Waitomo

On the last day before I left NZ, I hoped on a bus and spent the day out at Waitomo. While there I visited three different caves, took lots of pictures and ended up hanging out with a girl from Chile who went to the same tours that I did. It was a great day and if you ever have the chance, you should check out Waitomo.

Waitomo Glow Worm Cave:

This was the first cave I went into. When you first enter, there are lots of low passages. All three of the caves have limestone formations in them, as well as stalagmites and stalactites. This cave did not have too many stalagmites and stalacties in the main part of the cave, but they could be seen. In one area of the cave, they called it the Cathedral because of the height of the cave from the floor, it resembled a cathedral. In the formations of the stones, you could see a pipe organ, an elephant and a bungee jumping Kiwi bird. The tour guide told us that many concerts had been performed in the cave due to its great acoustics and she even sang a little song for us – it was beautiful. then we went to see the glow worms, and unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures in this cave. There were thousands of glow worms on the cave ceiling. We learned that glow worms are really tiny and they basically sit on the ceilings and drop down silk threads to catch insects. The insects get stuck in the silk and then they are eaten. A glow worm lives for about 9 months and then goes into a cocoon to transform into almost like a moth or fly, where it has no mouth and its sole purpose is to reproduce before it dies. The brightness of the glow worm indicates its age – brighter means older and also they shine their light when they want to attract food. There were so many glow worms, they looked like stars. We were in a boat to see the worms but because the water had risen 5 metres because of all the rain, we did not get to see the whole part of the tour that was meant to be on the boat. It was amazing though.

Ruakuri Cave:

This cave was the next one I visited. It was very cold in the cave because it was so far down from ground level. This cave had glowworms and thousands of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. If you are only going to go to one cave while at Waitomo, this would be the one to see because it combines the Glow Worm Cave and the Aranui Cave.

  

Aranui Cave:

This was the last cave I visited and it was probably the one I liked the most. It was probably the smallest cave and you hade to walk into the forest area to enter the cave. It was filled completely with stalactites and stalagmites and had great lighting and many levels we walked up to. Each of the caves had monitors to monitor the amount of CO2 coming into them because over time, high levels can cause damage to the caves and you weren’t allowed to touch anything because the oils on your hands left black marks on the limestone and there was a $10,000 fine.

  

They also had black water rafting – but I opted to stay dry during my time there. I did get dripped on in the caves though because of all the rain they had days before I visited. The tour guides were very knowledgable and made the tours interesting and they had a good sense of humour. The staff here were very helpful and even gave me a ride to the last cave because it was like a 15 minute walk and I didn’t have a car.

It was a great way to spend my last day in New Zealand and is a must do! More pictures will be on my Flickr page soon!

 

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May 13, 2012

Today is Mother’s Day

Thank you mom for giving birth to me and for raising me.

Thank you also to the many people who have been motherly figures in my life:

  • Karen
  • Shelley
  • Nicole
  • Kelly
  • Maureen
  • Rhonda
  • Kim
  • Mandy
  • Peggy
  • Lynn
  • Yvonne

Thank you to all the other women in my life who believe in me, trust me and have given me the chance to succeed. I don’t know where I would be today if you all had not been or continue to be a part of my life today!

 

Reflection – Light Painting Learning Project

Major Project Option B: “Based on the idea that individuals are now more able to learn and share online, you will choose something significant that you would like to learn, and you will share your progress openly in an online space. The ‘something’ might be an instrument, a language, a sport or almost anything that requires more than a few hours of effort. Students should be prepared to spend 50-100 hours on this project. Regular documentation of the learning, including a before and after assessment, will comprise the assessment of this task.” – ECMP355 Course Syllabus

For this project, I combined art and photography and chose to learn about Light Painting which is also known as Light Photography or Light Graffiti. I had first seen light painting pictures from a friend on Facebook and I knew that this was something I wanted to do myself.

This project took a lot of time – I was amazed that when I looked back at the  log I kept, I spent just over 50 hours: trying different techniques, creating pictures and images, watching videos, looking for resources, sharing what I’ve learned with friends and looking at pictures and videos for inspiration.

If you haven’t seen any of the light painting that I have done, or if you have, I put together the following video highlighting some of what I have done:

*I used Screen-cast-o-matic because Windows Movie Maker would not play the animated gif images that I had created

My thoughts on this learning project:

Positives:

  • I was fortunate that I had a DSLR camera and did not need to buy one. However, it is possible to create light painting photos with a point and shoot digital camera, however it requires a bit more effort and time.
  • I was able to purchase flash lights from the dollar store.
  • I used books and tables instead buying of a tripod.
  • There are thousands of amazing light painting photographs on the internet.
  • I was able to attempt to create any idea that came to mind.
  • The tutorials I found provided easy to follow instructions that allowed me to produce similar effects.
  • You can create photos using different iPad apps.
  • It is a great activity to do with friends.
  • This is something I would like to do with students in my own classroom one day.

Negatives:

  • Most of this project was done individually (a choice I made) and because of this, there were restrictions on the time I had to create a photo – the highest timer I had on my camera was for 30 seconds and after this time frame, the photo would produced.
  • A lot of the websites and tutorials I came across were almost identical to one another and it took a lot of time and searching to find new and different ideas and skills.
  • While I browsed through hundreds of photos online which inspired me, I had to be really creative in coming up with what I wanted to create. The videos and photos and tutorials did not tell me for example how to paint a dog, I had to figure this out for myself.
  • I could have been more creative.

Changes:

  • I would have done this project with a partner.
  • I would spend more time perfecting one technique – for example light orbs
  • I wish I could draw better!
  • There are so many more different pictures I still want to create

Overall, this was a wonderful learning experience and it goes to show you can learn almost anything online. I am pleased with the variety of techniques I tried, the pictures I produced and that I was able to share with classmates and others my progress. It was meaningful when I was doing this project with Kirk and some of my other classmates as I was in the role of a teacher/expert and they were interested in what I was showing them. I was also neat to see how many people viewed my posts, commented on things that they liked and to be able to share my pictures through my  Flickr account and my posts through my Twitter account.

I hope to keep creating different pictures even though ECMP355 has ended, so be sure to check back for updates! But until then you can review my previous posts and images through the different pages I have created and other accounts that I have:

 

Light Painting with the Middle Years Crew

Yesterday, some of us from our Middle Years Education group got together. A few of them had been interested in the light painting project  I was doing for this ECMP355 class, so I told them that I would bring my camera and a few flash lights.

I explained to them the basic idea of light painting – in a dark room, you draw pictures using flash lights where the light shines toward the camera. The camera is on a manual setting which controls the lens and the shutter. When you draw, the camera captures the light and produces an image.

I was in charge of the camera and I let them try it out! We began with Kirk demonstrating how to draw a picture:

Then the others wanted to try. Here is what they came up with:

               

We did some group pictures:

               

We finished with some outlines:

   

Everyone had a great time, the pictures turned out great and I was happy to be able to share my learning with others. Thank you to everyone who helped me out!