Phoneography Challenge: A Rainy Morning

Delicate Touch of Rain

Good morning from a cool morning.  The sun is just starting to come up.  It is hard to work out what time it is when I wake up now.  It definitely is staying darker for longer in the mornings.  Autumn is definitely here.

It is the last day of March and it is challenger’s choice for Sally’s challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.  This is when we use our non camera devices.  Even if I don’t have my camera on me I still have my iPhone 5S which has a good camera.

These photos were taken last Sunday.  I was totally bored, along with my parents at their stall at the school fair.  So I had both my phone and my camera with me so I took turns with them.  It rained heavily for about an hour or so and when the sun came out I used the phone to take these photos.  We had a plant stall next to us so I could take these photos without annoying anyone.

Delicate Touch of Rain

Delicate Touch of Rain

Heavy clouds

Here you can see just how heavy the clouds were.


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Cee’s Oddball Challenge:Week 13

Cars bouncy castle )

Good morning from a sunny Hastings day.

Sad news I’m afraid.  New Zealand was crushed last night by Australia in the Cricket World Cup final.  The dream run has come to an end.  But it was the furtherest New Zealand’s Black Caps have gone so it was a great tournament for us.  I think if we had played in New Zealand it might have been a different ending.  Plus Australia didn’t play fair with their sledging – that is when they try to upset the opposition with their comments.   That is not what the game is about.  Never mind.  Time to move on.  To be honest I was totally over it.  Even the newspaper was full of it – no crosswords at all. I did not watch it.  I had no TV or radio on – I just caught up with my blog and worked on some photos.

The reason I say this is yesterday I spent the morning with my parents at Taradale Primary School village fete.  It was totally boring as it rained heavily for about an hour and no one came.  Then when it did stop and the sun came out the people were more interested in the food and sand painting.  I was soooooo bored.  Luckily I had taken my camera with me so took a lot of photos of umbrellas – there are some great umbrellas out there.  Behind us was an old rusty car and kids paid to go in and beat it up.  The noise drove my mother crazy – she kept asking what that banging was.  Then there was someone who couldn’t sing sung the whole time and it was so loud.

They did have this great bouncy castle. A lot better than the traditional castle.  It was popular with the kids. A great photo for Cee at Cee’s Photography challenge where we find oddball photos.  You can see that the clouds were black and heavy with rain.  Not long after this the heavens opened.

022714 Odd Ball

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #13

Can Can Edinburgh Style

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Travel Theme: Outdoors

Pakowhai Park (1 of 1)

Good morning from a dark Hastings.  It seems we go back to winter time next week.

Today is a huge day for us Kiwis.  A day to remember for the cricket fans of New Zealand.  Late this afternoon the Black Caps (our national cricket team) takes on Australia in the Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne.  To be honest, I have had enough of the build up and I will not be watching it at all.  I will be watching movies, read my blog or whatever, just to avoid hearing about it.  I would rather read about it tomorrow morning.  But anyway, good luck to the boys.  Do us proud.

Leanne from Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY had a good point for discussion last week.  People are saying it is a shame that they don’t go to all the exotic places in the world for amazing photos.  There are the intrepid photographers who travel the globe to take their photos which are amazing.  But I reckon that there is a lot around where we live that is just as interesting.  I live in Hastings, New Zealand.  We have amazing Art Deco architecture thanks to the 1931 Earthquake which flattened most of Hastings and Napier.  In 15 minutes I am at the beach at Napier.  There are orchards and vineyards around which make for great photos.  Then 5 minutes from Hastings CBD I can visit this little oasis right next door to the express way to Napier. Pakowhai Park.  So you don’t need to travel far for great photo opportunities.  In this blog I focus on this area.  And that is the same today.  Here is some information about Pakowahi Park.


Only 5 minutes drive from Hastings and 15 minutes from Napier on the Pakowhai Road, on the Hastings side of the Ngaruroro River.

What you will find

Paved parking provides access through a gate to unpaved pathways and open grass areas (note that some access may be difficult for prams and wheelchairs).  Features include an island, wetland, bridges, picnic tables. No overnight camping available.

Dogs: Dogs are welcome and the park is a popular dog exercise park, where dogs are permitted to be off leash but must be under the control of their owners. Dog waste bag dispensers are in the park and owners must remove waste.

Pakowhai Regional Park has been enhanced so that people can enjoy the countryside within easy distance of home and it has good views across orchards, river and farmland.  Casual paths crisscross the Raupare Stream over bridges built by HBRC staff as a team building exercise. Many of the native trees were planted by volunteer community groups and schools and there is also a small forestry block.

The park was developed in the former bed of the Ngaruroro River which was diverted 500 m north in a large flood protection project completed in 1969. The Raupere Stream now flows under the old river bridge near the entrance to the park. The park was created by The Landcare Foundation in the 1970s, with support from a group known as Friends of Pakowhai Regional Park who still get involved in planting and other projects.

A walk through the park from the stopbank entrance serves as a memorial to Mr Doug Walker, who was Chairman of HBRC 1992-1996 when he led the development of much of the flood protection work on the Heretaunga Plains. A second pathway has been named for Eileen von Dadelszen QSM, a former Regional Councillor who, with husband Mark, was involved with the Friends of Pakowhai who did a lot of the planting and pathway development in the early years.

Pakowhai Park (2 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (3 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (4 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (5 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (6 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (7 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (8 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (9 of 1)

Pakowhai Park (10 of 1)

These photos were taken last Friday.  So if you can’t afford to travel, then go outdoors and see what you can find. Outdoors could mean your back yard – there is always something to find there, or a local park, or the CBD.  Look around you and you will be amazed what you will see.

This is for Ailsa’s challenge at Where’s my backpack?

Travel theme: Outdoors

Thanks for visiting. I have to go and help my parents again at a school fair so wont have time to visit your blogs, but will do it when the cricket is on.


A Photo a Week: Tilted

Praying Mantis

This week Nancy  from nancy merrill photography has asked us for our tilted photos. I thought I would have had a few but no, only a couple. I must be a more traditional photographer than I thought.

The above photo was taken a while ago and because of where the praying mantis was on the chair it meant having to  use the camera on a tilted angle.  Just looking at the photo I must apologise for the glare – I still really can’t use Photoshop before the computer crashes.

Clouds on high

Then for this photo I was trying to get all the light in the photo of this sunset.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Tilted

Not my best photos this week, but that is all I had.

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WPC Challenge: Ephemeral


Good morning from a dark Hastings day.  We are still in summer time and I have a feeling that we are supposed to change back tonight but we haven’t had any notices about it.  I remember as a child there would be signs every where, ads on TV and in the paper.  Not now.  We just get told on the day.  Too bad if you don’t read the paper.  Nothing on TV at all.

Photography is all about catching that perfect light.  The perfect composition, the perfect subject.  It is about grabbing the moment.  I am trying to go to the parks on a regular basis to document so to see how the seasons are changing.  I haven’t been able to walk much at all over the summer so I have changed my diet and am making the effort to walk.  Every time I go to Cornwall Park the light is different, it also depends on when I go as well.  So for me it means on the hunt for that magical moment when the light hits on anything such as this hydrangea.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Then there is the light highlighting the autumn colours.

Dead leaves

And then there are the dead leaves in the water.  Once these photos were taken the light will never be the same and the leaves and petals will be different.  That is what I love about photography – always after the elusive light and shot.

The Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge – Ephemeral

Weekly Photo Challenge Freshly Ephemeral

Spring Thaw #photography

#FridayFoto: One Moment In Time…

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Floral Friday: Dahlia


Good morning from a humid Hastings day.

So it is Friday and time to showcase my florals.  Dahlias are always such a beautiful flower.  There are so many varieties and they always put on a show.  I love them. These photos were taken at Frimley Park  last Saturday.


So here is some information courtesy of Wikipedia about the national flower of Mexico.

Dahlia (UK /dliə/ or US /dɑːliə/)[4] is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico. A member of theAsteraceae (or Compositae), dicotyledonous plants, related species include the sunflower, daisy, chrysanthemum, and zinnia. There are 42 species of dahlia, with hybrids commonly grown as garden plants. Flower forms are variable, with one head per stem; these can be as small as 2 in (5.1 cm) diameter or up to 1 ft (30 cm) (“dinner plate”). This great variety results from dahlias being octoploids—that is, they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes, whereas most plants have only two. In addition, dahlias also contain many transposons—genetic pieces that move from place to place upon an allele—which contributes to their manifesting such great diversity.

The stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 12 in (30 cm) to more than 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m). The majority of species do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent, they are brightly colored, displaying most hues, with the exception of blue.

The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963.[5] The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs, but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest. Attempts to introduce the tubers as a food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.[6]

Early history

Spaniards reported finding the plants growing in Mexico in 1525, but the earliest known description is by Francisco Hernández, physician to Philip II, who was ordered to visit Mexico in 1570 to study the “natural products of that country”. They were used as a source of food by the indigenous peoples, and were both gathered in the wild and cultivated. The Aztecs used them to treat epilepsy,[8] and employed the long hollow stem of the (Dahlia imperalis) for water pipes.[9] The indigenous peoples variously identified the plants as “Chichipatl” (Toltecs) and “Acocotle” or “Cocoxochitl” (Aztecs). From Hernandez’ perception of Aztec, to Spanish, through various other translations, the word is “water cane”, “water pipe”, “water pipe flower”, “hollow stem flower” and “cane flower”. All these refer to the hollowness of the plants’ stem.[10]

Hernandez described two varieties of dahlias (the pinwheel-like Dahlia pinnata and the huge Dahlia imperialis) as well as other medicinal plants of New Spain. Francisco Dominguez, a Hidalgo gentleman who accompanied Hernandez on part of his seven-year study, made a series of drawings to supplement the four volume report. Three of his drawings showed plants with flowers: two resembled the modern bedding dahlia, and one resembled the species Dahlia merki; all displayed a high degree of doubleness.[11] In 1578 the manuscript,entitled Nova Plantarum, Animalium et Mineralium Mexicanorum Historia, was sent back to the Escorial in Madrid;[12] they were not translated into Latin by Francisco Ximenes until 1615. In 1640, Francisco Cesi, President of the Academia Linei of Rome, bought the Ximenes translation, and after annotating it, published it in 1649-1651 in two volumes as Rerum Medicarum Novae Hispaniae Thesaurus Seu Nova Plantarium, Animalium et Mineraliuím Mexicanorum Historia. The original manuscripts were destroyed in a fire in the mid-1600s.[13]

European introduction

In 1787, the French botanist Nicolas-Joseph Thiéry de Menonville, sent to Mexico to steal the cochineal insect valued for its scarlet dye, reported the strangely beautiful flowers he had seen growing in a garden in Oaxaca.[14] In 1789, Vicente Cervantes, Director of the Botanical Garden at Mexico City, sent “plant parts” to Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid.[15] Cavanilles flowered one plant that same year, then the second one a year later. In 1791 he called the new growths “Dahlia” forAnders Dahl.[2] The first plant was called Dahlia pinnata after its pinnate foliage; the second, Dahlia rosea for its rose-purple color. In 1796 Cavanilles flowered a third plant from the parts sent by Cervantes, which he named Dahlia coccinea for its scarlet color.


In 1798, Cavanilles sent D. Pinnata seeds to Parma, Italy. That year, the Marchioness of Bute, wife of The Earl of Bute, the English Ambassador to Spain, obtained a few seeds from Cavanilles and sent them to Kew Gardens, where they flowered but were lost after two to three years.[16]


In the following years Madrid sent seeds to Berlin and Dresden in Germany, and to Turin and Thiene in Italy. In 1802, Cavanilles sent tubers of “these three” (D. pinnata, D. rosea, D. coccinea) to Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle at University of Montpelier in France, Andre Thouin at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and Scottish botanist William Aiton at Kew Gardens.[17]That same year, John Fraser, English nurseryman and later botanical collector to the Czar of Russia, brought D. coccinea seeds from Paris to the Apothecaries Gardens in England, where they flowered in his greenhouse a year later, providing Botanical Magazine with an illustration.

In 1804, a new species, Dahlia sambucifolia, was successfully grown at Holland House, Kensington. Whilst in Madrid in 1804, Lady Holland was given either dahlia seeds or tubers by Cavanilles.[18] She sent them back to England, to Lord Holland’s librarian Mr Buonaiuti at Holland House, who successfully raised the plants.[19][20] A year later, Buonaiuti produced two double flowers.[21] The plants raised in 1804 did not survive; new stock was brought from France in 1815.[16] In 1824, Lord Holland sent his wife a note containing the following verse:

“The dahlia you brought to our isle

Your praises for ever shall speak;
Mid gardens as sweet as your smile,

And in colour as bright as your cheek.”[22]

In 1805, German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt sent more seeds from Mexico to Aiton in England, Thouin in Paris, and Christoph Friedrich Otto, director of the Berlin Botanical Garden. More significantly, he sent seeds to botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow in Germany. Willdenow now reclassified the rapidly growing number of species, changing the genus from Dahlia to Georgina; after naturalist Johann Gottlieb Georgi. He combined the Cavanilles species D. pinnata and D. rosea under the name of Georgina variabilis; D. coccinea was still held to be a separate species, which he renamed Georgina coccinea.

For more information here is the link to Wikipedia:


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One Word Photo Challenge: Mauve

Mauve (1 of 1)

This week  Jennifer Nichole Wells has asked us for our photos with the colour mauve.  These delphiniums were taken on New Year’s Day at Cornwall Park.

Mauve (2 of 1)

Mauve (4 of 1)

Mauve (3 of 1)

Mauve (5 of 1)

I just love this colour.


One Word Photo Challenge: Mauve

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Cee’s Fun fotos: Weathered Wood

Weathered gum trees (1 of 1)

Good morning from a sunny Hastings day.  I have already been out taking photos of an amazing sunrise.  It was a case of – open curtains- see red – grab camera – go outside – take photos.  Never mind that you are in your pjs.  A couple of cars went by.  I don’t care as I am looking up.

So onto Cee’s at Cee’s Photography prompt this week – weathered wood.  The first image was taken at Frimley Park of this gum tree.  The next few images are of driftwood following Cyclone Pam:

Driftwood (1 of 1)

Odd root at the beach (1 of 1)

Old log of wood (1 of 1)

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Weathered Wood

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Weathered Wood

Old Stable Block


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Weekly Pet Share: A snowy visitor

A Snowy Visitor

I have discovered that there are a lot of cats around my neighbourhood.  Sometimes we I go out to check the sunrise I will find several cats on the road, as if they were checking it out too.  Then the other night I happened to look outside and saw this snowy white cat.  I had never seen it before.  But I have seen it a few times now around my house.

A snowy visitor

A snowy visitor

A snowy visitor

A snowy visitor

Isn’t it a stunner. And a poser.  It was just like a model working the camera.  Just gotta love the white cats.  Actually I have found there are a lot of black cats around here for some reason.



Monochrome Madness 2-3

Decocraftsdigicrafts .

Good morning from a foggy Hastings morning.

Us Kiwis are in seventh heaven this morning.  Last night we won the cricket semi final to get to Melbourne for the final against either Australia or India.  I didn’t watch it.  I found out about the Festival of Lights at Cornwall Park so I went there instead.  Got to get my priorities straight.  I refused to watch the news or read it on my iPad.  I think I did a quick check last night while doing my post for this morning and it said we weren’t doing that well.  So I went to bed.  I expected us to lose and didn’t want to watch it.  Imagine my surprise to find that we did, in fact, win it.  By one ball and 4 wickets.  A nice surprise to wake up to.  So I can watch the heart breaker on the news now.  So Leanne from  Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY who do you think will win tomorrow – Australia or India?

Anyway here is my entry for Monochrome Madness this week.  I am loving going back to my roots.  I was talking to my daughter the other day and said that I was interested in the grunge affect when it didn’t even have a name.  I had an exhibition back in Australia with heavily post processed images.  I went through a lot of chemicals and paper and experimented so much to get them.   So yes, now I am doing what I love the most.


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