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Week 7: Fill the frame

I have struggled to find the right subject again this week. The obvious are closeups of my cats and my children…honing in on the concentration as my boy plays his guitar or computer game…moving in on sleeping cats. But as the first photos went into the album on Facebook, they were nearly all animals’ or children’s faces. So, I decided to keep looking.

Here are my options:

1. Fill the frame with a Redwood from Whakarewarewa.

Looking up at tall sequioa trees.

2. Getting up close to the propeller on the aircraft I flew on down to Christchurch this week. I love how at certain speeds you get the impression that there are multiple blades when, in fact, there are not!

Close up shot out of the window of a plane. Looking at the propeller turning. It is raining.

3. I have a fascination with fungi. I spotted these mushrooms while I was out on a run in a favourite bush area close to home.

A white mushroom from above. Perfectly round.

4. The patterns that overlapping Nikau Palm leaves make is always an attraction for me. When the sun shines through, it adds another dimension.

Crisscross pattern of leaves from Nikau Palms with the sun shining through.

5. The same mushroom viewed from beneath. See how fascinating they are!? The patterns and colours vary so much.

Looking at a the brown yellow gills of a mushroom from below. It is in woodland which is out of focus.

6. Christchurch is changing. There has been a lot of development since the 2011 earthquake. But it is slow. I have watched the non-development of this building over the last few years. All around it is now new but this remains. The irony for me is the peeling paint and gradually decaying shutters, juxtaposed with the old advert for paint on the side of the building.

Looking up at the corner if a derelict building, shutters decaying, paint peeling. On the side wall is an advert for paint.

7. I saw these bright orange fungi just down the track and thought they would contrast well with the white. Difficult because I was shaking from running and fingers were slippery from sweat.

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Week 6: Alternating Rhythm

I like the promise that this challenge suggests. Alternating rhythm of what? Sound, light, colour, motif? I have been, and still am, looking for possibilities. My initial thought was sound, and I wondered how I could convey sound in a photo. Then I was out at the weekend at the Banksy exhibition in Auckland. We went out for a late lunch afterwards and I chose to have a Rhubarb Rhoyale which came in a beautiful retro champagne glass – the light that refracted off the crystal appealed to me.

On Monday we wandered into town and went through “Riffraff” square in Hamilton. The whole place has been thoughtfully designed to evoke the theme of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and late at night the lighting is stunning. A video would respond really well to the theme of alternating rhythm, but how do I express that as a still photo? I had a play with Snapseed and produced these images but they still don’t really hit the mark for this week’s challenge.

We have a glut of green beans. Too many for us to eat and so they have grown so big that they are all but inedible unless we boil them for so long that I am sure there are no longer any nutrients in them. Today we decided to pick them all, harvest the beans from inside and use them. They are like wee jewels, shiny pink and purple jewels, cushioned in their bright green pockets of safety. Alternating rhythms of colour. I collected them like treasure and took them into the garden. This is my ‘beanart’.

I am unsure yet what my final submission will be, but I have had fun thinking ad creating… still a few days to go, so I may yet be further inspired.


On an unscheduled visit to Te Papa, this installation hung croon the ceiling. It has promise…

Maybe it would be better rotated 90°?

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Week 5: Wildcard, Photographer’s Choice

Whilst walking the Tongariro Crossing with the hordes at the weekend, we stopped for lunch on the rise overlooking this lake. We wondered if the water was sulphurous…it looked so inviting but nobody was swimming in it or even paddling or even sitting next to it. Maybe the extra climb on an already long walk was too much for people to contemplate? Or maybe they just weren’t curious enough? I pondered that if it were in the Lake District I would have been in it! Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I scrambled down the hill to check it out.

Soft, soapy water, so definitely some sort of minerals, and tepid but not hot so probably just warmed by the sun and not geothermal.

I suddenly realised that the babble of voices that had been our constant companion had gone. Down here, it was quiet and still. A pair of small birds hopped over the rocks then one of them took wing over the water.

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Week 4: Quiet moment

Snatching quiet moments in a busy week at work is always a challenge. And work-life balance is an aspiration and not always a reality! Somehow it’s easier in summer though. I have had my camera (phone) ready for those moments this week. Here are a few of them.


Relaxing at the end of the day….

Unfortunately, aforementioned cat caught a cicada. Fortunately, it wasn’t too damaged but managed a few photos before it flew away.

Trailrunning allows me to de-stress. Working in different places means I have to travel but also means I get to escape to different trails at the end of the day.

These last two photos are both on the Te Araroa trail just south of Te Kuiti at a wee reserve called Mangaokewa. Beautiful spot.

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Week 3: Full Manual

So, I have a wee problem with this one..

I’m not quite ready to get my ‘big camera’ out. Mainly, because it doesn’t have a charged battery and I’m too disorganised to remember to dig it out from the cupboard and charge it! But I’m also snowed under with work and I know that if I’m going to start relearning how to use my camera this week it’s going to mean I have to set aside some time specifically to do that.

Charging the camera is still on the ‘to do’ list (today, I promise), so I’ve been exploring the manual setting on my phone. I only realised it was there recently.

Here are a few of my attempts…

This spider lives in a bell hanging from a tree in our garden. As we sat out playing cards the other evening we spotted him right in the middle of his web. It took quite a few attempts to get him in focus and not the lights. It’s not quite in focus but as near as I could manage! I like the composition and colours.

We have a whirly windmill thing in our garden. Earlier this week, it was blowing a hoolie and so the whirly, windmill thing was whirling like billy-o. I thought I’d have a play and see what happened. I love the effects but there is too much distracting stuff around to make a well-composed photo imho.

Another evening in the garden. Don’t you just love summer? Another play. Try as I might I couldn’t get the lizard’s face in focus… Just too close to the lights.

These black wallflowers in the garden are stunning especially when the bright yellow pollen falls on the petal. But for this one, I was focusing on the pink stamens. (Or are they anthers? I failed biology!) The problem with trying to focus with a phone is that it’s really difficult to hold steady once you think you have it in focus and not move the phone as you press the button. So the pink bits (stamens, anthers…) are not quite in focus but close.

I collected heaps of these shells from the beach in Mahia last week. I spent the morning chipping away at the crusty bits to reveal the nacre underneath. For this photo I wanted to make the nacre sort of glow. I chose the bracken as a backdrop because it makes a good contrast both of colour and texture.

This one ended up being my ‘official’ submission to the Facebook album on the Dogwood Photography page.

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Week 2: Colour Contrast

This week’s challenge is all about colour. Looking at what contrasts, what blends, maybe even what clashes to create impact. I love colour so I have plenty of photos to choose from which made to all the more difficult!

This is my shortlist…

Bluebottle jellyfish in the foreground of a beach with a blurred hill in the background

Bluebottle jellyfish on the beach at Mahia.

Brightly coloured statue with stripes of blue, yellow, pink. Water cascading down and overlaid with a statue of Riff Raff

Tongue of the Dog sculpture mashed with Riff Raff in Hamilton.

Bright yellow sunflower against a bright blue sky

Sunflower against a bright blue sky in Hamilton Gardens.

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2018: Week 1: Vision, Look Ahead

So, I have decided to challenge myself in a slightly different way this year. Instead of simply recording a photo a day, I have joined the Dogwood Photography Challenge.This gives me a focus for a photo each week. I can only submit one to the challenge page but that doesn’t stop me from posting more on this blog. This week I had two photos to choose from. The theme was Vision: Look Ahead

On a bushwalk in Mahia this week I saw these new shoots pushing through surrounded by skeleton leaves. I found these words from Bryant McGill’s book Voice of Reason;

“Life moves forward. The old leaves wither, die and fall away, and the new growth extends forward into the light.”

Bright green new leaves pushing through old skeleton leaves.

As we drove back along the road we came across this stunning view which also seemed like a good contender for looking forward.

Gravel road in foreground looking out to sea cliffs ahead and blue ocean to the left. Blue sky streaked with light clouds

Where I am is not actually where I am. It’s just a point on the road to where I am going. Who knows what is round the corner?

Which one would you choose to submit?

Posted in photoaday

Rā 363 Rātapu 31 o Hakihea

Hogmanay. Last day of 2017. I know my numbers are messed up..maybe sometime in 2018 I’ll go through and work out where I went wrong! Stole a couple of hours out of preparing for holidays and this evening and headed out to Pukemokemoke. Very happy that I managed to run up, down and round twice in less than an hour! AND I saw this beautiful tui. Not sure yet if I am going to continue with a photoaday … I have another project which is a weekly photo challenge. I might just mix it up a bit!