Sunday, November 28, 2010

Family Fun

It's been a couple of weeks since I have found the time to post here. We have had a busy time just lately with a Civil Union last weekend and a portrait session yesterday. That and life in general gets all topsy turvy around this time of the year.

Yesterday's portrait session was a lot of fun. I photographed this couple when they got married a few years back and it was a pleasure to be able to do a family portrait for them now. Working with young children can be very challenging but I am learning that five year olds can be bribed to smile and they can most definitely count how many times the flash has gone off.

Babies and toddlers are a little different. In their case we work to their agenda and just go with the flow. The youngest member of this family didn't much like bean bags but he loved boxes. So the nearest thing I have to a box is the old suitcase - it worked a treat!

Next weekend I have young Abigail back for her six month photo - my how time has flown!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Trip to Napier

I am writing up the trip from back to front, not to confuse you but because that is how I am processing the photos. Upper Hutt to Clive, where we were staying, is a little over a four hour drive – it took us almost nine hours!  Not because we got lost or anything silly like that, but because we made lots of stops. We stopped in Greytown and had morning tea. Then we walked the main street to have a look at the shops. There were some really interesting shops there but we were strong and didn’t spend much. Just one small glass Christmas decoration was purchased to add to the tree this year. Our next stop was in Masterton, once again checking out the shops.
Kaka on flax
After Masterton we stopped in at Mt Bruce Reserve. We paid our $15 each and walked around the bush trying to photograph any birds we saw along our way. We weren’t much interested in the aviaries as it is too difficult to photograph them without the netting interfering with the shot. There were some fantails that followed us around, flitting from branch to branch staying just long enough for us to ALMOST focus on them, then moving again. Most frustrating! We saw plenty of tui but once again didn’t manage to get any decent images of them. So we gave up and had lunch in the cafĂ©
Kaka feeding from flax flowers
It wasn’t until we were about to leave that we really had some fun with the cameras – out in the car park!! There were both kaka and tui feeding on the flax flowers right in the car park. We needn’t have spent the money to go in, we could have gotten all the shots we wanted right there in front of the building. We decided to try doing just that on the way home but unfortunately the weather had turned and the birds were no where to be seen.

We stopped to photograph a horse that looked like it was posing especially for us. It was still in the same position when we were driving home two days later. If we hadn’t seen it walk around the paddock we might have been thinking it wasn’t real! The last place we stopped before getting to Clive was Waipukurau where we once again walked about looking at the shops. They had some sort of a market day happening and each shop had a display from their favourite musical. Some of the staff had also dressed up into their chosen theme. By the time we finally reached the motel we were ready to collapse in front of the TV with a glass of wine and relax – and we did just that!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Napier Fountain

Driving along Marine Parade in Napier we spotted this fountain. Of course we stopped, these photos give that away. I loved the way the water flowed right around the arches and spent quite a bit of time playing with shutter speed settings. Fast speed to stop the water showing the individual droplets and slower speeds to give the impression of flowing water. Both look pretty cool and both show the lines that I liked so much. I would have liked to have a go at this one at night, I wonder if they turn it off or light it up. Might have to check that out on our next trip.

Fast shutter speed stopping motion.

Slow shutter speed to show movement.

Slower shutter speed for more movement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Tobacco Company Building - Ahuriri

As we were driving around Napier we spotted the most beautiful art deco building I think I have ever seen, the photos really don't do it justice. The sun was shining on all its brasswork and it just about jumped out at us saying "photograph me!". So we stopped the car and out came the cameras. Was probably quite a site, two photographers standing in the middle of the road taking photos of a building, glancing sideways every few minutes to make sure there were no cars about to run them over.

The floral work on this building was just stunning. What looked like raupo(bull rushes), paprus and roses all done in such a tasteful and beautiful way. I googled the building (as you do) to find out some information about it. It dates back to 1932-33. The National Tobacco Company building was built after the devastation of the 1931 Napier earthquake and was designed by Louis Hay. At some point it was taken over by Rothmans and the name on the facade of the building was changed. Since they are no longer using the building, the name on the facade has been restored to its original.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gannets at Cape Kidnappers

Foreign tourists are great for the economy, they spend lots of money touring around New Zealand. The tourist operators just love them. But spending a couple of hours on a small bus with one in particular that asked as many dumb questions of our driver as there are stars in the sky on a clear night, just about drove us all mad. It is amazing that we managed to concentrate on the task of photographing the gannets when we finally reached the plateau colony.

To get to the gannet colony we had to drive overland (in air conditioned four wheel drive buses) through Summerlee Station (also known as Cape Kidnappers Station). On the way through our tour guide (driver) told us lots of interesting information about the station and how it had changed over the years. He had spent his whole life living and working on the station and it was very clear to us just how much the place meant to him. It made for a more personal view of the area which was much better than just listening to a scripted guide. Well it would have been if it wasn't for the dumb questions from the front of the bus!

We had the most glorious weather yesterday when we visited the birds, it couldn't have been better. Very little wind, brilliant warm sunshine. On the way home today it was windy and raining - quite the contrast, so we definitely picked the better of the two days. I spent a lot of time trying to capture the perfect flying bird shot. It is not an easy task when they come in so fast and land so awkwardly. It's like they just zoom in and then fall out of the sky, nothing graceful about the gannets landing that's for sure!

We didnt' see any chicks this trip, we were a little bit early. The tour guide told us that the chicks were expected to hatch any time now, and we did see some eggs. The birds incubate the eggs under their webbed feet, it was really interesting watching them wrap their feet around them before settling down. There were still a lot of birds without eggs mating. I am not sure if these were mature birds or young ones on their first trip back to the nesting colony. The plan now is to make another trip back to the plateau colony in early January when there should be plenty of chicks about for us to photograph.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Charlie Theodore

I just love some of the names people are giving their children these days, many of the older names are coming back into fashion and the sillier ones are finally becoming fewer. Charlie wasn't so keen on his first modeling experience, he was certainly not happy being uncovered. Every baby reacts differently and with each one I am learning a little bit more.

Charlie's older brother, Ashton, was only a few months old when I first photographed him. Ashton was probably one of the first babies that I had photographed. I also had the privilage of being one of the photographers at their parent's wedding. So it's a real treat to be called on again with the new baby's arrival.

Thank you to those of you who gave me some wonderful suggestions for my 'baby kit'. I have a shopping list now so that I am fully prepared for the next baby shoot.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Yesterday was an extremely busy day for me and by the end of it I was exhausted. The first shoot of the day was young Olivia-Rachelle. A gorgeous we girl who looked so innocent while she was sleeping and a real sucker when awake. Olivia-Rachelle likes the comfort of feeding and isn't so keen on cameras. We did manage to get some good shots in while she was settled.

I have a lot of fun with this family, big brother Broden also posed for an updated portrait. He was there on the chair for all of two minutes but that is all we needed to achieve this shot of him. Sometimes it's not about quantity of images, it's about the quality. One good image is worth way more than ten ok ones.

If I have learned one thing from this weekend, it is that I need to have a baby kit. Wet wipes, LOTS of towels and anything else that might be required to keep the furniture clean! It seems to be an instinctive reaction to most babies, when you take off their nappy it is free time and watch out anyone who is in range! Certainly makes for a lot of laughs.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New studio lights

My lights arrived this week, just in time for all the new babies that I have to photograph. However I did need to test these new lights as they are a bit stronger than the previous ones and I didn't want to waste time getting the right settings when there were babies waiting. They tend to have a very short window of opportunity to photograph and I want to make the most of every minute. So we put a call out for model to help me test the lights and two lovely ladies answered the call.

 The day was not without it's frustrations, none of my remote triggers are fast enough to work with my camera and my lights, they creates a nasty delay that ruins the images, so I am having to remained teathered to one of the lights at least until I find myself a better wireless trigger. That will take a bit of getting used to but it's not an impossible situation. I only *almost* pulled the lights over once :) Thanks Mel for being there to catch them, I would have been devasted if I broke my new set on the first try out.

One of the models arrived carrying her 11 week old baby and you just know I couldn't resist inviting the baby into the shoot as well. Young Arabella was an awesome wee model, just like her mum and I enjoyed having them to photograph. Today I have two more babies all going well, so there will be lots to write about tonight. That is if I am finished with all the processing that will need to be done. It's one of the downsides of taking lots of photos.