I recently spent a long weekend in Wellington; the world’s southernmost capital city and one of my favourite happy-places.
Wellington is a small city, full of art and culture and great places to eat and drink coffee. Bounded by the sea and the hills, it works on a human scale. Everywhere is walkable, even in one of the howling gales for which Wellington is famous.
I arrived in the midst of such a storm. Throughout the flight from Auckland the captain warned that we might be in for a “bit of jostling” as our plane approached Wellington airport. He wasn’t joking.
Although the wind dropped a little over the weekend, it remained a grey and windy time — perfect for black & white photography.
The title of this post comes from the Alistair Te Ariki Campbell’s poem ‘Blue Rain.’ An extract, below, is included in the Wellington Writers’ Walk — a series of “typographical sculptures” placed around the city. It occurs to me that the phase “cube of sunlight” might also be applied to photography.
— Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. From ‘Blue Rain’ in The Dark Lord of Savaiki: Collected Poems, Hazard Press, 2003
I meant to post this yesterday (Snapshots from an afternoon by the sea) — to make sense of the lyrics which I did remember to include. It’s a great song; enjoy!
In Wellington recently for the LUX Festival, I found myself with a spare afternoon and decided to visit the seaside village of Eastbourne, across the harbour. I’d once before caught the ferry to nearby Days Bay, but this time decided to travel by bus.
It bus takes about an hour, travelling through Petone and Lower Hutt. For the last 15 or so minutes I was the only passenger, and so was able to chat with the bus driver. I had no idea where I wanted to go. He he suggested a walk along the shoreline and even made an unscheduled stop at the most convenient place for me — demonstrating once again that Wellington bus drivers are the nicest in the world.
It was a pretty gloomy afternoon, with whipping winds and huge clouds rolling across the harbour. The threat of rain meant conditions weren’t ideal for sightseeing (or lingering to take photos) but it did ensure my walk was brisk.
The few shots I have of that afternoon were snapped on my phone, while walking, and later from the bus on the way back to Wellington. None were particularly good at first sight; too dark and indistinct, which of course makes them perfect for an exercise in editing. I applied a HD filter to each shot and then played with a few filters in Aviary Photo Editor, to alter the mood a little.
My main memory of that afternoon (apart from the friendly bus driver, who also took me back to Wellington), is the dominance of the cloud formations blanketing the harbour. Behind them, small bands of colour
It’s out walking that I tend to listen to music the most, and my visit to Eastbourne prompted me to find The Front Lawn‘s Tomorrow Night on my playlist. This is a kind of anthem for Kiwis abroad, especially on their OE (overseas experience) in the UK — as I was once.
She loves Wellington she was born there,
She grew up out in the Hutt valley,
Then she left home looking for something,
She thought she’d find it in the city.
She’d go dancing in the weekends,
Her friends were starting up new bands,
Tight black dresses and hairspray,
About 8 o’clock,
When the town starts filling up,
Tomorrow night about the time when the pubs start jumping,
And the drunks start fighting,
We’ll start dancing.
— Tomorrow Night, Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair (The Front Lawn)