Sunday, December 30, 2012

4- Christmas on Temple Square - 2012


This is always a stunning sight and always my favorite Temple Square picture.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas on Temple Square - 2012

If you are not quite ready to say goodbye to Christmas yet, you are in luck!  Come back for the next few days as I will be posting some of the photos I took on Temple Square several weeks ago.  I just didn't find enough time to post them before Christmas, so I hope you will enjoy them now.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2012!

It is Christmas Morning 2012.  I woke up early and sat in my rocking chair for a few minutes, enjoying the solitude and letting my mind wander.  I began thinking about today, anticipating our happiness and joy when we share Christmas festivities with our children and grandchildren who live close by.  I then thought about our recent trip to Arizona and the fun we had visiting our children living there and I remembered to say a prayer of thankfulness that we were able to travel through a blizzard to return home safely on Christmas eve.  And then I recalled so many memories and blessings of this past year, thinking it's hard to believe that this time last year we were enjoying a summer Christmas in New Zealand.  In my quiet thoughts this morning, I am reminded one more time of the love our Savior has for each of us, and his great atoning sacrifice so that we may each find joy in this life and the life to come.  As I was pondering these loving thoughts, I glanced out the window and saw a little flock of 'Christmas snowbirds'  feasting on tree berries.  I wanted to take a picture but knew by the time I got my camera out, changed the lens, fiddled with the controls, the magic moment would be gone, and so would they, so I didn't bother.  But to my surprise my little morning friends seemed contented to rest and feast.  Most were brown, but one was a red breasted little guy who seemed to always take center front where I could see him the best.  I think he was telling me to go ahead and find my camera, and he would wait for me.  And sure enough, he did.  After a few quick snaps, they were gone, but I have a picture and a memory to remind me.  And long after the wrapping paper is ripped, and the presents lost or broken, we can still keep a picture of Christ in our mind's eye and in our heart to remember what He has done for us.

 MERRY CHRISTMAS

       

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Almost the LAST Sunset!!!

We have been so busy with travel and assignments that I've been MIA here for several weeks.  We have been to Wellington, then to Christchurch and we have just returned from a week in beautiful Tahiti.  And yes, we were really working......well most of the time.  The weather was perfect, the scenery magnificent and we took two extra days to celebrate the wonderful experiences we have had on our mission and take a break from our busy schedule.   (It was lucky for us that flights to Tahiti are only scheduled on certain days of the week, so we had no choice but to stay a few extra days.)  Photos from this trip will have to come later.  For now we are trying to cram 3 weeks of work into the few last days as we count down the number of sunsets we have left here in beautiful New Zealand.  And we have THREE!  Tomorrow we pick up our replacements at the airport, (at 5:30 am), and will have three days to train them, clean the flat and pack.  This photo is to remind me of the beautiful sunsets we have seen in the wonderful islands of the South Pacific.  


Sunset in Wellington, New Zealand

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Charity Never Faileth

Here is one of my favorite photos from New Zealand.  This little boy, wearing his red gum boots, was helping to paint a school.  A large group of members of the local LDS Church, (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), spent a Saturday painting and sprucing up a local school.  There were old people, young people, families and teenagers all involved.  We attended and I took many photos.  This little guy was very serious about his work!

I have given the Church permission to use many of my photos as stock for their various websites and publications.   They added the quote and posted this one on the mormonchannel.org facebook page.  

Below is the original:





Sunday, September 2, 2012




We have been so busy lately that it was nice to have a leisurely Saturday.  We took a bike ride along beautiful Mission Bay, ate Mexican food (or so it was called), and visited with the pigeons and seagulls.  Can you see the Sky Tower in the distance??  It was just the break we needed before gearing up for our final assignments.  This coming week we head to Christchurch, and then we spend a week in Tahiti.  The day after we return, our replacements come.  We will spend several days training them, and then we fly home!  Several of you have asked how much longer we will be here, and the answer is less than three weeks!!!!  It is so hard to believe that a year and a half could race by so fast.  We have had an amazing experience and have seen and done things that we never thought would be possible.  The time we are reminded how long we've been gone is when we 'skype' with our family and see our youngest grandson who was just a couple of months old when we left, and is now a darling, active, talkative toddler.  Time to get reacquainted!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Spring in Christchurch















A memory of our first trip to Christchurch was one of shock and sadness as we viewed crumbled buildings and devastation beyond imagination, everywhere we traveled, caused by multiple major earthquakes that hit the Christchurch area several years ago.   
Our last trip to Christchurch was filled with the beauty of spring, renewal, and the tenacity and determination of the wonderful people living here who are rebuilding their homes, their city and their lives.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Eileen



Eileen, our amazing Director of Public Affairs in Wellington.  She is a writer and hopes to soon have her first novel published.  She asked me to take some photos she can use for promotion and book cover.  These are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hamilton, New Zealand Temple

 Hamilton, New Zealand Temple
This was our last visit to the temple before returning home.

Elder & Sister Larsen
Public Affairs Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Auckland Harbor at Sunset

Auckland - City of Sails

I've mentioned before that Auckland Harbor is often filled with sailboats.  When we cross the Harbor Bridge I always see this scene with the sailboats in dock and the Sky Tower in the background.  Today was a beautiful day, and I took this photo just before the sun set.  I love how the sun is highlighting the city buildings and the Sky Tower.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

East Cape, New Zealand

East Cape, New Zealand
East Cape is the easternmost point of the main island of New Zealand.  It is a wild, remote, isolated and beautiful area.  It  has the distinction of being the first mainland place in the world to see the sun each day, according to numerous sources.  I'm not sure what 'mainland place' is referring to, but points in Japan, Fiji and Kiribati also claim that honor.  What I can say, is we were probably the first 2 people in New Zealand to see the sun rise on that day, even though we didn't make it there until some time after sunrise.  Since we saw no other people for miles before we arrived, it is probably safe to assume no one was there before us that day!   So we were standing near the edge of tomorrow!  After walking up the 757 steps we stepped into a small clearing with this glorious view.  I did not saturate or alter the color of the water.  It was just beautiful to see the layers and shades of turquoise stretching to the horizon.  Behind me is a small lighthouse.  Even with a wide angle lens, however, there was not enough room for me to stand and get a decent shot of the entire lighthouse and the ocean in one frame.  The lighthouse used to be on the little island called East Island, or Whangaokeno or Motu o Kaiawa by the local Maori.  Landing on the island and building the lighthouse was a very hazardous job, taking the lives of at least 4 men.  Also, a boat transporting equipment to the island capsized in the treacherous waves.  The lighthouse was completed and the light was first lit on August 9, 1900.  The Maori, however, considered the island sacred and forbidden and said it did not want humans to be there.   No Maori would ever lived there.  The island was continually beset with hardship and tragedy.  Equipment was washed away in heavy rains.  The lightkeeper could not grow a garden or raise cattle to provide for his family because of the poor soil.  Three of his children died.  Ships wrecked on the rugged shoreline causing more deaths.  The island suffered numerous landslides and earthquakes, eventually weakening the structure of the lighthouse.  In 1922 the light was extinguished, and the lighthouse dismantled and moved to the main island where it stands today.
Once the lighthouse was removed and the island was abandoned, all landslides and earthquakes stopped!  
 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Whangarei Beach Scenes









Even on a dull, cloudy day, the beaches of New Zealand are beautiful. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Now We Climb.....

........Seven Hundred and Fifty Seven Steps

I know because I counted every one of them, and with every step after about 200 I kept asking myself if the climb was worth the effort.  And it was!!!  The next photo will be the view from the top and the end of our journey.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We're Amost There!

Can you see the tiny lighthouse??  That's where we are heading, the East Cape lighthouse.  Check back to see the beautiful view from this lighthouse and learn why this location has a special significance.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amazing Sky

Have I mentioned how amazing the skies are in New Zealand!!
By now we've spent over two hours enjoying this amazing coastline and have missed breakfast and lunch, because there are no services in this remote area.  But, we are getting closer to our destination.  (See several previous posts.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Raukokore Anglican Church

Raukokore Church
 
Rounding yet another bend on our journey, (see last 3 posts), was yet another picture postcard scene.  This beautiful little Anglican church was a brilliant white reflecting the morning sun.  It is isolated on what looked like a small peninsula and appeared to be sitting right at the water's edge.  Its design looked somewhat out of place and in sharp contrast to the red carvings on the outside of typical Maori maraes, (sacred meeting places), that dot this part of New Zealand.  The church was one of several built in the area by Captain Duncan Sterling, a pakeha, (generally translated to mean a New Zealander not of Maori descent), from hand sawed timber.  Eventually he was married there in 1896 to Mihi Kotukutuku.  Mihi became the chief of Te Whanau-a-Apanui, (her Maori tribe), and she and Duncan had 10 children.  Stirling knew very little Maori, but connections between the Anglican Church and the local Maori people were strengthened through their marriage and Duncan's skill as an architect/builder.
 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cliffs Near East Cape, New Zealand


 Cliffs reaching down to the clear turquoise waters of the Bay of Plenty

We're getting closer to the edge of tomorrow......no wait, I think it's the edge of yesterday!  I'll have it figured out by the time we get there! (See previous 2 posts)

As we travel farther east, the road gets bumpier, the little Maori villages are few and far between, and we haven't seen a petrol station, or a place to get some breakfast, for miles.  I don't seem to mind, though, as the wild beauty and remoteness of this place seems to sing to my soul. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Few More Miles Down the Road......


......with only an occasional wandering horse or cow to watch us pass by.  We're a little bit closer to the 'edge of tomorrow'.
(See previous post)

Monday, August 6, 2012

On Our Way..........

........... to the Edge of Tomorrow!

Last weekend we had a little break in our rainy weather, and no assignments so we headed out to explore another beautiful part of the north island of New Zealand.  Although it is winter, the grass is spring green, the mountains are covered with a variety of ever green trees and vegetation, and the weather was a pleasant 60ish degrees.  We traveled down the east coast on an isolated road and saw vista after vista of a wild and unspoiled coastline with turquoise water and rugged cliffs intermixed with beautiful green pastures. 
We were on the way to the edge of tomorrow.....literally!  Check my next post to follow our journey and see where we end up!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Winter Beauty

This  blossom adorned the the grounds of the Sydney, Australia temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  By the time we arrived at the temple, it was dusk, and I worked quickly to take my pictures before dark.  Walking back to the car I noticed this single blossom in front of a slatted fence.  Even though it was dark, the soft white petals stood out from the colorful background and I stopped to photograph it.  This was the type of image to throw caution to the wind and edit to my heart's content.  I had to bump up the exposure, and bring out details in the background.  Then I added some texture and pattern to finish it up.

Endless Summer

Beach in Whangarei Area

Monday, July 30, 2012

A War Story

I hate war, and I hate war movies.  I never thought there could be anything funny or entertaining about a movie depicting war............however, this talented film maker from Utah changed my mind.







Well, maybe you Nikon enthusiasts didn't think that was very funny!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I posted this photo on our Kiwi Krossings missionary blog, but thought I'd post it here as well, since I rarely post family photos:


 Here we are ready to go to a fancy dress ball put on by our stake.  Missionaries, however, rarely bring ball gowns on a mission (haha), so the best we could do was for me to wear a black suit and for Jeff to wear what he wears every day, (although I thought the kiwi tie was a nice touch).  I haven't taken many photos of us together so I thought I'd take a quick one before our guests, (fellow missionary couples), came to dinner prior to the dance.  
For those of you interested:  I set my camera on a tripod, (with a diffuser on my flash to soften the light),  and we stood in front of a plain gray wall.  I tweaked the white balance to make the color 'warmer' and then I added a textured background so it wasn't quite so boring.  A few other tweaks and in 2-3 minutes I was done.  I kinda like the color wash look.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hamilton Gardens in Winter, New Zealand

I think I found an interesting foreground element for this shot!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quirky Yard Art

I'm trying to think of something clever to say about this photo, but I'm at a loss for words.  It struck my fancy because it was unusual and I really liked the reflection.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand

Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand

A little over a week ago we had an assignment in Hamilton, which is about an hour and a half drive south of Auckland.  We arrived early for our meeting so we decided to spend a little time in the Hamilton Gardens.  It was a dull, cloudy day, not very enticing for photography.  But as usual, I hauled around my camera bag, mainly because I never, ever leave my camera equipment in the car, not even in the trunk.  Anyway, I took very few photos, but this one I really love.  I adjusted it with the 'simplify' filter in Topaz Adjust.  This eliminated distracting specks of light and helped bring out the colors and reflection in the water.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sydney Opera House at Night

This beautiful building is photogenic from all angles and any time of day or night.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Play Your Didgeridoo, Blue


Remember, 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport'????  There's a line that goes, 'Play your didgeridoo, Blue'.  This is a didgeridoo.  It is basically a hollowed out log.  The 'real' ones are hollowed out by termites, so we were told.  The ones made for tourists are not and are colorfully painted.  It was amazing how many different sounds he produced.  Now for a few behind the scenes snaps:

Nice looking accompanist!

And one for the grandkids back home!
(I was shooting in bright midday sun,  trying to get a clear shot amid dozens of tourists, so not great technically, but sometimes the subject is more important than the technicalities!)