On May 28th, 2017, we had a substantial magnetic storm, causing a huge Southern Lights display which was seen in many places in the South Island of New Zealand. My photography partner, Bex and myself photographed them from Lake Ellesmere, just South of Christchurch.
The sky was incredibly clear that night allowing us to see the Milky Way right above us very clearly. The stars were amazing and there were quite a number of meteors. The star that stands out a bit near the top right is ‘Canopus’, and what look like two little clouds are actually two ‘small’ satellite galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy. These are called the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds.
The beams of light shooting upwards are called ‘curtains’. Amazing to see them this far North. I should point out that the colours can hardly be discerned by the naked eye, because our eyes are simply not capable, owing to the type of rods and cones in our eyes, to see colour very well in the dark. It needs to be really bright for us to see colour. Being too far away from the source of the Lights we discern them as moving clouds of monochromatic light. Some people can see them better than others. The camera has no such limitation. However, it was amazing to see, even with the naked eye.
We were totally in awe of the display that went on for hours. Just as we thought it was ending, it would flare up again. This was our first time capturing them on camera. Well worth the cold!
To see a few more of my images check out the Nightscapes gallery.
We’ve had a wet few weeks and fungi are popping up everywhere. Just yesterday morning at daybreak I was on my bike riding the trail through the local woods, when I spied these tiny gems popping straight out of the shingle and grit of the path. What captivated me was the colour. The cool blue light of the early morning contrasted well with the rather bright orange brown of the fungi. Naturally I spent a bit of time lying on my stomach…
At some stage in its history our property must have been host to a passion vine. We continually pull out new vines each year. They seem to grow at a phenomenal rate if allowed to do so, and will strangle anything they cling to. I would allow one to survive if I could, because I love the flowers. Each one only lasts a day, but there’s something about them that has a huge appeal to me. They seem amazingly constructed. This image is a macro shot of one with a drop of water on it at the centre. I have some plain shots of this flower as well, but this one must have caught a bit of bright sun light through the lens, and I loved it the moment I saw it.
So, I haven’t posted a lot lately. I’ve been busy. I’ve undertaken an art course and it’s very exciting. It’s amazing to be creating images a bit different from my usual photography.
This image was one I submitted to a course assignment and it was chosen by Ride on Asheville, a skate and bmx rider shop, as one of their favourites for their promotion material. See the link here: “Ride on Asheville” blog.
We were given some images to choose from and then we had to create an art piece with that image. Mine here, features a bmx rider at sunset with Asheville town in the background.
Old shipwrecks are fascinating. Fascinating to everyone, not only for photographers. But for a photographer, there is nothing more magical than the combination of low tide reflections and beautiful dawn light to go with that particular subject. The one thing I always find is that as well as taking the photos, I enjoy the moments of pure pleasure just standing there and letting it soak in. That, is magic!
Here we have two scenes of the same wreck with the lights of the port at Bluff, and Tiwai Point in the background. The top image was taken pre-dawn, the above one as the sky was colouring up for a promising sunrise.
Sometimes you need a nudge, or a kick maybe! Someone gave me a challenge on Facebook. That forced me to go through my archives for suitable images. The challenge was 1 nature image per day for 7 days, and you had to nominate someone each day to do the same.
So, searching my archives I realised I had a lot more images than I thought that were actually ‘post’ worthy. This was one of them. Never before viewed by anyone except myself.
This in turn reminded me that, horrors, my blog is sadly neglected. And I thought, well there is no reason why some of these images cannot be posted on my own blog page. I also will add some to the image galleries, but in the meantime, enjoy!
This image was taken in the Botanic Gardens last year. There was a carpet of these pretty little white flowers, so I got down to ground level and aimed through the flowers at one that appealed and I considered had nice light. I love backlit subjects! The sunlight dappled through trees and bushes enhanced the lighting, and using a telephoto lens and large aperture I was able to isolate just this flower.
The photo galleries are functioning again. I still have to tweak them, but everything is basically up and running again, and at least my images can be viewed.
There is a new gallery. Fine Art Images. These images are artistically created. Some only slightly, maybe a split tone colour scheme added, or a bird inserted in the scene. At various times I create an image using textures.
This is something different to what I do generally and certainly is a work in progress. I have ideas that I will be developing on, so watch this space!
The image above was taken in an abandoned house. The organ is literally falling to pieces. There is dust everywhere and ivy vines are finding their way in from the walls outside. There isn’t a lot that I’ve done to the original image, just enhanced the feel of the light by accentuating the colour tones a little. The sunlight was shining through a curtain of leaves giving the highlighted areas a warm to green colour, while the areas in the shade retain the colour usually found in the shadier spots – blue. The effect in the dust laden air is quite dramatic.
The local creek is just an ordinary drainage ditch type creek. Emptying into the Waimakariri river in Kairaki near the mouth means it is tidal with brackish water. Walking along the stop bank however, is a pleasure. Sometimes a white heron can be seen standing motionless at the edge of the water. Sometimes the kingfishers perch on the remains of small boat jetties. In whitebait season there are fisherman not far from the floodgate.
My favourite time to walk here is when it’s foggy, usually early in the morning but sometimes late in the evening. I’m slowly building a bit of a portfolio of foggy creek scenes. This one shows a ‘Waimak Flattie’ chained to its mooring. These old-fashioned flat bottomed river fishing boats are beginning to disappear. I never see this one go out now. And it’s beginning to show signs of dis-repair. I hope the owner will preserve it.
It’s the time of year when flowers bloom, veges are growing, the weeds are rampant, the lawn needs mowing twice a day, and the aphids are overwhelming the roses!
Well, I do try to keep on top of it all, but I don’t spray my garden with insect killer. The aphids are mostly washed off with a strong jet of water, which also takes care of the spent blooms. Of course, I never get them all, but then I don’t want to. They attract the predators such as the ladybug. Also, the mantis are out there and growing. These insects are far more interesting and great to photograph. Of course that’s not the only reason I don’t use the killer spray. I just don’t like the stuff and much prefer a more balanced ecosystem in the garden.
This season, I’ve managed to photograph a number of insects. Not always easy as they prefer not to pose for me, but I try my best. I do not subscribe to killing my subjects in order to photograph them, and so I was horrified recently to read in a book about how to make a ‘killing jar’ to quickly and efficiently kill any insect for the purpose of setting them up as photographic subjects. I don’t even like to kill spiders for this purpose although I am arachnophobic.
I will be updating the gallery in due course. 🙂
Sadly the MV Tuhoe went aground on the 27th September 2015, at the Waimakariri river mouth while she was on her way home to her berth in Kaiapoi. A rescue attempt was made to get her off the sand bar, but to no avail. Her age and the conditions were against her and the decision was made to demolish her. It took two days to take her apart, and this photo was taken between those two days. The stern half of her is shown here in the hour before sunrise.
The waves were pounding her rather fiercely here at high tide, although the long camera exposure has smoothed the waters to create this calm and colourful image.