Category Archives: Travel

looking Around a City Reborn

Happy New Year everyone. For the first post in 2021 I thought I would something slightly different from previous posts and share with you some images from a trip taken to Christchurch in early September 2020. The reason for the trip was to attend a council meeting of the Photographic Society of New Zealand, and it occurred just after the country had come out of higher Covid restrictions following a second outbreak in Auckland.

Social distancing was still in place on a travel and so the seat beside me was empty. You also were required to wear a mask which fortunately arrived a couple of days before. Many people will already know how challenging it is to wear masks and this took a bit of getting used too. I took this selfie at the airport as I was about to board the plane.

All of the travel advice I had received was to arrive in plenty of time as not all checkin kiosks were in use. As it turned out I needn’t have bothered because the airport was fairly deserted.

Christchurch airport has a combined domestic and international terminal and is the main secondary international arrival point in the country. Most of the flights come into it from Asia so the airport is generally full of lots of different nationalities . With borders closed due to COVID-19 it was eerily quiet.

The way that New Zealand was keeping the virus out hit you right in the face as you left the terminal. The Sudima Hotel is one of the quarantine facilities that all people coming into the country have to spend 14 days. It was surrounded by high fences and groups of visitors were wandering around the exercise areas.

The meeting was not scheduled to start until the Saturday, however we have been requested to travel on the Friday, so they could start first thing in the morning. I decided to travel down on a morning flight so that I had time in the afternoon to go for a wander and have a look around the city.

Christchurch was extensively damaged in a series of earthquakes 10 years ago and the recovery has been very slow. I had not been down there for a couple of years so I was really interested to see how the development was coming along. The city is still full of empty spaces and quite a few have now been turned into parks with art pieces.

The building in the rear of the image is one of the few high rise building that actually survived in tact. While only two building collapsed (which accounted for most of the 185 killed) a significant number of others were damaged and therefore demolished. Newer building in the city all tend to be lower than the ones that they replaced.

Christchurch is a major tourist location and it was amazing to see the city so empty. Most noticeable was the absence of tour buses full of Asian tourist. That was having a major impact on the local economy so I found the sign below in a window rather amusing.

In the middle of the city is a rather unusual nature reserve. When one of the towers was removed a number of years ago the below level structure was left in place, and the basement filled with waters. Yellow beaked gulls (which are apparently endangered) decided that it would make a great breeding colony and set up nests amongst the tangled reinforcing steel.

I understand that the original plan was the allow the bird to nest for one year and then to cover the steel with mesh so that they did not return the next. Not sure what happened to that plan but the birds no regard it as their place, and it will be interesting to see the fight that any future developer is going to have when they want to rebuild.

As I mentioned above art as been springing up all over the city both in terms of sculptures but also in the form of art on buildings. Some of it is very impressive as this example shows. It is on the side of a building currently being used as a boutique movie theatre.

While there were a number of new buildings and retail complexes I was surprised at the number of empty sections and also buildings that still need to be demolished. On some nature had begun to reclaim them and i was amazed to find a tree growing out of a building two stories up an old building.

For the shot above and the one below I actually climbed around the security fencing to get a better angle.

Just on the outskirts of the city centre is Hagley Park. I knew from seeing others photos that at the time of year it contained large areas of daffodils so I headed in that direction. I first went into the Art Centre and I loved the shadows created by the railings of one of the gates with the later afternoon light.

The daffodil fields were quite impressive and in fact none of my images really did them justice. I did, however, spot this group of young mums out on their afternoon stroll.

It was a great afternoon just ambling round and taking photos.

Melbourne – The old cement works

When i last visited Melbourne at the start of 2013 we kept driving past a large building with a tall chimney and a lot of graffiti on it. From the look of it it was obvious that it had been abandoned. This time I ended up staying a lot closer to it and when I mentioned that I would love to take a closer look I discovered that Nathan (my daughters partner) was keen to explore as well. It was one of those locations where you never know who might be squatting so it was best to not go alone.

Now I am sure that we were trespassing on someones property but as there were no signs saying keep out and the holes in the fence were large enough to drive a car through, we felt reasonably comfortable that no one would get too upset with us looking around and taking a few photos. We first went for a look late in the afternoon but once we got inside realised that we needed more light so returned the next morning.

The roof has completely gone in this first section
The roof has completely gone in this first section

From the first floor landing
From the first floor landing

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The outside of the conveyer room. We assumes that materials were loaded on the conveyer and transporter into the tower that contained the  machinery to make cement
The outside of the conveyer room. We assumes that materials were loaded on the conveyer and transporter into the tower that contained the machinery to make cement

A first look inside one of the storage areas in the morning
A first look inside one of the storage areas in the morning

This entire wall was painted  which must have taken some time
This entire wall was painted which must have taken some time

There were signs of some inhabitation however the people were very tidy. There was even rubbish sacks in the corners and the look that areas has been swept.
There were signs of some inhabitation however the people were very tidy. There was even rubbish sacks in the corners and the look that areas has been swept.

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I quite liked the reflection in the puddle although the effect that flash has on the silver paint is not really to my liking
I quite liked the reflection in the puddle although the effect that flash has on the silver paint is not really to my liking

All of the walls were covered in art
All of the walls were covered in art

After venturing round the larger building we found a way into the tower block.

The tower block and chimney
The tower block and chimney

The ground floor was very dark and a real mess but when we made our way up a set of crumbing concrete stairs we found a marvellous area full of old machinery and graffiti. I have converted a couple of these images to black & white because I think that treatment suits them. My only regret is that I would love to use the location for a model shoot but it just too far away.Melbourne2104-90 Melbourne2104-89 Melbourne2104-88 Melbourne2104-87 Melbourne2104-86

Melbourne – Markets

When I am travelling overseas I tend to find that the main shopping areas often have a “sameness” to them. More so when you go to Australia because many of the stores are also present here. That is not the same when it comes to markets. The major market in Melbourne is the Victoria Market that occupies over an entire city block. I have visited every time I have been to Melbourne and this time I could look at it in my own time without other people either getting bored or wanting something off every stall.

The market operates five days a week with different hours each day, and even within that different sections have different hours. It is actually several markets in one area selling everything from seafood and meat, fruit and vegetables to clothes and tourist items. I actually got there just after it opened which is often a good idea as it avoids a lot of tourist crowds that can come later in the day.

Meat Alley
Meat Alley has a full selection of different meats and seafoods. 

Each area in the meat section seemed to have qualified butchers and the building had rails to allow the dead animals to be brought in
Each area in the meat section seemed to have qualified butchers and the building had rails to allow the dead animals to be brought in

Inside of a shop only selling exotic coffee blends.
Inside of a shop only selling exotic coffee blends.

The deli areas consists of a large numbers of small shops still in the original kiosks from early last centuries. Everything from breads, pastas, dairy products, wines, cured meats, teas and coffees was on sale
The deli areas consists of a large numbers of small shops still in the original kiosks from early last centuries. Everything from breads, pastas, dairy products, wines, cured meats, teas and coffees was on sale

You can even buy birds either for laying eggs or for the pot
You can even buy birds either for laying eggs or for the pot

The third part of the market is given over to fruit and vegetables.
The third part of the market is given over to fruit and vegetables.

The final part of the market sells a wide range of goods.
The final part of the market sells a wide range of goods.

Many of the items on sale are imported from China
Many of the items on sale are imported from China

While others are clearly locally made. This guy was producing very intricate designs burned into the wood
While others are clearly locally made. This guy was producing very intricate designs burned into the wood

On Sundays there are two artists markets. One is located in the city by the Arts Centre while the other is on the promenade at St Kildas Beach. Both markets have a policy that the goods on sale have to be local work so in many cases you get to talk to the people who are producing the items.

Anyone need to know the time
Anyone need to know the time

Melbourne – People

Often when you visit a new place it is the people that you see and meet that make the difference to the experience. Melbourne has around the same population as New Zealand but despite that it never felt crowded. The following images simply show the many faces of Melbourne.

I was held up with a large protest about the Budget. This guy made a lot of noise at the back of the march
I was held up with a large protest about the Budget. This guy made a lot of noise at the back of the march

Street side cafes are in many of the alleys and so are buskers
Street side cafes are in many of the alleys and so are buskers

These two buskers were at the end of the a very dark alley on a rainy day
These two buskers were at the end of the a very dark alley on a rainy day

One of the street artists in Hosier Lane
One of the street artists in Hosier Lane

A street acrobat performs to the crowds outside of Luna Park in St Kilda
A street acrobat performs to the crowds outside of Luna Park in St Kilda

Candy Floss is a still a favourite at the fair
Candy Floss is a still a favourite at the fair

People enjoy the ride at Luna Park
People enjoy the ride at Luna Park

A street musician in St Kilda's
A street musician in St Kilda’s

You don't expect to see tall unicycles in the middle of the city.
You don’t expect to see tall unicycles in the middle of the city.

The dog is looking very expectantly of its master
The dog is looking very expectantly of its master

A character in Fitzroy. I say this guy across the street but knew that I did not have enough reach in the lens to shoot as I wanted. So I ant up and asked him if he would mind, and he was cool with it
A character in Fitzroy. I saw this guy across the street but knew that I did not have enough reach in the lens to shoot as I wanted. So I ant up and asked him if he would mind, and he was cool with it

A street book seller at St Kildas
A street book seller at St Kildas

This little shop must have been very good because everytime I passed it there was a queue outside it.
This little shop must have been very good because everytime I passed it there was a queue outside it.

A stall in Swansen Street
A stall in Swansen Street

Food is never too far away
Food is never too far away

Melbourne – At Night

My daughter’s partner Nathan is a keen photographer as well and so the two of use set off to go down to Williamstown and shoot the city across the harbour. The day had been cloudy and by 5.15pm it was dark enough to clearly see all the lights in the city. Unfortunately the low cloud created an issue in that it was reflecting a lot of light from the city below so you could never get the really dark contrasts.

A tighter crop of the city enabled a stronger contrast in the colours.
A tighter crop of the city enabled a stronger contrast in the colours.

This is not pin sharp but I really liked the light coming through the trees.
This is not pin sharp but I really liked the light coming through the trees.

An expanded view of the city. There was too much light reflecting off the cloud to get a really dark image.
An expanded view of the city. There was too much light reflecting off the cloud to get a really dark image.

 

At the very left of the last image is the Melbourne Star which is a giant ferris wheel along the same lines as the London eye. During the day it is fairly ugly but at night it is lit up in light show. I tried to get a better image from it but from our vantage point it was just too fair away. As luck would happen the next night on our way to dinner my daughter showed us a place where we could stop and shoot the ferris wheel from a bridge in the city. Of course when she said this the cameras were in their bags back at the house.

Melbourne – Street Art

I have posted before about my love for good street art and on my last trip did collect main images that at the time I was using in some commercial work.

The street art in Melbourne is everywhere and you don’t need to wander far to find it. In the central city several of the lanes are now so famous for it that they appear in the tourist guides. In the outer suburbs businesses actually encourage artists to decorate their walls, and in one place I saw a notice getting the public to vote on which design would go onto the wall.

The images below just represent a small sample of what is on display around the city.

This old house in Fitzroy is all boarded up and I suspect will shortly be demolished to make way for apartments
This old house in Fitzroy is all boarded up and I suspect will shortly be demolished to make way for apartments

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This artists work appeared on several buidlings
This artists work appeared on several buidlings

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Some of the pieces are very large and are clearly commissioned pieces. This one above Hosier Lane is 4 stories high.
Some of the pieces are very large and are clearly commissioned pieces. This one above Hosier Lane is 4 stories high.

when looking up at the work on the walls it was also important to occasionally look down
when looking up at the work on the walls it was also important to occasionally look down

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The use of paper transfers could be seen in many places around the city
The use of paper transfers could be seen in many places around the city

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This very elaborate piece ran the whole length of a cafe
This very elaborate piece ran the whole length of a cafe

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Another example  from Seddon although this is is not exactly graffiti in style
Another example from Seddon although this is is not exactly graffiti in style

In Seddon art is used to clearly show the business
In Seddon art is used to clearly show the business

This work was originally done for a photographer but given than the name above the doorway has fallen down I doubt that they are still in business
This work was originally done for a photographer but given than the name above the doorway has fallen down I doubt that they are still in business

Melbourne – Buildings

While I do not like shooting rural landscapes I absolutely adore the urban landscape especially if there is a lot of variety in the buildings. Therefore I just love Melbourne.

The city was founded on the back of the gold rush and therefore there was a lot of wealth that went into its construction. Over the years many of the original buildings have been replaced with more modern ones, however sufficient old ones remain to provide a huge diversity.

Melbournes many narrow alleys
Melbournes many narrow alleys

Ornate facades can be see on many buildings. These ones are in the suburb of Seddon
Ornate facades can be see on many buildings. These ones are in the suburb of Seddon

I have seen small butterflies on building but not one this size
I have seen small butterflies on building but not one this size

This rather impressive house was in Church Street
This rather impressive house was in Church Street

Many of the building in Fitzroy had elaborate facades but you could only see  them from across the road.
Many of the building in Fitzroy had elaborate facades but you could only see them from across the road.

The art often extended to the verandas
The art often extended to the verandas

Buildings came in all shapes and sizes
Buildings came in all shapes and sizes

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This pub in Fitzroy appears in the guide for the area. Its exterior is definitely long overdue for a paint
This pub in Fitzroy appears in the guide for the area. Its exterior is definitely long overdue for a paint

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A lone single story building on Coliins Street is dwarfed by its neighbours
A lone single story building on Coliins Street is dwarfed by its neighbours

Many of the inner city building run to several stories but are no wider than a single room
Many of the inner city building run to several stories but are no wider than a single room

Although this looks like it could be on a gothic church it is actually a building in Bourke Street in the CBD
Although this looks like it could be on a gothic church it is actually a building in Bourke Street in the CBD

One thing that really impressed me this time was how many of the modern buildings were actually being turned into pieces of art in their own rights. This was done either with the colour the glass on the windows, or panels in differing colours. I also took a look inside one of Melbourne’s shopping malls called “The Emporium”. While the shops themselves did not interest me that much I loved how the line and curves of the open areas created appealing shapes.

I believe that this is a carpark but the use of external panels turn it into an abstract art object.
I believe that this is a carpark but the use of external panels turn it into an abstract art object.

The exterior of part of RMIT
The exterior of part of RMIT

The name and location was too appealing
The name and location was too appealing

Inside one end of The Emporium
Inside one end of The Emporium

Shop fit outs in the Emporium
Shop fit outs in the Emporium

The other end of the Emporium
The other end of the Emporium

Melbourne – Ramblings

I know that it shows my age but on June 11 my older daughter (Alanna) turned 30 and so she was having a party at her home in Melbourne to celebrate. As I had ample leave and was able to get cheap flights I decided to be there and to stay a week.

I ended up leaving my D600 camera behind and took my older D90 instead. I thought it a little ridiculous of the travel insurance that they would lat me take an unspecified laptop up to the value of $3,000 and unspecified jewelry up to $2,500 but only $1,500 for other gear. Trying to insure the D600 would have added $70 to the premium so it stayed at home.

Unlike other times in Melbourne I was traveling alone and with Alanna having work and other guest commitments, I had the perfect opportunity to simply get out, explore the city and take photos. Rather than post a very long single article I am going to split up the images into different sections as there were a number of common themes that came through the various walks I did all over the city. These will be posted over the next few days but I will come back to this post and put links in it later to them.

a commitment to alternative transport shown in bikes for hire at several places around the city.
a commitment to alternative transport shown in bikes for hire at several places around the city.

Seeing the seagull sitting on top of the fish caught my fancy
Seeing the seagull sitting on top of the fish caught my fancy

From the very strange section. Samples of hair in the window of a hair dressers complete with name and age of subject
From the very strange section. Samples of hair in the window of a hair dressers complete with name and age of subject

The carousel at Luna Park
The carousel at Luna Park

Sunday kite surfing off St Kilda's beach
Sunday kite surfing off St Kilda’s beach

Parklands down by Yarra
Parklands down by Yarra

Trees are taken very seriously
Trees are taken very seriously

Fast & deadly

On our way south from Auckland we stopped in at Wingspan in Rotorua. The centre looks after birds of prey with a particular emphasis on the New Zealand native falcon. We timed the visit to coincide with the flight show where they take a young falcon out and show it flying and catching objects.

Shown below are the best of a very poor attempt at capturing the bird in flight. I had bumped ISO to try to get as fast a shutter speed as possible but even with these trying to get more than one frame shot out of each pass proved to be a really hit and miss affair. I certainly gained a new respect for the nature photographers who produce sharp images of such magnificent birds.

Leaving the landing spot.
Leaving the landing spot.

The falcon flew mainly from a perch on the building to the handler. Its flight went within inches of us each time.
The falcon flew mainly from a perch on the building to the handler. Its flight went within inches of us each time.

Not the sharpest of images as it is a crop of a much larger image
Not the sharpest of images as it is a crop of a much larger image

I just loved the combination of the owl and the wagon wheel.
I just loved the combination of the owl and the wagon wheel. This is an Australian Barn Owl that managed to fly the Tasman but then got injured and now can no longer fly.

A Morepork (NZ Owl) gives a very quizzical look. These birds are normally nocturnal.
A Morepork (NZ Owl) gives a very quizzical look. These birds are normally nocturnal but this one has modified its behaviour after being born in captivity.

 

Roadtrip as far as you can go

I have been really slack on posting to the bog later so I promise that over the next couple of days I will bring it up to date with everything that has been happening since the last posting in December.

Christmas this year was very special in that we got to spend it in Auckland with my family including my new granddaughter. During the time we left my youngest daughter there with her older brother and my wife (Vicky) and I did a road trip up north. In fact over the fours days we were away we went as far north as it is possible to go in New Zealand. Right up to Cape Reinga.

Now I do not profess to be a landscape photographer and therefore the images below basically cover aspects of the trip that sparked some interest in me along the way.

The east coast beaches contained mixtures of trees and mudflats. This shot was taken just north of Whangerei
The east coast beaches contained mixtures of trees and mudflats. This shot was taken just north of Whangerei

One of the things that is very attractive on Northland beaches are that the Pohutekawas grow right down to the sand. This is taken a Whale Bay
One of the things that is very attractive on Northland beaches are that the Pohutekawas grow right down to the sand. This is taken a Whale Bay

Light streams through dark bush
Light streams through dark bush

Occasionally you would see where people had a sense of humour.
Occasionally you would see where people had a sense of humour.

All over New Zealand you will find fences that people have adorned with objects. This one was just north of Kaitaia
All over New Zealand you will find fences that people have adorned with objects. This one was just north of Kaitaia

This boat had definitely seen better days.
This boat had definitely seen better days.

The shells on this beach clearly indicated that the environment was fairly healthy.
The shells on this beach clearly indicated that the environment was fairly healthy.

Ratana Churches are fairly distinctive. This was at Te Kana
Ratana Churches are fairly distinctive. This was was at Te Kana

Just south of the Cape are giant sand dunes that people sled down. The tiny dots in the image are people to give you some idea of scale.
Just south of the Cape are giant sand dunes that people sled down. The tiny dots in the image are people to give you some idea of scale.

My tracks coming down the sand dune.
My tracks coming down the sand dune.

Very much a classic tourist shot but you have to include one from the location that you are driving to. I was surprised how high on the cliff that the lighthouse was.
Very much a classic tourist shot but you have to include one from the location that you are driving to. I was surprised how high on the cliff that the lighthouse was.

The environment on the Cape is very bleak and extreme and as a result the vegetation is stunted.
The environment on the Cape is very bleak and extreme and as a result the vegetation is stunted.

Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.
Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.

Sunset on 90 Mile Beach. We drove down a forestry road to get to the beach and once there my wife was actually unimpressed with it.
Sunset on 90 Mile Beach. We drove down a forestry road to get to the beach and once there my wife was actually unimpressed with it.

We had been led to believe that we would see lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles up north which I thought would be great as I like to shoot these. As it turned out we saw very little.
We had been led to believe that we would see lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles up north which I thought would be great as I like to shoot these. As it turned out we saw very little.

This is "Matua Te Ngahere" of "Father of the Forest". It is the oldest living thing in New Zealand estimated to be 3,000 years old.
This is “Matua Te Ngahere” of “Father of the Forest”. It is the oldest living thing in New Zealand estimated to be 3,000 years old.

I loved how the owned of this Kumara processing plant has made it more amusing with characters on the roof
I loved how the owned of this Kumara processing plant has made it more amusing with characters on the roof