Well the bat signal went up a month or so back for a paranormal investigation of a Homestead built exclusively in Totara in the year of 1912 for a Major Charles.(not rumoured to be haunted in any major sense to my knowledge)
So yesterday we piled up the VX Cruiser with gear and myself, Jayne and Jo then hit the road for a nice easy drive up the main line to the investigation site.
On arrival the place was serene and air was filled with birdsong and sky moved with slow shifting overhead clouds.
Having a quick scout around, it was obvious that this was quite a location with a great deal of history locked in the walls.
The rest of the team arrived with James (Team leader see image inset)
The team this time wasn't a full compliment, but we had a good turn out,myself Jayne,James,Denise,Deb,Jo and two videographers from Te Papa who were doing a short documentary on our team.
Once the team was all there myself and Jayne went on an extremely important mission... to get some Fish & Chips.
After passing a few locations one stood out like the Statue of Fish and Chips Liberty,big U-turn across the traffic in the Landcruiser.
We saw the signs as we drew into the side of the road.. Group of smiling Maori exiting with a pile of food,two local ladies also with a big bundle - then the crowning factor which was a big burly farming dude looking like Fred Dagg complete with hat and Gumboots..!
As I walked towards him and his enormous bundles of wrapped food I said: "Would you recommend this place bro..?"
With a huge broad grin he said "Sure do.. the whole town does..!"
I also grinned and said.. "I will believe any man in a SWAZI top..!" - he again grinned and gave us a big thumbs up.
Just a classic moment where Kiwi's know what's good...!
Fish & Chip's in hand we drove back to the site and feasted briefly on Tarakihi and chips,and a cool can of Golden Pash - some more classic Kiwi stuff.
(For those of you not in NZ - SWAZI is in my opinion the finest hunting and tramping gear you can get your hands on.
Even the New Zealand S.A.S agrees...!
And for the Fish & Chip run we were in fact in SWAZI's home city of Levin,CEO Davey Hughes is a bull of a man and has travelled the world and done some absolutely mad mission's, check out the gear at www.swazi.co.nz - especially the Swazi Tahr XP anorak (Some shyite pinched mine but I can assure you the Tahr and the new XP is the absolute bomb..!)
And if you have a chance read his book which is also great "Untamed" )
After the feed it was game time.
I geared up with newly painted head torch and got out into the dark to start shooting the exterior of the building.
I felt completely relaxed in the dark alone as the wind rustled the trees high above my head.
Moisture had already started to collect on the lawn grass.I was looking at how I could capture that with the house in the background.. no easy task so I just ripped out the 16-35mm and the MkIII and started trying to:
- - Get the whole house in.
- - Get some decent focus.
- - Manage the ISO so not to create too much grain in the final shot.
- - Get low enough to get the shifting clouds in,which required getting down on the aforementioned wet grass.
- - Not get my bum wet on the grass.
The interior of the house was amazing,however it was let down by a few minor things.
One example was the re-location of an entire fireplace from one room to the next which puzzled me and some of the fix up jobs to try to improve the general look of the place had possibly been done on a bit of a budget.
Either way this place was immaculately kept and apparently well managed.
It was really very kind of them to let us in to investigate this amazing location. (Thanks to Clinton for that.)
Investigation wise, we were ready for anything from "The Thing" to the "Conjuring" - well maybe not quite "The Thing" as we had left the Dynamite and the Flame-thrower at James' house. (Pesky weeds in the garden)
Come to think of it, we didn't have any Catholic priests at the ready either or Ed and Lorraine Warren waiting in the ranks,so yeah scratch the above.
But we did have everything from Electromagnetic Field sensors and laser point temp gauges and all manner of other paranormal paraphernalia,and enough cameras to make Canon proud.
I even managed to get my hands on a ZEISS lens for the first time and a quick play with the amazing Canon EOS-C; what a magical bit of kit that is.
I have yet to venture into any serious videography with Frontline but that is about to change in the near future.
I still have plenty to do in a photographic capacity at this stage but its definitely an avenue that is of interest to me.
The team went room to room hunting spirits or unsettled throw pillows and checked for any signs of anything abnormal or in anyway paranormal.
Little was found,some tension and uncomfortable sensations were encountered by some of the team members,along with some hard to pin point draughts.
I suspect the draughts were coming from the age and weather twisted Totara window frames,but in all honesty failed to really find any strong source of air movement from them.
Considering the age of the place and construction, I was very surprised at the lack of creaking and groaning as the chill Levin air attacked the warm interior integrity of the Homestead.
The yawns started and the curtains were being drawn on the investigation.
I was still keen to carry on until the early hours but it was a long way back to Wellington.So down came the DVR cameras that James and the team had set up during our food run.
(We won't know until later if the cameras have picked up any Spooks.. )
The NAO is the latest headlamp from Petzl - which brings together all the technological innovations of the past few years.
Cree XP-G LED’s as a light source, 18650 Li-Ion cell as a power source, programming modes and charging via USB.
New Zephyr carrying system and "Reactive" - the system that automatically adjusts the light to your needs.
Now I was HIGHLY sceptical about the "Reactive System" and how it would function but as it had a MANUAL mode as well I thought I would still give it a go.
To my surprise it is actually a very clever bit of out door kit, for everything from Photography to night trail running.
The top sensor of the three in the cluster being aptly dubbed "The Eye of Sauron" is actually a sensor that takes in the amount of light reflected back at it and regulates the amount of power that is required to light whatever it is you are looking at.
For example, when I am looking at the remote timer in my hand for a Star Trail the light will be low so that I can still read the displays on the meter, and when I look up at the rocks in the distance to get focus the beam increases to the full ~300 lumen's.
How awesome is that..
Rob Rating 8.5/10
Well regardless of any major activity it was a good run up with a great bunch of people,and I enjoyed getting out for some photos of an old and unique venue.. even if there was no major activity..
Thanks all.. Regards Rob