When Wellington Wiggled

Wellington decided to wiggle a bit more than usual on the first few minutes of Monday morning (14th November 2016).

It started off as slight trembling – which is a normal occurrence here in the Capital, so I didn’t think much of it. However the tremors didn’t stop after a few seconds. Instead it grew stronger – strong enough to rouse the Grizzly Bear from his slumber. We waited a bit longer but the movement didn’t abate – the intensity just grew stronger. And then the house started to sway. Side to side – slowly at first, and then it started to shake. I thought of doing the “drop cover and hold” maneuver but – I was in bed. I mean, do I  go out into the lounge while the house was doing the Macarena, just to go under a table? I stayed put, I couldn’t – not just because of the shaking, but more so because the Grizzly Bear threw himself on top of me (my hero).  The shaking lasted quite a while but the movement stopped, eventually. (we found out later that there were 2 earthquakes one after the other, which was why the shaking took so long). 

We survived. The house – which I kinda expected to just slide down the hill – is still on its feet, and the chimney hasn’t tumbled down. Nothing was broken; utilities (power, water and gas) weren’t disrupted; the bank behind us held up. All’s well. Even the cats are okay.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for parts of Kaikoura (epicentre of the quake), parts of Christchurch and  most of Wellington CBD. Work was suspended later that day as engineers examined the buildings in Wellington Central, and emergency services cleared debris which consisted mostly of broken glass. Trains and buses were cancelled as well – they had to check on the train tracks and power lines weren’t damaged too much by the quake. Furthermore, there were several aftershocks that day – from 4.5 to 6M in intensity.

To make matters more interesting, the forecast for Monday evening was rain with gale force winds (up to 140 kph). This on top of a month’s worth of rain (about 88 mm) dumped on the Capital on Saturday.

It’s now Tuesday and I’m now back at work. Thankfully, the forecast of Gale Force Winds didn’t eventuate, but we are getting inundated by so much rain, and it appears it will be like this for the rest of the week.

Walking up Cuba Street from Manners Street, a lot of the department / clothing stores have remained shut – obviously waiting for the “go-signal” from city engineers. Meanwhile, their mannequins and other displays are strewn across the floor. I was tempted to take photos of the “damage” but realised, there are already too many photos of devastation (not just because of the quake) and unhappy occurrences in existence, I just didn’t feel right about adding any more to it. So I walked on, and decided that I will focus on finding beauty in the world around me.

Yes, the world needs to know that “bad things” happen, but I think a lot of people already share this around. There are photojournalists who go to war torn areas and send back photos of casualties of war, or those who document poverty and oppression. However, I think there aren’t enough photos depicting the simple beauty of life and of living. I’m not referring to photos that show amazing sunsets and fabulous scenery here – I’m talking about capturing the beauty in the mundane. And that’ll be my focus.

Vroom vroom …

Definitely toys for the big boys. 🙂

A&P, the couple whose wedding photos I took about a year ago, were in Windy Wellington for a flying visit this weekend (7-9 April). They arrived on Thursday night to a typical Wellington Welcome (the usual .. wobbly plane due to strong winds), did their thing on Friday, and then on Saturday … we went to the Southward Car Museum near Otaihanga. I’ve heard of this place, but I haven’t been so I was pretty excited about going.

We drove on SH1 for about an hour and turned off towards Otaihanga and then made a hard left to enter the museum compound and I was quite surprised at the size of the compound. The parking lot was quite huge and the building itself looked quite imposing. We parked the car, rocked up and paid the $17.00 admission fee (price per adult as at 2016, may change without prior notice) and proceeded to the main galleries to admire this world class collection of cars, not just from New Zealand but from all over the world.

Here are a few of the vehicles that caught my eye:

But it’s not all cars … there were planes, a couple of boats, a section that showed a lot of miniature toy cars, motorbikes, push bikes, and even a little room devoted to sewing machines and other household appliances.

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Sewing Machine and TV Room

It’s really worth the trip (and the admission fee) so if you’re in Wellington include the Southward Car Museum in the list of places you must visit.

 

Pink Star Walk

Yesterday, some parts of the Wellington Waterfront turned PINK as several men and women braved the gale-force winds to participate in Estée Lauder’s Pink Star Walk, an event that’s geared to raise funds for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. There are three Pink Star Walks in New Zealand, one in the major cities of the country (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and the first of the three walks kicked off right here in Wellington. Participants are called Pink Star Walkers and they have the choice of completing either a 5 km or a 10 km walk. They are trialing a half-marathon walk in Christchurch and if that’s successful they may include that in the Auckland and Wellington routes next year.

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Meandering around Mana

About two years ago, a couple of members of the APPS, the Photography Club I’m a member of, decided to go off and photograph the boat houses lining the wharf at Mana. I have honestly never been to Mana (well, I may have driven past it on my way up to Auckland, but that doesn’t count) so I’ve never seen the boat houses they were all raving on about. My curiosity got the best of me so I decided I’d tag along to see what the big fuss was all about.

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Wicked Wickets!

On Friday, 20th February 2015, I did the unthinkable. I actually watched a LIVE Cricket Match! And not just any cricket match, mind you — an ICC Cricket World Cup one at that! I know … I know …. What is happening to the world?! First I go on three-day tramps, then I buy tramping shoes (and not high-heeled boots), and now I’m watching a game I thought would be as interesting as watching paint dry. Tsk tsk … but you know what, stranger things have happened so me going to a Cricket match isn’t such a big deal.

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Wellington Waterfront

Remember last weekend, Dave and Craig gave me photography assignments? Craig’s asked me to take 36 images where the subject is at least 50% out of the frame (and the orientation should not be horizontal nor vertical) – well, that’s done. So this week, I set out to complete Dave’s assignment, and that is to take photos at the Waterfront every day and to post 5 for each day. I admit that my brain was still on “Craig’s assignment” mode thus, I took 5 photos at the waterfront each day — well, at least for the first few days. 🙂

I decided to focus on one part of the waterfront per day. On Day 1, I went around the Civic Square and took photos of the architecture. Dave said that doesn’t count because the Civic Square is not exactly next to the waterfront. MEH! It’s just a small bridge away – so it still is!

On Day 2, I decided to focus on The Lagoon, which is part of the Taranaki Street Wharf. That’s where the Rowing Club club house is located and it’s a fairly serene area. I normally start and end my runs at this area.

Day 3 led me to the Frank Kitts Park Precinct and I finally took photos of the water itself. Well – I took 1 photo of the water and some rocks. I also took a few photos of sculptures at the Park itself.

I was going around the Queens Wharf Precinct on Thursday (Day 4) and took these photos – of man made structures.

And today, Day 5, I roamed around the Kumutoto Precinct, although I did take the sunrise photo at the Frank Kitts Park Precinct … I hope I can be forgiven for that.

Whew … now that that’s done, I wonder what projects / assignments they’ll ask me to do next.

Images from Island Bay

View from Island Bay, Wellington
Tapu Te Ranga Motu (the Island) – View from Island Bay, Wellington

A few weeks ago, the APPS, the Photography Club I’m a member of, held a workshop on Black and White Photography and today, we had a Photowalk where we were given the chance to put into practice all that we’ve learned. We met up at 2:30 pm at the Johnsonville Community Centre and drove over to Island Bay, a coastal suburb about 5 km south of Wellington. We started taking photos at the small basketball court next to the children’s park and headed off towards the beachfront.

Craig, the gentleman who conducted the B&W Workshop (also a member of the APPS and the PSNZ – an amazing photographer) patiently showed me a few tricks of the trade and helped me to “see things in a different light” – to see shapes and patterns and textures instead of seeing a tree, a rock or a plant. It was a wee bit difficult, because I tend to see things as they are … a tree, a rock or a plant, but I think I managed. Here are some of the things I “saw” at Island Bay.

 

Afterwards, some of us went to a coffee shop at Newtown for a bit of R&R. It was while we were sipping our respective drinks (I had Chai Latte because I can’t have caffeine after mid-day) and talking about photographic gear and techniques that Craig gave me a “creative” assignment for tomorrow. I’m supposed to take 36 images wherein the subject is at least 50% out of the frame and that none of the images would be of a straight horizontal or vertical orientation. I’m not allowed to have a re-take and can only adjust the tonal curve and convert the image from RAW to jpeg on Lightroom. Dave countered this by giving me another assignment: he’s asked that I take 5 photos at the Waterfront every day for the next work week. What have I gotten myself into?

So there! Tomorrow, I will take 36 random images and will post these here. And next Saturday, more photos from waterfront. I can feel my head starting to hurt.

Good night!