ISSUE 2, December 2017
BEHIND THE SHOT
WITH KAREN MCLEOD
TAKING ON TARANAKI
BY BRENDON GILCHRIST
From the Editor
Join the conversation!
Get in touch!
NZPhotographer Issue 2
YOUR SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
by Rina Sjardin - Thompson –
Ana Lyubich email@example.com
Taya Iv, Editor
Rajib Mukherjee, Ray Harness,
Phone us on 04 889 29 25 or send
us an enquiry firstname.lastname@example.org
We were thrilled to receive so much kind
feedback after the release of our first issue.
Your helpful comments and continuous
support motivated us to make the second
issue even more magnificent than the first!
In this issue, we’re proud to share various
photographers’ thoughts, expert critiques,
travel inspiration, and more. We had the
honour of interviewing talented individuals,
discovering brand new tips to share with you,
and growing our community. The photos
gracing these pages were carefully selected
to inspire you as much as possible.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the true value
of beginnings. NZ Photographer Magazine is
only a couple of months old now, yet it has
already grown into something significant.
Within a few weeks, our team has gotten to
know an abundance of talented individuals.
We’ve had the opportunity to give artists a
chance to be truly heard. What a humbling
experience this has been for us. It wouldn’t
have been possible without you, dear
reader. Thank you for being a part of our
community. Thank you for being you.
We look forward to seeing your work in future
© 2017 NZPhotographer Magazine
All rights reserved. Reproduction
of any material appearing in this
magazine in any form is forbidden
without prior consent of the
Whether you’re an enthusiastic
weekend snapper or a beginner
who wants to learn more, NZ Photographer
is the fun e-magazine for all
Kiwi camera owners – and it’s free!
Opinions of contributing authors do
not necessarily reflect the opinion
of the magazine.
INTERVIEW WITH RINA SJARDIN-THOMPSON
Q&A WITH PAUL ROBERTSON
BEHIND THE SHOT WITH KAREN MCLEOD
50 YEARS OF PHOTOGRAPHY WITH RAY HARNESS
EXPLORING EAST CAPE
NOISE REDUCTION TECHNIQUES FOR LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
PORTFOLIO BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
Photo by Diane Beguely
TAKING ON TARANAKI
Interview with Rina
Her Journey from Farmyard
to Fulltime Photographer
Can you tell us a little about
yourself and how you became
interested in photography?
I was born in Rotorua, moved to Australia when
I was 16, finished school there, left school at
18, 6 months later I got married and worked
alongside my husband in our bricklaying
business and then I worked in a behaviour
management unit as part of the Queensland
After 25 yrs in Australia I came home, back
to Rotorua and worked in management of
a retail store until I found my feet again and
settled.... problem was I didn’t settle, I moved
to Hanmer Springs where I met a bloke from
the West Coast. When I realised he was 5th
generation on his farm at Bruce Bay I realised
he was not going to pack up to be with me so I
moved to Fox Glacier and eventually to Bruce
This was where I started taking pictures....
how on earth could you not!!! Every morning
I’d wake up, go to the loo and look out the
window to see the Mahitahi River winding
its way out of the mountains, Mt Hooker
permanently covered in snow, albeit a strip
down the middle in summer, the Flagstaff
Creek coming out of the foothills and Hereford
cattle grazing beneath 1000yr old Kahikatea
trees..... oh and occasionally a few deer!!! Truly
There was a small 4-megapixel camera in
the drawer and I used that to snap away
around the farm... quite the culture shock for
me having come from Brisbane/Gold Coast
Australia to the very rural Bruce Bay and onto
a farm no less. I had a lot to learn. My then
partner needed photos of his prized bulls for
catalogues and images taken from around
the farm for advertising his bull sales so I began
to take the camera everywhere I went – I was
never without it. I upgraded to a DSLR and
took that everywhere with me... I had caught
the bug. Bitten and smitten you could say!
My first competition came with the invitation
to enter a small local calendar competition
– The top 13 images being used to create
the calendar... I had 4 images go into that
calendar including the cover... then people
started asking for a particular image of the two
bulls fighting in the river so I was giving them
away.... Then it was suggested I enter a bigger
regional competition which I did. I entered 3
images in each category and won 1st, 2nd,
3rd in each category I’d entered.... that was
when I thought “ok, maybe I can take a
photo” and from there the sales started.
It was good to test the waters with these
smaller comps but now the only competition I
enter is the NZ Geographic Competition. I love
that NZ Geographic have restrictions on the
processing of entries and they hold you to a
certain standard thereby making it a soughtafter
title for photographers. Love that.
4 NZPhotographer December 2017 5
What happened next, how did
photography become your career?
I began loading my images onto Flickr and
I created a Facebook page, though this
wasn't for photos. It was to keep in touch
with friends whilst travelling but very quickly
became about photos and soon after it
became my office, gallery, and portfolio! I
have no website as I think FB does a better
job and I can communicate instantly with
people and potential clients.
I had an experience where I was doing the
photos at a family reunion in Fox Glacier.
A woman came up to me and said, “I love all
the photos you put on FB Rina.”
I frowned as I looked at her name badge as
I didn’t recognise the name. So I asked her,
“How did you find me?”
She replied, “I have a sister in Scotland who
has a friend in England who has a friend
in Australia who is friends with my friend
Paula....” I realised that Facebook would
have to stay!
What tips do you have for our readers on
turning a hobby or interest into a career?
It’s a journey and its a process. Unfortunately,
there are no shortcuts you have to do the hard
yards to learn how to use your camera. For me
things have worked a little differently than most
as I pretty much fell into photography as I have
with all my careers. There was never a master
plan, never a burning desire, never a marketing
strategy, never a conscious decision to go down
this road – In fact, for me, its more like my camera
is taking me on a journey, not me taking my
camera. I now go where the work takes me and I
love that... I’m literally just going with the flow!
“THERE ARE NO
TO DO THE HARD
Rina Sjardin - Thompson
Tell us about getting published
in New Zealand Geographic...
What can I say? Apart from having someone
purchase your images to hang in their lounge, being
asked to publish in NZ Geographic is kind of the ants
pants really. It’s the one place, other than National
Geographic, where everyone wants to “be seen”.
For me, I was gobsmacked and didn’t really realise
what they saw in that image until I saw it published
and read the text they wrote with it!!! They found
me through Flickr where they’d periodically choose
images that they faved which in itself was pretty cool.
What’s your proudest moment
in the photography world?
I’m not sure it has happened yet. I’ve met some
amazing people and had some great adventures
and even introduced others to where I live to enjoy
the adventure with me... to be honest, I don’t
really understand the fuss that goes along with
photography... as if we are any different to a plumber
or labourer doing their job. Egos are rife in this industry
and I struggle to work out why there is a certain strut
that photographers can take on when lugging around
a big camera with a larger lens... they are all just tools
to help us do our job.
I suppose if I were to be “proud” it would be that I
am doing this full time when there are so many other
talented photographers out there that can’t or are
“IF YOU ARE
NOT ALREADY A
PHOTOGRAPHER, NZ WILL
TURN YOU INTO ONE”
not. The other possible proud moment would be
when I am teaching in workshops and I see students
get it. When they figure something out they thought
they couldn’t do or when you see them growing and
producing good work! That’s pretty satisfying I think.
What equipment do you use?
I use a Canon 6D and L series lenses. 24 -105mm,
100mm macro, 100 – 400mm (my walk around lens),
and 16 – 38mm.
I don’t use filters other than an ND8 for water....
So you can see my kit is as simple as I am and as
simple as my work is. But I like it like that... and you
know what... it works for me.
I usually would say it doesn’t matter what gear you
have until you know where you are going with your
interest in photography, can afford all the good gear
or want to concentrate on something specific. I’m
more interested in how people see the world and
fill the frame more than what gear they captured it
with.... too many times I see people bragging about
what gear they have so the expectation is they MUST
have great images.... not so!!!
Where’s your favorite place
to shoot in NZ?
Without a doubt the West Coast. It is the MOST
underrated, underutilised area in NZ for photography.
It’s not an easy place to live if you’re not used to
being without all manner of creature comforts but
that’s part of what the West Coast is all about.... This
place is just amazing!
Any locations still on your ‘to shoot’ list?
People have asked me why I’m not travelling the
world with my photography. I kinda think that I am
already where the rest of the world wants to be
whether they are purely a tourist or a photographer....
If you weren’t already a photographer, NZ will turn you
I’ll go wherever the work takes me but I feel that I
could take photos for the next 50 years (I will be 103
by then)... and still not cover NZ and all it has to offer!
So no, I am totally happy to be a homebody!
Tell us about your workshops...
Four years ago I started teaching beginners who were
terrified of their cameras and its settings so I wanted
to change that for people... After doing them on
my own for 2 yrs I invited Mikey MacKinven to join
me to teach astrophotography and editing. I have
designed a few different styles of workshops for Epic
Photography Workshops ranging from beginners long
weekends to the longer 7 day epic workshop which
include doors off heli shooting, a night in an alpine hut
and a few hrs on the ice enjoying one of the 2 glaciers
we have here.
I have started to work with Rachel Gillespie from NZ
Adventures to run Female Photography Adventures
which have proved to be a huge response... These
are long weekends run each month in different areas
of the country. These are with beginners in mind, the
intention being to build confidence not only in their
photography but also within themselves. Through
workshops, we also offer mentorships so that they are
not left on their own once the workshop is done!!
As I have said previously that I will go where the work
takes me, I am in the middle of organising workshops/
• South Australia with local photographer Dave
• Africa with host Tracy Pepper
• Canada with local host and guide Paula Sheridan
of Okarito Boat Tours
“GOOD GEAR DOES NOT
TRANSLATE INTO GOOD
composition but if you purely look for the light,
that’s all you need to create magic... See step 1.
That also goes for editing as well. As I said, less is
4. Chase The Light. The light is what will make or
break your image.
What other tips do you have?
1. Never wear white around water. It is a guarantee
that you will fall in, be wiped out by a wave, get
caught in heavy rain... only to find your whites are
no longer white but opaque.... True story!!!
2. Chocolate. Never leave home without it – You
always walk further than you think you did and
you’ll need it for the return trip!!!
3. An over inflated ego is not attractive, in fact, it’s
downright ugly so stay modest.
4. Don’t rely on others to motivate you... You have
to get you out of bed in the morning. You have to
want to learn and you have to do the do.... and
only you. Photography is essentially a lone activity
and if you can’t motivate yourself to get out then
its not going to work for you.
5. When you are mustering cattle, fall off your horse,
and 2 fighting bulls come at you – RUN!!!! Don’t
stand there taking the photo and have your
partner telling you to “F@%K the photo get out of
the F@#Kn way!!! NB: That image became my 5th
best selling image!
What are 4 basics of landscape photography that
our readers should know?
1. Be Patient. Rather than hit the location, grab a
shot or two then hit the road, spend the time
“getting to know” and getting “the feel” of the
place.... Your images will be sooo much better for
the time spent connecting to your landscape.
Where can we find you online?
My business cards simply say, as does the text on my
high vis vest for sports photography,
“Rina Sjardin-Thompson... “Find me on Facebook”.
2. Get Out. People have asked how I get consistently
good photos. That’s easy. You have to get off the
couch and go out and you also have to develop
new habits like taking the camera with you all
the time. Re-train yourself if you have to, to take
advantage of the best light the day has to offer
3. Keep It Simple. I think we tend to overcomplicate
things and look for the most jaw-dropping
Can you tell us a little about yourself and
how you became interested in photography?
I live in Palmerston North and am married with
one daughter. By day I work as an administrator
in the transport industry.
I have liked visual arts in general since as long
as I can remember. I used to do a lot of art as a
child, and I also spent many hours looking at my
set of wildlife encyclopaedias and other books
with lots of photos.
I got my first camera at age 11 or 12, it was a
Hanimex Hanimette 110 pocket camera, and
I still have it. It was not until digital cameras
arrived that I really began to start doing a lot
of photography though, despite having owned
two film SLR’s.
Do you have any professional training?
In photography, no - I am self-taught. I shoot
mostly on manual mode, and I do a lot of
manual focusing too, so I have learnt all that
I did do some private evening art classes
once, and a Graphic Design paper at Massey
University some years back, and both were very
helpful for learning theory and understanding a
lot about good composition and so on, which
is knowledge that I am able to transfer into my
With the technical side of photography
(learning about making good use of a DSLR,
and lenses and flash, and framing and light,
etc), it’s largely been a mix of trial and error,
and learning from others, both from tutorials
on the internet and from other members of the
Manawatu Camera Club.
What equipment do you use?
I use a fairly inexpensive - and now ageing
Canon EOS 600D.
I have the two kit lenses that came with it;
the Canon 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS II and 55-
250mm EF-S f/4-5.6 both for APS-C sensor only.
I have since purchased three more lenses; a
Canon macro EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM prime
lens (which I absolutely love using), and two
Tamron lenses - SP 24-70mm f/2.8 (I use this lens
the most) and SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3.
I only buy new lenses that can be mounted on
a full frame Canon so that I don’t have to start
over again when I upgrade my mount.
My flash is a Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT and it’s
great – I never liked the built-in camera flash.
I also have two tripods, a cheap wireless
remote and a few filters (Marumi ND and
Polariser), plus a light reflector and a portable
soft box stand that I use for off-camera flash.
You seem to shoot all genres, what’s your
favourite? And least favourite?
Yes, I like all sorts of genres and styles, whether
it be a perfectly lit formal studio portrait, or a
raw grainy black and white landscape or street
photo, so I have not been able to bring myself
to specialise in any particular genre or style.
What I love to do most is to create images that
are very unique in some way and also have
a wide appeal; images with good light and a
bit of a story, and often that involves having a
person, or group of people, for subjects in the
A good and well-shot long exposure landscape
with perfect light and a dramatic sky, for
example, is always very nice to look at, but if
you can place an interesting person into the
right spot in the scene then that makes it that
much more interesting and appealing. The
biggest challenge with that though is finding
willing subjects for the photo and then making it
As for my least favourite - Well, I dislike badly
lit and poorly framed photos, and selfies
from phone cameras. In fact, I have an old
‘brick’ phone (grey Nokia, it has no internet or
camera), and that’s just the way I like it - No
photos with that!
You won a photo competition in 2016 which
then turned into an exhibition - Can you tell
us a little about that experience?
It was Alliance Française’s competition and
the subject that year was ‘Sport Objectif’. A
friend saw the competition advertised in the
local newspaper and mentioned it to me. So
I entered two photos I shot in March last year
of the annual beach horse racing event at
All local winners’ photos from around the
world are sent to Paris for the international
competition and the overall winner receives
a trip to Paris. After I had entered, I told the
people at Alliance Française that I had been
to Paris fairly recently and I offered to take a
couple of my printed photos from Paris in for
them to see, as well as a few other photos from
my Camera Club competitions.
So I did just that and when they saw my work they
immediately invited me to exhibit 18 of my Paris
Deciding on 18 prints was difficult when I shot
around 1,800 photos in Paris. I had some favourites
that were on the top of my list though, and I chose
another 40 or so, which I processed and then gave
them all to Alliance Française to make the final
selection of 18. My two winning ‘Sport Objectif’
photos were exhibited at the same time, so there
were 20 photos on display in all. I know they had
difficulty choosing the final set, but their choices
were perfect. They very kindly organised the printing
and the mounting and all the associated costs too.
The exhibition was to run for three weeks, but the
exhibition that was to follow was cancelled, so my
photos remained on show for a further three weeks. I
sold a number of prints, mainly Paris photos, but also
one of the horses. It was a real buzz. I think every
keen enthusiast should give it a go at least once
if they have the chance, and enter competitions
as, as you can see, sometimes it can lead to other
This year Alliance Française asked me if they could
get even larger prints done for their library. I was
more than happy to oblige, so they have a half
dozen or so permanently on display there now.
How did you start working
with Dionisi Boutique?
I entered the Alliance Française competition again
this year, and I won it again. The subject for the
2017 competition was ‘Fashion and Dress Code’
and I asked one of the young woman at Alliance
Française, Florence, if she would like to model for
one photo (you have to enter two photos).
It turned out that Florence makes clothes and she
used to operate a small fashion website when she
was in Lyon before she came to New Zealand.
So, she made an amazing dress without a sewing
machine, and then she modelled in the hills one
cold Sunday afternoon for me.
In September this year Florence launched Dionisi
Boutique and I offered to shoot photos for her
website. So things just took off from there really. We
did a shoot in September at Castlepoint Beach
with Florence and an old treadle sewing machine
belonging to my wife, and also the main fashion
shoot with another amazing model for Dionisi
Boutique at the same time.
14 NZPhotographer December 2017 15
So, just by getting out and doing projects, and
entering competitions, and asking people to get
involved, sooner or later you find things just start to
happen more and more.
What tips do you have for working with models
Be nice, be courteous, and make it fun. I am pretty
down to earth and I joke around a lot. That seems
to work well, making models feel comfortable and
keeping them smiling.
When I want a more serious face instead, it’s
generally not too difficult to get that between the
smiles and the laughter.
As for posing a model, it’s important to know what
you want out of a model in advance and to make
sure you have done your research. This is really
crucial when you’re shooting someone who is new
to modelling, but even a more experienced model
- as we had at Castlepoint - usually needs a certain
amount of guidance. Dancers are generally really
good models because they are confident and they
tend to hold graceful poses without much thought
Any tips for getting a model release? Do you
create your own or use one found online?
The easiest thing to do is to find one online. I did
that, then I made a few changes to suit my needs.
Other than that, I have no tips really - just make sure
you cover all the points well to make sure everything
is in order, so there is no risk of any problems later on.
It’s pretty straightforward really, but it is important to
do for any commercial work and for entries into big
competitions. The main thing to keep in mind, I think,
is that a model release is for the benefit and fairness
of all parties involved in the project, not just for the
How do you go about building a rapport with the
Talk! Invest some time to get to know each other
a little bit and make sure both parties have a
reasonably good understanding of what the other
has in mind. This can take place in advance, or on
the day of the shoot if need be. Just be open and
always be honest. And always keep it professional
and never try to pry into a model’s private life. But
also have fun, don’t be a dull bore.
Do you prefer shooting on location, or in the
studio, and why?
I love on location shoots. Studio sessions have their
place and I enjoy them too, but I like putting people
in nice scenes and using good natural light. Of course,
on location sessions take more time due to travel, and
you’re always reliant on the weather being kind, and
the window of good light doesn’t last as long as you’d
How much post-processing do you do, and what
software do you use?
I don’t like spending a lot of time on post-processing
so I try really hard to get great shots straight from the
camera to keep the post work down as much as
I frame up my shots very carefully so that I rarely need
to crop, and I am always on the lookout to avoid any
distractions in the scene. So, I try to take just as much
notice of the background as I do of the subject. But of
course, there is always some post required.
I use an old version of Photoshop and that’s pretty
much it. Most people I know use Lightroom, or both
LR and PS, but I know PS really well and I can get the
results from that alone for my needs.
I do quite a lot of bracketing/HDR and for processing
that I also use PS, or Nik Collection HDR Efex Pro. I
always shoot Camera RAW and I use PS’s tool to
process that too, then I bring the image into PS itself
and I usually finish off with some Adjustment Layers.
Most images only take about 5-10 minutes to process,
but occasionally I’ll spend an hour or more processing
some images, when I want to produce something
that’s a bit more special.
Any funny stories or horrific moments that you can
now look back on and laugh at?
I am quite shy by nature but I love shooting street
photography. There was one moment in the Paris
Metro. It was my first time in Paris and only the
second day, and a lady was singing on the train. I
took a photo of her performing and within a minute
or two she approached and was saying something,
presumably in French, and I didn’t have a clue. My
wife was on to it though, the performer was asking for
money, so it was all a bit awkward for a moment. Over
the following days, there were other times where I
would have liked to shoot similar scenes on the Metro,
but I was hesitant, especially since I had been severely
warned by my wife to keep my camera tucked away
after the first little incident.
What is your favourite photograph ever, that
you have taken?
That’s a very easy question to answer, it’s titled
“Donnez-m’en aussi!” (or in English, “Get me
I often tell people that it’s the best photo I am
ever going to take, like when I am long gone
that’s the one photo people will remember me
by, I hope! It was pure luck to be in the right
place at the right time in Paris, to be by the shop
and have the Dalmatian and his master come
along, and the light was just perfect. I love this
photo so much that that is how I still feel about it
after shooting it in Paris back in November 2014.
It was my signature photo at my Paris photo
exhibition in 2016 and I have sold a number of
prints. I have also given prints away to a lot of
friends and family members as well.
Where can we find you online?
I am mainly interested in printed photographs
and print competitions, so I don’t have a strong
presence on the internet.
I guess the best place to look for me at the
moment is on Instagram (www.instagram.com/
paulrobertsonphotonz) which I only started using
very recently so there is not a lot there just yet;
and the studio and Castlepoint Beach fashion
photos on www.dionisiboutique.com. And on
Excio too of course. You can also watch for
some of my photos appearing in the camera
club’s website galleries, linked below.
CANON EOS 70D WITH CANON 15-85MM LENS
WITH A POLARIZING FILTER.
IT WAS 9.25AM AND THE SUN BEHIND THE FOG
WAS VERY BRIGHT SO MY SETTINGS WERE 1/125
SEC F18 ISO 200 15MM FOCAL LENGTH.
Behind The Shot with
“Tree in Fog #1” taken 19.07.17 – Gained Judges Commendation
at Art Waikino at Labour Weekend this year.
Did you plan this shot or was it more of a lucky moment?
This one was definitely a lucky moment. I live in Whitianga and was due to
be in Auckland for some meetings. I had already left earlier than needed
time wise for the drive as it was a foggy morning and I had been waiting
for an opportunity like this to capture some sunlight coming through the
trees in another location. Even though I must have driven past this tree
literally hundreds of times I had never noticed it before, until at 100k’s I
finally caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye. About 1km up the
road, I told myself I had to find somewhere to turn around and go back.
Finally doing so and the having to go back the other way a considerable
distance to find yet another place to safely turn around I was in luck that
there was a good area to pull right off the highway and get a clear view
of the tree.
What was happening behind the camera that we can’t see?
Thankfully I was on my own, but felt a little pressured with time and even
though off the road, the cars speeding past at 100ks rubber necking to
see what I was doing were a worry.
If you could re-take the photo, what would you change? Or are you
100% happy with it?
I took 14 images of the tree from slightly different angles and focal lengths.
This was the 6th shot and I don’t think I could re-take it and improve it. The
conditions were just right and the sun was at the perfect level.
Was any editing done after?
I used Adobe Lightroom to adjust the white balance, contrast & remove
some dust spots, then Photoshop to remove a couple of shining cow pats,
diffuse the sun spot a little more and crisp up the colour to what I saw.
Anything else we should know about this shot?
Every time I drive past that tree now, I slow down to look and have even
stopped to take a couple of photo’s, but it is not the same as it was that
morning. Those other days it has returned to being just a tree, a somewhat
unnoticeable tree. It was the day after my birthday that I got this image,
so I just accepted the gift of time & place and am grateful for the
f9, 1/80s,ISO 100
Taking on Taranaki
by Brendon Gilchrist
Brendon Gilchrist takes us to Taranaki this month. Taranaki is located on the
Western side of North Island and is both a coastal and mountainous region,
dominated by Mount Taranaki, the second highest mountain on North Island. The
promo slogan ‘Like No Other’ used to describe this place is suitably apt, this place
is something else!
Taranaki; One big mountain in the sky that beholds
and takes your breath away. A place where there
is so much to discover the question is ‘Where do I
The main city of New Plymouth is a great place to
base yourself and blesses you with so much to see
and do. Stroll through Pukekura park with its lush
forest, take in the view of Taranaki seen through Te
Rewa Rewa wave bridge and do the slightly more
adventurous 15minute walk/climb up Paritutu Rock to
see the stunning views all around – It’s very rewarding.
Moving away from the main city... If you want to get
Into the wild without having to walk too far to get to
something beautiful then there are many beaches
that allow for some amazing views.
Tongaporutu is one place, the Three Sisters Beach and
Elephant Rock (which sadly lost its nose recently) really
is stunning but do be aware of the tide as you don’t
want to get stuck!
Waterfalls are also plentiful with Dawson Falls, Bells
Falls, and Rerekapa Falls just to name a few.
The most famous place is Pouakai Tarn. Located on
the Pouakai Crossing, this is one of the most beautiful
and unreal locations I have visited. The tarn is small
but don’t judge it by how small it is until you see the
reflection of the mountain in it. Sometimes it is so
still it looks like you can see all the fine details of the
mountain in the tarn - A really incredible feeling. Be
sure to forget about photography for a moment to
take in what you are looking at, to be in that moment
of pure bliss. Being respectful of what you are seeing
will change what you shoot, how you shoot it and
help you forget about your other world for a moment.
It takes skill, experience, and understanding, to
successfully climb Taranaki, I have only climbed in
Summer but it’s on my ‘To Climb’ list for Winter.
Taranaki needs to be respected, it is not just a
mountain, it is alive, it breathes... and it’s dangerous.
The ocean being close by means that the weather
changes not in minutes but in seconds and has
trapped many unsuspecting hikers and climbers many
many times. Summiting this mountain in summer or
winter has many risks (and should not be climbed
alone) but the ones who take it are rewarded with
stunning views that will take their breath away.
December 2017 23
TARANAKI CAMERA SETTINGS
Nikon D810, f16, 3 seconds, ISO 64
TARANAKI CAMERA SETTINGS
Nikon D750, f16, 1/80s, ISO 250
December 2017 25
50 Years of
My first camera was a Coronet
Commander. 120 roll film, 2 f stops 8
and 16, and shutter speeds of 1/60th
and 1/125 of a second. I bought it from
a local market in 1968. It came with no
instructions, trial and error gave me good
photos, but I needed to learn about the
correct combinations of aperture and
shutter speed. My learning came from
a great little book called “ Eye am the
My second camera, a Christmas present
from my Mother in 1974, was a Halina 110
cartridge, twice used and then discreetly
discarded, (sorry Mum).
My third camera was my first SLR. A Zenit E
sporting a 50mm, F2.8 lens and a Selenium
match-needle light meter in the top plate.
So 1978 saw my introduction to having
control of more creative photography,
with shutter speeds of 1/30th to 1/500th
As I was going through
my photographic gear
the other day, my mind
was drawn back to
my first foray into the
wonderful world of
photography, and the
cameras I have owned
along the way. Allow
me to invite you on a trip
down Memory Lane...
of a second and aperture up to F16.
The Helios lens was really quite good,
especially considering my previous
equipment. Solidly built, Russian made, it
served me faithfully until I felt it was time to
step up to a higher spec camera to further
my photographic experience.
Enter the Ricoh KR-10 in 1983. Aperture
priority, automatic metering (centre
weighted), shutter speeds to 1/1000th
of a second, and an excellent lens.
This camera was one of my favourites,
great handling, accurate metering, and
precise shutter speeds. Many, many rolls
of film went through this great camera,
and rarely a failure. Happy days until
catastrophe struck. Running upstairs to
the maternity ward to see my first born,
I tripped and the camera met concrete.
Game over, so, onto the next one!
A friend had a fairly new Canon T-70 for sale, as
he wanted to upgrade to the T-90. So in 1987 I
purchased said camera, supplemented with an 80 –
200 Vivitar zoom. I had not read any reviews of the
camera, other than basic specs (oh, it incorporated
a motor drive for continuous shooting) but I was
never really enamoured of the camera, and due
to personal circumstances sold my gear on.
Four years were to pass before I bought a second
hand Yashica F-4. Aperture priority again, handling
similar to the KR-10 but, for me, lacking the precision
and quality of the Ricoh. It served me well until I
stumbled across a camera I had lusted after for
A well used Nikon F2 appeared at a local car boot
sale in 1996 at a bargain price which INCLUDED a
Tamron 80-210mm lens, I was in! The F-2 came with
the Nikkor f1.4 50mm lens, which in practice proved
absolutely superb in function and picture quality.
The camera, although well used, still performed up
to its almost legendary status. You may consider this
a retrograde step in functionality, as it was a purely
manual camera, but in quality of photographs, it is
without doubt, the best film SLR I ever owned. It did
mean re-acquainting myself with my Weston 5 light
meter, but that was no chore. The following year
saw the acquisition of the Photomic head which
gave me TTL metering though aperture and shutter
speed still had to be set manually.
I did, whilst owning the Nikon, take my first step
into digital cameras, with a Ricoh RDC-6000. At
2.1 mp, it was fairly well specified but gave poor
With failing eyesight, I bought a Nikon F65, with 28-
100 and 70-300 zoom in 2002. A capable camera,
the autofocus being a boon for me, but the
camera, sadly not awe inspiring.
Finally, my 60th birthday present last year, a
beautiful Nikon D70, in great condition, and a very
nice camera indeed. With the G type zooms from
the F-65, and the stunning 18-70mm lens that came
with the camera, I am now coming of age with the
near-deserted roads. If you like slow-travel
and can afford more time, do it!
Starting North West at Whanarua Bay you’ll
find yourself experiencing a microclimate.
With a particularly soft light, what better
way to start this photographic journey than
with some atmospheric seascape shots, at
dawn perhaps, if you can be dragged out
of bed so early!
Maraehako Bay is the next port of call, a
tucked-away town that almost seems stuck
in a time warp. The historically important
Raukokore Anglican church is close-by
with its see-it-to-believe-it location next to
the sea. If you’re super lucky you might be
able to see penguins nesting on the shore
beneath the church, and if you can’t see
them you’ll surely be able to smell them!
If you don’t have any luck with a penguin
shot you’re more than likely going to get
some great horse photos as they roam free
The famous East Cape lighthouse is
certainly not a place to dismiss from your
itinerary, despite the 700 steps you need to climb
– The panoramic view, once you’re up there, is
simply breathtaking, particularly if you’re there
when the sun comes up and you can boast
being one of the first people to capture a brand
new day on camera.
Once you’re done at the lighthouse, drive back
to Te Araroa and stop to take some shots of the
600 year old Pohutukawa tree. Visit at Christmas
time and you might be able to capture it in
As we now make our way down, hugging the
East Cape coastline towards Gisborne, a stop at
Tikitiki to see St Mary’s Church is recommended
for history and architecture lovers. The 1920’s
church has a European design from the outside,
but inside you’ll find Maori carvings, tukutuku
panels, and kowhaiwhai patterned rafters.
Tologa Bay is famous for its 660m long pier,
apparently the longest pier in the Southern
Hemisphere. With neighbouring picturesque
white cliffs and a black sand beach, you
won’t go wrong to base yourself here for a
Exploring East Cape
A region seldom explored by visitors, East Cape is an outdoor photographer’s
playground with much to offer. Tucked away on the isolated far east corner of
New Zealand’s North Island it has everything from crashing waves to rolling
hills, galloping horses, more sheep than you can count and you might even be
lucky enough to spot a nesting penguin or two...
With 350km of wild and rugged coastline
to explore, the colours of this stunning
landscape are just waiting to be caught
on camera! A mix of larger surf beaches
and smaller secluded bays and coves with
driftwood aplenty are sure to make any
seascape photographer happy.
East Cape has a rich cultural heritage too,
this being the landing place of the first
Maori canoes over 800 years ago as well
as the place where Captain Cook set foot
back in 1769.
A recommended 3-5 days is needed to
explore this remote and rugged area
as you drive long stretches of winding,
night to enable some stunning seascape
photography from the pier at sunset.
Cooks Cove Walkway is also here, a
beautiful 5.8km hike that will have you
following in Captain Cook’s footsteps.
Photo opportunities can be enjoyed from
the viewing point overlooking the township
with plenty of sheep and landscape
photography too. If you’re fit enough,
continue the trek to the bay via ‘the hole
in the wall’ and then the monument as it’s
well worth it. Note that the track is closed
during lambing season. Visit Tologa Bay at
Christmas/New Year and you’ll be able to
capture the Kaiaua Beach Horse races too.
Heading inland next, Eastwoodhill
Arboretum is well worth the detour.
Covering 131 hectares it offers amazing
opportunities for capturing some unique
species of trees and plants as well as
opportunities to practice your bird
photography. Make a note that there’s
reasonably priced accommodation on-site
too with the picturesque Rere Falls on the
same road. Part of Te Urewera, the largest
native forest area on the North Island, is
included in East Cape too and The Lake
Waikaremoana Great Walk is a must-do
covering 44 kilometres of tramping track.
If you’re going all out you might keep on
driving down to Moerere with the hot springs
before hitting the Mahia Peninsula, now that
would be an epic road trip!
Noise Reduction Techniques
for Low Light Photography
In a previous article on low light photography, I pointed out that there are
many noise reduction techniques that you can use during post-processing in
order to produce a cleaner and much more attractive looking image. In this
article I shall be discussing a few simple techniques that you can use in Adobe
The need for noise reduction comes from our
over-indulgence to shoot with a high ISO
number. I know modern DSLR’s have crazy low
light sensitivity and they perform really well in these
traditionally difficult lighting situations. But the fact
Technique 1 – Adjusting the
Luminance and Color Sliders.
Noise is typically two types –
Luminance and/or Color. Luminance
noise is what you see when you push
the exposure during post-processing.
These would begin to appear in the
darker areas of the image as specs of
white dust as you push the exposure.
On the other hand, color noise is
typically the type of noise that you
would see as colored specs in your
image. They can appear anywhere
and are usually dull specs of different
colors. Both these types of noise have
the effect of reducing the overall
contrast and sharpness of your
To remove them you can tweak the
Luminance and the Color sliders
under the Detail panel of the develop
module of Lightroom. Sometimes
there might be both luminance and
color noise in your images. In that
situation, you may have to tweak
both the sliders. In other cases, you
may need to tweak only one of the
remains that high ISO only induces more noise. So
invariably, you will need to have some sort of noise
reduction technique in order to produce images
that are presentable.
Technique 2 - Using the Radial Filter or the
Sometimes noise is apparent only in limited areas, the sky
for example. At other times it’s all over but noise reduction
cannot be risked on the entire image for risk of losing
details. You need a different approach to reduce noise
in both these situations. Both the Radial Filter as well as
the Adjustment Brush work great for these sort of local
adjustments of noise.
Select your preferred tool. Let’s say that you choose
the Adjustment Brush Tool. Make sure you check ‘Show
Selected Mask Overlay’ and choose ‘Noise’ from the sliders.
Next, choose the strength of noise reduction that you need
to give to the image, also check ‘Auto Mask’ just in case
you are removing noise from delicate areas where you
have highly detailed areas interspersed with detail-less
areas. Auto Mask will ensure that it selects the edges to limit
the effect of noise reduction only to the intended areas.
When ready you can start painting over the areas where
you need to reduce noise. Uncheck ‘’Show Selected Mask
Overlay ‘ to see the effect. Drag the Noise slider to increase
or decrease the effect. Hit done when you are happy.
In some areas, you won’t need to use Auto Mask at all. The
sky, for example, will show up noise in some situations. You
can easily remove this noise by using the Adjustment Brush
tool. You don’t need to check Auto Mask. Simply click the
amount of noise reduction and then start painting.
Technique 3 – Convert the Image into
Black and White.
Sometimes the noise is too much to be corrected
using just the Luminance and Color sliders. The
solution is to then convert the image into black
and white if you don’t want to use Photoshop.
This is a technique that never seems to fail.
To do this I prefer to convert the image into black
and white by tweaking the Saturation sliders
of the color channels individually. After that, I
adjust the Luminance slider to ensure that I have
the right tonal range among the different colors
within the black and white image.
Another advantage of converting the image
to black and white is that I can really push the
sharpness slider all the way without making the
resulting artefacts get too apparent.
Regardless of the technique that you use to
lessen noise, there is always a flip side. In this
case that is the loss of detail in your image. Noise
reduction uses a software process whereby
the pixels are ‘smoothened’. This effect, when
applied to the whole of the image produces an
image that appears like melted plastic. So, it is
always best to find the right balance. This will
happen over time as you edit and then compare
your images with those shot and processed by
Dejan Kijevcanin – Sunrise Land
Marina De Wit - Peonies
Dejan perfectly captured the breathtaking
landscapes of Greece. I love the relationship
between every colour in this image - the gentle
orange tones in the sky beautifully complement the
darker blues in the water. The only thing I’d like to
point out is harshness of the shadows in the smaller
rocks. Everything else is perfect!
Dejan’s ‘Sunrise Land’ is absolutely stunning –
However, my eye is instantly drawn to the horizon... It
looks off, as though it’s tilting ever so slightly to the left
– It’s important to get those horizons dead straight as
this is where the eye is instantly drawn. Moving on, we
have a good composition with interesting foreground
and background along with good focus. I did spot
a halo around the rocks on the left (against the land
in the background) which is caused by too much
highlight recovery, also the white point is on the low
side so you needn’t have recovered so much but this
is me being picky! I personally love it! I think you can
go far with your work – and I’d be happy to hang this
in my home!
Marina’s graceful image is worthy of being shown
off in exhibitions and museums. Her peony series is
mysterious, sharp, and visually appealing. I love the
placement of the flowers and how confident the
overall composition looks. However, I agree with
Emily’s note on the darkness of the image. While the
vignette adds an interesting touch, the photograph
itself looks a little too underexposed. Regardless,
this photo is a perfect example of a photographic
Marina really has caught the feel of the old masters
with her ‘Peonies’ piece. It’s difficult to critique a
photograph at the best of times but when that photo
has become art it becomes even more subjective to
personal opinion! The soft lighting and post process
is well done, and the focus is good considering the
lighting conditions. Personally, I think this is a little too
dark (I’d be interested to see how it prints out since
each screen is different) and that we lose too much
detail from the stems and vase. Looking carefully, I
did note that the vignette catches the flower on the
left, but overall the vignette is good and draws the
eye in. Niggles aside, I’d say you pulled off your brief
fantastically, put this into an old gilt frame and you
have yourself a masterpiece!
ZOMEI Q666C Carbon
Fibre Camera Tripod/
Night Sky Photography: A
Field Guide for Shooting
After Dark by Jennifer Wu
and James Martin
The Art of Landscape
Photography by Ross
Hoddinott and Mark
Men's Outdoor Leisure
If you haven't worked out what you'd like for
Christmas yet, or if you still need to buy for a fellow
photographer, here are a few ideas, both practical
and fun, covering all price points.
Here at NZP headquarters we're thinking wishfully
and hoping Santa has us on his Good list! Taya,
our editor, would be quite happy to receive any
experimental lenses such as Lensbaby while Emily,
our editorial assistant, would love to get some kit
for her upcoming travels, and is also eyeing up that
gorgeous pink camera bag below!
Camera Lens Travel Mug
Don't get them muddled up when
you go to grab on the go!
The 50 Most Thought-Provoking
Styles Techniques Each
Explained in Half a Minute
by Brian Dilg
Vivitar DSLR Camera Raincover
Don't let the rain stop you any longer!
Get those horizons
straight each and
Help! I'm a
Bean Bag Rest
One of those items that you don't
think you need, until you've had it
and discover you can't live without it!
Eco Tank Printer
All products available and prices correct at time of publication. NZPhotographer will receive compensation
if you purchase any products using the affiliate links above, this does not affect the price
you pay and you're welcome to use our suggestions but find a different retailer. However, if you do
want to support us, we thank you!
Best readers' submissions this month
Sunset Over Porthmeor Beach
On holiday in St Ives, Cornwall, one evening there were the
most breathtaking colours in the sky as the sun was setting
over the beach.
CAMERA ON IPHONE
40 NZPhotographer 41 NZPhotographer
Southern Black Backed Gull
Friendly gull just posed for us, even turned his head a little!
SONY A380 ON AUTO SETTING
This is a sunset view from the 10th Century Baijnath temple, Kangra,
ISO400 1/125S F8 35MM
I set up a tripod mount opposite a shuttered store which I used for
a dark backdrop. Then I just waited for pedestrians to walk into the
A small, intimate family cafe / winery in Croatia.
MAMIYA / LEAF MP50
Titahi Bay Sheds
Taken on an evening, this is the cover photo of my fund-raising calendar
for my school choir trip to Europe.
F/9, 1/50, ISO100
Summertime. A young woman walking on a beach at sunrise.
CANON EOS 80D F/4/, 1/320S, ISO100, 105MM
This is an image of the coast north of Patea Beach. This is the rugged West Coast with cliff's,
black sand and enormous waves. This was taken one August afternoon and it was a wild
day. Patea is where I grew up and I love the views up and down the coast - So moody and
dark and rugged that you can't help but pay attention!
We live in the lovely rural town of Te Kauwhata in the Waikato. There are loads of
photographic opportunities in this rural setting and one of my favourites is to drive
around our local lake and capture the many landscape vistas. This shot was taken
in the early evening causing the light to cast shadows across part of the paddocks.
I was just learning when I took this photo and I'm pretty sure it was on Auto - Not that I use
that much anymore, but this is one of my all time favourite photos.
1/40, AV:13, ISO100
Big Apple Skyline
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere...
Leopard laying around.
Canon 30D, F/10, 1/125
This was taken up at the Karamu walkway. Shot as I was about to walk back.
Last Light Surfing
Think I was more fascinated by the surf doing a last moment Surf than the sunset. It was one of
those moments... the sunset across the Bay or stick to surfers.... the surfers won.
F/6.3, ISO100, 1/400s
F/6.3, ISO160, 1/320s
Whale Bay last light on the way home. I looked back, saw the scene and pulled off the road
nearly going down the hill. The clouds were in explosion mode.
F/7.1, ISO200, 1/125s
We watched the Chameleon slowly cross the road then climb into the tree. I waited until it
got to window height of the car before taking this photo.
Canon 30D, F/10, 1/1000
Another image from my moss series. This looks to me like
a robot from the War Of The Worlds movie.
Another image from my moss series. I like to play with
water, light and colour together with a very shallow DoF
to create fun and interesting shapes.
North American Landscapes - Montreal
The Canadian city of Montreal shot as an 8 image panorama from atop Mont
Trying out my ND400 filter on Canon EOS 5D Mklll
F/11, 20s, ISO100, 100mm
Saw this radiant Tui sunning itself. When I put it on the computer I saw the bee added a
nice touch also.
F/2.8, ISO100, 1/1250s
Golden Light Over Muriwai Gannet Colony
That Wanaka Tree
Muriwai Gannet Colony at sunset. It was cold and windy but I saw a chance to get a scene with a
type of lighting I like in a style of old oil paintings.
F/5.6, ISO400, 1/200s
I am drawn to this beautiful tree as it changes with the seasons, weather and time. I find it
challenging as it has been photographed extensively and is a draw card for tourists to visit the
F/20, ISO100, 1/3s
Marina De Wit
5 orange tulips in glass jars, I loved the bright color and the sideways composition, it is as if they
are leaning towards the light, looking and yearning for something better to come...
NIKON D7200, F/8, 1/250, ISO100. NIKON MACRO 105MM, F/2.8
Captured at Castlecliff Beach Whanganui on a beautiful stormy day.
F/22, ISO 500, 1/160, Focal length 200, Bias +0.3
Silver Eye With Winter Treat
Silver eyes were regularly visiting the coconut feeder I hung in my garden.
Fortress City, Umbria.
F/6.3, ISO4000, 1/2500, Focal lenght 200
Bird And Berry
A bird with a berry in her beak on a San Moritz walk.
West Coast, New Zealand.
NIKON D7100, NIKKOR 18-200MM, F/8, 1/400s, ISO200
Sundown at Te Anau
It is the simple things that make our souls smile, like an evening walk by a great lake while inhaling the random
snowflake augmented virgin air, floating down from the nearby mountains.
A sense of wonder is provided by spectacular nature and the late golden sunlight that can visually elevate
its mundane man made contributions, resulting in an impressive sight.
NIKON D200, NIKKOR 18-200MM, F/7.1, 1/200SEC, ISO100
Window into Wharariki
Started with a goal to capture the greenfinch in our garden in flight. Concealing myself in a bird
hide over many days, over many months looking to perfect the capture I managed to get this one.
Ultimate goal is to capture two birds facing each other in flight.
CANON EOS 7D MARK II, EF70-200mm F4L lens at 135mm, F/7.1, ISO400, 1/2000
Seen this shot on the Windows 10 screensaver? This is my improved version, but employing HDR
blending techniques to bring out the detail in the shadows.
Staying in the local lodge, I returned to the sea cave mid-morning at mid-tide. Using a shower cap
to stop the drip, drip, dripping onto my DSLR, I bracketed my exposures to cover the high dynamic
CANON 5D MARK 3, F/11, ISO100, Varied shutter speeds, Exposure Blend
Sunstar on Fifeshire Rock
Branches and Morning Light
The Fifeshire and Arrow both hit this Nelson landmark in 1842 after settlers disembarked. On this
evening, the sun kissed the rock, as I utilised a narrow aperture to create the sunstar effect.
Double exposure sunrise and tree branches.
CANON 5D MARK 3, F/32, ISO100, 1/20s, 120mm
A morning view East from Maungakiekie.
F/16, ISO100, 1/3s, 24mm lens
While attending a PSNZ Convention I took a trip to Kaikoura and went out
to see the albatross at sea. I was impressed with the grace of the birds and
caught this one casually swimming up close to the boat.
CANON EOS 7D, EF 100-400mm lens at 400mm, F/7.1, ISO200, 1/1000s
Sunset in Tuscany.