Hawkes Bay

More on the Kirk Sundial

I mentioned in my previous post that the Kirk Sundial, on Napier’s Marine Parade, has fascinated and frustrated me since I was a kid. You could say it discombobulated me. Until yesterday. Not only does it need the sun in order to work (which  can confound the keenest of time keepers, especially in winter) but it has to be read anti-clockwise; and that’s because we’re down under. Who knew.

Each time I visit I learn a bit more. It’s also handy if my resident mathematician, a specialist in trigonometry, is with me. Did you know that in order for a sundial to be accurate the gnomon (pointer) must be positioned to True North or True South depending on your hemisphere or, as Wikipedia says, “parallel to the axis of the earth’s rotation“? Apparently this is geodesy. The resident mathematician knows about this stuff, too.  I think I can safely say setting up a sundial involves sums, a lot of sums.

Now that I know how to read the hours, perhaps next time I’ll be able to figure out how to make those monthly corrections. (Ummm …  the theme of this post is hope.)

The Kirk Sundial, Napier

The Kirk Sundial, Napier http://jillscene.com

The Kirk Sundial, Napier

You might remember that the sundial is set on rubble from the 1931 earthquake. It was put in place two years after the quake; that makes it 82 years old. You might also remember it has several inscriptions; exhortations from the quake survivors to the people of the future. To us.

Each time I visit I find a new one. Yesterday, I noticed:

Time is swift, much is to be done

And that’s a truism I feel more keenly with each year.

In a city world famous for its Art Deco buildings it’s easy to overlook this small and historic feature. Yet, it symbolises hope. It was hope that drove the survivors on. And grit.

Looking around, it’s apparent that time does heal.

The Kirk Sundial, Marine Parade, Napier

This post is my response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symbol.”

I’m also linking it to Photo 101 Rehab – check it out. It’s a clinic for photographers with the following symptoms:

The incessant need to carry your camera everywhere, the need to wake up in the wee hours to take photos during the golden hour, and checking up on others you met during the course (WordPress Photo 101) to see what their newfound knowledge has brought fruit to.

Some info about these shots:

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-M 1
  • Lens 16 – 50mm
  • As you may have guessed I’ve been experimenting with the aperture.
    Photo 2 and 3:  Aperture setting f-5.6
  • All shots edited in Lightroom

My next learning goal: understand and manage white balance more effectively. Any pointers (but I’m not talking gnomons, now) gratefully received.

24 replies »

      • I’ve got a tripod but find it to be a bit too fiddly for spontaneous shots. Though I did try it with landscapes once and must admit it didn’t seem to make all that much difference.


        • Hmm, I’ve been wondering about a tripod. I saw someone using one and they had it down to a fine art – it was set up, photo taken, and packed away in about the same time it took me to frame the shot! I don’t think I’d be prepared to carry it with me when I’m travelling.


  1. I’ve always been fasinated by sundials. I believe they have a hidden message. It’s so wonderful to hear that this one is set on rubble from the 1931 earthquake. It is a wonderful piece of artwork and I only wish there were many more of them Jill.


  2. G”day Jill Hope the sun shines on your dial and you have a good time.
    We ‘can’ sunshine here in Queensland I could send you a tin but you must only open it on a cloudless day or it don’t work. You would have to pick your day in Aotearoa but that is what makes it green and productive.
    The best little country in the world and I know what is the best biggest country in the world.
    Uncle Sam might disagree with me but I think the smart ones love it down-under.


  3. Love the shots! And I love sundials too – did you know there are over a 100 sundials in Paris? Now that would make a fascinating tour of the city 🙂


    • That would make a fascinating tour of the city, Jude! A little different from the usual shots of the Seine and cafes and the Louvre and Notre Dame and, and, and … Now my feet are itchy, again.

      Liked by 1 person

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