Category Archives: Events

Patience & Photography

This morning I discovered why it is that I like to shoot either people or sports. I hate waiting around for something to happen, and spending a lot time staking out a location is not for me.

The reason was that I had decided that todays “photo a day” would be of the old steam engine that was pulling the Daffodil Express which is an annual trip from Wellington to Carterton to coincide with the Carterton Daffodil Festival.

I had checked the details of the trip and it was supposed to leaving Wellington at 8:40am. I was not aware that it was stopping anywhere so I assumed that it would arrive at the Silverstream bridge around 9:00 (given that the normal Wairarapa unit takes 25 minutes from Wellington to Upper Hutt and that included two stops).

So at 9.00am I was standing on the Silverstream road bridge waiting. I had selected a position that I hoped would give me a good shot and clear of power lines as much as possible.

I waited, and waited, and waited. I even got so bored that I attempted the shoot the Paradise ducks flying around.

Eventually after at least 30 minutes of waiting the train appeared and raced across the bridge. I managed to capture a couple of shots before it was gone.

In many ways shooting events like this is similar to a wedding. There are a couple of key moments that only last a couple of seconds and if you miss them you can’t ask for them to backup so that you can reshoot.

As I went back to my car a more serious train enthusiasm summed it up. “One hour of waiting for 35 seconds of action“.

Later in the day I decided to go back and shoot the ┬áreturn but this time I would go on a rail over-bridge and knew exactly when the train was coming through. Although even then it didn’t run to time. I was quite pleased to capture it head-on, and then when I turned around saw a modern unit waiting for it to cross the tracks. So my final image was the old and new of train travel in Wellington.

Herding Cats

If you shoot weddings you know that they can be quite stressful at times because there are keys shots and moments that you have to record, that basically you can ask for a re-shoot. It is almost the same at kids birthday party.

Except at weddings you generally don’t get the other wedding party deliberately trying to get at the wedding cake, nor getting in the shots (well nearly not always).

Rogue is the 4 year old son of Photographer friend and she asked me along to record his birthday. He was so eager to blow out the candles that he started even before his mother had the cake on the table. Fortunately I managed to get in at least one shot of his efforts at extinguishing them.

And if your wondering about the title of this post. Well the party was held at a cafe that had a Karate Dojo attached to it. While the theme of the kids was pirates, the session was run as a Karate birthday party complete with Kata sessions and games.

The organiser from the Dojo admitted later that they normally ran such parties for older kids as three & four olds are not the easiest to listen to instructions or stay focuses. In fact for some the games they headed off in all directions. A bit like how a bunch of cats would behalf.

Fever Hospital Shoot

The Fever hospital is an old hospital that in recent years has been falling into disrepair due to both neglect and vandalism. I had wanted to get in there to shoot for a long time and when the opportunity came up with a shoot sponsored by Wellington Photographic Supplies I jumped at it.

The evening did not have the best of starts with the model I had arranged bailing at the last minute and then my flash fell off it’s stand and no longer works.

I had planned to do low light and had brought candles and lamps so all was not lost, so when we managed to get a model things were not all lost. Jepha was a great model who was keen to try out anything, and did not complain when she tripped on a rock and cut her knee.

I was pleased with the final selection of images.

MV Joyvita Launch at Parliament

The MV Joyita was a small island trading ship that disappeared on a voyage from Samoa to Tokelau in 1955 with 25 passengers & crew on board. The ship was found 5 weeks later some 600 kilometers away but there was no trace of the people, nor any indication of what had gone wrong.

I was asked to photograph an event at Parliament where two plagues were being unveiled that listed the names of those that disappeared. One plague will go to Samoa and the other to Tokelau. The event was attended by relatives and descendants of the passengers and crew. It was quite a moving event.

I was not aware how anal the security guards at Parliament were about people with cameras, as I got told off when I took a photo in the passageway outside of the function room.

Prime Ministers Youth Awards Presentation

Somewhere along the line I have become the unofficial photographer at work so in this capacity I was asked to shoot a function at parliament where Prime Minister John Key was handling out the 2011 Pacific Prime Ministers Awards.

The function was in the main banquet chamber at the beehive which is a challenging venue as the stage is always set on the outside of the building which means it has large windows behind it.

The idea was simple. The name of the winner would be read out, they would come onto the stage the PM would greet them, we would take a photo, then the winner would move to the lectern and speak.

I got there early and we did some lighting tests and worked out where the best place for the PM photo. We even placed a big x on the floor.

Problem was somehow the instructions never got the PM, and so he was all over the place and so quick with the handshakes.

It was like a wedding, where you know that you only have one shot and can’t ask them to do it again.