31 May 2010

Jackson on Love Bite at Baring Head, 2004

Near the crux

At the Baring Head Rock Hop (the National Bouldering Series event) in 2004 I was still using film, supplementing it with digital photos from my little Pentax Optio 555. This is a scan from a transparency — Jackson Green on a successful send (i.e. ascent) of the classic Love Bite (V6).

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

28 May 2010

Harakeke at Wanaka

Harakeke flower spikes reach for the sky

At Wanaka in the afternoon, wild weather threatened.

[11 January 2010; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 55 mm, ISO 200, 1/200 at f16. Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop; grain added after taking the file back into Lightroom.]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

26 May 2010

Leaving Wellington harbour

Sailing past Pencarrow Head, the Rimutaka Range beyond.

In January I crossed Cook Strait to the South Island.

[9 January 2010; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 70 mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 at f8]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

25 May 2010

Pohangina river at Ngamoko hut

Delightful walking on a warm summer's day when it's low; madness in winter when it's icy; lunacy if it's flooded

The Pohangina river below Ngamoko hut. The natural habitat of whio.

[9 March 2008; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 40 mm, ISO 100, 1/15 at f11]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

24 May 2010

Whio, Pohangina river

In keeping with the recent International Day of Biodiversity theme: two whio (blue duck; Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) in the headwaters of the Pohangina river in March 2008. Meet these in a wild river valley and you know you're in Aotearoa — you’ll find them living naturally nowhere in the world but in New Zealand. The world would be a poorer place without them. 
I rested the lens on a rock in lieu of a tripod; when doing this, I try to get two points of contact — the barrel of the lens and either the foot of the tripod collar or the camera body — and weight the lens with my left hand on top of the barrel. Sometimes I’ll pad a rock or log with a jacket or daypack and rest the lens on that, again weighting it with my hand. I’ll almost always fire off a few shots first, though, then try to improve the technique. 

The little piece of what looks like gunk on the right of the tip of the beak is a piece of down — they’d been preening as I photographed.

[8 March 2008; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 200, 1/30 at f5.6]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

22 May 2010

International Day of Biodiversity: 22 May 2010

   The choice is ours

The UN declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity, with Saturday 22 May marking the International Day of Biodiversity. Unfortunately, we’re not doing too well: as Bill Jackson, deputy director general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), points out, “Twenty-one percent of all known mammals, 30% of all known amphibians, 12% of all known birds (and)... 27% of reef-building corals assessed... are threatened with extinction.” In other words, we risk losing — forever — one in five species of mammals, almost one in three species of amphibians, and one in eight species of birds.

What can you do? I’m leery of simple answers, but I think the key is to foster a deep and powerful love for life. Foster it in yourself and others. Show others, particularly children, just how wonderful it is. When they care enough, they’ll act.

This blog is at least in part my attempt to share what I feel about life; to show how precious and valuable it is. Because you’re here, reading it, you’ve found at least one person who cares. Please leave a comment, even if it’s just “I care too”, so I know someone else cares.

[22 May is also the the Gala Awards night marking the opening the 6th season of Reel Earth, the Aotearoa Environmental Film Festival, in Palmerston North. In keeping with the theme of this post, I’ll point you to the excellent film Call of Life, screening at 6 p.m. on Monday 24 May and again at 4 p.m. on Saturday 5 June. If you can’t get to it here, keep an eye on the website for screenings near you.]

[Click on the thumbnails to see the original posts]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

21 May 2010

Nipper, the red-billed gull

Hope you're doing well, Nipper

When we first saw him we thought his wing was broken. But he could fly reasonably well and our hopes rose. I have no idea why we decided to call him Nipper — perhaps it's that innate desire to name or to anthropomorphise — but name him we did. Actually, I say “him” but we have no idea whether Nipper’s he or she: the sexes are indistinguishable (to us) in tarapunga (red-billed gulls; Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus). Still, they manage to work it out, which is all that matters.
Admittedly a pretty standard close-up portrait. 

[7 February 2010; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 400, 1/3200 at f8]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

20 May 2010

Write every day

A great way to start a day
The most common advice one hears about writing is to write. Usually it's something along the lines of "Write every day". I think it's sound advice, which I follow, usually first thing in the morning after I get up and start making a pot of tea.

I love writing with a fountain pen. The one in the photo is a Parker Classic; it feels good in the hand and writes more smoothly than any of my other pens. Unfortunately, it leaks a little around the collar — just enough to make it messy unless I hold it well back from the collar. I no longer use Quink, preferring the wonderful Noodler's X-feather because it has much less tendency to bleed through to the other side of the paper and has the huge advantage that it's waterproof when dry. The notebook is a Moleskine cahier; the mug is a much-appreciated gift (that's Snufkin, in case you didn't know. He's the closest thing I have to a hero).
[30 January 2010; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 50 mm, ISO 400, 1/5 at f11. Substantial post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop; I added the grain after taking the photo back in Lightroom.]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

19 May 2010

Flounder Bay, dusk

It's not always this ominous

A summer evening at Flounder Bay.

[3 February 2010; Canon 20D, 10–22 mm f4 at 10 mm, ISO 200, 1/15 at f16]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

18 May 2010

The 500th post

At Flounder Bay, January 2010
Hard to believe this is post No. 500. Anyway, I wondered what photo to post and decided this, of the lovely Anne-Marie in her preferred habitat at Flounder Bay, would be appropriate.
[2 January 2010; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 70 mm, ISO 200, 1/250 at f11. Fill flash; exposure bias –2/3 EV.]

(P.S. I published another short post on Pohanginapete yesterday.)

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

17 May 2010

Rabari guide, Gujarat

A stroke of great luck to meet Parbat
Parbat had just begun guiding, as a supplement to his teaching. We were the second group he'd taken to visit some of the local villagers and, he pointed out, we were among the first foreigners those villagers had met.

[8 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 67 mm, ISO 400, 1/30 at f5.6]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

14 May 2010

Work in progress: embroidery from Kutch

A long way to go
She showed us a piece she'd just begun. Eventually the whole sheet of material would be covered by this stitched embroidery, inlaid with small shards of mirror and perhaps other ornamentation like tassels and small bells. I actually found this early stage at least as appealing as the finished works.
[8 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 35 mm, ISO 800, 1/200 at f8]
All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

13 May 2010

Woman and child, near Bhuj

Parbat took us to visit some of the villagers near Bhuj (Gujarat). This woman showed us various items she'd been making, including camel rugs and other intricate handcrafts. I don't know if the child was hers or whether she was looking after him during the day.
[8 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 47 mm, ISO 800, 1/6 at f4]
All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

12 May 2010

Blue chair; Bhuj

Furniture for warm climates

One of my rooms in Bhuj, Gujarat. This was the first place I stayed after a 17-hour bus journey.
[2 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 67 mm, ISO 200, 1/20 at f11.]
All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

08 May 2010

Kileshwar villager, Barda Hills, Gujarat

I wish we could have talked
Many of the men at Kileshwar wore these colourful pompoms. I have no idea whether they have any significance beyond the decorative, but I enjoyed the bright colours. Of course, in the heat and dust they fade — these were already past their prime.
[17 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 70 mm, ISO 400, 1/25 at f4.0]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

07 May 2010

Great white pelicans flying at Khijadiya

Sometimes when they flew overhead I heard the rush of air over their wings
At Khijadiya, a bird sanctuary near Jamnagar in Gujarat, huge flocks of great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) shared the wetlands with storks, egrets, cormorants and a diversity and number of other birds I'd never seen before.

[14 February 2007; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 200, 1/1600 at f4]
All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

06 May 2010

Sambar, Ranthambore NP, Rajasthan

The price of life is eternal vigilance

Sambar (Rusa unicolor) were common at Ranthambore. While they seemed relatively unafraid of the jeeps and canters (open trucks), they remained alert, those big ears swivelling almost incessantly, the nose constantly lifting to check the air. They have good reason — they're a favoured prey of the tigers for which Ranthambore is perhaps most famous.

[28 February 2007; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 200, 1/400 at f4]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

05 May 2010

Empty room, Ranthambore fort

Signs from the past
For more than a thousand years the fort has surveyed the surrounding countryside — now Ranthambore National Park. Once it would have been full of residents going about daily life. Now the tourists wander about, some unable to resist the urge to leave a record of their visit, but after the park closes in the evening, all that inhabits this room will be the last sunlight sliding across the floor and up the walls, perhaps a bird or other small animal checking for scraps of food, the echoes of time passing.
[1 March 2007; Canon 20D, 10–22 mm f4 at 13 mm, ISO 200, 1/25 at f8]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

04 May 2010

Almost phi (rat at the Karni Mata Mandir, Rajasthan)

Just passing through

At the Karni Mata Mandir, the ‘Rat Temple’ in Deshnoke, this one wasn't hanging around.
[5 January 2007; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 400, 1/50 at f4.0]
All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

03 May 2010


Jumping the gun
Way back in the winter of 2005 I photographed a running/walking event. A grey, cold and eventually wet day didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the participants as they lined up for the start (well, maybe a few, like the little guy on the left, weren’t so keen). I noticed one keen runner keeping warm by bouncing up and down (or maybe he was checking out the competition), and timed the shutter release to catch him at the peak of a jump. Others seemed eager to get under way.

[14 August 2005; Canon 20D, 70–200 mm f4 L at 87 mm, ISO 400, 1/320 at f8]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

01 May 2010

Rhesus macaque (or goblin?) at Bundi

Out of the dark
Kipling described the old palace at Bundi as “… such a Palace as men build for themselves in uneasy dreams—the work of goblins rather than of men.” A German couple and I were the only people there when it closed for the day; as we left, the inhabitants began to emerge. I think Kipling might have been right.
If I’d had time to do anything other than bring the camera to my eye and release the shutter, I’d have dialled up the ISO to at least 400 and maybe opened up a stop. But would it have been a better photo? I like it the way it is.
[27 February 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 84 mm, ISO 200, 1/25 at f8.]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor