Category Archives: New Zealand
It’s that time of year again, where we get the feast on the best photographs of 2016 from all of our favourite photographers! I love going through people’s top 10 (or top 16) lists and love it even more when I see an image that I’ve somehow ‘missed’ from their feed during the year. I thought briefly about how I could shake things up, but figured that I would be making a change just for change’s sake. That has been our modus operandi this year ; that is, to consider why we are wanting to change the way we do things. If the change has a genuine basis to iron out a flaw or to encourage growth, than we’ve gone for it. If the change is merely because it’s what other people are doing and adding peer pressure to our creative processes, then we’ve tried to ignore it. If you’re here just to see photographs, then I thought I’d open up by sharing a video of our edited images to the beat of Grouplove’s ‘Itchin on a photograph’. If you want to see images in more detail, scroll below the video and hopefully, enjoy 😉
The undoubted highlight of this month was a one week trip to Tasmania with Luke Tscharke, Francois Fourie and Tim Wrate. We were supposed to walk the Western Arthurs but access was severed by devastating bushfires from which many parts of the country will never recover. Instead, we did a shorter hike to the Labyrinth and visited some local icons closer to Hobart. Locally, storm season gave some great conditions around Adelaide though the storms around here aren’t quite as speccy as in other parts of the country.
This was a quiet month photographically as tends to be the case after a photography trip. I tend not to go shooting while going through the backlog of images from a previous trip. This was the trip video
Around Adelaide, it definitely is a Mad March with the festivals in full swing. To suit the March madness, there were crazy skies one after the other! I managed to catch a couple of the lightshows along the coast but mostly, it was a case of being #dbreezied and just basking in that red glow.
The highlight of April was a long weekend to Kangaroo Island. The weather was pretty wild at times which suited photography quite well. The changeable conditions meant that there was a moment of light around the corner. We based ourselves at Vivonne Bay and photographed the south coast areas. I also had a successful shoot at Lake Bonney during one of those precious weekends where the kids are sleeping over at grandparent’s ! The image of Lake Bonney has since been used by Nisi quite extensively as has a 15 stop image taken at Kingscote during our Kangaroo Island weekend. Autumn colours were quite good this year though a little later than usual.
Marianne had her first market where we tried to combine photographic prints of local icons with her pastel and watercolour art. There were literally no photographic sales while many greeting cards and assorted prints were sold. We definitely learned that these markets were not really an appropriate selling point for fine art landscapes and since then, Marianne has done two other markets successfully with just her artworks. I didn’t venture out locally too often save for one trip to Second Valley where I wanted to shoot from a different vantage point.
The highlight of June was a 4 day trip to the Gold Coast, our first foray photographically. In that short trip, there were numerous experiences that we’ll remember. Dreamworld was the highlight for the children though our memories would be marred by a future tragedy which occurred there several months later on one of the rides we went on! It was a great opportunity shoot cityscapes, to visit epic coastlines, and last but not least, the beautiful forest scenes. The highlight for me was a half walk, half jog in Lamington National Park for a half day to visit its waterfalls. We’ll be back again some day no doubt!
Around this time of year, the rain starts to fall and the seasonal waterfalls come to life. One of my favourites is Mannum Falls . You never know what you get with these falls as the appearances varies wildly from trickles to torrents! This year, with the heavier rains in late winter, the images I shot paled into insignificance in terms of flow when spring rains flooded the area. David Evans , David Post and I also partook in a cleanup day for photography hotspots visualised by Christian Fletcher. Port Willunga thankfully was already very clean before we took out the 1% mess down there.
Without a photographic trip planned until late October I had a chance to release several instructional videos. I believe in giving back to the photographic community as all of my learning has been from free on line sources. As such, I created a series of free 2-3 minute tutorials (to capture the attention span of today’s social media viewing audience) that can be found on my youtube channel. To go with that, we also released a short video detailing how we achieve the ‘look’ of our images which tends to be a bright and vibrant feel rather than dark and moody. I did also enjoy a great morning down at Myponga beach . I also entered a few images into the Epson Panorama competition in the hope of breaking into the top 50 .
Much of the weather this month was stormy and with steady rain. Adelaide had experienced double its usual rainfall by this stage which isn’t really saying much considering that it’s the driest capital city. Nonetheless, it did keep us indoors and planning for our upcoming talk at APSCON in October. We do like to be super prepared so we modified our workshop that we gave to the FOCUS group in 2015 to fit it into a 1 hour interactive session (delivered by me) and a 1 hour didactic session given by Marianne. Over the years, we’ve learned that the best presentations answer the ‘WIIFM’ (What’s in it for me) within the first few slides. I’ve found myself getting restless with presentations that don’t address the WIIFM at all and just meander along with no clear message.
Pano award results were in! A couple of silvers and a bag of bronze for all entered images was again a what I considered a good effort given the quality of the entries but I did not break the top 50. Oh well, we’ll try again next year. After all the angst of preparation for APSCON, we did end up having a good time presenting to a very engaged audience who gave us great feedback. Our relationship with Nisi was a win-win (again) as two lucky attendees won themselves a V5 holder. Completion of our commitments was a huge pressure valve release for us and we could go to Canada with free minds! All was set to go , except for the expired passports which sat quietly, waiting until the last minute to assassinate our joy on departure day ……… Let’s keep things positive, we were only delayed 48 hours and still managed to have a great holiday with many wonderful experiences. In fact, there’s very little negative to say about the trip at all apart from our departure troubles.
This month was clearly dominated by our trip to Canada and briefly to the USA. I’ve already been blogging each segment, so I’ve included some representative images. If you’ve been to New Zealand before, think Mt Cook National Park but all around you, all of the time. If you haven’t been to New Zealand or Canada, do yourself a favour one day and just take a drive through the pristine country . I’ll have to reflect back with time as to which I prefer , but this being the first trip to the Rockies has left me with the bigger impression for now. Here are some images which I took that have become favourites for now:
There’s really nothing to add photographically this month . I have just been editing images from the last trip and keeping up with work and family commitments. I’ve tried my best to ignore the naysayers saying how awful 2016 was. Sure, a lot of crap went down this year, but surely a lot of good as well. The best thing about the ‘good’ is that you don’t have to look far to find it. There are good deeds, smiles, and joy around you all of the time and all it takes is for you to stop and notice it over and above the crazy events of the world. To round out the year, Marianne and I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have been following us on social media this year and in the more distant past. We hope that in the future, we continue to provide some source of inspiration in particular to photographers who travel with family. And, for the first time, I’d like to say a big thanks to our sponsors, Nisi – without you guys, the Canada trip would not have been possible . (Wow, that was cool to use that ‘our sponsors’ line lol!). Also a big thanks to the many social media hubs and sites such as F-stoppers who have featured us during the year, Australian Photography Magazine for our ongoing article publications and Pikitia Postcards for being our best clients 🙂 Find the happiness in 2016 and may it stay with you and grow for 2017.
Continuing with the countdown !
#15 Stars over Hooker Lake
This image was taken after taking a walk in the predawn light to Hooker Lake. It’s one of the most beautiful walks to do in New Zealand as an in-out shoot and ends at the impressive Hooker Lake. This was part of a series I’ve been shooting this year of ‘night exploration’ and I thought the vertical format with stars above shows off the scale of the cosmos. It’s interesting to note that lately I’ve been seeing a great many shots from this location with the core of the milky way superimposed into the scene often with a day time shot of the surrounding mountains. These make for striking images but personally I still strive to capture what is actually there in what is actually the prevailing light. Hence, I settled for Orion and predawn lighting for this scene. It’s important to note that people will NEVER agree on the imaginary line which separates landscape photography from digital art. Marianne and I settle for the term ‘artography’ for manipulated images, but this image still falls within our loose term for ‘photography’.
#14 Isthmus Peak
This was taken on the walk down from Isthmus peak where the actual dawn was a bust. And then the light came and was glorious for moments before fading away again. This was my second consecutive 3am start of long out and back trips before breakfast and it was a euphoric moment when the light appeared. As a point of discussion, it would be interesting to note if the people who have seen this image would be sufficiently inspired by the possibilities to get up there themselves. We’ll keep an eye on ‘Isthmus Peak’ google image searches to see if more images appear from this area and would feel very complimented if there are fine art landscape images appearing from a location which has thus far been dominated with snapshot images on google.
#13 The Spa Pool
This is an image of the famous ‘Spa Pool’ in Hammersley Gorge, one of the jewels of Karijini National Park. At the scene, there are limited options to set the tripod up due to the tilting geography , but this composition is not one that is unique. Marianne did take another image with the foreground rock as a subject. That particular image did very well in the Epson Panorama awards but wasn’t an especially popular image. I guess this begs the question of what you shoot for at a given scene. In all honesty, Marianne was not shooting for social media nor competition performance at the scene. In fact, as a photographic experiment we had decided she was to go to Spa Pool without having seen anyone else’s image! The fact that she came away with some different angles as well as the ‘tried and true’ points that some scenes lend themselves to certain compositions but yet there are endless opportunities to create something unique even from an iconic location. The bottom line is that we like this image, but we like her other version more 🙂
#12 Ashburton Tufts
This image was taken after an evening of light snow in the Lake Heron area. Since we were staying at Lake Heron station, we were allowed access on private 4WD paths. I wasn’t game to cross streams in our rental car so beyond a certain point, I went on foot in search of a composition to emphasise the unique landscape in the area. Button grass is certainly a characteristic feature in the New Zealand landscape. The image is 9 vertical frames taken with my 24-70 F2.8 II lens. These days, I’m finding much more success shooting longer focal lengths rather than ultrawide for panoramas. This is one of our favourite images from the recent trip and we’re hoping to get it printed 2m wide for our home at some stage!
#11 Wreck Beach
This image was taken near the anchor of the Marie Gabrielle shipwreck. It’s a 10 storey walk (350 + steps) down to the beach which actually sounds worse than it is. Along the walk to this point , the entire beach is filled with possibilities for compositions and different styles of seascape photography. I opted for a dry shoot on this evening. The interesting social media aspect to this image is how it came to rank highly in this countdown. It was one of our most liked images ever on facebook and I honestly do not feel that it ranks alongside some of our other well known images. I suspect that on that particular day, facebook allowed a greater ‘reach’ to the fans on our page. Reach limitations have stalled any meaningful interaction on most of our facebook posts and it’s somewhat disappointing that instagram seems destined to follow the same path of opportunistic greed. I like this shot enough, but once again, not enough to cry should it somehow vanish from our drives.
Stay tuned for the top 10 in the next post!
Recently, Marianne and I have contemplated getting more involved with landscape photography in terms of making it part of our ‘working’ lives instead of being purely recreational. Part of this process involved a review of what we would offer to paying clients and customers if we were to make that leap. In keeping with this, we asked ourselves what makes anything about ‘everlook photography’ any different to the cascades of quality photographers online these days. It was a hard question to answer and one which has prompted critical self review. It is hard not to be influenced by the growing influence of social media, popularity races (aka 500px) and conversely, a group of reactionary dissenters who have taken the polar opposite stance to popularity.
The first set of review questions relates to our portfolio of images. By portfolio, I mean what we choose to display on our primary website (www.everlookphotography.com) as opposed to social media platforms.
- Is our portfolio a group of images already well shot by other photographers and does this matter? On review it feels that there’s a diversity of images which are of locations frequently shot and those from which few images have been taken. Given a choice and the freedom of travel, we would dearly love to find our way to locations that are unique and from which we have to create rather than emulate. What we have chosen instead is to travel predominantly with family which leaves us the option of attempting to create from locations which have already been extensively photographed. Marianne is the one who does not engage in photographic social media and I believe is therefore more likely to create original images uninfluenced by the flux of images already on view.