Wellington Fog

Every city develops a reputation and a nickname. Wellington's has always been 'Windy Wellington'. An epithet not entirely undeserved as being a coastal city and in the roaring 40's South lattitudes we do get our fair share of wind. This is something that many other denizens around New Zealand do make fun of from time to time but what is missed is the wind is often only a light breeze rather than a wind. That and we have some of the cleanest air in the world as a result.

However on even rarer days, usually only at the depth of winter or the height of summer, we get no wind at all. The windmill stops turning and in winter we occasionally get quite spectacular fog. This is usually only once or twice a year - much to the relief of airport passengers who get their plans completely disrupted when it is foggy. This year the fog happened to coincide with me having a new geek toy digital camera to play with. One of the new features that I just had to try was the panorama mode. Thus this shot.

Morning panoramic view of fog instead of Wellington City. (119 Kb jpeg)

I have scaled the image down somewhat to keep the size of it to a more reasonable level. These images can get extremely large quite quickly. What you should be seeing on the other side of the harbour is Wellington proper. I took these from just outside work and you can perhaps see one of the reasons why I like working where I do. The view is simply spectacular on a reasonably regular basis and I get the chance to observe the harbour daily basis as I come out along the motorway. In the foreground is Seaview, Gracefield and to the right end of the image the Lower Hutt valley environs.

Somes Island almost hidden in the fog. (66 Kb jpeg)

It is a bit clearer in this shot, where you can see Somes Island being partially obscured by the fog. Essentially one simply couldn't see directly across the harbour as whole. It did lift for the Hutt Valley and the harbour itself generally by mid-day but stayed over the central city for quite a while. A slight worry really given that I had relatives who were flying back to Australia that day. They had already had a 30 hour transit thanks to fog when flying into New Zealand a few days before so the last thing they needed was a long flight out that was delayed thanks to fog. Really must email them and ask...

Mid-day panoramic view of Wellington City as the fog lifts. (153 Kb jpeg)

Wellington Harbour at mid-day as the fog lifts. (165 Kb jpeg)

You can see here that the sun is shining brilliantly out the Hutt but there is still that fog haze around Wellington itself.

Wall of fog across the harbour mid-day as the fog lifts. (101 Kb jpeg)

The harbour itself kept a sea mist over it that provided almost a wall of fog. Very localised and quite pretty to observe.

Smokestack vents fairly vertically in the mid-day calm. (102 Kb jpeg)

Just to establish that it really is pretty calm you can see the smoke from the stack here is climbing pretty vertically.

Interisland Ferry tracks in towards it's berth past Somes Island. (87 Kb jpeg)

One for the 'telephoto compression tells lies' file. This shot makes it look like the Interisland Ferry has a difficult navigation job picking it's way carefully between Somes Island here and the mainland behind it. Reality is that there is about half the harbour worth of room tucked in there and the Ferry is in no great danger. The camera is also being a little too smart for it's own good here and bringing the focus forward a little too much. Need to spend a bit more time reading the manual to figure out how to control that.

Evening panoramic view of Wellington City. (121 Kb jpeg)

And one last panorama for good measure. I took this just before leaving work for home in the evening. It is quite remarkable just how easy Canon have made doing these. The camera itself merely needs to be told that you are doing a panorama and you indicate which direction the shot is compared to previous shots. The display then lets you take the first shot and locks the exposure to repeat so that colour tone and balance is preserved. It also uses the LCD to display around 20% of the previous image so that you can align the overlap correctly. Once you play with it, and this shot is my third go with it, then it becomes really quick and easy to use.

This is one of the reasons I quite like Canon cameras, they seem to put a good deal of thought into their user interfaces to let you do things quickly and easily. Anyhoo there ya have it, Wellington fog.

Philip R. Banks
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