29 May 2012


New chooks have arrived out the back. A gallimaufry of Galliformes, useless for anything but looking great.

I grew up with chooks and have met them all over the world: places like the Amazon, remote parts of Mongolia, the Himalaya, African towns, and my own back yard. Fowls, it seems to me, remain invisible until someone feels like chicken — even as egg producers they're seen as something other than the things they really are: birds.

I drove home the other day thinking about these new arrivals, and I thought, any place you can't keep chooks isn't a healthy place for humans. Think carefully about the logic of that.

[28 May 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 188 mm, ISO 200, 1/80 at f4.8]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor

21 May 2012

Autumn in the valley

At this time of year the last half hour of sun fills the valley with the kind of light unique among the seasons. How can something that looks so warm feel so cold —or something that looks so cold feel so warm? Like my mixed emotions about autumn, I suppose.

These are the sycamores at the edge of the terrace in front of my place.

[20 May 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 800, 1/400 at f8]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor

15 May 2012

Early morning near Ngamoko hut

I had all day to wander out over the Ngamoko range, so I took my time in the early morning, sipping tea, listening to the river, watching the endless rush and flow. I still hoped to see whio, but with so much else to appreciate and the knowledge they were there somewhere, perhaps circling on a pool or preening on a boulder just around the bend, disappointment was impossible.

[25 April 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 14 mm, ISO 100, 1/6 at f16]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor

10 May 2012

Early morning near Ngamoko hut

Where the ridge meets the river, early morning sun lights red beech trees — some old, even dead; some still only saplings. One never steps twice in the same river, Heraclitus said; he might have added one never visits the same valley.

[25 April 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 100 mm, ISO 100, 1/100 at f6.3]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor

01 May 2012

Leatherwood (tupare); Ngamoko Range

On the climb from Ngamoko hut to the top of the range last week, I stopped in the relative shelter of a hollow in the track about ten minutes before the summit. Cloud shadows slid across the mountainsides below and short sections of the Pohangina river appeared, grey and glinting, before disappearing around yet another bend. Down there somewhere, the whio I hadn't seen would have hidden themselves away for the day, under some log jam or overhanging boulder; here, wind lashed the snowgrass and a branch of leatherwood rubbed against another, making a sound like a small, strange bird. Morning sunlight crept through the tangle of tough, low tupare and lit a few of the leathery leaves from behind. Dense thickets of tupare can drive a person to the brink of despair, but fortunately the route back to the car never required me to push through more than a few knee-high metres of  this tenacious plant. I almost felt an affection for it.

[25 April 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 45 mm, ISO 100, 1/40 at f8]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor