28 February 2009

Bob bouldering

Bob on 'Jaded'Last Sunday I photographed at the annual Baring Head bouldering competition, on the south-eastern tip of Wellington harbour. I climbed, too — nothing spectacular, but I loved the feel of moving on real rock again.

Here, Bob Keegan tops out on Jaded (graded V5: that's incomprehensibly hard if you've never climbed seriously; a warm-up climb for the elite). Dave Kopp watches in the lower left of the photo, after spotting Bob through the crux of the boulder problem ("spotting" means being ready to guide the climber's body, particularly the head and neck area, away from dangerous landing spots like rocks in the event of a fall).

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

27 February 2009


Young hedgehogI spotted this little hedgehog — presumably one of this summer's youngsters — snuffling along the side of the road as I biked hurriedly home a couple of days ago. The light had almost gone (hence the hurried pedalling), but I felt compelled to stop and lie down on the road for the photo.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

26 February 2009

Twilight, Southern Ruahine Range from No. 2 Line

Southern Ruahine twilightYesterday I left my bike ride until late evening and took the camera with me. It was worth it. The view is from halfway up No. 2 Line, looking North-East along the southern Ruahine Range. The range in the distance, with the tops just touched by cloud, is the Ngamoko Range, an outlier of the main Ruahine Range, from which it's separated by the headwaters of the Pohangina River.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

25 February 2009

Beachcombers, Birdlings Flat

On Birdlings FlatSome live here and search the beach every day; others just visit. Out there somewhere lies Antarctica.

Birdlings Flat is just South of Banks Peninsula, in the South Island. We visited in January this year.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

24 February 2009

Beach boulder

Boulder on the beachIn the late evening the small cove just around the corner from Flounder Bay seems like somewhere a castaway might wander, yearning for the sight of a sail on the horizon.

Shortly before I photographed this I'd been standing on one of these massive boulders a little further out into the surf, with a little blue penguin swimming in the surging sea just in front of where I was standing.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

21 February 2009

Friends at Kileswar

Young guys at KileswarSometimes young guys are the same the world over. At Kileswar, in the Barda Hills, Gujarat.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

20 February 2009

Mr Sharma, desert historian and activist

Mr SharmaMr N.K. Sharma founded Jaisalmer's Folklore Museum in 1984 and the Desert Cultural Centre in 1987. I chatted with him and photographed him there in early 2007.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

19 February 2009

Plumbeous water redstart, Rishikesh

Plumbeous water redstart on the Ganges at RishikeshOne evening a short distance upstream from Rishikesh, I watched this little chap (yes, a male) preening on a rock at the edge of the Ganges. Rhyacornis fuliginosa, I'm pleased to say, is classified by the IUCN as being of "least concern", although this doesn't mean it's abundant throughout its entire range.
That little black pellet on the rock in front of him is something he coughed up — as far as I could tell, mostly the hard bits of invertebrates he'd eaten.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

18 February 2009

Pine play

PinesMore play; a composite of multiple hand-held photos of a small stand of pines at the end of No. 1 Line.

[In case you haven't found it already, there's a new post on Pohanginapete]

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

17 February 2009

The beet grows on

BeetLooks better than it tastes.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

16 February 2009

The id at 2 a.m.

inarticulableOut here the night has no street lights; at 2 a.m. one sees only moonlight through curtains, dark shapes, the idea of things. The night releases what one seldom sees in daylight.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

15 February 2009

Evening over the southern Ruahine

Evening skyThe view not far from my back door one evening just over a week ago.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

14 February 2009

Stock yards, Pohangina valley

Stock yards, Pohangina valleyThese loading yards are further up the valley from my place, on the opposite (western) side of the river. That's the southern Ruahine Range mostly hidden by cloud in the background. I photographed this between showers of rain on a miserable day in Spring last year (2008).
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

13 February 2009

Water lily; Kileswar, Gujarat

Water lily flowerThis water lily was flowering in the dam at Kileswar, in Gujarat's Barda Hills. Muggers (crocodiles) lurked here, too — an effective disincentive for swimming, despite the heat.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

12 February 2009

Forest at Pourangaki hut

Bush at Pourangaki hut, Ruahine RangeAfter rain; mist clearing. Photographed from beside the hut.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

11 February 2009

Makiekie Stream, Ruahine Range [B&W]

Makiekie StreamKnights Track starts at about this point in Makiekie Stream (a.k.a. Coal Creek) and climbs steeply to the summit of the Ngamoko Range. From there, one can traverse the range or drop — again, steeply — to the Pohangina River almost directly opposite Leon Kinvig hut. In the right kind of weather it's a lovely journey the whole way.
All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

10 February 2009

Pohangina valley pumpkin

Just a pumpkin
Enough of subtlety! (For the time being). It's just a pumpkin, but I love those colours.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

Grasses, last light [Black & White]

Grasses [B&W]In a comment on the previous photo, Robin Andrea suggested these kinds of photos, which attempt "to convey the real sense of light in an otherwise darkening forest", in some ways work better in black and white. In fact, I'd tried it as a B&W but opted for the colour version (which in fact has been slightly desaturated as the "straight" colour version looked ugly to me). However, after reading Robin Andrea's comment I went back to the B&W version and wasn't so sure of my original preference.
Anne-Marie also had reservations about the foreground grasses, and while the B&W conversion does nothing for the strong, linear dark-light demarcation, I wonder whether it subdues the dominance of those bright sunlit grasses? (Of course, the possibility remains that on an uncalibrated monitor — like most, especially those in Internet cafes and hostels — the contrast and colour might be distorting the photo.)
So, here's the B&W version, and I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

09 February 2009

Grasses, last light

Summer grasses, last light
Just before the sun disappeared behind the western hills, a shaft of light stretched out to touch these grasses. I half expected Fenris-wolf to appear from the dark beyond.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

08 February 2009

Mungo River in morning sun

Mungo River
The Mungo is one of the headwater tributaries of the Hokitika River on the West Coast of the South Island. Wild and beautiful country, with steeply graded, swift, powerful rivers that rise with astonishing — and frightening — speed, but fall just as quickly when the rain eases. It pays to wait; "giving it a go" has cost many lives. This is a detail of the Mungo river in morning sun, just above the Mungo–Park confluence.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

07 February 2009

Mt Cook buttercup

Ranunculus lyallii
The Mt Cook buttercup, Ranunculus lyallii, used to be commonly called the Mt Cook lily, despite being unrelated to lilies (and being widespread in New Zealand's Southern Alps; i.e. not restricted to the Aoraki – Mt Cook area). It's a spectacular flower, particularly when one encounters it in abundance in its alpine habitat. I photographed this on the slopes of Avalanche Peak in Arthurs Pass National Park.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

06 February 2009

Kea, Avalanche Peak [3]

Kea, Avalanche Peak
Another in the series of photos of kea on Avalanche Peak, Arthurs Pass National Park.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

05 February 2009

Paddock by Tokeawa stream

Tokeawa Stream, Pohangina valley
Tokeawa stream runs through this paddock on its way to the Pohangina. This is how it felt a few days before last Christmas.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

04 February 2009

Snow leopard [Nainital zoo]

Snow leopard, Naini Tal zooSorry about the absence for the last 4–5 days; a new wireless router wrecked my modem and I've been waiting for a replacement. Everything seems to be running fine now (touch wood).

When I jotted down a few thoughts about snow leopards in June 2006 I had no idea I'd see one (albeit captive) in India later in the year. This female snow leopard occupied pride of place at the Nainital zoo in Uttaranchal (now officially Uttarakhand). While the idea of caged snow leopards must be an affront of the highest order to anyone with any sensitivity to the nature of these cats, at least some attempt had been made to provide her with a large, moderately complex enclosure. However, she apparently only enjoys it on alternate days, as she and the male snow leopard take turns in the cage; half their time they're locked up out of view behind the enclosure.

But despite her confinement, her instincts hadn't been crushed. I visited late in the day; everyone else had gone, and I saw her crouched, drinking, then looking about. She saw me moments after this photo. Perhaps she heard the click of the shutter. She turned to face me, then crouched. I knew what was coming — years of playing with cats leave one with no doubt.

She made a little run at me — I have a blurry photo of her in full, direct charge — then she scampered off into her artificial cave. I squeezed behind a nearby tree, waited a minute or so, then peered out. She was doing the same, peering out of her cave at me. We played hide and seek for a little while before she finally lay down and just watched me. I was almost in tears.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor