Art exhibition by Eion Shanks at Rippon Vineyard, Wanaka

Last night a friend of mine from Oamaru [and ex Wanaka], Eion Shanks opened an exhibition of his paintings at Rippon Vineyard last night.

As well as owning a couple of his earlier works, which I really enjoy, I saw a few of the below at the Forester Galley in Oamaru back in March and thought it’d be nice to share them here.

One of the delights of a visit to the vineyard is the stunning view of Lake Wanaka, the rows of vines, and Ruby Island…
Rippon Vineyard - dusk

The entry door to Rippon Vineyard’s tasting building, which is also a popular venue for numerous events…

The tasting room main area…Rippon

Some of Eion’s work…
Rippon - Eion Shanks Exhibition

Rippon - Eion Shanks Exhibition

Rippon - Eion Shanks Exhibition

There are also some landscape style works at the exhibition, but due to lighting and composition being compromised by people enjoying them, they’re not featured here.

Wanaka Autumn Art School 2018

Last week I attended the annual Wanaka Autumn Art School held at Mt Aspiring College, during the NZ Secondary School holiday period.

It was the 29th annual school and offered 16 classes taught by highly talented tutors from New Zealand and Australia.

I choose the Fine Art Photography course, and here are a few pictures of the five days worth of intense and enjoyable work often using PhotoShop, or similar to bring together various elements into one picture.

On Friday, the last day of the course we eagerly gathered around the printer, while our tutor Kaye Davis [centre] downloaded our images and printed them for us on the best paper I’ve ever seen or touched…
Wanaka Autumn Art School 2018

Cold press bright paper kindly given to us by Epson who make high quality photo printers, and they also donated the ink – thank you Epson!
Cold press bright by Epson at Wanaka Autumn Art School

Below are  selections of our work for the week – some of us did three or four prints, while others put all their efforts into just one..
Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

I for one, was really inspired by the creative and varied answers emanating from my class-mates, to our brief to bring together various elements to tell a story…
Wanaka Autumn Art School

Here are my four efforts – each involving the honing of various skills, both in camera and in post production.

The first was almost my undoing until Kaye made one vital suggestion to change the centre element edges/blending/bleeding wise, and to go pure black and white to match the walls…
Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

During the first four days we made joint or individual trips around town to gather information in our camera’s. One option was to take advantage of a visit to Wanaka by the gypsy fair house-bus people. Although I’m pretty sure what they offered was not used, it was a colourful event held in the Wanaka Show Grounds…
Wanaka Autumn Art School

Wanaka Autumn Art School

Many thanks to Kaye, and to five of my good friends who attended – I enjoyed your company immensely 🙂

If any of you would like to add your effort[s] for the week please email me a copy – no smaller than 1024 pixels wide please ~

Wanaka by night – an alternative view over Easter

After a noisy few days in Wanaka over Easter weekend with vintage aircraft from the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow filling the sky, I took a peaceful walk downtown in the early night.

The iconic White House Restaurant…
Wanaka - White House Restaurant

Many older cars were in town – many on display at the Airshow…
Wanaka by night - vintage car

The town centre with my back to Lake Wanaka…
Wanaka town center by night 4

The town centre night life from the banks of Bullock Creek…
Wanaka by night near Bullock Creek

Wanaka by night – Looking along Tenby or Upton St from the war memorial…
Wanaka by night - Tenby St

Entry way to the iconic White House Restaurant near the New World supermarket
Wanaka by night -entry to the White house

Wanaka by night – the Fire Station and full moon
Wanaka by night - Fire Station and full moon

A couple of suprising places to visit, with visitors, on a rainy day in Wanaka

For the last few weekends in Wanaka it has rained. Since this is not the usual state affairs it can pose a few challenges when visitors come visiting.

I’ve long promoted Puzzling World as a fun place to go, but never thought of the National Transport and Toy Museum at the airport, and in this later case Brian led the charge – neither of us having any idea how much it has grown.

Brian found a car the same as his first back in his youth…

Vladimir, originally from Russia enjoyed seeing a Gaz from his home country…
Toy 1 15

I found an Austin, same model as my parent’s first car. It was more of indigo colour. Like this car it had very thoughtful footrests for passengers in the rear…

Then we adjourned to Puzzling World, where we were content to not be puzzled, favouring a more passive role playing with puzzles over a coffee…

The magic of the Glendhu Bay area of Lake Wanaka

I went out a couple of evenings ago to capitalise on the beautiful evening light we’ve been getting lately, and the cool airs, after another scorcher in Wanaka – I even had a swim 🙂

I was not disappointed with the burnt off grass tones, and the reflective nature of the water surface mimicking the clouds was a bonus …

Roys Peak Wanaka, from Glendhu Bay
Roys Peak Wanaka, from the Glendhu Bay area

Glendhu Bay and Mt Aspiring
Glendhu Bay with Mt Aspiring in the background

Emerald bluffs Wanaka

Some little known Lake Hawea and Wanaka history of gold mining back in the 1880’s

As tourists when we tick the boxes on the must-visit places it can be a bit of a rush. Then it’s easy to overlook other rushes accommodated by the past.

Close to Wanaka and on the very busy road beside Lake Hawea that goes to Haast and South Westland it’s easy to rush by a little creek on the left called Craigburn, and it’s accompanying Dept of Conservation interpretation board, which alerts us to some history of gold mining endeavours upstream back around 1880, mainly in a tributary called Long Gully.

Now days called the Matatiaho Conservation Area it once sported 200 miners, three stores and a butchery, but this development was not long lived as the hope of finding the source of the gold in the very rugged and deeply incised headwaters upstream came to nought. Sadly little evidence of this has survived.

Flowering kanuka and lupins as seen from the DOC track, with a backdrop of Lake Hawea…

About an hour in, the track comes to an end as it drops into seclusion down by the river at some signage, and a small gate in a deer fence…
Craigburn 2

Hunters [permit required] usually frequent the rugged country further to the west [through above mentioned small gate], and to the much steeper southern areas including Mt Burke…
Craigburn 4

Craigburn 3

Lupins by the carpark…
Craigburn 5

Redwoods at Wanaka Station Park

How do you assimilate such immense, ancient, stately, mysterious and powerful redwood trees into language?

It seems to be as much of a challenge as capturing their essence in a photo!

Their existence is their very presence or vice versa – no “soft” wood here, but the voice of patience and endurance.

They come from a humble seed no bigger than one from an apple to achieve prodigious ages and dimensions of up to 120 meters tall, with a width of several at the base. And they continue to flourish in a history of up to 160 million years in the making, and going back 20 million years in their present range.

They probably had dinosaurs scratching their trunks!

California’s North Coast is the most well known location in the world that provides an environment they like – one underscored by cool, moist air created by the Pacific Ocean keeping the trees continually damp, even during summer droughts. And yet here they are in New Zealand, and in Wanaka we don’t have a lot of damp moist air!

Theories continue to develop as to why they grow so old and tall, but proof remains elusive. The trees can reach ages of 2000 years and regularly reach 600 years.

Powered by the leaves’ diffusion of water, water-to-water molecular bonds in the trees’ sapwood drags the moisture upwards – and to move thousands of litres maybe even in a day to such a height is quite a feat. During the summer, this transpiration apparently causes redwood stems to shrink and swell with the cycles of day and night.

Here a recent picture of one of the entry way to a magical place hosting some redwoods, Wanaka Station Park…

Redwood at 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

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.

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 These will be moderated to ensure content is appropriate.

Mail me Donald 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!