Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trentham Fireworks Fantastic

It has been a few years now since I last attended the Trentham Fireworks Fantastic and I was somewhat disappointed in this time. There were no live performances like there used to be, just music videos on the big screen and Stu from The Breeze keeping us all entertained. It felt somewhat lacking in the entertainment side.

There were the usual showground rides for the kids and they seem to be very popular with queues to some of the rides being quite long, and of course the fast food caravans that always seem to be busy. The crowds were not there as early as I remember either, with most arriving within the last 40 mins or so before the big event.

This year one of our Camera Club members had arranged for us to be in a people free zone to photograph the fireworks, which was really cool. We had to sign in when we arrived and were issued with hi-vis jackets and pointed to the area where we could set up. There was even seating which was great for waiting for the fireworks. It was funny how members of the public assumed we were someone official wearing the jackets because we were asked all sorts of questions... "Where are the toilets?", "What time does it start?", "Is there an EFTpos machine anywhere?" We answered what we could and they seem to leave happy.

When the fireworks started I got a huge fright! They always start off with a huge explosion and flames and every time it gets me, even when I am expecting it to happen. This time it was worse because we were so close to it. The area we were in was INSIDE the safety barriers! It was probably a bit too close really, as every time they let one off the ground shook and with it the tripod and camera. Not a whole lot we could do about that. I am not terribly excited about my images this time round, I think I could have done better but with only 15 minutes of continuious fireworks there is not a whole lot of time to play around with settings.

There seemed to be a lot more white fireworks than in the past too, which makes it hard to expose correctly. The coloured displays are much easier to get right. Next year I think I might try from the back of the crowd and hopefully the bright whites won't be quite so bright as they were last night.

Regardless of how the images look, and what was lacking in the event I still had a good time. Meeting up with a bunch of other people from the club was fun and made it more of a social event too. I will most definitely be back next year for another shot at it.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sadie Von Scrumptious

I just love the names the girls have chosen as their burlesque names. Phoenix Flame and Sadie Von Scrumptions are both names that not only suit them but leave the imagination thinking all sorts of things. Tantilising the mind with their teasing sounds - exactly what the burlesque aims to do. I love the variety of costumes that we have had to play with during the two photoshoots I have done with these two. Everything from prim and proper to wild and sexy. Sadie with her lingerie and innocence and Phoenix with her... well just herself !  The images that I have shown you all here are but the tip of the iceberg - short of putting an adult rating on this blog I just can't show them all. Trust me when I say they were a whole lot of fun and very successful.

A big part of what makes this type of photoshoot work so well is that the models are relaxed and comfortable. They are both known to be personally in other circles and while Phoenix is an old hand at being in front of the camera, Sadie is still very new and unsure of herself. As much time is taken to help the models relax and be comfortable with their surroundings as there is during the actual shoot itself. A wise lady once said to me that if you don't look after your models, you won't get the images you want - and it's true!

Both Sadie and Phoenix attend burlesque dance classes locally, each time I see them they have learnt something new. Phoenix is getting to be quite the accomplished pastie (tassle) twirler! She even makes them herself! I have seen it for myself, and of course photographed it, but unfortunately those images won't appear here.

Sadie enjoys the retro look and is often tracking down new websites to source items of clothing from. My new suitcase - a trademe purchase - fitted in perfectly with her outfit for these photos.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Corsets and tutus... ooh lala!

 I am not sure which has been more fun, shooting these images of processing them. I didn't realise just how many costume changes they had in that short space of time - until I saw just how long it took. The whole afternoon seemed to go so fast but it in fact we played dress-ups for four hours! My models are going to be very pleased with the results I am sure.

After the fiasco with the strobe lights my husband and I decided it was time to go shopping. I do so love shopping online :) My old lights have lasted me many years so it isn't so hard to realise that they have probably done more than they were desinged to do. I bought cheap and struck it lucky - I am hoping this time I am just as lucky. I have ordered a new set of lights but these ones are a higher wattage than the previous ones and are probably more suited to the work I do. I can't wait for them to arrive now so I can try them out.

Which leaves me with a sad old set that still has a little life left in them. So if anyone is interested in them, and perhaps has the know-how to repair them make me an offer. They come with a stand each, 75w modeling light and 110w flash. As I said the cycling time has slowed right down on them - anything up to a minute between shots.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Two burlesque beauties (not the three that were expected) and lots of hats, feathers, masks and one photographer with a camera. That was the recipe we used today for a fun photoshoot. We had so many plans but when we got started things just didn't go right. My studio lights are several years old now, and when I bought them they were probably the bottom of the range - or cheap and nasty. They have done so well for so many years I am really disappointed that they didn't make the grade today. Their cycle time is getting slower and slower so there was often a long pause between shots.

We may not have had the perfect working studio set up but that didn't stop us. For the first half of the shoot I was concentrating on face shots. Both of these girls have such pretty faces and I wanted to get some really good  close up shots. We also played with some masks that I had found at the local pharmacy of all places. I am getting quite the collection of props for these shoots, our spare bedroom is turning into a very large wardrobe!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From the archives

I don't have a lot of new stuff to show you at the moment as I didn't get out much over the weekend. Now that daylight savings has started I may get the chance to get out in the evenings a bit more with the camera providing the weather is better than it currently it. Tonight's images were shot during the 2009 PSNZ Central Regional Convention - almost a year ago now hence the title 'From the archives'. They are just random shots of the models we had at the con. This years regional convention is going to be held in Levin in a couple of weeks time. Unfortunately I won't be attending this year.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spring is here!

We have a very pretty white wisteria growing on the site of our balcony. Every year it gives us a curtain of white flowers along the side of the house, and every year the spring winds blow them all to bits. I am hoping that this year will be different as we already have the winds and the wisteria is still in bud! It could be a timing thing, or it could be that we are in for a lot more wind but regardless I am looking forward to seeing the wisteria in flower again.
White Clematis

Right now we have the next door neighbours clematis in full bloom flowing over the side of the fence down the driveway. It really is am impressive site and the flowers last for a long time. I picked a bit off this weekend while I was having a play with my macro lens. I am not sure if it is the lens or if it is me, but I can never seem to achieve the look I am wanting to get with it. I was almost ready to toss it in the rubbish on Saturday I was so frustrated. In the end I gave up - which is not like me, and I have missed the first brief on the photo 5 competition. I see no point in entering an image that is not up to the required standard, so I entered nothing. There are still four more briefs left - maybe one of them will be a winner for me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Teasing Tui

I managed to photograph the tui this evening. I think he was a little drunk on nectar of the kowhai flowers as for once he didn't seem to care if I was there or not :)


Many years ago now, I invested in an A3 photo printer. It was a very expensive purchase but I was able to print real photo quality prints to A3 size and I thought this made it all worth while. At the time I purchased the printer, the inks were a reasonable cost and I worked out a cost per page that seemed doable. However over the years the cost of the inks have gotten more and more expensive to the point where I am now thinking about retiring the printer (or selling it) permanently. It is just costing too much to use and more and more I find I am going elsewhere to get my photos printed.

There are lots of different retailers now offering digital photo printing and the quality they are providing is for the most part very good. I have tried several of them, but  I personally like the print quality at Harvey Norman’s and with their VIP club membership the prices are very good. There is almost always a special on and 6x4 prints are as cheap as 12cents each. Our local Camera Club is lucky enough to receive a discount on prints at Norman Ross. Same quality as that which I enjoy at Harvey Norman’s and with the discount the prices are comparable to the VIP membership.  So I have choices!

So why would I bother to print my own any more? My printer has 8 ink cartridges, each costing on average around $35.00 each. Then there is the cost of the paper, which if you buy cheap you get a cheap looking print, so it really is an expensive exercise to DIY. My printer is still in great working order but that is not going to encourage me to use it any more, its days are numbered! All I really need is a cheap little printer to print documents from time to time that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to fill with ink.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More of Blake

Today there has been a tui teasing me all day long. We have a kowhai and a kakabeak tree in our front garden both of which are in flower and the tuis love them. Unfortunately every time I get anywhere near with the camera it flies off. I am lucky in that I have a huge window directy in front of the flowering trees, so I can usually photograph the birds without them noticing me. Today's tui is a little smarter, he either saw movement or the light caught on the lens but either way he decided it was not a safe place to feed right now.I will keep trying to photograph it and when I do, I will post some images here for you.

Here's a few more from Blake's shoot yesterday. I love the faces he pulls, full of expression! Check out the last photo - classic!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Blake is 8 weeks old today. A little old for a new born shoot, and not quite old enough to enjoy holding his head up and be comfortable on his tummy. In fact being on his tummy was his least favourite thing to do! I think Blake decided early on that he wasn't really into this whole photo thing, so he really wasn't interested in looking at the camera or anything else for that matter. His mum tells me he is full of smiles now but we didn't see many of them when the camera was at the ready.

Working is babies is a challenge, but one that I enjoy. I am still learning what I can do with them photographically as I really haven't had the chance to photograph very many. That is until now, there are a few more on the way too so practice time is coming. What suits one baby is not always going to suit the next. Some look cute in baskets, others don't. Girls can be faries and can be covered in flowers, but boys are a little different.

Blake was a trouper and let me work with him for nearly two hours (with breaks included) so I have a lot of photos to process over the next few days. I will post a few of each segment as I do them, so watch this space!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I don't know why it is, but almost everyone likes tigers! In the shops you can find all sorts of things with tiger faces on them from bedspreads to pictures to hang on the wall. Personally I have never really been one to drool over a tiger picture - unless of course I took it.

Realistically I am never going to see a tiger in the wild, so I have to be satisfied with photographing them in a captive environment and until recent years that has always been a difficult task. Now with zoo's using more glass in their enclosure viewing areas, it is a little easier to achieve. Having the glass clean is always a bonus but the camera can focus beyond a little grunge if need be.

These images were shot at the Auckland Zoo and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to capture the tiger when she was so active. Every time I have visited there since, the tigers were all snoozing in the sun and not very motivated to move at all. These shots were taken just after opening time and I suspect food was either close by or just finished - I am just thankful that I wasn't the meal!

Monday, October 4, 2010

More from Red Rocks

From what I have been told, there used to be a quarry at Red Rocks and the hills still bare the scars of it. I didn't notice the lines in the rock until I looked at the photo on the screen. This is one of those images that really doesn't do the scene justice. These rocks were right above us and very imposing.

I took this image when we were about half way to the seals. I really didn't have any real idea just how far it was that we were going but if you look at the right hand point where the hills meed the water - that's where our car is parked! The information sites say a 30 - 40 minute walk to the seals, it took us over an hour but I did stop for breaks and photographs.

This is why the area is called Red Rocks. There really are red rocks - the colour is simlar to that of the gemstone jasper. The red rocks are lava from undersea volcanic erruptions over 200 million years ago. Iron oxides give the rocks the red colouring.
Nearing the seals at this stage, just one more point to go around. It seemed close but it was still quite a distance. There were lots of 4x4's going to and from the seals. Aparently the gates are closed to the vehicles on Sundays between the hours of 8am and 6pm. This would make for a much easier walk as we constantly had to move out of the way of them - however it also means there is noone to hitch a ride back with!

 The seal colony is made up of male fur seals who were unsuccessful at breeding in the South Island colonies. With no females or young it is a more peaceful colony of seals, but I still wouldn't want to mess with these teeth. Our driver on the way home told us of how just a week earlier he had accidently stood on a seal thinking it was a rock and had to make a run for it when the seal turned to attack. It chased him down the road at speed.