Winter photos (August 2014)

In early August 2014 I had planned to take a few days off and drive down to Invercargill (at the bottom of the South Island, NZ) for a couple of days to help my friend, Isobel, celebrate her 90th birthday. Mother Nature, however, decided to throw a spanner in the works, and delivered a big dump of snow over a good part of the South Island just a day or two before my trip, so I changed plans and decided to fly down and back instead of driving.  (A flight of just over an hour and a half compared with a drive of 7-8 hours each way sounded pretty good to me when I saw news footage of the driving conditions down south, I can tell you!)

I was looking through my external hard drive the other day at some of my stored photos and came across these shots which I’d taken during the flight down (I was lucky enough to get a window seat), and thought I’d share them with you – seeing them again reminded me of what a pretty winter wonderland it was! 🙂

The first three were taken just after 9am as we crossed over the Rakaia River (or was it the Rangitata? Not sure now …) to the south of Christchurch – I think we were only flying at about 18,000 feet and as you can see, it was a glorious winter’s day, clear blue sky and look at those snowy Southern Alps in the distance!

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The next photos were taken about 30 minutes later as we flew inland and passed over Mackenzie Country and the Waitaki Basin.  This was absolutely stunning – I was fascinated by the patterns formed by the lines of trees providing shelter breaks, and the writhing, twisting course of the river, which reminded me so much of oil on top of water. (I think the lake in the final photo is Lake Benmore, but I could be wrong – if anyone from New Zealand can identify it for me, please do! 🙂 )

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As we flew on the land use changed to forestry (again, I was struck by the patterns of the rows of felled stumps on the cleared areas), and then gradually we began to leave the snow behind as we drew nearer to Invercargill …

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It was an amazing flight; much better than the return trip when we ran into some rather nasty turbulence which nearly did me in – I hate flying when it’s bumpy! 😦

And I thought I’d finish off with a photo of the birthday girl herself, with the quilt I made for her and a stupid chicken toy which I gave her (she has a thing about chooks …) – it gave us all a good laugh, when you picked it up by the neck it let out an almighty chicken cackle and flapped its wings (small things amuse small minds, I know, but we all got a kick out of it! 🙂 )

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Lovely memories of a great weekend! 🙂


What a difference a day makes!

Goodness me, in the last 24 hours we’ve gone from wonderfully mild autumn weather to this sight which greeted me when I walked outside this morning:


Yup, that’s snow on them thar hills!  (Them thar hills being the Southern Alps 🙂 )  And definitely chilly to go with it – brrrr!  Still waiting for the chimney sweep to come and clean my chimney – I’ll give him a call tonight if I don’t hear from him before then, because I really could do with a fire going to warm up the house:  gas and electric heaters are alright as a temporary measure, but they sure don’t generate the heat that a good log burner does 🙂

As I was having a cuppa this morning I was having a quick look through a photography book I have out of the library at the moment:  Photography and the Art of Seeing.

Photography and the Art of Seeing

It has some good suggestions to help improve one’s visual thinking in three ways:  to observe more accurately; to develop one’s imagination; and to express a theme or subject more effectively with pictures.  So, be prepared for more photos from me as I absorb and try out a few, please! 🙂 

Some of the practice exercises look interesting, eg taking photos while you’re jumping up and down, running towards your subject while taking the photo, and setting your shutter at a slow speed, then activating the self-timer and swinging the camera in circles until the shutter has released –  I’m looking forward to trying those when it’s a leetle bit warmer and less gloomy outside.  Anyway, the quick look did get me out with the camera to see what I could find … not necessarily practising as suggested above, but just trying to see things with a different eye.  (You’ll have to excuse the number of shots of the grevillea flowers – I find them almost as fascinating as the spent clematis flowers, and love seeing the ‘fingers’ of the flowers gradually unfurling as they come to full bloom:  they also make me think of gymnasts jumping in the air with their legs spread wide! 🙂 )

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 Introducing:  The Grevillea Family

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And, fresh from their morning shower:  The Marigold Family

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Tonight, sadly, we say farewell to Daylight Saving until the end of October – still, at least it will be lighter in the mornings, which should help on work days 😉  I’m definitely a night owl, I can sit up almost all night if I’ve got a project on the go or a really good book … but mornings, now, they’re a totally different matter …Owl

Hope your weekend’s going well! 🙂