Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Art of Glass

Green Curves
In Glass
A Work By
David Murray
Wellington. April 2009. Ajr

Cardrona Hideaway

Images supplied by Waiorau Homestead. 2009 If you’ve ever visited the freezing Cardrona Valley, near Wanaka in winter, you’ll know all about the benefits of having a warm place to retreat to at the end of the day. That’s exactly where Waiorau Homestead comes into the picture. Tucked away behind a fist of trees at the bottom of the Snow Farm hill and just across the road from Cardrona Ski Resort, Blyth Adams and Ann Lockhart have created a divine hideout that appeals to all the senses. Working with Christchurch interior designer, Leslee Ross, they given the old valley homestead a complete makeover without compromising any of its original character. Three new guest suites and a guest lounge and dining room are now at the disposal of the lucky few who get to book in first. And let’s not forget the fact that Blyth is a chef by trade. You’ll eat well AND sleep well. www.waiorauhomestead.co.nz

Monday, June 29, 2009

Long Live the Modern

Image courtesy of Hawke's Bay Museum & Art Gallery, Napier.
Image acknowledgements: Cedric Firth - Monro State Building, Nelson 1966, photographer Geoffrey C. Wood Studio, 66217c courtesy of Nelson Provincial Museum
I LOVE books full stop; but I especially love the sketchbooks, notebooks, and journals of artists and designers. So I’m naturally wishing I could be in Napier later this week for the opening of “Long Live the Modern – New Zealand’s New Architecture 1904-1984,” an exhibition that brings together photographs, original drawings, period books and journals, as well as new architectural models and recent photographs of eleven key buildings from around New Zealand. In addition, it features a section focussing on the works of three key Hawke's Bay architects - John Scott, Guy Natusch and Len Hoogerbrug. Opening at Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery on Friday night, the show was initiated by the publication of a book by the same title, edited by Julia Gatley and published by Auckland University Press. Curated by Gatley and Bill McKay, from the University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning, the exhibition focuses on the Post-World War II period, which saw enormous government expenditure on housing, public buildings and infrastructure projects, and a concurrent wave of private and commercial developments. Both the book and the exhibition, it should be noted, “use the word ‘modern’ in a very broad way, pursuing twentieth-century architectural initiatives concerned with the new – new technologies, new materials, new forms, new building types, new ways of living – initiatives embedded with the belief that the new would necessarily change lives in positive ways.” The exhibition is being toured by Gus Fisher Gallery and University of Auckland. www.hbmag.co.nz

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 57

"Field of Vision. Monoprint 2008" One more in our ongoing series of witty observations by one of New Zealand's leading printmakers. For the other 56 in the series click on Cleavin in the label line below this post.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Winter Orchards
Bare of Fruit
In Cromwell South Island May 2009. Ajr


Arrowtown. May 2009. Ajr
Love those shadows!
I waited for nearly two hours to get this photo - anticipating the shadow that the bedroom chandelier would cast as the day drew to a close at Arrowtown House, in Arrowtown, near Queenstown. I think it was worth the wait. Arrowtown House is also worth the wait if you're thinking of heading south. Rooms here are terrific and owners, Steve and Jeanette Brough are both terrific hosts and terrific cooks as well. Sometimes it feels like all your Christmases have come at once doesn't it! To see meet Steve and Jeanette and see more pictures of this delicious stay, click on Arrowtown House in the label line below this post. www.arrowtownhouse.co.nz

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Small Moments of Beauty

Lemon Buds
Unfurling Winter Roses Jan. 2009 Ajr

Cool Cars - 48

One Pale Blue 1964 (?) Thunderbird 1 - Spotted in California by my Los Angeles-based brother, Murray Macy, car-fiend extraordinaire...a timely photographic offering that arrived just as I was daydreaming about a trip to Havana to see all the old classic cars that still prowl the streets there. For others in this series, click on Cool Cars in the label line below this post.

Spaces Between - 20

Wellington. April 2009
Between Buildings
Cuba Mall

Friday, June 26, 2009

An Unidentified Artwork

Auckland, April 2009. Ajr
When I was in Auckland back in April and May, I spent hours roaming the streets with my camera - my very favourite activity no matter where I go. I'm always drawn to architectural shapes, artworks, reflections, shadows and the way they all interact. I wandered off Lower Queen Street in the course of my ramblings, heading for Britomart, when I spied this sculpture clinging to the side of a building like a giant fungus. I don't know who created it - but would gladly welcome comments from anyone who knows. We like having things named around here - especially artworks. Mystery Solved: I have kindly been informed that this work ("Coral" 2000), was created by Auckland artist, Peter Roche. www.aucklandnz.com

The Negative Versus The Positive

Marlborough. May 2009. Ajr
I drove through Marlborough a few weeks ago on my way to Nelson and as I motored along Raupara Road - famous for its many wineries and vineyards - I ground to halt to photograph this amazing driveway... at Wairau River Wines if my memory serves me correctly. I'm a sucker for a good tree-lined driveway, especially one that hints at the spaces beyond; and this one, with it's perfect house-shaped ending, was too good to drive by. It's a classic example of how negative space can be just as interesting (if not more so) than the positive space. www.wairauriverwines.co.nz

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lunch With the Postmaster

Arrowtown. May 2009. Ajr Crispy Duck and Fennel Salad at The Postmaster's Restaurant ARROWTOWN Another Glorious Moment of Self-Indulgence

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Under Construction - In the Absence of Words

Auckland. April 2009. Ajr When I was in Auckland in April, I spent a week at the Duxton Hotel in Greys Avenue and every day I walked down the hill past this construction site. When I couldn't contain myself a minute longer, I finally stopped and photographed the afternoon light catching at the yellow wrap and filtering through the autumn leaves. It wasn't an earth-shattering moment but it was a pretty one. And on that note, I feel bound to apologise to regular readers of my blog, who may be thinking I have become superficial and visual, that my postings are lacking substance of late. That's because I'm still neck-deep in the writing of the Frommers New Zealand 6th edition manuscript and I simply don't have the usual amount of time to devote to my two blogs. However, I DO hope to have the travel guide completed within the next two to three weeks and then I'll be back to my usual wordy self.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Off the Rails

Auckland. April 2009. Ajr When I was in Auckland recently, updating the inner city transport systems at the Britomart Transport Centre for the latest edition of Frommers New Zealand, I went down into the railway system to see how things were working. And, true to form, I couldn't resist a photograph or ten. I loved the way the neon, the lights, the people, the architecture were all interacting, so as I descended on the escalator, I took these photos. I carried on and took a few more once I got to the bottom - UNTIL I was tapped on the shoulder by a security guard, who told me photographs were not allowed. I asked him why not - I was only photographing the lights after all. "Because they're not," he said. I quickly decided he was a plonker. I mean...was he worried I was a terrorist or something? Ridiculous! He could at least have given me a legitimate reason. But I loved the lights anyway and came away quite happy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Therapuetic Indulgence

Images courtesy of Polynesian Spa, Rotorua When you're basking in the divine outdoor pools at Rotorua's Polynesian Spa looking out over the sulphur terraces, it's easy to forget that you're there for work, that you're soaking aches and pains in the name of business. And now that I'm back home in the freezing cold south, I'd give anything to be right back there, up to my neck in 40-degree thermal water soaking my sore typing arm. Recognised by Conde Naste Traveller, as one of the Top 10 Mineral and Thermal Spas in the World in 2004, 2007 and 2009, it's one of my most recommended travel highlights in New Zealand. The first time I visited a few years back, I allowed them to smear me in thermal mud and wrap me (naked but for the mud) in cling-wrap in the name of therapeutic remedies. I was then buried in towels and left alone to sweat - and to consider the fate of the average chicken. Frankly, it felt more like being trussed up for the baking dish. The spa itself though, is a lovely orchid-filled spot best ventured into after you've softened up all your muscles in the outside pools. www.polynesianspa.co.nz

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eating with Gusto

Wanaka, May 2009. Ajr A culinary diversion at Gusto Cafe in Wanaka recently. I seem to remember leaving very satisfied after devouring field mushroom risotto - all in the name of another travel guide review of course.

Signs of the Times

Signs. 2009 Ajr It must be fairly obvious by now that I'm rather a fan of signs - the whackier the better! I have a bulging photo file of sign images, so I decided to throw a few of my favourites together to see what happened. This is the rather chaotic result. I think I'll do the experiment again on a much larger scale. I can see potential for keeping myself amused for hours on end.

StreetscapeNZ -32

Worcester Street
Feb. 2009 Ajr

Friday, June 19, 2009

Small Moments of Beauty

Blue Dish
Wafer Thin
Still, Silent
Auckland. May 2009. Ajr

A Feast For a King

Turangi. April 2009. Ajr One of my loveliest finds on my recent Frommers New Zealand road trip was River Birches - a gorgeous hideaway on the banks of the Tongariro River. We all know the Tongariro is a fishermen's paradise and River Birches owner, former New Yorker and now Bangkok-based Jason Bleibtreu has kitted the place out with river-cams, so fishing guests can see what's happening in all the river's hot-spots without ever having to leave the lodge's comforts - unless they want to actually fish of course. The best thing of all though, you don't have to be a fisherman to indulge yourself here. It's the perfect romantic getaway, the ideal skier's base, a perfect retreat of any kind. And the meals? Divine. This was the starter I enjoyed on my night there - poached figs stuffed with goat's cheese and wrapped in proscuitto. And that was just the beginning. To see River Birches in much more depth and to meet the host, click on River Birches and Jason Bleibtreu in the label line below this post. www.riverbirches.co.nz

Winter Vineyard

Gibbston Valley, Central Otago. May 2009. Ajr
A Stretch of Vines
Morning Mist
Central Otago

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Remembering Sunnier Days

Te Kaio, Banks Peninsular. February 2009. Ajr I've just spent the last two hours sorting photographs and I came upon this perfect-blue day at Te Kaio Bay on Banks Peninsular, about an hour from Christchurch. As I sit here now, shivering in the winter cold, it's hard to imagine a day so blue, so clear, so beautiful.

Barry's Provocative Unpublished Minutes - 56

"Happy Campers"
Nice to have you back BVC. Now that I'm in one place again for a while, I can resume our quirky, ongoing series from one of New Zealand's Master Printmakers. To see others in the series, click on Cleavin in the label line below this post. Go on, you know you want to.PS.OOPS! I see I've already used this image before. Sorry about that. But a second look is not such a bad thing.

The Trubridge Returns

Auckland. April 2009. Ajr Anyone following this blog will be familiar with my rather odd obsession with David Trubridge's lighting designs, especially 'Coral/Floral' and this one ('a similar sister') above, photographed in an Auckland design store recently. While the light itself is nice enough (I'm almost over it), it's the reflections and shadows it casts that interest me more. That's not quite so evident in this shot. Here it was more a case of lovely forms and colours clustered together to make a pleasing chance composition. To see others in this series, click on Trubridge in the label line below this post. www.davidtrubridge.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Building in Brick

Timaru. May 2009. Ajr When I drove through Timaru recently I was given to wondering how many bricks there might be in this little South Island town. I had gone off course (intentionally for once), scouting the backstreets for good photos. That's where I found two huge buildings that set me thinking about the 19th century. They were both brick, both flour mills. The larger of the two (top left and bottom images) is, I think (or was) Champion Flour Mills. At least that's what was written on one end of the building; it's not exactly a big mental leap from there is it? It appeared to be unused but how could you ever tell what was going on inside a bleak looking monstrocity like that? The smaller, much much cuter building is Atlas Flour Company building, designed by Dunedin architect, James Hislop and built in 1881 for William Evans. I particularly liked the multiple overlays of type in its sign. You can't see it in detail in this photograph, but letters from earlier times lurk like shadows behind the main name.

When Greed Wins

Greytown, Wairarapa. May 2009
A regrettable but delicous moment
Main Street Deli, Greytown

Capital Coffee

Wellington. May 2009. Ajr
Mmmmm....Astoria. One of my favourite Wellington cafes Always a great place to be after work on a Friday night.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flying High.

Image Courtesy Real Journeys. June 2009. As pretty as the normal chocolate-boxy pictures of Milford Sound are, give me a view like this any day. You can take to the air in one of these little planes courtesy of Real Journeys and if you do, you won't forget the experience in a hurry. Milford Sound - despite all the cliched tourism hype - is an astonishingly beautiful place. I much prefer it in the rain because rather than those pretty, mirror-like landscapes, you get a magical Lord of the Rings-type landscape that's all mood and dripping waterfalls - dozens of them. And as they get over 365 inches of a rain a year here, the chances of a spectacular show are pretty good. That said, if you're in a small plane, you'll be praying for a fine day like the one shown here. www.realjourneys.co.nz

Shadow Play

Auckland. May 2009. Ajr A slightly different take on my love of photographing staircases. I was captivated by the shadows cast by this small sculpture in a friend's home in Auckland. I couldn't resist more photos than I can now justify.

Shoe Shuffle

Purple Beauties
Nuffield Street, Newmarket Auckland
If you're a shoe lover, check out my collection of 'dangerous' heels by clicking on Shoes in the label line below.

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Oldie But a Goodie

Wellington. April 2009 Ajr The sky was perfect blue when I went to photograph this sculpture outside the BNZ building in Willis Street. It's by Christchurch-based Arts Foundation 2003 Laureate Sculptor, Neil Dawson - whose work never disappoints when you're looking for a dramatic photograph.
It's been around for a long while now and Neil's work has changed a lot since this piece. But I still love it. You can see his other Wellington piece, "Ferns" by clicking on Neil Dawson or Ferns in the label line below. Or check out the cool little video about its making at www.ferns.co.nz www.neildawsonsculptor.com

A Wall in Grey Lynn

Grey Lynn, Auckland. April 2009. Ajr
There's nothing I like more than a wall covered in posters - all that crazy colour and pattern, the layers of graphics and type faces - a frenzy of city activity all there for us to admire, denigrate, anticipate or contemplate. Long live the poster I say! A blot on the landscape for some; tantalising little pockets of visual activity for me.

Red Wine - A Composition

Red Wine Glasses
After the Event
Auckland. April 2009. Ajr

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Church Architecture

Oxford Baptist Church
Jan.2009. Ajr

Church Architecture Returns

Cathedral, The Octagon, Dunedin. May 2009. Ajr
It seems forever since I presented you with a nice piece of Kiwi church architecture. I think I put it into hibernation when some of my friends started accusing me of 'going all religious.' In fact, my love of photographing churches is a matter of architecture over religion. I'm not religious at all. I just love the extraordinary extravagance of much church architecture - the heft, the bulk, the detail. This the very magnificent St Paul's Anglican Cathedral on Dunedin's Octagon. The Gothic Revival beauty was designed by architect Edmund Sedding and built between 1915-1919. I normally photograph it from the front but there was something very appealing about this hefty side view. www.dunedinnz.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

Living Life on the Edge!

Images courtesy SkyWalk, Auckland Am I the only person who thinks this is totally crazy?
It's possible my fear of heights may be colouring my judgement but from where I'm sitting, this just looks like showing off! I hasten to add I have nothing against SkyWalk. I have huge admiration for a company that can encourage people to part with hard-earned cash so they walk around Sky Tower's 1.2 metre wide ring with no handrails 192 metres in the air. I just wish I'd thought of the idea. I was given the opportunity to do this 'walk' when I was in Auckland recently - for free. "It's never going to happen," I told them, thanking them kindly for their generous offer. But I did go up to the viewing deck to watch a surprising number of people willing to hang off a cord and walk the perimeter. I found the glass-faced lift - complete with a glass box in the floor looking directly down into the lift mechanics -challenge enough. That will do me. I'll leave dare-devil antics like this to those who really do want to 'live on the edge.' And if walking around the perimeter isn't thrill enough, you can of course jump off - but Sky Jump is another story for another time. www.skywalk.co.nz www.skyjump.co.nz

The Mean Streets

Auckland. April 2009 Ajr I was so overwhelmed by photographic opportunities in Auckland that I missed a lot of their cool street art. This is one work I did capture however - just off Karangahape Road, where it must be said, there's no shortage of grafitti. I'm contemplating a photographic week in Auckland after I've finished my current mission - the writing of the 6th edition of Frommers New Zealand, which is due for completion August 1st!


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