Tag Archives: Hats

As we that are left grow old

26 April ’13

25th April, ANZAC Day,
the day that New Zealanders and Australians
remember and commemorate those men
and women who have made sacrifices in war.


“Somewhere between the landing at ANZAC (cove) and the end of the battle of the Somme, New Zealand definitely became a nation.”

– Ormond Burtons, stretcher bearer and infantryman

As the years have passed, so too have the survivors of those first battles, the original ANZACs.  But their spirit, the values that those survivors brought home with them are to be admired and passed on to the following generations.


On ANZAC Day we recite the Ode of Remembrance, watch the flag lowered to half mast to the Last Post and raised again to Reveille, sing hymns and anthems, lay wreaths.  We remember.

Cemetery rememberance service

ANZAC Service, Pohangina

Sharing these ceremonies in the company of hundreds of members of our community, including our children in the commemorations is all a part of keeping that ANZAC spirit alive.

Many children and young people attended and were involved in this year’s services.


Laying wreaths at the memorial in Ashhurst

Jacob recently joined the Palmerston North Cadet Unit, the Cadets participated in a number of services around the region this year.  They marched and layed Continue reading

A Shy Smile

22 April ’13

Sunday before last I was given the opportunity to take photographs at the annual IHC picnic organised by the Fitzherbert Lions at the Ashhurst Domain.  This is an event that the Lions Club organise to give the clients a fun day out, and also to give the carers a day to relax and know their charges are well entertained.

The Lovely Man was going to be driving the Fire Engine, giving the ‘guys’ rides around the park – always a hit with everyone, young and old.  He invited me along in my capacity as unofficial “Official Photographer” for the Ashhurst Fire Brigade.  At first I was thrilled, and started thinking of shots I could get.  But once we were in the appliance and heading to the park I began to have doubts.  I am not at my best with strangers in social situations, and the idea of strangers with special needs was beginning to feel daunting.

As soon as we arrived I was adopted by the sweetest little lady.  She kept coming up to me and taking my arm, never saying a word.  But she stroked my arm and nodded that, yes, she would like a ride in the fire engine.  A real sweetheart.

Happy faces

A sweet little lady

Loading people with physical as well and mental disabilities up in to the truck is a bit of a mission, but there were plenty of strong and willing helpers on hand.  The expressions of sheer happiness on the client’s faces when they returned from their rides made all the effort worthwhile.

Fire engine ride


One chap named Micheal seemed painfully shy, I could not get him to look at me for a photo.  The look of sly delight on his face as he climbed down from the fire engine was priceless.

Ride in the fire truck

A Shy Smile

Micheal’s friend was telling me all about how they are fund raising to get to the Special Olympics in Dunedin.  He told me about his flight to Nelson, where he won medals for weightlifting.  The men’s carer told me that this gent is indeed a Continue reading

Food and Culture

19 March ’13

The Festival of Cultures in Palmerston North has been getting bigger and more popular every year.    The “boys” and I headed in to the Square just before midday so we could sample the delicious foods and call it lunch.

The first culture we encountered was the Rosewood Morris dancers, the very same dancers we saw at the Medieval Market in Levin.  They’d roped in a bunch of onlookers and were trying to teach them some moves.

Festival of Cultures

Morris Dancers in the Square

We didn’t see any food on offer though.  I wonder what Morris dancers eat… Bangers and mash?  Yorkshire pud?

We moved on in search of edibles.  We found it in spades.  Cambodian pork fried bread, rice and beef stew from the Philippines,  sticky steamed buns filled with pork and relish.  Oh my gosh, international culinary heaven!

Festival of Cultures

Boys chowing down

A dish of rice, noodles and beans in a tasty red sauce from the Congo was served to us by a lovely lady in a fantastic headdress.

Festival of Cultures

A lady of the Congo

Now in search of drink to wash it all down with we shunned the overpriced cans of fizz and went for a delicious and refreshing cup of homemade lemonade. Perfect.

While that we’d been sampling these tasty treats all manner of people in costume and customary dress had been wandering about.  These girls in bright dresses 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

Steam Attraction

 28 Feb ’13

The romantic era of steam. It holds an irresistible attraction for both the Lovely Man and I.  I’m not any sort of petrol head, but I’ve long held a fascination for all the shiny brass bits, the might and the power of steam driven engines.  I love the fact that you can see all the working parts, pistons and cams and gears.

The Steam Traction Society, based just outside of Feilding, held its Great Manawatu Steam Fair over the last weekend.  We packed up yet another picnic (I’m getting well practiced at baking up goodies on Saturday afternoon for our Sunday excursions.),  gathered up our kids and  a couple of hangers-on and headed over.

The Steam Traction Society Feilding

Steam Traction Engines

Wow.  The sight of a field full of working traction engines is quite something. I didn’t count how many, they kept moving around, but there must have been at least eight.  Which might not sound like much, but truly it was a sight to behold, all chuffing and smoking stacks.  And huge wheels.  Awesome.

First up we all jumped in the people carrier trailer for a turn around the paddock behind  a smoking, steaming beast.  Even Billy had to smile as we lurched along.

Steam Traction Society Feilding

Trailer ride behind old smokey

That’s smoke in the air, not lack of focus.

And the best bit was yet to come.  We could have a turn at actually driving them! Continue reading

Beware – Men in Tights!

14 Feb ’13

I was reading an article in the Herald earlier in the week about living ones life to the fullest – taking opportunities as they arise and making adventures.  A suggestion was to always wonder if what you’re doing is worth photographing.  I like this idea.  Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve found that I have been actively seeking activities that will make interesting photographs.  The offshoot of this has been that we’ve taken the kids to many local events that we’d possibly not have bothered with otherwise.  I hope that we’re making good memories for them.

We’d noticed the advertising for the annual Medieval Market held in Levin when we traveled down to Wellington a few weeks back.  As we were going to be heading down to the capital again to farewell my brother and his partner, leaving on a new Aussie adventure, we decided we’d stop in at the Market on the way south.

Medieval Market, Levin

Medieval Market, Levin

I didn’t actually see any men in tights – but there were plenty of men in helmets, chain mail and robes.  Not to mention Friar Tuck, the Cat in the Hat (I hadn’t realised he was Medieval) and Morris dancers.  Lots of  women too, some in flowery hats and others in warriors costumes.

Pillow Jousting!  Now that sounded like fun.  Billy could not be convinced to give it a go.  Once assured that it  would hold them up, Jake and his Dad climbed on to the pole and proceeded to beat each other with half-stuffed pillows.

Levin Medieval Market

Pillow Jousting

The horrible white sky doesn’t do much for this shot, photographically speaking. But I love the energy, fun and determination that are captured here.  One for the family album, me thinks. Oh, and note the little unicorn who was giving rides, he’s snuck in to the corner of the shot. Continue reading

Small Holder’s 2013

1 Feb ’13

We’ve been attending the Lion’s Small Holder’s auction for years.

2011 – “Every January the Ashhurst Pohangina Lions Club holds its annual Small Holder’s Auction on Andrew McDonald’s farm. This is the Club’s major fund raiser for the year. Thousands of people make the drive from Palmerston North and surrounding areas to check out the livestock and chattels that are auctioned off in small lots.”

2012 – “Every year we take the short drive up the Pohangina Valley to attend the Lions Club’s Small Holders Auction. It is the Club’s major fund raiser for the year and always worth a look.”

Each year the event seems to get bigger.  According to the paper, it’s been running for over 30 years.  So this Saturday just gone, Nathan and I jumped in the Spitfire and tootled up the valley for a look.  (We’re liberated now that the kids can be left to their own devices for a few hours.)

Pohangina Lions Auction


I loved this wonderful old retro freezer.  I don’t know if it’s a runner, but as everything was made to last back in the day, I bet it is.  Hopefully it went to a home where it’s luscious curves will be appreciated.

Pohangina Lions Auction

Row F

 The organisers had set up rows A -H to lay out the lots for the auction; they had 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.

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.

WeekFour – Small Holders

22 – 28 Jan ’12

Every year we take the short drive up the Pohangina Valley to attend the Lions Club’s Small Holders Auction.  It is the Club’s major fund raiser for the year and always worth a look.  And I’ve found that there are guaranteed to be some interesting characters, too.

I’d seen this gentleman a couple of times, and snapped him once.  As the morning progressed I spotted him again. He was a distance away and looking more or less in my direction, without the sun at his back which had been the case earlier.  I quickly framed my shot with the farmer as the subject – not entirely sure that he was looking at me.  I always feel a little intrusive taking photos of strangers, so I continued taking a couple more shots over his shoulder so that he wouldn’t be on to me.  Hmm, subtle eh?

White bearded farmer

A small-holder?

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

The original shot had the whole torso of the farmer and a little bit too much of that nasty white sky.  I’ve cropped in closer for better composition, and I was delighted to find that he actually was looking directly in to the lens.

I’ve had to slightly lighten up the right side of his face and under the brim of his hat.  I also cloned out an official in a flouro lime-yellow vest over his right shoulder – too distracting.  One thing that was bothering me was his eyes, they seemed dull. I was thinking how much better the portrait would be if I’d had a flash to create some catch lights in his eyes.  I zoomed right in to see if I could figure a solution.  When I looked closely I discovered that there was a catch light in his eye not obscured by his hat.  The sky behind me was reflected in his eye, but only slightly.  Using the magic of Photoshop I isolated the area (barely two pixels high by about ten across) and simply lightened it up to make it more obvious.

I am pleased with the result.  I love his weathered, care-worn face, his amazing beard and fly-away hair.  I also like the low morning sun that side lights his features.  I hope that he’d be happy with this portrait should he ever see.