Monday, September 29, 2008

A portrait of madness! LOL

For the photography course I attended, each of us had to produce a self portrait. There were lots of reflections and even shadows, so I had to come up with something different! LOL!

Hope your day is going well!

PS: there will be some art room pics coming soon! Promise!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Here's a taste of our fun Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra!

Let me take you whitebaiting on the West Coast of New Zealand....

Ok folks, put your gumboots on, your waterproof leggings, raincoat. You may like to pop some gloves in the pocket of your coat, and bring a thermos with hot coffee in it! We are off whitebaiting!
(please note these pics have been taken over 2 mornings, one morning it was raining and the other was not)

For those of you who don't live in New Zealand, whitebait are a fish native to NZ, and are only allowed to be fished for from 1st September to the 14th November on the West Coast. This may vary in other areas of the country as each area has its own rules and regulations. On the West Coast fishing is only permitted between 5am and 8pm. These fish are very much a delicacy and fetch incredible prices.
All these platforms out into the water are called stands, they can be found along the river mouths, where the river meets the sea, and they are everywhere along the West Coast rivers. Each season these fishermen and women errect all these stands, they bring in small huts, which store all their gear and food etc... for the season. At the end of the season all this has to be removed and there is to be no evidence that anyone was there. During Whitebait season, these river mouths turn into mini villages.

No person fishing is permitted to use more than one net at a time, and you are only allowed one whitebait net per stand. Every person who has a net out, must at all times remain within 10 metres of it or the stand to which it is attached. Each fisherman has to be 40 metres or more from another fisherman, and they are not allowed to fish in places that are not tidal.
The NZ Department of Conservation closely monitors strict rules and anyone found breeching them is up for a $5000. fine.
Meet Alan, (above and below). He lives on the East Coast of South Island of NZ and has travelled here for the last 13 years to fish for whitebait. He fishes from his stand when the tide is high enough, and when it is out he takes his net off the stand and puts it further out into the water.

This is Alan's little hut. He lives out of this little hut for several weeks of each year. However he has to build it and dismantle it at the beginning and end of each season. Since he has been coming to this spot he has stored all his fishing gear under the bridge, close to where it butts up to the road. It has never been stolen. He has a large gas bottle and cooking gear in his hut, and is totally self sufficient.
One one side of the stand is Alan's net, on the other side of the stand are an odd assortment of boards, plastic tubing etc. These are used to detect the whitebait as they cross it, they make the whitebait more visible.

Alan decided to bring the net in and check the amount of fish.

The net is untied and all the little whitebait are tipped into a bucket of water. They are then tipped onto the sluice, where he cleaned out bits of twig and leaves and any unwanted fish.

Mmmmmmm!!! I love whitebait! I was really drooling by this stage!! The most common way to eat whitebait is to make them into fritters and eat a fritter hot between two pieces of freshly buttered bread! Alan reckoned the secret ingredient in making good fritters was adding beer! I noticed he had several empty beer bottles outside his hut!
The whitebait spend part of their life cycle in fresh water and part in the sea. The tiny fish hatch in late autumn and are carried along rivers out to sea where they live and grow over the winter. In the early spring the whitebait migrate back up the rivers and streams where they live in the bush covered streams.

Dosen't this look a lovely tranquil place to fish? But I though I'd include the following pic to give you some idea of the reality of it! All these fishermen and women were only to happy to have us poke about with our cameras, they were very friendly and enjoyed talking about their hobby.

Peace and quiet as the photographers leave and the whitebait fishermen of the West Coast get back to doing what they did before we arrived.

Hope you enjoyed your fishing trip, you can take your boots off now, and warm up in front of a nice fire!


Friday, September 26, 2008

A few more photos from the South Island trip...

Welcome to Jackson Bay on the wild West Coast of New Zealand!
Here are a few more pics, taken with my little "snappy" camera.
Our landscape photography class were in for a treat! We arrived here at mid day, it was raining, and we had a packed picnic lunch for the 11 of us. The rain was a bother with all our camera gear, but funny enough we all got some great photos! Very atmospheric. This is a fishing village, population of approx 20 people!
Above is the Jackson Bay wharf, fantastic! I've always wanted to get the 'under the wharf' shots and I finally did, I was one very happy photographer.
We were all so busy making images that we rather forgot about the lunches, and ate them when we remembered under the shelter of a visitor lean to much later in the day!

Above: Here is a prime piece of character New Zealand property for sale, just look how rustic it is, plenty of scope for wildlife visitors, the new tennents may also be able to enjoy a great view of the stars at night! Love the signage!

Above: Someone was selling quite a number of blocks of land. Mostly all bush covered, I wonder what the asking price would be?
Here's another shot of the wharf, the rain eased up to a drizzle. I spent some time down here, bum in the air, nose in the sand trying to take photos of the teeth of a dead fish! Yes, I know, but it was worth it!

Then, what do you know, this little fella wandered up from the sea to take a rest on the grass. However he was soon bombarded by 10 camera lenses, at various times and various angles so after approx 30 mins he got sick of being in the lime light and wandered back to the safety of the sea! (and some peace and quiet!) Isn't he just the cutest?
Our next stop was a pioneer cemetary, one of the eldest on the West Coast. It is the burial site for some of the first European settlers to come to NZ. The forest has claimed most of the sites, with only 13 remaining. Of course we photographed from all angles and with all sorts of lenses!
We had an amazing range of people, ages, and occupations on this workshop. They were a pretty neat group which made the 5 day workshop more enjoyable. (seeing we were living, working and eating together!) We did have our own rooms though!
Below: This was taken on the road between Jackson Bay and Haast, everyone piled out of the vehicles to take pics of the wood pigeons, but I just fell in love with the hills. I love the sense of dinstance and the atmosphere it provokes.

Hope you all enjoyed those! Thanks to all of you who have left comments, or have emailed me, tomorrow I want to take you all whitebaiting on the west coast!

Until then,
Have a great weekend!!

swap update!

Hi swappers!

I have exciting pieces of art work from:
Susan in USA
Rayna in New Zealand
Kate in England
Jenni in Australia
Carole in New Zealand

And Hi to Helen in New Zealand who has been secretly beavering away and would like to join. Welcome!

Check back for further updates!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The first instalment of pics from my trip down south...

The morning didn't start too good, I missed my flight!! I know, you're probably saying to yourselves that you wouldn't expect anything less - right? Well although I arrived 20 mins before the flight left, the very officous lady at the check in counter told me that I was TOO LATE! Grrrrr! Although I was actually 10 mins late, I'm sure she took an instant dislike to me, and I'm sure she could have put me on the flight if she wanted to.
Never mind, she wouldn't budge, so I had to re-book flights down and the rental car. Instead of flying into Wanaka picking up a car and driving to Haast, I had to fly to Wellington, wait 2 hours, catch another flight to Queenstown and arrange to pick up a car there instead. Oh well....

Everywhere I go I carry my little "snapper" camera. A little point and shoot Olympus. It's nothing fantastic, but now and again you can manage to get a good pic. When I went down to Haast on the west coast of the South Island I took my larger Canon dslr as well, which I used with a tripod for making the best images.
All of the following pics have been taken with the olympus. So as not to put you all to sleep, I will post more photos later, I hope you all enjoy these, and that enjoy the start of the trip.

Above: As we leave Palmerston North, we circle round the city. The shopping centre is to the left of the wing tip. Taken thru the window!
Above: We even flew over work! The pencil shape in the middle of the pic is the riffle range, and the mud coloured area at middle bottom is the Manawatu River. The 2 white lines in the middle right of pic are the LAV hangers, (light armoured vehicles).
Above: We flew thru some cloud, and it got a bit bumpy...but then came glimpes of Wellington coastline as we circled around for landing at the airport. (below)

Above: I had to catch another plane bound for Queenstown. We flew over the Southern Alps, fantastic views when the cloud cleared. I got to the rental car booth and they said the car was only booked for 1 day??? I needed it for 5!
Although we have some beautiful scenery in the North Island, everything is more dramatic in the South Island. Everywhere you look there is snow on the peaks, the ranges and hills are bigger, the rivers are bigger, more interesting, the water is a cleaner brighter colour, and there is hardly ever any rubbish to be seen on the sides of the roads. In short it is beautiful!
See what I mean!

Above: This pic, (slap my hands!) was taken thru the front windscreen of the car, yes while I was driving! It was taken while driving thru the Haast Pass. Some parts of the road are steep and they have made these 'run-off' areas, where if you are having trouble with your brakes you can run off the main road and up this run off, which is designed to slow you down, if not stop you completely. Great idea.
I arrived at Haast, in time for tea, the hotel had made 2 bookings for me under 2 different spellings of my name! Do you find things always go in 3's?
Haast was great, I've never been there before. There was the hotel and a petrol station. There was no cell phone reception, and when I enquired, they had no internet connection either and their IT man was away for 3 months! However, I discovered the pub, which was joined to the hotel had very nice food!!!! (and sky tv). All was not lost!
Above: This is the beach at Haast. This was our first morning out shooting, it was right on sun rise, (6.30am) we piled out of the 2 vehicles and went for it!
There were lots of walks to do, and we did them rain or no rain, sandflies or no sandflies! (and they are monsters!!) Board walks over swamp areas of bush, bush walks thru native trees and ferns, really beautiful. This is New Zealand!
And flax walks round coastal areas with lots of bird life (and more sandflies). I don't know what they live on when I'm not there to eat! LOL
Hope you enjoyed this first instalment of pics, I'll put some more on soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Swap up-date!

Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue!

How are all you lovely swappers progressing??
It is nearing the end of September, so your fantastic little works of creativity should nearly be finished and ready to mail to me!

Cathy in Australia has had to leave the swap due to her helping a friend who has had an accident. Sorry that you had to drop out Cathy, but perhaps next time?

Kate, Margaret and Rayna have their packages in the mail to me.... I wonder what will arrive?

How exciting.....

Woo Hoo! I'm Back!

Hi to all my delightful blogging friends! I'm home again from my trip north to Hamilton. I had a great time with both my sister and my sister-in-law and we had "fun at the fair!" This craft fair travels all over Australia, and comes to New Zealand once a year. It was great to see some of the wares from Australia, but I really enjoyed the quilt exhibition and the textile exhibition which were showing. I've included just a few photos for you to look at. I am sorry if some are a little soft, and that I didn't have time to write down all the details.

This quilt (above) was made of used tea bags!

This quilt, (above and below) was made of saved Roses chocolate wrappers!

On the way home, the bus I was traveling on stopped at Rotorua for an hour, and during this time a maori culture group gave a lovely performance. Their voices were devine!

A big thank you to those of you who left lovely comments while I was away! I always love hearing from you!

Carole :)