Monthly Archives: May 2011

Looking out, looking back

No more posts until Friday so two pics today. The first from the end of our Doubtful Sound cruise, looking out to sea

looking out

and the second, looking back into Doubtful Sound.

looking back

Easy to see why Cook thought it doubtful that he could get back out if he sailed into the sound.

Seal pup aggro

On one of the islands in Doubtful Sound, a seal pup is giving its mother some aggro.

seal pup aggro

Painted rocks abstract

Rock wall along edge of Lake Manapouri, made abstract by increasing saturation and vibrancy.

painted rocks abstract

Weird but does show the wonderful range of colours in the rocks.

Off the bow

Coming up to the power station on Lake Manapouri.

Off the bow

Cloud line & tree fall

Line of clouds along the steep banks of Lake Manapouri.

cloud line

The whitish lines on the hills behind the clouds are where the trees have slid into the lake.

The soil covering the rock of the hills is only a few inches deep and this is all the trees are rooted into. When trees high up lose their grip, they fall into lower ones, causing them to fall and so on resulting in a long slide into the lake. It’ll then take hundreds of years for that strip to regrow trees.

Another, closer shot.

tree fall

Lake Manapouri islands

While in Manapouri, we took a Doubtful Sound cruise. To get there we had to cross Lake Manapouri to the Manapouri Hydroelectric Power Station and drive over a mountain on an incredibly steep dirt track. This is a shot of a couple of small islands in Lake Manapouri.

Doubtful Sound islands


Typical of the Southland region of New Zealand, these windswept and salt damaged trees really do demonstrate the nature of the area. This was taken on the drive from Manapouri to Riverton.


The stark bright greyness of them against the clear skies is quite arresting.

Another example.

More windswept

Almost as if they’re scrambling over each other to get away from the wind.

Riverbank tree

This shot is of a tree on the opposite bank from where we were in yesterday’s pic, still at the Clifden Suspension Bridge. Nothing special, just liked the shot.


Wondered if cropping on the tree only would be better.

Tree crop

Nope, think I prefer the fuller shot.

Tonal comparison

While writing the last post, I realised that it might be a good experiment to compare my latest attempt with the original Hopper, both reduced to black and white so only the tonal variations could be seen. So, using the Picnik plugin in Flickr, that’s what I’ve done.

Hopper Room B&W Hopper Room 2nd try B&W

The Hopper, of course, is on the left. It has much more tonal variation than mine, which really surprises me. Mine has very little variation in the shaded parts of the walls while the original is much more characterful.

I’m going to have to get some black & white glasses I think – that trick of squinting to reduce colurs to tones never works with me for some reason. Anyone have any better tricks (other than carrying camera with b&w capability!)?

Empty room 2

I reworked my attempt at Hopper’s ‘Sun in an Empty Room’ (see post from 2 days ago).

Hopper Room 2nd try

As I suggested before, this time I worked up a large batch of base colour (about 2/3rds yellow ochre and 1/3rd cadmium yellow) and another batch of grey. I then applied the base colour to each section and worked the grey into it to achieve the right tone. The grey was too light at first so I added more black to part of it. Made a bit of a mess of the trees outside the window: I’m not good at conveying leaves. Will have to have a go at that at one of the classes I think.

Most of the work involved much dry brushing so the colours that I had before were able to contribute to the final colour. The colours aren’t as Hopper had them but the tonal variation is close and that is largely what I was aiming for. I wonder if, instead of using grey, I ought to have used a brown as the adjustment colour. But since that would have been made with red/yellow/blue, it would have combined with the base colour in, to me, unpredictable ways.

Pretty happy with this. Better than the previous attempt anyway.

I’m not sure whether to try this one again with my teacher on Wednesday so I can learn how to do it properly or tackle a different Hopper. Will probably try a different one and see what I can learn from that.

Clifden suspension bridge

No longer in use, and cannot even walk across it, but Clifden Suspension Bridge, over the Waiau River, has the longest span of any such bridge in New Zealand.

Clifden suspension bridge - sign

See, just what I said. And this is one attempt to get as much of it in one shot. I did a couple of panoramic multi-shots but none of them worked – too much difference between the shots.

Clifden suspension bridge - span

And, from underneath, with the camera angled to get as much in as possible.

Clifden suspension bridge - beneath

It was a really great place to stop.


Two shots for Sunday. Again, still at the beach on the Riverton Rocks Highway.

Waves hitting the rocks, rotated to get as much of the waves in as possible. Still not sure it looks ok.


And a wavy line in the sand left by the retreating waves.

line in the sand

Nothing special.