Tripod Talks

There seems to be something about setting up a camera and a tripod near a road that encourages people to talk to you. Yesterday, after attending a coleagues retirement lunch, I headed over to one of the local viewpoints in the area. The view looks put towards the two Severn Bridges but rather than take pictures of the bridges I figured I'd try and take some panoramic shots to practice getting them to stitch together without visible seams. The light was bad and the sky was grey with a haze settled over the bridges so I knew that the pictures I got wouldn't be good enough to show anyone. About 2 minutes after setting up, sure enough, an older gentleman stopped to chat and asked me what I was doing. Apparently his wife was into photography and I gave him some tips of cheap camera related items such as filters that he could buy as presents. I didn't bother hanging around for the sun to start to go down as it was cold and I don't think the weather would have given a good picture. Nevertheless, I managed to capture these artificial flowers below.

Flower Memorial: Some artificial flowers tied to a fence; protecting the public from a steep gully.Flower Memorial: Some artificial flowers tied to a fence; protecting the public from a steep gully.

Is it just me or does everyone end up chatting to random people as soon as you erect a tripod?

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Super Noodles

Note to self: Batchelors Super Noodles 'To Go' have a plasticy aftertaste; which is odd as they come in a cardboard carton. Don't buy them again.

The normal noodles that come in a bag are nice though.


As I mentioned before, this week I seem to have spent a long time in my car driving. Fully a third of the miles that my car has done ever in it's life have been spent moving my brother into his new place in Reading. I know my brother pretty well by now so I wasn't really surprised that when I got back to my parents there wasn't a bed made for me or when I got up in the morning that there wasn't anything I could eat for breakfast. I did tease him about it a lot though!

On the way back

Hello, it's us again. We made it up to Cape Reinga, the Land's End of NZ, and it is a suitably windswept and desolate place at the tip. 34 degrees south, and nothing north of it until you hit the Bering Strait. On the way back we called in at the massive sand dunes of Ninety Mile Beach, which is a bit of an exaggeration - seventy miles would be more like it. People actually drive all the way along it at low tide, they even run coach trips. Alas, rental vehicles are prohibited.

Today we called in on NZ's largest tree, a Kauri some 50m tall with a girth of 13m, enough to give the most determined tree-hugger the heebie-jeebies.


Next week I'm going to spend a couple of days moving my brother up to Reading from my parent's house and it got me into an introspective mood about my roots. I come from a place called Canvey Island which is a small island in the mouth of the Thames. I moved out of my parent's house when I was 18 and left the (Canvey) Island life behind. After spending so long living not more than about a half hours walk from the sea in any direction it seems slightly odd to be so far away from all the things that go hand in hand with being by the sea such as ships, sea air, sand, candy floss and the like.

Coromandel to Orewa

Here we are at Orewa after travelling through Auckland as quickly as possible. We left Coromandel at 8.30am this morning because we had continuous rain and heavy winds for at least 14 hours non-stop. We took the scenic route here which involved about 40 km of winding roads going up and down hill and having to drop the speed to 25 km/h at most of the hairpin bends. We could see the sea, through the rain... who said the North Island was sunnier than the South!
We haven't taken as many photos here in the North Island mainly because there don't seem to be as many attractions, but I have a rather fetching one of John without his shoes and socks having to paddle to the electricity point to unhook the campervan before we took off this morning.


I usually buy a couple of different photography magazines every so often but the one that I normally buy every issue of is Digital Photo. It's not the most technical of magazines for photography but its articles normally spark some ideas off in my head for other things I could try or have a go at with my camera and pictures. October's magazine had 54 free border effects included on the CD and while there were some that I would never think of using, it did inspire me to take a look through the pictures on my hard drive to see if any images caught my attention for some loving. I took the 'Evergreen' picture in the summer of 2004 while I was working in London. It's a sculpture tucked behind City Hall (very near Tower Bridge). I tried looking on the internet for who the original artist is but couldn't see it. If you know, leave a comment, because I'd be interested. The green frame just seemed the right thing to set the image off.


Bundled Up Against the Cold

I decided to take my camera out again last night being as it was a reasonably clear evening in Bristol although there appeared to be a slight mist in the air when you looked closely. As it was a clear night it was also cold so I didn't leave the house until I had two T-shirts, a fleece and a big coat (also with a fleece zipped into it) and a cap. I must of looked pretty comical all bundled up like that but after standing around for a bit you still started to feel cold.


Here we are again. This is a small town on the west coast and we are in the internet part of a Chinese restaurant. We've come up SH6 via Te Anau and Wanaka, thence to the Fox Glacier where Dad forced me to trek up a very rough path to the head of the glacier. Lots of interesting geology and photos to follow once we get home.

We wanted to go on the helicopter trip - we'd booked the 40-minute one which covers two glaciers, Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, plus a landing on one glacier, which costs $325pp. Unfortunately the weather was against us and we could not fly. Better luck next visit...

Incidentally, tried to email Kat and Ed from Wanaka where we found a wifi place. However, when we hit send we got the dreaded 'page unavailable' screen, so I guess you may not have got the message. We'll try again if we find another place with wifi.

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