Blogging Again


January 26 ’13

I’ve been reading some great blogs lately.  There are  many very talented people, all around the world and in my own back yard.  And through the magic that is the interwebs I am able to share in and enjoy those talents so easily. Words that would have, until not long ago, languished unread in journals, notebooks and diaries.  Beautiful words that have transported me to foreign lands and new experiences, made me cry. Witty drawings and observations of life that’ve made me laugh out loud. Insightful and thoughtful commentaries, and some of the most ignorant nonsense too, if I take the time to read the Comments sections.

And so I think I really must get back to it.   Perhaps someone over on that side of the world might be interested in what’s happening down here in NZ.     I miss the writing, I wish I had more formal training in the art.  I have discovered that I’m afraid to use semicolons – I really don’t know how.  I love photography, though I second guess myself constantly. I don’t know if I want to set myself any tasks or timetables now.  I wonder if setting Portraits as an aim last year is what put me off.  I’m finding that I just like ‘taking pictures’ for the fun of it.  No constraints.  I know I need to teach myself how to use off camera lighting, but maybe I’ll get to that in the winter.  In the dark days when I don’t have so much glorious natural light to work with.

Last weekend we packed up the kids and headed south for a family day out with Gran, Greg and Daniela.  Our initial plan for the day was to visit the sculpture gardens at Efil Doog in the Akatarawa Valley.  It’s a gorgeous drive north from Upper Hutt through farmland and native bush, the road narrow and a little scary.  Farmhouses and cottage industries are tucked in along the road, glimpses of the river splash along the valley floor.  Daniela used to work at the property neighbouring the garden, so she’d arranged a visit for us.  Soon Efil Doog will be closed to visitors, so we’re lucky and privileged to be able to experience this wonderful place.

Akatarawa Valley

Efil Doog Garden

The most unexpected creatures lurch out from behind trees, rise up out of the ground, float weirdly under the surface of ponds.  The fantastical sculptures are a delight.  Shirley’s collection of bonsai trees in their shade house are inspirational.   But I think the kids were most enchanted with the wildlife – dragonflies, an eel, swimming spiders and frogs!  Or maybe it was me who was enchanted.

Froggy-back dragonfly

Froggy-back dragonfly

This little frog was quite happy to pose for photos, and didn’t seem at all bothered when the dragonfly landed on his back.

My favourite bit  –  the waterlily ponds.  I got several shots of the different coloured lily flowers basking in the summer sunshine.  This is my favourite.

Gorgeous pink waterlily at Efil Doog garden

Gorgeous pink waterlily at Efil Doog garden

It  reminds me of Monet’s Waterlilies that we were lucky enough to view Paris last year.

“Eliminating the horizon and the sky, Monet focused on a small area of the pond, seen as a piece of nature, almost a close-up.”

I love the reflections in the perfectly still water, the light shining through the veined leaves, the contrast of bright pink and green.  And the illusion that the pond might go on forever.

Later in the afternoon, after a picnic in a nearby park and a visit to the Dowse Art Museum, we headed to the beach at Petone.  There were lots of families out enjoying the warm weather, and seabirds that did not seem at all bothered by the people.

New Zealand water  birds

Oystercatchers on Petone Beach

The oystercatchers kept turning around so that their tails to were to the people walking past. So I lagged behind and waited for my family to move along the beach, waited for the birds to face my way.  By intentionally keeping the oystercatchers in focus, and allowing the humans to be a distant counterpoint I hope this picture conveys that the birds are in their element, the people are inconsequential visitors. Maybe?

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