Photographer Melanie Burford

Introducing New Zealand’s only Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Melanie Burford. Some of you will be fascinated to see how life after the Pulitzer has unfolded, others will be captivated by this talented woman.  My sincere thanks to Melanie for sharing her thoughts on things photographic.

When I first met you as a young photographer I recall you working for The Evening Post newspaper in New Zealand. Your father John is a well known New Zealand photographer and you looked to be following in his footsteps. Within a few years you were off working in Dallas, Texas as a newspaper photographer. A dream job for a young New Zealand woman. Continue reading

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Escaping Auckland for 3 days

The Hokianga is one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets.  Colonial New Zealand, Maori Culture, scenery, ancient forests and surprises around every other corner, it isn’t always the destination but the journey. I have travelled this road numerous times and every time I discover new sights. It is a bonus to end up  in the Bay of Islands.

Recently I took an American photographer on a three day roadie north – she was not disappointed. This is a photographic  journey; enjoy. Continue reading

Fancy a White Christmas?

Jackson Hole in Wyoming can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Jac, as the locals call it, is about 2,000 metres (6,000) feet above the valley floor. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, a short drive from Jac, boasts one of the longest, steepest continuous vertical drops of any ski area in North America. When you see it, you realise why people come here.

I don’t ski, so why did I come? Jac offers plenty for the non skier too –

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My Letters to New Zealand from San Francisco – 1968,69

In 1968 I arrived in San Francisco to nanny for an influential and affluent American family; they had ten children. I was to be in charge of the six youngest. They had a Japanese cook, a cleaner and a driver so I was pretty much the caregiver for the children ; driving them to and from school when required , shopping for their clothes at   ” I Magnin’s Department Store”, dressing them for dinner party appearances etc. The older children were away at boarding school. The home was three-storied with two sets of stairs in the beautiful Nob Hill area. In fact the street was made famous in the Steve McQueen movie BullittIt was filmed in and around San Francisco in late April 1968. It featured a tremendous amount of on-location filming. Best remembered for the car-chase. One of the film’s scenic location shots (there are many) is of a house at 2700 Vallejo Street, at the corner of Vallejo and Divisadero in the Pacific Heights section of the city.

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How was the food in China?

Whenever I return from China I am  asked “how was the food?” The food is fabulous; not every dish suits the western palette but most do. Don’t be put off visiting China because of the food, that would be a big mistake. Spicy food doesn’t agree with me and if you also have a delicate constitution then watch out for the chillies.

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Allerton Garden Photo Tour – Kauai Island

Allerton Garden on the lush green Island of Kauai in Hawaii is a must see for any garden lover. 80 acres of lush tropical trees and flowers with surprise sculptures around many corners. The Allerton is one of 3 Botanic Gardens on Kauai. This picturesque setting has been used in a number of films and TV shows, including South Pacific, Jurassic park, Magnum PI, Starsky & Hutch and Donovan’s Reef.       Continue reading

Honolulu secret gem…

Honolulu’s best kept secret is the Museum of Modern Art – an $11.00 Uber fare from Waikiki! So when the salt, sand, humidity and heat on the beach get too much, grab a cab to one of the best art galleries I’ve visited in ages – air con makes it a pleasant escape from the humidity too. There is a cafe and excellent restaurant; calm amongst the chaos. PhotoCourtyard Honolulu Museum of Modern Art.

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Letters to my parents – 1968

In February 1968 I traveled to Australia as a young Karitane Nurse. Recently the letters I wrote home were discovered, my Mother had kept them all and some of the snippets, I think, are worth repeating here. Remembering  I was raised on a farm in Central Otago and then I had been to boarding school so I had a rather sheltered up bringing!!  My letter writing was prolific, 3-4 pages hand written most weeks. Postage was 7c Airmail to New Zealand. Continue reading

Expedition Greenland

passportOne of the worlds sought after Passport stamps – Greenland.

Somehow I’ve booked myself on an ‘expedition’ to East Greenland. I have no idea what I have let myself in for other than an adventure and a chance to see Icebergs!! It is my 70th birthday present to me!! We keep being told ‘you’ll never do it younger’ so I did it!   – Greenland is the largest island in the world but also one of the worlds most sparsely populated regions. It originally belonged to Denmark.  Pop.approx. 56,483 and only about 150  live on East Greenland. I am publishing my personal diary here so please enjoy and put this trip on your bucket list!

Day 1

We arrived at a small airfield and joined our charter flight, duration  90 minutes to Constable Point in our twin prop plane…. We flew over vast  flat waste land before seeing a few mountains to the north-west of Iceland. Suddenly below us were small white dots , actually icebergs and as we approached Greenland the sea was dotted with hundreds of icebergs sunbathing beneath a clear blue sky. We dropped onto a dirt runway and were ushered into a half-dome shaped shed with 58 pairs of rubber waterproof boots neatly lined up!lmc-04657

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Essential Iceland – a day trip.

landscape

Essential Iceland  is my short story about a one day trip I did in a very large truck from Reykjavik in Iceland generally to the heart of the country.

This was advertised as an all day trip. The Visitors bureau did not mention we needed to bring lunch and I presumed it would be supplied – anyway Valdi, our fabulous guide,  took us to a gas station to buy some sustenance. ( it is on their website but I had not been privy to that.)  Once on our way Valdi gave us lots of geological information about the mountainous region surrounding us. We headed north and then in land on sealed roads.

We passed the home of the only Icelandic Noble prize winner Halldór Laxness. Awarded in 1955. Laxness wrote poetry, newspaper articles short stories and novels.

‘Independent People’ is his most famous book set in the early twentieth century, it recalls both Iceland’s medieval epics and such classics as Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter. And if Bjartur of Summerhouses, the book’s protagonist, is an ordinary sheep farmer, his flinty determination to achieve independence is genuinely heroic and, at the same time, terrifying and bleakly comic.

I wonder if the recent movie ‘Rams’ was inspired by this famous Icelandic read.?

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