Light effects

The morning light broke through some rather dramatic clouds and made a brief display of "god beams" which act like searchlights, focusing on the landscape and bringing into contrast the soft shapes of the Orongorongo foothills, viewed from Island Bay.  The only evidence of human activity are the little white dots which are the two Pencarrow lighthouses, sitting by the eastern entrance to Wellington Harbour.  The upper one was New Zealand's first permanent lighthouse, first "lit" on 1 January 1859.  Mary Bennett and her husband had tended a makeshift beacon, but after he drowned (the "New Zealand death" for early settlers) she became the first and only female lighthouse keeper in New Zealand.  Low fog was a problem for the lighthouse on the hill - it is in a much more exposed position than it seems from this angle - and the second was built down by the shore in 1906.  The lights burned together until 1935 when the Baring Head lighthouse, further along, took over.

The little white structures remind me of all kinds of things - the might of the sea, the courage of the keepers and people who take to the sea, the drama and changeability of the elements, and how a simple thing like a beam of light can mean so much and be so important.