Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Busy is Good

A four-letter word has gotten in the way of my blogging this year: work.

That's no complaint. I've had some terrific clients and seriously fun jobs in the last few months. Now that I've caught up on most of my deliveries, it's time to briefly share what I've been up to. My last entry was about the drone, my new piece of kit. But like I say, photography is not about the gear and I've barely had time to do much with it. The video work I'd been doing in Arrowtown led me to a very exciting project called Cloud 9.


Cloud 9 is an ultra high-end travel experience with the legendary Kiwi sheep farmer and travel entrepreneur Bill Shaw. We'll come back to the Cloud 9 story when the video is released. For now its enough to say I had a fantastic time with Bill and the project's Executive Producer Rob Andrews.

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A gig with my band Bluestone at the BRONZ motorcycle rally near Alexandra was just one of those hilarious road trips you can only have with a blues band. Spinal Tap meets the Blues Brothers. Honest. Cool bikes too.

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On the way back home I took a major detour to one of my favourite fishing haunts to pick up some landscapes for the calendar I contribute to. Some flies were cast. Some trout got smoked. Of course the shot below is an abstract. You don't think I'm going to blow the whereabouts of my fishing hole do you?

Can't see the forest for the trees

Back in Dunedin, I got to document a 19th century worker's cottage before it was dismantled. That felt a little like a crime scene shoot.

Handyman's dream

Historic fashion items for Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. What can I say, I love to light.


 There was the visit from a Scottish government dignitary. Run and gun.


A distracting week of hospital visits while Miss C(10) had some very scary surgery.


I attended Warbirds over Wanaka again. Always fun, although this year I couldn't catch up with my helo flying nephew and his wife as they're now stationed near Melbourne.


I started work on another exciting project for Leslie Rugby. Stills this time, kind of art-driven and for a couple of days I had assistance in the form of Eliza, a lovely work experience student and a rapidly healing Miss C(10).

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There was a little renovation project at home. That's um, still in development. Note to self: Don't tear your walls down in a Dunedin winter unless you plan on getting them up again real fast.


A lovely young lady hired me to shoot her 21st birthday party.


There have been many, many corporate headshots. In this situation over half of people come in dreading the experience and it shows on their faces. I really empathise with dentists. Despite that this is a job I really enjoy.  I like to take the time to draw my subjects into the process, have them relax and reveal themselves just a little to me to get a shot they're happy with.  After all, that ID picture is going to be on a card or website for a while. It's worth getting something folks are pleased to see. Check out the warm reflection we got off the red wall camera right!

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Back to the blues, it was high time I started work on a decent poster for my band so I've been noodling around with concepts for that. Our blues style is kind hard-edged so I milked a little attitude out of the lads and dragged them down an alley before robbing them of their phones and wallets at camera-point.  I seem to have left myself out of this picture:


The Motorsport New Zealand awards night was another opportunity to hone my people skills.


And finally, the apparel part of the Leslie Rugby project is now in progress. That macro lens actually starts to pay for itself again!


On top of all this, there's my role in helping up and coming photographers via SIT's Diploma in Digital Photography which is pretty damn rewarding, especially when I see the quality of work some of them submit.  It's a great motivator to stay fresh and keep improving.  Like they say, if you want to learn, teach.

It is so good to be busy. And to all the clients who trust me to make them look good or don't get nervous when I say 'actually, I've got an idea for something very stylish for you', a very big thank you indeed.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Now with air support

Okay, I can now confess that I've bought a quadracopter so I can take images from the air. It's not about the gear, really. It's about getting another perspective on things. So with that in mind, enjoy these fresh perspectives on a favourite Dunedin landmark, Larnach Castle.

Larnach Castle

Larnach Castle, Dunedin NZ

Friday, February 21, 2014

Adventures in Arrowtown

Another little project finished for an Arrowtown client, Adin May of Southern Explorer. I was especially pleased with the feedback on this job because Adin thought I told his story very well considering I only had a half day to shoot this.  

Stills or video.  I am all about the story.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Video for Arrowtown Bike Hire

I was doing a little work around Arrowtown before Christmas with my assistant Joe. Finally put my little camera jib to good use on this shoot. Here's one of the results, a little video for Arrowtown Bike Hire. Enjoy!

If you should happen to see a rugby ball however, click on the title of this post to take you to the correct clip.  There seems to be something mighty strange going on between Blogger and my video host that changes the video links on the generic blog URL.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Seeking the Source

The fish weren't biting or at least the ones that were were so small as not to bother about sticking around for, so I decided to head for the old Dunstan road with my cameras and explore a place I'd been meaning to for a while: Te Papanui Conservation park.  This is one of the high points: Ailsa Crag, 1135 m high.  From here you can see into the Strath Taieri region (on the right) and above it off to the left (west) is the Old Man range, old Dunstan road and Great Moss Swamp.

Ailsa Crag

It's a vast, unmodified tussock grassland, and a beautiful example of one.

Te Papanui tarn

Since I'd already spent much of the day unsuccessfully seeking trout, I didn't have time for anything other than a quick visit to some tarns.

Te Papanui tarn Te Papanui tarn

These are beautiful bodies of water, sitting in peat bogs and surrounded by a fantastic range of wetland plants.  Next time, I'll definitely pack the macro lens.


This area is the source of much of Dunedin's drinking water as it trickles over tussocks, through peat and down into the streams where it is captured and piped 65 Km to the city for treatment to remove the organic matter and remove microorganisms.

After just a couple of hours, I decided I had to return another time to do the place justice, and reluctantly headed back down the hill.  (okay, not completely reluctantly, the evening rise was approaching and I was planning on visiting another stream on the way home).  Then I spied something curious down the hill:


A lonely telephone (or telegraph) pole. Practically in the middle of nowhere.  I couldn't resist departing from the track home and taking a side track to satisfy my curiousity.  Glad I did.  I discovered a hut.

Deep Creek hut

That's the view to the southeast. More interestingly, I discovered this.

Deep Creek Telemetry station

A telemetry station, presumably the replacement for what used to be attached to the old line.  Then it dawned on me: I was near the source of the Deep Creek water intake.  Just below the telemetry station, I found a gorge with the pipeline and walkway clinging to the steep sides.

Deep Creek

The fish could wait.  I had to see more, so wandered a little further.  Here's the view from the track in the middle of the face above, looking back down the gorge:

Deep Creek - looking downstream

The original pipeline was put here in 1936, but was upgraded several years ago, along with some improvements to the path.  It's narrow and there are some very sheer drops below to the water, but the boardwalk sections are well constructed and the protective railing is nice and sturdy.

Deep Creek pipeline

Deep Creek

I didn't get all the way up to the weir and water intake at the head of the gorge.  Like the further exploration of the wetlands above, it can provide another day's adventure.  Further downstream, the mayflies were starting to rise and the trout were waiting.

Monday, December 2, 2013

On The Ball

_MG_8310.jpg Delivered our little micromentary series on Leslie Rugby last week. It's going to be shown at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum as part of a temporary exhibit regarding the Leslie Ball and business. So as well as the ball, we told the story of John making the transition from professional rugby player into rugby business owner, as well as Leslie Rugby Kids Coaching Clinics, which really are all about the future of rugby, and a way for John to give something back to the sport he loves, at grass roots level.

So here's part 1:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just When I Thought I Was Out...

...they pull me back in.

But it was an offer I couldn't refuse.


I'm working (along with my assistant Joe Gallagher) on another video project. You can tell because I'm wearing the compulsory director's cap.

This time it's for Leslie Rugby, and has given me the chance to work as part of another great team, including Tony Young, the drone helo camera operator in the middle of the photo above. That's Highlanders first five Hayden Parker at the kicking tee. We're shooting some aerials of rugby action.

It's also fun to work alongside John Leslie.  If you didn't already know, John was captain of the Otago rugby team during its golden age, the time of Tony Brown, Josh Kronfeld, Jeff Wilson and Marc Ellis to name just a happy few. John went on to play for Scotland, Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons and is the world record holder for the fastest try in test rugby (10 seconds).

Our first shoot was a little interview with John down at ForBarr Stadium.  Unfortunately the posts weren't up so we couldn't film the kicking sequence there.  But it didn't stop us having just a little fun on the paddock.

Leslie Rugby is aimed at serving the game at grass roots level, and from what I've seen, it's going to have a growing influence on the sport in this country, especially via the Kids Coaching Clinics. John says he has gotten so much from rugby that he's driven to give something back via coaching.  Below are a few a few shots of John passing on some of his skills as a contribution to Grants Braes primary school Gala day.  You can see the kids technique change before your eyes. It's remarkable.


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Watch this space, John is molding future All Blacks.

John is applying his passion for rugby into his business and it's a great pleasure to help him get the word out. He's also a great client, coming up with some very good contributions and trusting us to do what we do best, which is tell stories.  The only hard part is deciding what to leave out.

That my friends, is a very good place to be.