Saturday, 31 March 2007

The Damned

Friday, 30 March 2007

The Primer

I ordered this book on Boxing Day last year. It arrived yesterday. I've finished reading it already.

Stolen from Amazon: "THE NATURE OF PHOTOGRAPHS by Stephen Shore, is an essential primer on how to understand photography by one of the world's most influential photographers. Growing out of a college course that Shore taught for many years, this book explores ways of looking at photographs from all periods and all types--from iconic images to found photographs, from negatives to digital files. Its aim is to describe the physical and formal attributes of a photographic print--the very elements that form the tools a photographer uses to define and interpret the content. In the end, Shore teaches us, on the most basic level, how a photograph "works."

It's a really easy read, and while it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, it did make me aware of things which previously were subconscious for me.

And there's lots of pretty pictures too.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The Observer

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

The Black

These pictures contain black stilts. On this day I discovered that the Hasselblad 503CX with an 80mm f2.8 lens really isn't the best camera choice for shooting wildlife. For one, the lens really is too wide. Also it is a slow camera to focus - no auto focus here. And it has a lovely, full, resonant mirror slap which tends to frighten flighty birds (as seen below).

Oh look, there's a black stilt and a DoC worker - busy DoC working as ever, i.e. lots of standing around looking at stuff, bits of getting annoyed with hangers-on with cameras that frighten off the very birds you're standing around looking at.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Another Valley

This is the Ahuriri Valley. Before I got there a friend had informed me that it was a stunningly beautiful valley. Indeed he went so far as to state it was the second most beautiful valley in the country. I had no reason to believe him. I had no reason to doubt him either mind you. Clearly, as it turned out, he knew what he was talking about.

That's the first real glimpse you get of the valley, as it opens up in front of you after cruising a few kilometres down a dirt road.

And a little further up the valley.

Climbing up the western side of the valley we got grand views north and south.

Looking north with Ben Avon pond in the foreground.

And some other view of the place.

The Ahuriri Valley was one of those experiences which happen less and less for me now - old, jaded, and cynical as I am. My first view of the valley was quite literally jawdropping. Nothing prepares you for the view you get. The first part of the road you drive down is so mediocre that when the valley opens up in front of you it is a complete revelation. While the effect was lessened with subsequent trips, it still held me, and I suspect going back I will be hit again by the expanse and beauty.

It's quite a nice place, eh!

Sunday, 25 March 2007

The Diptych

Saturday, 24 March 2007

The Valley

This is the Matukituki Valley. Before I got there a friend had informed me that it was a stunningly beautiful valley. Clearly, as I shall prove later, she didn't know what she was talking about. It's okay, but I've seen better.

It has a river. My guess is that it was the river that actually created the valley. It also has farm land.

And there's a mountain. It's an okay mountain, but it didn't really do it for me.

Oh, it's Mount Aspiring by the way.

And this is the view from Lake Wanaka, from Wanaka township actually. Now that's nice.

Friday, 23 March 2007

The Douglas

Thursday, 22 March 2007

The Thought

When thoughts get too heavy ...

They fall over.

This is from the TVC I worked on a few weeks back. It was for an American forestry company, so I doubt whether we'll see the ad in NZ.

The concept was about growing ideas (I think - didn't really pay much attention cos I didn't have to).

This is what a film set in the middle of a douglas fir forest looks like - lots of people in fluoro vests and hard hats.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Lighthouse

And the lighthouse keeper.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Harbour

Monday, 19 March 2007

The Wildlife

Sunday, 18 March 2007

The Church

It's Sunday. So here are a couple of shots of a church.

Not just any church mind you.

It's the church where three generations of my family are buried - well two are buried, the third was sprinkled.

It's St James Church, just north of Kaikoura. It's now a studio space for local artists it seems. Not that there's ever been anyone else there when I've been wandering around.

This is the shot I was there for. It's the grave site where three generations of my family are buried - well two are buried, the third was sprinkled.

I've just spent the last week, off and on, in the darkroom processing all the black and white film I shot in January. I learnt a few things. 1) processing with deep tanks sucks, 2) I do indeed have some leaky film holders, 3) fix gets exhausted faster than I thought, 4) I need to be much better organised next time I go on a similar sized shooting spree.

Learning is good.

Special Added Bonus:

Same church, different year.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

The Positive

It's time for a photoless rant. Cos I can.

The other week I had a few coffees with a couple of local photographers, and I was struck by something kinda obvious.

Working with Andric in Nelson, and especially once we hit the road, everything was "super-" and "the best ever". It was a bit annoying at times, but he is a super-positive guy - in photography and in life.

Then I come back to Wellington and I get people complaining about pissy little jobs that really amount to nothing in the whole scheme of things. And I sit there and go "so what are doing this for?" It's an obvious question.

I admit that it took me a few years to work out what I wanted to be doing and how to go about doing that. And at the moment I am doing exactly that. I have made sacrifices, I'm always on the bones of my arse, but I have a supportive family and friends, and that helps lots.

As a self-employed person, you are (more or less) in control of your fortunes. It's easy to blame your failings on other people, but at the end of the day you are what you make yourself. If you're not happy with yourself, then rather than complain about things, you need to be questioning why and take whatever steps are necessary to resolve it.

Because I know the photographic industry that's what I talk about, and without picking on any people in particular, it seems to me that there is an overwhelming negativity here (in Wellington). And there also seems to be a lack of people trying to make things better for themselves, people just to happy to meander along, get the odd job, and complain about everything. (Some, a lot more than others it has to be said. And also, I probably get moments of venting from a number of people, so maybe my impression is blurred. Or maybe it's just that I attract depressives.)

But it was a revelation to work with someone who was so overwhelmingly positive - to the point that he told me off for being too negative about parts of this country (Ashburton?! where's the appeal?)

For myself, I'm not where I want to be, but for the time being I'm happy with where I've come from, and where I'm going. I know the big picture, and I'm working on getting there - maybe not as fast as I'd like, but I am getting there.

One of the photographers (who can be down about it, but works hard to come through it) said that happiness and money are too closely tied together in New Zealand. And that's where I'm at. I'd rather struggle with what I want to be doing and be happy, than earn more and be unhappy.

I'm happy now.

And it helps when you get to drive around this beautiful country, stay in lovely places, and eat great food - all at someone else's expense. Man I've got the best job ever.

Okay, so I know I complain a fair bit too - but I've got a fair bit to complain about. And I also know that I'm really good at handing out the advice and not following it myself. I'm a hypocrite. So what! Sue me.

Basically the moral here, and it works for everyone, is that if you're not happy, work out why, and do something positive about it. (Unless of course you're happy with being unhappy, and if that's the case you're just a dick.)

Friday, 16 March 2007

The Morning

There are days. Some days you sleep. Some days you don't.

Lately I've been struggling with the sleeping bit. Especially when the person I'm working with says they're going to be up early and head out. So I wake about 6.ooam (after getting to sleep about 1.00am), lie there for a bit, then go "bugger this, I'm getting up."

Some days it's a good thing too.

Being in Twizel, and it being a glorious morning, I thought I'd go for a walk. I walked across the road.

Across the road was the Ben Ohau Golf Course. I walked around and took photos - as I tend to do.

I took a lot more photos than I intended, but I was having fun.

You can see the moon, and Mount Cook in some of the photos. It's really cool looking west to see the moon setting, just as the sun is rising in the east.

Just as I was getting back, the person I was working with made an appearance. It was time for breakfast.