Modest Epiphanies: Happy grazers

Happy grazers, Pio Pio, King Country. 2.22pm, 20 May 2013

“Happy limestone” would be an alternative title for this evocation of primary production, as this is fertile, rolling country, inland from the main highway between Hamilton and New Plymouth. Low cloud and patchy autumn sunlight give depth and contrast to the scene, enhanced by a telephoto lens. We have a virginal woolshed but no quad bikes, while the few cattle are free to wander – an idyllic prospect compared with the muddy strip-grazing in Taranaki, where herds are closely confined.

An idealised image, it features in my Modest Epiphanies 2019 Calendar, which is now at the printer. Subtitled Deeper meanings in the New Zealand landscape, the wall calendar should be available from the first week in September. A special, attractive “Early Bird” offer will be announced shortly.

1/800th sec at f16. Nikon 85mm; ISO 1000

Memento mori 9: In loving memory

In loving memory, at Mokau cemetery. 4.15pm, 12 August 2013

The cemetery at Mokau (in the southwest Waikato) occupies a hilltop terrace and gives good views in all directions. The house far across the valley seems relatively close with the compressed perspective of a long telephoto. Depth of focus here is enhanced by the tiny aperture, only available at the far end of the zoom. f40 is actually a ratio of the size of aperture over the length of the lens – thus the “wide open” f1.4 on my 85mm lens requires big, fat specs to obtain such a ratio: 1/1.4.

In post-processing certain areas of my images are typically worked over with spot-saturation, although I resist the urge to have them “pop”, as you see in so many sparkling real estate photos. Here the lichens were startling enough, and have been left untouched, apart from a +25 increase in overall vibrancy. In composition terms, the top right corner is occupied by only a gate and fence, and a horse or cow would have made this more interesting. Still better if the house owner had come out and stood on her verandah for a minute, but my yodel would never have gone the distance.

“Memento mori” is the Latin phrase reminding us of our inevitable mortality. Some say that we live on in the hearts of others – that’s the “loving memory” part. With the passing of the generations that memory is eventually eclipsed. The love is passed on though, to nurture and sustain later generations (best case).

1/50th at f40. Nikon 250mm zoom; ISO 2000

Memento mori 6: Love at Mokau

Love at Mokau
Memento mori 6: Love at Mokau, Waikato. 4.50pm, 12 August 2013

These cherubim fronting for love caught my eye in a cemetery-with-views on a Mokau hilltop. Having recently purchased a Nikon zoom lens (70-300mm) I was putting it through the paces, late one winter’s afternoon at this small community on the west coast of the North Island.

Using the tripod to allow slow shutter speeds, I was interested to see what the zoom did at the longest extension, especially at closest focus, and when well stopped down.  While I was impressed that the lens went to f45 – a ratio usually seen only on large format lenses – only later did I learn about the diffusion effect at such tiny apertures, with DSLR cameras. An odd occlusion occurs – a bottle glass effect might be the easiest way to describe it. Fortunately none is seen here.

I like the juxtaposition in this image, and little group is an uncommon sight too. Exposing for marble sculpture can be tricky, and typically they are overexposed “in scene”, but at close range getting a good range of tones from marble is less challenging. These boys being at ground level were at least clean of the usual overgrowth, a definite problem on taller monumental figures, where beyond easy cleaning reach unsightly lichen and moss can become well established.

Memento mori: In turn we all take our leave. But love lives on, at least.

1/10 sec at f18. Nikon 300mm; ISO 250

July 2013 Nightscapes

Cook Strait twilight

5091 Twilight Crossing, Cook Strait

 

3014

3014 Last light from South Taranaki

 

143.2044

2044 At Pukerimu, near Cambridge

 

150.3133

3133 Moonlit mountain from Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth

 

Evening images in the 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop. Downloads are for personal use only.

June 2013 Nightscapes

145.2481 Moturoa hilltop, New Plymouth

2481 Moturoa hilltop, New Plymouth

 

 

 

 

 

144.2408 Outskirts, Eltham

2408 Church camp, Eltham, Taranaki

 

 

 

 

 

147.2930 High tide at Mangawhai

2930 High tide at Mangawhai, Northland

 

 

 

 

 

143.2039 Angel at Waikato

2039 Angel at Pukerimu, Cambridge

 

 

 

Here begins a new series of recent images in the 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your monitor. (A right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Most of the work I have yet to show for this must be cropped from 24 x 36 frames, but those to come from my Lumix LX3 are taken in 16:9 ratio. Downloads are for personal use only.

 

260. Moonlit gums, Cambridge

Moonlit gums, Leamington, Cambridge.  9.36 pm, 31 August 2012

Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?  –  Mary Oliver

85mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f6.3

258. Twilight temple, Hamilton

Twilight temple, Hamilton. 6.20 pm, 31 August 2012

 This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.
Dalai Lama XIV

50mm; ISO 2000. 1/13th second at f11