3 Feb ’13
At the end of last year it was announced that Sanson’s iconic rugby grandstand is going to be demolished. Sadly the $500,000 it would cost to restore the old, failing structure was deemed too expensive.
A week or so ago I was reading an article in the Standard about the wish list that the good folk of Sanson have put together for the District Council. One of the options is a “heritage interperation” artwork. I like this idea.
Prompted by these reports, last Sunday the Lovely Man and I took a ride out to Sanson to get some shots of the building before it is demolished.
The grandstand has had a few Dulux reconditions over the years – red and now blue, depending of which brand of beer held the sponsorship. I’ve recently started photographing rural graffiti, so here’s a couple more to add to the collection.
We climbed up the concrete steps, climbed through the gap that’s been cut in the wire barrier, carefully tested the strength of the timbers in the seating area. I can see why they’re having to take the building down. Some parts are loose and rotting, the walls are unstable. A few other people had been up there before us. “Peace, Love and Vegetable Rights”!
Peace, Love and Vegetable Rights for Eternity
The grandstand was built almost 100 years ago, back then I doubt it was painted in the garish colours of a beer company billboard.
The Sanson Grandstand in Black and White
I understand the half a million is a lot of money to spend on one rural building. But it will be a shame when they pull it down.
8-14 Oct ‘11
A few month backs we planned a week away with the kids. The only time Nathan and I could both get off work turned out to be second week of October. We wondered at the wisdom of spending a week in Auckland during the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup combined with the school holidays, but decided to take the plunge.
These are a selection of the shots I took over the course of the week.
Years ago we discovered the delights of the Hamilton Gardens. There is a section of the park that has been developed in to a series of themed gardens. Each small area is planted and landscaped in a particular style – a Japanese tea garden, an English perennial border, Renaissance Italian, American modernist and more. My favourite is the Chinese scholar’s garden with its turtle pond, arched stone bridge, and ‘mountain’ path through a towering bamboo grove up to a pergola with a view to the mighty Waikato River.
A quick snap, handheld without too much thought to composition. It was the reflection of the hump-back bridge in the pond that caught my eye.
Exposure time 1/200 sec
ISO speed ISO-200
Focal length 34mm
Cropping to correct the composition, I decided to go for black and white to focus attention on the reflections and textures. I sent the file to edit in Photoshop. There I could mask out the lower areas in order to lighten up Continue reading
16-22 July ’11
This is the small article and photos I submitted to the Village Voice for the August issue
…. And it seems it didn’t make the cut….
Ashhurst Volunteer Fire Brigade
By Lisa Loach
There were several little jobs that needed doing around the station. A few Brigade members got together to complete the work over several days in July.
A new shelving system was built in the van garage for storage. The wiring was completed for the sound system and radio speakers; the power supply to the fire truck was permanently mounted. Some of the Fire Service memorabilia that had been packed away since the refurbishment last year was brought out for display in the recreation room. Some walls got a fresh coat of paint, and the yard had a general tidy up.
9-15 June ’11
Wow! After the mildest autumn on record, Mother Nature has decided to make her presence felt. We’ve had a week of the wildest weather – storms, tornadoes, thunder and lightening, power outages, the biggest hail stones I’ve ever seen, endless rain and mud! This all added up to ‘indoors’. The Lovely Man and I spent the weekend building a display cabinet for my silver collection (mostly silver, there’s a few other bits that aren’t silver, but are interesting and old). These are things that I collected about 20 years ago, some I bought and others were gifts. The collection has had several different homes, but for the last couple of years they’ve languished out of sight. It was time to bring the old treasures back in to the light. I was inspired to try a little product photography after I’d polished everything up.
Bits and Bobs
Lighting. I still haven’t really got this sorted. Two incandescent bulbs plus my pop up flash, this is what I had to work with. And it turns out that shiny polished silver has a penchant for reflecting every random colour within camera view. So again I was faced with a challenge. A whole lot of tweaking and Photoshopping has removed the weird colour casts. These are a selection of the best from my collection.
The Silver Collection
Some of the shots I’ve simply converted to black and white to remove the weird colours. The brush required a layered approach, blending in a colour layer for the bristles, but using the conversion for the main body of the shot. The perfume bottle simply had the colour removed from the background – the white backdrop took on the colours from the bulbs. The pocket watch took three separate layers. One for the coloured face, one to get the exposure of the case front right, and another for the background.
I had a little note book in which I’d recored all the information I had on these pieces as I bought them, and the prices I’d paid. Sadly I cannot find the note book, so that information is lost. I’ve done some internet research to see what I can find out about my treasures.
A – Table and Chairs. A gift from my Mum. The chairs are made from 925 silver, the table I think is nickel plated brass. So not originally a set, but they’re very sweet. Continue reading
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.
The Open Day programme (Click in photo to enlarge)
Map of Wrights Hill tunnels
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!
Wrights Hill tunnels, Wellington underground
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 Continue reading
30 April – 6 May ’11
Te Manawa – Our City Museum
From the Museum’s website
Te Manawa is a regional cultural centre where art, heritage and science themes dominate. Our exhibitions explore the past; seek to inform today and pose questions about tomorrow. We host international touring shows and home grown exhibits.
For over a year the museum buildings have been under renovation, most of the exhibits in storage. Saturday was the Open Day to welcome the public back to our museum. We took the kids along for a look.
The new sign at the entrance. Perched up on grassy knoll this sign just cried out to be climbed on. So they did. I had only taken my 50mm, thinking I was going to be shooting inside in low light. I couldn’t get far enough back to get the whole sign in one shot. I took two and hoped I could stitch them together when I got home. In the computer upgrade process I’d lost my regular stitching programe, but I had a feeling there was one in the Canon software that had come with my little P&S camera. A bit of searching and playing around and hey-presto, Te Manawa panorama! I also converted to B&W as I felt that the background colours were too distracting. And the sign’s black anyway. The kidlets are rather squinty, it’s far from an ideal shot, but I like it.
Te Manawa Sign - complete with kidlets
The weird shiny thing on Billy the Kid’s face is in fact a passing bubble from the nearby bubble machine.
One of the new exhibits is Te Awa, the story of the river.
Again from Te Manawa’s web site:-
Meet the mudfish, frogs and wētā, and explore the cave and climbing wall in Te Awa – The River, Heart of Manawatū. This brand-new exhibition tells the story of the Manawatū River – the heart of our community. Water is crucial for life, and Te Awa – The River celebrates the Manawatū River as a symbol of the interdependence of all living things. Learn about the properties of water, come face to face with live – and long-dead – creatures, and see what happens when the river bursts its banks. Perhaps most importantly of all, discover how your actions affect our river and the lives of all those who depend upon it.
The kidlets had fun playing with the interactive ‘water cycle’ display, and looked on as some tiny children learned what happens when a flood washes over sand Continue reading
2 – 8 April ’11
Another glorious autumn afternoon, so we took Jake and Cat to check out A Greener Way, Sustainable Living Field Day at the Ashhurst Domain. This initiative has been running for a few years now at various locations. It’s an event to show-case alternative, greener ways of living.
Yacob in a Yurt.
We just had to check out the yurt.
“What’s a yurt?”, I hear you ask.
A yurt is a traditional portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure used by the nomadic people of the central Asian steppes – so says Wikipedia. This particular one came to New Zealand from Afghanistan in the 1960s. It retains its original felted wool lining, the brightly coloured patterns still visible. Inside the yurt we were cosily protected from the chilly easterly wind, and the sun beamed in through the smoke vent in the roof. I asked the children to stand in the sun. Cat’s position meant that the light was catching her in the eye, causing a major case of the squints. Jake managed to get it right.
I really like the deep black around him, and the play of shadow across his shirt.
Exp time 1/500 sec
ISO speed ISO-200
Focal length 50mm