Archives for the month of: August, 2012

Oh, this winter is starting to get to me. It is raining, raining, raining. Alright, this is not quite true. In the morning when I make breakfast it looks like a really nice day, but by the time I’ve finished the clouds are back and it is raining again. The light is dull and grey.

I come from a cold winter country, with thick layers of snow, but I was never this cold in Germany. The houses there are well insulated. In New Zealand insulation is just starting to become more widespread. Old men walk down the road in the middle of winter in shorts and gum boots. Okay, the temperatures are generally above freezing point in Auckland, but they must be measuring it in wind-still corners. There is nothing between here and Antarctica and blasts from the South can freeze the proverbial off a brass monkey.

Thankfully the worst of winter lasts only a month or so. So it should be over soon. My magnolia tree already has buds, the first sign of spring. Hurrah.

I find it difficult to capture the essence of the thermal fields. Disappointingly, the resulting images look like proof of a very careless industrial site. Something you could take to the environment court to get the place shut down. But it is all natural and just a reminder that we are only here as guests. Nature has its own mind!

Places like this must have inspired all the stories about the Devil being smelly and appearing in a cloud of smoke. It is very eerie. I am sure he lives somewhere around here.

We went down to Rotorua last weekend to show our visitor the geysers and mudpools. It is definitely a “must see” place on the New Zealand agenda. It smells like rotten egg and bubbles and steams everywhere. And no, this image is not photoshopped! This is the colour of the lake, which is called Devil’s bath. The colour stems from it’s richness in minerals, particularly sulphur. However, it can change colour depending on the ambient lighting. We were lucky, we experienced the water looking this poisonous lime green.

The area was already a “tourist” destination in the 1800’s. Travellers made the trip from Europe to New Zealand to see the Pink and White Terraces, one of the natural wonders of the world. The journey took several months, so in those days it certainly wasn’t a mass destination. Even coming down from Auckland, now a 3.5 hour drive, was a week long adventure. Starting with a steam boat and then through relatively inaccessible terrain, by horse, dinghy and on  foot.

They terraces  were destroyed by a volcano eruption in 1886, buried under a thick layer of debris.

In and around Rotorua one is constantly reminded that the earth is still active. A little bit further down the country, sixty-odd kilometers away from where we were, Mt Tongariro had a little spew on Monday night. The volcano is visible  in the distance in the image below. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen next. Yesterday I heard on the radio, Mt Tongariro could do three things: Either nothing else, or it could continue similar volcanic activity of the same strength, or it could explode big time.

Mmmhm, I could have made this prediction myself.

Don’t they look scruffy? This is a close-up of the shags who watched the airshow in yesterday’s post. These birds are fantastic divers. They can stay underwater for quite a long time chasing their prey like little torpedoes. They have less fat than other water birds and their feathers are less oily, therefore they sink faster and deeper than other birds. But because they have less oil they actually get wet.

When they come up after a dive they shake their feathers and spread their wings to dry. Unfortunately there was no sun last weekend, and they didn’t feel like hunting. I watched them for a long time sitting in the rain and I even went back the next morning.
The rain had stopped and I could capture one with spread wings sitting under the tree like batman junior.

Ah well, it was a wonderful peaceful Sunday morning.

You might have noticed that it was very quiet around the dedes lately and I have been putting photographs up on my blog. I did this as I was biding my time and holding my breath.

I have entered an installation of five dede puppets into the Wallace Art Awards, a very reputable New Zealand award for contemporary visual art. Yesterday I got an email saying that my work has been accepted as one of the Finalists. I accidentally opened the email without preparing myself and sat there squealing for a couple of minutes. It must have been such a strange noise as a businessman who has his office further down the corridor came running in thinking I was having a heart attack!

It is an annual award. You send in a photograph of your work first. From this a panel of three notable artists select the finalists. If  your work has been selected, the next step is to send in the real thing. From there the work is further whittled down and some selected work goes into an exhibition from which the winners are chosen. The prizes are overseas residencies to further your artistic development.

The grand opening is on the 3rd of September, so I still have to hold my breath for a bit. But I can assure you for me and the dedes it means a lot that they are accepted. Getting thus far is just tremendous.

On a less serious note:

This week was supposed to be bird week on my blog. These images were the ones I had originally selected for today. These are shags sitting in a tree. You have to look at their heads. I call the sequence Air Acrobatics.

This here is such a typical image when you try to have lunch at the lake side. It was raining again on Saturday and we were the only people having an outdoor lunch, so all the gulls hung around us. But they are actually well behaved. They waited until we were done before they swooped in and did their scavenging. No way the few crumbs that fell from our bread could have feed the entire flock. There was a lot of bickering going on.

Writing is one of those procrastinating tasks. When I don’t do it on a regular basis, it will fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, I will give it a break over the weekend. My visual Chinese Whispers has come to an end and I will go out and take new photographs. I am pretty sure I will pick up writing on Monday again. I certainly hope I will have captured some images that are worth showing :).

The last image was about feeling small and unimportant, in the sense of having absolutely no impact on the big wide world – of being incapable of making an impression. This smallness of being is the connection to today’s photograph.

In the light of a beautiful sunset the feeling of smallness is awe!

The connection to yesterday’s image are the wings, otherwise they have nothing in common. I could easily write a twenty page essay about the meaning of this photograph, which is called Fly shit on the world, but don’t worry, I won’t. It is obvious that there are many different layers to it.

It is another example of the images I thought would only appeal to me as the artist. I was surprised the other day when I had it up on my screen at work and a friend walked in and said to me: “Print this on A1 and I’ll hang it up.”  Before I could be flattered he added “What is it?”  I guess he must have been attracted to the colours in the first instance. I couldn’t enter into a discussion with him, he was gone as quickly as he had come and along the way lost his chance to get a print-out of this one. I am happy to give him another one of my images though, one that is more easily understood.