WPC: Looking Skywards

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Good morning from a very wet and soggy Hastings morning.  The rain stopped last night around 8 PM.  That was a relief.  There was a lot of surface flooding and I had an interesting experience driving through some mud.  My Social Snappers group went to the showgrounds to see our paintings that we had entered for the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers Association. That was under the grandstand and dry which meant a lot of people were there to shelter from the rain.  And to stand near the huge heaters.  We didn’t hang around for too long.  Then we had to drive through the mud to get out.  Such a rural experience.

Anyway onto drier and colder times at Havelock North.   has given us the prompt of looking up to find something new.

For this week’s challenge, take a moment to look up. Whether it’s the fan above your head at work, your bedroom ceiling, or the night sky, what do you see? Is it familiar? Or does it show you a new perspective on your surroundings?

When I am out and about, especially in the parks I am always looking up for bird life.  I listen out for their bird song, and then I look up to see if there is any movement before zooming in on them.

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Such as this native New Zealand bird, the tui.

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And of course a fantail.

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And finally this harrier hawk over our orchards.

The Daily Post: Look Up

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WPC: Jubilant

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Good morning from a cool Hastings day.

Yesterday was the best day ever.  I took my Social Snappers group to visit Stonycroft and the weather was perfect.  We wandered around the outside and then had a guided tour around the house itself.  I am going to volunteer for the Knowledge Bank.  A photographer has donated literally thousands of photos which need to be scanned into their systems and cataloged.  Right up my alley.  Since I love vintage photos, this should be an honour to do this.

Then in the afternoon I drove down to Otane to set up my stall for Sunday.  That means that I can leave early on Sunday and stop and take photos in the golden hour.  On the way back I stopped off at the Pekapeka Wetlands.  The light was beautiful as the sun was just going down behind the hills.  I was the only one there and it was just perfect.

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Walking around, with the right lens on, for a change, this fantail was flying around me.  I was so jubilant to capture it with the tail feathers fanning out (hence it’s name – fantail).  For once I didn’t need to crop or do much in the way of editing.

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And then I also captured this silvereye.  It is such a tiny bird and usually hides well in the bushes.  It was very vocal as well.  Singing to me.

All in all it was a magical afternoon spent there.  (Over 1000 photos for the day).

Jubilant, adjective: showing great joy, satisfaction, or triumph; rejoicing; exultant.

This was exactly how I felt when I rushed home to upload my photos to find these.

 

The Daily Post: Jubilant

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Weekly Pet Share: A Friendly Fantail

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Good morning from another very cold and chilly Hastings day.

Finally I have some decent photos of a fantail.  After several years of trying I managed to get some good shots last Friday.  Whenever I go out into our native bush or parks I have been teased by the fantails.  They literally fly around my head and then take off whenever I have my camera ready.  Whenever I speak to any Maori they are always telling me that a fantail is unlucky.  But for me they are comforting and fun to watch.

I got this information from http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/fantail1.html.  I know that it is a bit long but it is fascinating.

Apart  from hiwaiwaka, tirairaka and tiwakawaka, there are sixteen other dialectal Maori names for the fantail, many of which denote the restlessness of this little bird.

Tiwakawaka is also the name of a grandson of the demi-god and folk hero Maui (Maui-potiki). He was one of the first maori settlers to arrive in the Bay of Plenty more than 1000 years ago, well before the main migrations. This was the time of the explorer Kupe and his grandson Nukutawhiti. Tiwakawaka was captain of Te Aratauwhaiti canoe and is said to have been one of Kupe’s people who stayed on when Kupe returned to eastern Polynesia.

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When Nukutawhiti returned in Kupe’s canoe to New Zealand it was Tiwakawaka who came down to the beach to challenge him, no doubt boldly like the fantail. Kupe had seen the fantail, tiwakawaka, on his exploratory trip and noted that it carried its tail feathers erect and could spread them out like a fan. Its challenging behaviour reminded Kupe that he was entering the domain of Tane, god of the forest, and perhaps reminded him also of the mythical battle between the sea and land birds.

 

Taiaha weapon in hand, the fantail and its companion the owl, who was armed with a pouwhenua, advanced towards the forces of the sea birds. Fantail got into a towering passion and danced and glared and performed all manner of gesticulations. Indeed it is said that the war dance, the haka, owes something to this dance of the tiwakawaka in mythological times, or at least the single action in it of jumping from side to side while brandishing a weapon.

 

It is, however, in the stories of Maui that the tiwakawaka plays its most important role in Maori mythology. From its refusal to tell Maui where his ancentress Mahuika kept fire hidden, it got its very appearance. In retaliation Maui took the bird and squeezed it so hard that its eyes nearly popped out, hence their prominence now. This also explains why its tail projects so far behind its body and why it flies so erratically.

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Let it now be said that the fantail got its revenge in full on Maui for his rough treatment by not obeying his instructions when it accompanied him on his last and greatest exploit to the realms of Hinenuitepo.

 

In those far off days Hinenuitepo, goddess of night, goddess of death, lived, as she does today, in the underworld of spirits. As mother of mankind she has decreed from the troublesome earliest days of creation that man should live one cycle of life, then die. Maui wanted to give mankind everlasting life. He sought to kill Hinenuitepo and by doing so abolish death forever.

 

When Maui asked his father what Hinenuitepo looked like, he replied: “you will see that her body is like that of a human being, but is of gigantic size, with thighs as red as the setting sun. You will see eyes of greenstone, flashing like the opening and shutting of the horizon in summer lightening. You will see teeth as sharp as flaked obsidian and a mouth like that of a barracouta, and hair like a tangled mass of sea kelp”.

 

Maui chose several bird companions besides the fantail to accompany him on his great quest. Because he had the ability to change into many life forms, he was able to travel with these birds to the underworld as a sparrow hawk.

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Maui’s objective was to enter the womb of Hinenuitepo when she was sleeping and by passing through her vital organs to her mouth, to destroy death. He said to his companions, “My command is that when I enter the womb of Hinenuitepo, you must on no account laugh.”

 

So Maui, having taken on the form of the noke worm, then entered the womb but as he disappeared within, Tatahore, the whitehead, burst out laughing whilst the fantail rushed out and began dancing about with delight. And then was roused Hinenuitepo who closed her legs and strangled Maui and killed him.

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– See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/fantail1.html#sthash.XXvwv8nk.dpuf

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Copyright Raewyn Forbes

One Word Photo Challenge: Pine

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Good morning from another sunny Hastings day.

For this challenge by Jennifer I have gone for a New Zealand theme.

One Word Photo Challenge: Pine

 Of our native bush to be exact.

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I spent a lot of time last year in spring trying to get decent photos of our native fantail.  They were little devils.  They would come right up to me and fly around my head and then take off when I even dared to point a camera at them.

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It doesn’t help that my camera is super slow after I dropped it and cracked the screen.  The sensors have been affected so it hates focusing.  My manual focusing is way to slow.

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That said I loved the way that the light filters through the ferns and leaves.

https://bastet1952.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/one-word-photo-challenge-pine-december-3-2014/

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Cheers

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: A Friendly Fantail. Week 38

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Good morning from a very cold and frosty morning.  I checked the phone this morning and it was -1 degrees when I got up.

I still haven’t got my Mac back so have to make do with this dinosaur of a laptop and Picasa 3.  I have decided not to let the ex get the better of me and continue with my blog.  Hard as it is with this computer.

The first day in our new home I was looking out the window and saw this fantail enjoying the sun.  All last spring I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get some decent photos of our native fantails.  They are very flighty – excuse the pun but they were sooo hard to take photos with a very slow camera.  So it was rather ironic that one just happened to be sitting on the fence.  A good sign I hope.

Here are some other great blogs:

http://steve-says.net/2014/05/27/i-can-has-ipodz/

http://hopethehappyhugger.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/michelles-weekly-pet-challenge-round-up-and-start-of-new-week-38/

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge ~ Wk 38

Thanks for visiting and for all the supportive comments.  I really do appreciate them all.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

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Good morning from a very bright and sunny Hastings.

This weeks challenge by is Cee’s Photography is alone.  I found some of these photos from Cornwall Park of ducks, sparrows and a fantail in the distance. They have been edited in the FX Photostudio Pro.  I used most the vintage filters to give a sense of separation from reality around them.  A sense of isolation.

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This made me think of all those people that will be alone this Christmas.  At least these birds and ducks are surrounded by others.  Even though we may be surrounded by others there will be those who are left out.  This is a good time to look around us and reach out to someone and give them a little cheer.

My husband and I look around us each Christmas and find someone worthy to give a small Christmas hamper to.  We try and sneak up to their home to deliver the box so that it is a nice surprise.  But generally we get caught out.  We give a chicken, sausages, biscuits and chips and other small items.  It doesn’t cost us much and it really does make a difference to those we have given to.

That is what Christmas is about.

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Look Up, Look Down Challenge: Week 16

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Good morning from a drier Hastings morning.

Another week in Travel with Intent ‘s  Look Up, Look Down Challenge.  I have continued with the bird theme as I searched through my photos last night.  When I go for a walk I am always searching around for anything interesting to take a photo of.  To take photos of birds I first practiced on the ducks as they were bigger and didn’t move as fast as birds.  Then as I got more comfortable with my new camera I progressed to birds, both in trees and on the ground.  This photo is of a pigeon at Frimley Park

All spring I was thwarted by the fantails, a native bird of New Zealand that has tail feathers that fan out like well a fan.

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This is the best I got.  I swear that they knew I was coming because they would flit around me, literally and just stop long enough for me to get the camera focused on them and then would fly off.  Most frustrating.  Flighty little things they are.

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Of course there are plenty of sparrows.  They also loved the Kowhai trees with it’s sweet nectar.

I also took lots of birds on the ground as well.  When I would go and feed the ducks other smaller birds would also fly in and catch the crumbs.  That made taking photos of them rather easy.

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On another walk I came across this blackbird bathing in the stream.

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And then sunbathing.

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I do have a lot of dud photos of birds.  I probably get one good photo out of ten, but the fun is in watching them.  They can be very entertaining, except of course the fantails, they are just mean to me.

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