Monday, May 4, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Drive - Halswell, Tai Tapu, Lincoln Farmland

This afternoon, we went for a leisurely drive around the Halswell, Tai Tapu, and Lincoln areas. I'd originally been interested in checking out reports that one of the giraffe sculptures (from the Christchurch Stands Tall project - "The Longest Drink In Town" specifically) was located out in Tai Tapu, and then checking out an alternative road for getting into Lincoln from there. But, nope... there wasn't any sign of the fabled giraffe out in Tai Tapu, unless it's actually burrowed deep inside the general store there. If anyone knows more about this, lemme know :)

The weather turned out to be quite nice (for the first half at least... by mid afternoon, a bit of a southerly change had come through, with the temperature dropping and the sky becoming more overcast).

Halswell to Tai Tapu
The first part of this stretch of road is the same as the one for getting to the Halswell Quarry Park (which we'd finally managed to visit a few weeks back); it is also the start of what is effectively the only road out to Akaroa (though fortunately not as windy as the rest of it).

Here's some of the scenery and shots of the road out there...

Dairy Farms
Along the way, there were quite a few dairy farms - the ones with the classic black and white "daisy" cows. I got a few shots of these which would probably make rather nice promo images for the dairy industry (but which would have been a bit better if I'd remembered that you need an exposure of ~1/1000 or 1/1250  instead of 1/800 when on a highway and shooting out the side, to cope with the higher speeds)

A dairy farm - With this crop, it makes it look like we're in one of those valleys or somewhere in the North Island where you've got a little rural small-town  living in the shadow of a mountain.

 This shot is "ok", especially with the autumn foliage out the back. But, it's kindof missing something

I like this one a lot more :)  Dairy cows on a paddock

One more from that farm...

And here's the flock on another farm

"Classic" Dairy Cows :)

Another farm, another flock - it's no wonder that the dairy industry is one of the major pillars of out export sector, though we are perhaps a bit too exposed here, especially to the whims of "that" country with it's billions of *redacted* minions. 

Tai Tapu
Approaching Tai Tapu, we started noticing that there was a lot more "smog" in the air, as well as a thick firewood-burning smell. Clearly there was some sort of fire happening on some or other farm out this way (perhaps illegally, or perhaps raging out of control) that was casting a thick blanket of smoke.

Some fields near Tai Tapu - Note the haze affecting the trees in the background - This seems to be from the smoke.

These fluffy feather dusters are always quite a sight to behold... Behold: the Toi Toi, one of the NZ native species which doesn't look dead, pitiful, or boring.

 The war memorial in Tai Tapu, fresh with Anzac Day commemoration tributes (of red poppies)...

We had a brief stop around here while trying to figure out if there was anywhere obvious where the giraffe may be. Nope... didn't see it today :(  What a pity... it was one of my 3 favourites (the others being the gold one in the casino and the one adorned with iconic sites from Christchurch). Onward to Lincoln then, to try out the road linking Tai Tapu to Lincoln (and to see if this is a better/nicer route to get there than the Sparks Road path we usually take)...

Tai Tapu <-> Lincoln Road
Turning right at the intersection with the memorial (the general store is on the left, along with the memorial; in the picture above, the stores are to the right of the memorial), you enter a stretch of road which leads straight into the Lincoln township. Cue more images of interesting smoke-affected landscapes, and paddocks with sheep grazing...

The smog out here seemed particularly bad in places. In particular, in the second to last shot, you can almost see one place which seems to be the source of a lot of smoke... at least IIRC it was one of those shots (though it might actually have been in one I didn't upload).

Lincoln <-> Christchurch: Farms along Sparks Road
The trip back out to Christchurch along Sparks Road went by in a flash. Along the way, we were treated to the sight of many really green fields, and flocks of sheep grazing...

Closing Notes
All in all, it was a nice outing. I managed to get quite a few nice shots of farmland out around these parts.

This time, I went back to basics and ditched the circular polariser, to go back to the way I used to shoot in the years before I had it. Surprisingly, the results were generally better, and less frustrating/fiddly to take. Gah!

(If anyone knows any good ways to cancel out unwanted contrast-reducing glare from sun striking windows at an angle, I'd love to hear about them. After experimenting with polarisers for two years, I've found them a lot less useful in practice than I'd hoped at cutting down these kinds of issues. Granted, they do help increase the richness of autumn foliage in some specific cases, and also if you need to see under the water surface of a stream/river. But, otherwise, I'm still a bit annoyed that that glare is still so elusive to obliterate!)

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