Saturday, 28 April 2012

Anniversary trip to Auckland

So for awhile now, I have been wanting to write about my last trip to Auckland.  My hubby and I celebrated our 10th year Wedding Anniversary late March, so to celebrate we headed off on a road tip for a couple of nights and a concert.  

Our Friday "Anniversary" night was spent wondering around the CBD, checking out the night life and our celebration meal was at the fine Sharakau Japanese Restaurant on Queen Street.  Paul indulged in a seafood sushi set and I a vegetarian bento box.  Clearly my eye's were bigger than my stomach!  But boy was it delicious.  One thing we miss in the Bay is a Japanese Restaurant.    

The Saturday we headed straight to the Domain, I did want to take Paul to the Mt Eden landmark as I enjoyed it so much at my last visit, but after spending most of the day at the domain and museum, we had to give that a miss.  I bet even with a week in Auckland with all the sights, one still would not get to do everything.  I look forward to when we take the kiddies up there.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum

These two top images were actually taken during my February Auckland visit.  However it was late in the day and was closed as I walked through the Domain.  This latest trip again we were blessed with fantastic weather.

The Charlton Light Machine Gun

Ok, there is oodles of history in the museum, so much to write about, but as I'm not a great writer, I wont go on too much. 

One thing that took my eye was this gun.  If you have not seen it before, this is a Charlton Rifle, it's a light machine gun designed and patented by an Englishman Mr Philip Charlton, living in New Zealand in 1941.  

Around 1500-2000 were assembled by woman in the Charlton Motor Workshop in Hastings, New Zealand.  It was built to fill a shortage of light machine guns at the time. 
In service1942-1945
Used byNew Zealand
Production history
DesignerPhilip Charlton
VariantsElectrolux SMLE Model
Weight16 lb (7.3 kg), unloaded
Length44.5 in (1150 mm)

Cartridge.303 British
Calibre0.303 inch (7.7 mm)
ActionGas-operated semi-automatic
Rate of fire600 rounds/minute
Muzzle velocity2,440 ft/s (744 m/s)
Effective range1,000 yards (910 m)
Maximum range2,000 yards (1830 m)
Feed system10-round magazine or 30-round Bren gun magazine
SightsSliding ramp rear sights, fixed post front sights  (sourced from Wikipedia)

It was a fully automatic rifle made from redundant "Lee-Enfield" rifles from the Boer War.  Designed to be used as a semi automatic rifle, however had the function to be used as a full  auto should it have been needed.  I'm loving the inventive and resourceful nature of Mr Charlton, however it saddens me as I think of it being used in war. 

Unfortunately there are very few of the Charlton rifles left as most were burnt in an accidental fire in a Palmerston North armoury.  Luckily for us there are a few survivors in museums in New Zealand and England.     

I have had to google a bit to find information about the rifle, please check out my Clipix folder to read some articles:

Spit Fire

A beautiful lotus from the Winter Garden, Auckland Domain 
Apparently camera's aren't allowed in the winter garden.  Oops, didn't read that sign until after we had been in.

So after several hours at the Museum if was time to leave to visit friends and get ready for the concert.  

So after a wee rest from all our walking around the domain and museum, we headed out to visit friends Jacqui, Sean and their family.  Jacqui has been an awesome online friend for many years and "when in Rome" as they say, it was time to meet in person.  Awesome thing was Paul got on with Jacqui and her husband (I knew they would).  Well to be honest my hubby gets on with most people, he's a fantastic conservationist!  Thanks Jacqui, Sean and kiddies for a lovely hour or so, the historical and inspiration discussions we had!

Then it was onto the show, Blaqk Audio and Evanescence at the Vector Arena.  What excitement, Paul could hardly hold me down as I screamed out and jumped franticly.  Wow, finally after many years of being a fan of  bands AFI and Blaqk Audio, I got to see Davey Havok and Jade Puget live.  Sadly they only played for about 30 minutes and I wished I could have been there professionally photographing them with my DSLR camera.  The mobile and pocket camera just didn't cut the mustard with Davey's energy as he danced and jumped around.  Evanescence was awesome too, boy Amy can sing!  The night raced on too quickly.  And now a month later already it's like a distant memory.

After the show, Paul and I headed but into the CBD to find Davey!   OK, not much luck there, but Davey did tweet me which was nice.  A simple "thank you" reply to my tweet to him.  Then we headed to a Ken Yakitori Bar for supper.  That was delicious, we tried Ginkgo Nuts, quite different, but nice. A lovely way to end the night.  A shame our departure out of Auckland wasn't so good.

Yep our car broke down.  Not a nice feeling being strangled in a huge city on a Sunday.  There were lots of "What if's" and "If only it broke down on Saturday".  But life is life and we had to soldier on with a plan.  After the roadside assistance couldn't help and our car was towed away to a secure lock up, my cousin and his family kindly offered their home and a bed.  Thanks so much to Glen, Ashwin and Erika.  You were awesome company and I hope we can return the favour in time.  So after spending an extra night in the big smoke, the next day we pursued to get our car fixed.  Ever thankful to a mobile mechanic and before we knew it we were on our way home.

A huge thanks to my supportive Mum and bonus Dad for taking extra special care of our kiddies and my bro for house minding while we were away!  An awesome trip away experiencing new adventures and home is always great to come home to.  Now it must be time to plan another holiday, this time with the kiddies. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

ANZAC Day and a new find...

Firstly, Happy Anzac Day xxx  Lest we forget.

I caught most of the live dawn parade at Auckland's War Memorial Museum on TV this morning as my hubby was at the Hastings Dawn Parade.  Maybe next year when our children are a little older, we will all be able to go to.  As I watched TV I was welling up inside.  It is always moving to watch, but to actually participate a dawn parade must be something else.  I will have to take many tissues!

A great website for you to learn more about ANZAC is   

I think it is awesome that the younger generations are embracing ANZAC, paying their respects and keeping it alive.  It is nearly 100 years since World War One.  My children will be nearly 12 and   8 years old then, it would be a worthy trip to Gallipoli if my hubby and I can save enough for it.

On another note, this morning I also discovered an online trading site Art Fire, it's an international site and full of really cool creative sellers.  Well it didn't take me long to find the cool vintage things and I bought a book that's 73 years old.  More on that when it arrives in the mail.  It might feature in a photo or two in time. 

I'm not sure if I will set up a selling page there, perhaps when my book is published ;)

Well I better go and socialise on this beautiful fine day.  I hope you all have a great day remembering those amazing men and women who fought for us, the animals they took with them to assist and those who lost their lives, so that we could have freedom. 

Friday, 6 April 2012

Picture Maker Manifesto

Once a upon a time there was a Manifesto of a Picture Maker

  • Photographers are picture makers.  Picture makers are story tellers.
  • Take your time, observe and record.
  • A picture needs to speak to the observer, capture the emotional.
  • The world is your canvas.  Start with your little corner of the world first.
  • There should always be a fire inside of you and if it goes dim change what you are doing.
  • Explore the unknown to keep the fire alive.
  • The camera is not only your eyes, it is the paint and the picture is your voice.
  • Rules are like tools, and tools can be broken.  But if you break them without reason or thought, then you are best to throw them out.
  • You can never stage a missed event; it would be a lie if you did.
  • A picture lacking technical skill is like ironing starch on your flannelette pj’s.
  • A picture that is too technically correct is also like ironing starch on your flannelette pj’s.
  • You may only have one shot at it, paint it carefully in your mind and perform with your eyes through the camera.
  • Treat every moment like you are getting paid.  Be professional, but have fun too.
  • Perform like you are getting paid top dollar even if you are not, dream a little, and pretend you are on a top model set.
  • There may not always be a happy ending, not everyone will get your story.  Don’t let this discourage you, only you can create a happy ending for yourself!  Believe in yourself!

© Melissa Thorburn Photography 2011, All rights reserved.