Auckland without colour

Flax bushes, Hobsonville Point. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Flax bushes, Hobsonville Point. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

My family emigrated to New Zealand when I was five years old. We’d come from Kirkcaldy in Scotland, a town where buildings tended to be soot-encrusted stone or grey pebble dash.

We arrived in Auckland in mid-winter, but the city turned on for us one of those spectacular afternoon’s of intense sunlight and big skies. Driving from the airport the thing I remember most was seeing street after street of brightly coloured wooden houses. Each on its own plot of wildly green grass and each painted a different colour than its neighbour. For a wee Scots kid from Fife, it was almost unbearably bright.

I’ve lived in Auckland off and on for most of my life. Over the years, in-fill housing and rampant motorway building has scarred my childhood landscape, and changing fashion in house paint colour has given us street after street of taupe and grey. But I still think of Auckland as a colourful city. We’re built on two harbours and blessed with the sort of climate in which greenery thrives. So it was a challenge for me to render my city in black and white.

I’m not sure how successful I’ve been; whether replacing colour with texture and pattern really works. I suspect that without colour, Auckland tends to become Anywhere. But I’ll let you judge.

Morning clouds at Hobsonville Point. Su Leslie 2013

Morning clouds at Hobsonville Point. One of my favourite walks; this part of the harbour is really tidal and so changes dramatically throughout the day. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Early morning walk, Hobsonville Point. If I ignore the motorway and housing development behind me, I can enjoy the stillness of the Waitemata Harbour. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Early morning walk, Hobsonville Point. If I ignore the motorway and housing development behind me, I can enjoy the stillness of the Waitemata Harbour. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Late afternoon Waiake Beach. Photo: Su Leslie 2011

Late afternoon Waiake Beach. Photo: Su Leslie 2011

I spent my late teens and early twenties living near this little beach with its funny little tidal island.

Rangitoto Island from Browns Bay beach. Photo Su Leslie 2012

Auckland’s iconic Rangitoto Island, from Browns Bay beach. Photo Su Leslie 2012

Pier at Devonport Yacht Club. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Pier at Devonport Yacht Club. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

The first place my family lived in New Zealand was Devonport. I remember being allowed to walk down to the beach on our first day and being amazed at how blue the water was. As children we used to collect shellfish from local beaches. Not something I’d do now!

Clock Tower, University of Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2012

Clock Tower, University of Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2012

I was a student at Auckland University for way too many years and have always loved this building. I’ve still never been to the top, though my son has.

Old and new in central Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Old and new in central Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Just like anywhere else? Auckland CBD from Parnell Rose Gardens. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Just like anywhere else? Auckland CBD from Parnell Rose Gardens. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

High rise offices and apartments proliferate in Auckland now. Without colour, it’s in danger of becoming Anywhere.

This post was written as part of the weekly phoneography challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. This week’s theme is black and white. All photos were taken on iPhone 4 and edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.

Here are some other black and white posts I enjoyed:

http://woollymuses.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/phoneography-perth-bell-tower/

http://stevemcp2002.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/phoneography-challenge-black-white-2/

http://blogagaini.com/2013/11/18/phoneography-monday-black-and-white-2/

http://weliveinaflat.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/photography-vertical-motifs/

http://watchingthephotoreels.com/2013/11/18/black-and-white-phoneography-challenge-3/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/phoneography-challenge-black-and-white-5/

http://uniquesochic.com/2013/11/18/iphoneography-challenge-black-and-white-flower-art/

http://firebonnet.com/2013/11/18/phoneography-challenge-bw-eye-of-the-sunflower/

 

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15 thoughts on “Auckland without colour

  1. I always have a hard time with oceans or water in black and white, but then you have shown me otherwise in your second photo of morning clouds. I really love the pier and also the old and new in central Aukland. Some lovely work here.
    Thanks for the pingback.

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    • Thank you. I think NZ is a really beautiful country. Not as “clean and green” as we like to tell the world, but still pretty spectacular. πŸ™‚

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  2. Wonderful post–I feel as those your personal tale gives the set of images a back story that serves them well. While, some of them could be “anywhere,” a slight sensibility exudes that gives hints to character (water, island, beaches and more). My favorite monochrome is those luscious morning clouds reflected. Happy Phoneography Challenge.

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    • Thank you so much Sally. I really enjoy your challenges because they really do challenge me to think about the shots I take and why I’m taking them. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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    • Thank you so much. I think these images probably represent my Auckland pretty accurately. I love the beaches and the older parts of the city.

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  3. Pingback: Phoneography Challenge: Black and White | Lens and Pens by Sally

  4. Su, the B&W emphasizes the way you set up your photos so well but I suspect that, although the photos are lovely, that I would prefer the color versions for the most part because they add to the spectacular beauty of the places. I hope I said all that in a way that doesn’t detract from how much I like the photos. πŸ™‚

    janet

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    • Hi Janet. Thanks, that’s actually a really lovely, positive comment. I think the photos are better in colour. I’m enjoying these challenges because they are really making me think about what makes a photo work and I’m learning so much from taking part – and from the feedback I’m getting. So thanks again.

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  5. Pingback: Auckland in full colour | Zimmerbitch: age is just a (biggish) number

  6. Pingback: Phoneography Challenge | Through the Eye of Bastet

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