photo challenge

Kohitātea 2020

A new year begins. Ngā mih o te tau hau – Happy New Year. Although strictly speaking. it isn’t the new year in the southern hemisphere, it is halfway through the seasonal year. However, we are governed by the calendar that the British and Europeans brought with them when they colonised the country. This article talks about the seven stages of summer and this one talks of how many indigenous cultures live by the maramataka – the phases of the moon.

01/365 1st January 2020
Handstand amongst giants

We found this beautiful ngahere on our travels. You get to it as you climb up past Waiotemarama Waterfall. It’s the other end of the track we did earlier in the week. The kauri trees are just majestic. Plenty of. young ones growing and some giants too. This will be a splendid ngahere in the future if these trees don’t succumb to Kauri Die Back disease. It seemed an appropriate place to start the New Year off with a handstand! Some of the photos here have more detail written about them in our family blog if you want to read more.

02/366 2nd January 2020
Salt crystals on a Mānawa leaf

Mangrove trees – or Manawa in te reo Māori – are incredible. They survive in salty and often dry conditions by expelling the salt from the glossy tops of their leaves and holding water using the soft hairy undersides of their leaves. You can see the salt crystals on this leaf. It is worth doing this short walk at Rawene. The mangroves are gradually recovering after the damage done to them from the timber trade in the 19th & 20th centuries.

03/366 3rd January 2020
Handstand at Magic Rock

We drove on to Wairere Boulders which is a must-do if you like geology, clambering through, on and around rocks and you want to be amazed!

04/366 4th January 2020
Oysters growing on Mānawa pneumatophores

More from the mangroves but this time at Waitangi on the Haruru Falls walk. Did you know that ‘haruru’ means ‘big noise’? This is a pneumatophore and it has a type of oyster growing on it. These are the ‘breathing tubes’ of the mangrove trees.

05/366 5th January 2020
Orange light from Australian Bushfires at Cape Brett

Our big adventure was a two-day walk from Rāwhiti to Cape Brett Lighthouse and back. This is Cape Brett Lighthouse bathed in a strange orange glow – skies all over NZ have been experiencing this as the smoke from the Australian Bushfires filters in front of the sun. You can read more about it here.

06/366 6th January 2020
Handstand at Cape Brett Rakaumangamanga

Day 2 of our adventure and the weather closed in a bit – mist and wind accompanied us for the first part of the day. Makes for an impressive handstand spot!

07/366 7th January 2020
Orca in Bay of Islands off Urupukapuka Island

So privileged to have been in the company of these amazing creatures today. Orca.

08/366 8th January 2020
Nigel at the Flagstaff at Kororareka

Nigel’s Birthday today! Standing atop the famous flagstaff hill in Kororāreka (Russell) where Hone Heke repeatedly cut down the flagstaff.

09/366 9th January 2020
Remnants of trenches at Ruapekapeka

Ruapekapeka – site of the last battle between the British forces and Māori in Northland – an incredible place – full of mauri but the engineering and planning that went into these defences is amazing. Apparently the trenches from WWI were based on the way that Māori defended their Pā.

10/366 10th January 2020
Glow worms in Waipū Cave

Glow Worms –
They are pretty special – Māori call them Titiwae but they are also considered by some to be patupaiarehe or fairy-like creatures. Whatever, when you turn your lights off in a cave and wait for a few moments in the quiet, they just multiply until there is a starry sky above you.

11/366 11th January 2020
Number 11

The Scottish door. #eleven #roadtrip #campervanlife #summerholidays #exploringnz

12/366 12th January 2020

Just playing with Snapseed – editing photos of flowers! I think I’d like a dress with this material design.

13/366 13th January 2020
A Room with a View

Off on another adventure! This was our room in Whakapapa with a floor too ceiling view of Ngauruhoe except that the clag was down and it was raining!

14/366 14th January 202020200114_151724-01
Tama Lake

Fortunately, the cloud lifted by the next day and we had some stunning views from above Tama Lakes.

15/366 15th January 2020
Handstand on Blyth Hut track

Oh! Another great handstand spot! This was on the Blyth Hut Track which carries on from the Waitonga Falls track. Well worth a trip.

16/366 16th January 2020

Back home in Kirikiriroa – summer evenings at CraftHamilton.

17/366 17th January 2020
Reading on the LOO

Roadtrip continues – off to Hawkes Bay. Time for a loo stop!

18/366 18th January 2020

Fantastic organic coffee at a wee cafe called Pikirangi Palace in Waipawa, Hawkes Bay.

19/366 19th January 2020
Trouble on tour!

On our way home. Cup of tea and a leg stretch in Taupō.

20/366 20th January 2020

Trying to keep that holiday feeling going by having an evening walk in the sun exploring a new place in Kirikiriroa – Waiwhakareka Reserve.

21/366 21st January 2020
kua raranga ahau tēnēi kete

So privileged to have been able to make this kete today at a Wahakura workshop which I sort of gatecrashed because I misunderstood the information on the FB page but the wāhine were so lovely and welcoming.

22/366 22nd January 2020
My boys – 12 years in NZ

12 years in NZ. Still can’t get the boys to all smile at once!

23/366 23rd January 2020
Summer Office

Back to work but still keeping that summer feeling going – my summer office in the garden.

24/366 24th January 2020

She always finds the comfy spots. She will miss Gus when he heads off to uni.

25/366 25th January 2020
Reflections on Lake Waikaremoana

Off we go again! Waikaremoana – another big adventure. Te weather keeps on being kind to us. Day 1.

26/366 26th January 2020

Day 2 Waikaremoana. The views of the lake are just incredible but the ngahere are also beautiful and the sun shines through the trees and sheds its light on the forest floor revealing its taonga.

27/366 27th January 2020
sunlight through the ngahere

Day 3 I just can’t get enough of these trees and this light and the beauty of it all!

28/366 28th January 2020
the ‘disaster’ kete!

So, I bought a raffle ticket ion the day that I made my wee kete and I won! I went to meet the wahine who made it and she told me it was a her ‘diaster kete’ because she had run out of blue-dyed harakeke and so the pattern has gaps in it. I reminded her of the kōrero we had had while I was weaving with her about how the ladies in Arran always used to leave a small mistake in their knitting to make every piece unique.

29/366 29th January 2020
a rare photo of Nigel and me that isn’t a selfie!

So this wasn’t taken today – work took over but this evening I spent some time editing photos from our trip to Waikaremoana. I love this one and Nigel and me.

31/366 31st January 2020
Dustbin lid

Editing with Snapseed – part of a workshop with teachers.

Week 34: Technical – The Wild Side

“Capturing a captivating wildlife photograph requires knowledge of your camera settings and the behaviour of the animal. Capture a compelling wildlife photograph that has proper subject alignment (e.g., no “bird butts”) and exposure. For an easy introduction, urban critters (e.g., squirrels) are easy targets. For an advanced challenge, a bird in flight could be considered.”

Not so many wild animals that aren’t birds around here and they move far too fast to catch them! Insects might work – plenty of bugs around and I have managed to get a few good shots of spiders, butterflies and other critters in the past.  I consider this week’s challenge pretty much a failure but here we go! A spider that we saw at the river in the Kaueranga Valley, a strange insect crawling on our front door, and a Monarch butterfly on flowers in Hamilton Gardens.

large spider on a rock

red insect on a white door

butterfly on yellow flowers



Week 33 Composition: Figure to Ground

If camouflage is designed to make things disappear, Figure to Ground is designed to make the subject stand out. Light on dark, dark on light.

I only have a couple for this. The opportunities haven’t really resented themselves to me and I have been so busy. This first one is of Tami Nielsen at a recent concert in Hamilton. It is always difficult getting photos with the bright lighting at concerts without completely burning out the subject. Especially if all you have is a phone! I was quite pleased with this though.

a female singer wearing a very pale blue dress at the microphone singing. The background is an inky blue and you can just see one of the band members in the haze of the lights.

The second photo is in Hamilton Gardens in the Concept Garden. This is currently my favourite garden. I tried to get my husband to stand out against the white wall. I fear that the tree to is right might be a distraction but somehow the photo didn’t seem balanced without it.  The whakatauki on the wall says:

He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki’

The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays.

man standing against a white wall with the words He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki’ written on it. That means "The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays.

Week 32: Alphabet

This was a challenge and required a whole day to pull together some sort of creation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a whole alphabet but couldn’t think of a word that didn’t seem twee or trite and that had some meaning to me. In the end, I created a couple of images; one was a whole alphabet, the other was the word ‘hauora’. It had been a busy and stressful week and so having time to spend on a wet Sunday really was a spot of well-being.

a collage of photos all of which mke the shape of a letter of the alphabet

photos that spell the word 'Hauora"

Week 31 Wildcard: photographers choice

We spotted this insect on the door of our house. The white of the door made it difficult to get the insect into focus and I had to use the pro feature on my phone to isolate the subject.  Quite pleased with the outcome.

Orangey red flying insect with long antennae sitting on a white door

I had a meeting at a school over in Raglan last week so made the most of being there to sneak a lunchtime walk.  I don’t think I’ve seen the tide so high.  I tried to get the movement of the waves as they washed over the step of sand just in front of the dunes and the light glimmering behind the clouds.

Seascape on a stormy day. Dark clouds with some light shining through over a grey ocean. Waves foaming up over the sand right up to the dunes

This was a dark evening in Christchurch down on Oxford Terrace which had recently been reopened after rebuilding work. I wanted to capture the translucency of the bridge and the arch against the dark of the night.

Night scene in a city. Lights shining on a bridge overtheriver

Photos at concerts are always difficult and never seem to work. Any that do tend to be pure luck! This is Tami Neilson and if you ever get a chance to see her,  do it.  She is amazing!

Female singer on the microphone left arm held aloft. Guitarist in the background

In Hamilton Gardens there is a new garden – the concept garden. To get in you go through a large yellow door that opens automatically as you approach.  I was aiming to get a view through as they opened.

Looking through a doorway with large yellow doors. Through the doorway you can see a woman with gardens beyond


Week 30 Creative: Circles

Circles. Limes.

We have a bumper crop of limes. Usually, apart from a few, they stay on the tree and we pick them as needed. For some reason, this year, in the last couple of weeks, they have nearly all dropped from the tree and so now we have heaps of them to do something with!

So, I have successfully made lime cordial which I am hoping will keep so we can have scrummy limeade during the summer. It is deliciously refreshing mixed with soda water or tonic, a couple of ice cubes and if you want to push the boat out, add some gin or vodka. Lime and ginger marmalade accounted for another 10 limes – that is so good that I might even make some more – just need more jars!

The drizzle lemon cake that I usually make and which has always been successful, somehow wasn’t today…. a little sunken but I’m sure it will still taste good. It may just become pudding this evening served with ice-cream.

I also had a go at making pickled limes – not sure what they will be like but they look good in the jar!

Next on the list is lime curd, more cordial, more cake, possibly more marmalade and of course, when limes are plentiful, gin and tonic is pretty much a standard!  Cheers! Slange! Sante! Kia ora!

But wait! What about the photo challenge? I couldn’t help thinking how good all those slices of limes looked…. so I had a play. They look pretty good just as they are, but Snapseed is a great wee app I have on my phone that means you can manipulate the photo and make it into art!

rondels of yellow limes on a wooden chopping board

rondels of limes one in the centre circled by 6 around it, edited in purple and pink

rondels of limes, one in the centre, 6 around it and then 13 in the outer circle, yellow and pink

rondels of limes arranged with one in the middle and two circles around one with 6 rondels and the outer one with 13. They are all yellow on a wooden backgorund

looking down into a glass of limeade. the outer circle is the rim of the glass, then the cordial and the a rondel of lime

Week 29 Technical: Twilight Zone

Technical: Twilight Zone

While golden and blue hours bring beautiful lighting, shooting in twilight opens up a new way of seeing the world. Capture a “scape” that isn’t dominated by darkness. Show the light and textures that can be found under the stars, in city lights, or a moon filled sky.

Technical isn’t my thing… see my post about Master Photographers and my Dad and me!  And, I know that I should face up to my failings and make the effort to get my SLR out and just do it, but the truth is, I am the sort of learner that needs someone by my side to ask questions of when I need to learn something new. I really didn’t appreciate all that my Dad could teach me when I was younger, and now he isn’t here to ask. So, I am using that as a cop out for this week’s challenge, that and the fact that it is winter here and the weather isn’t very nice for going out at night to take photos. My phone camera just doesn’t do dark very well but here are a couple of ‘snapshots’ to start off with. I’m going to look for more opportunities over the next week. I may have to come back to this one!

This first image is heavily edited using Snapseed which is an editing app on my phone. I walked up Sunshine Hill in a small town called Taumarunui after working there one day. The light had completely gone by the time I got to the top, there was no moon as it was wet and very cloudy and all I could see were the street lights through the trees. I quite like it though!

Grainy blue and purple foreground of trees with a bright yellow and pink horizon which are the lights from a town in the valley. This is an abstract edit from a photo

The second image is taken as I was on a trail run with a friend on the shortest day here in NZ. There was a beautiful moon and the sky was clear. As we came to the edge of the forest, it seemed light enough to get this shot. My friend was wearing a head torch so I asked her to face away from me so that it lit the foreground. It is grainy and imperfect but it does represent what the scene looked like.

bright moonlit sky behind silhouettes of pine trees. A person is bathed in light in the middle of the picture

This one is the same evening just a little bit further along the track where I could see the moon. Still a very poor photo, and the moon is blurred but I like the smudginess on the clouds mixing with the leaves. Unfortunately, you can’t see the Matariki stars which were not quite out but which were clear and abundant later on.

sliver of a moon shining through the trees from a dark blue sky.

I’ve been trying to get a shot of the lights of a city from above since I saw this challenge topic. The last couple of lights I was on, it was cloudy. The problem is always the reflection from the window and the cabin. This is flying into Hamilton. I think the bright white square in the bottom right is the hockey turf, where I suspect my son was playing just when I was flying over!

lights of a city seen from a plane. Black and white

Week 28 Composition: Left to Right Rule

Compose an image in the way we read; most countries read from left to right. Compose your shot to follow this direction.

An interesting one… I wasn’t sure how to do this, and initially thought that I might make a triptych of images to show motion left to right. But as the week went on, I kept seeing movement in scenes and so here are my choices;

The first is taken on Pegasus Beach in North Canterbury. It was a cold, grey, day but I love the colours in the clouds and the ocean. Uncle Terry and I went for a morning stroll to explore.

man walking on a beach from left to right. Grey clouds, white caps on the waves

Sunday morning stroll by Anne Robertson CC-BY

I spend a lot of time in airports! I quite like the to-ing and fro-ing of travellers. I am sitting here working and catching the people going by!

woman pushing a luggage trolley. Her two young children are riding along with the luggage. A man sits at his computer on the left of the photo, a woman is reading on the right.

Travellers by Anne Robertson CC-BY