29 May 2015

Evening from the No. 1 Line road

I came down late from a walk to the top of the No. 1 Line track, where I'd brewed Lapsang Souchong tea, scribbled a few notes in the little moleskine, let my thoughts wander, watched the shadow creep up the far side of the gully. By the time I reached the car the light was fading fast. A short distance down the road I stopped, dialled the ISO to 1600 and wondered how to evoke what it felt like to look out over the valley towards the Whanahuia and the mountains encircling the headwaters of the Oroua.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

22 May 2015

Still hanging around — Piwakawaka

The piwakawaka are still making good use of the verandah. Sometimes I find it difficult to believe they're not more interested in the camera than in using the railing as a staging post for insect-snatching forays, but I don't mind. If they're happy to pose, I'm happy to photograph.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

17 May 2015

Return of the piwakawaka

The two piwakawaka returned this morning, doing circuits around the house and posing to be photographed. Mostly they preferred the same end of the verandah, where I had to shoot towards the sun.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

15 May 2015

Piwakawaka (North Island fantail)

I've photographed piwakawaka many times, with varying degrees of success. Ironically, the easiest place I've found to photograph them is my verandah, where some years ago I managed perhaps the best photograph so far. This morning two little piwakawaka were doing the rounds of the house and posing momentarily for me. Rather than show you a very similar photograph to those I've already posted, here's one from the other end of the verandah, with the mid-morning sun behind instead of in front of this tiny wisp of life, and showing a different aspect of the piwakawaka character.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

12 May 2015

Early morning apple tree

This morning threatened rain (and eventually delivered on the threat), but for a few seconds — maybe less than a minute — a low shaft of sunlight stretched out and lit the old apple tree near the edge of the terrace. I grabbed the camera, stepped out onto the verandah and managed a single photograph.

Then the sunlight faded and the valley turned dark again.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

08 May 2015

Cerro Torre, Argentina

To my mind, Cerro Torre is the greatest mountain in the world. When I visited in November 2011 my astonishing luck held and I got to see the whole mountain, summit and all, on the very first day. This photograph, I suspect, is a more usual view. I've heard of people staying three weeks and only seeing the mountain on the last day.

[If you haven't discovered it already, Pohanginapete has a new post]

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

04 May 2015

Inside the southern Ruahine

Beyond the seat at the top of the No. 1 Line track, the remains of an old track winds its way through horopito and toro and eventually into the tupare (leatherwood). I followed it for a while on Sunday and eventually stopped to brew Lapsang Souchong in a small clearing. A jungle of gnarled, intertwined leatherwood branches surrounded me; overhead I could see nothing but the low grey sky. I sat on a toppled trunk and jotted notes, then tried unsuccessfully to photograph some tiny fungi growing among the moss blanketing the branches and logs low to the ground. A hedge sparrow popped out of the leatherwood and looked at me, then disappeared.

When the water boiled I steeped the leaves then sat writing and drinking tea. I felt wonderfully alone and hidden from the world that didn't matter. I felt a little like Snufkin.

(This photograph shows the interior of the bush further down the track. The leatherwood zone, where I enjoyed my tea, is literally impenetrable except where the track's been cut.)

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor

02 May 2015

A small strange world

These tiny fungi (compare them to the moss capsules), so small I almost overlooked them, sprouted from near the top of a large log on the forest floor not far from the start of the No. 1 Line track. Fungi must surely be among the strangest, most alien forms of life on the planet.

All content © 2015 Pete McGregor