Tag Archives: Wind turbines


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

Of Lions and Lookouts

11 Feb ’13

February 6th, Waitangi Day, our national day. Or it should be. It seems to me that this day has come to symbolise the trouble that divides us as a nation, rather than a celebration of our oneness. I think that the vast majority of us choose to ignore the silliness and jostling for position that goes on up North. It has become an embarrassment.

But anyway, we get a day off work and school. At least those of us who do not work in retail get a day off, so we made the most of it.

Te Manawa, our local museum, had the job of hosting the city’s celebrations for the day. There were stalls and entertainment, live music and of course the museum and art gallery exhibits.
I was fascinated by the Google Earth carpet in the Te Awa – The River exhibit when we visited during the museum’s open day after its major refurbishment. I still find the carpet rather cool. There’s now an interactive map which shows how the stop bank and flood-way systems protect our farmland, towns and city from flooding along the Manawatu River. We had a little bit of a play with that, and I explained to the kids how it all works. Later, as we wandered around the other exhibits we found a tiny replica movie theater that happened to be running a reel about the building of the flood gates. Good timing, and really interesting to see the history behind the model we’d played with.

There’s also a bronze (I think) statue of a horse on display. This horse used to stand in the foyer of the DIC department store building, now the city library. When I first saw the statue last time we visited it brought back memories of trips to town with my Nana, or maybe it was Grandma, when I was very small. That horse used to delight me as a little girl, and I swear it used to be seven feet tall!

I hadn’t taken my DSLR with me to the museum, but I grabbed some pictures  and shot a little video with the  Canon P&S.

We watched the International Pacific College drummers perform – there is some energy there! I could feel the drum beats in the air, the vibrations in my bones, just awesome.

Manawatu Chinese Association

Chinese Lion

The the Manawatu Chinese Association brought out their lion. What a character he is, apparently Chinese lions don’t like lettuce. Who knew?! Both these groups were excellent, and well appreciated by the crowd. Continue reading

Week 45 – Stockcars, Fireworks – Spectacular!

5 – 11 Nov ’11

Another annual event, the Fireworks Spectacular at the Speedway

Low light, fast moving vehicles, dust, wires, people.  Not any easy situation.  I’d love chance to take my camera ‘in field’.

Moving targets 

The stock car racing is alway fun to watch.  It’s a shame about the wires, but they’re there for our safety.

Stockcars Palmerston North


F-stop                  f/6.3
Exposure time     1/160sec
ISO Speed           ISO-640

Lots of chances to practice my panning technique while cars whizzed around the track.

Speedway Palmerston North

Crashes always add to the excitement

F-stop                  f/6.3
Exposure time     1/160sec
ISO Speed           ISO-640

Right in front of us!  Everyone goes for the crashes – the actual racing is Continue reading

Week40 (Pt1) – Living Legends

1-7 Oct ’11

As part of the Rugby World Cup events, DOC and partners have arranged a series of tree plantings around the country entitled Living Legends.  Each region honours its own ex-All Black.  Here in the Manawatu our Living Legend is Sam Strahan.

The Great Living Legends Muck In 

Two hundred and fifty willing volunteers turned up to plant natives up in the Tararua Ranges, in an area just off the Manawatu Gorge Walk.  Six buses ferried us over farmland under the wind turbines of the Tararua windfarm.

Living Legends Manawatu Gorge Tararua ranges

Buses grind their way up the hill

Tararua and Ruahine ranges

Tararua Wind Farm and Wharite Peak

Living Legends Manawatu

Off the buses - unloading and ready for work

Our planting area had been cleared by a fire a few years ago and it hadn’t regenerated naturally.    It’s a very steep site.  The fittest and ablest headed right to the bottom.  Those of us not quite up to the challenge of the return journey stayed nearer the top.

Living Legends Manawatu, Tararua and Ruahine ranges

Arriving at the top of the planting site

Living Legends Manawatu, Tararua ranges

Jake gets stuck in - determination

Living Legends Manawatu, Tararua ranges

The Lovely Man planting flaxes

Living Legends, Manawatu, Tararua ranges

Cat planting a flax

 Everyone got stuck in, and with plenty of stops to rehydrate we got the job Continue reading

Week26 – Ashhurst Pohangina Rugby Club Day

25 June – 2 July ’11

Week 26!  Half way through the year, half way through my 52 week project. I am enjoying this project immensely.  Not only the photography, but also the writing.  I’m looking forward to finding out what the rest of the year has to offer. There never seems to be a shortage of things to photograph.  To all those nay-sayers who complain “there’s nothing to dooooo…”  –  open your eyes to all the opportunities we have on our door step!

Club Day

All my photos from the day are available here 

Six games, from the littlies up to the old men, all held at Lincoln Park on a stunning winters day.  (Well, OK.  It did rain a bit in the morning, but the rest of the day was brilliant 🙂  )

Too much going on this week for much of a write-up.  So here’s a selection of my favourite shots from the day.

A boy in his element

U7's. Injury!

U9's - Ashhurst vs Bush

U10's - Ashhurst vs Marist Green

U12's - Ashhurst vs Bush

Senior Thirds. Ashhurst vs Linton Army

Presidents - Ashhurst vs TeKawa

Club Day - Ashhurst Pohangina Rubgy Club

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

Week12 (Part1) – Shooting the Moon

This week has been such a busy one photography-wise that it’s coming to you in two parts.

19-25 March ’11

Over the last week or so there’d been a buzz on the DPS forums about the upcoming ‘supermoon’.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:-

A perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system or “supermoon” is a full or new moon that coincides with a close approach by the Moon to the Earth.

The moon would be the closest it’s been to the earth in 18 years.  We photographers rubbed our hands together in glee – photo ops! The full moon is always a special challenge to photograph, and this one promised to be a real treat.

Saturday 19th March

It happened that Bro, also a keen photographer, was going to be in town for the weekend.  So I invited him out on a photo shoot, a sunset trip up to the windfarm for a view of the moon rise in the East.  We did our research – moon rise was scheduled for 6.43pm on Saturday night.   I watched the sky anxiously all day, hoping that the clouds would all blow away. It wasn’t ’til late afternoon that I pressed the ‘go’ button.  The sky cleared (as it almost always does on the night of a full moon), with just a few clouds staying around to add interest and colour to the sunset.

We packed up camera gear and various family members and headed for the hills.  My plan had been to set ourselves up in the car park at the top of the wind farm – I was sure the sign on the gate said ‘Open dawn to dusk’.  Hmmm, nope.  It closed at 5.30pm.  Buggar.  Best laid plans, and all that.  Never mind, turns out we found a better spot just a little further along the road in the lee of the hill.  It’s always very windy up on the tops (that’s why they put the turbines up there!), so our possy just under the hill was perfect.  Out of the biting wind, but still with an awesome view out to the East and right amongst all those whirling blades.  And cows.

While we waited for the moon to show its face, Bro and I pottered about getting various shots of the landscape, and each other.  I really hope Greg deletes the photos he took of me – all scowly and squinty in the low, sunset light.  I’m really much more comfortable behind the camera, not in front thanks.


A Photographer and his Chimp

Exif (Both shots)
F-stop   f/5.3
Exp time  1/160sec
ISO speed  ISO-200
Focal length 70mm

To create this diptych I twiddled with the levels, warmed the RH picture to get the light and colour to match.  Then I cropped slightly to have the subject centred and equal.  Next I used Picasa to create the collage, then added the black margin.  I particularly like the edge lights created by the backlighting from the setting sun.

Finally the moon made its appearance, rising above the cloud bank that had gathered on the eastern horizon. Continue reading

Week10 – Windows and Windmills

5 – 11 March ’11

Te Apiti Wind Farm

Construction of the wind farm on the Ruahine  ranges began in 2003 and was  completed within 12 months.     The official opening, by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Helen Clark was held on 9 December 2004.

Read Meridian’s official blurb on the Te Apiti Wind Farm.  Interestingly, on  page 3 there’s a picture of our very own Fire Chief, Neil Alexander, taken at the commissioning of the van that Meridian funded for the Ashhurst Brigade.

There was a lot of controversy over the building of the wind farms on the hills above the Manawatu.  People objected on the grounds of ecology and noise pollution, there was talk of a danger to aviation, and the possibility of bird strike.  Some people just don’t like the way they look.

Personally, I love the turbines up there.   I think they enhance the sky line, and they make excellent weather vanes.   They have become a symbol of home. Whenever we return from a trip away – if you can see the ‘windmills’ you know you’re nearly there.  I can see a few of the turbines from my kitchen and living room, and the view changes with the light and the weather.

The View from my Windows

This week’s post is a little later than usual due to a computer hiccup.  My laptop has been at the doc’s a couple of times over the past week and a half, and has returned to me in the exact same state as when it left.  In other words, slow as a wet week.  The fault remains undiagnosed, and I’m unable to be upgraded to Windows7.  I’m stuck with Vista 😦

So I struggle on… Continue reading