Boxing Day 2011

Have never seen a butterfly this colour before. The sight of it brought me out of the house with my camera.

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day.  I guess we just took this on as part of the colonial legacy in Papua New Guinea. There are no post-Christmas sales like everywhere else in the Western world. For most, in PNG, it is an extended holiday and especially so if Christmas was celebrated on Sunday or Monday.

A single bright pink bloom

It was a lovely sunny day in Port Moresby but I opted to stay home and just chill out despite the power black out which made any breeze-less day inside my house unbearable.

I looked out the front yard and was so happy at the sight of the lovely zinnias. The front yard was a flush with a myriad of colours, mostly lilac, hot pink and orange. It was a good time to experiment with different settings on my Nikon D90 and I must say I was pleased with the results. I am happy to share them on this post.

A beautiful lilac coloured zinnias. Looks like a windmill.

These flowers attracted the butterfly and a small bee-like insect. There could have been other insects too buzzing around with the odd mosquito which I did not notice as I was too busy trying to take shots of a couple of the zinnias which did not look too wind-swept.

Bee-like insect on the bloom. Took a couple of shots before I caught it on this one to take this close-up shot.

As I walked around my small front yard I could see that although Port Moresby has  33 degree temperatures all year through still anything can grow with very little watering but regularly.

A bright orange zinnias. Beautiful.

Another shot of the butterfly (below). I had to chase it around the garden to be able to take this shot. The tint of blue on its head and part of the wingspan is unbelievable which is not obvious on the first shot I took (the first photo on this post).

Another shot at the butterfly feeding on pollen.

The long power black out on Boxing Day drove me out of the house and onto the front yard and the searing heat however I was compensated with the sight of these beautiful flowers. A power blackout on Boxing Day was unacceptable because we couldn’t heat up food or have the fans on. I hope it doesn’t happen again next Boxing Day. I can only hope.

Lovely blooms but a little battered about with recent heavy rains in the area
The butterfly was almost a different colour every time I tried to take a shot. Here it looks kind of golden.

Next time there is a power black out and I’m home during the day, I ‘ll remember to take my camera and explore other flower gardens in the neighbourhood. Sounds like a pretty good one to include as a New Year’s resolution.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

A Memorable Weekend In Alotau

Looking across to Ealeba from Cameron's Plateau

Don’t get me wrong. I have spent many a memorable weekend in Alotau. It is just that this time I felt I had come of age. For starters, I got to use the ‘live view’ function of my Nikon D90. Then the weather was  my kind of weekend weather – dry and sunny and, I got to see the people I wanted to see whilst in Alotau. I also, as a bonus, ran into a lot of family and friends who I haven’t seen in ages.

I also visited my late grandmother’s village across the bay – Wagawaga. The first time I visited Wagawaga was when I was in primary school. Now that is a long time ago. I was really pleased to hook up with relatives some of whom I was meeting face to face for the first time.

Approaching Wagawaga Village...a postcard of tranquility

I also got to sing with the original members of the Salima Band at the Driftwood Resort and Masurina Lodge respectively over the weekend. I was so pleased that this was possible. We stayed up on Saturday ‘til the early hours of the morning singing our recorded songs, teaching eachother our newer songs and talking about our music. Yes, our music. You see, the Salima signature sound is founded on Milne Bay stringband music with a few improvisations along the way to vary the flavor. But, basically, easy listening music which is the sound that Salima is well-known for.

A restaurant over the sea...at dusk

We were blessed to have some of our diehard fans join us in celebrating the weekend and our music. We are so grateful for their patronage of the Driftwood Resort on the Friday and Sunday nights that Salima played there. Not forgetting family and friends who also enjoyed our music when Salima played at Masurina Lodge on Saturday night. Thank you all so much for your support. Your support and encouragement motivates and inspires us to continue writing our songs to share with you.

Warm reception...

I had a wonderful visit at Alotau International Hotel with the Manager and staff. Some of you who have visited this premier Hotel in Alotau would have enjoyed the stunning views of the bay area. I had a grand tour of the hotel and really enjoyed visiting this seaside hotel. Of course, knowing me, no visit is complete without a sumptuous bowl of icecream, you guessed it – vanilla icecream!

Icecream on a cool Saturday afternoon on the grounds of the Hotel...yummy!

The hotel is situated near the War Memorial and Sanderson Bay. It is within walking distance of the town centre and the market. Can you see yourself enjoying a barbeque on these grounds, a mumu perhaps or pig on a spit or perhaps a wedding reception with the fantastic sweeping views of Ealeba across the bay area? The fun potential of this hotel is endless.

The view reminded me of The Remarkables of Queenstown, New Zealand

When at the water’s edge in Alotau, one gets a real sense of the awesome Owen Stanley Range as it forks out into a lopsided ‘V’ shape, into Tawala  and Ealeba – the sprawling mountain ranges that form the bay area – Milne Bay. These majestic mountain ranges have evoked many a rousing stringband number or sombre and moody melodies. These tunes have become the epitome of the Milne Bay 5-key sound – as slack guitar is to Hawaii. The tunes are endearing and enduring throughout the years and I guess we – this generation – are most fortunate to have grown up with so much of the romanticism of our environment.

An awesome sight even for the locals...I felt really blessed.

I say romanticism because we do not remember the bad weather, the rainy season and the rough seas when we are writing our songs. We consciously disconnect ourselves from reminiscing about the storms and the times when the environment unleashes its fury on the islands during a cyclone or bad weather. We still write and sing songs about being nostalgic, jilted in love or the natural beauty around us. This romanticism translates itself consciously and unconsciously into the care we feel for our islands, our bay area, our reefs, our culture and art, and of course our way of life – the Milne Bay way.

Priceless!

I don’t know but more than anywhere else I know in PNG the stringband songs of Milne Bay always never fail to wake the sleeping romantic in me. I know for a fact that Milne Bay stringbands can still belt out the most melodious, lilting sounds that are close to what I would call ‘island spirituals’. For the many who have an ear or the enduring spirit that connects with this kind of music – it takes you on a journey, oh yeah.

Hugging The Coastline To Alotau

Rewarded with this view...

On a recent trip to Alotau, Milne Bay Province, a friend gave up their window seat so I could take photos of scenes on the way.

It was a clear sunny day and a team of us were on our way to the 7th Canoe and Kundu Festival in Alotau, Milne Bay Province.

Although our flight was delayed, the sights on the way made me forget about the delay.  I anticipated great views on the way and these few shots showed me yet again what a beautiful country Papua New Guinea is. Not because it is my country but because it is!

Here are a few more shots of our journey towards the southeast of Port Moresby and the Central Province.

Stunning!
Another spectacular vista...
Had to include this shot. It added value to the views outside and below.
Coming in to land at Gurney International Airport
What a view...Alotau in the far background
We came in to land, and a familiar sight...
The sight of the oil palm estate below as we came in to land

It was a great trip and the weather was great. I enjoyed being able to take these shots of the coastline as we cruised on towards the southeastern end of the country.

I used my Nikon D90 camera with the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor ED 17-55mm f/2.8 G IF lens. I reckon its a beauty. These shots are proof enough.

I am blessed to have a wonderful friend who gave up their window seat for me. Tenkyu tru SJ.

Testing Out My New Nikkor Lens At Changi Airport, Singapore

Tried to create depth of field and I think I got it but that's just me...

Two months ago I dropped my Nikon D90 lens at the London Heathrow airport. So for two months I kind of suffered photography-wise.

Anyway, a great opportunity arose when I passed through Singapore’s Changi Airport and decided to invest in a new Nikkor lens. I parted with some serious cash but when you’re into something you love – a great hobby – there can be no half measures.

In fact, the one I broke came with the camera body and ahhhhhhhhhh what a pity I lost it through plain carelessness. Never again!

Aperture f/4.8 and ISO 640...

No flash was used in these shots. I must admit I was moved by these results. Well, what can I say except that my new Nikon acquisition is living up to expectations. High expectations.

The lens is an AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor, 24-120mm f/3,5-5.6G IF-ED.

Another one without the flash...and the result of another test shot

I can’t wait to take it out on a real test run. I want to see what I can create with my D90 and this new lens. So watch this space.

All three test shots were taken without flash, under normal airport lighting and taken on the hop, as it were.