28 June 2013

Late afternoon, No. 1 Line

The next day I returned in better weather, brewed organic Yunnan Black Needle tea, sat bundled up against the cold and scribbled thoughts in the little moleskine cahier until my hands grew cold and slow. Below, far out over the Rangitikei hill country, a band of grey rain inched closer, but low sun slid past the southern edge of the veil and lit up the lookout. I could even feel a little warmth on my face, like a reminder that winter’s only temporary, that we’re heading towards longer days and heat.

[24 June 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 14 mm, ISO 200, 1/40 at f18]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

23 June 2013

After the weather, No. 1 Line

Most of New Zealand has just come through a huge storm that dumped several metres of snow over much of the South Island, flooded various parts of the country, and hammered Wellington with severe gales. Here in the valley we escaped the worst — we had a bit of rain, nothing remarkable in the way of wind, and the temperature, while hardly summery, dropped only to what seems reasonable for midwinter. The Ruahine behind my place had what appeared to be a dusting of snow high up when the weather cleared today, so I headed up No. 1 Line. Near the top of the track the remaining snow seemed determined to test my reaction time as I slipped and slithered frequently; fortunately, I never hit the ground.

This is the view looking back towards the Manawatu from the lookout.

[23 June 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 14 mm, ISO 200, 1/40 at f22]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

17 June 2013

Autumn kereru

Have I said this before? Increasingly, I prefer photographs that show the bird in its environment, as you might see it  — glimpsed momentarily, caught in the moment of disappearance, or studied as it peers back from beyond a screen of branches. Kereru (New Zealand pigeon; Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) in sycamore — the former endemic, the latter introduced and sometimes considered a weed.

[6 June 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 200, 1/400 at f11]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

15 June 2013

Rain coming

At the top of the No. 1 Line track the steam from the Lapsang Souchong rose almost straight up into the cold air. Through binoculars I could clearly see the grey silhouette of the South Island on the horizon, far beyond Kapiti Island. I looked for deer, saw none, sipped tea, wrote a little, brewed another cup. The heavily overcast sky began to dissolve as rain approached.

I photographed the view north from the car as I started back down the Line.

[15 June 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 45 mm, ISO 200, 1/30 at f11]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

01 June 2013

Mist; No. 1 Line

A combination of work and weather meant I'd last been for a walk to the top of the No. 1 Line track a week ago. The forecast looks bad until later next week, so I knew if I didn't get up there today, I'd either be walking in the rain or skipping the walk for another week. Neither prospect appealed, so this afternoon I packed a few items — including, of course, tea brewing gear — and set off.

Light rain set in about a third of the way up the track, so I pulled on a parka and carried on. At the top, everything was saturated, and although the rain had stopped, I'd climbed well up inside the cloud. This is the view from the lookout, where I usually settle down to brew Lapsang Souchong, write, scan the far mountainside through binoculars (and not infrequently see deer), and enjoy the solitude. I've been up here so often it feels like home.

Today, though, the afternoon felt so caliginous that I decided not to linger. I took the camera out briefly, then paid my respects to the place and headed back down. The Lapsang Souchong could wait for next time — and besides, I had a new package of exquisite teas waiting at home.

I made my way down the cold mountain, thinking of Han Shan and tea.

[1 June 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 14–45 mm at 16 mm, ISO 200, 1/10 at f16]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor