TGA Photography

Image Magic

Watching backgrounds

Willow Catkins

When I’m out and about and want to make closeup of macro images, I’m always watching out for the background. Sometimes the subject is great but the whole effect is spoiled by the background.

The kind of background you get depends a lot on the lens and the settings. Here I wanted to blur the background, so used a telephoto lens and a relatively large aperture and made sure there was lots of distance behind the subject. Anything to close will become clearer in the shot and be a distraction. 

Not only do I look at objects and distance in the background, but I love to try and get a pleasing colour range. There’s a lot to think of when bringing that camera up to your eye… 

Willow branches

Making the most of an opportunity

Hearing about a stranded yacht on a local beach, I wanted to see about taking a photo of it. Hundreds of people took snapshots of it, and the media was full of those. But I wondered about the potential of a different sort of capture. My friend and photography partner Bex and I decided a dawn shoot might be good with the sunrise and perhaps the lights of the local Pier in the background too. And so we arranged a 5 am start one morning. There was a heavy fog that morning and we took photos galore of the yacht in that strange eerie scene, but we didn’t get our lovely sunrise.

Then I realised it was a full moon, and instead of a sunrise, why not a moonrise? The above is the result. Not without getting wet feet mind you! And it wasn’t warm. I spent two hours making photos at different angles and waiting for clouds to part enough. But it was wonderful to be ‘in the zone’ and making images. There’s something magical about night time photography…


Working with Models – part 2

This piece is called “As Time Collapses”. The model, Pete, was photographed on a black background holding the crystal ball. As I said in the previous post, I do not often make photos of people so this was quite an experiment for me to undertake. Pete made it easy for me by being excellent at trying out different poses.

This image, plus the original shot, was published in an article by Sebastian Michaels in the magazine ‘Somerset Digital Studio’ in the Spring (US) Edition 2018 at the beginning of the year. It is very exciting and humbling to have your image chosen for publication.


Working with models…

I am not really what you’d call a ‘people’ photographer. That is, I don’t do portraits or weddings. I have done them, but they are not my preferred photography genre. However I attempted for the first time ever a concept shoot last September. A friend happened to have got dressed up for a ball, and when I spotted his pics, I told him I’d love to photograph him in that costume. It was rather fun, and Peter was a great model. He came up with many of the poses himself. A natural! The idea was for me to use the photos in my artwork, thus giving myself, and him, some unique images.

This one is the second one I’ve worked on. The first one was extremely successful and I was keen to do more. The first one, titled “As Time Collapses”, has been published in a fine art magazine. Watch the next post…


I’ve been working on my art quite a bit lately, and it’s fun to create images from photos in my library, like this snarling cheetah.

This weekend I have 5 art images on exhibit at the Kaiapoi Art Expo. I’ve exhibited my photographs here before, but this is the first time I’m exhibiting art pieces. An exciting time!

As well as this, I am booked to be a feature artist in the Artists Down Under magazine in October. I’ve been having some success being published in art magazines and I’m looking forward to having more published in the future. I love the photography of course, and I am really enjoying taking some of it to another level.

Aurora Australis

On May 28th, 2017, we had a substantial magnetic storm, causing a huge Southern Lights display which was seen in many places in the South Island of New Zealand. My photography partner, Bex and myself photographed them from Lake Ellesmere, just South of Christchurch.

The sky was incredibly clear that night allowing us to see the Milky Way right above us very clearly. The stars were amazing and there were quite a number of meteors. The star that stands out a bit near the top right is ‘Canopus’, and what look like two little clouds are actually two ‘small’ satellite galaxies to our own Milky Way galaxy. These are called the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds.

The beams of light shooting upwards are called ‘curtains’. Amazing to see them this far North. I should point out that the colours can hardly be discerned by the naked eye, because our eyes are simply not capable, owing to the type of rods and cones in our eyes, to see colour very well in the dark. It needs to be really bright for us to see colour. Being too far away from the source of the Lights we discern them as moving clouds of monochromatic light. Some people can see them better than others. The camera has no such limitation. However, it was amazing to see, even with the naked eye.

We were totally in awe of the display that went on for hours. Just as we thought it was ending, it would flare up again. This was our first time capturing them on camera. Well worth the cold!

To see a few more of my images check out the Nightscapes gallery.

Fabulous Fungi!

We’ve had a wet few weeks and fungi are popping up everywhere. Just yesterday morning at daybreak I was on my bike riding the trail through the local woods, when I spied these tiny gems popping straight out of the shingle and grit of the path. What captivated me was the colour. The cool blue light of the early morning contrasted well with the rather bright orange brown of the fungi. Naturally I spent a bit of time lying on my stomach…

Pretty Strangler

At some stage in its history our property must have been host to a passion vine. We continually pull out new vines each year. They seem to grow at a phenomenal rate if allowed to do so, and will strangle anything they cling to. I would allow one to survive if I could, because I love the flowers. Each one only lasts a day, but there’s something about them that has a huge appeal to me. They seem amazingly constructed. This image is a macro shot of one with a drop of water on it at the centre. I have some plain shots of this flower as well, but this one must have caught a bit of bright sun light through the lens, and I loved it the moment I saw it.

Sunset Rider


So, I haven’t posted a lot lately. I’ve been busy. I’ve undertaken an art course and it’s very exciting. It’s amazing to be creating images a bit different from my usual photography.

This image was one I submitted to a course assignment and it was chosen by Ride on Asheville, a skate and bmx rider shop, as one of their favourites for their promotion material. See the link here: “Ride on Asheville” blog.

We were given some images to choose from and then we had to create an art piece with that image. Mine here, features a bmx rider at sunset with Asheville town in the background.

Shipwreck at Dawn


Old shipwrecks are fascinating. Fascinating to everyone, not only for photographers. But for a photographer, there is nothing more magical than the combination of low tide reflections and beautiful dawn light to go with that particular subject. The one thing I always find is that as well as taking the photos, I enjoy the moments of pure pleasure just standing there and letting it soak in. That, is magic!

Here we have two scenes of the same wreck with the lights of the port at Bluff, and Tiwai Point in the background. The top image was taken pre-dawn, the above one as the sky was colouring up for a promising sunrise.