NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017

NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017

Very excited to get the news that one of my little Jumpy Spiders has been selected as a finalist in the NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017. (UPDATE: Little spidy won the ‘Resene Colour Award’ in the NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017)

You can view all the finalists and vote for the Panasonic Peoples Choice Award here. There are 65 finalists with images of our environment and society to choose from. Just select your three favourite images and place your vote.

The Photographer of the Year exhibition will be on-site at Cathedral Square, Christchurch, for a month from Saturday 4 November, and in a special exhibition at Auckland Museum from December 15 until the end of February. Both exhibitions are open seven days, and free to attend.

Happy Place

Happy Place

Can you see me III discovered last week that I have a workmate who has a pond on their property and that they were happy for me to hang out for the day at their place.

Such excitement as I pulled up and Can you see mespotted all the frog weed, signaling an ideal frog habitat.

Although the frogs positioned themselves in quite hard to get to places, I managed to spot in excess of 12 Golden Bell Frogs of various sizes.

Golden Bell Frogs are an introduced species in New Zealand. They are one of three introduced frog species (from Australia) that belong to the hylid tree frog genus Litoria (Whistling or brownFrog Slime tree frog & Green and golden bell frog).

Unlike NZ’s native frogs they have a visible external eardrum (tympanum), and a horizontal, not rounded, pupil. Only the whistling frog is similar enough in size or colour to be mistaken for a native frog. They all have loud calls, and an aquatic tadpole stage.

Previous Golden Bell Frogs I have photographed have been about the size of your little fingernail so was almost beside myself when one of the
frogs I found was the size of my palm, I have never seen one that large Golden Bell Frog
before, It was such a buzz.

I came close to falling in the pond a couple of times however it would have well and truly been worth it.

I have found a new happy place, and will definitely be back to explore more.

Shed a Tear




Summers Getting Closer

Summers Getting Closer

It is an exciting time of year here in the Southern Hemisphere as we are part way through Spring and all the insects are now starting to emerge.

Although we are currently in unstable weather with a lot of rain mixed with fine, there still seems to be lots of new insect activity.

Most recent finds are the Monarch Caterpillars which is a definite sign that Summer isn’t far away (17 already busily munching their way through my swan plants).

Long and winding road
Ladybirds are also starting to become a common sight in the garden.

This yellow and black ladybird is – ‘Illeis galbula’, a fungus eating ladybird.

It is very active and fast moving during the day and it lives on plants infected with fungus or black mold, which is a little unfortunate as that’s not quite what you want to have growing on your plants in the garden.

Little Steely Blue ladybirds are also quite abundant at the moment but we are still missing the red and black common ladybird. Fingers crossed they make an appearance the closer Summer gets.

Lavender Bract

Southern Hemisphere Seasons:
Spring: September to November.
December to February.
Autumn: March to May.
Winter: June to August.




Visiting A Live Volcano

Visiting A Live Volcano

Whakaari / White Island – is an active andesite stratovolcano.
White Island
Situated 48 km off the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, in the Bay of Plenty. It is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano, and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 year
s. White Island has been in a nearly continuous stage of smoking since it was discovered by James Cook in 1769.

The Maori name for the island, Te Puia o Whakaari, has translated both as “The Dramatic Volcano” and “that which can be made visible”.

We arrived at the island c/- White Island Tours. After a 1.5hr boat trip from the mainland. We really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day with beautiful clear skies and reasonably calm waters which allowed us to enjoy the scenery and bird life on the way there. We were even lucky enough to have dolphins join us on the trip back.

Once on the island the wonderful guides from White Island Tours, enlightened us with
some of the (somewhat tragic) history of the Island.

White Island

White Island

About 70 percent of the volcano is under the sea, making this massive volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand.

A sulWhite Islandphur mining venture began on the island in 1885; this was stopped abruptly in 1914 when part of the crater wall collapsed and a landslide/lahar destroyed the sulphur mine and miners’ village; tragically killing all 10 workers. They disappeared without trace, and only a camp cat survived. He was found some days afterwards by the resupply ship, and dubbed “Peter the Great”.

Although privately owned, White Island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit White Island every year. GeoNet monitors volcanic activity and visits the island around 10 times a year.

The main activities on the island now are guided tours and scientific research.

White Island

This was a totally amazing trip and a day I will always remember.

Magnificent Magnolias

Magnificent Magnolias

MagnoliaCouldn’t let a rainy day stop me from getting my photography fix, so went to a local garden during my lunch break and found some amazing magnolia trees in full bloom, covered in raindrops

Magnolia droplets

Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae.

Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae date to 95 million years ago (just out of interest – dinosaurs lived between 230 & 65 million years ago).

Magnolia Stem          Magnolia Stem          Magnificient Magnolias