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  Tuesday, 31 August 2004

The estuary mouth at Delaware Bay, just after then sun has gone behind Pepin Island, leaving it in shadow. On the other side of the bay the bluffs are still bathed in the warm red glow of the setting sun. It was the contrast in colour from that red to the cyan blue of the water that caught my attention in this shot.

This image and five other new prints are now available at the CoffeeWaffle store.
8:54:26 PM    Comment []

I got a DVD today all about the tricks you can do with a trick kite like my new Quantum. I'm amazed at just what these kites can do in the right hands. Here is a comprehensive list of the tricks I am now intent on mastering....

  • side slide
  • 360 float
  • snap stall
  • tip stab
  • cartwheel launch
  • leading edge launch
  • sleeping beauty
  • dead launch
  • pop up
  • downwind glide
  • the 360
  • pinwheel
  • up and over
  • lazy Susan
  • flapjack
  • yo-yo
  • spin axel
  • axel landing
  • double axel
  • coin toss
  • reverse coin toss
  • ground toss
  • half axel
  • cascade
  • the 540
  • lateral roll
  • fade
  • flic-flac
  • backspin
  • fruit roll-up
  • full monty
  • Jacob's ladder

phew! This is going to takes countless hours of selfless, dedicated kite flying... dang : )

8:11:30 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 30 August 2004

I stopped on my drive home from work to catch this shot of a flowering Toitoi along Atawhai Drive.

9:59:39 PM    Comment []

I've had a pretty busy weekend and forgot to blog. Mark and Pamela stopped in unexpectedly on Saturday night which was nice. Sunday was a magnificent, almost summer like, day and we all went for a tour around Nelson in my van. Mark and I had a kite flying session on the beach for an hour or two; an entertaining time with lots of dogs keen on chasing. Kaycee got about a months worth of exercise tearing around the beach telling all the other dogs the the kites were her prey. She got home and went straight to bed and had to be woken up for her dinner.

Mark having a go with my new quantum. Ain't that a good looking kite? : ]

7:38:19 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 27 August 2004

10:42:53 PM    Comment []

I stopped in at the kite shop yesterday after work to drop of some of my kite for minor repairs. Two of my three Excaliburs had holes in them, from the time I taught Mark to kite buggy : ) and my 8.5m c-quad had a broken spar about 8 inches from the wingtip. Every time I go into that shop I seem to end up owning a new kite.

I now have a sport-kite/trick-kite/stunt-kite... whatever you want to call it, its not a power kite. It is a Quantum by Prism and it has some really cool graphics and a bag of tricks. With a lot of practice I'll be able to to really cool sounding tricks like, flic-flacs, fruit-rollups, and double axel to tip-stand. The colour scheme is yellow, red, and orange but for some reason the orange with the sun behind it comes out pink on-screen. Its not really pink, honest... would I buy a pink kite?

9:28:54 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 26 August 2004

This afternoon I sneaked away from work early to go fly a kite. I just couldn't get my brain into gear all day today so at about 2.30pm I just gave up trying. Half and hour later I was flying my super-10 kite at Miyazu Park. The wind was really cold requiring a woolly hat to keep my head from going numb.

Before leaving I took a few photos around Miyazu Garden. This is a Japanese style garden that is named after the City Miyazu, which is Nelson's Japanese Sistercity. I love the style of these gardens, elegant, but down to earth and simple at the same time. Everything carefully, contemplatively, laid out to lead the eye from one feature to the next. Every nook and cranny interesting. I always like to photograph them in black and white because of the array of textures in the wood and stone. It must be the feng shui of the place, but I always leave there feeling relaxed.

8:29:11 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 25 August 2004

After Sunday's spectacular sunrise, I still had enough room left on the camera's memory card to stop on the drive home for some stereotypical kiwi farming shots. All three below were shot standing in the same spot. The old cottage and tree were the reason for stopping though. Its the third time I've photographed this scene. The first two times were in the evening and I never quite got the right light. This time I arrived no more than five minutes from the moment when the first  rays of sun touched the top branches of the tree, and stayed until it had reached the base of the hut twenty minutes later. Finally I caught the scene the way I was picturing it in my mind. The second shot below is this weeks desktop wallpaper.

(click for 1024x768 desktop wallpaper)

7:48:19 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 23 August 2004

"Delay not; swift the flight of fortune's greatest favours."

10:07:24 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 22 August 2004

Last night (actually this morning about 2am) I parked my campervan at the top of the Spooner Ranges, which sit between Nelson and the way South. I was planning to bet some photos from the lookout at sunrise. And wow, was I treated to a sunrise worth getting out of a warm sleeping bag for!

Thats the lights of Nelson in the distance when I first woke up. This sky was almost completely clear of clouds then.

Even Kaycee got out her warm blanket to take in the view.

"This is Heaven and we are in it if only we could realise it"
Stanley Spencer British Painter (1891 - 1959)

2:47:47 PM    Comment []

This morning I took a walk to the centre of New Zealand, from Walters Bluff. The track follows the a ridge around behind Nelson and has some of the best views of the City and Harbour. Technically the hill I arrived at after an hour or so, is not really the centre of the country but it's the point of origin for all surveys in the Nelson region. So its more like the centre of Nelson, which is the central region in New Zealand, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

The skies over Nelson had some strange could formations, this morning. This huge column of cloud materialised over Port Nelson. I thought it looked like there had been a space shuttle launch.

The pine trees along the track are full of pollen at the moment.

This shot kind of sums up Nelson on a Sunny Saturday morning for me. In the foreground theres a game of soccer on Neale Park, in the middle of the photo is the marina. Beyond the port is the Boulder Bank and a tiny 'fizz boat' out in the bay (near the cranes), who has probably been out scalloping since first light.

The lower reaches of the Maitai River, swollen with the tide, wind through town.

The centre of NZ hill was cleared of large pines a few years back and replanted with native plants. It looked horribly bare at first but the new plants are taking hold now.

The big pointy thing marks the spot...

..and heres the spot up close.

Behind the Hill is the Maitai Valley.

Another view of the Harbour. Spot the black lambs in the foreground. Kaycee had to be on her best behaviour.
12:18:40 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 20 August 2004

After work this afternoon I was really in the mood to take photos, of anything. I just needed to unwind and photography does that for me. The lighting, however was a dull grey sky, blanketed with shapeless raincloud. Black and White weather I thought.

So I stopped at the Hira Church, which is just down the road from me and overdue for repairs. Someone has started with a new paint job, but it seems to have stalled halfway through. So its stuck in limbo between colour schemes with half its window frames painted a fresh new green while the other half and the roof remain a faded barn-red. Colour shots would not show its finer side. So I converted some shots to grayscale, and had some fun in Photoshop with the liquify filter.

6:59:59 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 18 August 2004

The first spring bulbs are out! Somehow the arrival of daffidols is always a relief for me. It means end of winter is in sight.

8:28:13 PM    Comment []

This shot from last Saturday is of a lone pine tree growing in the sand dunes of Rabbit Island. The unsettled sky and the time of day made for an interesting contrast between the blue of the sky and the pink glow of the setting sun reflected in the low clouds, and the thick grey of the rain clouds overhead. The sun was actually setting behind me, over my left shoulder.

(Click for 1024x768 desktop wallpaper)

8:18:20 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 17 August 2004

10:02:07 PM    Comment []

"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen."
Minor White

Photo: Prelude to tonights sunset over 'the western ranges' from Nelson.

Over the space of  half an hour I took 73 photos. My poor little laptop can offload them from the camera at one per minute ( the RAW photos are over 5mb each). I'll be here a while. This was one of the first shots and this sunset just kept getting better. I'll post more later tonight.
7:20:18 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 16 August 2004

Today I booked and paid for my ferry tickets, so it definitely on.  An adventure to the far north to kite buggy my little heart out.

Last year I went to the Muriwai Moose Meet, near Auckland, where a bunch of kite buggyiers get together and camp in the sand dunes of Muriwai Beach for a weekend. This year I'm taking two weeks off work and am going to explore the whole area in my camper-van, with the Muriwai weekend in the middle of that time. Kaycee will go and stay at my parents house, where she will be spoilt to bits.

Tonight I have been surfing the net for good-looking camp grounds and advice on beaches. I plan to explore from Auckland, all the way North to Cape Reinga, the Northern most tip of the country. Already on my search I found 240 kilometres of drivable, (and therefore buggyable), beach. Ninety-mile beach is actually about 90km, Ripiro Beach is 100km long, and Muriwai is about 50km.  We should be into summer by then with consistent afternoon sea breezes. Can't wait.

And the best-site-I've-found-tonight award goes to...

10:45:07 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 15 August 2004

7:02:46 PM    Comment []

That sunset shot from yesterdays post is now available as a print. Thanks to my new cameras resolution it is available in sizes right up to a huge 54" x 35" poster.
3:03:16 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 14 August 2004

The wind was late. Theres a big blow forecast followed by a cold snap, that right now is probably bringing snow down to seal level in Southland. Yesterday evening the weather forecast said today would see NW wind and rain. Lots of both. From nine this morning it was supposed to arrive. So when I saw blue sky this morning I decided to head to Rabbit Island Beach in the hope that the wind would arrive without the rain. I waited all afternoon, and did fly a couple of kites, but the 25 knots predicted just didn't eventuate... until I had packed up to leave. Rabbit Island is open during daylight hours only. Tonight the gates were due to close at 5.45pm. After I had given up waiting and had packed away all my kites and the buggy, I was making a coffee in the van when all of a sudden the wind arrived. It was about 5.10pm. The caretaker would be doing his rounds soon, asking any stragglers to leave as he goes. Not enough time. As I drove away I stopped to watch a Blokart taking advantage of what was now a gusty 20knot north-west wind.

Of course I filled in time, while waiting for the late wind, by taking a few pictures...

A walk down the beach is a popular Saturday afternoon pass-time on days like today.

A blokarter taking advantage of the half hour of wind before dark. It was starting to rain too.

10:00:21 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 13 August 2004

I just realised I've been blogging for a whole year. In fact Wednesday was CoffeeWaffle's 1st anniversary. I think its taken most of that time to find my voice, but now I don't think I could do without my blog. Its a creative outlet for me now, one that I need.

This site is now getting around 45 unique visitors a day and I thought it would be nice to create a snapshot of readers with this post.

So I'd like to invite all who are reading this, whether you just surfed here from Google or are a regular reader, to leave your mark on this post. Just leave a comment below (anonymously if you like, no need for email address or URL), maybe saying where you're from, and how you got here. I'm just curious :)

10:24:04 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 12 August 2004

10:19:01 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 11 August 2004

"Go often to the house of thy friend; for weeds soon choke up the unused path."
Scandinavian Proverb

8:37:59 PM    Comment []

This shot is definitely my favourite this week, so I've made a desktop wallpaper version of it. Enjoy.

(Click for 1024x768 desktop wallpaper)

4:51:34 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 10 August 2004

Today was a rough day at work. When I escaped from the office I really needed some way to wind down. Halfway home, I spotted these two white-faced herons feeding in the shallows of the estuary beside the road. I pulled over and crept as close as I could across the wet tidal mud. At first they moved away from me but, after five or six minutes of crouching motionless, they began to move back toward me. Must have better fishing right there.

I was absorbed in their little dance for almost an hour.

I'm not sure if this display of plumage was for me because I was getting to close, or if they performed for each other. This shot looks like they were dancing for their mutual pleasure, so I'm going with that :)

Hunting Heron style. They move so slowly its hard to believe they're hunting... until they spot something edible in range & WHAM!

I left there feeling completely free of any of the days stress, with about 50 frames caught on the camera. Happy now... sigh
7:40:04 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 9 August 2004

I need a name for my campervan. If it's bad luck to sail on a boat without naming it, the same must hold true for my home away from home. I'm having trouble thinking of one though. I'm open to suggestions ; ]
9:13:32 PM    Comment []

The view from Tophouse Road.

A coffee stop on the roadside.

This was our view during that roadside coffee stop.

The jetty at Lake Rotoiti. Last time I was here you couldn't see those mountains for the rain cloud. They looked great on Sunday, with their almond icing snow caps.

7:31:35 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 8 August 2004

Just one more photo before bed. This is one of the last shots I took today. Just five minutes later the sun had left this mountain (I think its Mount Robert but have to check the map to be sure). As the sun prepared to set the cloud seemed to simply materialise above the mountain, as if preparing its snow for the imminent drop in temperature about to happen.

If I was commissioned to redesign the New Zealand flag, these are the colours I would use. The blue of the sky, the white of the snow caps, the rich, roasted red/brown of the alpine grasses, and of course the deep cool,solid green of the native bush. To me, these are the colours of this country.

9:45:55 PM    Comment []

I spent the night in Renwick last night, parked alongside Ample Karma. Watched the NZ vs Australia rugby game with Mark and Pamela. I made my way home today via the Nelson Lakes. To tired from driving post much now, and I have heaps of pictures to sort through... more tommorrow.

This was the first picture I took this morning, myself and trees of the orchard I was parked on, refelected in the windows of the van.

9:08:21 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 7 August 2004

 It really felt like spring around here today, I'm not sure why. I took my camera for a walk through town this morning, up Trafalgar Street to the Cathedral Steps and back.

An historic street light with shop fronts in the background.

The bottom end of Trafalgar Street. The Cathedral stands at the other end overlooking the centre of the city.

The front of the Victorian Rose. I love attention to detail in the woodwork on this building.

A busker and his startled looking audience.

The Church steps and the Cathedral.

The creative freedom I'm getting from my new camera is really going to make a difference to what I photograph. Because I don't have the worry of developing time and expense I feel more inclined to explore new subject matter or try new techniques. Mistakes don't cost anything and often yield unexpected surprises and lessons. I've got a feeling I'm about to get prolific ;)
5:55:43 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 6 August 2004

I'm having loads of fun with my new camera. Today I noticed the lump of driftwood, that I lugged home from a beach two weekends ago, was crawling with bees. My first thought was that they were making a home in the porous lump of wood, but on closer inspection it looks like they are licking the salt off it. Weird. Now I'm curious to know if indeed thats what they are doing, and if so why? Is it the salt they like or something else? Who's got a theroy?

5:43:54 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 5 August 2004

I think this is a Pied Shag, close relative of the Spotted Shag. I snapped this picture on my way home today.

He was drying his wings at the time. The reason they do this is that, unlike most sea birds, their feathers are designed to absorb water, and so they must dry them after a dip. This adaptation gives them neutral buoyancy when underwater, which helps them hunt. You've got to admire a bird that can not only fly superbly, but can also out-swim a fish underwater. They will dive for 40 seconds or more and can recover ready for another dive in just 10 - 15 seconds.

And thats my little ornothology oarnitholigy ornathology bird-watching lesson for today ; )
6:39:23 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 4 August 2004

The one thing I love most about photography are the surprises.

I usually know when I'm looking down the lens at a well lit, well composed, image.  When I get home from a weekend taking photos on film, I'll usually have a dozen shots in my head that I expect to develop well. Invariably there are also one or two that I didn't anticipate, that turn out great.

This was one of those shots. The lighting was relatively dull compared to the vivid, contrasting colours of the predawn light. The tide was well out and I had been foolishly hoping for mirror-like, early morning, reflections. All that was left was the dull grey mud.  It was probably lack of caffeine that made me miss the dark veins of the retreating tide, and the lava like look of the patches of weed growing in the mud. The pink glow reflected in the main channels of the water blends with the sky. None of this was apparent to me when I took it;  I was imaging it in black and white at the time.

When I saw the scanned negative on my screen I had to wind my mind back to remember taking it. Another nice surprise... the kind that keeps me clicking in hope.

(click for 1024x768 desktop wallpaper)

9:19:10 PM    Comment []

I've been playing with my new toy every spare moment. This is the camera I've dreamt of. Finally a digital camera that can compete with 35mm film on all levels. All the advantages of film, with none of the drawbacks.

If you're wondering just how much detail is in a 6.3 megapixel image, check this out. The two images below are the same. The first is the whole frame. The second is a crop of the first image at full size.

BTW I took this shot this afternoon of the Wakapuaka River which runs right past my home and is also my water supply. I was playing around with some long shutter speeds. This one was a 0.8 second exposure.
7:11:41 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 2 August 2004

It'll be here tommorrow. Can't wait. 6.3 megapixels! Goodbye film!

I've read the broucher from cover to cover (3 times). 3.1mb 3072x2048 jpegs. Photos also stored in RAW format for printing!   1.8inch LCD moniter! USB! Shoots up to 3 frames per second at full resolution!!!  Woot!  *Geeks out completely and starts reading brochure again*
5:32:16 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 1 August 2004

On the first or second Sunday of every month the Nelson Kite Club has a get-together at Rabbit Island Beach. We decide which Sunday by whatever has the best low tide. This Sunday was it this month. All winter we've been virtually windless. Today there was enough wind to get my 8.5m c-quad of the ground but not really enough to buggy with. Ted showed up and for a while we had a 12.5m c-quad flying as well.

I arrived early and while I waited for wind I sat in my buggy, looking out to sea, with the kite laid out on the beach, ready to go. As I sat there I over-heard several conversations as people walked past on there Sunday afternoon strolls. Many were discussing what I was doing, and exactly what my kite buggy and kite were. In the space of half an hour I heard my setup described by various onlookers as a sail-cart, a hang-gliding trike, a go-cart and parachute, and my favourite, a glider and bike. Say it with me... kkkkiiite bbbuuggy  ; )

My 8.5m c-quad and kite buggy.

A parting shot of Rabbit Island beach this afternoon with Nelson in the background. As you can see by the water, it was pretty calm out there.

9:49:53 PM    Comment []

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