Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Patch :: Boats and More Boats

repeated boats autostiched panoramaOne thing there are plenty of in the bay of island are boats, starting from huge cruise ships down to tiny “tinnies”. Every little Bay and sheltered inlet is crammed with expensive pleasure craft but I got interested in other boats the smaller row boats that are parked every to get out to the expensive toys.Some are stacked neatly in racks, other a bit all over the place, but they could make for interesting composition. On the day I visited the Waitangi Treaty Ground there was a large cruise ship anchored off shore and the sun lit it as I was looking at the massive war canoe. The red cross spare making an interesting pattern BUt the canoe is so large I had to hold the camera up well above my head and hope I was pointing in the right direction just to get an image (and it never really came off. Such is life.

Typicsl Bay of islands "car park" iwi Ngāpuhi’s ceremonial war canoe Ngātokimatawhaorua

The weather has turned foul and the bike hire place at the end of Paihia beach, which is normally bustlingly with back packers was quiet and their kayaks for hire where all lined up in the beach. Just a small break between showers to get a quick snap. I was also quiet amazed to see the line of swimmer emerging from the water (look on the left had side). Al last a nice composition.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Whangarao Harbour

Following in Charles Darwin’s Footsteps

The fact that Charles Darwin visited the bay of Island in late 1835 is almost a bit of a secret here. These are some photos of my own along with extracts from “The Voyage of the Beagle”. Like my Retracing Darwin journey following his visit to Bathurst in 1836, I have enjoyed following in Darwin’s footsteps. Sometimes things have change little, in other places the difference is immense. For instance Darwin describes the area of Kororareka (which means Sweet Penguin) as “full of the refuse of society”, now know as Russell it is a sleepy romantic little charming town, not the scourge of the pacific as it was once noxiously describe, and a magnet for rough elements such as fleeing convicts, whalers and drunken sailors.


View of Russell from Flagstaff Hill

“December 22nd.In the morning I went out walking; but I soon found that the country was very impracticable. All the hills are thickly covered with tall fern, together with a low bush which grows like a cypress; and very little ground has been cleared or cultivated. I then tried the sea-beach; but proceeding towards either hand, my walk was soon stopped by salt-water creeks and deep brooks.”

Salt water creek neafr Paihia

“December 23rd. Mr. Bushby, the British resident, offered to take me in his boat by a creek, where I should see a pretty waterfall, and by which means my walk would be shortened “ [to Waimate].

Waterfall at Kerikeri

“Some time ago Mr. Bushby suffered a far more serious attack. A chief and a party of men tried to break into his house in the middle of the night, and not finding this so easy, commenced a brisk firing with their muskets. Mr. Bushby was slightly wounded, but the party was at length driven away.”

busby house pano (2)

“At length we reached Waimate. After having passed over so many miles of an uninhabited useless country, the sudden appearance of an English farm-house, and its well-dressed fields, placed there as if by an enchanter's wand, was exceedingly pleasant. Mr. Williams not being at home, I received in Mr. Davies's house a cordial welcome. After drinking tea with his family party, we took a stroll about the farm.”

Mission house at Waimate North

Puketi Kauri forest“December 24th.A little before noon Messrs. Williams and Davies walked with me to part of a neighbouring forest, to show me the famous kauri pine. I measured one of these noble trees, and found it thirty-one feet in circumference above the roots. There was another close by, which I did not see, thirty-three feet; and I heard of one no less than forty feet. These trees are remarkable for their smooth cylindrical boles, which run up to a height of sixty, and even ninety feet, with a nearly equal diameter, and without a single branch. The crown of branches at the summit is out of all proportion small to the trunk; and the leaves are likewise small compared with the branches. The forest was here almost composed of the kauri; and the largest trees, from the parallelism of their sides, stood up like gigantic columns of wood.”

“December 26th.Mr. Bushby offered to take Mr. Sulivan and myself in his boat some miles up the river to Cawa-Cawa [now spelt Kawakawa], and proposed afterwards to walk on to the village of Waiomio, where there are some curious rocks. …Here there are some singular masses of limestone resembling ruined castles. These rocks have long served for burial places, and in consequence are held too sacred to be approached. One of the young men, however, cried out, "Let us all be brave," and ran on ahead; but when within a hundred yards, the whole party thought better of it, and stopped short.”

Limestone formation at Waiomio

“December 30th.In the afternoon we stood out of the Bay of Islands, on our course to Sydney. I believe we were all glad to leave New Zealand. It is not a pleasant place.”

Cruiseship off Waitangi

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse

There was a full lunar eclipse tonight here in New Zealand just after sunset, but unfortunately it was a heavy cloud cover and raining. So I only got a few glimpses of the eclipse and had to really push the ISO to get any decent exposure. However I was happy that I did capture realistic colour, for the so call "blood moon".

New Zealand Motif

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On Making a Vertical Panorama

IMGP9123Trying to capture the full height of the mighty kauri tree is difficult, it towers above you but it is difficult to step back and get a full view, as the forest closes around you (like any rainforest). So you have the option of looking straight up (as above), and suffer the difficulty of achieving the depth of field range required, or taking a series of photo progressively looking up (as below left).image The trouble with this approach is one of perspective. I usually use autostitch, rather than a plug-in or microsoft’s ICE, and that has a neat little auto straighten tick box on the orientation settings panel, which helps sort of the perspective issue are you rotate your camera upwards it stretches out the upper images and trying ti keep any strong vertical lines (like the tree trucks) vertical Giving the.stitched image a vase like appearance. If the black borders worry you, you can crop down the the image to remove them.  If your stitching software doesn’t have this feature you can always rotate the photos 90 degress and treat them like a normal pamorana (but expect the tree trucks to curve in on you).

kauri-001 kauri forest pano

The Kauri tree on the right is over 1,000 years old by the way.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dolphins Ahoy!

IMGP8430Went for a very pleasant afternoon cruise out to the Hole in the Rock, in the bay of Islands on the north island of New Zealand. Wonderful weather up here despite a lot of rain and cold further south. The saw a large pod of wild bottle nose dolphins that even played around the boat. one even bought up a fish he/she had caught to show us.




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Hole in the Wall (aka Piercy Island)


Friday, April 11, 2014

The Patch :: framing fun



The patch themes this week are frames & modes of transport, so I figured a shot out the window on the flight over to new Zealand would be perfect. Well the window was dirty and it wasn’t easy to fix that, up in the bay of islands the dominant mode of transport is yachts, expensive ones. So I have spent a few days looking through any manner of frames, including the stocks on the wharf at Russell. In the end I choose three yachts in the bay opposite the French mission, but I used Perfect Effect’s and the border called Russell to emphasis the framing.