Image Magic


Nature in its broadest term, whether animals or weather…

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 too 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

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.

White Light


Sometimes you need a nudge, or a kick maybe! Someone gave me a challenge on Facebook. That forced me to go through my archives for suitable images. The challenge was 1 nature image per day for 7 days, and you had to nominate someone each day to do the same.

So, searching my archives I realised I had a lot more images than I thought that were actually ‘post’ worthy. This was one of them. Never before viewed by anyone except myself.

This in turn reminded me that, horrors, my blog is sadly neglected. And I thought, well there is no reason why some of these images cannot be posted on my own blog page. I also will add some to the image galleries, but in the meantime, enjoy!

This image was taken in the Botanic Gardens last year. There was a carpet of these pretty little white flowers, so I got down to ground level and aimed through the flowers at one that appealed and I considered had nice light. I love backlit subjects! The sunlight dappled through trees and bushes enhanced the lighting, and using a telephoto lens and large aperture I was able to isolate just this flower.

Red on White


It’s the time of year when flowers bloom, veges are growing, the weeds are rampant, the lawn needs mowing twice a day, and the aphids are overwhelming the roses!

Well, I do try to keep on top of it all, but I don’t spray my garden with insect killer. The aphids are mostly washed off with a strong jet of water, which also takes care of the spent blooms. Of course, I never get them all, but then I don’t want to. They attract the predators such as the ladybug. Also, the mantis are out there and growing. These insects are far more interesting and great to photograph. Of course that’s not the only reason I don’t use the killer spray. I just don’t like the stuff and much prefer a more balanced ecosystem in the garden.

This season, I’ve managed to photograph a number of insects. Not always easy as they prefer not to pose for me, but I try my best. I do not subscribe to killing my subjects in order to photograph them, and so I was horrified recently to read in a book about how to make a ‘killing jar’ to quickly and efficiently kill any insect for the purpose of setting them up as photographic subjects. I don’t even like to kill spiders for this purpose although I am arachnophobic.

I will be updating the gallery in due course. 🙂

Leaving Home


I’ve been experimenting with macro and close up work quite a bit this year, and this seed pod was interesting enough to try with some reflections. The pod was tending to ‘explode’ and as the seeds dried the fluffy bits expanded, and seemed to tumble out.

I seem to have been a bit remiss lately in updating my blog. Life is a bit hectic, but it’s no excuse really. Time to set myself a new schedule I think. 🙂

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.

Green Siblings


Fungi come in a huge range of colours. These tiny green ones are difficult to spot amongst the mosses and debris of the rainforest floor because they blend in so well. The caps are aroun 10-15mm in diameter.

Other fungi are brightly coloured and I’ve recently photographed some which are so incredibly white (much whiter than our common culinary mushroom) they seem to glow against the leaf litter and can be seen from a great distance away.

One gets a little damp lying on the wet ground to view and photograph some fungi. But worth it…

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!