An early launching of Wanaka Images and Photography

I’ve had this site for a while – it languished perhaps because of timing. After all timing is everything in all things!

Having got my eco site Southern Light to where I wanted it yesterday, I turned my attention to this one.

It needed a look consistent with the aims, so setting it up came well before populating it with good visual content.

Which was just as well as I had no idea FaceBook would be tracking it every time I posted an article or image. The intention was to upload content then release it in the wild in a few weeks.

Consequently the project is launched!

Serendipitously at the same time [today] I’ve just been interviewed by a skilled journalist with the Central Otago News[paper], so along with my back ground pertaining to conservation and the environment I slipped in a mention of Wanaka Images…

… and so its open for business!

It’s a WordPress Multi-site which means any interested person can have their own web site within it, e.g. wanakaimages.com/mysite

Start your own journal blog site, or web site to promote the area, your photography, or business for the introductory offer of $NZ 5.00/month +GST payable in advance. Set up is free.

Also author/photographers, who don’t want a site and the work of maintaining same, are welcome to publish relevant articles/photos for free within wanakaimages.com/my_article_whatever_its_name. These will be moderated to ensure content is appropriate.

Mail me Donald don@southernlight.co.nz to get started

The “tree” today…

Wanaka tree today

When the rain clears on Lake Wanaka magic is revealed

A couple of evenings ago a soft cold rain seemed set in, but then a few light patches appeared to support a rainbow in the north, so I rushed off to face that direction.

Meanwhile the clearance continued and looking west; well I followed my eyes.

On arrival near the famous Wanaka lake tree another excited photographer, who was rushing about, shouted out as he pointed, “is that the lonely tree?’

I gave him a thumbs up and off we scurried.

After getting this image on the fly, I lent him my tripod which seemed to surprise him – maybe they don’t do that sort of thing in Hong Kong!

Wanaka Station Park and Web Site Upgrade

Hi There

This blog is under reconstruction as of late Oct 2017

Here are two recent pictures of the entry ways to a magical place, Wanaka Station Park.

Wanaka Station was a large sheep station In the late 19th century covering land from the head of Lake Wanaka to the nearby Cardrona Valley.

The foundations remain of original homestead which it seems burned down twice, and these and the land has been preserved as a park, which includes beautiful mature fruit trees and giant redwoods. More latterly many other species such as rhododendron have become established.


Wanaka station park


The nearby Cardrona Valley and a weather change

We’ve just had many days of settled weather in Wanaka and in winter this equates to either an inversion cloud base hanging over the town [where the temperatures actually are higher as one ascends – proved by going up to a ski area], or the skies stay clear and we have wicked frosts…
Hawea River frost and sunrise

And it’s when the weather is on the cusp of change that other possible scenarios present themselves as landscape photography opportunities. In this case it’s warmed up as cloud with accompanying wind comes in from the north west.

For this image, just a 20 min drive up the Cardrona Valley was all it took to capitalise on the change photographically speaking…
Mt Cardronai

What is a stamper battery?

A stamper battery [a row of rock crushing stampers] represents one of many techniques to separate gold from earth and rock. The ratio of gold to dirt/rock is what determines the financial viability of a gold mining operation. Machinery is inevitably employed and has a capital cost as well as a very high maintenance cost: water is usually involved too and steel machinery is not best lubricated by water especially as it has rock particles in suspension in a gold mining operation [I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination to ponder the downstream effects on water and river quality!].

There are many areas or land in my homeland of Central Otago where what is called the peneplain is exposed by weathering, maybe aided by glaciers having stripped away substantial debris earlier, and also faulting crinkling the surface of the earth thus exposing edges where weathering can occur faster. Anyway you don’t have to rush off to the link below – just to know that rocks in keeping with a high percentage of gold are on the surface or can be mined/transported easily to a battery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peneplain

These rocks will typically be much heavier than our greywacke and shists, and they’ve once been part of layers of sediment cooked with pressure under extreme weight and silica has been forced all about. Quartz is also evident, along with “petrified wood”.

Stampers have to be constructed out of material tougher than silica impregnated rocks and crush same, then water is used to transport the crushings through a complicated refining process that leads to a water, gold and rock crushings mix [slurry].

Water was often also brought to the battery to power it, via races and fluming constructed with great effort out of creeks and around hill sides slowly loosing height to the site of the battery. The levels were calculated by using old gin bottles almost full of water [hence the phrase “spirit levels” perhaps].

When at the battery the water flowed onto a wheel thus suppling motion to a shaft on which a number of cams [all offset to ensure balance] would lift and then drop [stamp] very heavy cylinders of steel onto the rocks. The noise is awesome [some enthusiasts have restored one on the West Coast and I’ve been fortunate to see it running briefly]

This photo shows the curved cams that raise and drop the shafts that have the huge weights at the bottom…
Stamper Battery, Central Otago

This photo shows the wheels and gears that turn the shaft…
Stamper Battery, Central Otago

Here is a further explanation from DOC interpretation boards…
YStamper Battery, Central Otago

Stamper Battery, Central Otago

For me two factors in these operations astound me: how did they get the components on-site? And how did they live [or not live] in the winters!? Keep in mind that it is springtime when water is most abundant – this must surely mean working hard and long hours to have the material ready. Especially in some situations where, the water being temporarily frozen would aid the mining!