Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pikarere Photos on Flickr

Pikarere photos were uploaded earlier on Saturday, and I've just now completed the finishing to the set and update of the photos page. I have mixed feelings about the set. Although the day was comfortably cool, the major challenge was again low light, but this time compounded by fog and at times a very light drizzle (fog with lumps, you might say).

So, on the one hand I'm disappointed that the number of shots is well down, and I've had to compromise the standard yet again, while on the other hand pleased that I got as many as I did in spite of the conditions. So, mostly grainy and fuzzy shots, but a fair indication of the conditions.

I missed some of the later starters, sorry - in the hope that conditions might be better at sea level (they were not) I got to the beach, but then had to make my way back to base via the long intermediate trail, so if you hadn't made it to Liz's checkpoint by 10:40-ish, it was too late.

Anyway, as of today it's beginning to look like we might get a summer - let's hope it holds until Bright's Farm next Sunday. We're still waiting on final details for this event, but it shouldn't be long now.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Photos from Manakau Farm available on Flickr

Well, it all happened a bit faster than I'd expected (you have 2 days of liquid "sunshine" to thank for that) but after a delayed start I managed to complete the selection and get the Manakau selection uploaded last night. The set is now available to view on Flickr as usual.

Yet again, the conditions were a challenge with the overcast conditions dictating higher ISO, wider aperture, and slower shutter speeds. Consequently some images are again a little grainy and soft at the edges, or the depth of field may be quite shallow and the "in focus" area won't cover the whole subject, so if you're contemplating prints, do look closely at the "original" sized image and decide whether it will give you the results you want. While most look OK at normal screen resolution, enlarging to A4 might not always work out so well. It seems to be the story of the season.

The field was quite large, so with the main loop being extended and the number of loops reduced compared with last season, along with a tighter timeframe for me to get back to base for strapping, I chose an out-and-back strategy to maximise the likelihood of catching everyone at least once. An unfortunate injury for one of our competitors interrupted my return, and I think I definitely missed some folk at that point, but I was able to catch most of those at the end after our vetting was complete. If I did miss you, very sorry - luck of the draw.

We were very lucky with the weather - a few shots show some speckling from the light drizzel that fell around 10:30, but otherwise the rain gods smiled kindly on us for the day. At least the conditions were good for keeping the horses cool.

Looking forward to Pikarere, always a favourite venue not least because of its proximity to Wellington for many of us. It seems unlikely that the trail will be as dry and hard packed as it sometimes has been, but I'm guessing there may be a lot of long grass in some of the back paddocks, so that may slow folk down a bit on some of those untracked farm sections.

Hope to see you all out on the trail then.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Newsletter 129 posted

The latest newsletter has details of the Pikarere ride coming up on 24 January. This is a lovely venue and handily placed for Wellington riders. It is quite a testing trail with a long tough climb towards the end of the main loop. The long Intermediate is spared a 2nd climb of this hill, which rises from near sea level to about 200 meters, by doing a one-and-a-half loop trail.

There has been a venue change for 7 March - now Turakina, a new venue introduced at the end of the last season. This replaces Bulls, and while it may be a little further to travel, it's reputedly well worth the trip. The Calendar has been updated.

I've delayed posting the results from Manakau to the website - a minor formatting glitch has turned what could probably be 4 pages sheet into 8, with the placings disconnected from their results - a waste of trees if you intend to print. As soon as I have a reformatted version I'll upload it.

Photos are still a little way off - I'm working through the selection but have had a few diversions to contend with. They should be out before the next ride at the latest.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Funeral arrangements - Helen Bain

Published in Friday's Dominion Post, a celebration of Helen's life will be held in Cornwall Manor, corner of Knight's Road and Cornwall Street, Lower Hutt at 11:00 am on Monday January 4. The notice suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations to the Forest and Bird Society will be appreciated and can be posted to PO Box 631 Wellington or left at the service.