Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From Frost to Fog

As I headed into Alexandra on Sunday, I stopped to get some pictures of a nearby dam.   At this end of the valley the frost had gone and the fog was thick but I still managed to get a few snaps - with a little more time and consideration, you could pull of some really nice stuff.

Winter willowsjpg

Dam 1

In really cold years the dam freezes over and there are some swans that hang out there too, so a bit of time and they could be part of something nice.  This spot joins my photour list.  Best of all it's ten minutes away from some of the best cashew chocolate brownies in all New Zealand.  I'd tell you where, but it's the kind of photographic expertise I'm charging people for.

Dam Fog

I snatched a quick cup of coffee and one of those heavenly brownies in Alexandra and headed for the Ida Valley via Ophir. Ophir's historic buildings make it a no-brainer for photography, so I whizzed through without stopping for pictures. A few km down the road, I got a quickie of this rabbiter's hut for the record.

Rabbiters Rest

From here, the Ida valley was just over the hill, and the ice on the wire told me that I might just be in for something special... a Maniototo hoar frost. I couldn't wait to get over there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fun with Frost

There's so much amazing stuff in Otago, you'd be nuts to think you could do it justice in a day, a season or even a whole year of photography.  But since I'm planning to take some clients into the Maniototo, I decided to dash over to Alexandra yesterday and travel down the Ida valley to make sure we're going to get some good stuff.

I wasn't disappointed.

Frosted Cottage

My first stop was at Fruitlands, just before Alex. Mitchell's cottage is one of the finest examples of 19th century farmhouse stonework in the country. Boy was it cold though. Luckily I just got a merino beanie to wear under my regular one and some convertible fleece mittens. I would have liked to drive up all the way to the top of the Old Man range and Obelisk, but there was a little too much snow on the road, and I wanted to sus out the whole Ida Valley to St Bathans and Ranfurly before the useful light had gone. At this time of year, that's practically 5.00

Frosted Poplars

The valley floor was pretty well fogged in, but the cottage was just sitting high enough on the range to get a peek of blue sky now and then.

Frosted Leaves

We could easily spend a couple of hours here, on a good day or bad. The cottage is open and you could have a lot of fun in there with off-camera flash. But as good as it is, I think I'll stick to the Ida valley when my clients come. It was so good down there, but before that, I decided to hit a local dam for a little look.

More from that leg of the journey soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Sites


As much as I've wanted to, I haven't been adding a lot of content lately.  That's because instead of working on the photography side of things, I've been attending the business side.  I attended a great seminar on pricing and best practice run by the NZIPP last weekend, and am thinking about joining to attend the Michael Grecco workshop at their annual InFocus conference, as well as get some professional accreditation.  I've also been looking at my guiding business, things like getting a passenger licence and liability insurance.  It's all going to cost, but in the end it'll be worth it.  Ultimately, doing it all right will make it easier to do what I really want - make beautiful pictures.

On the marketing front, I've re-worked my websites.  First, there's clivecopemanphotography, and second, there's southernphotoguides, which is still a work in progress.  I am however, getting client enquiries, which is great.  Go on, have a look.  Better still, link to them!  More on the guiding later.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Which Way is Up?

Rain or shine, Otago Peninsula is so full of photographic opportunities.  I got this yesterday in one of my favourite haunts.  Hooper's Inlet was glassy smooth.  Flipping the image makes it look to me like a Sci Fi movie poster.

Sky Tide

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bring on the Rain

Did I really say that? 

Harbour Cone and Kiln

I guess I'm just a wee bit excited about my latest bit of kit.  Just a wee bit.   The other week I ordered a Matin waterproof jacket for my camera.  It's a medium - weight waterproof nylon with a vinyl window and drawstring for the lens. 

I got the medium size, which is supposed to fit a 300mm lens, but it fits my 70-200 with 2x adaptor just fine, as well as my shorter lenses.  This is the camo version but they make a white one too if you don't like the Rambo look. 
The vinyl window lets you check your screen, and it fits snugly around your viewfinder frame.  The rain is back, so this afternoon I took it and my new hat up the hill to the Sandymount road to check them out in the rain, and was pretty pleased.  No, I'm not showing you my hat.  This is one of my favourite bits of the Peninsula.  The low light and rain were a challenge, but on the plus side, in the different conditions, I started seeing new things in the landscape that I'd like to go and shoot again.  The rain creates little streams and surface reflections that work well as leading lines that just aren't there in drier conditions.  With my new kit, I'm ready to learn to see pictures in the rain now.
Harbour Cone and Kiln 2

I've also got my new watermark sorted, thanks to branding genius Nik Sweeney.

Soon I'll be ready to launch my new website, and then the new site for Southern Photo Guides.  Plenty to do, and as if that's not enough, I've begun writing a new science series for TVNZ 7 as well as starting work on a coffee table book for the Chamber of Commerce.  Happy times.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And the Winners are...

Harbour Cone trees-3723

... all of Dunedin! The sun has returned after a truly dismal spell. Yesterday I was returning home from visiting a colleague to get a print done when I finally saw one of my favourite spots on the Otago Peninsula bathed in light that really made the most of it. I only had a minute to get something as evening cloud was approaching fast, but now I know the best conditions to go there in. It'll be a spot I'll do other shoots, and possibly take guiding clients, but like many good spots, it tends to be a great backdrop in search of a subject to do it justice. It'd be a great spot for an outdoor portrait as long as the road isn't busy.

Harbour Cone trees-3742

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Otago Museum Wildlife Photo Comp. There are a few duds in the final selection, like the jury prize going to a nice but rather ordinary portrait of an elephant seal from South Georgia. One of my favourites is of some dolphins seen in the dark reflection of the passengers on board a boat - it's not the most stunning bit of composition but it's a shot with plenty of interest and tells a story. I'm pleased to see the overall winner is a capture of a very nice moment in animal behaviour rather than just another nature portrait.

Check the winners out here.