Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gannets Galore

Gannet Colony
Via some fellow photographers I found out about a huge colony of gannets living on the rocky cliffs of Muriwai Beach just 35 minutes away.  Who knew?

So we spent Friday evening trying to photograph the soaring birds and there was certainly no lack of subject material.  They were everywhere and seemingly enjoying the bit of breeze to soar on.  Pretty cool to see!

Click here for some more shots of these beautiful birds.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anne & Rugby

Anyone who knows Anne knows that the idea of her getting excited about any given professional sport or watching sports on TV is ridiculous.  Which is why I think it is so adorable that she's NUTS about the All Blacks and the Rugby World Cup.

Yesterday was the big semi-final match with the All Blacks playing Australia.  The Wallabies are a very good team - they are ranked second in the world.  (Any guesses who is first?  That's right.  New Zealand.)

All week long and the day of the game she would turn to me with this worried look on her face and say, "I can't stand it!  I really want them to win!  What if they don't win?  They gotta win!" or my favorite: "Those Wallabies are gonna get spanked!"  She was so nervous leading up to kickoff.  Adorable.

I think it's so great she's really into it.  I am, too!  And the All Blacks are so good.  SO GOOD.  It's hard not to be!

In case you're wondering, the All Blacks handled Australia mightily with their dominant play and won 20-6.  New Zealand is in the final next week!!  The whole country is abuzz.  So exciting!  They will play France (who we HATE) next Sunday for the Championship and I don't know how Anne is going to get a wink of sleep all week.  :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

RWC Quarter Finals

This weekend marked the start of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, where the top 8 teams from the tournament started their journey towards the title.

First and foremost the so impressive, so dominant New Zealand All Blacks beat Argentina to move to the semi-finals.  Man, they are so good!  And fun to watch.

Australia barely beat South Africa (the reigning champs) and they will play the All Blacks next week in the semis.  We hate the Wallabies (Australia) and here's why.  First, as New Zealanders we are required by law to do so.  Second, their uniforms are silly yellow.  Third,  did I mention the omnipresent rivalry between NZ and Oz?  They must go down!

The other quarter final matches saw Wales beat Ireland (really good game - both teams played well) and France beat England.  We're glad about that, too, because the English team is a bunch of brutes and are all, "Ooooh, we're so awesome" and they win all the time so they needed their comeuppance.  I said it!

Now we hope that Wales (the underdog) beats France next weekend like a mule and of course that the All Blacks show the Aussies a thing or two about rugby and make it to the finals.  Oh, man, New Zealand will be in a frenzy if that happens.  WANT THAT.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rugby Experience

England gets the line-in
I had the BEST time at the rugby game last night!  Anne didn't want to go so I went with a friend and it was such a great experience - I'm so glad I went.

Walking to the stadium with gobs of fans was very fun and then being amongst the revelry outside the stadium before the game was such a treat.  So many people adorned in paint, costumes, and flags having a REALLY good time.  And no, there were no shortage of kilts to be seen...

Sure, England and Scotland are bitter rivals but the fans are well behaved yet fun.  Most of the time you'd see Scots and English walking side by side yelling for their teams.  Very cool.

It was a great game to watch. England was heavily favored yet Scotland led right up until a heartbreaking try with 2 minutes to go put England ahead and they won 16-12.  It was a must-win for Scotland since they were tied for second in their pool and only the top two teams in the pool advance to the quarterfinals next week.  Argentina (who they were tied with) is favored to win against Georgia today.  England has now locked up first place in their pool.

I wanted to experience world class rugby on the world's biggest stage - the Rugby World Cup - and I certainly succeeded in that.  Great night, great experience, and a great time!

More photos here.

And here's a video of the players coming on to the field that gave me the chills when I was there seeing all those fans go nuts.


And don't forget: Watch New Zealand vs. Canada on Sunday at 2pm Central Time on NBC!