Autumn in the city

It the first day of autumn and a little cool with a breezy southerly but it was still a good day for a walk in the city. The NZ Festival for 2014 has recently started and the weekend saw a number of events taking place on the waterfront. Keryn was getting a haircut so Alayna and I had some time together checking out the sights.

IMG 5635Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Perfectly innocent shipping containers.

Beside the statue of Solace of the Wind eight shipping containers had been placed in two rows of four. Approaching the containers there were strange sounds emanating and one of the containers had an open door. Inside was a strange sight.

IMG 5624Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Sorting the hair while the frozen fish wait for their icy prisons to melt.

At the back of the container a woman sat at a table and she was using tweezers to pick up hairs from a heaped pile and delicately straightening them before laying each hair in a new pile. Between her and the open door there was shelving which held blocks of ice each lit so a fish could just be made out suspended in the frozen water. There was no explanation to be found (that I saw) so I shall assume this was a scene stolen from an unshot Terry Gilliam movie and transported to a random corner of Wellington.

IMG 5627Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Do you have Metaphobia?

Nearby was a complex of shipping containers with a variety of weird and wonderful goings on. There was an open container with two LCD screens facing away from each other in the center and cameras set up so that each screen reflected the view from the other side. It would have been easy to look around each screen to see the same view but the camera and forced disconnection allowed people to act up where they normally would have no reason. I can see why there were signs up warning about metaphobia.

IMG 5630Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Container drip.

There were a few water features; one container on its end with a shallow pool at the bottom and a constant drip coming from above and another being constantly flooded by an overflowing bath on its roof (the bath was occupied the first time I walked past).

IMG 5631Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Weaving.

There were a few different takes on weaving and knots. The container seen above had a constantly working group of people, both site workers and the general public, tying knots and creating a messy web. Another container seemed to house a project management group who had their planning displayed on the walls and chalkboards to the side asking for more lemons. The goal seemed to be to sew lemons together, I’m not sure to what purpose.

There was also what could have been a death reformation group (“help us change our ways!” on the sign next to the sythe propped up against the container wall, the blade replaced by brightly coloured balloons. I’m sure there was more to puzzle over as well.

IMG 5641Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Circus.

Heading back towards the city I came upon a small circus act. Alayna and I watched juggling, a rope gymnastic piece and an entertaining finale involving members of the public (hairy man, big man, family man, wo-man), more juggling, a strong man performance and a couple of unicycles.

IMG 5647Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Frozen dancers.

WE met up with Keryn again (with her lovely haircut) and promptly headed back to the container quarter to show her the sights. Returned past Te Papa a group of dancers had appeared. They were still when we came on the scene, frozen in place. Then the music started and one at a time they came to life with short dances, each perhaps themed on a different Pacific culture.

Reaching for the lens cap

Reaching for the lens cap

WE then grabbed some lunch and headed to the botanical gardens to eat and feed Alayna. As we had out lunch Alayna sat quietly in the pram, idly chewing on what parts she could grab. My lens cap became a good distraction as I tried to get some photos, Alayna duly rewarded by some chew time (and then a better chew toy, Sophie the Giraffe). It’d be good if every Saturday was this pleasant.

Amanda Palmer Wellington Ninja Parade

Amanda Palmer is back in Wellington as part of a world tour and she decided to lead a parade around various Wellington locations, stopping here and there to entertain the following. The initial list of locations expanded as some of the more clued by places in Wellington invited her to bring her rag-tag army along for a visit.

IMG 3036Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A piano on the waterfront

Starting at Frank Kitts park at the harbour side piano belonging to the nearby Tuatua Cafe Amanda sang a few songs accompanied by ukulele and piano. With a decent crowd in attendance it was then off to the Wellington Library, everyone following a flag toting local. There were families, friends, musicians and the odd ninja all parading to the library in the evening sun in a ragged line, all wondering what would happen next.

IMG 3061Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Parading

We all filed into the library and most simply sat down as we waited for Amanda to come in. Once Amanda was with us she was presented with the (sacred?) blue Library ukulele. All of a sudden identical blue ukulele’s were appearing everywhere and the library one wasn’t seeming so special any more. With some tuning issues evident Amanda handed back the library instrument and then treated us to more songs playing on her own uke, including a quiet-cussing Map of Tasmania and a beautiful version of the Radiohead song Creep.

IMG 3074Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Presenting the library ukulele

IMG 3085Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Singing!

From the library the parade then headed to Te Papa. It was cold but with no wind and a low evening light the walk was very pleasant and the harbour sparkled as we passed by. Arriving at the museum we got some quick guidance from our leader and then we all quietly entered, making our way upstairs to Our Space for more stories and music.

IMG 3096Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Parading again

IMG 3104Photo by Brendon & Keryn

More singing!

IMG 3119Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The long view

More songs performed and then a task was set for the audience. Everyone was to draw something on a piece of paper and after 10 minutes or so it was outside where everyone lined up so Amanda could look at all the artwork. Taking her time Amanda moved along the line videoing the whole way and getting a good look at everyones creative drawings.

IMG 3149Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The other long view

IMG 3165Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Videoing art and artists

IMG 3170Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Milling

Recording complete the parade reformed and headed for Cuba Street, coming to a stop at a stage just up from the Bucket Fountain and outside Ferret Bookshop. After encouraging the purchase of books there were more tunes followed by a signing of any books people had bought. It was then onward to the top of Cuba Street and the wonderfully named Laundry on Cuba, and unfortunately that was where I had to depart the parade. It was fun that far, and I imagine only more fun for the remainder.

IMG 3175Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Performing on Cuba

IMG 3200Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Singing books and more books

IMG 3210Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A final photo of books

Some more photos can be found on Flickr.

Competition results, a book and a calendar

I’ve been slowly thinking through what I might enter for two of the bigger NZ based competitions coming up, the DPhoto Amateur Photographer of the Year and NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year. For the NZ Geographic competition I can take some encouragement from the Flickr group they promote. The editor and photo editor are regularly going through the submitted photos and choosing favourites and every two months three photos are selected to be included in the next published magazine. One of my photos was selected for the latest magazine, issue 115, and I got paid for the privilege as well which is always a bonus.

Night glowPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The Balloons over Waikato night glow, as seen in NZ Geographic issue 115.

Kudos must go to my sister Bridget. We visited Hamilton after our Auckland trip, staying just one night that happened to coincide with the night glow event. Keryn and I were blissfully unaware that the balloon event was on until Bridget suggested we attend. It was a pleasant evening watching the crowd grow and then the balloons first inflate and then glow in time to music.

Also coming out shortly from NZ Geographic is a book celebrating New Zealand using a selection of photos from the Flickr group submitted over the past 12 months. The book was to be called Image Nation but now has the name Southern Exposure, it may change again. I’ve got a photo in the book, a shot taken at the Malaysian Night Market in Wellington last year.

Malaysian Night Market in WellingtonPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Opera House Lane transformed for one night into a food market.

I’ve also had success in a couple of recent photo competitions. As last year I have been highly commended in the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet photo competition for 2012 in the wildlife section with following portrait of a pukeko.

MG 1840Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A pukeko in the reeds.

And yesterday I found out I won the landscape category of Tiritiri Matangi 2012 photo competition with the Lighthouse and Stars photo. The photo will probably be included in the Tiritiri Matangi 2013 calendar so I’ll put a link up to where it can be purchased once its available. I suspect I’ll be using that photo in a few other competitions this year (terms and conditions allowing).

Tiritiri Matangi LighthousePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The lighthouse and the stars.

Wednesday is for drinking with the seldom seen kid

Elbow is a band that only had a limited awareness of when we were in the UK. This was an oversight on my part, they’re now one of my favourite bands and now that we’ve seen them live they’re also one of my favourite live bands.

We drove up to Auckland for a Wednesday night concert at The Powerstation. We waited outside for doors to open and chatted with other people and the consensus was that the audience would be largely British and this proved to be the case. The concert was fantastic, right from the opening act Boy & Bear who impressed a crowd largely ignorant of this up and coming Australian band.

Boy & BearPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Boy & Bear @ The Powerstation.

Everything turned up a notch when Guy Garvey and the rest of the band appeared on stage, the crowd enthusiastically applauding every song as Guy charmed us all, even suppressing the small loud group near the stage into quietness with his polite and gracious banter. For full reviews read the following, I think the Stuff article is the closest to the experience we had:

www.stuff.co.nz/…/Review Elbow at The Powerstation

www.nzherald.co.nz/…/Concert review: Elbow, Powerstation

ElbowPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Elbow @ The Powerstation.

ElbowPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Elbow @ The Powerstation.

ElbowPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Elbow @ The Powerstation.

And finally, a video just in case you haven’t heard of Elbow before, this is Lippy Kids off their latest album Build a Rocket Boys:

 

Circenses

Lining upPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Lining up.

The New Zealand International Arts Festival that has been on in Wellington finished yesterday. We only managed to get to one show in the end but it was a good one. Circenses by Circus Ronaldo was enormously fun combining a traditional circus show with the added drama of peak behind the scenes. For the first half we were in the audience watching the circus unfold, a love story eventually taking over from the feats of skill and strength on show. For the second half we switched with the other half of the audience and found seats behind the scenes and got to watch the same circus but this time we were privy to the backstage oranisation, dramas and snap decisions when things went wrong. Small mysteries from the first half show were solved as we saw cannons explode by mistake, tricks come undone through misadventure and the tensions between show members simmer and boil over. Things also changed so it wasn’t all the same second time around and the climax was surprising and entertaining.

BalancedPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Balanced.

Help her down?Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Coming to help her down?.

There were a few well know people in the crowd, Sir Ian McKellen was front row for the second half and Kiran Shah, also in the front, was involved in a little bit of audience interaction with the knife throwing, wildly flirting, axe wielding strong woman. Keeping up with everything that was going on was part of the fun, everyone performing even when they looked like they weren’t doing much with little glances and brief interactions all part of the story.

Circus Ronaldo is a family run group with a history going back generations and there were three generations of Ronaldo in the show. If you get a chance to see these fantastic performers and their wonderful shows don’t think twice, just go and enjoy.

The Harbour Union @ St Peter’s Hall

In late September we attended another concert at St Peter’s Hall in Paekakariki. This time around we were treated to Lyttleton band The Harbour Union with support from Tiny Lies. The Harbour Union is made up of a group of like-minded musicians from Lyttleton who came together to record an album to generate some money to help those affected by the Christchurch earthquakes. Playing alt-country/folk music they lit up the Hall with their music and humour and by the last song the dance floor was full of happy people.

Tiny LiesPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Tiny Lies with Marlon Williams from The Unfaithful Ways.

The Harbour UnionPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The Harbour Union fill the stage.

The Harbour UnionPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Songs and stories.

The Harbour UnionPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Filling the hall.

Rugby World Cup adventures (no rugby involved)

While we haven’t been going to any of the games in the Rugby World Cup taking place in New Zealand at the moment we have been out and about in Wellington during a couple of the big weekends for games. The All Blacks versus Canada pool match was played on the same day as the Wellington leg of the Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk and there were lots of things happening in the city including just about the whole New Zealand Navy in the harbour as part of their 70th anniversary celebrations.

Photowalk in WellingtonPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A group of photographers.

We met at the designated meetup point and then the group was off taking photos. I had already planned to divert from the prescribed path and before long we had lost everyone else, seeing only a couple of people along the way and at the end. I wasn’t that surprised, there was so much going on that walking in a group wasn’t really the best way to see everything. We went to two markets, walked past at least half a dozen Navy ships (though we didn’t get to board any due to the long queues), watched a sheep shearing demonstration, watching fish being bought from a boat, briefly talked to two tape artists making a giant mural on the side of Te Papa, walked through the fan zone to see a man dressed as batman watching a soul singer on the stage, were part of the massive crowds, took photos of the massive crowds, saw a seal on the waterfront, heard accents from multiple countries, enjoyed some of the costumes people were wearing for the rugby, watched a flight display from the Red Checkers (why are the aircraft yellow?), considered going ice skating but settled for just watching others make it look easy and walked a lot.

OfficerPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Happy to pose for a photo.

Solace in the windPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Solace in the Wind.

Tape art at Te PapaPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Tape art.

Tape art and artistPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Tape artist Erica Duthie.

First time shearingPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Not bad for a first time shearer (though she is a hairdresser by trade).

BeardPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Insert beard joke here.

Playing for the cameraPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Red for Canada.

NZ Red CheckersPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Red Checkers (curiously yellow).

Te Kaha mooredPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Te Kaha moored for a visit.

We were also in the city before the recent South Africa verses Australia quarter final. Catherine had arranged a picnic at the Dell in the Botanical Gardens and we had a nice morning of catching up with friends and eating in the sun. Later we caught the Woolshed Sessions playing in the Courtney Place fan zone and their country/folk tunes suited the mellow atmosphere perfectly.

Justin Firefly ClarkePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Justin Firefly Clarke.

Age PryorPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Age Pryor.

Jess ChambersPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Jess Chambers.

Andy HummelPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Andy Hummel.

Al FraserPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Al Fraser.

Peter HillPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Peter Hill.

On Saturday night

A return to Paekakariki and the St Peter’s Hall was on the cards last Saturday. We had tickets to see the NZ band An Emerald City play.

We arrived early to find an empty hall and a few people setting up so gave our tickets, got stars drawn on our hands to prove we were allowed back and then walked down to the beach to see if there would be a sunset. It was very overcast but the sun managed to shine through gaps in the clouds. We walked down to the beach and along to a concrete structure surrounding a pipe that emptied into the sea, taking a few more shots as the waves came in. There was also a retaining wall made out of old tires, black with orange highlighting from the fading light.

MG 1434Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Paekakariki beach sunset.

MG 1452Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The concrete pipe

MG 1485Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The tire wall

Back to the Hall it was still mostly empty but we decided to stay anyway. The bar had just opened, comedy ensuing as we had to stoop down to see through the opening to the bar area off the side of the main hall. The venue slowly filled up and then we had a performance from the opening act (named as Shipwreck on some websites). It was one man and his guitar. Hailing from France we were treated to what sounded like traditional French folk songs sung in fine voice and accompanied by lovely playing. It was a pity that some decided to talk through the songs, but I enjoyed the short set.

Next up was An Emerald City. Lined up on stage behind an array of instruments the band launched into their first song, the music slowly building up in layers of sound. All the songs were instrumental with only the occasional chanting or guttural vocalisation added to the mix. Coming across as a mix of world music & progressive rock the sounds slowly got people engaged and eventually there was a group of people dancing in front of the stage. We were seated at a table near the front and slowly found ourselves moving further back to give room to those dancing. By the end of the set most were on their feet and the encore, made up at the time, was enthusiastically applauded.

MG 1526Photo by Brendon & Keryn

An Emerald City

MG 1570Photo by Brendon & Keryn

People beginning to dance

MG 1690Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Dancing becoming more popular

MG 1730Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One of the more interesting instruments

MG 1731Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Playing through injury

MG 1779Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One last song

An enjoyable night ended with a quick walk back to the car. The good music, the warmth of the crowd and St Peter’s Hall a happy memory as we drove home

Thirty Six

My birth day was an event filled day. After opening a few presents we drove to Petone and spent a short time wandering the Petone Fair stalls we caught up with Sam and Jules and their friend Emma over a drink. From Petone it was north to Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt to watch some of the Grail of Chivalry events including medieval foot combat, jousting and trick horse riding. The weather was warm and we sat on a hillside eating lunch while watching people in armour engaged in mock battles on the field below. After eating we stood near the jousting field and watched richly garbed knights have too with long jousting poles and then moved into the shade as Joe Lumsden’s Rough Riders took their horses over jumps, through fire and performed stunts.

Going to hit you!Photo by Brendon & Keryn

At battle.

Joust knightPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A knight in armour.

ClashPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Jousting.

JumpPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Leaping the flames.

One horse is not enoughPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Why restrict yourself to one horse?

The end of the dayPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Armour away for the end of the day.

Once the entertainment was finished it was back to the car and onward to Martinborough. We had tickets to the Day on the Green concert held at Alana Estate with Crowded House headlining with support from Supergroove and Seth Hapu. We joined Lydia and Will and some of their friends on a bank overlooking the stage for the first couple of acts, eating food, having a few drinks and conversing. Will had his birthday last week and Lydia’s was the next day so it was a meeting of people getting older. We left when Supergroove finished and made our way to our seats in the posh area, I’d convinced Keryn that seeing as it was my birthday a little extravagance was called for and we had seats right at the front middle of the stage.

Alana EstatePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Alana Estate.

Brendon & KerynPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Us.

Lydia & WillPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Lydia & Will.

Hold the notePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Neil Finn.

Crowded HousePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Crowded House.

Imploring the crowdPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Serenading the audience.

Encouraging the crowdPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Encouraging the singing.

Crowded House were excellent as usual, and the crowd was very enthusiastic singing along to all the hits. We had a few extra-enthusiastic people around us and got up to dance and save our view from the encroachment of others, and it was probably better if less comfortable standing. The encore was long and involved a few song choices from the crowd. At the end the band got together on the stage before thanking the audience and then they all jumped off the stage to thank people in person, darting off to bury themselves in the crowd. It was a good night to end a good day.

Oh, and totally unrelated, one of my photos got used on AFP’s blog, that was nice ;)

AFP Ninja Gig

There is a conference underway in Wellington that goes by the name of Webstock, I did not attend. Two of the guest speakers were musicians that I like, Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. This evening just gone Amanda played a ninja gig* at the Wellington Civic Square and invited Jason along for the party, and I was there to see and hear.

It was an interesting and engaging evening. True, half the time I couldn’t actually hear the music over the general hubbub of people but it was fun none-the-less. Jason’s arrival livened things up, his maniac accordion playing going down a treat. There were duets and requests, crowd surfing and an acoustic ukulele cover of Radiohead’s song Creep. It was wonderful, more so perhaps for being free. Naturally I took some photos.

MG 8452Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Amanda Palmer plays the square.

MG 8613Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Jason Webley joins in.

MG 8680Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Duet.

MG 8720Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Crowd surfing!

MG 8740Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Finishing with Radiohead.

More photos can be found on Flickr.

* Almost spontaneous music event organised off the cuff through social media outlets such as twitter.

Down Paekakariki way

I’ve just started another run of night shifts and was happy to see that a few musicians I like were playing at the Paekakariki in the Park event at a time that meant I could get a decent sleep before driving north to catch the music. Running for the first time this year Paekakariki in the Park is a free community festival with live music, stalls and a few carnival sideshows including a slippery slide which proved exceptionally popular with the kids.

Chatting by the seaPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Chatting with a sea view.

We only had a few hours between me getting up and having to get home for dinner and getting ready for work so it was good that both Rosy Tin Teacaddy and The Eastern were playing in the available window of time. We’d caught the start of Rosy Tin Teacaddy’s performance the other day after Jess Chambers set at the Summer Magic concert series. The Eastern we had previously seen open for Fleetwood Mac in New Plymouth last year.

Rosy Tin TeacaddyPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Rosie Tin Teacaddy.

Rosy Tin TeacaddyPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Billy Earl.

Rosy Tin TeacaddyPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Betty Grey.

Both acts were really good. Rosy Tin Teacaddy had a few power issues at the start of their set but once that was all sorted out we sat back and relaxed to perfect sunny afternoon folk music (pity it wasn’t sunny). The Eastern were more energetic and after a few songs they had plenty of people up and dancing along to their lively sounds. It was very much a community event and everyone seemed chilled and happy, it was a pity we couldn’t have stayed longer. Hopefully we’ll be back next year.

The EasternPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The Eastern.

The EasternPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Adam McGrath.

The EasternPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Bass.

The EasternPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Happy crowd.

More dancingPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Dancing.

ASB Gardens Magic: Jess Chambers

Monday was a holiday here in Wellington and it was nice to spend the day together, especially as I had been working on the weekend. We spent the morning with Sam and Jules checking out some wedding venues in the Wairarapa. It looks like a decision has been made on where they’ll be getting married, they’ve just to to finalise all the important details like a confirmed date with the venue. Exciting stuff as I’ll be taking the photos on the day. An extra bonus was the owner at one site (Tarureka Estate) taking my card and I’m now listed as a photographer on their website, which is nice. We also had good coffee/tea/hot chocolate/milkshake at the Cuckoo Cafe in Greytown, lunch at the Royal Hotel in Featherston (my beef curry was very good) and walked along a south coast beach near Lake Onoke.

2011-01-24 13.42.15.jpgPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Taking Tolix for a run on the beach.

In the evening we were back in Wellington for another ASB Gardens Magic concert. Jess Chambers was the performer this time and we enjoyed an hour of good music while sitting in the sun. We last saw Jess perform at St Peters Hall in Paekakariki in May last year and this time things were very similar with Jess on stage accompanied by Peter Hall. There were a few covers thrown in to vary the set and a few new numbers as well. After a half hour or so Jess and Peter were joined by Billy Earl (one half of the following act Rosy Tin Teacaddy) and Al Fraser. The backing vocals from Billy and Al and Al’s whistle playing on songs such as Island added another dimension to the music and I very much enjoyed the set.

MG 5767Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Jess in the sun.

MG 5796Photo by Brendon & Keryn

From the left: Al Fraser, Billy Earl, Peter Hill & Jess Chambers.

MG 5841Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Al plays the tiny whistle.

MG 5850-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Peter Hill.

MG 5854Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Billy Earl.

MG 5844Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Jess Chambers.

We didn’t stick around for Rosy Tin Teacaddy largely because Keryn wasn’t felling the best and we also needed to go have dinner. I did stop us at Plimmerton so I could take a few photos of the sunset.

MG 5891-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Sunset through the grass.

MG 5900Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The sun heading down behind the clouds.