30 January 2010

National Bouldering Series at Baring Head

Pleased at sending the crux moves
Aotearoa's National Bouldering Series begins soon, with the second event of the series taking place at Baring Head (the eastern side of the entrance to Wellington Harbour) on 20 February. A great social event, whether you're a top climber like Wellingtonian Dave Kopp (shown here on a V6 (i.e. impossible for ordinary mortals) new problem at last year's event) or a struggler on the low grades (like me).

I’m away from the Internet again for a little while and have been too disorganised to schedule occasional photos for posting during the next couple of weeks. Sorry. Normal service will resume after that.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

28 January 2010

Thunderclouds over the Pohangina Valley

The view up the valley, along the western flank of the southern Ruahine

Aotearoa's feeling the influence of a tropical depression at the moment, and for the last couple of days thunderstorms have been common over much of the country. I drove home this evening still feeling slightly queasy after having had to pay for a new CV joint and Warrant of Fitness for the car, but the sight of immense thunderclouds over the Ruahine Range and the head of the Pohangina took my mind off mere financial woes.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

26 January 2010

Cook Strait cloud

Beyond that horizon: Antarctica
My fascination with clouds and oceans, and particularly the two together, seems inexhaustible. The ferry crossing between the North and South Islands of Aotearoa can be boring, but generally only if it’s a fine, sunny day (a photographer’s nightmare). This time we encountered the marvellous combination of a near calm sea and an almost elegiac sky — the kind that hints at the dawn of time, or maybe its end.
This photo looks south soon after the Monte Stello left Queen Charlotte Sound and entered Cook Strait; the sea’s still swirling with rips and currents at this point. For a vivid account of this ferry crossing on the sister ship Santa Regina, I strongly recommend reading Tony Bridge’s post, Stories from a tin can.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

24 January 2010

Michael Vink in action, New Zealand Cycling Road Race Championship

Michael Vink, in the green and yellow, speeds past
Michael Vink is just 18 years old, yet he turned in an inspired performance at the national cycling road race championships a few weeks ago. Here, he and one other rider lead the peloton by over two and a half minutes. He stayed out in front for nine of the twelve laps despite riding a borrowed bike for the first three laps and losing a minute — and his momentum — after a puncture with three laps to go. The peloton finally caught him only on the last lap. Earlier in the race we’d watched as he led the way up the steep hill climb, apparently relaxed and hardly puffing while the one other rider with him, although grimly staying close, clearly felt the effort.
I panned this photo to help convey the sense of speed. It’s a well known trick, but effective nevertheless.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

23 January 2010

Morning light, Wanaka hills

One of the rewards of waking early

Dawn on the hills to the southwest of Wanaka township suggested a grey, dull day ahead. But shortly after six o’clock the sun slipped between the horizon and the blanket of low cloud and grazed the tussock and rock with a long streak of magnificent light. Soon after, it disappeared.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

21 January 2010

You are being watched (steers, Pohangina valley)

A few cans short of a sixpack
Walk past a paddock of steers and they'll come trotting over to check you out. It's as if they have no idea of the concept of a human being. Curiosity and trepidation compete in their small brains — move suddenly and they'll fling themselves away, only to turn and trot back. I can't help thinking they're not the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Photographed a few years ago, along No. 3 Line, Pohangina valley.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

19 January 2010

View from Josimath, Indian Himalaya, after snow

Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) lived on the slopes opposite Josimath. I could watch them through binoculars from the balcony of my guest house.
Bad weather in December 2006 brought early snow to the mountains around Josimath. When the weather cleared, I could watch light moving across the mountainsides.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

15 January 2010

After the image making, Rishikesh

An unguarded moment?
The same man, after the formal posing, after he'd finished constructing his image. Perhaps this is an example of what Steve McCurry calls “The unguarded moment”?
Compare the two photos, then read Steve’s post on portraiture.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

12 January 2010

Keeping warm, Jodhpur

Burning seems to be a national pastime in India — well, at least where I travelled — although perhaps it's more aptly described as smouldering: usually more smoke than heat. Often the purpose of these fires seems to be not just to keep warm but to dispose of rubbish (as far as I could tell, cardboard, plastic and dried dung formed the main fuel for the small fires I saw), but perhaps their most important function, recognised or not, is as focal points around which to gather. That’s the manager of my guest house on the left with the big grin; the three with uncovered heads I believe are family, and I don’t know who the two grim guys are — possibly behind-the-scenes staff. Mid January, 2007.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

08 January 2010

At the rat temple [2]

Time for a wash
Another photo from the Karni Mata Mandir.

Posting will ease off for the next couple of weeks while I attend to other matters. However, I’ll schedule  a few photos (maybe a couple a week), so if you don’t get automatic notification of a new photo from your feed aggregator, do check back from time to time.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

07 January 2010

At the rat temple

Lives —  like us
At the Karni Mata Mandir (the rat temple) in Deshnoke, Rajasthan. I loved this place.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

06 January 2010

Holy (?) man at Rishikesh

We're all teachers in our own ways

Depending on one's attitude, Rishikesh can manifest as anything from an opportunist's (or outright con-artist's) playground to a centre for spiritual enlightenment. Just where on that spectrum this man fitted, I'm not sure — and I doubt it's appropriate to try to categorise him like that. To what extent was his motivation sincere? Was he simply more adept than most at the game? I don’t know, and don’t even know if those are fair questions.  In the caption accompanying the earlier photo of him, I  noted that "con man or not con man" is an inadequate and deceptive way of thinking. I still feel that way. Whether intentionally or not, he taught me a good lesson, and I’m grateful.
I suspect he’s well used to being photographed — after a couple of photos he indicated for me to wait, removed the blanket from around his shoulders and composed himself as you see here.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

05 January 2010

Morning mist, Pohangina valley

An early morning in mid November 2009; mist hangs over the hills on the western side of the valley.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

02 January 2010

Himatangi beach, New Year's Day

Pterodactyl country

As New Year's day stretched out into afternoon, cloud gathered and the wind strengthened. At Himatangi beach the crowds still hadn't dispersed, although most people had retreated to the shelter of their cars. A few tried new body boards in the grey, churning surf; a wind cart raced back and forth; sunlight scurried in patches along the beach. In the absence of cars and people, the beach seemed prehistoric.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor

01 January 2010

New Year bubble

Don't burst me, please.
On New Year's day we sat in the sun, relaxed, talked, wondered what the new year would bring. Someone had brought a little pot of bubble-making liquid and it proved popular, several people trying to see how large a bubble could be blown, or simply filling the air with the iridescent spheres.

All content © 2009 Pete McGregor