For my readers outside of New Zealand, our country response to the Covid-19 pandemic was to go into lockdown hard and early. While the economy has taken a hit, our health system didn’t, and we ended up with around 1,500 cases and 22 deaths. The vast majority of those deaths occurred in two aged demetia facilities.
The benefit of these action is that we last had a case over 20 days and last Sunday (June 7) the last active case recovered. That meant that from Tuesday we could enter our new normal.
While the borders are closed life within New Zealand could return to a sense of normal. So much so, that over the weekend 60,000 people attended two rugby games, something that other countries can only dream about.
For portrait photographers to lock down was hard as rely on interacting with our subjects. So as soon as the restrictions were fully lifted a Sunday Club for the Fashion Collective was organised. It was great to be able to meet up with people with no need for social distancing.
Adding to the afternoon was the fact that Charlotte Kelleher of CKFilmDesign had brought along some period costumes that her team had made. Combining those items with hair by Wei Jiang and makeup by Nicola Robinson and you could not help but take great images.
While the studio is full of lighting, the triggers that it used did not work on my camera so I could use them. I had taken my own lights but that was a bit of hassle with so many people present. So with the exception of the image of Jordan above, all of the others shots were taken using the ambient light in the room. Fortunately my G9 is pretty good at handling lighting conditions.
In addition to Charlotte, one of the other regular’s, Neen also brought some costumes so I shot her in one of the outfits.
It was great being able to socialise and shoot without any restrictions or fear. I have joined in with Zoom sessions with photographers in the USA and I know that they are far from being able to do that.
Towards the end of last year I joined up with a number of other photographers, makeup artists and models for a day trip over to the Patuma Chasm in the southern Wairarapa.
This is an amazing open cave system in the middle of a farm.
For my shoots I was teamed up with Moana (who I had shot before). Over the course of a hour she went through several costume changes as we worked ourselves deeper into the chasm.
She never complained once even though the water was fairly cool.
Given that we were walking through water to get to each spot I was travelling very light. In addition to the camera I brought a single Lume Cube to provide light as I knew this was water resistant.
In the final image we had ventured a reasonable way into the cave and it was quite dark. I then spotted a point in the water that was being lit by sunlight coming through a small gap in the walls and trees. This produced a natural spotlight to use.
Occasionally a job comes along that sounds to both have the potential for a lot of fun, but equally stressful.
Venus Star is a Wellington entrepreneur, who has a range of business ventures, one of which is organising male strip reviews. The original brief was to shoot the show on the Saturday night, and then on the Sunday to shoot the performers with a group of pugs.
As it turned out I had to pass over the show to another photographer but decided to keep the shoot with the boys and dogs.
Venus had booked a hall for the shoot, which I had not seen so it meant that the car was loaded with a while of gear just in case. As it turned out it had a large stage with black curtains at the back.
I set up three lights all in the row across the stage so that it would have fairly even lighting while the dogs raced around.
I thought that we may have had problems with the dogs but as it turned out they were really easy to deal with.
We shot both individual and group images with them, and the advantage of the lighting position was that I didn’t have to move them. This was a major bonus as it meant the whole shoot was fairly quick.
This shoot happened quite some time ago, but in my slack attitude to posting blog updates got missed. Anyway better late than never.
Sometimes an idea is suggested that sounds so crazy that you just have to get involved. That was certainly the case with the glittery boobs shoot. It started when one of the models involved in the GTC posted in the private Facebook Group that she would keen to do a glitter boob shoot. Basically these are semi-naked shoot where glitter of various size is attached to the body, with larger pieces covering the nipples.
Within the space of a couple of hours she had quite a number of models and photographers all wanting to take part. As the Trentham studio was booked on the day we converted the “Powder room” into the shoot area. The girls and two guys spread a large tarpoline on the carpet and used that area to apply the glitter.
I set you two lights in a standard 45 degree angle and we all took turns using them along with taking the models to other parts of the venue. It was a fun day and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Glitter is a strange substance in that it seems to expand significantly more than what is in the bottle and by the end of the day it was spread far and wide.
Saturday 19 October is World Photo Day, and this year Nikon New Zealand organised three events around the country each hosted by one of their ambassadors. Fortunately one of them is Esther Bunning who lives just over the hill in Greytown. She is a grand master photographer who runs a studio along with her husband Terry.
She is known for a very etherial style of shooting using natural light, double exposures and textures mainly captured in camera rather than in post. At the 2017 NZIPP Iris awards she took away the highest print score for one of her images.
Esther has organised three models for the day. Justine is a choreographer dancer who has been Esther’s muse for a number a shoots. With her were Keziah and Aislin.
She is mainly a natural light photographer so when the weather delivered a much better result than was forecast we all headed outside into a car park where some large blue containers provided an interesting background.
The idea was simply to play with different settings such a multiple exposures, and also putting stuff in front of the lens to see what would happen. This is really experimental shooting as you are never really sure what the result will look like before you shoot it. It is also stuff where you will be fooling the cameras metering and focusing so it all done in manual modes.
We then headed back into the studio where they had set up two full backdrops. One was right by a large window and so used natural light, while the other was using continuous light.
The shots in the studio were more controlled with the more constant light. I started out with more classical looks.
Creating double exposures using the lensbaby creates some interesting effects.
It was a great day and I hope that they do something like this again.
The final shoot of the day was with Jess Boyack. By the time of thinking about the shoot I think everyone was exhausted. With no outfits booked we decided to make it a bath shoot and use a simple length of material for cover.
The bath in question was on wheels and it was moved into position in the carpark mid afternoon with the hope that the sun would warm the water up. That was of limited use and despite the addition of a couple of jugs of hot water it was fairly cold.
I ended up grabbing left over flowers from another shoot and by the time we shot had quite a number of people helping out.
I had shot Hayley before as part of my honours set. When she arranged to use a gothic style dress then it was obvious that we were going up to the attic as it was the ideal location for such a shoot. That of course meant lugging all the light gear up four stories. I set up a small shoot area and decided to add in a couple of props of my own.
After working through several of the rooms up there we moved down to an open space at the top of the ramps where the ivy was changing colour. We also tried a number of images with falling leaves.
Headpiece: Black Widow Fascinators
Day two of the Great Trentham Collaboration did not start well with my first model of the day being one of a number who failed to show up on the morning. There was also not the same level of energy level in the room.
Fortunately for me one of the other photographers in the room was in a similar position and so she agreed to be my model. I had brought along my own red dress and a few props and having checked that she was not averse to fur, we headed out for a couple of locations around the base of the main grandstand.
The final shoot on day one was with Moana. We had discussed a number of ideas with her and had planned for a two part shoot. The first would involve her in a Viking outfit from ckfilmdesign and the second was to be a bath shoot. Unfortunately Moana came to the event with a cold and so we scraped the bath idea.
The costumes from ckfilmdesign are amazing and Wikitoria did an amazing job of the makeup. As it turned out Jordan was also doing a similar shoot so I suggested to the other photographer that we could bring the two models together.
They even tried some mock flighting although I think that Jordan was more enthusiastic about the idea of swinging swords.
The third shoot on day one of the Great Trentham Collaboration was with Ashley-Jane Cole. I had shot AJ three years previously at the waterfall in Upper Hutt and again when she was at a recording studio as she is a very talented singer/songwriter.
AJ had chosen a swing dress from Deranged, which styled up for a ballet theme. Her makeup was done by Eden Gibbons.
On the upper level of grandstand was a cafe with a Fence look so I made up of a large mural for my first set of images.
We then moved up in the attic area where the large windows surrounded with wines provided plenty of great light and interesting backgrounds
We then moved to the outside and particularly around the base of the vines that encase the building.