my life in the land down under

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Autumn Glory

Recently, over a family dinner, we were talking about photography and what to do with the photos we’d taken. Digital photography (for me) over the last 10 years+ has led to many unsorted photos being stored on my computer and rarely shared with anyone, which defeats the purpose of photographing. I want to share what I see with other people!

During the discussion we mentioned photo books, AV’s (digital slideshows) and then the subject of this blog came up. Looking back, I see the last post I published was way back in September 2013. A lot has happened since then! As I’m on leave at the moment and family birthdays gave us a good excuse for a photography outing, here is the result.

Thanks for the encouragement Bryce & Kelly, hope you like the photos.

All of the following images were taken at McLaren Falls Park at the weekend, in the company of my husband, sister and mother. It had been raining earlier in the day and there was a cold wind during our visit but we managed to dodge the showers. Other than the lovely autumn colours, the highlight of the afternoon for me was a group of warmly-dressed young women seated on the ground under a tree, sharing a picnic and videoing themselves singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to an absent friend. When we told them it was also Mum’s birthday today, they needed no encouragement to sing to her.

Happy Birthday Mum!



McLaren Falls – main waterfall area


McLaren Falls


Main entrance / exit to the park



Tangled branches



Gingko pathway – for Yvonne


Fallen leaves




Almost bare but still beautiful


Late afternoon sunlight




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Summer Flowers

I love the colourful lushness of flowering trees and plants here at this time of year. It makes me appreciate again how things grow and flower, cycling through the seasons with little or no intervention from us (we are not gardeners!). Some of the following are growing in our garden, others seen while driving around town; all photographed on the last day of 2012.




Jacaranda & church steeple




Pink silk tree (aka Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin)




Pohutukawa flowers




Australian frangipani


New Years Eve sky



A Late Spring

Back in July I posted about the various trees on our section (Trees I Have Known), ending with a couple of photos of a flowering cherry – prunus amanogawa. At that time it was bare;  it flowered recently so I thought a follow-up post was in order.

Flowering cherry on a grey day a couple of weeks ago

Flowering cherry – a closer look

Cherry leaves (the tree is staked)

Blue skies and sunshine yesterday – no tuis so far


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Friday Focus: Diana

John tells me that his first camera was either a Diana or Diana clone.  Like me, he was interested in photography from an early age. His parents gave him the Diana when he was about 9 or 10, thinking it was a toy. When he realised you could actually take photos with it, they bought him some B&W film. He doesn’t remember what happened to the camera or the photos – perhaps we’ll find them in an old album someday, who knows.

So when we saw this camera for sale on TradeMe some time ago we were keen to own it. The auction was due to close while I was at work, but I found out later that John was watching; when my bid was exceeded he bid higher and eventually won it for me – he paid more than I had intended, but how could I complain? 🙂

This is definitely not a precision camera. After spending some time searching on the internet I couldn’t find agreement on aperture settings, and apparently the shutter speed varies. The Diana is known for vignetting and light leaks, and many recommend taping it up with duct tape to prevent film fogging. To start with, I didn’t want to mess mine up with tape, so was keeping it in a light-proof black plastic bag between shots. So far I’ve not had major problems; I still have one film to develop though. It’s also capable of multiple exposures as there’s no shutter lock.

The Camera:

Introducing the Diana

In case you need a reminder to use 120 film

The plastic strap is stiff and tends to get in the way

Base of camera showing exposure settings

The Stats:

Camera Name: Diana (no. 151)
Where Made: Hong Kong (by Great Wall Plastic Factory according to Wikipedia)
Year of Production: 1960’s – 1970’s
Serial Number: unmarked
Film Type / Neg Size: Takes 16 4×4 cm frames on 120 (medium format) film.
Lens: Single-element plastic lens
Shutter: unmarked
Shutter Speeds: apparently variable between 1/30 – 1/200 sec, more often 1/50 or 1/100sec
Apertures: Sun / Cloudy / Overcast (maybe f16, f6.3, f4.5 or f19, f13, f11 – depends on the model and which website you read!)
Exposure Meter: none
Focusing: Zone focusing with settings of 4-6ft, 6-12ft, 12ft-infinity.

The Photos:

These are from the first film I put through the Diana. I wanted a range of subject material, so went for a walk in the park, visited a old cemetery, the beach, and the boardwalk around our local estuary; all places with great photographic potential. I like the dreamlike effect the Diana gives, and the novelty of the square format. Composition is a challenge as I’m far more familiar with a rectangular format. There are some great examples of square compositions online: one I came across recently is Electrolite by Shannon Richardson. There are many many photos archived on this site; so far I’ve barely scratched the surface. Its also worth doing a search for toy camera websites.

Miniature railway lines

Picnic table


Another tree (actually it might have been the other side of the same one, I forget)


Estuary boardwalk

Yet another tree

Seagull on the beach (yes, that tiny white thing on the waters edge is a seagull)

Click on the links below for my previous posts on vintage cameras:

Friday Focus: Introduction

Friday Focus: Empire Scout

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Signs of Spring

There hasn’t been much time for updating the blog recently. In fact I was skiving off cooking dinner to write this! My workplace has been extra-busy and short-staffed over the past few weeks, so that has been taking a fair bit of my energy.

Things are looking up though – spring is on the way! We have recently had daffodils and strongly-scented earlicheer in the house, and now have freesias flowering so couldn’t resist picking a few for a vase. Some of the flowering cherries have also been in blossom (see photos below), though ours hasn’t passed the bud stage yet. A number of tuis were busy feeding as I was photographing the blossom but I didn’t have the time or the quick reflexes to capture them on camera – I did try.

The learning curve of photography, social media and life in general continues…

…I joined Pinterest and attempted to figure out how to use it (the reaction from the other member of the household was ‘oh no, not another time waster!!’). 😉
…visited the vintage camera section on TradeMe (our Ebay equivalent) for the first time in a while, and made two purchases – more on this at a later date.
…made a movie with my Nikon D7000 showing the faulty operation of one of the aforementioned cameras, edited it in iMovie, and uploaded it to You-tube for the seller to view. I have to acknowledge this was John’s suggestion and I couldn’t have done it without his help. He suggested I might make a You-tube star someday! 😀

This last week we have been busier than usual with social events.

…our camera club annual trophy competition – we didn’t have any entries in this year, but enjoyed the evening regardless; it was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and also get to know some newer club members.
…a work colleague’s farewell dinner – we ate at a Mexican restaurant for possibly the first time (yum). Watching food programmes like MasterChef has given me an interest in trying different cuisines. Now we just need the time and money to visit all the local restaurants! 🙂
…two family birthdays and a dinner out to celebrate – Happy Birthday to Levi for last week and Bryce for yesterday.
…we found out a few days ago that my eldest nephew has just got engaged – congrats to Josh & Mandy!

Flowering Cherries #1

Flowering Cherries #2