Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thematic Photographic 197: Far from Home

In 2004 I had the good fortune to take a group of 17-year-old students 
on an exchange trip to Shanghai.
Although I've been to places which are a lot further away from home in terms of kilometres, in a cultural sense it's the furtherest I've ever been away from home.

Street scenes:

Parking space Footpath:

 Night view of the Oriental Pearl Tower,  taken from the 
nearby Jin Mao Tower:

Ground floor foyer, Shanghai Museum:

School grounds, Jiading #2 High School:

Hot Pot dinner with my host teacher's family:

Go here to Carmi's Written Inc. for more faraway photos.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

Autumn sunshine and school holidays:
Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thematic Photographic 196: Look Up

Things are lookin' up this week at Written,Inc - go here to see more thematic fun.

I have a selection of upward-looking streetscapes, several ceilings, and a sky... 
They all made me look up!




Taormina, Sicily

Syracuse, Sicily

Ceiling, Caserta Palace, near Naples

Ceiling, Vatican Museum

Ceiling, Vatican Museum

Ceiling, Vatican Museum

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Blue Mosque

Sunrise, Bursa

Friday, May 11, 2012

Status update

Today is my birthday. In the past, my feelings about birthdays have usually been negative, but today I'm feeeling upbeat. I'm in counting-my-blessings mode. 
The day started with a half-hour Skype talk with my son, who lives in Barcelona. 

Then there was a phone call from my 3-year-old grandaughter: "Happy Birthday Granma! we're making you a secret birthday cake!!!" (cue hysterical laughter 
and shussshhing from her parents in the background).
 Birthdays are a big deal when you're just 3.

It's a lovely warm, blustery, sunny autumn day, and as I drove to meet a friend for our traditional lunch (it's her birthday today too) I made a mental good things list, including family, friends, a job I enjoy...

I hope you all have a brilliant May 12, too.

When I was in Christchurch last month I took this sunrise photo from my bedroom window:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Trees, and a few bushes

Thematic Photographic this week is entitled Bushes and Trees - clever Carmi has set it up
to happen for us, even though he's in China, lucky man!

First, some foreign trees. If you visit the beautiful amphitheatre at Epidaurus, in Greece, you walk up these lovely tree-lined steps to get there:

These lovely trees were in the grounds of a hotel I stayed at in Rome:

Closer to home, in the beautiful gardens at Larnach Castle, in Dunedin:

Lombardy poplars are very widely grown in Central Otago. 
These are on the shores of Lake Wanaka:

 Treescape in Arrowtown:

  And trees and bushes at Lake Dunstan:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.  
~Chinese Proverb

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Crossing Cook Strait


This country is split into two islands by a  bumpy(more-often-than-not), tempestuous (quite often) stretch of water named after Captain James Cook. The British explorer completed the first circumnavigation of the country, and mapped it with few errors, in 1769 - 70.

If you want to take a car from one island to another, the only way is to travel on one of the ferries which ply the Strait 8 or 10 times each day. The trip takes only 3 hours, and if you are lucky the middle bit, when you are actually out in the open sea, will be smooth and gentle; you may be escorted by pods of dolphins...

Early one morning in April, early winter sunshine. In my car, queued on
 the Wellington wharves, I wait for the ferry to arrive.

One family decides to fill in the time usefully... the kids actually catch some small fish!

Here she comes - it's the Arahura, the oldest one in the fleet, but I'm 
glad to see her

 For the first hour or so, we move steadily out through the 
volcanic ribs which encircle Wellington harbour:

Then it's goodbye to the North Island

 About an hour later, we begin to wind through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds 
to Picton, at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound

 Safely there...

... but it hasn't always been so. Cook Strait is, according to Wikipedia, 
"one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world."
 The worst disaster which has happened on its waters was the sinking of the ferry Wahine. It was caught in a ferocious storm and struck a reef at the entrance to Wellington Harbour, in winds gusting to 160 km/h.


Fifty-three people drowned that night, including 3 children; 
the other 670 passengers and crew survived by getting off 
into the 4 usable lifeboats, or by launching themselves in 
lifejackets into the turbulent waters of the harbour. 

The current swept most of them across towards the western 
side of the harbour, where a small fleet of fishing boats, 
private motorboats and surf-lifesaving boats found them and 
lifted them aboard, taking them to the shore and to safety. 

My mother was one of the latter group. She had been travelling 
with an elderly family friend of ours; he was drowned.

Image from here

~ Martin Bauxbaum

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

Early one winter's morning, Wellington Harbour.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Strong Lines - TP 194

Here are some photos which I thought fit into the "strong lines" idea of Carmi's latest Thematic Photographic theme (go here to see what this is all about). They are from my school holiday trip to the South Island of New Zealand in April.

The Information Centre (!) at the remote settlement of Okarito Lagoon, a 12 sq km unmodified wetland which is home to many birds and other species.

 The jetty, Lake Ianthe. This West Coast area of New Zealand is remote, unspoiled, and stunningly beautiful - I think so, anyway.

Not lines in the sand - lines of winter crops in the dirt, near Nelson.