Tag Archives: Autumn

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

14 April ’13

Autumnal, it is one of my very favourite words.

I am starting to think the the Weekly Photo Challenge person and I are on the same wavelength.   I’d been thinking about this week’s blog, and decided that I’d write about the change of seasons, the clocks and the weather.

“This week, we want to see photos that represent change. Depending on where in the world you are, this could be a winter landscape blossoming to spring, or vice versa. It could be a picture of a place you’ve left behind and hope never to return to, a photo of a place you hope to reach, or a snapshot of where you currently stand in a journey. Perhaps you’ll capture your child on the cusp of a developmental milestone, or the sun just about to flip the switch between night and day.”  –  Michelle

 I guess the season is changing in the other direction in Michelle’s part of the world.

At 2am last Sunday the clocks changed back to regular time, adding an hour to the day and giving us all a sleep in.  As has happened before,  the weather seemed to take this as a cue to switch to winter mode – or at least autumn.    We stacked fire wood and I was inspired to  make  a crock-pot curry for our dinner, a sure sign that winter’s on its way.

Stacked Fire Wood

Stacked Fire Wood

It has been pleasant to have the fire going in the evenings.

After such a stunning summer the sudden drop in temperature has been a bit of a jolt.  I’ve been wearing jackets to work, and even broke out a merino jersey once or twice.


Winter wardrobe

My fav corduroy jacket,  fine merino jersey and the beautiful
orchid scarf that my brother brought me home  from his trip to Asia.

The recent rain has encouraged the toadstools out of their summer hiding places, they’re popping up all over.

Toadstools on the lawn

Toadstools on the lawn

The Lovely Man and I went foraging for mushrooms this morning, but couldn’t find any on public land that we felt would be right to take.  Those on people’s lawns and in farmer’s paddocks are off-limits.

My spring bulbs are beginning to push their leaves out of the ground and the leaves on the maple trees in the front yard are starting to change colour.

Red maple leaves

Autumn leaves

All in all, much is changing.  Not for the worse or better – just different.   What’s changed in your life recently?

Autumn’s Bounty

06 April ’13

This season is truly plentiful.

Though I’ve been lamenting the poor crop of tomatoes this year, we’ve been blessed with lots of other goodies. Our strawberries just keep on going, and the courgettes have done well after a slow start.

Strawberries and yellow courgette zucchini

Summer colour

As I’ve written previously, the wild blackberries seem to have had the best season ever.  We collected pots and pots of them, transformed their sweet goodness in to  jams and desserts.  I still have some in the freezer – blackberry gin anyone?

Weighing fruit

Blackberries by the Kilo

While up at Mangaweka last weekend the Lovely Man and I found a patch of blackberries that were still fruiting well.  Lacking anything to stash the berries in we simply stood in the sun and ate our fill.  Yum.  We also discovered that one of the old pear trees, a tiny little thing with a split trunk clinging to the hill side, is utterly laded with the biggest pears I’ve ever seen.  They’re not ripe yet.  I hope Continue reading


12  March ’13

    A lot of folks like to complain about the Manawatu weather. There seems to be a perception that it’s alway raining here.   People love to have something to moan about, and they have short memories.    Maybe it’s part of the Palmy psyche – the rest of the country is down on us, we must be a worthless bunch… (eh, that’s a point for another blog).  In the past few years there have been floods, killer tornadoes  and storms, terrible times, all around the country, and we’ve missed it all.  We’re lucky to live in a temperate climate that usually gets plenty of rain, it’s never terribly cold, and it’s sunny enough for grain crops, market gardens and vineyards to thrive. 

This summer has been different.  At first the long hot summer days were welcome.  They coincided with the school holidays, we all had a great summer break.  But now it’s been over two months without significant rain.   It must be 10 years since we’ve experienced a drought such as this.  Everyone is over it, the farmers of the country in particular. Here’s scary graphic demonstrating just how dry it is, over the whole country. Parts of the country are now officially in drought conditions, and the Manawatu is about to have drought declared.

Inspired by some great photos in the Standard, I decided to get some shots of the dry for myself.

We took a drive up the Saddle Road on Sunday morning, the early light makes interesting shadows.  Mount Ruapehu perches on the distant horizon. (Click in the photo for the full sized version.)


Pohangina Valley to Ruapehu – Dry

It looks like the farmers are irrigating their fields down in the valley, the hill country has to fare for itself.

Drought plane

Manawatu Panorama

The  beautiful weather makes for stunning panoramas. Continue reading


4 March ’13

Blackberry –  yes, we know it’s a weed, but those little glossy berries are just so delish.  The hot, long summer seems to have produced a bumper crop this year. So we discovered when we went for a drive on Saturday.

Cat was staying with a friend,  me and the boys (large and small) went out for a drive to the river. There we spotted a man blackberrying.  “Ah ha!”, thought we,  “That looks like a fine idea.”    After we’d checked out the little creek that runs down to the river – the reason we’d gone down there in the first place –  we headed on over to the berry canes.

Blackberry fruit

Billy and the blackberries

I can’t remember the last time I saw such a huge crop of blackberries.  Juicy and sweet, they stained our fingers as we sampled the fruit.  Warm and fragrant in the sun, the memories came flooding back of the blackberries we’d found in Ostia Antica last year.

Italy, Rome

Blackberries in Ostia Antica, Italy

We went home for lunch, then headed back with pots and containers to gather some of nature’s autumn bounty.

Picking blackberries

Boy in berries

It did not take long for three of us to gather enough for a cook up. And all the scratches were totally worth it.  We had enough to make a berry crumble to have Continue reading

WeekSeventeen – ANZAC Day

22 – 28 April ’12

 They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

April 25th every year sees the commemoration of those who have sacrificed their lives to ensure our freedom.  In Ashhurst the community gathers under the spreading oak trees in our town center.  We share hymns, prayers and songs to mark the solemnity of the occasion and we are drawn closer.  And these achingly young men stand head-bowed and silent in memory of their fallen comrades.

NZ soldier


F-stop                f/6.3
Exposure time   1/250 sec
ISO speed          ISO-200 
Focal length      50mm

There has only been one ANZAC day in recent times where the weather has been bad.  It seems that Mother Nature wishes to encourage us out in to the glory of her autumn sunshine each year.  This does provide a bit of a challenge – bright sun light and dappled shade.  And I did not feel that I could use my flash at this solemn occasion – I get enough dirty looks just having my camera there.   So I’ve boosted the brightness under the brim of this soldier’s hat to lighten his face.

WeekSixteen – Golden Oldies

15 – 21 April ’12

The rugby season has gotten under way, so I decided to take my camera down to Lincoln Park on Saturday to practice some action shots.  It was a gorgeous afternoon (again!), the autumn light golden.  The blokes in the senior teams were giving it their all.

Senior rugby

Golden Oldies

F-stop                   f/7.1
Exposure time      1/320sec
ISO Speed            ISO-200
Focal length         125mm 

WeekTen – Beach Babe

3 – 10 March ’12

True to form, the Manawatu puts on a stunning Autumn.  After a complete fizzer of a summer, we finally see some sun.  And the beach beckons.

We packed up the kids and a picnic lunch and headed for Himitangi.  Along with half the local population.  Boys tossing rugby balls, girls on horses, kids with kites, and a few brave souls who ventured in to the water – the beach was humming.

A  wee tot, with her Grandma in tow, was checking out the sand.  I am not sure she was too impressed with this gritty stuff.

Baby at the beach

Beach Babe

F-stop                   f/8
Exposure time      1/320sec
ISO speed              ISO-200
Focal length         125mm 

I didn’t take my flash with me to the beach, so I’ve had to brighten the shadows some in post.

Week20 – A Break in the Weather

14 – 20 May ’11

Sunday brought a warning of severe weather  –  heavy down pours,  strong westerlies and thunder storms.  If I had not have had to go in to town to shop for groceries, it’d have been an invigorating  start to the cooler season.  As it was Cat and I got soaked loading our shopping in to the car, and I had to wipe down tins and packets as I stacked them away in the cupboard at home.  But the trade off was worth it.  Sodden autumn colours and weather shots from high places.

The last of Autumn’s splendour

I happened to notice out the window that the maples in our front yard were adorned with suspended drips.  The reds and pinks of the leaves always look more jewel-like in the rain. I’ve taken this “Autumn Leavestype of shot a few times over the years, the last leaves‘ tenuous grip before they slip away.   I waited a while in the hope that the rain would stop,  not wanting to take the camera out in the wet.  When it showed no sign of easing, I gathered up an assistant in the form of Jake, gumboots, umbrella and camera and waded out to see what I could get.  I am sure we must have looked quite ridiculous shuffling about  on the lawn,   shoulder to shoulder under my small umbrella.  Let’s hope the neighbours weren’t watching.

A tenuous grip

F-stop                f/4.8
Exp time          1/80 sec 
ISO speed        ISO-400
Focal length  50mm

Autumn maple leaves

F-stop                f/5.3
Exp time          1/125 sec 
ISO speed        ISO-320
Focal length  70mm 


Weather or not 

A few weeks back I’d watched an episode of a UK  TV show called How to Take Stunning Photographs .  One tip that I picked up from the show was ‘watch the weather’.  It’s fairly basic when you think about it, just hadn’t crossed my mind before.  If the weather’s rough, but you know it’s going to clear, watch the sky.  That moment when the sun comes out under stormy skies can be magical. Continue reading

Week17 – Easter Weekend and ANZAC Remembrance

23-29 April ’11

Cheating just a little

This week’s post contains some photos that strictly speaking should be in last week.  However as they’re part of the same long-weekend break, I’ve put them all together.

Rewa Valley

This is a shot I’ve been wanting to get for a couple of years. We drive this way when we head up to Mangaweka for weekend breaks.   I’ve noticed how lovely the little valley looks when all the trees turn golden.  But every time it’s been a case of we’re in a hurry or the weather’s not right or ah, too late, all the leaves are gone.    So the shot has not been got.

This time, the Lovely Man and I  made time.    The kidlets had set off earlier in the day with their Grandad.   I judged  the timing to be about right.  Our local trees were  all cloaked in autumn glory and the day was clear, the sky blue.  However, there is that saying about the best laid plans.  When we arrived at Rewa the clouds had moved in, the sun was playing hide and seek.  We parked in a safe spot a little way up the road and walked back down to the bridge from which I wanted to get the shot.  Though the valley  still looked pretty with the braided stream running in its alluvial course and the leaves shimmering yellow on the trees, without the sun it was not the shot I wanted.  So we waited.  Pigeons roosting under the bridge cooed softly, a gentle breeze was blowing.  It would have been a pleasant place to pass the time but for the constant traffic.  Who knew that the Cheltenham Hunterville Road was so busy!?  Every vehicle that passed by made the bridge shake, too, though it didn’t seem to bother the cooing pigeons.  Eventually, after a bit of a wait (thank goodness we didn’t have the kids with us, they have no patience what-so-ever) the sun broke through.  And I got the shot I’ve been waiting for.

Rewa Valley - The long awaited autumn shot

F-stop                  f/8
Exposure           1/125sec
ISO Speed          ISO-320
Focal length    18mm

Apprentice Wood Cutter

Our on going quest for free fire wood.  The more we can gather for just the cost of our own labour, the better.  A local farmer had given us permission to drag out whatever decent wood we could find from his scrap pile up the hill.  Good wood and  fairly  easy  access.  It didn’t take longto cut up and load  a trailer  full. Continue reading