Horopito Motor Wreckers, part 1

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In the village Horopito, which is situated near a settlement named Ohakune (it is popular among skiers and snowborders), one can visit a homemade museum of vintage cars. In other words it is a vintage car dump. From the whole New Zealand old cars are brought here to be dismantled. It is the place where cars pass away. 

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Four Beaches in the West

Summer is coming soon to Auckland. On these warm days one can not only wet feet in the ocean but dip into its cool water wholly. For those who are lazy the choice where to go and have rest for a couple of hours is traditionally not wide: Piha, Muriwai, Anawhata, Karekare. All of them are approximately at the same distance from the city, which is about forty-minute drive away from it. 

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Ninety Mile Beach on a Summer Day

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The sun in Kaitaia is hidden with low-level clouds today. It is windy but warm. Here have got together windsurfing and paddleboarding (a stand up paddle board with a SUP paddle) lovers, as well as those who love beach running and beach driving. 

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Sand Dune Surfing

There is nothing like that in Auckland but there are huge three-hundred-meter sand dunes in the very north. One can easily rent plastic boards with metallized bottom for almost no money and surf those dunes, like in snowboarding. It is, of course, tiresome to climb them. And it is a little scaring to stand at the very top and look down, but other than that it is an absolutely childlike joy.

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Kiwi men and Kiwi women at the festival “Big Day Out”. Part 4

It is the last post with thirty photos from the festival “Big Day Out” which was held in the end of January in 2011. I am not going to tell about the participants and the festival again. I am just going to show the pictures and to comment some of them in an acrid way.

The first post from the festival starts with the photo of that very young man. He was relatively sober then.

Closer to the evening the rain drove faster. There were sticks “I  CSS” on the breast of the girl in a raincoat, (HTML designers will be pleased to see them.)  The schedule of group performances was dangling around her neck on a red tape.

The girls saw that I was out in the rain making photos of passers-by. They came up to me and asked to make their photo. Real kiwi youths in awful footwear but very sociable. I left them a visiting card for they could write me but no one did.

As for kiwi guys, they look like common teenagers – thin and wild. While dancing they shake their heads wildly. The photo was made at the border of the Boiling Room which was an electronic-music marquee.

While Auckland people having visited the rock-festival were keeping the rain out and taking shelter under the awning roof, we started to move in the direction of main stages.


We decided to walk round the field and make ourselves comfortable in the opposite stand to better see the Orange Stage where the Iggy Pop group was just about to start their performance.

In the remote stands, no one was sitting in the modest “hands on the knees” way. There was one more “alcohol area”, so people were very active  after they had almost “killed” themselves with beer.


So we had to wander around the field for some time. All seats under the awnings were engaged and the wet spectators were waiting for Iggy.

To the great disappointment of all the spectators, the quality of sound left much to be desired. (Perhaps, somebody will comment if I am not right but it seems to me that during the rain the propagation of sounds is bad because they interfere and transform into a porridge-like cacophony.)

Spectators could hardly make out the words of the songs. Iggy looked well and brisk as usual, though. When I was younger I perceived him as tall and thin. It turned out that he was my height. 

A couple of older guys. It probably was the fifteenth “Big Day Out” for them.

A nice Kiwi boy.

I used to meet that art-boy on my way to work every morning, he resembled one of the characters of the film “Almost Famous”. It looked like he had guessed to make a raincoat out of a refuse sack.

Wet girls were seeking for somebody in the crowd. (I am sure this page will be linked to from various search engines and visited by “wet-girls” lovers. Who does not like them, though?)

Rammstein is out on the stage.

As usual, their performance happened to be a noisy show with a lot of pyrotechnics and stage properties.  It was done quite simple and tastefully. The spectators were stricken.

I liked Germans very much. Their performance  was efficient, steady and well co-ordinated.

After the sunset, it became dark very quickly. The fellow behind my back vomited almost onto my yellow plastic seat back, so I had to change the place and sit two rows farther from the stage.  I was used to look for something good in every situation and soon realized that the view of the stage and the people from my new position was much better. I made a photo of that girl.

That was an epic ending of the performance: paper pieces, flame, guitar notches and the crowd chanting “You got a pussy, I got a dick”! Quite spectacular.

At the time, everybody was waiting for M.I.A. and listening to the LCD Soundsystem in the Boiling Room. In the picture you can see a construction made of tennis balls with colored light-emitting diodes inside. It was good interactive three-dimensional son et lumière.

A hipster as it is: glasses, a shirt, torn jeans and sneakers.

LCD Soundsystem surprised me with their soloist who happened to be of a very unpleasant appearance and sang out of tune, perhaps, because of mistakes of the audio-control engineer.

The last chance to buy two useless alien junks at the price of one! Stalls worked until the last customer.

We were waiting for M.I.A.’s performance and went to the Silent Disco room to dry out and have some rest. Every person there had headphones with music played in and  was dancing in silence. Soon people started to leave the Silent room, too. It was after 9 PM. 

At the time, there was the group Tool on the Orange Stage. The field was hardly lit with weak, even disgraceful, rays from the empty eye holes of skulls raised by the paws of construction site engines. After Rammstein’s fireworks it just could not look in the least bit seriously. So the crowd was breaking up without spirit.

Tired festival spectators were waiting for the heavy rain to stop under the roof of the stadium pavilion. They were waiting for their friends and preparing for going home.

The more resolute sellers kept selling disgusting hot-dogs and something like burritos. But people were not squeamish even about that kind of food after the whole day of roaming from stage to stage.

A nice girl with a pink iPhone, she was not very wet.

M.I.A. happened to be aggressive and noisy. Perhaps, it was not what the tired spectators wanted at the time because their reaction was rather inert. The music gave the kick to those heavily drunk only — like the guy from the first photo of the post. I didn’t like M.I.A. almost at once and we decided to go to the exit. 

On the way, I’ve made some photos of unknown people. This is the last photo of four posts about the annual musical festival “Big Day Out”.

The links to previous posts: 1, 2, 3.







Kiwi men and Kiwi women at the festival “Big Day Out”. Part 3

As I have promised, now I continue to post photos from the musical festival “Big Day Out” which was held in the end of January, 2011. In the photos you can see people caught unawares. They are different: young and not very young, extravagant and very common. In the whole world they are called “Kiwi”.

There are about thirty photos with comments. The photos are clickable.

A heavy metal fan of the “sisadmin” type, whitish-pink due to the sun burn, is resting after jumping in the “heavy” sector.

A woman  is selling ice lollies and smiling in a confused way. The weather was expected to be hot but it happened to be rainy and wet so there were no lines in front of her stall.

Policemen sometimes asked people if everything was OK. That Indian seemed to be OK.  As for policemen, they always had guarded looks but that was their job. Last year, as I remembered, everybody wanted to be photographed with them, and people, drunk and drugged, really had the pictures taken.

You, young man with long hairs and in a long T-shirt, the girls from the posters keep their beautiful eyes on you!

There was nothing to do at the festival but listen to music, seek  for the friends lost somewhere and do shopping in dull stalls. All open amusements were popular and there were lines of people interested until dark.

As one can notice, a person in the background is selling plastic raincoats and polyethylene ponchos at the price of 5 dollars. In the foreground, there is a New Zealand format of pear-shaped girls.

The inscription on the yellow trailer, where fatty-and-sugary products were sold, said, “Over 14.75 billion sold worldwide”.

A non-drinking man is communicating with his friend who is by no means averse to a couple of bottles of beer in the “alcohol zone”. The sale of alcohol products at the festival was bounded not only with regard to age but to festival areas, too.  Special people checked IDs and put colored bracelets on people’s hands. Alcohol was to be bought in special enclosed areas (cigarettes were not sold at all). The alcohol purchased was to be consumed in the same area. There were several stages with music for “alco-people”, but the music  was, I’d say, indistinct.

The lady without the dog but in a hat. (By analogy with «The Lady with the Dog» (Russian: Дама с собачкой, Dama s sobachkoy), a short story by Anthon Chekhov, which was first published in 1899. It tells the story of an adulterous affair between a Russian banker and a young lady.)


Some guys protected by an unworried guard are resting in the alco-area.

Nice people. While being at the festival, I’ve met them several times here and there. It is up to you to decide whether they are hipsters or not.

Two hippies on the grass. One of the girls is wearing the very poncho which has been sold a few photos up.

Kiwi-boys are staring at kiwi-girls and at their knees.

As for the girls, they are dancing around a microscopic bag.

A brutal woman of the style of the 1980-s. A large area of her bogy is covered with tattoos. I almost collided with her as she was barging through the crowd in a very resolute way.

To promote various Halloween goods, the guy was dressed as a monster and made to frighten the girls passing by. But the girls happened to be brave and wanted to be photographed with him by all means.

A girl in the style of Woodstock with wet hair looking thick. The Article. Which means she is younger than eighteen.

And again minutes of worried waiting. As I have repeatedly said, much time was spent on seeking and waiting for friends and acquaintances.

A nice blond is waiting for her boyfriend in the alco-area. It is his bottle there in the right part of the frame.

As you can notice, I like the umbrella and its faint colored reflection.

A small group of children-flowers in the alco-area. I think that my attention was focused on the blond with a blue headband.

He was looking into my lens and I was looking into his glasses and thinking, “Permed or not?”

What was the man in a blue hat short of? Some footwear, I guess.

A Kiwi girl under a tree.

A thoughtful man in lowered pants and black trunks is filling his rucksack with water.

Perhaps, it is one of the best photos of today’s set.

The rain drove faster, the sun was setting.

That girl-ghost did not like that I was making her picture. Then we talked, smiled to each other and exchanged calling cards. Still waiting for her to write.

This is the end of the third post about a musical festival “Big Day Out”. I hope the blog’s readers have got the idea what the local youth really is at rest. I think you will admit that young people look rather civilized. 

I believe there are enough pictures left for one more post. I will post the fourth part after I will tell about Cook tropical islands where I have spent a short vacation lasting for 10 days.

Kiwi men and Kiwi women at the festival “Big Day Out”. Part 2

Spectators are out in the rain. The exposure is short, one can notice drops in the air. 

Today I continue my photo story about the festival “Big Day Out” which took place in Auckland in the end of January. I have simply taken a few pictures from the folder, and I will tell you about each of them throughout the post. All the pictures are clickable.

I don’t know what impressions you get from this guy with a hippie girl-friend but as for me, he seemed a good deal like Mister Bin. He was standing erect like on parade.


Traditionally, people were dancing in the open because it was hot and crowded in the “Boiler-room” — in the electronic-music marquee. In the background there you can see logotypes of Silent Disco, I will tell you about it a little later.


I tagged after the accredited photographer and made circles around the “Silent Disco” marquee until he finally chose the angle and turned to his work.

As one can notice, young people being a pride and joy of New Zealand are wearing gym shoes which are like Shanghai shoes, long and wide shorts similar to boxer shorts, and jerseys which remind sailor’s striped vests.

As I have already written, the marked part of the festival time was devoted to waiting. That boy who just didn’t “give a shit”, as it was written on his T-shirt, was standing with that kind of a sad and anxious face expression for about twenty minutes. So, he did “give a shit” about something.

It was as though the boy in a cap, which reminded the helmet of a storm trooper, was saying to the girl looking like Scarlett Johansson, “He has gone in this direction, oh no, in that direction.” 

That boy is apparently not a Russian boy, and that cap is obviously a Russian fur cap with ear flaps.

A modern festival guy with a phone matching the color of his glasses.

I wonder why anybody living in a city with a million of population should have been standing and choosing a cool summer dress in a small stall at the time when the Iggy Pop were just about to go on stage.

All right, I admit that I didn’t get whether the girl pointing a finger at somebody, was wearing some kind of a swimsuit or a suit for aerobics.

A bit of a Kiwi first-class fellow is resting on the asphalt. Yes, the asphalt is to have been covered with spittle, bottles and cigarette butts but as you see all is not so bad. In a second the fellow will sure put his tongue out and make “V” with his fingers which will mean “Vnimanie, idet syomka” (from Russian — “Attention, photos are being shot”).

Judging by muddy legs, that graceful girl has just returned from the field. Rain and jumping teenagers have turned it into something of a dirty pool here and there. 

A brutal girl in homemade jean shorts.

In my estimation, this “enlarged” girl is 16-18 years old.

A traditionally stooping Kiwi girl with lots of straps. I noticed that tendency the very first days here in New Zealand, in November 2006.

In the “Silent Disco” marquee the visitors were given radio earphones, in which everyone could choose one of two channels and adjust the level.  Live DJ s ran two absolutely different sets which were often rhythm-fold. Of course, the music was heard only in the earphones.

One of the disk jockeys.

People are dancing in silence to different music.

For many people, the “Silent Disco” marquee was the place where they could wait till the rain was over and quietly write an SMS (or as they said there, “text”, or even so: “txt”) to some pleasant music.

A New Zealand couple in skateboard sneakers.

We are approaching the resting zone where it is allowed to buy alcohol. The people are just resting on the grass. It is still prohibited to drink alcohol in that section.

A thoughtful girl is sitting under the tree and waiting for her prince who either is gone to make water or to get water.

A fashionable lady, her look plainly reminding me about porno parades which are regularly held  in Auckland. I have already written about that: the first time, the second time, and the third time. Be careful, not for work.

One of the entrances to the stands. We wanted to eat sushi brought with us.

Humming girls.

Drinking water was sold in kiosks in bottles but one could get it poured from a usual hose with the inscription “Drinking water”.

A general view of the stands next to the Blue Stage.

The amusement “Super Ring” was permanently popular till the very end of the festival. Even in the absolute darkness during the Rammstein’s performance there was a long line of people willing to ride it. In the picture you can see carriages with people hanging head-down.

Another amusement is in this photo. The symbol “V” in the background is a local energy drink which tastes better than “Red Bull” but still chemical. There is a line tautened and one can slide down it from the upper part of the stadium the same way as in spy films.  Tire casings seen in the right top corner are to soften the stop.

The main stages: Orange Stage and Blue Stage. There is John Butler Trio on the Blue One.

A bald-headed guy in the back row wants to eat our sushi and at the same time as if is willing to say something.

Sweet girls, like puppies in a cardboard box, are on tip-toes to better see what is happening in the field.

That is the end of the second part of photos from the festival “Big Day Out”. The first part is here.

Kiwi men and Kiwi women at the festival “Big Day Out”. Part 1

In the middle of summer, on a gray January day (notably on January 21st), another festival  “Big Day Out” was held here in Auckland. I managed to sneak a many-megapixel camera. I put a film camera on the top of things in my rucksack and sweet-talked the supervisory man whose task was to inspect personal things. I said there was a film a German 50-year-old film camera and a film here in the pocket. IAE, he didn’t notice my black Canon 550D with a small portrait lens, which was on the very bottom of the sack. So I got a chance to shoot.

For readers not to be tired I will divide the posts from the “Big Day Out” into three parts. I will alternate them with stories about my recent rest on a very-very tropical island Rarotonga.

I and my friends prepared for the festival beforehand. We decided that at the age of about thirty we won’t be able to stand there since very morning. So we chose the performers we liked out of the festival list, made up kind of a schedule for ourselves and “moved up” to the festival by 4 pm. A complete list of participants follows. We ‘ve managed to listen to those whose names are highlighted with bold.

Tool, Rammstein, Iggy And The Stooges, M.I.A, John Butler Trio, Grinderman, Sia, Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77, Wolfmother, Lupe Fiasco, Deftones, Die Antwoord, Birds Of Tokyo, Primal Scream — Screamadelica Live, LCD Soundsystem, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Plan B, Booka Shade (Dj Set), The Naked & Famous, The Jim Jones Revue, Airbourne, Andrew W.K., Crystal Castles (Nz + East Coast), CSS, Ratatat, Kids Of 88, Silent Disco Djs, Wunmi, Reggie Watts, Shihad The General Electric Live, The Greenhornes, Blackmilk, Balloonatic, Red Bacteria Vacuum, Kora, Die! Die! Die!, Bulletproof, I Am Giant, Six 60, Street Chant, Steriogram, The Phoenix Foundation, Bang Bang Eche, Kody & Bic, Aural Trash, Ghost, Mt Eden Dubstep, Dj Meltron, Dj Cxl, Harry The Bastard, Luger Boa, Knives At Noon, Three Houses Down, Homebrew, Computers Want Me Dead, Tommy Ill, Family Cactus, Surf City, Grayson Gilmour, 1995, The Earlybirds, The Unfaithful Ways.

As soon as we came to the stadium area where the festival was held, we met a large group of people dressed in a strange way. I automatically pressed the shutter release. BDO is a tradition for many people and a reason to wear costumes. People around did not care, there was a smell of grass, people smoked right there in the crowd.

Deftons have just finished playing and people are flooding from the scene (out of the picture) to buy food and drinks. As far as there is no admission to BDO for people younger than 15 years old, the drinks are sold in special “runways” but they are to be taken only there, on the spot, because 99% of the festival rest area is alcohol-free.

This year the symbols of the festival have been of samurai-Japanese theme. In the “planked” house in the center of the field, there was a mixer board, cameras and other technical rubbish concealed from view .

If I get it right it is a hipster boy.

Faces and shoulders of those who came to the festival early in the morning were red. The cruel New Zealand sun “works” in any weather. 

Honestly speaking, that time I’ve got a feeling that the whole point of the BDO festival is in hanging about, roaming from one stage to another and waiting for one’s friends and acquaintances: next to a stand, near a shop or a toilet. It seems to me that the sun glasses did not suit me that day.

In fact, in New Zealand people smoke not much (smokers are less than 22% of the population). In Russia, 75% of men and 21% of women smoke regularly, it is a kind of weigh control, aha).  Cigarettes rolled by smokers are considered to be less dangerous for health. Sure, it is not true, there are even more resins in those do-it-yourself cigarettes.

I had to smile much to people, and show the pictures on the camera screen, and give out calling cards to make people’s reaction to camera milder. Of course, nobody tried to take the camera from me or, for example,  to spit t in the lens. Some people simply made very wry faces.

You can imagine what was left from the green grass of the stadium’s rugby field in the rain. One could easily recognize those who had managed to visit both main stages – orange and dark-blue – by their soiled boots and dirty legs (up to the very knees).

Teenagers-hippie are just teenagers-hippie everywhere across the globe. There was time when I, too, wore hair up to the middle of my back and a bandana with smileys.

Children-hippie grow up into such bearded uncles-hippie.

This area was called a “Boiler room”.  Electronic guys like M.I.A. played there under the tent which looked more like a circus marquee.

Kiwi DJ at work. It goes without saying that he has got the Mac.

To shoot people in a dark moving crowd was not an easy task, so I had to roam about the periphery because there was enough street lighting.

Hyper-stirring South African electronic guys named Die Antwoord.  Their symbol is the kind  ghost Casper holding his own log-like penis. They are good guys, watch the video.

Photos of accidental passes-by will help you to get the idea of the Kiwi youth.

They say that more than 50% of local people have tattoos. I have not found any trustworthy statistics on the question so I will not insist on the data.

That guy looks like an actor from the “Social network”, he was standing with an opened mouth all the time so I got the idea that he could not close it physiologically.

As I mentioned above, the waiting was a common way to spend time during the festival “Big Day Out”. 

That music-fancier, who is fond of listening to electronic music, is grinning at  biting texts of Die Antwood.

A drunken girl (most of participants got drunk before going to the stadium) with a worried face expression is waiting for her friend to come out of the toilet.

A spider man making a joint. It is One of my favorite pictures in the series.

Sun-burnt necks and shoulders.

That unfamiliar guy with a watermelon wrote me after the photos had been published on Facebook, so I sent a full-size photo to him.

A person on the left came there, apparently, in a T-shirt bought at the previous festival BDO. Then Muse and Groove Armada had been the headliners.

Fancy-dress clowns again, as if in protective suits. They ungracefully showed fucks, and dirty-mouthed much, too.

There was such a strong smell of grass in the crowd that many people felt good and free as if of themselves.

A young person in fashionable glasses and with a fashionable haircut. Behind his back, there is a 3-D matrix consisting of little table-tennis balls. There are multi-coloured diodes inside each of the balls. The whole construction, of course, is switched to a computer which creates the light show.

Very brutal Die Antwoord.

Why is it so that if you miss the moment of unexpectedness, people start showing tongues and make faces, Max Lemesh, who shoots the night life of Auckland, can affirm it. It could be such a nice couple!

Positive summer mood.

To be continued with two parts.






RedBull Racing of Homemade Vehicles, part 2, 2011

In my opinion, it was the best contender, and when he was racing down he was sitting at the office desk.

At the last weekend I took my portrait lens and went to an amateur racing which had been sponsored by the RedBull company. The post is continued with about twenty photos with comments.

That is a positive legionary in gay bright garments who raced in a chariot drawn, for some reason, by a lion. As the saying is, “WTF?”. 

Bamboo panda #22. Everybody likes pandas, even a strict (to a considerable extent) jury of this stupid contest.

Go, greens! The guy gathered his vehicle out of refuse bins of common use.

Circus format. A colored old guy with funny mustache was far from showing the best  results in the racing but he was a pretty fun for the spectators amused by his appearance and music.

A thoughtful youngster with an unwashed hair and in round glasses. I am almost sure he makes verses after working in a supermarket. 

There were really a lot of people with telephotos and other photographic jerking. You people buy equipment costing thousands dollars for such “big” and “important” events.  The density for the semi(-)professional series of Canon reflex cameras reached the values being very high.

An unfastened button, a rosy back, red earrings and an islander’s neck.

Down-racing feet first in a white slipper. Obviously, here they don’t coffin in white slippers.

For some people any festival is a reason to wear a fancy dress. That is how these pirates get there.

People were constantly moving along the racing route. Some of them were directing at the start place to see dancing and DJ s. Others did the opposite by going to the finish to have a good look at the vehicles. Many of people thought the way through the forest to be the shortest and most comfortable way.

Dedicated to the Cosmonauts Day. The racing car of the USSR fan was the nicest but the racing was far from nice, in fact it was the worst one. All the racing way his vehicle was being pushed by a technical assistance car. It is a pity, the lap could be showy. The day before, the guy was said to be forced to make his rocket over because it was overbalanced. One can see a small toy dog under a bell glass in the front part of the vehicle. One of children standing at the finish said to his Dad, “ Gosh, I thought it to be real!” I didn’t think that way but still believe that the device made by the guys from the studio SANDVIK was good. 

The tribute to the long-range lyricism: an orange truck with an index plate “SNATCH IT”. 

The driver of the orange truck is telling the story how he broke his leg during the training lap.

One of the showgirls at the finish.

A girl in the crowd: a typical Anglo-Saxon face. 

A hard-rock driver! A strange device in the form of a heavy-metal guitar. It’s stable, I think, but not very fast.

By the way, the speed was honestly measured with GPS-trackers, and a strict  guy at the finish put them together under the drivers’ signatures.

A fashionable bolide “The Flying Indian: to live for to fly”. It was one of the fastest and with a hint of Anthony Hopkins.

A melancholy girl with a mobile.

As far as I remember from physics courses it is important to minimize the air resistance and the friction in wheel jointings to gain a maximum speed. That is why a carefully made compact bolide shaped as a RedBull can used to become a winner many times.

And finally I will show a video where twenty racers “make jumps”.

That is the end of my short photo report about the RedBull race in Auckland Domain. It is alarmingly warm here, in Auckland, and the water in the crater of Ruapehu Volcano is getting hotter.

RedBull Racing of Homemade Vehicles, New Zealand, 2011

In Auckland, if there is some event at weekends, the whole town gather to see it. It happened this way on the day of a RedBull race in the central park Auckland Domain. That piece of fun was zany in a boyish way: the participants were to race down a winding road. They were encouraged by loud cries of narrators and by the undivided attention of judges.

Not all the racing cars happened to be reliable and some of them safely fell to pieces on sharp turns. The participants willing to make a jump from a low jumping-place got additional points from perfectly mild judges. The day was fine and warm, and it was rather intriguing to go to the park for a walk, the more so because there was a good reason for that.

I spread my face with sun creme, took the 50 mm portrait lens and went to take pictures of ordinary Kiwi people being out for a good time in Indian summer. In Auckland it was still warm: +22° C during the day time. And it was even hotter in the sun. The sun is quite hot here in New Zealand because of much talked-about ozone holes.

It is a city museum on the top of the hill in the largest town park Auckland Domain.

A local producer of the most tasty and useful burgers of all harmful ones produced under the name of BurgerFuel provided purple rugs for the event, which were fastened to the ground for the guests of the show to sit. Everything happening on the racing route was broadcast on a big display.

The main race sponsor was the RedBull company. So alcohol was replaced by energy drinks. It is highly prohibited to have a drink in the park as well as in the rest of the town places.

Those who didn’t get the places on purple rugs sat right on the grass.

A little brown bag and a small sample of a New Zealand fashion which, as many of newcomers believe,   doesn’t exist at all.

All the matter is in magic stripes. To see what was happening in the start the spectators had to rise to the tips of their toes.

Any work, even if it connected to the super expensive equipment and a million of buttons and sliders, may become a fixed routine. Again and again I see that fucked out face expression of audio men and video operators.

As you can guess, a purple color is a company’s color of BurgerFuel. The name of the company one can read at the breast of an attractive promo girl in purple glasses. 

In the foreground there is a roadster, which is the main kind of transport for many and many Auckland townsmen. One can cycle almost to every place in Auckland. Of course I have got a driver’s license but I still use my pedal “horse” on every possible occasion. 

A wheeled green coffin was a racing apparatus in the form of a Whiffle. Being steady and fast, it made a good jump from the jumping-off place and got additional points.

Even on an overcast day one can get solar burns, become pretty swelled and, as a result, considerably upset.

A grey-haired operator of New Zealand TV.

A racing car in the form of Mt. Taranaki. It fell to pieces closer to the end of the racing route.

No huge TV set with humorous narrators along the route, so people were generally bored when they were waiting for every next participant to appear.

I am not a great fan of horror-film series “Scream” and I can’t say for sure what exactly that vehicle resembles.

The masked man toppled over on the very turn where I took the photo. He was picked by rescuers who came by a car with yellow flashers.

A new fashion of the year – glasses with colored reflective surface. Don’t know about you but I liked them.

Being a person who spends most of the time in the semidarkness of enclosed spaces I feel awful discomfort when go out without dark glasses.

A very fast racing car in the form of a green carrot. If some of you, who have visited the event, remember what it was, please, write in comments.

In conclusion I will show a portrait of an unknown boy picked out of the crowd at random, the portrait lens was used according to its intended purpose.

Other details of the event you can read on the RedBull site. Here you can read of a ‘wonderful’ RedBull-diet which helped a 23-year-old girl to loose weight from 105 kg up to 60 kg. Just 10-14 cans of energy drink plus a handful of honey chips a day and (oh, wonder!) your appetite is almost lost! Of course she has now great problems with health. Well, sure she is a girl of considerable intelligence. I want to remind you that in Norway, Denmark, and Uruguay the RedBull products are prohibited as addictive and harmful.


Hobbiton, New Zealand, 2012

Hobbiton is the very place where The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were shot.

I took pictures of the home of Bilbo Baggings against the sun and brought together parts of three pictures, the obtained colors don’t look natural but this way it is even more like in a fairy-tale.

Peter Jackson liked one of the farms in New Zealand because there were no traces of civilization. So the Americans bought the central part of the farm and built there Hobbiton town that consisted of forty houses-holes, the most part of which being just dummies. When The Lord of the Rings was made the sets were dismantled leaving behind only gaping holes in place of doors upon a hillside. In course of The Hobbit’s making, the number of sets multiplied up many times and was left that way to entertain tourists

The American landowners hired farm workers to look after the garden, bees, sheep and other living creatures which naturally inhabit Hobbiton. There is a rather big cafe with a signboard “Hobbiton” at the road, and a bus goes right from the cafe several times a day . A small town is cozily located at the bottom land near a lake. No signs of modern civilization are seen around. 

I started printing something but isn’t it easier to describe pictures? All the more so because I’ve taken half a thousand of them on that day. Below in the post, there are pictures and comments to them. 

At the approaches to Hobbiton there are sheep and hills everywhere, which is a rather usual picture for New Zealand. 

Welcome to Hobbiton!

Tourists are given some combined feed for tame sheep. Sheep are soft like a carpet. One can pay some money and see how sheep are cut, or bottle feed little ones with milk. That’s a dull part.

The same picture is outside the cafe’s window: hills and sheep, sheep and hills.

It seems that a photo on the cafe’s wall makes a hint: it will be interesting, that is how the holes of real hobbits look.

This is, in fact, a view of the cafe “The Shire’s Rest”.

A noisy woman-guide organizes tourists. The bus will be soon and everybody will go deep into the farm — to Shire.

A New Zealand farm: fields, sheep and cows.

Bus, go forward, the stop is in Hobbiton. (It is a rephrased part of a Soviet patriotic song, “Our train, rush forward! Our stop is in the Commune…)”

On approaching Shire one can see multiple restrictive signs. It is prohibited to leave trash, climb into the holes, touch and take (steal) things. The fence is under tension (well, for sheep, of course), but the current rushes are quite telling.  

There’s, there’s a hole of my dream! Most part of Hobbits’ holes are simply dummies. There is nothing inside, or just enough place for actors of some particular scene, or for a film crew member to shoot it. Most doors are just doors leading nowhere.

A small garden. It is evident that hobbits lived very simple, poor life. The farm workers look after the gardens. Butterflies fly about and it smells like in a forest.

In the distance there one can discern other holes. The house of Bilbo is on the top of the hill under a branchy tree.

There in the bushes, awaiting for feedstuffs, cut sheep hide being afraid of everything.

Houses of hobbits are admirably nice. We were discussing the practicality of round doors for a long time. Another point for the discussion was a doorknob-beetle in the center of the door. It is a solely decorative thing, isn’t it? That’s the way I see it.

Those who have read Tolkien’s books carefully know that the drawings on mail boxes reflect the owner’s profession. About 30% of Hobbiton’s visitors have never read the books, and never watched the films either. There’re statistics like that.

A great amount of details around the holes was really to my liking. All those brooms, baskets, benches, jars, bottles produced outward appearances of a village style of living, where everything is meant to be for one’s own home and for one’s own family.

A classic hole of a Hobbit. Pay attention to window dummies at the distance. One can discern there curtains and some large dusty bottles.

These are the details I was talking about: so many things are put on the window and, what is more surprising, behind the window too.

More jars and vessels and a figured window in the door. Each door, each hole, each hobbit house is unique and reflects the character of the owner. The decorators had real fun here.

In the distance, behind the lake there is a town center and a windmill. Tourists are not allowed to go there: it is a new filming site or sort of that. The bridge was designed and built by military men. Somehow the fact became a special pride of the place.

The lake’s view with clouds’ reflection.

The Hobbiton’s view across the lake. This view may be in a new film, so remember the angle.

The time of our visit to the place was not the best one so at some moments I had to take pictures against the sun. I took a lot of triplets and when later I was bringing them together I had to dim lights and lengthen shadows. Well, I got what I got. Yes, it is the very thing which is usually called “HDR”.

The same hill nearby.


Fishing village. While filming, one could see there fishing rods, smoke coming out of chimneys, drying laundry and fish. It was one of the most busy streets of Hobbiton.

Peter Jackson was sure that when there was no wind the smooth lake surface used to transform into a mirror. So I took many pictures of such early morning beauty.

The outskirts of the town, sheep on the hills. In accordance with the book, the actors were traveling here for four days. But in fact it is only five minutes from the physical center of the town.  Magic of a cut.

All the pictures, which are meant to gain the favor of readers tired of instagrammas, can be clicked. In the enlarged version of any picture one can see more details. And again I admire the decorators’ work.

One of the views of Bilbo Baggings’ home (under the tree). The door of the hole can be opened, and there is enough place inside just for four people. As for the tree it is absolutely artificial and to make it has costed more than a million dollars. According to the book Bilbo lived under the tree but there was no tree on the top of the hill.

And again we are taking a good look at the details near the holes.


This is a wood yard next to a smithy. Have you noticed anything special next to the ax? Tah-dah! That is it, the Ring. It was brought to Hobbiton by fans from England.

As they said the ring was becoming heavier and heavier when they were flying up to New Zealand. This elderly couple was happy to have their photo in a movie set.


Gardeners are good: houses are not overgrown with grass, flowers bloom, butterflies fly.

Window glass is not even, flower cases are painted in the corners. If it were not for the guide’s hurrying I would have hung there for a longer period of time to carefully view the designers’ work.

A house with a yellow door. In one of such holes there were utility services responsible for  lighting, smoke out of chimneys and many other things meant to enliven the set. As I promised, here it is – a butterfly “in-person”.


A wine red door, neatly arranged firewood in a tub and growing sunflower under the feet.  Very nice.

A huge tree, under which hobbits were happily frisking about in the first parts of The Lord of the Rings movie.

A roadway marker. Lichen grows very slowly if you remember the fact from the school course of biology. Moss and other traces of aging on the wooden parts of the scenery has been, as I see it, a special task of designers. Looks great!

That is the most popular and famous house in Hobbiton – the main one. This is the place where Bilbo Baggings lived, and where Gandolf happened to drop in.

It really looks like in the photo on the cafe’s wall. The organizers of the entertainment got it right. No kidding!

Hamilton Hot Air Balloon Show, 2012

Aeronautics-lovers gather in Hamilton once a year, they are professionals and those who are just keen on aeronautics. The event’s name is “Balloons over Waikato”. The word  “Waikato” may be not clear to you, actually it is the Maori name of the place. Last year there was a strong wind during the event, and the balloons were carried away in the direction of the river. As chance would have it, we were late, and were stuck in the morning traffic hold-up in Hamilton (!).

This time it turned out much better. We left early, came in time and viewed the whole show from balloonists’ (a really beautiful word) briefing until the very moment when the balloons’ got beyond the horizon.

To continue with what has been said please view five dozens of pictures with comments below. They are interesting, you will like them. 

Before dawn, around five-thirty in the morning, the show participants gathered on an artificially illuminated glade. 

Some brought gas apparatuses in trailers, others used carriages to deliver them to the place of the event.

The signs with the balloons’ photos posted about and the table on the information display showed to the participants their arrangement on the glade and the priorities established.

This is a logo of the annual festival “Balloons over Waikato”.

After a short briefing, and analyzing of the weather report and a wind rose, it was commanded to unload the balloon gondolas.

As one of the organizers have noted, the New Zealand festival is one of few places in the world where one can freely observe the launching process of hot air balloons. It has been emphasized that there is no such possibility in the USA. Perhaps it is an important information.

All gas apparatuses are to be tested before the launch. A masculine activity.

In the center of the glade there was set a radio cabin to broadcast the show.

That guy proposed to burn gas “on-camera” and was really pleased with the result.

The day was breaking and people both old and young started gathering on the glade.

As for this “brutal Gandolf” I planned to keep it for one of the posts on any of the following themes: “Russia is shit”, “There is no God”, “Mortgage for louts”.

Gondolas are being transported about the ground.

Spectators started to spread checkered blankets for picnics across the grass.

That’s how a hot air balloon looks when folded.

It was dawning. The first to take the air were professionals: the companies providing tourist services. Three quarters of an hour cost 300 NZD

The inscription on the orange trailer is “An egg a day is now OK”. The fact is New Zealanders watch the cholesterol level. Doctors recommend to eat not more than a dozen of eggs a week. Perhaps there even exist some low cholesterol eggs which are “harmless”. A ready advertising hot air balloon looks this way.

After the sun rose the television screw from Morning News  came.

Hot air balloon show is a family holiday.

Hot air balloons, even being semi-inflated, are really huge structures and an awfully ineffective  transportation.

For the balloon cupola not to be moved by an accidental wind gust and the flame not to burn a hole into the balloon’s shell, one of the crew members usually holds the balloon by the rope tied to the top of it.

I liked that a single man was able to hold that huge construction with wonderful ease.

One by one the balloons took a vertical position.

The moment, when an enormous balloon stops being a shriveled cover and starts gaining the shape, can be compared in effectiveness with the moment of taking-off.

As I have already mentioned the spectators were allowed to observe the process in the immediate vicinity with the air vehicles. 

The balloon with a nice inscription “hamilton” was the first to take the air.

This is one of my favorite photos in this report.

It is very important to watch the shell’s thin material not to be melted by the flame.

The person in the orange vest on the left is holding a fan to inflate the balloon’s shell which is still “lifeless”.

It seems to me that “web-marketing” in the Ultrait company brings in good return. More than thirty balloons participated in the show in 2012. Every year the organizers promise more participants, higher flights and more powerful balloons.


The very moment when a balloon is to be hold because it has already risen but has not tear-shaped yet.

A Kiwi guy with a mustache is watching the process of hot-air-balloons’ launching.


Pilots, one by one, take the air in their aircrafts.

The shape of the balloon on the left is a kiwi-shape (it’s with its back to you). The balloon on the right, as you see, is a kangaroo. And for some reason it is in mittens. The loudspeaker’s voice said that it was the first launch of that huge balloon, and that such balloons were very hard to make.

There is enough room in the sky. We didn’t have even the slightest feeling that the balloons could collide. But half a year ago, in January 2011, while landing, a balloon hooked a power line, caught fire and crashed down. 11 people were killed in that awful tragedy. No one survived.

If we don’t dramatize the event it’s spectacular.


A small-sized balloon of a single pilot was the last to take the air. There, in the right hand corner, you can see a kiwi-balloon facing the camera.

Over a period of one hour all the balloons left the take-off area and vanished into thin air. Especially skilled balloonists promised to get back by means of their balloonist’s intuition.

I hope you’ve liked my photo report and believe it to be interesting enough to share it with your friends. Thanks.

Getty Images Editors’ Choice

Today I would like to share with my humble subscribers my photographs selected by Getty Images editors to be sold under Royalty Free license. Please feel free to purchase any of these at Getty Images photo stock website.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s Last Creation in the Art Backwoods of New Zealand

Here in Kawakawa, judging by the vastness of multi-colored foofaraw and trees that grow on roofs, people are quietly going mad. The small (the population is slightly over 1000) roadside town north of North Island is decorated with every color of the rainbow. A long time ago there was a coal mine nearby, but since then the resource has run out, and now people make a living mainly from farming and feeding travelers. There are quite a few authentic New Zealand cafes with pretty good coffee and croissants in the town. Many people stop by to eat, since the settlement is located approximately halfway to Auckland.

Kawakawa is also called “Train Town” since trains occasionally pass by on the road that passes through it. Nowadays tourists are given rides on the eighty-kilometer section of the old railroad. Family/children’s entertainment.

Of course, the most popular site of Kawakawa is the public restroom built by the Austrian architect and painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who is famous for his unique style. His canvas buildings are called “ecological,” “organic,” “biomorphic,” “natural.”

Friedensreich left his footprints all over the planet. Other than New Zealand, where the artist spent the last 25 years of his life, his architectural projects can be found in Germany, Austria, Japan, the USA, Switzerland and Israel (photos on Google Images). I’ve heard that many people deliberately fly to New Zealand to look at his final project, which he finished one year before his death: a public restroom in Kawakawa.

This is what the entrance to the restroom looks like. A tree grows through a hole in the roof. (The photos of the restroom aren’t mine, I got them here.)

Everything inside is made from ceramic tiles which are laid together using solvent, there are no right angles. It’s as if the floor is moving.

Light gets into the building through a stained-glass window made of empty glass bottles.

More photos of artistic restrooms can be found on Google Images.

Across from the restrooms there is a museum, the entire wall there is covered with near-Maori drawings. The symbols probably mean something.

The bus station for “Clark” school buses in the outer part of the city.

A red sign on a pub where people love the New Zealand beer “Lion Red.” Here people can and like to drink.

You can see the train which was mentioned in the beginning of the post passing through the city in the background.

A farmer’s four-wheel off-road truck that is parked in front of a bar with arcade games.

Second-hand goods are sold in the empty first-floor rooms of the provincial theater of the town Kawakawa. Here and there you can encounter a familiar from Napier Art deco style.

In a Chinese restaurant, a little girl waited for her parent to make fish and chips, the favorite dish in New Zealand.

Because of the amount of pedestrians by the Friedensreich Hundertwasser public restrooms, the traffic significantly slows down.

The ceramic shark which many recognize from the illustrations to the recent post about adulthood. The small sculpture park made in the same inimitable “biomorphic” style in the downtown was closed for the holidays. On regular days, I suspect, children would really like it there.

Kawakawa pleased me with its originality, which was unexpectedly encountered among regular New Zealand farming landscapes.

Sunset at Piha Beach and Other Stuff from My Camera

Here in Auckland it’s summer, summer, summer. My back’s been burned twice already, despite sunblock with SPF 45 and higher. But it’s alright, soon it’ll already be cold at night and we’ll have to spin the electric meter at night. Although, who knows. They say that you can’t get away from global warming nowadays and the climate will inevitably change. Last year, for example, the summer here was the longest and driest in the past eighteen years. And this year, not long ago, a previously unseen temperature of +32° was registered. That’s just some casual sand in the wheels of those who think that it’s heaven here.

We bought a refrigerator from this farmer in the marvelous town Drury. The apparatus spent eight months in a garage, and ants infested it. They froze pretty quickly. Also, on the farm, there’s a huge sandbox with nonchalantly scattered children’s toys. I didn’t see any children, but I did see over five cats who use the structure not for building sand castles.

There is a large metal drum on Mount Eden that points and indicates the distance to famous cities of the world.

In Shakespeare Regional Park, while chasing after the frisbee, I bloodied up the bottom of my foot with a seashell. Instead of sand, the beach there has mollusk seashell ridges, various scallops.

Almost every time that I go to the shop on the corner for milk, this cardboard guy who offers ice cream with a maniac’s smile scares me.

I’ll talk about the boxers soon.

On one very slow intersection, the local rascality earns a little side money by washing windows. It should be noted that they’re polite and fun people. I apologized in advance to the hero of the photograph below since nobody carries cash around, seeing as credit cards are accepted everywhere. But this did not stop him from wiping the windshield just in case, asking about my camera and posing a little bit. I did not get a chance to ask for his e-mail, the light turned green.

New Zealand!!! Tribute to Flight of the Conchords Posters

My tribute to tourism posters, as seen in Murray’s office in Flight of the Conchords.

New Zealand… Cool!!!

New Zealand… Rocks!!!

New Zealand. It’s Not Going Anywhere

New Zealand, Take Your Mom

New Zealand. Why Not?

New Zealand. Like Lord of The Rings

New Zealand. Ewe Should Come

New Zealand. Come Visit Us Down Underer

New Zealand. Don’t Expect Too Much

New Zealand. Why Travel the World When You Can Visit Newtown

Wellington, it’s not a recreation from the show like the others, anyway. The slogan is, amazingly, real. Complete with lack of a question mark.

A Post about Ice Peaks and the Human Insignificance

Here, among slopes and peaks of the Southern Alps, the place of humans in the universe is as noticeable as anywhere. A pompous beginning, but I’ll try to show what I mean using simple examples.

Zoom, zoom, zoom. All the photos are clickable.

This is how the river that flows from the Tasman Glacier, which lies on the footstep of the highest part of the Southern Island of New Zealand, looks from an airplane. On Google Maps satellite photos you can see that the dusty cobalt current tinges the ocean with a turquoise color at the mouth next to Christchurch. The same waters are the cause for the formation of Lake Pukaki, which I really love for amazing photographic material.

I have already been at the source of this nameless river several times. One of the favored places in New Zealand for hipster repose from city life.

Look to the right: thawed waters from the glacier form a lake with black icebergs.

On the left, under a layer of volcanic rocks, lies the Tasman Glacier. In the distance the peaks of the Southern New Zealand Alps.

I will allow myself a small trick. Before scrolling down, look at the boulder in the left corner of the photo and estimate its size in meters.

And now zoom, zoom, zoom.

There were barely enough megapixels on my old Canon 400D to document the tourist who decided to take a walk on the rocky surface of the glacier. The photo is clickable. You can distinguish the colors of the clothes.

Returning to our starting points, a panorama to reinforce the effect.

But that is not all. Let’s turn to our left and see what is happening on the lake at the moment.

Do you notice anything?

Let’s try looking a little closer.

Still a little closer. Do you see the whitish chunk of ice in the background?

There is an inflatable motor boat with tourists “hiding” behind it.

That’s how we live. We return to the car by a treaded trail to come back to the habitual workday rhythm in a couple of days.