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Photography has changed the way I see the world around me.

Through it I discover new things and rediscover old ones. Like my island, New Caledonia.

This blog is just me sharing my world through my photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Posts tagged flowers
HITACHI SEASIDE PARK AND ODAIBA

Japan

day nine

Our second last full day in Japan. Today we head to Hitachinaka, just north of Tokyo, to visit the Hitachi Seaside Park. Then we head over to Odaiba island for the evening.

There’s about an hour train trip and a half hour bus ride from Tokyo to get to the Hitachi Seaside Park. This place is a lot bigger than I had ever imagined. We spent about two and a half hours and only saw a fraction of what there is to see and do. Most of our time was spent in the beautiful nemophila (baby blue-eyes) and poppy fields on Miharashi Hill. With different flowers blossoming every season, you can be amazed all year round. The park has so much more to offer though. Hitachi Seaside Park is also a huge amusement park for families with cafes, restaurants, boutiques, stores and that’s not all. BMX course, golf games, trampoline, water games, ferris wheel, a 400 metre obstacle course in a tube and lots more. You can even hire push-bikes to wander around this enormous 350 hectare park. We came for the baby blue-eyes fields and other flowers but if you decide to visit, give yourself a whole day. You won’t regret it. There’s so much to do and see here.

We headed back to the hotel a little early to relax a bit and freshen up before going to Odaiba. To get there, we took the Yurikamome, a computer operated train that runs on rubber wheels. There are no drivers nor guards onboard. Pretty cool, I must say. Another reason we took it is because it crosses the Shuto Expressway No.11 Daiba Route. Publicly named Rainbow Bridge because of it’s beautiful lights at night. We, unfortunately, didn’t get to see the multi-coloured lights. We got off at the iconic Statue Of Liberty replica for some blue hour photography. Lady Liberty is only 11.5 metres in height but looks much taller because of it’s strategic placement, overlooking Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge. Beautiful views from there.

Once blue hour was over, we made our way to the Oodeo-Onsen Monogatari. This place is a complete onsen theme park. It’s literally a replica of a town from the Edo era. This place is open from 11 am to 9 am the next day. And you need all that time to experience the place. There’a so much to do and see here. There’s a food court with street foods, there are restaurants, shops, bars, saunas ,spas, onsens, relaxation rooms and tatamis, massages, the list goes on and on. Checkout my last post where I talk a little more about this amazing place. As I mentioned on the post, a must visit but give yourself a full day to appreciate and immerse yourself in the experience. Two days if you’d like to visit Odaiba.

That’s it for day nine my friends. Thank you for watching and hope to see you for the last video of Japan. Oyasuminasai.

MIHARASHI'S BELL

Hitachinaka, Japan

This is one of my favourite images from Japan. This little girl was trying so hard to grab that rope and ring the bell of Miharashi no Oka Hill. Unfortunately, I have no idea what this bell is doing up here nor why people ring it. If anyone knows, drop me a comment over on Facebook or Instagram.

You may have recognised the ferris wheel in the background and the blue flowers from my last post. Miharashi no Oka Hill, from which I took both photos from, is located in Hitachi Seaside Park. And as I said in my last post, everyone should visit this place once in their lifetime. And bring the kids along too, there’s plenty to keep them busy.

I was hesitant taking this shot. Taking photos of children in public can be sensitive. But this little girl was so cute and trying so hard to grab that rope, I had to snap a photo. I have to say, I was very lucky not to have anyone else in the frame as there were a few people there. I was also lucky she was trying for a couple of minutes to grab that rope, it gave me the time to put some distance between us, to be less conspicuous, and to adjust my camera so that I just had to point and shoot. Because I was in Manual mode, my exposure was already locked in, I just had to change my focus mode to Auto and zoom all the way in. In regards to post-processing, I tried a black & white conversion but didn’t like it as much as the coloured.

75 mm, 1/3200th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100

HITACHI SEASIDE PARK

Hitachinaka, Japan

Hitachi Seaside Park is one of those places everyone should visit once in their life. Choose well your season though as these gardens change constantly throughout the year. Magnificent, colourful plains of flowers, herbs and shrubs depending on the season. Though we visited it kind of in-between seasons, it was still stunning. As you can see by the green patches which are normally covered by blue flowers, we were towards the end of the Nemophila season. But, it was the beginning of the Poppy season which are the orange flowers on the bottom of the photo though they are everywhere within these fields.

The Hitachi Seaside Park is more than just a massive garden, it’s also a recreational park for families. With different golf-like games, BMX course, air trampoline, athletics course, water/pool area, a 400 metre obstacle tube and not forgetting the ferris wheel. And of course there are restaurants, cafes and other specialised stores. You would have to spend the whole day here to take advantage of everything. A great place.

Now you may have noticed I shot this photo at ƒ/2.8 … and I have no idea why I did that. Apart from the bottom quarter of the photo and everything beyond the ferris that is slightly blurry, the image is sharp. I would’ve gotten the same exposure though using 1/200th sec @ ƒ/11 but with the added bonus of having everything in focus and sharp. Lesson learned from a silly mistake.

75 mm, 1/3200th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100

ROTORUA - NEW ZEALAND

ROTORUA

Wish I had more time to visit Rotorua. There’s so much to see here. Click here if you haven’t seen the video of day 7. There are a few things on it that I haven’t taken photos of.

My morning started early with a stroll where I found myself on a sulphur plateau near the Puaranga Stream. It was overcast when I arrived but then golden hour just exploded through some clouds just long enough for me to setup and capture it. Not the best of compositions but better than nothing in my eyes. It covered up again for the next few hours. I saw a path heading into some bushes along the sulphur plateau and thought I’d follow it in hopes of capturing more photos. Not a lot to photograph but a very nice path nonetheless.

So once we all had breakfast, we headed to Kuirau Park & Mud Pools. I was surprised to find different hot water springs in such a small area. Black water, aqua water, green with white bubbles not to mention the light and dark brown mud bubbles. Very interesting. There was an area where you could dip your feet into the hot springs as well, which the girls took to right away.

After the park we took the Skyline to the Volcanic Hills Wine Tasting Room. The Skyline is a must just for the amazing views. Before the alcohol though, we visited the Jelly Belly Store where we tasted some very bizarre flavoured lollies. Then Alain luge raced before we all had lunch. I don’t have any photos of the wine tasting but check out the video or the link just above to see what the place looks like. The wines were very good and the whole experience was great.

NZ DAY 07 ROTORUA

Our last visit of the day was the Ohinemutu Maori Village. Here you’l find amazing carvings decorating the buildings. A very peaceful area on the shores of Lake Rotorua. My photos don’t do justice to these beautiful buildings.

Our stop for the night was the Cosy Cottage Thermal Holiday Park. We were supposed to do the Redwoods Treewalk that evening but it started to rain pretty heavy and didn’t stop till late in the night. Very unfortunate because it looks like an amazing thing to do.

Day 7 is over. Tomorrow we visit a wonderland before heading to Taupo. Hope to see you then. Goodnight.

p.s. thanks to Alain and his wife, Manu, for the use of some of their photos and videos.

THE 309 ROAD - THE COROMANDEL - NEW ZEALAND

FROM WARKWORTH THROUGH THE 309 ROAD TO COOKS BAY

Here are the photos from the last video. I’ve added a few extras that weren’t used in the video.

To recap the video and these photos, we stayed overnight at the Sheepworld Caravan & Camping Park in Warkworth (New Zealand) then traveled across The Coromandel via The 309 Road to Cooks Bay.

Though we didn’t stay very long at the Sheepworld Caravan & Camping Park, after walking around the place, I became very fond of it. The rustic country look. The Crash Start in the middle of the backyard. The volleyball net with stuff growing off it. The red sheep. Cow50 who posed for a photo but then wanted to eat my tripod. And beautiful, little, white flowers. Oh and the view of the mountains from the carpark was amazing too.

Our first stop of the day was Auckland to sort out some problems we had with the camper-van. We didn’t record any of that part of the trip. I regret it a little but can’t do anything about it now.

From Auckland we headed south-east to The Coromandel towards Preece Point. From there onto The 309 Road where we stumbled upon Stuart & The Pigs (without Stuart) and stopped at Waiau Waterfall. I really like this waterfall because the area is small, it’s completely surrounded by forest and there’s a small waterhole. Lovely little spot.

Our day ended in Cooks Bay where we parked our camper-van on a free site just behind the Purangi Regional Reserve, along the Oyster River (I think that’s the river’s name but am not sure). Only took a couple of late afternoon shots then we just sat back and relaxed. It was the end of a long day of driving.

Next post is a video where we visit a cathedral and a gorge. Hope to see you then. Ciao.

p.s. can not forget to thank Alain for his contribution to this set of photos as well.

PAIHIA - BAY OF ISLANDS - NEW ZEALAND

THE FALLS AND THE HOLE

Here are the photos from the last video. I think I added a couple more in there too. 

So to recap the third day of our New Zealand trip of the North Island, we woke up in Kaikohe, a town west of Kerikeri and made our way to Haruru Falls in Waitangi. From there we headed to Paihia where we had booked a ferry to visit the famous Hole In The Rock on Motukokako Island. On the way there and back, we stopped over at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. The Hole In The Rock is just after Cape Brett, where you will notice a hut and lighthouse on the hill. Back in Paihia I took a photo of the beautiful stone building, the St. Paul’s Anglican church.

We hit the road back towards Auckland that afternoon and stopped for the night at the Sheep World Caravan & Camping Park. A wonderful place and so is the owner.

Again, I’d like to thank Alain, my friend, for letting me use a couple of his photos.

KERIKERI - BAY OF ISLANDS - NEW ZEALAND

THE CLOUD & THE TOWER, THE STORE & THE FALLS

I thought I’d share the photos that were in the video of my last post. I’ve wanted to share them for a while but wanted to get the video out first.

You might have noticed that the first two photos are not from Kerikeri but Auckland (New Zealand). This was on our first full day in New Zealand, I got up early, before my friends, to check out the Piers at the end of Queen Street, where we’d eaten at the night before.

Later that morning we were picking up our camper-van and heading up to Kerikeri. We lost three hours at the camper-van company because of a problem with their system, which made us arrived in Kerikeri mid afternoon instead midday.

We headed straight for The Stone Store and Kiroripo Pa. A beautiful area along the Kerikeri River. We spent a couple hours there then visited the Rainbow Falls (Waianiwaniwa) a little farther upstream.

Unfortunately that’s all we had the time to visit. The next day we were off to Paihia. Kerikeri is a large town with plenty to visit and do, and absolutely beautiful. Well worth a visit.

BRUSHTAIL

I mentioned on my last post that I was in Naïa (Païta, New Caledonia) a couple of weeks back. This is another shot I took over there. What attracted me to these… bushy tailed stems was, well, exactly that, their bushy tails. The sun was still fairly high but was slightly backlighting the stems. Which made them glow against the dark background. I aimed for a shallow depth of field so as to blur out the background and whatever was closest to the lens. I wanted to isolate just one stem but it proved to be a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. The breeze wasn’t helping either. 

After finding a satisfactory point of view, I zoomed all the way out to 55 mm on my kit lens and stopped down as far as I could to f/5.6, ISO 800 and shutter speed of 1/4000 sec to make sure there’s no motion blur in the stem. 

I’m the first to admit it’s not a captivating photo but it doesn’t matter. It reminds me of a place and time and the people I was with.

TEARDROPS ON A TEARBUD

Back in February I posted a couple of photos. One titled The Vella Bouquet which showed the, nearly, fully bloomed flower and the other, Purple Hearts, showing the first moments of blooming of this bud. They're called Agapanthus and I thank Ben Caledonia over on Flickr for the name of this flower. And also to Chris Thomas on G+ for an interesting fact. These flowers are often planted around homes in areas with high fire risks. When the flower is dormant, their base leaves are very waxy and great as fire retardant. They won't stop your house from burning down but may give you those few precious minutes to save the house or get to safety. And funny enough, this photo was taken in the backyard of my friend's parents place up in the Blue Mountains (Australia).

I decided to go black & white on this photo because of the high contrast between the bud and the background. In colour everthing was in the green tones and wasn't separating the bud from the background enough. Here, the bud has all the attention.

PURPLE HEARTS

I visited my best mate's parents (my second family) up in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales, Austalia) over the holidays. I was hoping to get some sunset and sunrise shots but the weather was horrible. Constant drizzle and fog. I couldn't see farther than hundred metres in front of me. But, there was beauty to be found in their backyard. With a long stem and a small bud, this early bloomer stood out amongst the others. I framed it with the pink flowers in the background, not only, to bring more colours into the photo but to contrast with the colours of the bud. To make it stand out a little more. I think it worked, what do you think? And does anyone know the name of this little beauty?

THE VELLA BOUQUET

It was the end of the day and sunlight was coming through the forest trees to illuminate parts of my friends' shaded garden. I just couldn't resist trying to capture some of these beautiful backlit flowers. This is the best of the different compositions I had taken. I was so concentrated on getting the flowers in the backgroung in the shot that I didn't realise the bright light, in the top right corner, would be so distracting. And the lens flare as well. But I still like this photo quite a lot. Which is why I'm sharing it with you.

BURTY'S NEST

You may have seen this photo in my last post as the cover photo of the time-lapse video. As I mentioned then, I've wanted to photograph this cemetery for a  long time and the death of my very good friend, pushed me to get it done.

We call it Cimetière Du 5ème Km (5th Km Cemetery). Situated in Noumea, New Caledonia. Most cemeteries are well maintained and some are just beautiful with colourful flowers decorating the tombs.

I arrived late for the sunset but got a chance to capture this fleeting moment of gorgeous colour in the sky. At the time I didn't think I had captured anything great and so decided to head back here the next day. In the end I prefer this photo to the one I took the following day.