ISSUE 7, May 2018
HOW TO CAPTURE:
WITH RICHARD YOUNG
WITH SHANE WHITMORE
WITH JOEL STAVELEY
DISCOVERING A WINTER
WITH BRENDON GILCHRIST
THAT WANAKA TREE
PHOTO COMPETITION ANNOUNCEMENT
NZPhotographer Issue 7
by Joel Staveley
Phone 04 889 29 25
or Email email@example.com
Whether you’re an
snapper or a beginner
who wants to learn more,
NZ Photographer is the
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Opinions of contributing
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WELCOME TO ISSUE 7 O
I'm very pleased to be taking
over the role of NZP editor. Taya
is in the process of moving to
a new city but we hope she'll
still drop by here and contribute
some articles every once in a
while. We wish her all the best in
her new life and of course in her
You'll notice some changes right
here on the editors welcome
and contents page, what do
you think? We love to get your
feedback so do let us know
what you like/dislike and feel
free to share your thoughts and
ideas on what you would like us to cover in future issues. We're always
looking for people to contribute whether in an interview or a guest post
feature so don't be shy – Drop us a line if you want to share your love of
photography and knowledge with our readers.
Talking of contributing, you'll want to turn to page 39 so you can submit to
our May photo competition – We're eagerly awaiting the influx of Wanaka
Tree photos and wish everyone the very best of luck.
Ray is an amateur
photographer who has
dabbled in photography
for 45 years. He has a lot
of pre-digital knowledge
under his belt and enjoys
scenes and animals.
Richard is an awardwinning
and runs photography
tours. He is the founder
of New Zealand
Editor NZ Photographer
Brendon is the
man behind ESB
treks from sea to
mountain, and back
again, capturing the
uniqueness of New
nzphotographer nzp_magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
F NZ PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE
Chasing the Aurora
Interview with Joel Staveley
by Billy Nunweek
WITH JOEL STAVELEY
SHOOTING ON THE STREET; INSPIRATION & TIPS
HOW TO CAPTURE: FOREST PHOTOGRAPHY
by Richard Young
PROJECT SHUTTER 111
BACK TO BASICS PART 5 - FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
by Ray Harness
BEHIND THE SHOT WITH GEORGE VAN HOUT
DISCOVERING A WINTER WONDERLAND
by Brendon Gilchrist
Discovering a winter
Shooting On The Street
CHASING THE AURORA
with Billy Nunweek
F3.5, 15s, ISO400
The aurora is what I would consider the creme
de la creme of night photography. It has always
been a dream of mine to see the aurora with
my naked eyes and in May 2017 that dream
became a reality as I watched the Southern
Lights beam, dance, and light up the sky with their
magical beauty! I’d best describe it as a faint green
snake slithering along the horizon, moving back and
forth. I can’t compare it to anything else because it
was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!
Since that incredible night spent at Birdlings Flat,
Canterbury I’ve been determined to photograph this
fascinating phenomenon and photograph it well. The
following is an account of my quest towards nailing
DAY ONE – 6 SEPTEMBER 2017
The day started off like any when my phone pinged,
my mate Larryn (an Auckland based photographer)
was asking if I’ll be home in Christchurch over the next
few days. He’d been checking various aurora focused
websites which indicated that an aurora was inbound
so after deliberating briefly, discussing the weather
outlook and the likelihood of an aurora in the days to
come, Larryn booked his tickets south.
We had already decided that if this does pan out,
the shot has to be different. It is all well and good
photographing the aurora at a beach looking south
- I’d already done that back in May! The goal this
time was to shoot this aurora with a game-changing
composition. We wanted to find a local landscape
that was southward of us that would frame the aurora
nicely. After hunting through photos on the internet
Larryn found an area he was happy with, it was simply
a matter of getting there and into position.
We motored up Dyers Pass Road and followed Summit
Road to a place called Witch Hill Reserve which
would play a big part in our sleepless nights! We set
up just after the sun went below the Southern Alps, the
light was dull, the cloud thick and the wind blowing a
gale. It didn’t make for a comfortable night - Though
the predicted temperature was a low of 8C, the wind
chill made it much cooler.
One of the challenges we came across early on was
the moon, a weak aurora isn’t visible while the sun is
up, or in the moonlight. Its only visible against the dark
night sky and the full moon threatened to turn what
would possibly be a clearly visible aurora with both
eyes and camera into nothing more than a barely
distinguishable disturbance on the horizon. There
was a good chance that because of the moon, high
cloud, and city lights that we wouldn’t see the aurora
at all, but for the shot we had in mind we were willing
to take that risk!
During the night, through patchy reception, we
started getting reports of an X 9.3 Solar Flare, the
biggest since an X 9.4 in 1994. Though nothing could
be guaranteed if that flare was to reach Earth the
results could be incredible, a once in a generation
phenomenon. But with no result foreseeable at 4am
we called it a dud and I shot home to get a few hours
DAY TWO – 7 SEPTEMBER 2017
After a few hours of disturbed sleep I woke up with
the aim to spend the afternoon scouting a place to
shoot the aurora. We were so determined to shoot
something more than the southern lights over the
ocean but unfortunately, the weather on the West
Coast took a drastic turn for the worst taking a lot of
potential compositions out of contention. For those
who don’t know, Canterbury is located on a large
featureless plain that stretches from the Southern Alps
to the East Coast so finding a unique location is a
challenge in itself!
We eventually settled on a few locations on the
city side of the Lyttelton Harbour. We went to a spot
up in the hills to check it out and then raced back
to town to collect our gear. One of our biggest
concerns was that with all the media hype we would
go to a spot and find it already saturated with other
photographers. Luckily we came across no one, the
cloud and high winds had frightened everyone off
the hills and send them down to Birdlings. We set up
camp, better prepared this time for the wind chill with
blankets, sleeping bags, and protection for our gear.
As soon as we set up for the night we had to duck for
cover, in came the rain so we were quickly saturated,
it didn’t last but it was certainly demoralising, even the
moon failed to rise in any dramatic fashion.
DAY THREE – 8 SEPTEMBER 2017
Today was the day! We started yesterday saying
the exact same thing but were determined that we
wouldn’t be saying that phrase again tomorrow.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We were demoralised
but remained determined. After fueling up we
checked the latest numbers on various aurora alert
websites and apps when out of nowhere everything
shot through the roof! KP 8.7, solar wind speeds, wind
density, wind Bz and Bt all spiked to numbers that
were quite literally off the charts!
The X 9.3 solar flare had hit, all in the middle of the
day, there was nothing we could do but pray that it
would hold out till dusk. It didn’t. Though the numbers
remained strong they never stood up to what we
experienced that afternoon which was heartbreaking.
We’d worked so hard, we’d contributed so much
time and effort which of course was all apart of it, the
chase and journey make reaching the destination
that much more satisfying. But this was hard to take,
nonetheless, the numbers remained active so we
didn’t lose hope on catching something!
Once we calmed down we started roaming. With the
weather prediction looking the way it did, shooting
the aurora from our originally planned locations
looked unfathomable which again was another blow
- We’d worked hard and scouted for hours for what
seemed like no reason.
So we headed South, it was the only option. The Alps
were still getting battered by the last grasps of winter
so the West Coast was still no option. Periodically
throughout the night every part of the south island
became enveloped in cloud, it was all about picking
a time and place where the aurora would visibly
peak with minimal cloud cover but we couldn’t
find anything that looked in any way worthwhile. I
decided I needed to get some rest, I’d been driving
and stressing for literally days on end, I needed a
break to recover so I could attack this with all my
might. I left Larryn at Rapaki Jetty, a beautiful little
spot on the Lyttelton Harbour shoreline that was well
guarded against the winds ripping through from
the West Coast. Larryn said he’d call me if anything
12.23am. My phone rings, I wake up but decline the
call in my slumber. Seconds later, it rings again, I come
around and see it’s Larryn. In the 16 second call that
followed all I can recall is Larryn going nuts saying ‘It’s
beaming, it’s going off, get out here!’. I went from
zero to one hundred, I barely recall getting in the
car. It took me 23 minutes to reach him and when I
arrived the aurora was still beaming incredibly. I didn’t
miss it, Larryn was running around like a madman!
Then it just blew up, the sky lit up, I stood there in awe
of what was unfolding before me, I snapped shots
progressively as it got bigger and bigger and definitely
got lost in the moment. I didn’t capture it as well as I
would have liked, again a learning curve. I was guilty
of losing focus due to the incredible display Mother
Nature was putting on for us, we jumped around, we
danced, we yelled and cheered! I’m adamant we
woke up New Zealand!
Words cannot describe how incredible it is to see
an aurora, photographs do not do it justice. You
simply have to see it. We watched through the night
only leaving when it got to the point where I had to
take Larryn to the airport. He was booked on a 6am
flight but by then it had truly died down. My blood
was pumping, I felt enlightened, it was all so out of
this world. It was a once in a lifetime event that I
fully intend to experience again. I’m aiming for the
Northern Lights now, but until then I will chase every
aurora here in New Zealand while I am still capable.
This story has a happy ending which is never
guaranteed – Those first gruelling unsuccessful
all-nighters that we experienced are a true
representation of the life of a landscape
photographer! Quite often we put in the hard yards
and come up with nothing. It isn’t as easy as hopping
out of your car, pointing your camera and clicking a
button as some people think! We find these incredible
places, we photograph the night sky and that takes
determination and perseverance. This is why we cry,
this is why we dance, this is why we scream, this is why
we laugh. In this case, it all paid off in the end.
JOEL, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
I live a bit of an unusual life as a digital media
partner, promotional content producer, and
I grew up on the North Shore of Auckland and spent
most of my life there until I ended up on a farm in
Pukekohe to live close to work at the Glenbrook steel
mill. My background is in engineering and I spent
a number of years as a reverse engineering and
3D visualisation consultant after moving on from a
In a way, I’ve been fortunate to have no family
commitments which has given me a lot of freedom
to travel around New Zealand and some of the
world. This has resulted in the lines between my
personal life, my work, and my hobbies becoming
increasingly blurred - for better or for worse!
WHAT’S YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
BACKGROUND? HOW DID IT ALL START?!
I haven’t done any photography courses or been
mentored so I suppose I represent a generation of
self-learners. In fact, it wasn’t until late last year that I
finally had the opportunity to take photos alongside
another person for the first time - more than 4 years
after I started!
I started photography within 2 weeks of landing my
first full-time job after university. Before I received my
first paycheck I felt unusually compelled to purchase
a camera, and so I did. I came home with a second
hand Canon 5D Mk II with a 24-105mm F4L. My family
thought I was crazy. I didn’t know how to use it and I
had never taken any interest in photography before
but I was already quite interested in film-making in
the years that preceded this.
I took thousands upon thousands of awful photos
over my working years and struggled to find time to
take them given the intensity of my work. Throughout
this time I changed camera bodies 3 times and I
traded too many second-hand lenses to count. I
left the industry and went travelling with my camera
although it wasn’t the focus of the trip. The break was
desperately needed and it would forever ignite my
interest in photography - even if I was forced to deal
with a single 14mm lens for the entire trip due to a
lens failure. After I came back from travelling I started
Eyesore Digital and officially began my journey into
intra-disciplinary digital media.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE COMMERCIAL
PHOTOGRAPHY SIDE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Most of my photos are used for sales-focused
marketing in the digital space to promote businesses
and organisations, or what they do. I take a different
approach to commercial photography in that I don’t
only offer still photography for my clients. A service
they’ve come to really value is one where I extract
and edit stills from video. While there are still a lot
of technical limitations they find it a revolutionary
approach and the fact that there are thousands
of usable frames to choose from gives them lots of
opportunities to get what they want. I primarily shoot
video on an electronic gimbal which has made this
much easier to pull off.
I’ve always looked for points of difference. One
of the less popular avenues of photography I’ve
explored commercially is 360 VR HDR imaging.
I worked extensively with VR in engineering. This
was simply a step into other verticals using similar
techniques and a different approach.
Something else I’ve done a lot of is adventuretourism
photography in recent years. As a
driver-guide, I have the opportunity to travel with
groups of international students and share the New
Zealand experience with them. My photos are used
to market NZ tourism and education both here and
overseas, and the students take my photos back to
all corners of the globe.
YOUR CITY NIGHT SHOTS ARE SUPERB. WHAT
ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE OUR READERS FOR
CAPTURING SHOTS LIKE THIS?
Lens flares and light leaks are difficult to avoid when
there’s so much uncontrolled light in a dark city
scene so using a lens hood and removing filters might
be necessary. I’ve found that polarising filters can
sometimes have a dramatic effect on city scenes
because concrete and buildings can be quite
reflective. Always try to experiment, even if you have
to look silly standing behind a camera at a street
corner for 5 or 10 minutes of exposures. Sometimes it
becomes necessary to composite out lens flares from
lights that can’t be avoided - Blocking out the flare
source throughout the exposure using a dark object
can be a life-saving technique.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU HAVE?
I currently use the Sony A7R II for the bulk of my work
which has been a great hybrid camera even with its
faults. I have a variety of lenses including the Sony
12-24mm F4 G, 24-70mm F2.8 GM, 70-200mm F2.8
GM, 85mm F1.4 GM, 90mm F2.8 Macro, 55mm F1.8
Zeiss, 16-35mm F4, Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art and a Sigma
15mm F2.8 diagonal fisheye for VR photography. I
recently picked up a 150mm filter system for the 12-
24mm which is looking like a great combination and
offers something a bit more unique than what a 16-
35mm can offer.
I use a few Godox strobes and modifiers with the
SMDV Speedbox 70 being my portable go-to used
with HSS triggers. I have a wide range of video
and sound gear to support using the system for
cinematography including a MoVI M5 gimbal plus
additional rigs and lights.
ANY BIG NAME BRANDS YOU’VE WORKED
I’ve been working with Panasonic lately and a few
other brands in the technology and security sector.
Over the last few years I have worked on media
projects for General Electric, Bluescope, Spotless,
Woodside and a few others in the industrial space.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB…
AND THE WORST PART?!
The best part is getting to do what I’m passionate
about each day and being able to travel. The mix of
guiding and media is like jumping from one extreme
to another but it’s rewarding to capture and share
people’s experience as they travel through our
The worst part is trying to manage the inconsistent
workload and sacrificing a personal life far more
often than I’d like.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUR
READERS ON TURNING PHOTOGRAPHY INTO
I believe that skill diversification and the need to
embrace new technology will become even more
important in the near future. I use video to open
doors because there are a lot of businesses and
brands that want or need it, and once the doors
are open the opportunity to perform commercial
photography and other media presents itself as a
media partnership forms.
Working hard, gaining experience, exploring
exposure avenues and always being open to
building new connections are fundamental parts of
turning photography into a career. Collaborating
with people through social media platforms can
be a great way to get your work out there now
and directly engaging with people still remains
the best way to actively secure work in an early
career. When you do this long enough eventually
the tables turn and clients will start engaging with
HOW DO YOU BALANCE SHOOTING FOR
WORK AND PLEASURE AND HOW DO YOU
I face the struggle of balancing work and pleasure
in photography every day, mostly because of how
consuming the variety of work I do can be. There
are times where I put it all down though and more
often than not photography isn’t a focus or priority
during my personal ventures unless I’m out with other
I’m an addictive serial learner and I enjoy trying
many different styles of photography from macro to
astro, and portraiture to wildlife which always gives
me something new to do. The fact that there are
no boundaries or limits to learning and creativity in
photography means there’s always room to grow
and I find that liberating and challenging after
coming from the, largely constraint driven, world of
engineering. The endless opportunity to grow drives
me to shoot and experience more and try to make up
for the time I lost in my early years.
WHAT’S THE PHOTO THAT YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF?
It would probably be a simple photo I took of the
pinnacles on Ruapehu. The clouds were rolling in and
the atmosphere was changing every second before
I just managed to capture it. The depth, light, and
atmosphere of the moment created a striking photo of
the daunting rock pillars which are hard to appreciate
when viewing it on a small scale.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PHOTOGRAPHERS
WHO WANT TO START TAKING VIDEO?
Most modern DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras can take
great video now which makes it an easy thing to step
into for most photographers. The first two challenges to
overcome when transitioning from photo to video are
stabilisation and exposure control in the form of external
ND filters and the use of a tripod, handheld or shoulder
rigs and mechanical or electronic stabilisers depending
on the filming environment and requirements.
Quality sound is something that’s often overlooked in
transitioning to video and many cameras have poor
analogue inputs which aren’t suitable for sensitive
microphones. The purchase of an isolating or directional
microphone used with an external sound recorder is a
great investment to make and can last you many years
to come since this technology changes at a much
ANY OTHER WORDS OF WISDOM?
While photography courses, workshops, and mentors are
great you should never feel like you can’t learn without
them. No matter what your situation or learning style is
there’s an endless supply of great resources online to
Photography skills can take a long time to develop (I
speak from experience!) but if you’re patient and persist
it becomes second nature and the camera will become
like your third eye. Explore every worthwhile avenue and
channel you can to build connections and be seen.
Sometimes it can take years for opportunities to manifest
but it only takes one to turn your world upside down.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
Shooting On The Street
Inspiration & Tips with Shane Whitmore
about shooting, post-processing or how to conduct
model shoots. I now shoot with a Sony A7rii with 24-70
f2.8 g-master or 70-200 f2.8 g-master.
I like shooting streetscapes and incorporating models
into this style, I think it’s unique and allows for freedom
to break all of the photography rules. I edit each
picture individually and just see where it takes me, I
don’t stick to any formula (I don’t think)!
My typical portrait sessions last 2-3 hours. This gives
myself and the model time to adjust to each others
style and allows us both to relax into a natural working
environment, which will always make for better, more
natural art. I don’t tend to plan a shoot location
ahead of time, I prefer to walk around the city finding
interesting walls, alleyways, different textures and
chasing the light. I generally have no idea of what I
want to achieve that day or how the shoot will turn out.
Its more off the cuff and if it happens, it happens!
Most of my photo shoots are from people liking my
work on Instagram. My website has also attracted
work, bringing me both corporate events and
modelling portrait shoots. See more of my work and
follow me by visiting:
Shane Whitmore, better known as Mr Wiski, is
a street, fashion, and portrait photographer who
scouts out unique locations in Auckland to give his
photography an edge.
I was inspired to get into photography when a
wedding photographer ‘friend of mine’ Ralph
Cabman, took some nightclub photos of myself and
some friends. I was amazed at the quality and the
vibrant colours. Soon after I went out and purchased
my first DSLR, a Canon 70D and a 24-70 lens. That was
back in 2016. Since then I have lived on Youtube,
absorbing as much information I can whether it be
MY TOP TIPS ARE:
• Study the light
• Don’t be scared to break the Photography Rules -
Try new ideas, be unique.
• Take your time to look for leading lines,
shadows, reflections, textures – Be aware of your
• Experiment with the editing process – Have some
• If you are not 100% happy with a photo, then don’t
post it. Keep your standards high!
• Never stop learning - Read books and watch
F5.6, 1/125s, ISO800
Model: Natalie Connell
This shot was taken from a high-rise rooftop in
Auckland. The Catwoman look wasn’t planned,
it just so happened that a mask we had worked
well with the models outfit! The relaxed pose really
worked well for this shot. I added personal touches
in Photoshop like the graffiti and the dragon hand
tattoo. What I really like about the finished product
is the natural laidback pose and the metallic
look the clothing gives. It’s also a plus that such
an iconic building, the Auckland sky tower was
F4, 1/50s, ISO1200
Model: Kodie Whitmore
The model in this shot is my daughter Kodie, she
also likes to roam the streets shooting... Like Father,
like Daughter! I came across this mirrored platform
with amazing side lights and leading lines running
down the shot in Auckland CBD. I wanted a pose
that would suit both the scene and look good in
the mirrored reflection. With locations like this, not
a lot of thinking needs to be done. I added the
graffiti in Photoshop. This shot reminds me of a film I
loved when growing up; Big Trouble In Little China,
It definitely has that film feeling...
F11, 1/250s, ISO100
I liked the sharpness of this corner building in
Auckland, amazing angles to work with. Throw in
the texture of the background high rise building
(Auckland’s first skyscraper so I’m told) and you
have a fantastic streetscape shot. I added in the
sky, the graffiti, and the sun glow afterward. I’m
most impressed with the clarity of the building in
conjunction with the soft sky and soft light in this
F1.4, 1/125s, ISO100
This shot was a single 1/125 of a second click but a 7 hour
editing process! This lovely lady was selling bracelets on the
street in New Market, Auckland. I asked if I could take her
picture and she kindly obliged. This 7 hour edit was a lot of
trial and error with different gradients and flares added. I love
her mystique look which complements the light, making for a
F2.8, 1/15s, ISO800
Model: Jahna Barraclough
MUA: Natalie May Cerche
This was a wonderful learning curve as every rule about taking a portrait went out the door! A still camera
was swapped with a moving camera. To get this portrait it would require movement and since the model
was stationary I needed to create that movement with my camera, whilst freezing the models face. I set the
camera to a slow shutter speed to create motion when panned. I had an on-camera flash set to rear curtain,
this allowed the flash to fire only after the shutter had closed to create the blur whilst freezing the subject. Once
focused on the model, the camera was then moved to her left, the camera pan moving left to right. Multiple
camera pans were taken to get usable shots, the timing of when to push on the shutter being very much trial
and error for me! I ended up taking about 30 shots, ending up with about 5 that I was happy with.
F1.8, 1/125s, ISO100
Nothing was pre-planned for this shot, the magic just
happened! It’s my daughter holding the camera
and combined with the way she was holding it, and
it being called a canon, I was inspired to have some
fun and channel the ‘act of war’ theme in postprocessing!
Some smoke and some added particle
overlays seemed to make the photo pop. I love the
bokeh that this shot offers, I think the green t-shirt
really compliments the style of photo as does the
positioning of her hands.
F8, 1/15s, ISO100
Here's a breakdown of how I created this shot.
With my camera on a tripod 2 shots were taken. The first,
a long exposure of the train using a 10 stop ND filter. The
second, now without the filter and without the train, was
of the tracks and myself. I could then blend both shots in
Photoshop and paint myself in!
I blended the 'Look For Trains' sign on to the back of my
tshirt and also added in the sun flare with Photoshop. I used
Gaussan Blur to soften the light and make it more natural
looking and then altered the colours in Lightroom.
F2.8, 1/400s, ISO100
Strong working hands caught my eye for this shot taken in
Claris, Great Barrier Island. I feel hands can tell as much a
story as eyes or a face. I also liked the texture of the wood
carving. I added my personal touches to this already
awesome shot... A touch of graffiti, a splash of light to the
mallet and some colour/contrast play to the picture. What I
really like about this shot is the depth of field mixed with the
Photographer: Richard Young
FH100M2 Long Exposure Kit
The FH100M2 Filter: It is designed to hold both square and circular filters, with the ability to freely
rotate an attached 82mm CPL filter after installation.
It will hold up to 3 square filters, and ultra-thin 82mm CPL simultaneously, without creating
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Includes: FH100M2 holder (incl FR1010, FR1015, 77mm and 82mm adapters)
0.6 Hard Grad
82-72mm Stepdown ring
82-67mm Stepdown ring
3 Railway St, Newmarket
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HOW TO CAPTURE: FOREST PHOTOGRAPHY
Forest Photography Tips with Richard Young
Forest, Tongariro National Park
F11, 1/2s, ISO400, 35mm
GET THE LEAVES IN FOCUS
If you are singling out a subject in your shot, like a
particularly stunning tree, make sure that this is in
focus along with any ferns or plants on the ground.
If you are photographing in low light on an overcast
day you will need to use a tripod or select a higher
ISO to get a shutter speed which is fast enough for a
CAPTURE THE FOREST FLOOR:
Often the forest floor is covered in lush ferns and other
beautiful small plants; include these in your shot.
Sometimes these on their own can make the best
shot. Getting down low to photograph them works
SHOOT ON AN OVERCAST DAY
Taking photos in the forest on a bright day is hard,
the hash light creates a great deal of contrast and
makes exposure more difficult. If possible head out on
an overcast day. Unusual lighting and weather can
make a more unique photograph of the forest. Sun
can occasionally add to an image if you can capture
rays of light breaking through the trees.
FIND A SUBJECT:
It is often hard to know where to point your camera
and you have to be careful not to end up with a
cluttered shot of lots of trees. Single out a subject for
your shot. This could be a particularly stunning tree,
a splash of a contrasting colour, or a pattern on the
IMPROVE YOUR FOREST PHOTOGRAPHY ON A WEEKEND TONGARIRO WORKSHOP: 17TH-19TH
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Get free entry into all competitions and earn
by participating in photo challenges
BECOME A MEMBER
1 CAMERA – 1 YEAR – 1 COUNTRY
Brett Jennings of Red Bird Photography is running
a project that will see one camera pass from one
photographer to another over the span of a year
to capture what it means to live in New Zealand.
Keen to promote the amazing photography
talent that New Zealand has, this project is about
appreciating film photography and collaborating on
a county-wide photography project using one shared
Brett is seeking 18-24 photographers to take part in this
project. The brief is fairly open, each photographer
should bring their own unique perspective and style
into the project with the choice of colour of B&W
film to capture what it means to them to live in New
Zealand. The project will be as geographically diverse
as possible, covering the majority of the country over
the year with the camera (yet to be determined)
used over a two-week period, then sent on to the next
All photographs submitted will be shared on the
shutter111.com website along with a description
of the images and a bio of each photographer,
there’s also the possibility of an exhibition of the
best photographs taking place once the project is
If you’re interested in taking part, contact Brett at
email@example.com and let him know where you live
and where you’ll be over the next year so that he can
plan the logistics of moving the camera from person
We’ll be documenting the project here at NZ
Photographer in future issues, sharing photos as the
camera makes its journey around the country.
BACK TO BASICS PART 5
Today’s DSLR cameras have built in flash and
TTL (Through the Lens) exposure but when I first
started in photography things were very different.
With manual SLRs, we used flash bulbs and had
to consider distance and aperture as TTL flash didn’t
exist until the 1970’s!
The camera had a flash sync speed on the shutter
speed dial for use with electronic flashguns, these
varied according to the camera but were typically
1/60th or 1/80th of a second. If the flash sync speed
on the shutter dial was not set, the flash would fire
at what shutter speed was set, resulting in too fast a
speed being used giving you half a picture because
the shutter was already closing when the flash fired.
Thankfully these problems don’t exist today! With
TTL, the exposure is read from the light entering the
camera lens with the CCD sensor closing the flash at
the correct moment to ensure accurate exposure.
All flash units today have a guide number, (you
will find this in the flash section of your manual),
this dictates the strength of the flash over a given
distance. On my camera, the built in flash has a guide
number of 15 metres at ISO 200. That is to say that
the flash will be effective at that distance. Anything
beyond that will suffer from light fall off and dark
ON-CAMERA FLASH SETTINGS
With most cameras, the settings for the flash are as
follows, the first two being the most popular:
Auto Front Curtain: This fires the flash at the moment
of shutter release, capturing the subject immediately.
This is very useful when taking pictures at functions,
where you are not posing the subjects, and are
looking to capture spontaneous shots. Journalist
photographers use this as the only thing of interest is
their immediate subject, so the pictures can be taken
off the cuff with the subject on the move.
Auto Rear Curtain: This fires the flash at the end of the
shutter release, exposing background elements in
the picture before the flash fires on the main subject.
This is best used when you want to show some of the
background surrounding the subject. An example
would be someone giving a speech with people and/
or signs behind them.
Rear Curtain with Slow Sync: With this setting the
camera meters the scene and then sets the shutter
speed to correctly expose all of the background
before firing the flash at the end to correctly expose
the main subject. You would typically use this in
night portraiture or architectural night scenes. To
successfully use this setting you need to use a tripod,
preferably with a remote release, and make sure that
the subject remains still for the length of the exposure.
Fill in Flash: This is where the camera will use a
small amount of flash to correct shadowed areas
in a picture in situations where the subject has light
coming from behind or to the side, as opposed to the
front. It’s particularly useful when taking portraits and
group pictures outside to balance the shadows and is
commonly used at weddings. To use this setting, pop
the flash manually (usually by pressing a button on the
side of your camera) and the camera will apply the
correct amount of fill in flash, depending how much
of your subject is shaded. You can also use this to
freeze frame movement so that the scene is correctly
exposed but the movement not seen.
Red Eye Reduction: This setting is found in the flash
menu on your camera, and as the name suggests,
it limits the amount of flash light reflected from the
retinas in our eyes. In animals instead of showing as
red light, it can be green or yellow. In this instance,
the camera sends a burst of pre-flash to constrict the
pupils thus restricting the amount of light entering the
If you discover your flash photography looks washed
out or too dark, adding compensation should correct
the problem. In the flash menu, after setting what kind
of flash you wish to use, find the compensation + and
– setting and adjust accordingly. The compensation
settings are usually made in increments of either
1/3rd or 1/2 half stops to allow finer control of the
output. The minus will reduce output and the plus
increase it. If, for example, you photograph a floral
display indoors and the blooms appear washed out,
set compensation on the minus side to correct the
exposure. If on the other hand, the metering has
caused the blooms to appear dull and understated,
set the flash compensation on the plus side to
obtain a more even look. Remember to turn off
compensation when you are finished, not all cameras
automatically do this meaning subsequent shots will
be over or underexposed!
OFF CAMERA FLASH UNITS
Whilst the on-camera pop-up flash is fine for most
amateur photographers, there may be a time when
you require something more powerful, particularly
if you’re passionate about portrait photography.
Off camera flash units are more versatile, are more
powerful therefore giving greater range and give you
better control over shadowing and reducing red eye
effects, but they’re not cheap!
There are many off camera units available, whether
third party units or ones made and designed for your
camera by your camera manufacturer. These units
are fitted with a module dedicated to your camera’s
electronics which allow your camera’s metering
system to control the flash correctly. The dedicated
modules respond via the wireless function (if your
camera has this) allowing you to add one or more for
You can use these units atop the camera in the
flash “Hot Shoe” on the top of the camera where
the popup flash is situated, or the units will attach to
a flash bracket which you fix to your camera, (this
screws in to the tripod socket on the base, but is
itself threaded to allow the use of a tripod as well)
and means that when photographing people and
animals, the flash is off centre to the eyes, reducing
Depending on the type of unit you purchase, it may
have a swivel/bounce head. The swivel allows the unit
to be sited at an angle which is useful for architecture
shots while the bounce throws the light off a ceiling or
a wall which produces a softer look, ideal for avoiding
shadows in portraiture photography.
This overview of flash photography brings us to the
end of the ‘Back to Basics’ series. If you have been
following along from the beginning of these articles,
I hope you are now feeling more comfortable with
understanding what all the buttons and different
settings do on your camera and how to use them
to help you take the next step in your photography
By Ray Harness
BEHIND THE SHOT
WITH GEORGE VAN HOUT
F22, 5s to 1/400s, ISO100, 11mm
F3.5,1/250s, ISO100, 18mm
GEORGE, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT
I was born and raised in New Zealand. I studied
Engineering at Canterbury and currently work
as an Acoustic Engineer in Christchurch. I met
my fiancé when we were at High School and we
have stayed together ever since. We live with our
beautiful kitten (Artoo) and two horses (Choccy
I grew up around cameras. My father always had
a passion for photography, taking photos of us kids
all the time. In his spare time he used to also do
wedding photography. When we were old enough
he finally let us muck about with his cameras.
About 5 years ago I really got into photography,
finally getting my own semi-professional camera.
Since then I haven’t really stopped taking photos.
I love capturing photos which evoke emotions in
people or help bring back memories.
TELL US ABOUT THIS PHOTO...
We live very close to the Ashley River, and I had
been meaning to head down to the river at sunset
for a while. The evening wasn’t planned, it just
happened that this evening was less busy than
usual. I went down for more of a scoping visit to
take some photos from different angles and to
see how the light fell down the river bed. I was
planning on going back a couple of weeks later
when the sun set down the river more evenly than
off to the side.
With my mini tripod, I set my camera up in the
water very carefully, arranging rocks, sand, and
sticks to ensure that the flowing water wouldn’t
push it over (cameras and water don’t particularly
go well together). I was taking a few long
exposures, so when I stepped back from one I
quickly took a photo with my other camera just so I
knew the angle and orientation for later.
I usually have both of my cameras with me, this
allows me to set them up with different lenses so I
don’t have to worry about changing lenses, missing
shots because of changing lenses, or getting dirt
in the camera and/or sensor. Also in this instance,
because I was scoping the site I wanted to shoot
with one camera and then record the angles, and
setup of the main camera with the other camera
so that if I particularly liked a shot and wanted to
recreate it down the line I had a record of how it
WHAT EQUIPMENT ARE YOU USING?
The camera that I took the main shot with, the one
shown in the picture above, is the Canon EOS M (the
original), with a Canon EF-M 11-22mm lens, and a
standard CPL filter (which wouldn’t have made any
difference facing the sun). That camera was mounted
on a Pedco Ultrapod. I took the photo of the setup
with my Canon EOS M3 with a Canon EF-M 18-55 mm
WHAT’S HAPPENING BEHIND THE CAMERA
THAT WE CAN’T SEE?
I’m praying that the camera doesn’t decide it wants
to be a submarine! There is also a little offshoot arm of
the river which comes behind me so I was trying not to
get wet feet either. No one else was around, so it was
very peaceful! After taking a few photos like this, I just
stood and admired the beautiful colours of the sunset.
HOW MUCH POST-PROCESSING DID YOU DO?
I shoot almost all my photos in RAW, but nothing too
major was done to the image. I did some small tweaks
in Adobe Lightroom, mainly with the contract and
brightness to lift the blacks (rocks and camera) up so
they weren’t completely black and toned down the
intensity of the sunset. I upped the vibrancy by about
20% then toned down the saturation by 5%.
The main photo (previous page) is an HDR made
up of 5 photos shot at varying shutter speeds from 5
seconds to 1/400 seconds. The 5 photos were meshed
together in Adobe Lightroom with contrast, brightness,
saturation, vibrancy, clarity, and HSL modifications
IF YOU COULD RE-SHOOT THIS WHAT WOULD
YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
For the main camera, I would have loved to put an
ND filter on to get a longer shutter speed to really blur
the river more. A bigger sturdier tripod would have
made me a lot less nervous too! As for the photo of
the camera, I probably would have taken more time
in actually setting up the shot. It was more of a point
and shoot job than anything else!
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
I am ‘borrowing’ my dads original Canon EOS 5,
35mm film camera at the moment which is amazing
fun. Having to think about each shot (rather than
knowing then and there what the photo is like and
adjusting the settings accordingly) has helped me
become a better photographer.
DISCOVERING A WINTER
by Brendon Gilchrist
Cold nights, no lights, shivering in your
boots? Photography shouldn't stop
even in the coldest of winter days. It
provides opportunities that should be
embraced into a new creative vision to capture
unique vistas that the other 3 seasons do not offer
and when winter photography is combined with
mountaineering it's a whole new ball game!
Mountaineering is an activity that few people
experience or even understand, but for those
who do, including myself and my good mate
Justin, they are rewarded with some of the most
spectacular views in some of the most challenging
On this excursion myself and Justin travelled from
Christchurch to Arthur's pass so that we could
climb a peak before heading back to Christchurch
again, all in the same day. You'll be asking are you
mad? The answer is yes, a little! But why not?! You
only have one life with few opportunities to push
your own limits and have the ultimate reward. As
we leave the house at midnight the night is clear,
the city is still alive but we soon find our way to
open fields driving towards the cold and beautiful
mountains. By 3am we have arrived in Arthurs Pass
Village where our climb begins. We wait a few
moments to try and wake up for what is about to
happen... It's not easy but we get out of the car
and get ready for our climb up Mount Bealey.
Boots on, hat on, head torch at the ready, lock the
car, we are good to go!
It doesn’t take long for us to become too hot in
what we are wearing as the track is steep with a
bit of climbing involved but we'll be grateful for the
layers later. We stop to take a few breathers but
our goal is to be out of the bush and in the snow by
sunrise - A decent 3 hour walk and climb through
the bush in the dark is ahead of us.
Emerging from the bush is always special, to get up
and out onto the tops, to see the glow of morning
slowly coming through and to think about what
you will see and capture. The sunrise this morning
was spectacular with a pink band of cloud over
Mount Rolleston, layers of clouds in the valleys – A
sight that I will never forget.
This climb is my first time climbing something steep
with no ropes (not that I climb with ropes) and
there are a few sections where I feel out of my
comfort zone. This is the day I learnt to trust my
gear... I didn’t have my crampons on but I felt
confident in my boots and ice axe placements. As
we kept ascending, admiring the view along the
way, the climb became a little easier towards the
Photographing while climbing mountains is hard
as you have no set location, no particular place
that you know is there if an opportunity for a photo
happens it happens and if there something good
to put in the foreground that is great. I’m always
last up because my camera gear is heavy, but
its worth it, I need it to be able to record these
moments and tell these stories.
When I reach the top I walk along the summit to
the big cairns, take off my pack off admire the
view. We spent 30 minutes on the summit after a
good solid 4 to 5 hours climbing. Now there's just
time for a quick bite to eat of almost frozen bread
(but at this point any food is good food) before we
make the 4 hour descent.
Going down I see new compositions that I did not
see on the way up. Everything looks different going
this way now that it's light and I see many missed
opportunities that are really photogenic. I will have
to go back to capture some epic selfies!
Once back at the car we celebrate, we did it!
We are happy, tired and sore, but one thing is
for certain, we must get to the Sheffield Pie Shop
before it shuts! It's become almost a tradition with
us; climb during the early hours, get back down
and out, and then rush to the pie shop before it
I hope my story has inspired you. Winter is not a
time to hide from the cold. I urge you to dress up
warm and go and discover something new. Be
prepared to get cold but also be prepared to be
rewarded, preferably with a companion so you
can keep safe together. The epic snow days are
near and are waiting for you to capture new and
exciting images to show the world how stunning
this planet is, particularly our corner of New
Wow us with your shots of the Wanaka Tree!
The Wanaka Tree is arguably the most popular tree in New Zealand – almost everyone has at least one shot of
it. We can't begin to tell you how many times we come across a photo of this tree in readers submissions so
we decided to use it as a competition theme! We're excited to see how each image of the same subject shows
off each photographers style and creativity.
Show us what you have and be in to win a 64GB memory card for your camera!
Competition runs 1 -20 May 2018
See full T&Cs and submit your best photo using the link: www.excio.io/wanaka
(Please note: for general readers' submissions please use www.excio.io/nzpsubmit)
Photo of old wharf piles just off the road on the way
between Queenstown and Glenorchy.
SHAUN BARNETT’S COMMENTS
This shot has considerable merits. The slow
shutter speed has created a pleasing softness
to the water, while still retaining the blue.
The tree framing the image on the right
gives the scene an intimacy that it might
have otherwise lacked. Perhaps the only
improvements I can suggest are a slightly
different composition. There is a triangle of thin
dark branches in the foreground, which are a
little distracting – I would have removed these
before taking the picture, or recomposed to
avoid them. Lastly, I felt that a better angle
on the wharf piles might have been possible
to separate them. Overall though, a shot with
plenty of atmosphere, nicely processed and
with care put into the composition.
BRENDON GILCHRIST’S COMMENTS:
In this image, everything looks really
good from the dusting of snow on
the mountains to the autumn leaves
on the tree and shore. I feel that the
old jetty is leading out of the image
though, my eye is lead out to the left
rather than drawn into the image. If
the jetty was more centered it would
improve the composition. The long
exposure works well, it has blurred the
waves and created a moody image –
Overall, I like what I see.
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
F11, 1/500s, ISO400, 100mm
Taken at a visit to the Lavender farm in Wanaka.
CASCADE EVENING FLOW
F20, 5s, ISO80, 26mm
Timing was everything as I captured this image at sunset just before total cloud
cover. It was made more difficult by the gusting 100km/h winds and trying to
keep the camera steady and dry while water was spraying everywhere.
COTTON CANDY MOUNT MAUNGANUI SUNRISE
F18, 6s, ISO50, 20mm
I climbed up the Mount in the dark with a torch hoping for a
good sunrise. This cotton candy sunrise was the result!
May 2018 45
ROCK POOL SCARBOROUGH
F22, 2s, ISO100
I love what I call "10mm skies". The patterns of the clouds just cry out for the use of a wide angle lens.
It enhances the image to have a strong foreground too, in this case the red rock in a natural pool of
water. I have been asked a number of times.... but no, I did not place the rock there, it was perfectly
natural. I have been back to the spot many times and never seen it in that location since. It is fairly light
aerated volcanic rock and would easily have been dislodged by wave action.
F20, 20s, ISO100
A beautiful calm pre-sunrise moment looking out across the Hauraki Gulf to Rangitoto Island. The sky
patterns just call out for a wide angle lens, my favourite Sigma 10-20mm. A slow shutter speed was used
to enhance and add interest to the foreground.
F20, 20s, ISO100
A early morning venture from Plateau Hutt to capture the soft tones at blue hour before sunrise. It was so
quiet and peaceful up there. Not much sleep that night as we ventured out all night and early morning
with our crampons and camera to capture the magnificence from the east face of Aoraki/Mt Cook.
F11, 30s, ISO100, 18mm
Sunset from Plimmerton Beach over Mana Island, capturing the dramatic sunsets that occur behind the
Island along with the top of the South Island in the background.
TE ANAU WHARF
F16, 6s, 24mm
Playing with my new 10 stop Nisi Filter watching the weather
changing over the South Fiord on Lake Te Anau.
F9.5, 1/350s ISO320, 24mm
Recent camping trip to Mavora Lakes and a day walk up the Campbells Saddle with stunning views
out over the lake on the way back down the mountain.
F6.3, 0.8s, 19mm
A midday walk up to the
Tarawera falls. They are beautiful.
GREAT GREY OWL
F8, 1/500s, ISO3200
This magnificent bird was resting near Lower Yellowstone Falls and presented itself in all of its
glory to the happy photographer. The size and beauty of this Great Grey Owl is jaw-droppingly
impressive, especially since it's a rarely seen bird in Yellowstone National Park.
OLD WHARF AT TOKAANU
F16, 30s, ISO100
The impressively long, old wharf at Tokaanu, Lake Taupo. The wharf makes a great subject
complemented by beautiful background scenery. The use of a 10 stop ND filter has smoothed the
choppy windblown lake water and introduced some cloud movement.
DANCING IN THE SUNLIGHT
F2.8, 1/8000s, ISO160, 35mm
Dancing at golden hour in summertime.
First light and surfers beginning to go.
F8, 1/50s, ISO100, 29mm
A panorama of Slough Creek in Fall colours.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
F8, 1/5000s, ISO400, 800mm
A Bald Eagle taking off above Madison River.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
F8, 1/160s, ISO100, 16mm
Canary Springs tree covered in frost.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
F4.5, ISO6400, 1/2000s
A Starling in flight approaching a feeding platform at speed.
F6.3, ISO200, 19mm
An image from a body of work entitled 'Not Just Tea and Scones', documenting working rural women
in New Zealand 2017. This photograph formed part of my 4th year BFA end-of-year submission.
F4, ISO100, 11mm
I have always been fascinated with the photographs which appear to show people floating. I tried
this out with my fiance this weekend after learning about the technique to take these types of photos.
George van Hout
OUT OF THE MIST THEY CAME
F7.1, ISO200, 1/100s
While walking down our country road I spotted these two white horses, it was early morning and lots
of mist about.
DARK V LIGHT
F4, ISO800, 11mm
The cloud during sunrise abruptly stopped over our house, creating this night versus day scenario.
George van Hout
Waitawa Regional Park at its best on a stunning Autumn day. We had visitors from out of town and this
was a must see on our tourist trail.
F4, 3s, ISO100
Lower section of McLeans Falls, Catlins.
F14, 6s, ISO100
One of waterfalls we visited while in the Catlins over Easter. Probably the easiest to get to!
THROUGH THE OLIVE GROVE
The sun setting looking through the olive grove in Cornwall Park.
STARING YOU DOWN
F6.3, 1/640s, ISO1000, 400mm
Portrait of Piwakawaka
CHASE THE MOON
F8, 8s, ISO1600, 28mm
Post sunset evening shot of the setting moon with sheep.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
F8, 1/500s, ISO200, 24mm
In the pasture with some interested young heifers.
F13, 1/400s, ISO200, 21mm
Raglan from up on the hills. One of my favourite places for shooting seascapes.
F8, 1/13s, ISO100, 18mm
This was shot from pov Desert Road - One of those moments where every angle makes a perfect scene.
A LAKE IN INFRARED
F3.5, 1/125s, ISO80, 4mm
This was taken on the top path overlooking the thermal lake near Rotorua. The filter used
here was a 680nm which falls just under 720nm for perfect infrared spectrum.
F8, 1/160s, ISO100, 55mm
Shot across the valley towards Mount Ruapehu. It was raining and for a moment the sun
gave a sideglance from the right.
DARN HE MOVED
F6.3, 15s, ISO1250
Some friends and I exploring underground for photography,
not an easy task with mud, water and darkness.
THE TOOL SHED
This photo was taken on a property that had so much old "junk" on it it was hard to know
what to photograph next! I went with a group from our local photographic group which
is newly formed and this was our first outing together. This was a tool shed that was well
and truly overstocked, but had that lovely feel to it of having been well used.
PLACE OF WORSHIP
F8, 1/100s, ISO100
Raetihi, New Zealand
F8, 180s, ISO400
New Year’s Eve was biting at my heels. Queenstown was the last place I wanted to be on December 31st. The
Hills beckoned beyond the tinsel town, so I boarded the Skyline gondola for my escapade.
Once past the Skyline Restaurant, punching through the thin veneer of amusement-park bliss and adrenaline
junkie heaven, I followed the Ben Lomond Walkway into the shady pine forest. Short of the saddle, I decided
to follow the subsidiary ridgeline back towards Lake Wakatipu. Traversing a sequence of rounded tussock
tops and tip-toeing along a serrated spine of rock, I bravely erected my tiny tent near a precipice above Horn
As 2017 faded into the past, I enjoyed my lofty seclusion, only a stone’s throw from the madding crowds below.
Before the clock struck midnight, a cacophony of voices echoed off the hills… “10… 9… 8… 7…” An explosion
of fireworks thundered up the gully, scaring the resident goat population half to death.
“6… 5… 4… 3…” As I reflected on my compromised position, suspended between wilderness and the fleshpots
of humanity, a dozen rockets climbed the sky above Wakatipu, illuminating the hillsides, dying on their descent
back into darkness. “2… 1… 0…” Good morning, 2018!
Soon the cacophony subsided, and I set my DSLR up on my trusty tripod. Being alone, I had to shoot the first
image of the scene while I painted the foreground with my head torch. I then activated my intervalometer to
fire the second shot while I was inside my tiny tent, illuminating the interior.
F11, 30s, ISO100
LAST MAN STANDING
Queenstown is arguably the most picturesque place for landscape photographers. But great shots don't usually
come without effort and a bit of prior planning.
To gain this premium viewpoint above the city, most folks pay for the gondola, but not me. I trudged for 45
minutes up a very steep 4WD road to the Skyline Restaurant, and secured my spot on the balcony before I was
surrounded by phone-toting tourists. So I could pre-focus my DSLR - before night fell, making this difficult.
Eventually, the winter cold froze my companions, who retreated to the comfort of the restaurant, and caught
the final gondola ride back to their hotels. I was literally, the last man standing.
Alone, I experimented with different shutter speeds to get the perfect long exposure of light trails from moving
vehicles, far, far below. I was about to give up, when the clouds lifted, allowing the moon to light the snow on
The Remarkables, effectively brightening the background. I was delighted, and began my descent on foot, by
moonlight, as my headlamp had bat flatteries.
TONIGHT, THERE WAS A SUNSET WORTH WAITING FOR
F9, 1/200s, ISO100
Owhiro Bay, Wellington
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May 2018 107
GLENORCHY FROM KINLOCH
F10, 1/125s, ISO125
Kinloch, Otago, New Zealand
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May 2018 109
F11, 1/500s, ISO250
Canterbury, New Zealand
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May 2018 111
F18, 250s, ISO100
12 storeys perched atop a hill at 3,600m. This is Thiksey Gompa, the Tibetan yellow hat
sect largest monastery in central Ladakh, India. It houses many items of Buddhist art i.e
stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings, and swords.
ARATERE HEADING INTO WELLINGTON
A shot of Aratere heading into Wellington Harbour from Island Bay. A pretty overcast day
and the distant low clouds and the rocks in the foreground adds to the composition.
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May 2018 115
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF
STUCK IN DARKNESS,
THE FIRST THING TO
DO IS FIND AND START
CAPTURING THE LIGHT.