Image Magic


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…


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.

The Local Creek


The local creek is just an ordinary drainage ditch type creek. Emptying into the Waimakariri river in Kairaki near the mouth means it is tidal with brackish water. Walking along the stop bank however, is a pleasure. Sometimes a white heron can be seen standing motionless at the edge of the water. Sometimes the kingfishers perch on the remains of small boat jetties. In whitebait season there are fisherman not far from the floodgate.

My favourite time to walk here is when it’s foggy, usually early in the morning but sometimes late in the evening. I’m slowly building a bit of a portfolio of foggy creek scenes. This one shows a ‘Waimak Flattie’ chained to its mooring. These old-fashioned flat bottomed river fishing boats are beginning to disappear. I never see this one go out now. And it’s beginning to show signs of dis-repair. I hope the owner will preserve it.

The Green Pond


The latest photography expedition saw me in awe of some unspoiled forest in the Able Tasman National Park. A drive along hilltops on a windy road, then a slow drive on a muddy, slippery and narrow track for quite a few kilometres before finally heaving heavy backpacks on and making our way along a rocky track into the forest.
The lush rich greens of the mosses and lichens was incredible and I suspect that Winter is the best time for them. This pond was a bonus and I fell in love with this site the moment I got there. The rain didn’t bother me, but my feet sure did at the end of the day! But, oh, so well worth the effort.

Twilight Magic


Long exposures when it gets dark can pick up amazing colours. We see a bit with the naked eye but as it gets darker our vision fails us. The camera however, will pick up much more using a slow shutter speed to harvest as much light as possible.

My photographer niece Bex, and I spent last weekend at Lake Mahinapua. We managed to beat the snowstorm by leaving Thursday evening instead of Friday morning, but nevertheless we had a deluge and the lake rose dramatically. The jetty completely disappeared and the shrubs along the shore on the bank became islands.

Still, we found plenty to photograph, and I came home with a few treasurers such as this image. Magic!

Moonlight on the Harbour


The lunar eclipse was interesting, but not nearly as nice as the scene overlooking the harbour. The moon was reflecting off the water and there were interesting patterns as the tide went out. The lights of Diamond Harbour glittered beautifully, and although we froze because the temperature and wind chill were extremely cold, it was still a magic night…

Love the light!


Back in February on a calm and beautiful morning I walked along the shore of Onawe Peninsula in Akaroa Harbour. I was intrigued by the rocks. Their swirls and strange outcropping had me inspecting them keenly. I realised that this was the result of volcanic action a long time ago.

I had taken some photos while they were still in the shade, but as the sun appeared above the hills the light suddenly highlighted them and streamed through the little gap between the cliff and the rocky outcrop. It was then I got serious with the camera. The light was magic.

I’ve recently gone through the archives to cull photos that I know will never be seen by anyone but me. We all have them. Failures. The ones that make you wonder what on earth you were thinking! The bloopers that you forgot to delete at the end of the day. Not all of course deserve to be binned so ruthlessly. There are images that although flawed, are important for one reason or another. Maybe they are ‘sketch’ images that show how you worked the scene to ultimately come up with the ‘keepers’. They too will most likely never be seen by anyone but me. Only my favourites, the ones I love the best, will ever go on display for other eyes to see.

I had forgotten about this little gem. Probably because February was a busy month… But when I came across it in the archives, it grabbed me anew and I remembered the moment…