We ate ham sandwiches and ginger kisses while watching wet-suited divers fishing in the shallows. Then we went for a wander around the rock pools to see what we could see as plane after plane took off from the adjacent runway.Exif F-Stop f/5.3 Exp Time 1/200sec ISO Speed ISO-200 Focal Length 70mm
Fishing off the pier
The kids voted to go fishing next – we’d gathered some limpets from the rocks to use as bait. We drove around to Miramar wharf, a place the Lovely Man and I have visited before. Plenty of other folk were fishing from the pier, and pulling up some mighty good, pan-sized fish. Of course they had great big surf casters.Exif F-Stop f/6.3 Exp Time 1/200sec ISO Speed ISO-125 Focal Length 125mm
We have little kid-sized poles that we simply dropped over the side. Jake seems to have all the luck whenever we go fishing. The tally was Jake -4, Lovely Man – 1, Billy the Kid – 0, Cat – 0, Lisa – 0. Fishing is always a great way to while away an hour or so. Even if Billy the Kid declared himself BORED!