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  Thursday, 31 January 2008

Nelson Central Post Office

My first attempt at some seriously urban kite aerial photography. This is the very center of Nelson's Business District. The Nelson Central Post Office building and clock tower is (imho) one of the ugliest, but it's ours. Even though its been there for a couple of decades (give or take), I think most Nelsonians are still wondering when they are going to finish building the tower and take the scafolding down. My kite in the middle of town attracted quite a few curious spectators. The camera was directly over the busiest intersection in town, but all safety checks had been down and the wind was steady and strong.

Maitai River & The Wood
The suburb by the city. Just across the Maitai River is "The Wood". That's Neale Park in the distant background where we had our kite festival a couple of weeks ago.

Trafalger Street Bridge
You can see me in this picture flying my kite from the Maitai River bank, next to the bridge. That's my friend Ted on his Xtracycle crossing the bridge (my Xtracycle is parked just off-camera on the river bank, having transported me and all my KAP gear to the location). I didn't know he was there but he had followed my kiteline to say hello. It often happens when I'm KAPing; someone I know will spot my kite and find me. Kind of a neat spin-off of the activity.

Trafalger & Halifax Streets Intersection.
I like this intersection because I am a cyclist and cyclists get priority here (at least from one direction), as the green lanes show. We're ALLOWED to queue-jump and when the light goes green, we get to go first. Nahhh-na-na-nah-na! I think it's a bit of an experiment to see if it works. I hope it catches on.

9:27:43 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 26 January 2008

Rabbit Island Sunset

"It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness" - Thomas Jefferson

6:44:27 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 21 January 2008

Last light

8:10:25 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 20 January 2008

Ray over the Haven (full)

Today was the 17th annual Nelson Summertime Kite Festival. There was very little wind but the big kites were flying for a few hours this morning and intermittently during the afternoon. Heaps of people turned out anyway on this scorching hot Nelson Sunday. I managed to get a camera in the air with a few of the big kites this morning; something that is always pretty nerve wracking with all those giants flying around me. I just had to post this one shot of the Ray kite with Nelson Haven behind it, but I'll be uploading more during the evening as I sort through them and my dail-up connection catches up.

I have created a Flickr pool for pictures of the kite festival. It already has my photos from last year and this year in it. If you have some pictures, and you use, please join the group and add yours to the pool! The Flickr group is called "The Annual Nelson Summertime Kite Festival". (If you don't use Flickr, its free and painless.)

ps. It just hit me what it is about the Ray image above that appeals to me. There's no lines. You can't see any bridle-lines, no flying lines, nothing but kite.... and so the secret of how it is flying is not directly revealed. The magic of kite flying lives on!

Flying Yellow Bear

Kite festival

Looking down on the Megaray

7:46:15 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 18 January 2008

Evening light over Waimea Estuary

The view over Waimea Estuary last night as seen from my kite. I am currently sorting through around 120 shots from two flights over the area; one last night (as seen above) and one a little further to the NE, from the end of Rough Island, this afternoon.
Did I mention I love summer?

8:53:42 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 17 January 2008

Trafalger Park Panorama

It's kite aerial photography season. There are lovely, steady sea-breezes every day now. This week I've set my self the goal to at least try and do some KAP everyday to build up my portfolio. It's Thursday morning and so far I've had two successful flights and two aborted attempts (one due to not setting exposure correctly before launch, and one due to not enough wind). By far the most successful flight so far, for me, is the four shot panorama of Trafalger Park above. I'm pretty stoked with it. The full image is nearly 8000 pixels across and has heaps of detail (if you are a Flickr member you can download full size image and check it out). The reason I wanted to shoot this location in the first place was this....


...Should be a great concert, although I won't be able to see it directly from my launch site. I'm hoping to get another shot of the park but this time with an event in full swing. (BTW all my KAP gear is on the Xtracycle in this shot, including 4 kites, 1000 feet of line, winder, backstrap, two cameras, and the KAP aerial rig, and hand held controller. Compact aye? Lets see ya do that with a helium blimp!)

Another shoot I did on Sunday was a location I've explored before, but I revisited purely for fun. It is a lovely place to fly. Lots of room, and very smooth winds. Wakapuaka Sand Flats. This time I attempted to get enough shots to stitch together 360 degree interactive panorama. I got the shots... and I'm halfway through the stitching process, so look out for a new QTVR to download soon. I got some other nice shots too. The colours of this landscape are quite dramatic from the air and they change with the seasons.

Wakapuaka Sand Flat tidal stream

Catching bait fish on the high tide.


Wakapuaka Sand Flat / Wetlands
I like KAP shots like the one above that include the kite line and flyer. Many KAP photographers go to great lengths to remove these from their images. I like to leave them in as a bit of added interest, and to supplement a touch of vertigo. I'm in the Trafalger Park panorama shot too, although it's like a game of "Where's Wally?".

I hope to get out again today for more photos. The breeze is already teasing the tops of the pines on the ridge and the sky is blue from horizon to horizon. Ahhh, summer.

11:23:03 AM    Comment []

  Sunday, 13 January 2008

Sunday Morning Sky

7:37:24 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 8 January 2008


9:58:35 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 6 January 2008

Preparing for winter

A PAP (pole aerial photograph) of my front yard this afternoon as I prepare firewood for winter. Most of it is old dry apple tree wood from orchards that have been cleared to make way for vineyards to service the booming wine industry here. Waste not want not. There's some knotty old, very dry macrocarpa from last year, and a little bit of poplar that the council workers cut down from under the powerlines across the river. It feels good to have the whole porch lined with bone dry, split wood ready for the winter. I think I've got enough for two winters there.

8:52:54 PM    Comment []

A quick kite flight over Miyazu Japanese Gardens yesterday afternoon yielded this image. I was using a new kite aerial photography rig I have recently completed which has the ability to send a still image of the cameras screen to a hand-held controller on the ground (a modified Gameboy console) making it a little easier to aim at subjects like this. The image received from the air is low-res but you could certainly make out large contrasting features, like the yin-yang symbol here.

I kind of like the small dilemma the image poses. Which path will you choose?

Which path will you choose?

10:32:49 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 3 January 2008


Covering the blackcurrant bushes in the garden to protect them from the birds has paid off. I picked 1.8kg of ripe blackcurrants yesterday. Today I made jam for the first time.

Let's Jam
I'm ready. 1.8kg of home grown blackcurrants. 2kg of sugar and 900ml of water on the boil. Jars warming on top of the toast 'n grill. Time to jam.

Add the fruit.
Add the fruit. I've just poured the blackcurrants into the boiling sugar and water. Doesn't look much like jam yet.

Almost jam
After 4 minutes on the boil and now it's looking like blackcurrant jam (only a couple of minutes to go). Next step is to cool quickly by sitting the pan in a sink full of cold water.

Jarred and labeled
Now I know why Mum's so-called jam-pan had a spout. Blackcurrant jam doesn't pour every well. I made a nice mess but got most of the jam in the jars. You spell blackcurrent blackcurrant with an 'A' by the way.

6 litres of home-grown blackcurrant jam
6 litres of home-grown blackcurrant jam cooling on the porch. One top didn't quite seal right. Dam. I'll have to eat that jar right away.

10:09:23 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Kayaks by the Motueka River

It has become a bit of a tradition for me and my friends to meet up at Mcleans Reserve on the banks of the Motueka River, circle the wagons and celebrate another new beginning together (along with a spot of kayaking). I got back yesterday after a few days living in the van. Here are some shots from the paddle down the river we did on the last day of 2007.

There's a river 'round here somewhere!
There's a river 'round here somewhere!

Found the river!
Found it!

Crystal clear Graham River joins the Motueka River
After recent rain the mouth of the Graham Valley River looked super clean, sparkling in the afternoon sun.

Kayaking on Motueka River

10:13:42 AM    Comment []

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