The Changing Seasons: March 2017

First light on Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

First light on Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I’m being a bit metaphorical with this Changing Seasons post, focusing on my road-trip with the boy-child last weekend.

Since he left home last June, I’ve only seen my child for more than a few hours at a time when he has been ill; in need of that special “mummy” care.

Last weekend we visited his grandfather in Whanganui; a road-trip of around 700km together. While it’s far from the first time we’ve traveled together, it was the first time we could share the driving and the costs. More importantly, as I quickly realised, we also had to share the decision-making.

My son is an adult now and the seasons of our respective lives have changed.

His road-trip ended at New Plymouth airport; with a flight back to Auckland and work. Mine involved a few more hours in the car (about half of them in Auckland traffic) — and a chance to get all nostalgic about New Zealand’s beautiful rural hinterland.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit to see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

DP Photo Challenge: dense

Mt Taranaki, shrouded in dense cloud. Seen from Opunake Beach, Taranaki, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Mt Taranaki, shrouded in dense cloud. Seen from Opunake Beach, Taranaki, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

For much of last weekend when the boy-child and I were away, clouds filled the skies of the central North Island. It is common for low skies to completely obscure Mt Taranaki, but here the outline was still visible, shrouded in dense, swirling clouds.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Dense

Normal service has resumed

Back to reality. Coffee, lists and bill-paying. Close-up shot of morning activity. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Back to reality. Coffee, lists and bill-paying. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The boy-child and I have been on a little road trip to visit my father.

I had intended to keep up with the blogging world while away. But truly, we were having too much fun exploring.

The boy and the mountain. Mist-shrouded Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road, with boy-child taking photograph. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The boy and the mountain. Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

So apologies for my slowness in engaging with your posts and responding to comments. It’s gone on my “to-do” list.

DP Photo Challenge: atop

View of Kaipara Harbour, from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

View of the Oruawharo River and Kaipara Harbour from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

There is a hint of autumn in the air. Auckland’s oppressive humidity has disappeared and I feel invigorated enough for long walks.

View of the Kaipara Harbour from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Tauhoa River, Kaipara. Seen from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Atiu Creek Regional Park covers over 800 hectares of bush, farm and wetlands north of Auckland with walking, cycling and horse-trekking trails criss crossing the landscape.

The park was gifted to Auckland in 2006 by owners Pierre and Jackie Chatelanat, who wanted to protect it from development and allow people to enjoy its beauty.

Views from atop the parks many hills are panoramic and stunning.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | atop

The Changing Seasons: February 2017

Cows and a bull grazing on a hillside against brilliant blue sky. Seen on the Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Another roadside attraction … Seen on the Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Big T was overseas for 18 of February’s 28 days, so it was a raggedy month where life’s normal rhythms skipped a bit.

A growing disaffection with Auckland’s rampant urbanisation, overcrowding and endless traffic congestion has driven me (at painfully low speed) from the city as often as I could get away. Trips to Karekare, the Awhitu Peninsula, the Waikato and even the Helensville A&P Show are all part of a quest to reconnect with the parts of Aotearoa New Zealand that the Big T and I love and feel connected to.

This post is my contribution to The Changing Seasons, a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit to see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

“The heart asks pleasure first” … when music shows us nature’s beauty

Karekare Beach, NZ. Clouds and cliffs reflected in wet sand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Evening; Karakare Beach, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

With about 15,000 km of coastline (for a landmass of 268,021 km²), New Zealand does beaches pretty well. But even by our standards, Karakare Beach on Auckland’s west coast is quite spectacular.

North end, Karekare Beach, NZ. Sky, clouds and cliffs reflected in wet sand. Image, Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

North end, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image, Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Enjoying the last of the light, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Enjoying the last of the light, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Sun seting on shoreline, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Sunset, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

For those of you who have seen Jane Campion‘s 1993 film, The Piano, Karekare is the beach where Ada and her daughter are abandoned with the piano. That scene is often remembered because of the music from Michael Nyman‘s beautiful soundtrack — ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First.’

Close your eyes and listen. In your mind, you will be transported to Karekare.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.


NB: The title of Michael Nyman’s piece comes from Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.

Imagining a past for the cabin by the river

Abandoned cabin, Waikato River at Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Slightly sinister? Abandoned cabin, Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

In our travels recently, the Big T and I discovered an abandoned cabin, floating on pontoons in marshland on the edge of the Waikato River. Some windows are boarded up, and others broken, but the cabin doesn’t look at though it’s been long abandoned.

It sits a short way from the end of a narrow country road, just visible from the road. A walking track leads toward the river and passes close by the cabin; floating slightly crookedly on its pontoons.

I’d love to know the story behind this little building, but will probably have to content myself  imagining stories about it; re-editing the image to change the content and mood of my stories.

Abandoned cabin, Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Forlorn and long abandoned? Cabin floating in marshland, Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Aged monochrome image of abandoned cabin, Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Slightly more gothic? A winter’s tale of loss and disillusionment. Cabin, Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

All in the artist's mind? Or remembrance of a long-gone childhood haunt? Abandoned cabin on the Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and PhotoLab.

All in the artist’s mind? Or remembrance of a long-gone childhood haunt? Abandoned cabin on the Waikato River at Aka Aka. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and PhotoLab.

This week’s brief for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge is to experiment with photo-editing and processing.

You can find out more about the challenges at Lens and Pens by Sally.