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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Some photos from our weekend trip out west to the wild and beautiful Muriwai Beach

Poop pooop, all aboard the Lucy express

Genuine excitement at such a perfectly formed sandcastle

A sandcastle fed dedication and love

A sign that apparently in some languages translates as “Don’t give a fuck about the dunes, just let your progeny destroy them. While you’re at it, kill a few sea birds and empty some barrels of oil into the gannet colony”

She’s dangerous with a frisbee…

Nice shot Emily!

Apparently a seal

You know you’re kids have outgrown the park when they find new and unintended ways to use all the equipment

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The girls were given some ‘Adopted Animal’ packs from Auckland Zoo at Christmas (thank you people, you know who you are)…  and included are one adult pass in each pack.

So we decided to head down in the holidays and took the vouchers with us, hopeful that we could reimburse them against annual passes which are awesomely good value.  Well, despite the fact that the zoo systems are not set-up to do this easily they made it happen.  And not in a grumpy, ‘you are making my day awkward’ sort of way, but in a cheery, ‘we think you are lovely and welcome’ kind of way.

With new passes proudly round our necks we spent a smashing afternoon wandering around and got a handful of nice  photos with my newest lens.  If that interests you read on, otherwise skip on to the photos!

Optional Photo Geek Commentary: The Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 is an amazing lens.  I’m so pleased with the image quality – it really looks fantastic on my 700D body.  At less than half the price of the equivalent spec Canon for an amateur it has to be a serious contender.  Sure if you are a pro you’d go for the Canon every time, but this is hard to look past.  I thought it would be an occasional lens, but I’m finding I leave it on more and more.  It was perfect for the zoo for getting nice close ups of the animals and the occasional portrait of the family.  I also relinquished control for a while so some of these are Josie’s photos.

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Pauanui Adventures

We recently spent a long weekend at a friends bach in Pauanui which is in the Coromandel.  It was in November so the weather is starting to warm up, although the sea was still a little cool.  This was also mine, Josie’s and the kids first time holding a fishing rod.  Josie and Emily both caught little fishies but they went back to grow into big fishies.

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Then there was one

stevie 006 Wow, it’s been a while since I was here.  I’m blaming the encroachment of Facebook and the fact that it provides an alternative place to share photos.  But that’s not much good for people who aren’t on it so I’m going to make an effort to pick the blog back up again.  Probably mainly for photos but we’ll see what else occurs.

At the weekend Emily was pre-occupied on so we had Lucy to ourselves.  We pottered round the house and played some games and with the Lego then decided to get out in the afternoon by walking to Browns Bay.  We set off in the intention of walking the rocks, but the tide was a little higher than we’d thought and there was an on-shore breeze throwing some stiff little waves up over the rocks.  Hmm, not today.  So we took the coastal path instead.

I had a new lens on the camera so I was giving it a trial to see how it handled.  Here’s a few of the better shots from the walk.

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So but a few weeks later we were back at Taupo Bay again.  (with a trip to actual Taupo in between, but that’s for another post).

Another lovely stay, totally decompressed, fantastic food, company and fun.

My personal highlight of this trip was the metre long sand Lego man (see photo below!) getting some early morning and late night photography action in and driving most of the way home old skool (i.e. no DVD player running).  Back to games and chatting.  Eye Spy, Word Association, making up words to the Star Wars theme and on.

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Not to be confused with actual Taupo… the town next to the huge lake in central north island.  Taupo bay is due north and about 4 hours away.  It’s a small group of houses and bachs on a lovely crescent bay with no mobile reception.  The waves roll in and the sand is fine and golden.  Sunsets and sun rises have the potential to be oil paintings by over enthusiastic beginners.  Nature appears to not understand that too much saturation is a bit gaudy.  It just goes for it.

It was such a fantastic break, playing games and cards, walking on the beach, body boarding and eating and drinking.  I tried to surf our new kayak on some waves with about 1.5 metre faces.  Doesn’t sound much does it.  Pretty daunting when they are hurtling towards you.  I stuck to some of the bubbly white stuff at first and that was a hairy ride for a beginner but I managed to stay upright.  I got completely dumped by the second wave due to poor timing and indecision.  A lack of commitment here earns you a thumping.  I caught a few more then thought I heard a crack in the paddle.  On reflection it was probably just my nerve going.

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stevie 006

Ok, so I admit that we have, in the past, been quite a busy family. But more recently we’d begun to take things a bit easier (relatively).  Weekends at home, weekends on the beach – taking time to just be.

Well all that went out of the window about six weeks ago.  It all started with two three day trips to Australia in consecutive weeks with work for me.  Then it was the first of two weekends away for Josie.  Did the girls and I take it easy?  No, we met some friends from Wellington at the Zoo, who were up for the weekend.  It was a lovely day out, as the zoo always is.  It was especially nice to share it with some new people to the girls.

The following weekend Josie and I indulged our brains in the Auckland Startup Weekend.  This is such an awesome experience, that despite the incredible imposition we have to place on our wonderful friends to make it happen, this was our second go around.  Click on the logo below to see their website.  Basically it’s a competition that involves going through the process of creating a company from nothing in just 54 hours.  It runs from Friday night at 5pm through to Sunday at 9pm.  The days start at 8am and finish at 1am.  It’s full on, stimulating, exhausting, inspiring, challenging, and a million other ‘ings’.  The most important is compelling.  Having got a taste you  see the world in a new light.  It’s a world where it is possible to produce a lean startup business model in just a couple of hours.  It’s a world in which you define the problem first and then look for the solution.  A world in which you validate your assumptions with real people before sinking any money into anything.

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That takes us to this weekend just gone.  And it was another weekend away for Josie.  Although this time, she headed back on Saturday evening for some much needed family time on Sunday.

Through one thing and another we found ourselves at the art gallery on Sunday.  I love the fact that when we told the girls we were heading into town, the first thing they asked to do was go to the gallery.

We resisted Lucy’s urge for speed-art by asking her what she thought about all the paintings.  She took this to heart and started offering her opinion on everything, chin in hand, quizzical look, head cocked to the side.  “This one make me think it is a nice painting because it is black and white” and so on.

As usual the activity room was set up brilliantly and Josie and I had a fab time until  too many other kids came along and we had to give up our spots at the drawing table.

I love the gallery for photos.  Lots of uncluttered, bright backgrounds and excellent lighting make for some very flattering, almost studio like images.

We’re looking forward to an even more relaxing weekend next week where I intend to spend a significant portion of it on the beach.

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About an hour and a half north of Auckland, over on the west coast, is the Kaipara harbour.  It’s huge, as natural harbours go and quite beautiful.  With a week off work for school holidays we decided to head up to a friends bach in a little settlement called Whakapirau, right on the edge of the Kaipara harbour.  It’s a tiny place with a handful of buildings, no shops and intermittent mobile reception.  Perfect!

We took a relaxed approach to packing, only taking the barest essentials with us, which did not include my new camera’s charger (a mistake to be cursed throughtout the next two days).  we also forgot colouring pens and proper kids shoes (that’s the last time we let the kids pack their own stuff). It did however include a boot full of crap, mostly food, that we probably could have halved and still had too much.  I didn’t work it out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up taking about 6000 calories per person per day…  as we weren’t Olympic level athletes engaged in a grueling trans-atlantic rowing challenge, this was a little excessive.

 

One the way up we finally stopped to check out the Utopia cafe.  A distinctive looking cafe on SH1, just after Wellsford.  I was pleased to see that although it was an organic cafe that sold vegan friendly dishes it also sold meat products as well.  It irritates me when people interchange organic with vegetarian.  Two utterly independent concepts.  A couple of sausage sandwiches later we were back on the road (stopping briefly to buy hot chocolate, which we’d also forgotten).

The bach did the job.  We chilled out and we chilled out hard.  No sooner had we unpacked the car, I was crashed on one sofa asleep and Josie was laying in the sun on the floor like a cat, purring away to herself.

The rest of the time was spent eating or playing games.  It was lovely to discover that we could all play Uno together!  We also played Rummikub, Monopoly and Scrabble to varying degrees of success as dictated by the capacity of a five year old to both understand rules and play within them.

We also went to the quite lovely and enjoyable Kauri Museum, which tells the story of these amazing and majestic trees.  It’s really quite sad when you see how much of the country was covered by them and the fact that they were nearly all chopped down just to make shit with.  It’s a perpetual puzzle to me why souvenir clocks made of Kauri wood all use, without fail, disgusting plastic gold coloured numbers in a disaster typeface that immediately throws them back to the 70s where they would be right at home next to an ash tray made of sea shells.  I didn’t take any photos at the museum because my battery had gone by then… I did however manage to get some photos I was happy with before the little charge I had left in my camera was all used up.

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I’ve been playing with some naturally high contrast images recently.  It all started with an image of Lion Rock at Piha beach and I liked the graphical look of the images so much that I’ve looked out for other high contrast opportunities since.

Lion Rock, Piha Beach

Lion Rock, Piha Beach

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Mexican Hand Tree

Mexican Hand Tree

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Close up…

A friend lent me some macro extender tubes the other day.  I’ve not done any macro photography before so I set out on Saturday to try out this borrowed equipment.  One thing I do know is that you should always use a tripod, so into the bush walk at Okura we went, camera on tripod, over my shoulder.

I discovered it’s immensely difficult to get the camera in the right position.  The first four of these shots are with macro and the other three just a standard 50mm prime.

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