Saturday, 4 April 2020

Week 13: Habitat

One of my favourite garden birds to photograph is the Kotare.
With the restrictions of lockdown and walking local,
I’ve been spending my early mornings at the Panmure Basin and Tamaki Estuary.
When the waters are low in the basin, and they've been exceptionally low this last week,
the mudflats are exposed.
It brings the Kotare out en masse. 
There are also hundreds and hundreds of crabs, 
which are what the Kotare are hunting for.
The antics of the crabs are quite extraordinary
Any movement from above sends them scurrying into their burrows 
in an almost synchronised dance.
It looks like the mudflats are heaving ... and then they go still.
A few minutes later the mudlfats start glistening and moving again 
as the crabs pop out of their holes. It’s more than fascinating to watch.
One of my other regular walking destinations, 
out of bounds at the moment due to ‘walking local’ restrictions, is Churchill Park.  
It has a creek running through it and is another favourite habitat of the Kotare.
A year ago, on one of my regular walks there, 
I heard noises inside a tree trunk and wasn’t at all sure what was making them.
So I sat underneath a nearby palm tree to wait and watch.
Imagine my amazement when Mom and Dad Kotare 
started flying back and forth bringing food
to what was obviously their nest inside the tree trunk 
It had been the babies I’d heard inside the tree trunk and,
each time a skink was dropped down to them,
the cacaphony escalated until they’d devoured it.
I wasn’t close enough to get the clarity I wanted
but these were the images I managed to capture.
It was such a special moment.
"We are not responsible for what our eyes are seeing.  
We are responsible for how we perceive what we are seeing."
~ Gabrielle Bernstein

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Week 12 Golden Hour

What an odd week it's been.
And thank goodness for something to focus on with the photography challenge!
Golden hour is such a magical time of the day and I love that it happens 
TWICE a day, 
not just once.
I downloaded the SunTracker app and it's been so useful.  
Especially as with lockdown restrictions, I'm not walking where I usually do.  
You get quite used to where the sun's likely to rise and set in a specific location.
 With the lockdown restrictions though I've had to walk local.
The closest natural areas to me are the Panmure Basin and the Tamaki Estuary. 
 Both are about 2.5kms away so it's a nice brisk walk to get there before the sun rises each day.  
I don't mind walking in the dark. 
It means I hear all the birds wake up.  
I have fun trying to identify them by their calls.
  Some of the images I've used this week are from the archives.  
"It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world." 
~ Mary Oliver

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Week 11: Equinox

In our part of the world, the equinox is the official beginning of Autumn.
The time of year when the days get shorter and the nights get longer.
There's a noticeable crispness to the early  morning air, 
especially when you head out before dawn as I do.
It's a season when time, and nature, seem to pause
Life slows down to catch it's collective breath.
The sunrises, I think, are testimony to that.
Particularly this last week.
They've been long drawn out sunrises that make you stop and gaze in wonder.
I love autumn.
 It's a season of change and it's delightfully intoxicating.
It's often a perfect mix of sun and clouds 
with a crispness to the night that makes you want to snuggle in bed.
It's the colours of autumn that i love the most though.
 Yellow, red and bronze hues that blanket the trees in spectacular fashion.
Anyone who thinks autumn leaves are dead 
has never watched them swirling and dancing on a windy day.
They take on a life of their own.
One of my favourite childhood memories is scrunching 
through the leaves in the lane on our way to school.
I still love the sound of the leaves crunching underfoot 
when I'm out walking now.
"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." 
~ Albert Camus

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Week 10: Analogous Colours

Nature's full of them!
In all sorts of guises.
From the reds and oranges of an early morning sunrise

to the reds and oranges of this gorgeous rose.

Analogous colours, as described by Google, the arbiter of all things inane, 
are usually 3 colours that are positioned next to each other on the colour wheel.  
They're best used with either warm or cool colours, not only creating a look
 that has a certain temperature to it, but proper colour harmony too.
They're always beautiful, sometimes bold, but NEVER boring 
even when they're in the more muted shades.
I experimented this week with trying to find analogous colours that created a mood.
Warm rich reds and oranges
Light and bright greens and yellows
Cool and calm blues and violets.
I couldn't resist including this little Sparrow. 
She has such subtle colouring and the most delicately nuanced plumage

"Taking pictures is savouring life intensely, 
every hundredth of a second." 
~ Marc Riboud

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Week 9 - Prickly

Hmmm ... prickly opens up a whole gamut of possibilities, 
not all nature based.  
I work in retail and we get our fair share of 'prickly' customers.
But back to nature.

Over the past few weeks I've had a prickly nocturnal visitor 
meandering across my lawn in the early hours of the morning.  
I think my lawn must be part of the 'hedgehog highway' as there's 
often rustling in the bushes where I photographed this particular individual.
Last year I photographed a Mrs Hedgehog moving her babies along this highway too.
She would pick one baby up in her mouth, 
shuffle halfway up the garden with it, 
deposit it on the ground then rush back down to get the other one. 
 She'd then repeat the process to the top of the garden 
and into the grounds of the school next door.

Fortunately for her she only had two babies.  
It was exhausting just watching her!

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Week 8 - Mobile Phone Magic

 What a fun way to use up time you don't have!!

Original image

I loaded Snapseed and Rollworld on my phone, not realising how very addictive both apps can be, particularly Rollworld.

Who would have thought rolling your 
photos up into little worlds would be 
SO entertaining! 
But it was. And I wanted to roll up photo after photo after photo!

It doesn't work too well with Sparrows as you can see in the image above.                                                         
But it works particularly well with landscape photos.

Particularly ones with tall buildings.
The image to the left is the
original of the tiny world above.

It works well too on images of the yacht basin where there are LOTS of masts!

The original doesn't have quite 
the same appeal.

Even individual trees create unusual effects.

It does seem to lose Rangitoto in the tiny world though.

Snapseed allowed me to superimpose one image over the other with an interesting result.
 And to add a pencil crayon effect to this image of the Gannets.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Week 7: Bird's eye view

It’s been an entertaining week attempting to see things from a bird’s eye level.  
Some of my models haven’t been too enthused by my attempts to see life from their perspective.
I had thought of using my mobile as a remote as suggested, 
then realised the camera needs to have wi-fi too, 
which mine doesn’t, so that put an end to that idea.

All that was left was to bend those knees.
And get down and dirty.
This juvenile blackbird was quite accommodating.  
More than happy to share her spot in the sun with me, 
even when I, rather clumsily, leopard crawled in her direction.
Trust the grass to be wet with dew that morning.
She just spread her wings wider and settled down lower in the grass.
Maybe she thought I wouldn’t see her.
The Black Backed Gull on the other hand was rather 
disgruntled by my attempt to get down to his level.
I’d interrupted his ablutions and he was most indignant.
I didn’t hang around for a second longer than I needed to.
Peering down at flowers seemed like a safer option.
Quite intriguing how different they appear when viewed from this perspective.
Last but not least in the feathered department was this little fantail 
who’d been having a glorious bath in the stream at Tahuna Torea. 
He looks a little grumpity at the invasion of his privacy.
He had wet feet, as did I.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Week 6 - Nature's Candy

Wow! This week’s raced past.  
I’ve had so many thoughts about what I’d like to post for this week’s challenge but, 
apart from my very early morning walks, 
time for photography has been hard to find .... until today.
The Grey Ducks at the Botanic Gardens this morning provided some interesting input. 
Two individual ducks were swimming separately from the rest of the flock when, 
what I assume was the male, started pumping his head up and down 
directly alongside and in front of what must have been the female.
Within seconds he was on top of her.
 His weight meant her head kept disappearing under the water.
When he was finished he swam rapidly along for a short distance with his head 
just grazing the water, then circled round to swim next to her again.
Love was definitely in the air!
That’s the Valentine’s aspect of my Nature’s Candy week.
On a more literal level, it’s been all the ‘b’s that have been imbibing in their natural candy.
The birds, the bees and the butterflies!
It was wonderful to once again spot a juvenile Tui at Tahuna Torea 
trying to find sustenance in a flax that appeared to be past its prime.
The bees and the butterflies at the memorial park are always a joy to watch.
As was the Heron at the Stonefields wetland.  
He'd found a skenk in the rocks and was about to devour it.
This is a photo from my archives when the Heron wasn’t quite as lucky 
and managed to drop the worm he’d been fishing for.

Week 13: Habitat

One of my favourite garden birds to photograph is the Kotare . With the restrictions of lockdown and walking local, I’ve been spendin...