Category Archives: People

A Glint of Silver

The Iris Awards are the annual measure of excellence for members of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers. Over four days hundreds of images are graded and as a result the members of the NZIPP obtain the levels in their honours system.

When my image of the reflection did well in the Central Regional conference, Esther Bunning told me that she would nag me to enter into Iris, because she was convinced that it would do well. Although I am not a member of the NZIPP I could enter as they recognise my membership of the Photographic Society of New Zealand. It would just cost me more.

In the lead up to Iris a lot of the local sections of NZIPP arrange mock judging sessions where you can anoymously enter images and they are assessed by a panel of experienced members, some of who are the actual judges in the awards themselves.

So given the encouragement of Esther I decided to enter two images into the local mock judging to see how they would go, and I was really pleased with the result. Both images were received well by the judges and audience alike. They accessed that both could be in contention for a “High silver” which was awesome to hear. It was also great to hear the positive comments that were made as well.

While it would have been nice to have taken the images through into the actual judging life has intervened. There is real uncertainty about my job and I decided thati had better uses for the $410.00 that it would have cost to enter. Just knowing that they were of a high standard was reward enough.

Exhibition over

This afternoon we closed the doors on the exhibition that has run for the last fortnight that combined painting by my wife and photos by me. The title of the exhibition was “Life’s little moments” and as such my images mainly fell into the genre of “street photography”.

Now that the exhibition is over I can share the images with a wider audience. While the digital images look good there is nothing like seeming them in white mattes on the wall of a gallery. The images are presented in the order that they appeared on the walls of the gallery.

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Fitness Shoot with Simon

LR-Colour-60While I have been photographing portfolio sessions of people for a number of years, if you look at my work, you will see that the vast majority are women. So when a friend suggested me to her friend I jumped at the opportunity.

Simon is a personal trainer who operates out of a local gym. He has a background in marketing so when we initially met he had some very clear ideas what he was after, and also what he did not want. We agreed to do two separate shoots, one being in a studio and the second in the gym.

For the studio shoot I had originally booked a place in Upper Hutt that is set up as a full photographic studio. Unfortunately it is based within one of the grandstands at Trentham racecourse and on the Tuesday before the shoot I discovered that another event being held that weekend would make access to the studio virtually impossible.

I then reached out to Freya who runs Poleclass.co.nz in Wellington. I had shot in her place a number of years ago. While the space did not have all of the gear of my original choice it had large spaces as well as large area of natural light which I ended up utilising for the shoot rather than relying on the studio strobes.

We finished the shoot in an alleyway behind the studio for a completely different look. Simon had asked for a quick set of images for social media so that night I selected and processed 7 images to send him.LR-Colour-34

For impact I decided that most of the images from the first shoot would be presented in Black & White.

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The second shoot took place a fortnight later in a central gym. We scheduled it for late in the evening to ensure that less people would be around. For this shoot I initially started using a single speedlight with an umbrella, however that started to give me some issues in that it would not recycle quick enough. Eventually I ditched the light and cranked up the ISO and shot with the available light knowing that as the images were being shot in RAW I could correct the colour cast that the fluorescent lights would introduce. This worked out quite well.

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Simon appears to be very pleased with the images that he received.

Maternity Shoot (NSFW)

Kylie was one of the models on my “naked art class” and is currently 8 months pregnant. She is helping me on another project that will be finished in another two months time. In return for this I promised to do a more traditional maternity shoot with her.

She has created a pinterest board to show me what she was looking for, which ended up having such a wide range of images in it that is was of little use. We settled on her wanting a high key and a silhouette. Such shots involve a lot of back lighting so rather than reply of studio strobes solely I used a large north facing window and natural light.

LR-Kylie-5In order to fill in some of the feature I ended up using a large softbox set camera right and at very low power.

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Kylie suffers from eczema and during her period it has flared up worst. I eliminated the effects of this using the healing brush and skin shooting techniques in photoshop. Turning the image into black & white also helps.

Kylie loves the images which really all that matters.

Sunday in the park

For the last five weeks I have been taking a break from work and so I thought that I would be able to fill the spare time with photoshoots rather than being restricted to the weekend. As it turned out it did not pan out quite as planned and most of the shoots I have got in have been on the usual days.

Rebecca approached me some time ago to see if I would do a shoot with her and I agreed I would. She then mentioned that she would also like to include her daughter as well.

When I found out that they lived in Masterton it was decided that we would shoot in a location around the Hutt Valley rather than travelling into Wellington. As the weather was not looking promising I decided to use Percy’s Reserve in Lower Hutt as I knew that it gave us both open space and also some covered areas should the rain start.

Rather than go for a strictly high fashion model look, I decided to produce a series of images that would fit well into the family type shoot. The images below are mainly shot using natural light with an off camera flash providing a little fill.

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I thought that the gaps in the stone wall provided interesting framing for the two.

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Melbourne – People

Often when you visit a new place it is the people that you see and meet that make the difference to the experience. Melbourne has around the same population as New Zealand but despite that it never felt crowded. The following images simply show the many faces of Melbourne.

I was held up with a large protest about the Budget. This guy made a lot of noise at the back of the march
I was held up with a large protest about the Budget. This guy made a lot of noise at the back of the march
Street side cafes are in many of the alleys and so are buskers
Street side cafes are in many of the alleys and so are buskers
These two buskers were at the end of the a very dark alley on a rainy day
These two buskers were at the end of the a very dark alley on a rainy day
One of the street artists in Hosier Lane
One of the street artists in Hosier Lane
A street acrobat performs to the crowds outside of Luna Park in St Kilda
A street acrobat performs to the crowds outside of Luna Park in St Kilda
Candy Floss is a still a favourite at the fair
Candy Floss is a still a favourite at the fair
People enjoy the ride at Luna Park
People enjoy the ride at Luna Park
A street musician in St Kilda's
A street musician in St Kilda’s
You don't expect to see tall unicycles in the middle of the city.
You don’t expect to see tall unicycles in the middle of the city.
The dog is looking very expectantly of its master
The dog is looking very expectantly of its master
A character in Fitzroy. I say this guy across the street but knew that I did not have enough reach in the lens to shoot as I wanted. So I ant up and asked him if he would mind, and he was cool with it
A character in Fitzroy. I saw this guy across the street but knew that I did not have enough reach in the lens to shoot as I wanted. So I ant up and asked him if he would mind, and he was cool with it
A street book seller at St Kildas
A street book seller at St Kildas
This little shop must have been very good because everytime I passed it there was a queue outside it.
This little shop must have been very good because everytime I passed it there was a queue outside it.
A stall in Swansen Street
A stall in Swansen Street
Food is never too far away
Food is never too far away

Steampunk High Tea

For some time I have wanted to get into more themed photoshoots and one that had sprung to mind is steampunk inspired. For those of you who have never heard of it, Steampunk is a role playing/costume science fiction type genre where Victorian era clothing and modern equipment  is fused. However the modern equipment is made to look like it used  the technology available to the Victorians.

Apparently there are two separate streams, namely one based on Victorian England and the other on the American Wild West.

Rather than seek out a model and hire the gear, I thought that it may be quicker to approach those people  who are actually serious about it so I found the New Zealand Steampunk group on Facebook and posted a message.

I was then contacted by one of the Wellington members and told that they were having a high tea afternoon, and I was welcome to come along. This was being held in an old villa in Island bay. I took along my speedlights and a single white shoot through umbrella which was used to provide some fill light as the room had a large window to provide natural light.

In order to create a more authentic look the images were turned into Sepia toning. I was quite pleased with this starting point.LR_WgtnSP-1 LR_WgtnSP-6 LR_WgtnSP-9 LR_WgtnSP-12 LR_WgtnSP-14 LR_WgtnSP-20 LR_WgtnSP-23 LR_WgtnSP-25

All the fun of the fair

Petone is a small centre at the northern end of Wellington harbour. When the first settler boats arrived in the 1800’s they landed here and the first settlements were established. The area has a lot of very old villas and its main street escaped most of the strip mall development of the 1970’s to retain a very old character.

Each year in February the Petone Rotary Club close off most of the main street and set up a street market. Somewhere around 400 stalls sell or promote their services to around 30,000 people. It is therefore a great place to practise a little street photography or to simply enjoy people watching.

Fairs like this bring out the crazy in people especially teenagers. Although they are also an excuse for bad t-shirts.
Fairs like this bring out the crazy in people especially teenagers. Although they are also an excuse for bad t-shirts.
To many of the kids on this ride this will be their first roller coaster. The girl in front has supreme confidence while the two behind don't look like they are enjoying themselves
To many of the kids on this ride this will be their first roller coaster. The girl in front has supreme confidence while the two behind don’t look like they are enjoying themselves
This ride is a lot more sedate than the other.
This ride is a lot more sedate than the other.
There is a wide variety of sideshows trying to relieve you of your money with the promise of prizes
There is a wide variety of sideshows trying to relieve you of your money with the promise of prizes
This little guy has found something he really likes in the used toys stall
This little guy has found something he really likes in the used toys stall
A group of older stallholders promoting tai-chi
A group of older stallholders promoting tai-chi
When I say this lady talking on the phone I could not resist the shot
When I saw this lady talking on the phone I could not resist the shot
In the middle of the shops is an old villa used as professional offices. The grapevine over the porch is probably a century old and has a very fine crop this year
In the middle of the shops is an old villa used as professional offices. The grapevine over the porch is probably a century old and has a very fine crop this year
Mother and daughter have visited the face paint stand together
Mother and daughter have visited the face paint stand together
This little guy was not all that convinced when this lady painted his hand and asked him to put it on a piece of paper
This little guy was not all that convinced when this lady painted his hand and asked him to put it on a piece of paper
Some of the stall holders really get into the festive spirit.
Some of the stall holders really get into the festive spirit.
Local band Shenanigans entertain for the balcony of the Empire hotel
Local band Shenanigans entertain for the balcony of the Empire hotel
Someone has been very busy hand knitting these items although I do wonder whether any copyright fees have been  paid to the original designers
Someone has been very busy hand knitting these items although I do wonder whether any copyright fees have been paid to the original designers

Shooting people in the street

Last weekend was Wellington Anniversary which meant we got the Monday off work. As such it appeared that lots of events were planned to occur and the Saturday was particularly popular. In addition to several beach related sports event, there we two large scale festivals. In Civic Square there was “Out in the Square” which was a celebration of the gay community and at Waitangi Park the Wellington Pasifica Festival was held.

The events had appeared in a number of facebook posts with the comments from those going that it was a great event especially if you liked to shoot street photography. So camera and a couple of lens we headed into town and the first stop was Civic Square.

At first glance the event had all the elements that you tend to associate with gay events, namely lots of colour and drag queens.

The announcer for the entertainment certainly stood out from the crowd.
The announcer for the entertainment certainly stood out from the crowd.

Now flamboyant people are great to shoot and those that are entertainers I have no qualms about photographing them. But as I walked round the festival and talked to some of the stall holders I just got the feeling that it was not appropriate to simple shoot others on this occasion. I do not know why but I thought that there was almost a risk that I was trying to capture them as if they were a freak show, whereas in fact they are perfectly normal people.

I know that there is a bit f an argument that goes on in Street photography in terms of whether you should ask someone whether you can take their picture. On one side is the thought that if you are going to invade their space then you should be polite and seek their permission. Countering this is the equally strong argument that if you ask then they will pose and that destroys the candid side of the image that you want to create.

I am a little in both camps. For some images I will simply take the image, but generally if I want them looking straight at me I will ask permission. 

I found this lady's make, costume and the umbrella quite appealing so I asked if she would mind me taking her image.
I found this lady’s make, costume and the umbrella quite appealing so I asked if she would mind me taking her image.
The bright colour hair was the initial attraction with this lady. Again permission was sought
The bright colour hair was the initial attraction with this lady. Again permission was sought

We then moved onto Pasifica after a slight detour through the city.

This dog was waiting to greet people in a small gallery in Vivian street that we didn't know existed.
This dog was waiting to greet people in a small gallery in Vivian street that we didn’t know existed.

Pasifica was very crowded and it was a little difficult to shoot the craft being worked on without other people getting in the way. 

More headbands being made.
More headbands being made.
Making Tapa cloth is a very slow process.
Making Tapa cloth is a very slow process.
A lady weaves flax into little flowers
A lady weaves flax into little flowers
All concentration producing headbands, although not with natural ingredients
All concentration producing headbands, although not with natural ingredients

Finally on the way back to the car a street performer was entertaining the crowd in front of  the Te Papa museum. In the case of street entertainer I will normally shoot them first and then pay them some money. Wgtn180114-9