Category Archives: Events


The second shoot on day one of the Great Trentham Collaboration what’s with Jordan. Unlike Kasey, Jordan had spent the previous hour in hair and makeup with MUA Charlie Timmins.

She had chosen two outlets from Wellington designer Evem. Unlike my first shoot of the morning, this time we moved around the racecourse. We started in a small space   that I have discovered behind the make up room they have good natural light and a piano and us I thought it would make it interesting start.

We then moved outside and into an area this that is used on race day to stable the horses just before they come into the birdcage at the start of the race. Jordan does pole fitness and so she had no problem climbing up in the staples for a number of shots.

We then moved around the course and shot in a pavilion that is quite often used for outdoor weddings.

And then into an area that is immediately in front of the old grandstand. On our walk-through of the venue the week before I have noticed a old piano in the area and thought that this would be a great prop. As it turned out when we first arrived it was being used buy another photographer. So we moved a little further down and again Jordan showed her gymnastic ability.

I been noticed a number of windows and thoughts that we might be able to capture reflections on them. This was true however the glass had the remnants of sticky tape on it which I could not remove. Fortunately photoshop can.

For my final shot we moved a large gate in-place and Jordan made out that she was trapped.


The schedule for the Great Trentham collaboration was split into two groups each day with eight photographers in each. There were eight slots allocated to shoots, and seven to makeup. In the two weeks leading up to the event the various designers associated with it posted images of outfits that they would have available. This generated discussion between the models and photographers and lead to outfits being booked for various sessions.

I took a very relaxed approach and I let my models book their own outfits.

The first shoot in Group 2 started at 9 o’clock. This meant that the model did not have time to go through makeup and had to arrive already made up.

My first shoot on day one was with Kasey. She had selected an Egyptian outfit made by Charlotte Kelleher of CKfilmDesign. The outfit consistent of several parts and therefore we needed to assistance of Paul Irving.

As the morning was cloudy I decided it was a perfect opportunity to head to the roof of the grandstand which is essentially an open air seating area. I took a series of images in a different styles of the outfit including static and walking shots. I also had a play with my lensbaby composer lens. Unfortunately there is an issue with this lens on my the D600 in that the camera cannot control the aperture and so all shooting is wide open at f2.8.

At the end of the shoot we moved indoors and I used a white screen setup to shoot some images that I may look at using in composites later on.

I’m really pleased with the images although later in the day I would have probably chosen a different location, but that is always the way when you start early.

I hope to be able to shoot with Kasey again.

Classic Ruby

201608-27I am currently most of the way through my sixth year of shooting a photo a day challenge. This year I decided to concentrate on having people in all of my images as portraiture is mainly what i shoot. That does require me to seek out subjects particularly on the weekends.

So when I saw that the National Portrait Gallery were having a sitting with a model in 17th century costume I was really keen to take part. Now such sittings are mainly designed for people sketching or painting and photography therefore I was not sure how welcome I would be. Therefore in asking permission I threw in a little carrot, that I would shoot some behind the scenes images that the gallery could use.

sitting270816-11They agreed and so I turned up towards the end of the session. As I knew that I needed to be portable I had a single speed light on a stand using a Rogue Panel to expand the light. This let me position the light away from where I was shooting.

While the BTS shots were ok I could not get into a position that really suited me so once the session was over Ruby agreed to sit back in her position and I could position the light where I wanted it.

The gallery is running these at regular occasions with each new exhibitions and I sure that I will be back  there again.

On the Red Carpet

Venus Starr is a local entrepreneur involved in the burlesque and alt modelling industry. For the last two years she had put on the Dark Starr Lingerie & Fashion show in Wellington. The event, that was held late in 2015, brings together her inked models from around the country wearing creations that would rival those seen on the Victoria Secrets catwalk.

This year she wanted to add an extra element to the show for the models taking part and that was to create a red carpet complete with paparazzi, so she posted a request on Facebook for photographers who wanted to take part and have a little fun. So I agreed to take part and the shots below are some of the approved shots from the event.


VDAS-RedCarpet-41VDAS-RedCarpet-92VDAS-RedCarpet-58It was a fun night and my only regret was that we were not allowed to shoot the models in their outfits.

ANZAC Week – The Great War Exhibition

This is the second post connected with ANZAC day 2015. As with the first one if you do not anything about the ANZAC’s then this post will provide you with the background.

Wellington is very much the centre of film production in New Zealand in that we are lucky to have Peter Jackson and the team from Weta Workshops based here. Over the last decade their special effects wizardry has thrilled audiences worldwide with the “Lord of the Rings” and Hobbit Trilogy.

Over the last couple of months Peter and the team from Weta have turned what used to be the Grand Hall of the old National Museum into an exhibition of World War 1. It is told life size as you walk through the story of the war.

The exhibition opened on the 18th April and will run for 4 years being added to along the way. It has attracted large crowds since it has opened. We were very fortunate that we got in at a time that they was no queue. Photography is allowed so below is a teaser of what is in there.

The team at Weta are very skilful at making everything look so realistic. You enter into a small village in Belgium.

WW1-1 WW1-2 WW1-3 WW1-4 WW1-5Then each year of the war is shown with the archway telling you the year.


The exhibition follows Peter’s grandfather through the war starting with him enlisting by lying about this age.



Peter has quite a collection of memorabilia and many of the elements in the  exhibition come from his own collection.


WW1-14 WW1-15 WW1-16
In many places through the exhibition boxes contain the smells associated with the war. In the screens representing the tenches there was a real smell of damp earth.


WW1-18 WW1-19 WW1-20

Around the exhibition are posters depicting modern sayings that had their origin in WW1.WW1-22

The last screen depicts a young Peter with his grandfather later in life.


When you get through the exhibition you enter a cafe and shop that has be done out like the inside of one of the ships that brought the troops home. You exist the shop via a gangplank down to the exit. Even up close the set looks real.

WW1-26 WW1-27


ANZAC Week – The Lightshow

This is my second post about activities around Wellington this last week. If you are unsure about the term ANZAC then please read my first post.

Just about every town in New Zealand has a war memorial that names those killed in the various conflicts that New Zealand has taken part in. In Wellington we have two, with the larger one taking the form of a carillon and located by the newly built Pukeahu National War Memorial park.

Starting on the 18th a 15 minute light show was created that was projected onto the carillon and then followed by another lightshow on the front of what was originally the National Museum.

We went on a perfect Sunday evening and set up the tripod to record the carillon show. The tower is actually a musical instrument and if you got there for the 7:00pm start the show was accompanied with the bells. It was a very moving experience. The video below is a taste of that carillon show

We then headed up the hill and watched the second lightshow. There was no room for a tripod this time so you will have to excuse the movement in the images.

If you have trouble viewing the videos are wish to see them individually then you can find the Carillon images here and the museum ones here.


ANZAC Week – An introduction

A personal touch to an ANZAC tribute
A personal touch to an ANZAC tribute

For reader in other countries, firstly an explanation of what the next series of post are about.

When World War 1 broke out in 1914 Britain called upon its overseas colonies to provide troops and in both Australia and New Zealand large numbers of young men (and a few women) signed up. By the end of the war some 100,000 Kiwis (as we refer to ourselves) had served which at the time was 10% of the countries population. A large number of those were killed or injured and it is estimates that a third of the population was affected in someway.

In early 1915 the British Military leaders brought together divisions of Australian and New Zealand troops and they were called the “Australian & New Zealand Army Corp” or ANZAC for short. On April 25 1915 the ANZAC’s went into their first action landing on the beaches of Gallipoli in modern day Turkey.

The mission was a disaster from the start with inaccurate information and essentially incompetent British commanding officers, so of who had little regard for the safety of their men. For 8 months they tried to hang on against fierce opposition to no avail.

Since then on April 25 each year in towns and cities all around Australia and New Zealand the spirit of the ANZACs, and everyone else who fought in the many wars since are remembered.

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the landings and as such there has been a much larger focus, than in the previous years. In Wellington events commemorating the centennial started last Saturday and there was plenty of opportunity to get out an take photos.

To do them justice I am going to split up the entries into a series of posts. Once I have them all loved I will come back and edit this post to place direct links into them.


Shooting in Natural Light

Over the weekend of November 7 – 9 I was involved in organising the Regional Convention for the Central Area of Photographic Society of New Zealand. We offered a wide variety of speakers, workshops and fieldtrips that pretty much covered every aspect of photography.

On the Saturday I took part in a “Natural Light Portraiture” session run by Dave Sanderson ( It could have been subtitled “How to shoot at the worst time of day” as it ran right through the 11:00am to noon on a day that turned out brilliantly fine.

Now I will generally admit that I am not a natural light shooter, as I prefer the control that one can have with strobes. However if you shoot weddings then you need to be to able to shoot regardless of the conditions.

The key, as Dave explained, was to try to locate something to provide an element of shade. This could be  a tree, building or even a reflector used as a diffusion panel. Alternative you shot in the open and used a reflector to reduce some of the harsh shadows that the sun would cast.

We had three models for the shoot who were all very new and the three groups took it in turn with each model. I am reasonably pleased with the shots that came out. They are nothing stella but then when you are merely practising a technique you don’t expect super results all the time.

Using a wall to bounce back an amount of light.
Using a wall to bounce back an amount of light.
A reflector out of shot fills in a little bit of shadow on the face.
A reflector out of shot fills in a little bit of shadow on the face.
A group effort in using a reflector as a diffusion panel which shades the model
A group effort in using a reflector as a diffusion panel which shades the model