12 July ’13
Mid-winter – a time to hunker down and keep out of the weather.
There is not much going on at this time of year, at least not much that we want to brave the weather for. And not much to blog about. I’ve been spending weekend afternoons trying out new recipes. We’ve enjoyed golden syrup dumplings, creamy leek and chicken pie, a delicious bacon and pumpkin pasta, and a melt-in-the-mouth lamb curry. Winter is the time for the comforts of home and comfort food.
Wax-eye in the kiwifruit canes
Last weekend we made what’s going to be one of our last visits to Trev’s place at Mangaweka. While we were there we noticed a flock of wax-eyes enjoying a little mid-winter feast of their own in the kiwifruit canes.
02 April ’13
We’ve spent almost every Easter break for the last 13 years at Mangaweka . The weather has varied from sunny and warm, crisp and frosty to wet and miserable. But every year, whatever the weather, there’s always been an egg hunt. One year the neighbour’s dog came over after the Easter Bunny had set out his eggs and scoffed the lot. That was not a good year. Another time there was a map with clues.
An Easter hunt
And every year the kids have got bigger and bigger.
Easter hunt 2008
We wonder… “Are they getting too big for Easter hunts?” Nah, we’ve always decided. Besides, the Easter Bunny has loads of fun setting them up.
Easter Hunt 2009
This year there were clues framed as riddles leading to locations all over the Continue reading
6 Feb ’13
On Friday afternoon we headed up to Trev’s bach at Mangaweka for a weekend away. We had no particular plans in mind, just hoped the weather would continue in its glorious, sunny vein so we could take the kids swimming on Saturday.
It did, so we did! After a leisurely morning at the house and a “fix your own sandwich” lunch we packed up the car and headed out. Trev’s neighbour had loaned us the key to a gate allowing access down to the Kawatau Stream, to a new swimming hole that we’d not visited before. Wow – perfect.
A shady spot under the old manuka trees, right on the river bank, perfect to set up our picnic table and chairs. Always the table and chairs – why not picnic in comfort, I say. Slathering sunscreen on the kids is becoming increasingly time consuming. Half a tube (almost!) is required to cover Jake’s back, and I just about need a step ladder to reach his shoulders. So once they were all coated and protected from the sun, in they went. I regretted not having brought my own swimming togs.The water was the perfect temperature, having meandered for miles over sun-warmed rocks. And crystal clear, much clearer than I’ve ever seen the Rangitikei River, just around the corner at Toe Toe Road.
Kids in the Stream
As the kids splashed and swam about in the company of their father and under the watchful eye of their Grandad, I took the opportunity to head up to the quarry for a mini photo walk on my own. The stone crushing equipment makes for some interesting shots.
Stone crushing machinery, Stand clear
It is HOT when you’re surrounded by dust and piles upon piles of rocks just soaking up all that sun and radiating it back on all sides. Continue reading
8 – 14 April ‘ 12
Easter weekend at Weka – the traditional Easter Egg Hunt yielded a huge haul.
ISO speed ISO-200
Focal length 35mm
Flash Flash fired
"I loves me some chocolate!"
I am not at all happy with this shot. I know it’s a poor tradey who blames her tools, but I’m really struggling to make the 18-125 focus correctly. This picture’s only redeeming feature is Billy the Kid’s gap-toothed grin. One for the album on the strength of that missing tooth.
22-28 Oct ’11
Labour Weekend saw us spending three nights in Mangaweka
A boy’s first kill
Jake and Nathan have been out shooting several times over the last couple of years. The boy has not managed to hit anything before now. With the aid of a new ‘scope he succeeded.
Exposure time 1/200sec
ISO speed ISO-200
focal length 50mm
Jake with his wabbit
The mid-morning sun was bright, so I set my built in flash to provide a bit of fill light. As we mucked about setting up a pose that did not involve Jake shooting himself, or having his elbow sticking out at an awkward angle, the sun veiled itself behind a light cloud. The result worked out rather well. I did have the aperture set too small, making the background sharp. I’ve Photoshopped the bushes with a bit of blur. I maybe should have spent a little more time of this aspect.
23-29 July ’11
I’ve been in a bit of a photographic slump the last few weeks. Maybe a touch of the winter blues. I just seem to have lost the excitement I usually feel for taking pictures, and seeing what I’ve got once I get to the processing stage. It was this mid-winter lack of interest that caused the demise of my 365 project last year. It took me most of the week to get around to processing these shots. Meh, I’m sure this funk will pass. Just have to keep plugging on and wait for spring. I’ve finally got my zoom lens back from the repair shop, so maybe this will give the injection of enthusiasm I need.
This weekend we made for Mangaweka – middle of the school holidays, no rugby, no other commitments. Trev collected the kidlets early on Friday morning, the Lovely Man and I traveled up after work.
The children have small pot-belly stove in the garden that they are allowed to light and use to cook snacks. They seem to have learned a healthy respect for fire, whilst learning how to control it and put its power to good use. Handy skills to have, and ones that many kids probably miss out on. Later in the evening the opportunity arose to play around with some longer, night-time exposures. Light writing using a glowing stick, Billy had loads of fun making squiggles in the darkness. I hadn’t taken my tripod with me, so I rested the camera on the back of a chair for stability.
Drawing with light
Cat found herself a stick to light, too. It needed a little extra oxygen to get it glowing.
Exp time 1/60sec
ISO speed ISO-800
Focal length 50mm
Cat in the stars
The low light made this a very noisy image. I liked the starry/sand effect, so I pushed it further. I’m pleased with the results.
Lighting a Fire
The middle of a damp winter is the safest time for a bonfire. We had a pile of prunings and clippings from various garden tidy-up projects to dispose of. The Lovely Man will take any excuse to have a play on Oliver the li’l’ bulldozer. He pushed all the old branches and bamboo in to a heap for burning. Continue reading
11-17 June ’11
This weekend we had a gathering of family and friends at my father-in-law’s fishing bach in Mangaweka. And something a little different this week. My beloved D90 has developed a fault and died completely on Saturday. She’s going to have to spend some time in the shop. I managed to get a few shots before she packed it in completely. This weekend was recorded on three different cameras, I’ve put the whole lot together as my first ever attempt at amature movie-making. I now have a YouTube account to add to my growing web presence. 😀
Visitors from North of the Bombay Hills.
The Lovely Man and his dad, Trev, had spent a week in Auckland in February visiting with my sister-in-law. One of the activities Vickie had organised for them was a hunting trip with her friends Ross and Tony. These guys are professional hunting guides, amongst other things. You can check out the video from that trip here – go to the 5:30min mark to find our guys. (Warning – please do not watch this if you are sensitive to the idea of hunting, shooting animals and processing them afterwards.)
Hunting with Ross, Tony and Trev - picture courtesy of the Lovely Man
This weekend we returned the favour. The guys arrived in Mangaweka on Friday set for a couple of days of hunting and fishing, barbequing and campfire sing-alongs. The kidlets and I were joining them on Saturday afternoon, to allow Jake to attend his rugby game. As luck would have it the game was cancelled along with almost all the other rugby in the region due to bad weather and ground closures. This meant we could head up Saturday morning, arriving in time for lunch – a boil up of pork bones and watercress, served with buttered bread and salt’n’pepper. Yum! Excellent traditional Kiwi kai.
The sights of Weka
After lunch Trev, Cat, Jake, Tony, Ross and the Lovely Man went off to view the sights of the Rangitikei. Billy the Kid and I stayed behind with the dog to greet Vickie and Charlotte when they arrived. We spent the afternoon chill-axing by Continue reading
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.
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.
ISO Speed ISO-320
Focal length 18mm
Rewa Valley - The long awaited autumn shot
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
1 – 7 Jan ’11
I was not sure that using a picture that needed such a lot of correcting was a good way to start the year. I am not a proponent of the “I’ll fix it later in Photoshop” mentality. However this picture turned out so well, just the way I wanted after a bit of tweaking, that I’ve decided to go with it.
This abandoned old beast of burden has sat in the paddock behind my father-in-law’s fishing bach for many years. Its been there since he bought the place 12 years ago. I’ve always been fascinated by it. Austin has featured in family snaps, and has been the subject of many photographic experiments as I’ve journeyed from compact film, through Digital Point n’ Shoot to DSLR. I have shots of her surrounded by spring flowers, lush summer pasture and shivering under bare limbed trees.
We spent our Christmas/Summer holiday at Mangaweka. One of my pass-times while I’m up there is painting. My Lovely Man had an old saw that he wanted decorated, so I went on the hunt for a suitable image to work from (I can’t paint or draw from real life, I always have to start with a photograph). As it turned out we chose a different subject for the saw painting, but I liked this photo so I kept it.
This was the first test shot I took, obviously the camera settings were all wrong – Continue reading