Wednesday, 31 January 2007

The Cheek

When I took this shot, it accompanied the statement that it wasn’t for public consumption. Needless to say I complained, briefly. And consequently ignored the suggestion.

Though in keeping with the aforementioned request, I have done a wee PhotoShop job on the image – see if you can tell where.

Consequently I can state that the photo may or may not be of a person, who may or may not be gainfully employed, and may or may not have been photographed doing something, that while it isn’t inherently bad, it may or may not be a portrayal preferred by the employers of the person who they may or may not have gainfully employed, and who may or may not be in the photo.

PS: if you could see the unretouched image you’d probably crack up as much as I did - once you work out what you’re looking at.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

The Fuzzy

Aaawwwww, how lovely.

Monday, 29 January 2007

The First

The first photo I took in 2007.

And the second. Kinda similar to the first really.

Okay so I had a bit of light leak somewhere. (I think the tab which you use to hold the roll of film together after taking it out the camera somehow managed to get tangled up in the paper, meaning I had to unroll the paper a little, probably causing this light leak.)

The first shot was near where we spent New Years on the shore of Lake Pukaki. The second is a tree in Mt Cook National Park. I'm sure you all picked that anyway.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

The Last

The last photo I took in 2006.

And the second to last. Kinda similar to the last really.

And just for the hell of it, the third to last.

Okay so by the time we got to Lake Pukaki the weather wasn't so fine. But from memory it didn't rain, and it wasn't that cold. But maybe the big f-off fire we had helped a bit there.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

The Ride

Having gotten over my disappointment with not taking my bike with me on my wee roadtrip (something I was seriously considering up until a couple of days before leaving) and discovering just how much potential fun could have been had on a bike in South Canterbury/North Otago, I’ve been out riding the last couple of days.

Both days I decided to forego any logic and worry about unfit cycling legs. So I headed to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine (thanks Meridian), then carried on almost to the Airways Corp radar. For those of you who know Wellington (and know where I live), you’ll realise that it’s uphill all the way – a good solid hour and a bit of good solid uphill.

Both days around 5.30pm the fog rolled in from the south covering the peaks I was riding to. Thursday, having left about 5.00pm, the turbine was shrouded by the time I got there. Yesterday, having left earlier, I was well on my way to the radar when the fog came in.

So on Thursday, bearing in mind all the fog, I decided to head back via the tip track. I’d only done this track once or twice before, years ago, and found it full of ruts which made hooning downhill not much fun. But this time it was like someone had attacked it with a grader. There were still rocks and ruts to negotiate, but it was far more pleasant riding.

Yesterday, however, I did what I was planning to do on Thursday. Cycle down to Red Rocks. I’ve done that track dozens of times before, though not for a while (cos I didn’t have a ride-able bike for quite a while). What struck me was just how strange it is going along a track you know well, with views all around you know well, but not being able to see more than about 50metres in any direction. It was a really rather cool experience.

And then you get near the coastal ridge and pop out under the fog (though at one point earlier I popped out above the fog), and you see a stunning view. One that screamed out to be photographed. But I was sans camera; carrying only water, wallet, mobile, lights, and keys. Sitting about 250metres above the water looking out southeast and all you see is water and fog/cloud. No horizon. Absolutely beautiful.

A bit like this photo I took a few days ago at Port Underwood, near Picton, only much more impressive, with less defined sea/horizon/clouds, and beautiful and stunning. And without the ghastly vignette top right.

Friday, 26 January 2007

The Subvert

Did you know that 'subvert' in Danish and Norwegian is 'undergrave'? That's a rather cool word really.

Anyway, on to ME. I'd like to think that part of what my photography does is subvert the idea of traditional landscape photography - whether it's the sublime of the pictorialists, Ansel Adams etc., or the abstract of Minor White and his followers. I guess it's in the eye of the viewer, but I would like to think that that is at least part of what I do photographically.

But when you're travelling around this beautiful country of ours sometimes it's just too hard to ignore the obvious, the traditional, the shot everyone else takes.

Such as this, taken mid-evening when I was trying to escape from the sandflies.

Sometimes you see a shot which is similar to the obvious one, but which skews it a bit.

Such as this, taken just before that.

Sometimes you can add a bit of visual humour - mild in this case.

And sometimes you can just go "screw that, this says as much about this place than as any of those photos."

Thursday, 25 January 2007

The Janet

I'm slowly working through the films from my trip. Here, for your enjoyment, are two shots from my cool wee 'new' camera.

I was pleasantly surprised by Oamaru. The bit that everyone goes on about - the old part - is really only a couple of blocks. Nice as they are, I was expecting more.

What did surprise me was that it just seemed like a nice town, a pleasant place to holiday and do nothing. There were a few decent cafes. And an art gallery - the Forrester Gallery - which has a superb collection of McCahon works, including some stunning early works.

And then there's Janet Frame. This is one of her childhood homes, which is now a museum of all things Frame. Well, I think that's the case, but I didn't actually go in as I had places to go, things to shoot.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The Home

Happy New Year to you all.

After 5,954 kilometres, 21 rolls of 120 film, 152 sheets of 4x5 film, and 5 rolls of 35mm, I'm home again. Back in Wellington. Yay.

Cos I'm a really anal-retentive type of person I can tell you the exciting news that last year I shot 138 'films' (I have a loose definition). This year I have already shot 146 'films'. Isn't that just fascinating? Naturally it's going to take me the rest of the year to develop them all. And I'm really looking forward to developing all those 4x5 BW negs.

The South Island is a pretty neat place. I started three new bodies of work – maybe five, depending on how things work out. Hopefully one of them may be seen in the not too distant future. I also continued with a couple of on-going series, and a bunch of shots for no reason whatsoever. So many of them will probably end up here.

One thing I can tell you is that the South Island mid-summer is not a good time to be doing long-exposure night shots – the nights are just too bloody short. Go to bed at 11.00pm. Get up at 1.00am to start the exposure. Read until 3.30am, end exposure. Go back to bed. Get up at 7.00am to decamp.

Of course I ended up buying a ‘new’ camera too – a Konica Eye. A nice little half-frame camera from mid-60s, with the lens well whacked so the images will no doubt be artfully soft/blurry.

Much to my disappointment, I wasn’t required to wake up too early to go chasing birds in the pre-dawn. Fortunately black stilts (kaki), the world’s rarest wading birds, like wandering around and feeding in more pleasant hours. Admittedly, I spent most of my time with Nic accompanying him around the 526,481 predator traps he had to check (okay, it may have been the 150 or 200, but you don't know that), and not a huge amount hanging out with the birds. But they’re lovely wee things – photos may follow.

South Island scenery is rather pretty too. More on that later. When I will actually be able to show just how pretty some of it is.

I did more than just take photos. I also drank coffee – though not as much as usual. Omarama is the place to go.

I also did my usual rounds of second-hand bookshops. I was pleasantly surprised to see that prices were much cheaper (and more realistic in my opinion) than in Wellington. Though I do have to profess a surprise in the almost total lack of art and photography books available. Very disappointing guys. And I had so much money I wanted to give you too.

But at Smiths in Christchurch I did find a decent copy of the late Peter Turner’s ‘American Images 1945-1980’. At Read in Dunedin I found a near mint copy of Ans Westra’s 'Wellington : city alive’, with text by Noel Hilliard. And at Limited Editions in Ashburton I scored a four volume set called ‘The Photographic Negative’ by Herbert C. McKay, F.R.P.S. from 1945 – check out the design feature on the spine. I may get around to flicking through it at some point in the next fifty odd years.

All in all, a grand wee trip. It was disappointing that Nic was unable to join me for our planned week of road tripping. But it was perfectly understandable given the circumstances.

And I'm already kinda planning my next trip down country. We'll see what happens.