Slightly becalmed on the South Coast

The sea was pretty flat by the time we arrived at the beach, just after sunset.  It was nice, that is dull, and clouds meant my husband probably wasn’t going to see the Venus-Mars conjunction he was hoping for; we nearly turned around and went home.  But soon it was dark enough for some long-but-not-too-long exposures of gentle waves on a pleasingly rocky part of the shore.  Also in my evening’s photo haul: scenic fishing boats rocking very slightly at anchor and rock pools with beige seaweed.  You don’t need to see that.

long exposure waves rocks

18 sec, ISO 320 50mm, f 8-ish (hey it’s a manual lens and I was playing with dials in the dark)

Scaring myself by trying new stuff . . .

I’ve never really tried watercolours, maybe because I’ve always vaguely assumed it would be hard to get beyond corny seascapes. However, this weekend I signed up for a two day watercolour portrait course at the Hutt Art Society.  Yesterday was all about colouring in little boxes and getting control of the paint – today was putting into practice what we learned.  Now, I can see all the bits I did wrong (argh, those shadows), and I still think watercolour is a weirdly backwards process painting wise, but the weekend was definitely the fun-stretch-your-brain kind of hard work.

Nb: my choice of style may have been somewhat influenced by the “Picture of Dorian Gray” (as read by Stephen Fry) I listened to recently.  I will leave it a few days, and then go back and add proper wrinkles and enhance the sneer.  If it’s not going to be pretty it should be really not pretty.

old man in watercolour

Garden drama!

“About now, young fly began to wonder if he should have perhaps paid more attention to those old ‘parlour’ stories . . .”

fly meets spider
The spider is about 1/2 the size of my pinky thumbnail, the fly a teeny tiny gnat.   But from their point of view, this life and death moment as dramatic as any lion vs zebra encounter on the proverbial plains of the Serengeti.

ISO 100 f2.8 1/320 sec,
50mm manual lens with 16mm extension tube

A wolf in my garden

Spider-of-the-day, a perfectly amusing wolf spider, a native to be found in most New Zealand gardens – Anoteropsis hilaris. With eyes arranged to look to the back and side, whenever you think something is watching you, it’s probably one of these guys. Wolf spiders are good parents, carrying their spiderlings around on their backs for a month or so, when the can-see-backwards vision must be quite useful.  More random spider facts . . .

wolf spider

Letterbox Spider

The Tiny Green Letterbox Spider, Eriophora cursorium*. As found by my letterbox, and posing here in its natural environment, on stationery.


*ok, some sort of orbweb, I’m not sure which.  In the unlikely event its species has never been described, I hereby nominate the Google-translated Latin word for “mail”.

Failing to catch a frisbee

Me ineptly playing with the fast shutter speed on my camera, while my dog ineptly plays catch-the-flying-thing.  And yet we’re both happy with the afternoon!

This is every-other photo from a one second burst, stacked in Photoshop, with the pup and toy masked for each layer.  Shot in glare-y bright summer sunlight, and I’m not sure if I’ve quite figured out the focus for this sort of shot, but hey, it nearly all works.  Much like the dog’s attempt to catch the Frisbee.

If I can figure out how to make the strobe function work properly in the speedlights I got for Xmas, I might try this shot again at night, using long exposure instead.

dog at play


Or, three dog version

three dogs


Technically: f7.1, 1/1250sec iso 640 focal length 24mm (36 in 35mm terms).  Weird looking fur because a) she’s half curly coat retriever, and b) she’d just been swimming in the river.