Saturday, December 24, 2011

The New Zealand Government Hub

Wellington is the seat of the country's government and the Parliament complex was close by. The cabinet offices are located in a building whose architectural features and functionality give it the name "The Beehive".  We located this oh-so-fun pub restaurant called 'Backbenchers', whose claim to fame, besides all of the politicians who frequent it, is the caricatures hanging on the wall throughout. Gives a new meaning to "Big brother watching over you".

Loved the green cabs throughout Wellington. They were electirc and very quiet.

Wellington from the Air

Search for the cable car, we did. It took awhile as the sign was quite small and the entrance tucked between two buildings. A rather nondescript beginning. But oh the ride was fun. Rising up from the waterfront to the hills above, added a whole new dimension to the beauty of the view.

And then to find that a wander downhill through the Botanical garden brought us right back to our hotel. Just in time for a wine cocktail. Whoa, what a day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The North Island begins...

We flew north to Wellington, picked up a rental and drove into the heart of the city. That was scary. After much angst, we found our hotel which was beautiful and over looked the water and the Botanical garden. Wandering along the waterfront called to us so off we went to see what we could see. Here it is folks.

Many diverse activities are happening here. We located a brew pub named Mac's and people watched while we ate. After, we found our way to the Te Papa Museum, which is the newest. It was amazing.

The day was grand, sunny and barely a cloud in the sky. The right way to begin our trek on the North Island.

Not Another...

I so loved this church. It is Gothic but in a stately way and elegant in every way. I simply loved it. It is sad to hear that they will deconsecrate it because it is too badly damaged to continue as a place of worship. My hope is that the Anglo church will find a way to help New Zealanders restore its beauty and functionality. Though I hear NZ had yet another earthquake today.  This image is as the sun was setting and a portion of it is covered in sunlight and another in the shadows. The steeple stand sno more and I hear that the rose window fell in last June. Oh my!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Art in the Gallery; Art in the Park

I walked down to the gallery by myself. Rick and Caite were tired of museums. I'm glad I did as one of the exhibits was "Blue" and the pieces were all different mediums but in the color blue. It was very cool!

Later I found these fountains in a park. There were a lot of them and they looked like dandelions. Totally fun! Totally fascinating. Couldn't get enough pictures.

I think that I shall never see...

Botanical Gardens often fascinate us. This one was no exception. The weather was grand here in Christchurch and this 160 acre park seemed to be the bridge to everywhere we needed or wanted to go. So we walked through it a lot and enjoyed it more each time. I have a lot of pictures and share them with you here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Long and Winding Avon

I first discovered the Avon while waiting for lunch. It was just across the street from the outdoor restaurant. Then I found the Avon again while wandering through the Botanical garden. And then I found the activity Punting on the Avon, which is Christchurch's response to Venice gondoliers. Notice the image of Rick and his I-Phone in the old red phone booth. So British, it is and so American, the I-phone. How do you get game scores in the red thing.

Christchurch was the town from which many Antartic exhibitions hailed. The Canterbury Museum has an excellent exhibition tracing the quest to reach Antartica. This museum was free to enter as were many museums in Christchurch. It was a morning well spent.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Kind of Place

Of all the cities in New Zealand, Christchurch was my favorite. Our hotel was tucked in the back corn of the square which made everything accessible. We walked or took public transportation every where.

The Cathedral is the center of this city and square. I so love this centerpiece and it has fallen on hard times. I hope the people of Christchurch find the ability to rebuild it.

The square reminds me of Portland, perhaps Pioneer Square. All sorts of activities by all sorts of people, take place here. The All Black countdown was on. As was Mr. Leftwing.

There is art and games and the trolley and fun and friendly people. I loved it here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just Do It

We hiked in the afternoon and then at the crack of cold dawn (don't take Caite's shorts as an indication that it was warm, it wasn't...

But it is amazing what sights you see when you get off the beaten track.
Who would know this stuff exists unless you go to it.

You gotta love these swaying bridges 
and jumping on command 
and the blue lakes
and the wildflowers
and the etched rocks
and the fact that I was warm if no one else was...

It was a good day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Seriously, this was the view from our room. All room views faced this mountain. How zen is this!

We tramped (Kiwi word  for hiked) here and I was able to get mountain views from every angle. Sir Edmund Hillary practiced here before taking on Everest.

More fascinating rock piles. ET was here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Does it get any better than this?

Lake Pukaki at the foot of Mt Cook...

We lingered here a long time both coming and going. Caite talked about getting in the lake and then just finally did. I was delighted to find roadside Columbine so far from home. And then my stack of rocks to confuse the ETs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

At Lasta

New Zealand Resumed...
about time, don't ya think

Yes this color is the real deal. Gorgeous , right.

This most amazing shade of blue is from the so-called glacier flour, which is dust ground off the mountains by glaciers. Suspended particles in combination with sunlight create this fabulous color.

I found the land formations intriguing. Cliff-like barren hills with a row of trees on top. Looks like a mohawk and it doesn't look much like they held the topsoil.

Peaches anyone?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh baby!

This one includes extractions and blending modes galore. I am having so much fun looking at all of these old photos. i am sure PS didn't even exist and for sure I didn't have these kind of skills.

Comments are oh so free!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgivings Remembered

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories...
Always a good laugh.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate. I am thankful for you in my cyber world.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Celebrating 4 at the Magic House - Spilling over Blending Techniques

Another example using blending modes and spilling a photo into multiple layers. The framing brings focus to both the main photo and Drew's face on the back image. This technique is rather easy to do, in the end and I think, produces a special look.

If you are viewing, thank you. Let me know you stopped by.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This Chick Is A Hottie

Check out this chick...
And my new skills in post processing...

We work well together.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So this is my baby, 20 years ago, on her first birthday. Where has that time gone.
I am loving the new blending techniques I am learning. Four photos here all different sizes. Cool HUH!

Leave a comment to let me know you have visited.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life Is A Beach

Marcy, Mike, Dave and Nick came out for the weekend. We went to Canon Beach and had a perfect beach day. It was deligtfully wonderful for October. The boys actually went into the Pacific Ocean and stayed there for at least an hour. It made me cold just watching. Oh to be a kid!

Here are several images I captured and montaged together.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Been traveling...

I was in Scotland and London for most of August and so no posts here. I did get a significant portion of our New Zealand trip scrapped so look for some more on that. In the mean time, over the weekend, one of my favorite shops, Designer Degitials, had a quarterly sale and challenge. I made this page during one of those challenges. What fun!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Milford Sound took my breath away. Being a part of this place, if just for an moment in time, for me, was another instance of not just believing in the divine but knowing it to be true. We captured so many wonderful images which I wanted to hold in my memory forever and so I share them here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Milford Sound - part 1

This is my favorite photo of all however there were so many it was difficult to decide...

We arrived to rainfall and a bit of disappointment because of it. Our guides assured us that rain in the sound is spectacular because of the waterfalls it creates. Our home for one night was the Milford Wanderer. We ate two meals on board and slept on bunks in tiny little cabins. It felt like camp and it captivated me. No cell service, no cable, no laptops...just the three of us. Conversation was our entertainment. I highly recommend it.

After putting away our things and generally getting our bearings, we had the choice of a boat ride in Harrison Cove and history tour or kayaking. The water was 40F and so we chose the boat. Our Maori guide was a delightful storyteller and so we learned the history of Milford. He spotted penguins on the shore and quickly took us to the sighting. Totally FUN!

The next morning I got up just before sunrise (and the sun did rise on this magnificent day) and took a load of wonderful pictures. After breakfast, we sailed to the Tasman sea. It was choppy and would have been better done before breakfast. haha. The slow ride home took us past all the waterfalls we had been promised the day before as well as seals and dolphins that watched our every move.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Liberal Allowance of Time

Building the Homer Tunnel was begun by 5 men with pick and shovels as a Depression era project. It took nearly 20 years. The story is pretty amazing. Like every mountain passage world wide, crossing the ridge to the other side always holds great anticipation. This was no exception. In spite of and perhaps because of the rainy day, the views were all misty and spectacular.

Our final stop before Milford was the Chasm. Here the Cleddau River cuts through both hard and soft stone to carve the river bed up in new ways, creating some amazing waterfalls. On a plaque there reads this quote:

The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools,
but the gentle touches of air and water
working at their leisure
with a liberal allowance of time.
David Henry Thoreau

I am not sure who David Henry Thoreau is and wondered if it should have read Henry David Thoreau. Whatever!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Te Anau was the lunch stop on our way. It is the starting point for those tramping (hiking) to Milford Sound. Supposedly, this is an easy hike but takes 3-4 days. Too little time, to much to see! We horsed around in Te Anau, snapped some photos of the horsing around and then we were on our way.

Mirror Lakes was a scenic stop along the drive. It gets its name because the water is so clear that it reflects the Earl Mountains. On this particular day, it was raining, not an unusual thing for this region, and so we simply saw beautiful pristine lakes. Too bad :)

The sign noting the Mirror Lakes location is upside down, reflecting the name. Someone had a sense of humor..

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Road to Milford Sound

Leaving Queenstown on a southerly path, we caught our last glimpses of  Lake Wakapitu. We all found the landscape to be amazing, especially Caite.  First there were rolling hills like I have never seen. They looked as if they were carved, they were so smooth. Others had ridges of green grass. We passed cattle ranches and grazing sheep. Rumor has it that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. However, the best was a reindeer farm. HUH! As we entered the Fiordland National Park, which is a World Heritage area, the terrain began to change.

Our first stopping point was Lake Manapouri, which still exists because New Zealanders took up the campaign to save the lake and surrounding communities. Political powers wanted to raise the water significantly and install a hydroelectric  facility. Yeah for the little guy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Queenstown is a charming place. Laid back in feel but the surrounding area is full of high adventure activities. It is near here that Caite did a bungy jump over a canyon. OMG! Glad I was not there to witness it. I love how the town is set into the hills and a short walk downhill brings you to waters edge. Coffee or tea, Wakapitu side, is pure delight. Note the enormous Fergburgers we found. Large enough to feed a family of four, we discovered only after they arrived at our table. Queenstown is truly the town with a view.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2: St Clair Beach

It is hard to imagine when stepping into the Pacific Ocean at St Clair Beach that this is  the same body of water that laps our home state shores. Some 7500 miles have been traveled and November 1 went MIA. This place is truly magnificent, a bit wild and oh so moody.. Caite tells that early in her stay in Dunedin, in the winter months, they camped on this beach to watch for migrating seals. I love the colors of the water juxtaposed against the beige sand. Oh my!