my life in the land down under

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Cycle Hike Pt 2

Here begins part two of our cycle ride in Napier at the end of February (you can see part one here).


View from near our lunch stop – cruise ships in the distance, agapanthus seed heads in the foreground

After leaving the cafe we headed out of town again, and gradually worked our way back down that orange-marked trail on the map. The route soon took us through farmland.




Cyclists coming through!

We felt sorry for these sheep who seemed to have very little feed, water or shelter. By now it was early afternoon, and the day was heating up. The landscape everywhere was so dry and barren in appearance. Not long afterwards the entire North Island was declared a drought area, and we heard stories of farmers in the Waikato having to destroy their animals due to lack of feed. As I write this I’m pleased to say the drought is breaking, and several of the drought areas have had good amounts of rain in the last few days. (Update: The drought has well and truly broken in our area, with very heavy rain and flooding over the past few days!)




Hawkes Bay summer landscape – loved those ‘bunny tails’


Gravel trail


Another gate


Through the gum trees


More evidence of drought – a dried-up stream


The last leg – or should that be, ‘on her last legs’?!

The small camera John carried was much easier to access & operate while cycling; in the afternoon I was finding it increasingly difficult to stop, dismount the bike and wrestle my SLR out of the camera bag to use it each time. Getting back on the bike took more effort each time too, so there was some moaning & groaning involved! As a result I missed a few good shots toward the end of the ride – including one of the old bridge over the Ahuriri estuary (above), which is a local landmark. I did prove to myself that I could carry a camera while riding though!

35km later, we finally made it back to John’s sister’s place, but not before she’d texted us to make sure we were okay. We got back later than she expected – before dark and in time for tea though. 🙂


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Cycle Hike

When we visited John’s sister in Napier at the end of February, we took the bikes with us and rode a cycle trail we had been talking about doing for a while. John has been keen for me to blog about it ever since. We’ve had a busy few weeks, but I finally got around to it…!


Cycle trail map

We followed (some of) the orange trail on the map above; the pen tip shows our starting point. I took my Nikon SLR along for the ride and John took a Nikon point-and-shoot. It was cool and cloudy to start with so good weather for riding, but not so good for photos as the light was very flat.

At the beginning of the trail we rode along the top of a stopbank, with a river hidden by trees down to one side of us, and vineyards and orchards on the other.


Riding along the stop bank




Apple orchards – we saw pickers at work

We reached the coast at Awatoto, then rode north through an industrial area and along Marine Parade to the port, where we saw two cruise ships.


Stony beaches


Colourful comfort stop


Approaching the port


Cruise ship complete with security guard


Parked at the marina

As we were mostly following designated off-road cycle trails, we weren’t having to contend with traffic and stayed safe on the bikes. I did have one ‘close call’ near the marina, when I wasn’t paying sufficient attention to where I was going, almost colliding with a railing alongside the path as I went around a corner. I made a very sudden stop and my body collided with the handlebars instead – thankfully I stayed upright and there were no major injuries. 🙂


Beachside garden


Paved cycle track  along the coastline


Coastline view

We got ‘lost’ a couple of times when we entered suburban streets and the trail was poorly marked, otherwise it was mostly flat and easy to follow. As we reached the most northern point of our ride it was time for a lunch break.


Table decorations in the cafe



To be continued…

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Hair II

To follow up an earlier post, here are some of the studio shots from the hairdressing competitions in Napier at the end of June.

All photographed by John, with assistance from his better half… 😉

Entry, Oceanic Master Award Pt 1 – The Cut

Entry, Urban Womens / Mens Fashion Cut – Newcomer Stylist

Entry, Directional Womens / Mens Fashion Cut – Newcomer Stylist

Entry, Directional Womens / Mens Fashion Cut – Senior Stylist

Entry, Directional Womens / Mens Fashion Cut – Senior Stylist

Entry, Night Hair – Newcomer Stylist

Entry, Night Hair – Newcomer Stylist

Entry, Night Hair – Newcomer Stylist

Entry, Night Hair – Senior Stylist

Entry, Night Hair – Senior Stylist

Entry, Oceanic Master Award Pt 2 – The Conversion

Entry, Oceanic Master Award Pt 2 – The Conversion

Entry, Oceanic Master Award Pt 2 – The Conversion

Entry, Oceanic Master Award Pt 2 – The Conversion

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Late last month we travelled to Napier to photograph the NZARH regional hairdressing competitions. Although our main aim was to capture each of the individual models in a studio setting, I also got to do some photojournalistic-type shots of the action on the cutting floor during the first few events. I think this is my favourite part – except for the lighting, which was a mix of tungsten and fluorescent plus my flash; add to this the varnished wooden floor and walls of the hall where the event was held, and you get a weird colour balance that is difficult to correct. Maybe B&W is the answer…

The first time we attended a hairdressing competition was locally in 2010. I was fascinated by the creativity of colour & cut. It wasn’t just about the model’s head either, but the whole fashion package with makeup and clothing a vital part.

The hair stylists are great to watch in action. Early on in the day one in particular stood out to me; she was both fast and graceful with flourishing gestures. As hairdressing is not an area I personally have any ability in, I appreciated the speed and skill of their hands as they cut, styled, blow-waved… all to a strict time limit. Once the comps start, the room has a manic feel, with high-energy techno music being played almost continuously. We were at the other end of the hall from the cutting floor but the models had difficulty hearing us, and we had to work well as a team to direct them. I think a fair bit of lip-reading and mime was involved!

We photographed the hair comps last year as well, so had a good idea of what was involved and how tired we would be at the end of the day – we weren’t disappointed! We were on our feet for close to 13 hours from arriving at 8am to set up; finally getting all the gear packed into the car again and heading for home at about 9pm after the prize giving. We really appreciated John’s sister, who cooked dinner for us so it just needed a quick reheat in the microwave when we got home.

I can only sympathise with the models who had to be on their feet most of that time too (many wearing high heels) and commend them for their patience and good-naturedness.

Following are a selection of ‘floor photos’:

Model #1

Model #2

Model #3

Model #4


(their job included making sure the stylists were using the right products and no-one got hurt)

Models posing for judging

Judging in progress

Stylist #1

Stylist #2

Stylist #3

Stylist #4