Changing Seasons – January 2020

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What happened to January? I don’t know where the days have gone since we returned from our New Zealand holiday. As I look back through my photos for the month, we were busy, making the most of each summer weekend.

We went blueberry picking at a local farm. My first time. The berries are delicious and are “easy pickings” almost falling into the pot as you run fingers gently over the bunch. The bushes are a reasonable height so it isn’t back breaking work either. As well as enjoying fresh berries each day we also have a few kilos in the freezer.

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As we passed another farm shop we bought raspberries and cherries a few metres from the orchards. All these fruit have so much more flavour than shop bought produce.

As we are thinking of changing our front garden to natives, we visited the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and Inverawe Native Gardens for some inspiration.

We are on water restrictions and the landscape is parched, fortunately we have had reasonable rain in this recent days.

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This is my belated contribution to Su’s Changing Season Challenge here.

#2020 Photo Challenge – Kiwifruit Orchard

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I need a few challenges for this new year, so I was delighted to read that fellow blogger Jude has set a 2020 Photo Challenge to “try out various photographic techniques, skills or concepts”

The theme for January is Composition and Framing. I didn’t know about the challenge when I took these photos earlier in the month during our NZ holiday. But these photos seem to fit the bill, taken on my iphone. I have cropped them to straighten and frame them. I need to get away from the Instagram habit of square images.
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Whilst visiting the Bay of Plenty we stayed with friends of friends whose house overlooked this kiwi fruit orchard and I was able to get up close and stand underneath the trees / vines of hanging fruit.
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I like these photos, looking straight down the “tunnel”. But .. the big leaf in the top left of this one is distracting.
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I like the hanging vine in this, but it hinders the sense of distance and there is not so much fruit in the picture.
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The fruit were not quite ready for harvest, but workers had been there earlier, thinning the leaves and removing damaged fruit.

The orchards are bordered by very high hedges which act a wind breaks.IMG_7648IMG_7662

Have a look at Jude’s photo of Godrevy Lighthouse here and links to other bloggers contributions.

Auckland NZ

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We started and ended our holiday in Auckland.
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We enjoyed the views from the Sky Tower. We did not bungy jump or walk around the outside!
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We visited the Auckland Museum at the Domain, a fascinating building with exhibitions arranged into Peoples, Natural History, Warfare and Memorial.
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Thank you New Zealand for a wonderful holiday. We took a while to plan the trip, didn’t try to fit too much into the time available. We met up with friends, relaxed over delicious meals, enjoyed the local food and wines. We walked city streets, sandy beaches and bush tracks. We saw tourist sights and local hidden gems. It was a true escape from our everyday lives.

Coromandel NZ

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The road around the Coromandel Peninsular takes you close to the water, over the hills, through a gorge. The towns are picturesque, but were busy on the weekend closing the Christmas and New Year holidays. We struggled to find a parking space.
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We had some blue skies but on Sunday 5th January the skies turned an eerie orange, due to the bush fires in Australia, over two thousand kilometres away. These photos are straight from my iphone, no filters, no edits to the colour.

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Rotorua NZ

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Rotorua is an extraordinary place. A geo thermal area with geysers, bubbling mud, pools of boiling water, steam rising into the air. There is an underlying smell of sulphur but you soon get used to that.IMG_7476

We toured a Te Puia, a geo thermal park with an interesting guide. But we also found steam, boiling water in cracks in the earth, whilst strolling around the city’s streets.

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Maori culture is on show here. Buildings, such as Maree meeting houses, food stores. canoes, totems. Traditional crafts are taught, such as carving and weaving.
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The Church on the Lake has beautiful Maori carvings and a memorable glass window with Jesus etched, walking on the water. The bodies in the graveyard are interned above ground level due to the heat of the earth.
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Changing Seasons – December

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December begun will cool days and snow on the mountain, a cold start to summer. My photos for the month show many with a Christmas Tree theme.
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Also, our office elves returned, bringing smiles to all colleagues. Staff organised a reverse advent calendar this month, donating items for Foodbank, Toy Run and “Share the Dignity”.

We’re now on holiday for two weeks, so we’ve relaxed. We went to the beach on Christmas Day morning. This is my fifth summer Christmas and it is still a novelty.IMG_E7098.jpg

This week has seen the 75th Sydney to Hobart yacht race, with 157 yachts of varying size and age arriving in our city. We have enjoyed our view from the Eastern Shore. It is also time for the annual food festival, The Taste of Tasmania. We spent a delightful afternoon, eating local produce and welcoming the boats to our city.

Yesterday, Tasmania joined every State and Territory in Australia, having temperatures over 40 degrees. We have a total fire ban and are on water restrictions. Such contrasts during December.

I am linking this to Su’s Changing Seasons Challenge.

Changing Seasons – Sculpture by the Sea

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The highlight of our month was a trip to Sydney to stay with our daughter, son-in-law and two year old grandson but also to visit “Sculpture by the Sea”. This was our first time at this annual art exhibition which began in 1997, along the coastal path and beaches between Bronte and Bondi. It was a lovely day out with art to interest each of us.
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We had a couple of hours in the city before our flight home, where the jacaranda trees were beginning to flower.
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This is my contribution to Su’s Changing Seasons post.