I had to go into Christchurch Saturday and Sunday last weekend to attend my photography course. I have to give up making jokes about “gee, hope there’s not a quake while I’m there”. I said this about my recent trip to Wellington and you know what happened. Well, same thing in Christchurch. Here we were all listening to the photographer talking about F stops, when bam…..quake.

The other seven people in the room were all from Christchurch and they promptly declared it was about a 3.8 or 4.0 magnitude around the Port Hills area. The poor photographer dude was writing on the whiteboard when the building rattled and he clung onto the board. But it was all over quickly. According to the Christchurch quake map, the 11.21am quake (aftershock?) was 4.0 magnitude and 3 kilometres deep. Needless to say, straight after it, we all rushed off for a strong coffee.

The next morning, the photographer (tomorrow’s post I’ll talk about him) showed us an AMAZING portrait he’d taken the night before of a family who lost everything in the quake. Apparently, he’s received some flak about wanting to photograph quake damage or people who suffered (he’s from the North Island). I don’t get that because I think the damage should be documented and, if people agree, then why not take portrait shots?

Anyway. The course was near the red zone. To get to the street and building the course was held in, I had to drive by a few wrecked buildings. Because I was early, I drove around trying to find a cafe open and drove right by the red zone. I caught a glimpse of terrible destruction. The thing I remember most was a cane chair just sitting forlornly in the middle of a room on the top floor of a two-storey basically wrecked building. Bricks and dust everywhere. I wanted to stop and take photos but thought better of it.

But I did manage to get a few shots of damaged buildings near to where our course was held. And also of the Port-A-Loos outside houses in badly affected areas. Can’t imagine running outside to go to the loo in some box on the footpath.

Port-A-Loos outside homes following damage to Christchurch's sewerage system.