In search of Arthur

Later this year I am submitting images for a club competition on the theme of “once upon a time”. You are expecting to stage a shoot rather than simply finding an object and shooting that.

One of my favourite stories is King Arthur so I wanted to recreate the sword in the stone which is fairly integral to the whole story.

For those who don’t know the story there was a magic sword embeded into a rock and only the true king of England was able to remove. Of course Arthur managed the feat and became king.

I had thought to borrow a sword from a local medieval group but when I told them that it would involve water no one was interested. Turns out that authentic swords and water don’t mix.

Anyway TradeMe was you friend and I sourced on there. On last Sunday I decided that the area below the old Birchville dam would be ideal so with my daughter as assistant we set off up the trail to the dam.

Unfortunately the light was not ideal and we had to resort to flash to boost the image. Shooting on slippery rocks below a waterfall is quite tricky especially as recent rain meant there is was a lot more water. The spray was a major issue as the lens got coated very quickly.

I got the image that I wanted although I suspect that I will probably tweak it some more before it is submitted in October.

The sword in the stone

Misty Morns

One of the things about Winter in the Hutt Valley is that the mornings are often misty especially around the river. Unfortunately I normally get to see these on my way to work without a camera. Therefore on Saturday when I woke up to discover the mist I decided it was time to go out and get some shots.

Mist-1 Mist-3 Mist-5 Mist-6

When we got down to the river the conditions were almost perfect for the shots that I wanted. Lots of mists moving slowly around and with only the slightest of breeze. This was important because the other thing you find on such mornings are dew laidened cobwebs, but you only shoot these if there is little wind.

Mist-2 Mist-4

Wedding Bliss (on a rainy day)

On Saturday we had the pleasure of shooting the wedding of Catherine and Mark. Images from the wedding will be loaded once the bride & groom have had a look at them as I feel it is not appropriate to let other people see the images first. So you will have to be content with the front of the wedding car at this stage.

A very shoggy car accessory
A very shoggy car accessory

I really enjoy shooting weddings. While they are incredible tense in terms of the fact that you have to get the shot, the event is so full of joy and it really shows in the images that come through. The combination of killer hair and makeup mixed with an inner happiness that just glows through the skin, it is very easy to achieve great results. Wedding are something that I will never shoot alone so on this shoot I was joined by my wife Vicky and our daughter Samantha.

I have known Catherine for a number of years and she was one of the first models I ever shot, so when I heard that she was getting married I was only too happy to offer to shoot the wedding. Being a winter wedding meant that we had to plan venues that could accommodate any weather, and more particularly rain.

Although we were shooting a full documentary style coverage Catherin was doing her own makeup and did not want that covered so we started later in the day that we have with other weddings. So it was arranged that I would go to her house at the time she was finishing her mother’s makeup and then shoot her getting her dress on. This was laved up the back and it turned into a three person exercise (including me) to get it laced up tight.

They were getting married in an old church in Upper Hutt. I had previously videoed two weddings there so I had an idea of what it was like, but just to be sure we attended the rehearsal held on the Thursday. While this is not something that all photographers will do, I find it is very useful to get an appreciation on any special or different things that may occur in the service. It also lets you look at the angles. If you are shooting part of the service outside it is a good idea to go to the venue the day before at the same time to see what direction to light is predominately from.

It was at the rehearsal that we discovered that the Minister would not allow flash photography for most parts of the service. Finding that out two days before is much easier to cope with than on the day of the wedding.

Getting out of carWe had hoped for good weather but unfortunately that was not on the order and by the time I went to Catherine’s house there was an inch of water on the ground. The rain continued through the service but by the time it had finished there was the possibility that it may go away. It was still too risky to do the family photos outside of the church, and therefore they were moved to later on in the day at the reception.

The reception was being held at “The Back Bencher” which is a pub in Wellington opposite Parliament. As Mark was MC for the night and wanted to be there before any guest arrived we decided that the formals would be shot in the grounds of Parliament. It had the advantage that there were a number of covered areas available should it rain.

As I turned out the rain appeared to be very localised and when we got to Parliament we were under clear blue skies. However it was not much warmer than 10 degrees and with both the bride and bridesmaids in strapless dresses we had to move quickly to get the photos.

Fortunately the venue had a room away from the main dining room so that we could set up an umbrella and shoot the family groups. As with lots of wedding after I thought I had finished shooting the groups (and has started packing the gear away) a cousin showed up who wanted photos.

You can view other wedding we have been involved with from the weddings link at the top of the page.

Of Rainbows and Ghostly Houses

My wife’s family arrived on one of the first settler boats into the Wellington harbour in the 1800’s and the family then spent five days walking over the Rimuataka’s to settle in Masterton. Right up to her mother the family lived in Masterton and ran a farm just north of the town. They are buried in the oldest part of the Masterton Cemetery.

As our daughter was out of town we decided to spend the day over the hill and see if we could find the graves, and the old farm. Both proved much more difficult than anticipated. While we could find the plots and grave markers had long disappeared. Also while we found the area that we understood the farm to be on, the land had changed so much that we could not be certain.

The day was marked with sun and rain and at times the road seem to delineate the two. As a result there were a number of extremely bright rainbows.

Wairarapa-1 Wairarapa

In the afternoon we drove out towards Gladstone so that I could find a derelict farmhouse that I had seen several times in other’s photos. Fortunately it was not that difficult to find as no one was around I jumped the fence and actually went up to it. It’s only inhabitants now are a large flock of pigeons.

I understand that the house was moved to the property in four pieces in the 1980’s and the farmer had intended to turn into a family home. Its sits right on top of the hill and commands million dollar views over the valley below. Unfortunately soon after his wife left him and in the midst of a farming recession he had neither the money nor the will to complete the renovations. So the house has continued to deteriorate.

Wairarapa-6 Wairarapa-5 Wairarapa-4 Wairarapa-3 Wairarapa-2