Monday, 28 September 2020

Catch-up!

Sooo, when I started this challenge this year
I didn't expect to be playing catch-up quite so frequently.
A photo a week isn't onerous.
Or so I thought.

How wrong can one be.

The photo above is for week 34 - Black and White.
I was unbelievably fortunate enough to be on the right side
of the estuary when the Royal Spoonbills chose 
to meander across at low tide.
The Geese had been foraging there first and were a little perturbed by the
appearance of the Spoonbills.
The Geese are bigger than the Spoonbills, 
but there were only 3 geese and more than 8 Spoonbills 
so the Geese played it safe and wandered back to the duckpond.

For Week 35 - Panarama, I had such good intentions.
I was going to try combining multiple images to create a multi-image panarama.
Something I've not done before.
Time isn't always my friend though.
So this is an image of Browns Island, viewed from Glover Park, 
that I've cropped to a wide format.
I will at some stage get round to creating a multi-image panarama,
especially after having seen some of the gorgeous images posted for the challenge.
Tahuna Torea has been a lucky spot for me of late, 
especially at the duckpond end.
That's where I saw the Royal Spoonbills for week 34 
and that's where I found the Shag who's the subject of
Week 36 - Water Life.
I've often seen the Pied Shags fishing but never witnessed them
catching and swallowing a fish this large.
He very nearly lost it though.
The fish fought so strongly that it took 3 attempts 
before he finally managed to get it down his throat.
I was rooting for the fish
between racing along the side of the duckpond,
snapping away and trying not to fall in.

For Week 37 - an Artistic Touch, I've added a grunge effect
to my image of an Iceland Poppy.
There's a lot more playing around I would have loved to have done,
but it's that time thingy again.
There's never enough of it.
Onwards and upwards.
That's 4 weeks I've caught up on.
Yay!
I shall endeavour to complete Week 38 Scavenger Hunt
and Week 39 Bokeh and Blur this week.
No promises though.


Sunday, 9 August 2020

Week 31: Square

And in a world of rectangles, square is quirky! 

With its perfectly predictable symmetry it has a beauty other shapes lack. It's wonderful for enhancing the symmetry of lines and rectangles, especially when photographing low in a puddle.

So many pictures in puddles on my walk this morning.

Mr. Tui was in fine voice and made for a splendid portrait.

Composing in a square allows for simplicity and removing external clutter.

It has a natural sense of balance.

My camera’s rather old though so doesn’t allow for composing square in camera. All of these images have had to be cropped from their rectangular format. It did make for some interesting decisions during shooting as to how to compose for what I wanted the end result to be.


Saturday, 25 July 2020

Week 29: Hands

.... or feet that masquerade as hands in the case of this Mackaw.

Whenever I go to the Winter Gardens at the Auckland Domain
I always share whatever I have to eat with the Sparrows.
On this particular day I thought I’d try and photograph the action.
I started off using the camera in my mobile phone but it doesn’t react
quickly enough to catch the movement.
So I changed to my camera.
Have you ever tried operating a camera with one hand?
And keeping it still!!
Needless to say there were a lot of out of focus images but also several gorgeous ones like this.
Human hands are the integral part of the next image and ironically, nature is a part of it too.
When I visited my daughter in the UK last year she asked me to share in a special activity with her.
Having a matching tattoo on our wrists.
She’d already decided it would be a sunflower as they’re one of my favourite flowers.
So we did.
And this was the result.
Needless to say I was delighted with it, as was she.
It helps me feel so connected to her even though we live oceans apart.
We spent my final day in London and,
walking around one of the many parks,
found this squirrel enjoying a feast.
I’d love to know what this Kaka’s thinking as it contemplates it’s foot.
“Touch the earth gently for all are connected.”
~Shikoba

Monday, 20 July 2020

A deviation from the normal posts on this blog.

Arriving home with wet shoes, wet feet and a happy heart always reiterates 
the relevance of the name of my current blog. 
I really am at my most happiest when I’m out walking and exploring,
even if that entails getting wet and muddy.
Early morning Rangitoto
Early morning view of Rangitoto from Joseph Savage Memorial Park

This particular post is a deviation from the normal posts on this blog.
They’re usually about the AOB photography challenge.
Blue skies and sunshine to start the day
This morning’s walk though was so invigorating and refreshing
 - and wet and muddy - 
that I had to share some of the images.
And try to put into words just how necessary rambles like this are. 
To the psyche
To the body
To the heart.
They’re my panacea for life.
Puddle reflections - can't resist them!
Even when I fall over.
As I did this morning.
Proteas at the Botanic Gardens
In the words of Thomas Moore (author and philosopher)
“The ordinary arts we practice every day 
are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
I couldn’t agree more.
It’s the tiny things we choose to do on a daily basis that make us happy.
The blue skies and sunshine have vanished.
That thunderstorm is about to drop it's load and soak me.

Walking is one of mine.
As is talking to  birds.
Jumping in puddles.
And that first sip of coffee - don’t get me started.
Raindrops on Proteas
So many little things contribute to the way we feel each day. 
I know though, without a shadow of doubt, 
that my every day needs to begin with a walk. 
It sets me up body, soul and mind.
This gorgeous little Fantail was flying around my feet as I walked.
How I didn't stand on him, I don't know!

How do I even begin to explain the feelings that well up inside when I’m walking.
I have split second moments of gratitude that leave me feeling euphoric.
Light bulb moments of brilliance that solve problems I didn’t even know I had.
Creative visions that have me grabbing the camera out of my backpack.
And then there are moments that go above and beyond even trying to capture  them on camera.
Those are the times I stand in awe and allow it all to wash over and through me.
That's what walking does for me.
Every day.
Every walk.
How blessed am I.
I'm taking shelter from the relentless rain and trying to capture the raindrops all over this tree.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Week 26, Week 27 and Week 28. Catch-up!!

This is a catch up blog.
3 weeks in one as I’ve been a little remiss in posting.

It’s rather fortuitous that in the week of ‘Plastic Free’ (week 27)  I should have my eldest son and his partner staying with me.
She’s a big proponent for leaving as little a footprint as possible so plastic free is how she rocks.
She freely admits though that ditching plastic is not that easy,
particularly when you work full-time and particularly when you’re grocery shopping.
Virtually every grocery item you buy has some form or other of plastic packaging.
She chooses to shop whenever possible at bulk outlets,
where she takes her own containers, or at more eco-friendly organic grocery stores.
Her line of work allows for flexibility so she’s not constrained by 4.30/5pm closing times.
This photo is of some of the smaller glass containers she takes with her to the bulk refilling outlets.
My contribution to plastic free is no comparison at all. 
My Keep cup.
It's very necessary for that essential early morning caffeine fix after my walk.
My keep cup might not even be making a contribution as there's on-going debate as to the impact they have on the environment when compared to single use disposable cups.
It lowers the waste management environmental impact 
but the materials and energy that went into making it,
and the soap and hot water necessary to wash it, 
create another environmental impact altogether. Ironic, isn't it.
Living in Auckland as I do, means we’re surrounded by 
a rather intimidating reminder of natural forces (week 26) at work.
I’m talking volcanoes and in particular Rangitoto.

It’s the youngest and largest of the 50 odd volcanoes that make up the Auckland ishmus.
It’s also one of the most visible, sitting out in the Hauraki Gulf as it does.
For Light and Airy (week 28) I couldn't resist this Iceland poppy.
It speaks for itself.
You never know what you're going to see when you walk every day 
and this seed pod was one of those unexpected pleasures.
The light was beautiful and fitted the brief perfectly.
Phew!  Glad to have finally caught up.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Week 25: 3 views

So much fun trying to decide what to post this week!
So many options.
When reading through the weekly challenges at the start of the year I knew I'd be
taking and banking images for this particular week.
I love close-ups of heads and feather detail and eyes!
I don't have the longest of telephone lenses though so can't always sate that desire for the detail, unless the subject is inanimate or, in the case of the feathered variety of critters I photograph, co-operative.
The Morepork I've used for the cover shot was one of the luckiest encounters I've ever had at Auckland zoo.
As I was heading to the exit at the zoo a keeper was walking towards me with this tiny owl on her arm.
He's used for educational purposes at the zoo and was being moved to another enclosure.
She was delighted that I wanted to photograph him and he was incredibly obliging
I hadn't realised just how little they are and how absolutely beautiful those yellow eyes are.
It was such a treat seeing him up close and personal.
The Gannets I photographed just before lockdown were very co-operative.
I think it had something to do with them being totally enamoured
with one another and oblivious to the likes of me.
Fantails, on the other hand, whilst being one of the friendliest of critters,
are the least co-operative when it comes to staying in one spot!
I photographed the duck during lockdown and she was so trusting.
In fact she seemed to relish my company and displayed no fear that I might harm her.
Mr Galapagos Tortoise was one of the subjects used for the week of scales
but he's also a great subject for 3 views. 
He doesn't move very fast either which is an enormous advantage.
All in all, such a fun challenge this week!

Monday, 22 June 2020

Week 24: Microcosm

Exploring miniature worlds this week.
So many are hiding in plain sight!
But if you look beyond the obvious - and underneath what's at eye-level -
you see a whole new world that you might not have noticed before.
Changing my view has changed what I see.
Now I can't unsee all these miniature worlds.
It's been an eye-opener.
Even the bees pollinating the lavender are in a miniature world of their own.





Catch-up!

Sooo, when I started this challenge this year I didn't expect to be playing catch-up quite so frequently. A photo a week isn't onero...