Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Lots of Lovely Lupins


You didn't think you were going to get away without seeing lupin photos did you? After I'd finished taking photos of the McLarens at Omarama I headed to the Ahuriri River Bridge just down the road. 

After the disappointment of finding that many of the lupins around Lake Tekapo had been sprayed and the ones that were still flowering, past their prime, I struck it lucky with the lupins at Omarama. They were just perfect; full flower heads with tips still in bud and very few seed pods. 

I crossed over the a couple of the side streams (part of the braided river system) and walked  up the river away from the carpark where people with only a few minutes to spare, stop to admire the flowers (and trample through them taking selfies)

I made my way to the main river and followed a track upstream. I had the whole place to myself; totally surrounded by beautiful lupins and their lovely perfume. I spent an hour or so taking photos, sitting on the river bank, watching terns fishing in the river and just enjoying the lovely scenery.

We called in at the river again yesterday on our way past- to have lunch, and also so I could take a few more photos using my macro lens. Many of the close up shots here and near the bottom of the post were taken with my macro lens on maximum aperture of f/2.8. Aperture has a big impact upon depth of field- that's how far you can see into the photo, it makes the subject stand out against the blurred background or bokeh as the out of focus area is called. There is good bokeh and then there is great bokeh, see if you can decide what makes great bokeh- hint, look for a sparkling background.

I'll let the photos do the talking now, don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge.

Ahuriri River bridge on SH8 in the distance

I've been wearing my flower hat for this post but I do need to mention that I have an issue promoting lupins. The dilemma I have is between three of my loves- photography, birds & flowers. I know the lupins are a major pest along the braided rivers of the MacKenzie Country, they are destroying the breeding grounds of many of our native birds, including critically endangered birds like the Black Stilt. 

If people were to move off the main roads and see the great swathes of lupins snaking their way up into the mountains, they'd be horrified. There is major cause for concern. I have noticed this year that councils & DOC have sprayed many more areas and killed many of the roadside patches. I've also noticed a river island, where black-fronted terns were nesting last year, is this year covered in lupins! 

But I also love the lupins and they make gorgeous photography subjects. Perhaps by promoting them, I'm also making people more aware of the problem, which in the end may help when DOC talk about eradicating them. Not that, that is ever likely to happen, just like rabbits, possums, wildling pines, broom & gorse amongst others, there are just far too many.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

McLaren Epic Tour of NZ


Look what I came across in Omarama while looking for lupins!

$45 million worth of McLaren sports cars on their 2016 Epic Tour of NZ, a salute to the New Zealand designer of the McLaren, the late Bruce McLaren.

There are thirty two McLarens on the tour and along with several New Zealand owners and dealer vehicles, 18 owners and their vehicles have also come from around the world to drive the 9 day tour, from Auckland to Queenstown.

The cars were split into several convoys and each group had a professional celebrity driver with them to give them tips on handling their powerful & expensive cars. They stopped at the Wrinkly Ram restaurant/cafe in Omarama for lunch and I just happened to be driving past as the first group pulled in, so I pulled over and took a tour myself.

The McLaren 650S Spider on the left (below) is just three months old - it has 650 horsepower and is worth over $500,000-  it's being driven on the tour by it's Auckland owners (remember to click on the photos to enlarge)

But it's the McLaren on the right (below) that is getting all the attention. This unassuming (amongst the others) little beauty is worth half of that $45million price tag.

McLaren's first car from the 1990s, this 1994 McLaren F1 is capable of doing just under 400kmh and is said to be worth a cool $22million. This is one of only 64 standard road-going versions ever built.

Amanda McLaren, daughter of the late Bruce McLaren, was on the trip, as well as Formula 1 racing star Ayrton Senna's nephew Bruno Senna and five time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, Derek Bell- they didn't wear name badges so I can't tell you whether I saw them or not! 

And I'm no expert but I did pick out a couple of McLaren models- their number plates gave them away. There were several rare (just 500 made) 675LTs- LT stands for Long Tail.

And two examples of the P1 hypercar- McLaren's flagship model- but I could only find this one in my photos!

The P1 was also very popular, and the more people that gathered around it, the more selfies were taken! Several busloads of tourists arrived at the restaurant for lunch although many of them made a beeline for the cars in the opposite direction.

I have no idea of the models in the next photos, although a few number plates allude to them. I'm sure if you're a McLaren enthusiast you'll be able to name them easily and if not, you can just drool over them like me. 

It was hard to choose a favourite although the bright colours had me hooked; I loved this one...

...the beautiful blue, the orange, the bronze and I think, if I had to choose just one, then the lime green 675LT convertible would be the one for me.

I was lucky to spot the cars as they arrived because in the end there were too many people swarming through the carpark and taking photos, to get any more clear shots of the cars so I headed off down the road to check out the Ahuriri River Valley for lupins.

It wasn't long after I parked the ute that I heard a throaty roar coming along the straight behind me and saw the first group of McLarens approaching. I ran across the road...

...and climbed a mound before the next group arrived.

I also managed a good shot of that $22 million dollar F1 McLaren sportscar....which I found out as I was writing this blog, has had an accident on the road just outside of Queenstown!

I wonder if one of those professional drivers was riding shotgun...

If it's of any consolation Mr F1 owner, Mr Bean crashed his F1 a couple of times (in real life) and cost his insurance company millions so you're in good(?) company.