Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Golden Bay - Motueka Day 3

This is the backpackers that we stayed for few nights.. wonderful place, friendly host! And amazing breakfast!

Somerset House

Interesting foliage

Somerset Backpackers

Somerset House with Hiromi

Our room was pretty amazing, 6 bed dorms, not bad if you have friends to fill it up.

Our room

Another room and lounge. There's an Imac for anyone who wants to use or go online. Just drop some coins on the bottle provided. Cool!

Lounge/Living Room Another dorm

We start our day by visiting Wharariki Beach, one of the famous beaches in New Zealand. It's not hard to find the beach, and doesn't require great fitness, or long walks. One can just drive from Collingwood town to the end Wharariki Road, and it takes about an hour only to get there. You can park you car/caravan for free in the carpark and walk another 20 minutes to the beach. 

Wharariki Beach Carpark

Best time of course is during the low tide. Please check and make sure the weather is good, and low tide or you'll be pretty much disappointed and wet! There's no cover during the short walk to the beach, and definitely no man-made covers either on the beach. Some small caves perhaps, but you're risking life is the tide level increase and rain does not stop. Anyway, not to scare you away, just to give some tips for a much more pleasant trip. Hehe..

Wharariki Beach walkway

Another tips, it's either wear an unwanted shoes or easier to clean shoes as there's plenty of shits along the way to the beach. It's crazy.. shit is practically everywhere... every foot you step... madness! After walking for 15 minutes, you'll see this dark-colored river. Pay some attention, as you might be lucky to see some seals swimming around. I saw 3..

The Dark River

Wharariki Beach tracks

It was like a barren wasteland when we first reach the sandy part of the walk. Not the typical beach that i'm expecting, but something different. Windy, sandy, and wash out. 

Windy beach

Sands sands sands

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Apparently, the nicer part of the beach was like another 30min to an hour walk and too bad, we don't have the time nor luck with the weather initially. However, it was not that bad… nice view, cool breeze and after hanging out a while.. the sun and the blue sky decided to appear once again! Perfect1

Wharariki Beach

Took some photos before moving on to the next destination, Cape Farewell. The sky doesn't look that good though, with rain clouds emerging from god knows where. The weather in New Zealand changes drastically all the time. One can not have the perfect plans and got to change accordingly. We get back on the Wharariki Road, and head straight to Cape Farewell, which is about 10 minutes from the Wharariki Beach car park.

Wharariki Beach Seal pool

Young baby seal

It's another short walk to the lookout from Cape Farewell car park, about 5 min i guess.. a two interesting trees greeted us at the entrance.

The Two Trees

The lookout was pretty high, and it was an amazing sight from there. It looks so grand. However, my leg doesn't seems to feels so.. haha.. kinda scary looking down from there. I got weak knees from that!  Imaging what i'm going to feel during the sky diving on coming Sunday. Oh la la…

Cape Farewell

After a while there.. it started to rain… damn… we rush back to the car. After few minutes, it seems to clear a little bit though but we decided to call it a day. Upon exiting the car park, we drove past a farmhouse, with lots of sheep gathered in the fences. There were 2 guys and few dogs chasing the sheep into smaller enclosure. We was wondering what is going on. Little lamb was separated from it's mother.. and next, we saw something unpleasant. Wait, we smell it first.. it was a burning smokey smells and we noticed the little lamb was handled one by one, the tails are dock using a burning clips or something that cuts and burn at the same time. Pardon my knowledge but it reminds me of how vet used to dock puppies tail off. The burning was actually used to seal the wound and prevent secondary infection and unnecessary blood loss. It was a very quick process, but too far for me to take a shot. Another eye opening experience!

Little Lamb

Get back to the car with a eerie feeling and kinda distracted by the little lamb's crying… but it's agricultural and hygiene. IMO, it prevents shits from sticking on the precious wools. Something quite similar to the reason why some working dog's tails are docked. Either to prevent injuries during work or hygiene purposes, especially for those long coated dogs.

Anyway, we head back to Collingwood town to get some food for dinner as it's getting late. Surprisingly, there's little to no choices for food over there… sad.. and we decided to drive to Takaka town to get some food instead. It takes about 20 minutes to get there.. and not much choices either. Either you cooked it yourself, or fish & chips! Well, I'm a fan for good fish & chips… and i'm glad we pick the right shop. 

Takaka Town

The Curry Leaf

However, it was not as straight forward as it sounds. We gotta wait for the shop to open at 4.30pm. We waited patiently around.. and finally, an Aussie guy came, open the doors and take our orders. He was a friendly guy, and his fish n chips is great! Not to mention, it's cheap too! After getting our orders, we drove back to the backpackers to enjoy the fish n chips with our grape juice from Seafried! Isn't that nice? Sitting outside under the sun, cool breeze, refreshing juice and yummy fish and chips. Great combination and great way to enjoy the evening...

Feel free to read the first 2 days of my trip here @ Golden Bay - Motueka Day 1 & 2

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Golden Bay - Motueka Day 1 & 2

Finally, after 4 months of work, one in the vineyard, and three with Harvey Norman Blenheim, NZ.. it's time to take a break and go for a holiday. 2 of my friends came back from their Fiji and North Island holidays and joining 3 of us here for the next trip. Our plan was spending a week around Motueka - Golden Bay region, and the Abel Tasman National Park.

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This is must be one of the early backpackers job, hanging their worn out shoes on the fences. From there, it became a tradition for most backpackers who pass by that area.. hanging more and more shoes! It was an interesting sight!
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We left Blenheim on Tuesday morning… and our first stop was Nelson. Our initial plan was to stay a night in Nelson, but it's boring here.. besides, we came here before, and nothing much to do. Had our lunch in Nelson Oriental Restaurant, which is just so so... dont really recommend anyone to go there.

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So, after some shopping at Kathmandu and lunch, we head straight to a small town called Collingwood, near the Farewell Spit of the Golden Bay.  This old man from the construction site was pretty happy to be taken photo. 

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Halfway through, we stop by at Seafried Winery and Cellar Door, the first winery we've visited in NZ, and here we are again…. for the grape juice, not wine! LOL… at $5 a bottle, it's a nice juice! Don't blame me… i'm not a big fans of white wine here and the red is just so so… As we were wine tasting, i went on to sign the visitor book and guess what, it's either nobody (i mean, few..) visited them or those visitors just not interested to leave some comments. My 2nd signature and comments is still on the very same page. Hahaha.. after 4 months, still same page, what a pity!

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So after the wine tasting and bought 6 bottles of grape juice, we continue our journey...We pass through Motueka town, and the hilly road started. It was pretty crazy and winding.. corners here and there non stop. Some are pretty tight. How i wish I'm here with a motorbike. Cornering heaven! LOL

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We have to drive up the Takaka hill before going down to the town itself. A pretty amazing sight i would say… simply breathtaking!! 

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We stop at Takaka town while looking for the address and vacancy of backpackers. The first choice was The Innlet, as recommended by some friends. However, to our disappointment, and answering machine took our call… saying… they are still closed for the winter! WTF!!! No choice but to look around the BBH booklet for the next backpacker. We chose Somerset Backpacker in Collingwood, as it got pretty good rating, free breakfast and near to Farewell Spit. It was a good decision. The owner, an englishman, Chris and japanese wife, Hiromi greeted us with warm welcome. Both of them are so friendly, and the place was homey. Nobody stay there but us, all 5 of us! That is cool! According to them, the season just about to start, and they just reopen for 2 weeks. Cool! We're in luck!

It was already evening when we reach there, so we decided to get some rest for the next day.

It was not a lovely morning the very next day. We were greeted by light rain and clouds! Deng! But the free breakfast was yummy! Homemade bread and local bush honey is just so tasty. Cant stop eating slice after slice. Coupled with a cup of hot coffee, it made my day a lot nicer! Hehe..

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Joy, greeted us in the morning with his soulful eyes.. begging for foods but we are not allowed to! He is one of the clever and obedient dog! The owner show us, that without his permission, Joy wouldnt eat the dog biscuit right in front of him. That's a cool trick!  She was saying... No... No... No.... then Yes, there goes the greedy Joy.

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The two girls were afraid of Joy, but Joy mean no harm! He's just too cute! haha.. Sitting there watching the two girls as he patiently waiting for some foods. Sorry Joy, we cant do that! You're obese!

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 As the rain begins to slowed down, we start preparing and head to Farewell Spit. Chris and Hiromi was kind enough to show us what's nice to visit around there with an informative piece of yellow map and places of interest. Our plan was to visit Wharariki Beach, Cape Farewell and Pillar Point. Wharariki Beach, rated one of the most beautiful beaches around New Zealand, was indeed amazing! There's one thing to keep in mind though, make sure to visit only during low tides. That's the only way you could maximise the beach exploration.

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I'll update the blog with Day 3 and Day 4 photos pretty soon, it takes a little bit of time as our internet connection in the backpackers is so unstable and slow! Haizzz.....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wither Hill revisited

Another day off and as usual, we all have no idea where to go! Hah! Then the idea of sunrise shooting came up by a friend, and so we plan ahead. Destination? Wither Hill Farm Park. Pretty near, plus, we need to get up pretty early.

We woke up around 5am in the morning, get some breakfast before heading there and start climbing around 5.30am. Man, it was freezing cold.. the wind was terribly strong and cold, to a point where my hand almost frozen! No way i could hold my tripod longer than 30 seconds.. it's just too cold!  Anyway, we managed to hike up against the elevation and coldness, reach the top of Mount Vernon to see the sun just about to rise. Set up my tripod, and shot a few photos.. here's my pick:

Using Cokin GND filter, and merge two photos to get the sky exposed to my liking.
Wither Hill sunrise

Is this considered HDR? hmmmm...Anyway,
looking at the sky, we saw a dark patch of cloud from the south rising and getting nearer and nearer. We decided to get down the hill quickly. On the way down, i stumble across some nice background-foreground and lines. Hard to explain, so let the photo do the justice.
Wither Hill sunrise B+W

Do feel free to comment and give me some inputs! I deeply appreciated it and it motivates me a lot especially when i saw the post counts rising each day. Thank you so much to those who are supporting my blog.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Changes, An Unavoidable Process

It's Spring! Time flies so fast, and i'm here in New Zealand for 4 months already. Spent my first month in the vineyard, working with a company called Vincon. Enjoyed pruning and stripping, even though it's one of the toughest job ever. However, fresh air and freedom is something i like the most. Being close to nature..

However, i was considered lucky to found another job.. a more stable and permanent job in Blenheim, New Zealand. Working as a salesperson, or much nicer term, imaging specialist of Harvey Norman Blenheim. Haha.. Blink of an eye, it's already 3 months working there. Enjoyed working there, as plenty of opportunity to earn extra income from commission. All the colleague and boss, Donna are very kind, friendly and helpful! I've decided to apply for work visa because i wanted to stay longer in New Zealand to visit more places and take more photos. Fingers crossed, i hope i will be able to get my visa soon!

However, the whole 4 months was not without any bad news.. although i make a lot of friends, it's sad to see everyone left.. one by one left the backpackers after the seasonal work ends. It's real sad.. The kitchen was never the same again without all our noises and laughters.. it was a quiet and somehow, sad places from time to time. New friends comes and goes though.. that's life i guess, especially for a backpacker and traveller like me. Fall sick too, few weeks back during the starts of spring. Feels really bad and home sicks at times.

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Anyway, i guess enough for today, before my readers starts to get bored.. :P
Spiced up abit, thanks to all who have been supporting me in photography throughout the years, my photo have been published again in Digital Camera Malaysia magazine. Although it's not a prize winning shot, it motivates me to work harder, to improve my photography and hopefully, make a name for myself.

Here's a snapshot of the magazine:

As spring emerges, flowers starts to bloom.. did manage to capture some while trying to redo my DIY flash diffuser for macro photography.
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Also managed to take a photo of sakura blossom on Budge St. It was a beautiful sight!!
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Btw, went to another winery for wine tasting again.. this time, Cloudy Bay! A nice place to visit, although i dont feel so comfortable in the cellar door. The host were not overall very friendly, but maybe it's just me being overly sensitive. So far, the best cellar door i've been is still Clos Henri :)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olympus Roadshow in Wellington

Last tuesday, i was lucky enough to be invited by Olympus and they fly me to Wellington for an overnight trip and attend the roadshow by them. The primary objective of the roadshow was basically showcase all the Olympus range, and of course, the ultimate OM-D E-M5!  The roadshow was held at the Te Papa Museum, and attend by over 50 invited guess. Great food and drinks served!

Te Papa Museum

Took some sunset shot before heading to the museum for the roadshow.
Wellington sunset

I stayed in a wonderful hotel called Distinction Century City Hotel's Suite Room (which is booked by Olympus, but not paid, duhh.. i have to fork up $159 for a night and still waiting for reimbursement) But anyway, the room was superb. Have a look!
Distinction Century City Hotel

Distinction Century City Hotel

Distinction Century City Hotel

Distinction Century City Hotel

Im quite impress by the new technology of the EM5, especially the 5 axis Image Stabilization ( world first!) and the weatherproof sealing ( demonstrated there too by pouring glass of water over it!). The mirrorless camera is compact and solid-magnesium alloy body. Image quality are comparable, if not, better than most APSC Dslr. I'll tested it out in the coming days to see how it performs. Another thing is like was the EVF, which is superb! The bracketing mode is superb too, especially the Art Filter bracketing. However, during writing; especially when you're shooting 11 art filter bracketing, you cant possible view other photos while waiting for it to finish writing.. slow.... real slow...


There is some drawback, especially the small size (which doesn't fit my hand well) and with the added grip, actually make it worse cause it obstruct my 5th finger. Another comment was, the LCD color tinge. Im quite sensitive to colors, especially on the LCD. From my observation, most Samsung phones had that problem. And now, the EM5, which is dissapointing. If you don't know what i mean, try look at the EM5 LCD and then the Electronic View Finder. Look at the green/yellow tinge on the LCD! Total disappointment i should say..

Anyway, overall, the camera is real good in terms of build quality and image quality. Nothing to complain (until i finish playing with it for few more days) Will update soon on that!