avatarAnne Bonfert



From Rainbows on Cloudy Skies and Mysterious Animals

Week 180 of the photographic documentary of my daily life

Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

This week has been a little quieter than usual; while still adrenaline-filled at work, we stayed in on our off days to recover from the bug or virus we both caught most probably from customers.

It’s nothing serious, but what began with blocked ears for me continued with a sore throat and sinuses. Either way, our immune systems were probably telling us to take it slow, and so we did.

Last week, still feeling strong and reassured everything was fine after a doctor’s visit, we headed South to Lake Te Anau for a glowworm tour in a cave and a camping adventure in the woods.

Waking up the next morning on this remote beach, we were gifted with the most stunning rainbow, lasting for over an hour. While the sun was rising behind us, the rains were still heavy in the mountains on the far end of the lake creating this beautiful spectacle.

After packing up camp and walking along the beach to the trail, I looked back one last time, noticing how flat the rainbow had become. I wondered if that had to do with the rising sun and mentioned my thoughts to David, who couldn’t answer the question.

After researching some more, my theory was confirmed. The lower the sun on the horizon, the higher the arch of the rainbow. The higher the sun climbs in the sky, the flatter the rainbow becomes.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

See the difference between the rainbow in the title image and the one below…

© Bonfert — 11/01/2024 — FLATTENED

On Friday, we were back at work, and I only realized late that afternoon, I hadn’t taken any pictures yet. I grabbed my camera and ventured outside our home in the vineyards.

There is always something to focus on.

Like a dozen bees buzzing around pollinating the lavender flowers blooming and smelling so incredibly delightful.

© Bonfert — 12/01/2024 — BUSY

Further down in the garden, I spotted a lone male quail picking for food in the grass. Or I thought he was alone, but I was wrong. Something or someone was staring at me. I spotted the rabbit a lot later as he was frozen in position.

Both of these two creatures didn’t mind each other or my presence on the property.

© Bonfert — 12/01/2024 — COMFORTED

On Saturday, my day began once again at stupid-o’clock and we were in the skies just after sunrise (which is very early at this time of the year in New Zealand’s South Island).

I was filming a tandem pair when I admired the colors in the sky. A thin layer of clouds was stretched across, only allowing thin rays of sunshine onto the mountains below.

© Bonfert — 13/01/2024 — SCENIC

Sunday was one of those rare days in Central Otago. It was raining. For hours. Something one doesn’t experience a lot when living just outside of Cromwell.

Yet our landlords have told us this is the wettest summer they have experienced. And we thought it had been an incredibly dry season. Perception is deceiving.

So I stayed indoors looking out into the countryside through rain-covered windows.

© Bonfert — 14/01/2024 — WET

I always keep on talking about living in the vineyard but haven’t shown many pictures of our backyard. On Monday after work, I got out of the house and walked the five meters to capture some of the growing grapes. They most probably won’t ripen before we leave the country, and they are anyway not for us to eat but for delicate wine production.

© Bonfert — 15/01/2024 — GREEN

Later that day, I was doing the dishes and looking out of the kitchen window when I thought I saw my lone father with his chicks across the dirt road, but looking now at the picture, I want to say I see a female quail just in front of the tall grass.

Maybe there was a second quail family on the property.

© Bonfert — 15/01/2024 — FAMILY

Either way, it wasn’t the quail that took my attention this time but a slow-moving creature only meters ahead of them. I dropped whatever I was washing, dried my hands on the shirt, and ran to get the camera.

I might have been a bit too late, but David says I still got a great shot of the hedgehog.

Is it, though?

I mean, if it is a hedgehog. The long head in front makes me wanting to say it’s a different creature. But it’s also not a possum, stoat, or weasel. So it must be a hedgehog.

I was trying to capture our 5–30-hedgehog, as we named him for weeks already, but missed the opportunity to get him so far. Every morning when we had a work call at 5:30 am, I’d move the curtains of our glass doors aside and see the back of the creature disappearing into the undergrowth.

Not being the quickest at that time of the day, I never managed to even have the camera in hand when spotting the hedgehog.

And now, it’s 5:30 again, in the afternoon though, and not a time for hedgehogs to be crossing the open land, and yet I wonder if it’s our 5-30-friend.

© Bonfert — 15/01/2024 — MYSTERIOUS

Tuesday was a beautiful day characterized by sunshine, blue skies and not a breath of wind. Since David was starting to feel sick after I had recovered, he stayed home while I went to work.

Later that evening, I jumped back into the car to head down to the lake. It was just a five-minute drive and another 20 minutes of pumping before I could jump onto my inflatable paddleboard and glide out onto the water.

It was a gorgeous evening and many were down on the shores. I paddled under the bridge onto Lake Dunstan and stopped next to a rocky beach to get off the board, jump in the water and swim a round or two.

Coming back to the bay, I pulled the board out of the water, set up the hammock and relaxed in the shade. Yes, even though it was 7 pm, I was happy to be in the cooling shade.

© Bonfert — 16/01/2024 — CALM

Lying in that hammock, I got to see a few visitors. One of them being what my mom said resembles a dunnock. It’s a small passerine bird native to temperate Europe and Asian Russia and has been successfully introduced to New Zealand.

© Bonfert — 16/01/2024 — CURIOUS

More in abundance on this lake are ducks. All but one in rather dark colors. This white duck, I have seen since our first days in the country and I wonder if it’s a former domesticated duck, has albino features or a different reason for its appearance.

© Bonfert — 16/01/2024 — CONTRASTING

While I had contemplated doing a hike on my own these off days since David wanted to rest up feeling still weak, I changed my mind and decided to stay put as well, knowing my body wasn’t feeling one hundred percent yet.

Saying that staying put for me does not mean lying in bed all day long. I jumped into the car after sleeping in on Wednesday and drove down to the confluence of the Clutha and Kawarau Rivers.

The water looked a bit choppy, and it was a lot windier than I expected, but I still pumped up the paddleboard and headed out onto the water.

It was an interesting one as I didn’t know how the water would behave in such a connection of two large rivers on top of strong gusts of wind.

I remained cautious and alert with my eyes on the water’s surface, reading currents, circular flowing movements, and hazardous obstacles such as rocks and trees sticking out of the river.

Also, I paddled upriver, knowing I could always turn around and just get carried back with the current if anything was getting too challenging.

I soon noticed strong headwinds and crossed the deep channel to the other shore, where I could paddle calmly wind-protected from a line of bushes and trees.

© Bonfert — 17/01/2024 — RIVERSIDE

Having the concentration still on the flow of the river, I often spotted questionable movements in the water I paddled around or avoided entirely.

Looking at some of the pictures now, I notice how calm and flat the river appears, which it was, mostly, except for a strong current underneath the surface.

© Bonfert — 17/01/2024 — ACTION

While I first thought I’d come back on the same shoreline as it was so protected from the wind, I soon decided to cross over to the other side, thinking it couldn’t be that bad.

How wrong was I? After a few hundred meters where I paddled effortlessly with the current and the wind in my back, the wind turned or the river took a turn, however you want to look at it, and a strong push was hitting me on my side.

It wasn’t dangerous as I was only getting pushed toward shore, which was made of sandy beaches and overgrown weeds, but it made it incredibly exhausting to move forward.

Also, I knew I could let myself get pushed to shore at any time and simply walk back as I was on that side of the river where I had parked the car. But I didn’t. I pushed on. Back to the car.

No wonder, that afternoon, I had no desire to head back out on the water, especially since the wind hadn’t died down but rather picked up since the morning hours, and I simply enjoyed reading a book in the hammock.

© Bonfert — 17/01/2024 — STILLNESS

And sure enough, the white duck and her friends came by again. Just to say hi and check if I was alright. I smiled and let them go about their business.

© Bonfert — 17/01/2024 — HI, THERE

This has been my weekly photo essay. Anyone can join. Once. Or weekly. It doesn’t matter. We welcome everyone! Dennett started this photography challenge in 2020 and many have participated ever since.

Dennett / Erika / Eileen / K. Barrett / Juan / David / Mia / Susan / Kim / Barbara / Barb / Sandra / Shruthi / Pene / Olive / Gustavo / Jane / Penny / Jillian / Shell / Lisa / Lynne / Julia and new to the team came Krasi Shapkarova with “Work Projects, Daily Walks, and Gloomy Days

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