New Zealand

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The end of the semester! I’ve turned in my students’ grades, received some of mine and finished semester projects. That means it’s time for winter break. My brother Peter, Steven and I heading to my parents’ house on New Zealand’s north island. I’ve been once, Peter has lived here over a year and visited since and it will be Steven’s first visit.

This time we’ll probably stay closer to home, but here are a few images from the north island…


…and a few images from the the south island…

…and a little something extra.

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Tel Aviv landing

One of the most basic elements of travel is how you do it. There’s planes, trains, automobiles – and that’s just the beginning. Whether you’re documenting an even for others or just wanting to remember for yourself, these all make great photo opportunities. Actually being in transport is one of the best moments to grab video footage of the city, country, or sky rolling by.

pre-flight in Taupo

As a pilot’s daughter, I’d be starting a series on transportation with planes no matter what. Today is especially timely, as I’m en route to a 2 week class in Dubai. I’ll be drafting on my notepad between Phx & Atlanta, and if I’m lucky, uploading through airport internet before the 2nd, longer flight.

So. Planes. How to summarize a lifelong relationship in just a few words? My 2nd earliest memory is an aerial view – caribou on the tundra. My parents met in Seattle and would go up to Alaska regularly for summer to hike. My dad and another pilot ran bush pilot service for scientists, photographers, naturalists, hikers. My mom and I spent one early summer in Kaktovik were 24 hour sunlight meant it quickly became clear that I needed independent verification even for the stories my parents told me. After all, how could it be 2am when it was bright as day outside? Definitely just a nefarious plot to trick me into going to bed early, and cutting tundra play time unnaturally short.

family trip

As I grew up, we split our family trips between road trips to camp in Colorado, commercial flights to see family in California, and borrowing my dad’s friend’s Piper Archer to go see friends in Wisconsin. Large airports are gateways to opportunity; small airports gateways to the sky.

I try to guess the moments of takeoff and landing, pack lots of gum in case my ears lock up, and firmly believe that the trip starts even before you leave your house for the airport – not just when you land and pick up your luggage.

And for me, the journey is part of the story – the online check-in kiosque mix-up (for some reason, I do not exist…) and the time we made it from the breakfast place across town, through rental return and security, to the gate in about 30 minutes. (we even, somehow, beat the plane, if barely). Even Thursday’s overpass terror will turn into an adventure once the heart rate slows and the insurance agent has checked everything out.

nearly Nairobi sunrise

But the big adventures, the most magic – those long haul flights where you quietly board the flight in an empty Detroit winter and descend through clouds and mitzvahs to an airport that welcomes you home from right to left, or disembarking on a shimmering, melting tarmac to the shouts of competing baggage handlers and smells nearly as vivid as the colors.

Sometimes I think I learn the most when everything is unfamiliar, including myself.

takeoff from PHX


This winter break (for the northern hemisphere, at least) my Dad will be flying himself to meetings all over both NZ islands, my brother will be crossing the Pacific for some temporary parental supervision and some good football bonding (the real stuff, none of those pads and helmets), and I’ll be looking down on the Atlantic in a few hours. If I’m lucky and the skies are clear, I’ll take some pictures.

When I get a chance, I’ll add the pictures that go with this entry, and there’ll be a some kind of gallery of plane related pictures – and I want you to tell me where you would go if you had one round trip ticket to anywhere in the world?

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Setting pictures may seem pretty self-explanatory, but I think it’s good to think about what setting the scene really means. Dictionary.com lists several definitions including “the surroundings or environment of anything,” “the mounting in which a jewel is set,” and “the scenery and other properties used in a dramatic performance.” This is where everything – and sometimes nothing – happens. This is what is there before and after. It can influence mood and it can influence action.

Anyway… I thought I’d focus on examples.

New Zealand

The first four are from the Hawkes Bay area on the North Island, the last two are from Milford Sound on the South Island. For more NZ photos, please see the New Zealand link under Picassa.

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Lake Tekapo

This is from the South Island of New Zealand.

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Democratic Republic of Congo

The first three are from Kinshasa, the next five are from outside the capital. The next two are from Bukavu , on the south end of Lake Kivu(except for the middle one, which was taken in Walungu on the way back to Bukavu).

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the drive to Phoenix

This is from the drive down to Phoenix during the Big Move this summer. The first one, I think, is somewhere in Oklahoma. The second is coming down out of Flagstaff.

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Phoenix

These were taken on our quick visit this summer to scope the city and grab an apartment.

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France

Finally, this is what the crepe shop looks like from the street view.

2008-02-05 (14)*-mini

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More action via my correspondent in NZ…:

“Sent at 4:02 PM (GMT-12:00). Current time there: 11:59 AM
Subject: Another big earthquake in South Pacific
near Vanuatu
Waiting to hear about tsunami threat….quoting from news on radio…..stay off beaches in NZ
The quake was 7.9, 3 minutes after 11 NZ time, dept 33 km, all of NZ under tsunami warning. All of South Pacific under tsunami warning.
We of course are not under any threat in the center of the island”

Your news:
Powerful 7.8 quake off Vanuatu, tsunami alert
Tsunami warning after 7.8 quake off Vanuatu
Latest updates: Vanuatu quake, tsunami warning
Pacific quake sparks tsunami alert

Your instructions:
What to do in a Tsunami

Your fast facts:
Vanuatu – CIA World Factbook
Vanuatu – National Geographic

And your map:

Vanuatu

Vanuatu

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map-samoa-300

I was on Skype with my parents yesterday, and my mom asked me how much coverage last week’s events in the South Pacific were getting here. I had to stop a minute and think. I’d been getting a steady, if thin, stream of information via my mom’s emails and the BBC World feed on Twitter, I realized, but nothing from US news. Maybe I should have started posting Monday after all, I thought, considering I’m supposed to be including news from around the world, especially places I’m covering.

Proximity really does impact what many people, including myself, pay attention to. There’s where we are, and there’s where people we know are, and then there’s places we’re interested in… and everything else… It seems so strange to think that at the beginning of July I knew so little about border issues like immigration (not that I know anything close to everything now, it’s just already so much more than I knew not long ago). I think it’s important to remember for two reasons – to be aware of how we handle news, and to know that others may have the same blind spots. We can’t assume that everyone else knows what we’re up to, but we can be prepared to help fill in the gaps and maybe let them do the same.

Well, I can’t rewind time, but I can post the links I’ve been following and try to bring myself back up to speed…

Coastal warnings remain after quake tsunami – This came to my phone in the middle of class, and I even thought about throwing it up here, but by the time class was over (it’s several hours long, and I do not have the most focused memory, as anyone who’s seen me scrawling to-do lists on scratch paper can attest to) it had slipped away. Anyway, you’ll see the requests for reader submissions of information, photos, and video as well as a link to New Zealand Herald’s Twitter feed (nzherald – excellent source for anyone wanting to keep up with kiwi news, and, indeed, happenings in the general South Pacific). For more on the use of social networks during natural disasters, see Netizens help victims via social network sites about flooding in the Philippines.

Deadly Tsunami Sweeps Through South Pacific – Not long after came the background information, and sites like NPR had media up including the map I borrowed for this entry. As a poster in the comments section notes, places under the initial Tsunami Watch included Hawaii, Vanuatu, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Johnston Atoll, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Papua New Guinea, Pohnpeo, Wake Island, Pitcairn Island and Midway (and New Zealand).

During the week, the stories started.

Eye witness accounts:
Mata’afa Keni Lesa
Fa’aliga-Fauena Yi (by Vaimoana Tapaleao)
Salamasina Taufua Part 1 Part 2 (by Vaimoana Tapaleao)

And then stories about the aftermath:
Tsunami: Six minutes to save their lives The Martins
“Sad job means families can get loved ones back”

There are these photo galleries: Search Results for photo gallery + Samoa at New Zealand Herald – I know it’s kind of a strange way to link to them, but the best I could work out (linking directly seems to send the unsuspecting viewer deep into the media player for current news reports, not towards the intended target).

Lastly, some information from AP and NPR on the earthquakes in Indonesia:
Powerful Earthquake Rocks Western Indonesia
Indonesia Quake Toll Crosses 1,000
Second Quake Slams Indonesia; Hundreds Dead
Rising Toll Feared From Quake In Indonesia

Heavy rains hold up search for bodies in Indonesia

Please note that by no means am I claiming this as comprehensive, it’s what I could find quickly to get myself more oriented about what happened and what’s happening now.

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Kaitaia

Kaitaia

So wanderlust and itchy feet may not be the only thing I’ve inherited from my family.

Over the weekend, my parents flew from Taupo to Kaitaia – my dad took his friend’s plane up, and then took a Cessna 172 back, at times flying next to the Tecnam Sierra now flown by his friend.  This evening, my mother sent me these pictures, taken September 19-21.  I’ve been teased before about some of the things that always turn up in my photos, but looking at my mother’s, there’s definitely some similar subject matter.

There’s “process pictures” – in this case, pictures of gum collection, which I’m promised more information on later.

There’s “setting pictures” that try to describe the differences between spaces or things which exist everywhere – like houses, rooms, transportation, and restaurants – but vary from place to place.

There are pictures of other pictures, and pictures of things that catch our eye because of a name or number or pattern.

And finally, there are pictures taken out of the window – in this case, out the window of each plane on the way there on the way back.  In the last set, there are good shots of the Tecnam Sierra they flew on the way out.

This week, I’ll post examples of each from my pictures.

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I’m throwing this post up quickly, because I’m posting on the evening of the 20th but some of these pictures were taken on the 21st and I can’t resist the opportunity to play with the dateline.

An explanation is coming up tomorrow…

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