Friday, 9 November 2012

Cows and Whitebait - An East Coast Odyssey

Cow and Cop - Whakatane
To say Whakatane on New Zealand's East Coast is a one-horse town is a gross exaggeration   There is at least one cow as well, albeit a plastic one outside the local vet's practice.

We arrived after a four hour road trip from Auckland.  What a lovely climate the place has and of course the people are  very friendly as you often experience in the rural hinterland.  Locals took the time to tell us where the best places were to go for sightseeing and fish and chips.  The latter being some of the best in New Zealand as there is a fishing industry based in Whakatane and the seafood is literally the catch of the day.

The weather has been typical of late Spring with warmer temperatures but cooler nights. Thankfully there is no rain to spoil the holiday break.

Whitebaiter - Whakatane River
Although it is nearing the end of the whitebait season there are still some keen fishermen lining the banks of the river that reaches it mouth East of the city boundaries.  It seems that the old method of catching the small delicacy remains the same as it was when I was a boy in Waitara.  I used a painted whiteboard weighted down just below the water's surface so that you could see the whitebait as they hugged the banks on their run up river.

This fisherman is using exactly the same method with his scoop net at the ready. He caught less than a quarter of a cupful as we watched, before we moved on.

Lintel Carving on Waka (Canoe) shelter
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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Modern Miss - MRT Drawing

Modern Miss - MRT
Roger Smith, 2012

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Today's Drawing - Strathmore Drive

Strathmore Drive
Roger Smith, 2012

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Presidential Ambitions and A 40-Year Coincidence

Not that I am overly interested in either of the two personalities that are striving to sit in the Oval Office after next week, but I do find this ever-changing polling graph of interest.  The margin between the two candidates seems incredibly small if such polls are to be believed.

Although the chart is labelled 'Really Clear Politics' the reality is that politics are usually anything but clear. It is the nature of politics that there are winners and losers but which ever party gets in, America has a tough road ahead.

Of significantly more interest to me is the change in Chinese leadership that is taking place at the moment.  What a contrast in style it is from the hoopla experienced in the USA.  The Straits Times has an excellent section on the issues and the challenges that they face.

They are labelled the Lost Generation because of what they missed out on during Mao's Cultural Revolution.  As correspondent Peh Shing Huei puts it, they had no childhood, no education, no family and, in the eyes of many, never felt happiness.

How has this shaped their attitudes, their global vision and their capability to take on the challenges China faces. We shall have to wait and see.

The reins will be handed over on November 8th to Vice-President Xi Jinping, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and other members of the fifty plus generation.  First they will need to navigate their way through the shoals of factional in-fighting and it will be 350 top cadres of the Chinese Communist Party who decide the final make up of the top table.

It is a once-in-40-year coincidence where both the China and US leadership changes at the same time.  It all makes for an interesting month or, if politics is not your thing, switch to the Shopping Channel.
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cruising On

News that the Singapore's Marina Bay Cruise Centre has officially opened in good news.  As a person who has enjoyed several of the Star Cruises I well remember the problems the country faced a couple of years ago when they were unable to berth larger vessels.

Cruising is a multi-million dollar industry and having the capability with the new terminal to dock ships of up to 220,000 tons and measuring up to 360 meters in length, Singapore is well placed to build on its determination to be the cruising hub of South East Asia..

To me it is just another example of the nations 'can-do' attitude.  They don't spend years being bogged down by resource consents and bureaucratic red tape; they simply make a government determination to pursue a goal and get on with it!


$S500 million might seem like a huge sum of money but they will get a great return on this investment as as 'The Little Red Dot' cements itself as the home port for  several of the major cruise lines in this part of the world.
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Today's Print

Learning To Fly
Roger Smith, 2012

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Morning Rambles In Queenstown

It's not usual that I feature the photographic portfolios of other photographers on this blog but the exception is the work of Frank Starmer.

Frank lived in the same condo as I did,Queens, which is as its name suggests in Queenstown, Singapore.  I would often seem him trudge off in the morning with his camera gear and tripod as he went in search of insects and particularly spiders.  He is still doing so and generously puts his work online and allows non commercial sites to share it.

Bee Harvesting - Frank Starmer

Morning Butterfly - Frank Starmer

Hoverfly - Frank Starmer
I always find it interesting that two photographers in the same environment can respond to their surroundings in totally different ways.  Frank takes macro images using special lens to capture the structure and colour of nature while I chose to focus on the broader visual aspects of Queenstown.  Both in our own way recording the things that inspired us about Singapore life.