Otago Harbour Pier

Otago Harbour Pier Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

It was ten minutes to 10:00 in the morning and it was misty and cold. The previous night I had continued my research into the effects on my health and well being by watching rugby and drinking beer. Then, sometime before bed, since daylight savings time was due to begin at 2:00am, I had decided to put the clocks forward so that when I awoke, I would at least be on the right time. Now in the clear, sobering light of morning it appeared that I had only half finished the job and was left with the confusing calculation of not only finding out what the right time was, but having to ensure all the clocks were correct. A task that took longer than it really should have. Sometime later after awakening the senses with coffee, bacon, eggs and a few sausages, and waiting a suitable length of time before it would be safe to drive, I set off into the day. 

Reversing my car out into the street, I decided that a visit into town would be the order of the day. It had been some time since I’d passed the time, casually strolling the inner city streets looking at nothing in particular. I manoeuvred my car into the world and disappeared into a murky, haze of cloud and fog. A drizzly rain hung in the air and it seemed to have settled in. Navigating my way through familiar streets that faded into a vast void of nothingness, occasionally a walker, jogger or cyclist would appear before mysteriously vanishing behind me. It was almost as if the Bermuda Triangle had come and settled over this very specific part of the city. I made my way down to the harbour shore line where thankfully the misty haze was just as thick. Before venturing into the city I had an idea for a photograph that I had been wanting to try and the conditions seemed ideal. 

The visibility on the harbour was just as bleak as it had been in the hills. I placed myself in front of what used to be an old boat pier. Sometime back it had been deemed unsafe and dismantled and to really emphasise the point, a large sign had been put on it that read “Danger, do not use!” Not that there was much of it left to use, but that was clearly beside the point. As I began to set-up my camera, suddenly out of the mist and drizzle a windsurfer appeared before vanishing into the white veil. When I had set off that morning, photographing the old pier had seemed like a good plan, but now standing in the rain with the waves getting higher it seemed like a serious mistake. 

Spring At Dunedin’s Railway Station

Spring Flower Beds Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

The flower beds outside Dunedin’s Railway Station in ANZAC Square are one feature of the city that I always feel are done remarkably well. Whoever plans them certainly knows their stuff. Each season you can guarantee they will be bright, crisp, fresh, full colour and interest. One this occasion the various beds were planted with an assortment of primroses, pansies, paper daisies, parsley and tulips. Everywhere I looked there was spring colour and textures glistening in the sun.

Street Art on Portobello Road

Street Art on Portobello Road Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Here’s a question that struck me the other day, would sharks have the reputation they do if the movie Jaws was never made? Let’s speculate for a moment that author Peter Benchley never wrote his best selling novel Jaws, and that later it was never turned into a movie. Let’s speculate that John Williams never composed his classic piece of suspense music that grinds away at you in the keys of F and F sharp. If none of this ever happened, for one thing we would have been spared all 92 minutes of the fourth Jaws film, Jaws: The Revenge and for that we should all be grateful.

Dunedin’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

Vauxhall Pleasure Garden Steps Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

There really was only one way to get across to Dunedin’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in the 1860’s and that was to catch the ferry “The Nugget” across the harbour. Once across, visitors found themselves with two ways to get up to the gardens. One was to get the tram which regularly ascended and descended the steep hill and the second was by using a set of stone stairs carved out of the rocky cliff face. Owing to the fact that most of the visitors to the gardens at night were highly intoxicated, it is hard not to think that the rather steep and narrow steps would have been the scene of a great many many falls. 

The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were a wonderful idea. The brainchild of Henry Farley, the gardens were designed to provide amusement and entertainment for the newly rich miners and families returning from the Otago gold fields. Spanning across almost 20 acres of land the gardens were a place where families could enjoy al fresco amusement while taking in the commanding and magnificent views of the surrounding country. Unfortunately, as reported in the Lyttelton Times in November, 1863, when the sober citizens, with their wives, daughters, sisters or sweethearts, returned to their houses at the end of the day, the place became overrun at night with “loose women” and “fast young men.” To help solve this problem and to encourage more patronage during the day, swings, a gymnasium, skittle and long pin alleys, quoits, a racing ground, a shooting gallery, archery for ladies, and a private picnic ground (fenced off with music) was added. Further to this, arrangements were made for pigeon shooting in a field near the gardens and new walking tracks were laid out for those that crossed the harbour and ascended the steps to the grounds. 

However, due to the fact that the ladies of easy virtue, and gentlemen without domestic ties continued to assemble in the evening, the place never really recovered from its reputation as a night time al fresco resort for the worst characters of both sexes.

Larnach’s Castle Stairs

These are the steps to the main entrance at Larnach’s Castle. I love the symmetry in this photo and the way these two trees frame the stairs and windows. It shows how well planned the design of the building and the gardens were because I’m sure if you drew a line down the centre of the image, it would be an almost perfect mirror image. I’m also glad I took this photo when I did because now the two large trees have been cut down and replaced with new plantings.

Musselburgh Rise

Crossing On Musselburgh Rise Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

This image is from a series I did earlier this year called ‘The Rise.’ All the images are based on or near Musselburgh Rise. I wanted to explore and create subject matter that was closer to home. Every place portrayed is within a short distance of my home and makes for a personal look into typical Dunedin. 

Having not ventured much into night photography, it was a lot of fun putting this collection together in the winter months after dark.

Dunedin Art Gallery

Dunedin Art GalleryBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I spent time in the Dunedin Art Gallery on account of a heavy period of rain. Having weaved my way through traffic along George Street and dashing between raindrops I entered the gallery leaving a trail of water behind me. Judging by the footprints that led out into the rain, I wasn’t the only one shaking off the weather that morning.

Dunedin Botanic Garden Rhododendron Dell

Dunedin Botanic Garden Rhododendron Dell Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

With the change of seasons from Winter to Spring, I spent the morning searching for early season blossoms and flowers. Across the city, pollen is starting to fill the air, igniting everyone’s hay fever while pockets of daffodils are popping up all over the place. Although spring hadn’t yet  kicked into full gear, I started my search in Dunedin’s Botanic Gardens. I lingered a while on some of the many paths that wind through the varying levels of the gardens before arriving at my goal, the Rhododendron Dell.

Tunnel Beach Track

Tunnel Beach Track Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

What I have always found slightly confusing about Tunnel Beach is that it is there at all. As spectacular and interesting as Tunnel Beach is, it is hard to imagine the Cargill children getting excited by a visit. Let me explain. Tunnel Beach was commissioned to be built for John Cargill and his family in the 1870s. This was so that his family could visit a private beach, away from the ‘peeping’ eyes of the general public. To me, this is where the confusion starts to happen. To get to the beach his family would have had to go by either foot, cart or horse alongside the high, steep cliffs, which couldn’t have been a pleasant trip. The beach is shaded by the sun from the steep cliffs and is small and rocky with a small low tide window. Hardly a place you could spend all afternoon at while the kids built sandcastles! So, somehow I can’t imagine the Cargill children leaping with joy when their father would announce they are ‘going to the beach’ for the day.

According to Local legend, Tunnel Beach is the scene of a tragic drowning. The story goes that after John Cargill made the private beach for his family, one of his daughters drowned there on her sixteenth birthday at high tide. Overcome with grief, John Cargill was so heartbroken that he left New Zealand and never returned. However, there are no sources to prove this story is true.

St Clair in Spring

St Clair Beach Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

The beach and Esplanade at St Clair can be a wild place. When the wind is blowing, the swell is big and everything is just a bit moody, it can be a bitter place! However, then there are days like yesterday when it can be unbelievably still, quiet and settled. Since it was the first day of spring and the weather had been kind, I called past on my way home late in the afternoon. It was really rather lovely.

Otago Harbour At Sealevel

Otago Harbour At SealevelBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

For reasons that can only be guessed, I was interrupted while taking this shot. It was a short but baffling interchange that left me as annoyed as I was perplexed. Photographing water at sea level requires you to be in one of two positions. Either in the water or lying flat on your stomach at the water’s edge. On this occasion I was the second when I suddenly felt a nudge on my shoulder. I looked around to see a man standing behind me. 
“You’ll not catch many fish with that,” he laughed.
“I beg your pardon,” I replied, taking my headphones out of my ears. 
“You can’t catch many fish with a camera,” he repeated before walking off.
As he walked away, I hoped it all made sense to him, because I was confused as hell!

The Shapes Of Forsyth Barr Stadium

Forsyth Barr Stadium Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I spent some time wandering around the University which was surprisingly quiet. Spring is just around the corner, so blossoms are starting to pop up all around the city, bringing with it a touch of colour after winter. I was actually heading to a rugby game, however running ahead of time, I took the opportunity to enjoy a little walk. It was while on this walk that I found myself looking at the shapes of the roof design at Forsyth Barr Stadium that I became intrigued at the way it appears above the treeline.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens Steps

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens StepsBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

The recent heavy rain in Dunedin caused a few minor rock falls around the city. One of which exposed these steps that start at the base of the Otago Peninsula that once led up to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. 

The Pleasure Gardens were opened in 1862 and were hugely popular at the time, being accessed by way of a steamer that brought people across the harbour. The gardens featured private picnic areas, various flower gardens, a band rotunda, tea rooms, baths and on special occasions firework displays were held. 

However, by the early 1870s the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens were a place of intoxication and prostitution which lead to their closure and the land being sold off for housing development. 

Wild Tide At Blackhead Beach

Wild tide at Blackhead BeachBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I was shooting out at Blackhead Beach one afternoon where I had the big 10 stop filter in play to get a nice slow, candy floss effect in the water which was had a very hostile feel to it as wind buffeted the point. The sky had an angry feel to it as dark clouds passed out to sea and the local seals where active as well as they looked for dry places to bask in the sunshine where they wouldn’t get soaked by the tide. Fun times.

The Highcliff Track On Otago Peninsula

The Highcliff Track on Otago PeninsulaBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

The Highcliff track on the Otago Peninsula is quickly becoming one of my favourite spots on the peninsula. One part of it has an amazing view of Boulder Beach and beyond while the peak of the track has all these boulders scattered on it. It’s a wonderful spot to sit and watch the world go by.

More info on the Highcliff Tracks can be found here: https://www.dunedin.govt.nz/community-facilities/walking-tracks/peninsula-tracks/highcliff-tracks

Dunedin CBD

Dunedin CBDBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

As I was standing somewhere near either View or Tennyson Street, just a stone’s throw away from The Octagon, it struck me that there are some unique views of Dunedin’s city centre to be found. If you’re prepared to walk up hills that is. You see, while it doesn’t have a cluttered skyline made up of buildings that light up like a Christmas Tree at night, the small and compact CBD can be viewed from some quirky vantage points if you’re in for a walk!

Dunes at Blackhead Beach

Dunes at Blackhead BeachBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I headed off while the weather was still holding. After a period of rain a while back, over the last week the winter weather had been delightfully settled. While the temperature was still inclined to drop away at night, the daylight hours were filled with increasing hours of warmth and sunshine. On this particular day I enjoyed the popular spot of Blackhead Beach.

Smaills Beach

Smaills BeachBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

It was the most time I’d  spent  actually on a beach in a good while. It was the end of the week and the end of the day and so with the sun starting to drop below the hills I spent a good hour or so enjoying the quiet surrounds of Smaills Beach. The nearby stream showed all the signs of recent heavy rain and  all that was left was a collection of debris scattered among the sand dunes. On the rocks by the point at the end of the beach two Fur Seals rested while an ever increasing group of surfers enjoyed the small barrels that were breaking just off shore. 

‘Not a bad spot to end the week’ I thought to myself.

Artisan Farmers Market At Wingatui Racecourse

Wingatui RacecourseBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

I found my way to the Wingatui Racecourse in Mosgiel, which was holding an Artisan Farmers Market however I wasn’t exactly sure why I was going. The previous night having watched the All Blacks lose to Ireland, I then proceeded to drink a dozen pints of something that didn’t agree with me and in the morning was feeling the worse for it. However, by midday feeling much more human and stable on my pins, I pointed myself in the direction of the market and set off. 

Not being completely confident about what I was going to find, I didn’t some research and found myself heading towards a large collection of candles, smellies, dried flowers, hangers and other arrangements that included knitting, soft toys, cushions, soaps and perfumes. All I was hoping for was a good busker playing something from a folk music catalogue and a good hamburger, however now I doubted I would either.