Tag Archives: Winter

Mid-winter feasting

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.

Bird on a branch

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.

Bird eating fruit

Wax-eye feasting


The Boys are Back… again.

23 May ’13

It’s rugby season again.  So in to town we went on Saturday with Grandad Trev in tow and umbrellas at the ready.


A new season, a new team

Jake was almost busting at the seams to get back on the field, the boy really loves his rugby.  Last year, his first year playing for Boys’ High, Jake’s team won their first game of the season.   Sadly his team didn’t win this time.

High School Rugby

PNBHS Chiefs vs Blues – That’s Jake with the ball

But the boys had a great time all the same.  I love photographing these games –  the action, the facial expressions, the moments of agony and triumph – all priceless.

Jake and our neighbour, Paddy, have been playing in the same team for years, since they were little tykes at primary school.

Ashhurst Rugby - Turboman!

Ashhurst Rugby – Turboman!

 Jacob’s second from the left at the back, and Paddy has the ball.   Aren’t they adorable?!

Jake had his growth spurt ahead of Paddy, so now Jake’s the lifter and Paddy’s the liftee (I may be making up words here).


Lifters and liftees

This is an example of what happens when two Boys’ High teams meet – one side has to turn their shirts inside out.  This time around it was our guys who played ‘white’.  It’s a step up from playing ‘shirts and skins’.

Well done to the Blues, they deserved their 14-5 win.

Rugby handshake

“Cheer mate! Cheers mate! Cheers mate!”

Watch out, Blues – it’ll be our turn next time!

Week35 – The end of an era

27 Aug – 2 Sept ’11

The sun goes down on an important part of a young lad’s life….

To dramatic?  😀

Jake’s last game

This Saturday Jake played his last game for the Ashhurst Junior Rugby Club.  He’s played rugby since he was 7 years old .   Next year he’s off to high school, and will be playing for his school team.  Of course he’s not the only member of his team who’ll be at high school next year –  Grant, Reuben, Cody, Dylan, Nicholas, Oscar, Lewis, Cameron, Jack and Patrick are all moving on.

Ashhurst U12 rugby team

Photographing the boys’ games over the last two seasons has helped develop (no pun intended) my photography skills.  I find now that I can look at the sky and figure out approximately what settings I’m going to need to freeze the action, with well exposed shots and reasonable depth of field.  I’ve learned how to pan Continue reading

Week33 – A change in the weather

13 – 19 Aug ’11

A week of summing up, deliberation, and snow. And the discovery that absence is no excuse.


After carrying out my duty as a citizen of this country to serve as one of the ’12 good men and true’, I have some thoughts that I need to share.  I need to get them out of my head so that I can sleep.

An open letter to all those involved in the Bacon trial (the jurors know who they are).

To the complainant, we believed you.  We all have no doubt that the account you gave is an accurate retelling of your memory of the events. We are sorry that you were so grievously injured, and we hope that you are able to get on with your life now in peace.

To the accused, you are guilty of violence.  We know that you are guilty. But we cannot say beyond reasonable doubt that you were ‘colonel mustard in the library with the candle stick’. It is our belief that the Universe will have its revenge.  Keep looking over your shoulder for Karma is surely out to get you.

To the lawyer for the defence, we saw through your smoke and mirrors.  Endlessly repeating mis-information does not make that information true.  Your red herrings Continue reading

Week30 – Playing with Fire

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.

Fire light

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.

Cat in the stars

F-stop                   f/1.8
Exp time              1/60sec
ISO speed           ISO-800
Focal length     50mm

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

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

Week24 – Weka Get-together

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.

Plane at Mangaweka

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

Week21 – Rugby and Gardening

21-27 May ’11

A fairly quiet weekend at home.  The rugby season has started, our regular winter Saturday mornings are winding up again.  And the Lovely Man and I decided we’d do a bit of sprucing up the yard, brighten the place up for winter.

Saturday Morning Rugby.

Shameless plug – all my shots from Saturday’s game are available at Valley Photography 

I photographed Jake’s rugby team, the Ashhurst U11‘s,  all last season. It was this project that prompted me to move from Auto, through Av and on to Manual. The Auto settings just could not handle the low light, fast action that is school boy rugby on early winter mornings. So by the end of last season I was feeling quite good, and had become proficient at capturing the action. The first game of the new season for the Ashhurst U12’s was three weekends ago. It was dull and overcast, and I’d managed to get the polarising filter stuck on my zoom lens. I was disappointed with the results, seemed to have lost the ‘knack’. The following weekend saw some improvement – getting my eye in.    And my Lovely Man had been able to remove the filter for me.
This weekend the conditions conspired to make for great photo opportunities.  I am really pleased with the pictures I got on Saturday.
These are a series of shots of Jake heading in to score the first try for his team this season. I didn’t record the actual try, partly because he was way down the field and heading away from me, but mostly because I was too busy cheering him on to take any more photos!

Ashhurst U12 vs Marist U12 Green

The step thru

Ashhurst U12 vs Marist U12 Green

The fend

Ashhurst U12 vs Marist U12 Green

The side step

Ashhurst U12 vs Marist U12 Green

Put the pedal to the metal

F-stop                      f/8
Exposure time    1/500sec
ISO speed              ISO-320
Focal length         125mm

Winter Colour 

On the way home from the game we stopped in at the garden center and picked up a whole swag of pansy plants, and some rainbow silverbeet to put in the Continue reading