ISSUE 9, July 2018
WITH KEN WRIGHT
GETTING TO KNOW
NIFTY FEW & FMC
HOW TO CAPTURE:
WITH RICHARD YOUNG
IN GREAT BOULDER
by Brendon Gilchrist
NZPhotographer Issue 9
by Ken Wright
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WELCOME TO ISSUE 9 OF NZ PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE
I hope you’ve been taking lots of
wonderful photos over the past
month, if not, I’m sure this issue
will get you inspired to get out
there and snap some scenes - We
announce our Winter Competition
on page 39 so now is the time to
get out there and show us what a
New Zealand Winter looks like to
In this issue, we find out about
not one, but two NZ groups you
might be interested in joining.
NiftyFew is encouraging creatives
to push the boundaries whilst FMC
members (Federated Mountain
Clubs) explore and protect New
Meanwhile, Brendon takes us on an adventure to Boulder Lake, Richard
gives some tips on capturing winter landscapes, James explains 2 gamechanging
Lightroom tools, and we get to know Ken Wright of LightWave
Photography. Last but never least, your photos grace the end pages
with Readers Submissions – Enjoy!
James is an amateur
the United States who
recently moved to New
Zealand for soccer. He has
taken a keen interest in
photography having lived
in five countries over the
past few years.
Brendon is the man
behind ESB Photography.
He treks from sea to
mountain, and back
again, capturing the
uniqueness of New
Editor NZ Photographer
Richard is an awardwinning
and runs photography
tours. He is the founder
of New Zealand
nzphotographer nzp_magazine email@example.com
INTERVIEW WITH KEN WRIGHT
WITH KEN WRIGHT
NIFTY FEW - THE CREATIVES
BEHIND THE SHOT WITH MARTIN MCCRAE
FINDING ADVENTURE IN GREAT BOULDER
by Brendon Gilchrist
2 GAME-CHANGING LIGHTROOM TOOLS
by James Hickok
30 HOW TO CAPTURE: WINTER LANDSCAPES by Richard Young
FMC - JOIN THE VOICE OF
NZ'S OUTDOORS PEOPLE
PORTFOLIO BEST READERS'
SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
BEHIND THE SHOT
HOW TO CAPTURE:
Interview with Ken Wright of
KAIKOURA WINTER SUNSTRIKE
F16 ,0.4s, ISO100
KEN, CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS
ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR DESIGN +
I am originally from the UK. I lived in the City of Lincoln
and went to Lincolnshire College of Art and Design
from 1976-80. During my four years at Art College, I
studied Graphics, Illustration, Exhibition Design, and
Photography. I had not encountered photography
before Art college and was instantly hooked.
After a strange set of events in the UK, one of which
was my mother passing at age 56, we made a
monumental decision to leave our home and country
and move to the other side of the world. It was one
of those OMG moments, what if, someone told you
that it’s all over at 56? What would you do? We left
everything and everybody packed 5 suitcases, and
with two boys (7 and 4) and my wife Karen pregnant
with our third (and on the last week that she was
allowed to fly!) we came to New Zealand to start a
new life. That was 21 years ago, we are now citizens
and love New Zealand.
I have been very fortunate to have spent 35 years
in the creative industry. During my time as a senior
designer and creative director, I have art directed
numerous excellent photographers both in the UK
and NZ. Design wise, my claim to fame is being
principle designer and team leader for the millennium
banknote. After a health scare, I left the design
industry in 2011 to focus purely on photography.
WHAT ARE YOU SHOOTING WITH?
Currently, I am shooting on a Nikon D750 which is
about a month old. This replaced a D610 which
alongside me took a bath in the sea! Thank goodness
for insurance. I have been with Nikon from the
beginning and I guess it’s a bit like the Ford and
Holden cliché. Out of preference I mainly shoot ultra
wide angle with a 16-35 Nikkor lens.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
I would describe my work as “in your face”. I like my
images to be close to the action. I want my viewer to
feel that they can walk into the image. So most of the
time I am shooting from right in front of the tripod to
the horizon. I believe it’s what makes my seascapes
more dynamic. I said at my first exhibition “If you are
not wet, you are not close enough” however, as I
found, there is a difference between being close and
a drowned camera. Also, I would describe my work
as “full spectrum colour”. We live in a world of intense
colour and I like to bring that out in my images.
YOU’VE SPENT 35 YEARS AS A GRAPHIC
DESIGNER… HOW DID PHOTOGRAPHY
BECOME YOUR CAREER?
During my career, I have either art directed or taken
images for brochures/adverts etc. In the early days,
as a designer working remote, (and I don’t mean
location - I mean before computers and internet)
a designer was expected to cover all disciplines
so there were many occasions when there was no
‘photographer’ to hand and you just got on and did
the shot your self.
How I came to be doing what I am doing now is
another story. About 11 years ago I had a run in with
bowel cancer and this stopped me in my tracks.
With several months recovering I had time to take
stock of my life and what I wanted to do. It’s easy to
get caught up in life’s perpetual treadmill of career,
house, car, toys etc when life is really about living.
F22, 1/6s, ISO50
I changed my working week to give me Fridays
off so that I could spend time on photography.
This was more to do with doctors orders to find
something less stressful than being Art Director
and part owner of a Design Group. In 2009 my
friends pushed me into having an exhibition which
became the catalyst for change. The final push
came when my wife Karen was diagnosed with
breast cancer. We decided to pull the plug on
life’s treadmill and step off the grid. So here I am
in Papamoa running photography workshops and
living a simple life with Karen (we’ve been married
for 32 years) and boomerang kids (28,24,21), 2
dogs and 4 cats!!
HOT WATER FALLS
F14, 2s, ISO50
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO OUR
READERS WHO ARE HOPING TO QUIT THEIR
DAY JOB TO PURSUE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY
If you are really passionate about doing something
else, don’t wait for something nasty to force
your hand or worse stop you. Life is for living and
exploring it’s not a rehearsal. There is a lovely poem
on a bronze plaque at the Blue Springs walk near
Putaru which sums it up – Look up “Dust if you
must”, and you’ll realise how much of your time
is slipping away on things that are not important.
Make it happen!
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR
WORK… AND THE WORST?
The best thing is finding new locations or routes
to places beyond where someone else would
venture, meeting interesting people, and sharing
knowledge and locations. I enjoy spending most of
my time outdoors far away from my old office life.
The worst thing is the mental torture of seeing a
location with a fabulous shot and not being able to
find a way to get there, it’s the stuff of nightmares!
HOW DO YOU FIND LOCATIONS?
Locations come from all kinds of sources. In the
early days I had no process, now with Google
maps, PhotoPills, LighTrac apps, tide times, weather
etc all on my phone, it’s a lot simpler to plan a trip.
When planning a road trip I will spend quite a
while moving LighTrac around on Google maps
so I can plan which beach to be at and what
time for the best light etc. A recent location is a
secret ‘hot water’ waterfall which I saw a picture
of in a book at a motel. The author didn’t give the
exact location but just enough to get me started - I
managed to get within 15 meters without knowing
I was right. So I bought the book and found that
the author had included the GPS location in the
footnote, game on! This waterfall is hidden in plain
sight and it’s my fave spot to shoot right now.
ANY FUNNY OR INTERESTING STORIES TO
I had this idea to purchase a GoPro to film some of
the more remote locations that we visit. So GoPro
purchased, I’m off on an adventure with my friend
Steve Allan who tags along for the ride - He is not into
photography but loves the outdoors and I take him for
support in remote places, helping me to cross rivers,
passing me gear in precariously balanced positions
etc. So the idea was to have Steve film these events
but then he pointed out that the moment Karen, my
wife, were to see where I was going and what I was
doing I wouldn’t be allowed out to play any more! So,
I have the most unused GoPro in the business!!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
Originally I didn’t intend to do the classes at all.
When we had the gallery (Lightwave Gallery), I kept
getting asked for tuition and always avoided it. Once
the gallery closed it seemed a natural progression.
So now we have classes and workshops that cover
the whole range of levels. We do one-day Novice,
Intermediate, Lightroom, and Photoshop classes.
(Interestingly enough, graphic designers were using
Photoshop 10 years before we had digital cameras,
I have been using Photoshop since version 3). There
are also several one and two-day workshops, 2-day
Kaimai Mamaku Forest Waterfalls and 2 days in the
Bay, Seascapes and Waterfalls ~ dawn till dusk has
been very popular.
The best thing about the classes and workshops is
seeing people “all fired up” to go and take better
photographs. There are no secrets, I tell students
exactly how I would do it and how I process the
images. We have several students that have returned
to do other workshops and as a result have become
WHAT WAS IT LIKE OWNING THE LIGHTWAVE
The gallery was a pipe dream that we made happen.
I wanted a space to exhibit my images. Initially, we
exhibited at The Cargo Shed in Tauranga. This opened
the door to a group of like-minded creatives that
also needed a quality space to exhibit. We had the
gallery for two years and it was a blast. We undertook
projects that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to
do otherwise. I created a large photographic piece
of the Matapihi Rail Bridge (seven canvases bolted
together) which is now part of the civic art collection
and hangs in the ASB arena.
Sadly, owning a gallery is not what it seems, the
romantic version is very different from reality.
The reality is two-fold, once you stop being a
photographer and you become a shopkeeper, the
other is a financial reality, in a seaside town you
make money during the summer then use it to stay
afloat during winter. In the time we have been in
the Bay of Plenty we have seen numerous galleries
close for similar reasons. Don’t get me wrong it was
a great time in our lives and we wouldn’t trade that
experience for anything.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN
PHOTOGRAPHY TO DATE?
This has to be being asked to be the guest speaker
at the 2015 PSNZ National Convention which was
held in Tauranga. It was an honour to be on stage
with Christian Fletcher (Australia), Guy Edwards
(UK), Juliane Kost (Adobe USA) and Kevin Clark
(Christchurch). I must say I did feel slightly “the poor
relation” but their work inspired me to create better
images. I have also made lasting friendships with
people at the Tauranga Photographic Society who
often ask me to speak at club nights.
‘PAINTING WITH LIGHT’ CERTAINLY SUMS
UP YOUR WORK - WHAT TIPS CAN YOU
OFFER OUR READERS FOR CAPTURING SUCH
Firstly, can I say, I’m not in the business of selling
‘photographs’, I’m in the business of selling Art,
capturing the light is the starting point for my images
which I call “painting with light”.
Early on I got frustrated with not being able to capture
all the information in one frame and that’s because
in extremes of light the exposure difference between
the sky and foreground can be numerous stops. Even
with expensive filters you still get “blow out” around
the sun so inevitably I would need multiple exposures
to capture the whole dynamic range which then gets
reassembled in Photoshop to give a higher dynamic
Most cameras only capture about half the dynamic
range that your eyes see. I have my own way of
doing HDR using layers and multiple exposures which
has now lead me onto image stacking using a series
of short exposures to record the travel of a wave as
it spills and crashes over the rocks. Layering all the
images tells the story of what happens in that location.
This is where a 5 second exposure would turn water to
mist but 10 half second exposures or less layered up
will show the dynamic movement of the water.
The black and white image of Otarawairere Bay
waves is a combination of 5 images. The morning
that I took this workshop there was very little wave
movement and a flat sky, I showed my students how
to take a series of images like a time lapse.
OTARAWAIRERE 5 WAVES
F22, 1.3s, ISO50
JAMES BOND PANO THAILAND
F9, 1/100s, ISO200
Each wave exploding or spilling with a view to
blending all into one image. The sky was about 30˚ to
the left so after the wave we rotated to capture that
image, the sky was there it just wasn’t in line. This is an
exercise in creating a piece of art in a location that’s
not playing ball. Christian Fletcher summed this up
with his sky replacement argument. If you have gone
to Iceland and you’ve paid a fortune to get there and
there is terrible weather or lack of a good sky at the
waterfall you want to shoot, do you not bother or do
you shoot it with intent to add sky later and save the
image? With this in mind I managed to save an image
from Thailand of James Bond Island, 10 days and
no sunrise or sunset, just a milky grey sky. So using his
technique I salvaged a handheld 5 image panorama
with a new sky and a desaturated look to create a
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Through a strange twist of events and a random
phone call to Richard Young at New Zealand
Photography Workshops I will be joining forces with
his team to help run workshops in Tongariro National
Park and other locations. This is a development which
I am really looking forward to and feel honoured to be
asked to join the team.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT TO SHARE?
I think it is only right to acknowledge some people
that have helped me significantly and supported me
through my transit from designer to photographer.
Firstly, Karen my wife who I have known for 38 years.
She has supported me, has been a friend and soul
mate through thick and thin. Lindsay Keats and Lance
Lawson both professional photographers based in
Wellington, thank you for your support and advice.
Tony Gorham and Richard Brooker for helping with
trial runs for workshop scoping.
PAPAMOA GRASS STARS
F22, 1.6s, ISO50
Founded by Stephen Duffin and Hannah Walton in 2017, Nifty Few was created to showcase
New Zealand’s incredible creative talent whether they be photographers, videographers, or
graphic designers, and to build a community of like minded individuals who inspire one another.
Founder Stephen Duffin tells NZP how he was inspired and what the group are up to now.
noticed that New Zealand’s creative talent
is prominent on social media (Instagram in
particular), but that many of the talents were
flying under the radar, and from what I believe,
not receiving the recognition or exposure that they
deserve. It was evident to me that these young
creatives and myself included, are inspired by one
another’s works, but how incredibly difficult it is to
connect with this local talent amongst the large
masses of people on social media channels, not to
mention social media’s unfavourable algorithms. So,
the NIFTY FEW group was born!
When I was thinking of the name, I wanted it to tie it
back into the scene. I was looking at Jargon/Slang
names used in photography and the term ‘Nifty Fifty’
stood out to me. The term is used to describe a 50mm
lens, one that is seen as being the best value piece
of glass you can add to your kit, offering versatility
and quality. Nifty Few was a play on this term. When
looking at the definition of the word Nifty, I felt it
embraced what the creative scene was - definition:
particularly good, skillfull, effective and their work
attractive and stylish. The word Few, was added to
provide exclusivity – recognizing that not everyone
can produce what they’re creating.
Most recently the group held it’s first Instameet and
Photo Walk in Auckland with a turn out of approx.
100 people. The night was an opportunity for our
community to link up with other local creatives and
shoot at locations with models and props.
We collaborated with a number guest hosts (some of
whose photos you can see on the following pages)
and models with incredible portfolios who have a
strong following within the community. This was a
fantastic way for their followers to meet in person, be
inspired and learn new techniques.
We have a hashtag #NIFTYFEWMEET on Instagram
where you can view events of the night.
Anyone can follow or join NIFTY FEW, our events
are open to everyone no matter age, skill, or use of
device (camera, phone etc) so we hope to see you
in the future!
It was a beautiful clear night so Dylan and I decided to head out to the Muriwai gannet
colony to shoot the night sky. After realising that where we were taking photos was directly
South facing we thought it would be a perfect spot for a full circle star trail or Vortex as I like to
call them. Using the Photopills app we figured out how long we had to leave our shutter open
to give us the correct exposure.
Scouting out locations is one of my favourite parts of photography. As I walk I am
forced to really take in my surroundings with my focus specifically on contrast in colour
and light, as well as an element that will provide depth to the image. Once I find a
scene I want to shoot I usually set up my camera on a tripod, start an interval timer
and place myself in the frame.
This year I've set a goal to capture at least one sunrise a month. Here's
the sunrise on top of Mt. Eden in May. Sunrise is probably my favourite
time of the day to take photos because you never know what you're
gonna get. The weather, the tone of light and colours, the cloud
formations; anticipating all of these variables and seeing what you can
do with the conditions is what makes it fun.
This photo was taken one night while me and a friend wandered the
backstreets of downtown Auckland after the rain had just settled
in. As we passed an empty alley with neon lights it felt like I was in
a scene from the movie Blade Runner. There's something about
futuristic cityscapes which resonate with me.
Wouldn't it be wonderful
if people started their day with your photos?
Don't wait for people to come to you,
become an integral part of their life.
BECOME A MEMBER
People all around the world will see your images
every time they look at their phones.
Tell your story the way you want it,
take viewers on a journey.
There’s nothing like a stroll through the city on a moody winters day.
Some like to shoot only on fine weather days, however, I find that the
city can come alive in some of the worst conditions.
Get hours of exposure.
Increase traffic to your website or
Social Media page.
Manage all your collections from
Enjoy real-time in-depth analytics
on how your images are performing.
As a member, get access to special offers,
events and competitions.
BEHIND THE SHOT
WITH MARTIN MCCRAE
MARTIN, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
AND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
I was born in Singapore in 1958 of a British Army family
and New Zealand is one of many homes I have had in
my sixty years. Having met my partner Pippa in London
in the 80’s and creating Fox, we moved here in 1998
for a couple of years to see how it went. Twenty years
later…. still here!
My dad took loads of photos; slides which I am still
converting digitally, he set up a darkroom in his hall
cupboard and I learned some basics from him. I did
some photography including darkroom developing
during my Fine Art degree in 1996. I used my dad’s
pentaprism 35mm SLR camera, with a pop-up metal
viewer that you looked down into to see what you
were photographing, and then had a bog standard
I got my first digital camera in NZ. $500 was the most
I could afford. A Samsung 3.2mp and a 5 x zoom,
3cm screen and an 8gb SD card, point and shoot.
Marvellous! I ditched the SLR. Next came my first real
DSLR, an Olympus E-500 Evolt. 8mp four thirds and a
2.5in monitor. It was ok but really, I wanted a Canon
Eos. I’m probably like a lot of hobby photographers
who are always slightly behind the eight ball in terms
of the latest technology.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?
After having gone through a few Canon’s I’m now at
the mirrorless stage with a Canon Eos M5. This came
with a 15-45m kit lens which I don’t use but was cheaper
to buy with than without. I already had a Tamron 18-
270mm, all in one telephoto and a cheap Canon 50mm
portrait lens, so I bought a Canon adaptor to fit them. I
added an Eos M 11-22mm wide angle lens built for the
Eos M5 and for those wide landscapes that I’d never
really been able to get before.
With its wide angle the Eos M5 is still pretty small, does
everything I really want and probably best of all is the
ability to zoom right into the picture for getting the focus
sharp, an important factor for someone always pressing
their glasses up to the screen or electronic viewfinder!
TELL US ABOUT THIS PHOTO...
“Makara rainbow” was taken in my back garden looking
towards the hills that separate this coastal enclave from
Wellington. I was pottering about in my barn (really a
very big shed) in which I make my sculptures, going
back and forth to the house when I saw the rainbow.
It was quite arresting and dramatic, reaching across
the far hill like a force field. Obvious things drew me to
want to photograph this natural phenomenon. The
light was stunning due to the stormy atmosphere which
emphasised the drama and intensity of the display and
like any kid at heart I loved being able to see it’s start and
finish, the pot of gold just over the hill. So I rushed inside
for my camera. I took a few pics and viewed them on the
screen but they didn’t do the scene justice so I decided
to try a panorama. I wanted to capture its brilliant colour,
the complete rainbow from end to end, but I also wanted
to play with my landscape lens and incorporate that total
end to end look in a panorama. Not having a tripod and
not wanting to miss the show, I hand held the camera
and took something like eight overlapping images,
trying to keep as level as possible and keeping the same
exposure throughout the process.
HOW MUCH POST PROCESSING DID YOU DO?
I put the images through my Lightroom panorama
merge process and used various degrees of
tone curve, cropping, vignette, colour correction
adjustments etc, etc. Lightroom enables me to play
around with images and try out both pre-set styles
(HDR, monochrome, duo-tone) and/or build an image
around what I want the result to be from what initially
drew me to take the photo in the first place. So, the
image becomes hopefully a representation of what
I felt about what I was looking at if that makes sense.
Sometimes a photo can come out disappointingly
because I haven’t captured what I feel I can see, but
post-processing enables me to conjure a facsimile of
those feelings I get when looking at the world.
GIVEN THE CHANCE AGAIN, WHAT WOULD
YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?
I would have liked a bit more detail in the foreground
where there is a paddock to give some scale and put
the rainbow more in the landscape, but that was lost
in the panorama cropping. I think the Macracarpas
are too cut off and the flax at the bottom of the
image would have stood out from the dark clouds.
YOU’VE RECENTLY JOINED EXCIO, CAN YOU TELL
OUR READERS ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR?
I was inspired a while ago to get my images online…
I set up a Facebook page to let the world see. The
trouble is, I don’t use or like Facebook, so my images
are seen only by a few close people! I also have a
sales account at mychillybin.co.nz which provides a
platform and a few sales, but they want New Zealand
focused images with barely an adjustment, vanilla if
Excio lets me show my images, how I like them, how I
want them to be seen and is not restricted to just New
Zealand. I don’t feel that I have to be a professional or
produce the most technical material. I have freedom
and while I know that in exhibiting my work I will have
to continually improve because there is an audience
to supply and I have standards to meet, I can be an
amateur photographer, I can explore the craft and
my interests and at the moment do it on my terms. It’s
not exclusive or elitist or expensive and does the trick
for me - I’m am glad I joined it. I have three collections
on at the moment; Nature, Human, and Landscape -
Just search my name and you’ll find me.
FINDING ADVENTURE IN GREAT BOULDER
by Brendon Gilchrist
F1.8, 25s, ISO10000
F16, 1/100s, ISO200
Life to me is about adventure, going to new places and pushing yourself to the limit in
everyday life. It is those moments when you are breaking when you grow the most.
My Dad and I have been going on adventures for many years now, some easy, and some
a little more challenging like our hike in Great Boulder. The challenges come and go but
the rewards stay with you forever.
We drove 474km from Christchurch to Takaka and
stopped at a couple of places on the way for food
and a beautiful short walk at Riwaka Resurgence
where a stream flows out of the side of the mountain,
an ingesting sight. That night we finished packing our
bags and loaded the car ready for an early start and
a long 8 hour walk.
As the sun rose on the first day of our hike, the weather
looked great with not a cloud in the sky. We had
breakfast, made our final preparations, and said our
goodbyes to civilization for 5 days. As we drove towards
the end of the road the golden morning sun rays were
kissing the Wakamarama Range.
F14, 1/125s, ISO320
I was surprised that the track started earlier than
noted on the map but with a huge sign saying
‘Boulder Lake Track’ we knew we had arrived. We
stopped the car, signed the intention book, put our
boots on, locked the car and loaded our packs on
our back... Heading off into the bush.
We walked over what I thought was a newly cut
track, It didn’t seem right but we kept going,
walking for hours with a few breaks here and there
for water and snacks. I had this vision that there
might be more places to view the mountains but
I was rather wrong about that. One section of the
track is called The Castles but I had no idea why it
was called that until we came across big gaps...
It is a Karst landscape mostly of limestone, a little
challenging to get across with 5 gaps in total,
some big, some small. As the day went on and
with only one clearing we decided to have lunch,
a small view over onto another mountain range
but nothing spectacular. As the day got on and
the sun slowly lost its light we had no other choice
but to stop and put the tent up, we were hours
away from the hut and we needed shelter and
As the night went on I thought I saw flashes of light,
I said to Dad “Is that lightning?” he said “I hope
not!” next minute a big BOOM of thunder rumbled
so loud you could hear the ground shake. It was
a beautiful sound but I was so thankful to be in a
really good tent. The storms passed as the night
went on, impressive and powerful as they are, it
was amazing how simple a tent becomes.
As the sun rose, we got up and made a decision
to leave the tent by the track as we knew no one
else was coming and planned to be at the hut for
the next 2 nights.
We left some food and gas in the tent too
which made our packs lighter. We headed off,
still slowly walking uphill with no views in sight. It
surprised me how hard that was mentally, not
seeing any views of anything for hours on end,
something I am not used to at all. We finally broke
through the bush line at a place called Cow
Saddle, but still, we could not see the lake we
were aiming for. As we got higher in altitude the
wind got stronger, there was one point when we
were being blown uphill which was really helpful
for a time! By this point, we could see the lake or
part of it, and we could see the hut, still so small
but we were getting closer with every step.
Reaching the hut was an amazing feeling. A
French guy was there and he said he had been
worried about us the night before as he did not
know we had a tent with us. He said the lightning
over the lake was beautiful, I was a little jealous
that he got to see it - OK maybe a lot! It would
have looked amazing on camera. After checking
out the old hut at the back and the cool little
waterfall we started to settle in, unpack, get
organized, and get some warm food into us.
As night fell the weather was still looking pretty
good for some night shots over the lake and at
the waterfall. I managed to get a few good shots
of the waterfall with the stars and some of the
hut, but not much else. Later that night the rain
started to fall and it did not stop for the next 30
hours. There were a few spells when it stopped
enough to go and photograph the waterfall but
overall, it was hours and hours of rain.
The day came to leave. We only had a short walk
to the tent but that morning was one of the best
of the trip. Dad was up stoking the fire and he said
“I can see it’s raining but I can’t hear it” he looked
outside and said “Oh no, it’s been snowing all
night!” That got me out of bed fast! I grabbed my
camera, put my boots on, and went out to see
what I could capture which, to be honest, was
nothing so I got the cell phone out and took some
videos of the snow falling around me. That does
happen sometimes, you’re in remote places like
this and there’s nothing to photograph as it’s dark
gray clouds and not much else.
I was lucky though, it cleared and the light was
amazing. I managed to capture some cool shots
of the grasses and the mountains behind with
very cool looking clouds and nice light shining
through. We couldn’t really mess around too
much as I could see that the weather that was
coming looked a bit nasty and we had a very
exposed saddle to cross plus a lake to walk
through and around. After packing up and
tidying the hut we put the packs back on and
headed out the door for the last time.
Walking through the lake I have never in my life
had such cold feet, my toes were numb and I
could barely move them, not a situation anyone
wants to be in no matter what your experience
level. I ended up changing my socks in the snow
to dry warmer one’s hoping that during the
time we were walking higher, into deeper snow,
that it would help warm my toes up. I still had
shorts on but over the next few hours my toes
warmed up a little, enough for me to feel them
again! I stopped to take photos and capture the
good weather we had and the view before we
dropped back into the bush.
When we got back to the tent all I wanted to do
was get my feet warm so I got into my sleeping
bag even though it was still early in the day and
we ended up sleeping for most of the afternoon
as there was not much else to do.
The last day was the hardest day. The tent was
soaked making it heavier than before, the track
was also soaked and very slippery, and The
Castles, that we had to almost jump over, were
slippery and dangerous but with caution, we
passed them. The very last section of the track was
a flowing stream and even more slippery than the
rest of the track. We couldn’t get any pace as the
track was just so wet, plus the rain did not stop at
all. Once we got near the car big claps of thunder
started and not long after we drove off, it started
hailing. We were thankful by that point that we
were in the car and on our way back to Takaka!
3 TIPS FOR WILD PHOTOGRAPHY
• With a large landscape, a person walking
towards you or away from you adds a sense of
scale and makes the viewer feel a part of the
• A grad filter helps to blend the sky and the
foreground, making your exposure more
balanced on camera (saving you postprocessing
• Have something in the foreground that is of
interest whether that’s a rock, a dead piece of
wood, some grasses, or your hiking buddies.
2 GAME-CHANGING LIGHTROOM TOOLS
YOU MUST MASTER TODAY
by James Hickok
In this issue, I want to dive head-first into fully understanding histograms as
well as what photographers consider to be one of Lightroom’s most useful, yet
sometimes heavily underutilized, tool: the graduated filter (linear or radial).
Before we begin, it must be made clear
that there is a real difference between the
Lightroom CC (cloud) and Lightroom Classic
versions of the histogram. The CC version can
only aid your image by having you look at
the graph visually, while the Classic version of
the histogram can tangibly aid and edit your
image by way of “clipping”. Either way, having
a complete understanding of how histograms
work will undoubtedly be beneficial to you as
To put it simply, a histogram is a map of
luminance, measuring the count of pixels at
every given tone of gray on a scale of 0-255 (0
being absolute black and 255 being absolute
white). A higher frequency of instances (y-axis)
at a certain intensity (x-axis) in the photo will
cause that point to increase, creating the
rising and falling “bar chart” that we are so
accustomed to seeing in a histogram.
The top of the histogram represents the limit
of signal saturation, where the intensity is too
great at the given tone to be visible, while
the bottom of the histogram represents an
absence of light at that tone altogether; the
former of these two extremes is known as
highlight and shadow clipping in Lightroom
which we will return to later.
Lightroom also provides a histogram line for
each of the composite colors (red, green,
and blue), which quite nicely indicates the
distribution of colors in your photo as seen on
the left. Horizontally, a histogram can generally
be divided into five dynamic f-stop ranges that
each contain a designated set of luminosities,
with the middle range of tones being defined
as the camera-standard 18% gray reference as
seen below. This 18% gray reference is usually
automatically set by the camera itself, but it
can be adjusted. Each of the f-stops below
represents a doubling or halving of the amount
of light hitting the “film” in the eyes of your
imaging chip, but our human eyes actually
don’t perceive light linearly, so a doubling in
intensity would not be seen as twice as bright
Now, should you be worried if your histogram
has a high concentration to the left, to the
right, or has lots of different spikes in it?
Unfortunately, the best answer to that is:
it depends! Histogram charts are not like
scientific charts in the sense that they are not
useful in being compared to one another; it’s
hard to say that a histogram chart looking one
way is better than another looking a different
way. In other words, there is no such thing as
a “bad” histogram, but rather, they just are as
That’s not to say that histograms can’t be used
to improve your image though, Lightroom
Classic’s highlight and shadow clipping feature
on its histogram is highly useful. As seen in
the first image, Lightroom Classic's, Lightroom
Classic’s histogram has two arrows on it – one
in the top left corner and one in the top right
corner – these represent shadow clipping
and highlight clipping, respectively. Shadow
clipping, or blocked shadows, are when an
area of your image is too dark to be seen
by the human eye and thus appears black.
Highlight clipping, or blown highlights, are when
an area on your image is too bright to be seen
by the human eye and thus appears essentially
white. Pretty simple right? Lightroom Classic
can warn you of where these two areas exist
in your image simply by pressing the “J” key on
your computer or by actually clicking on one of
the arrows in your histogram. After doing that
you will see that the shadow clipping is colored
in blue and the highlight clipping is colored in
red – these are the affected areas that most
likely need to be fixed!
There are a few techniques that can be used
to fix these issues, with it mostly coming down
to personal preference or the degree to which
these areas of clipping affect your image. The
first, and easiest, way to fix clipping is to use
the shadow or highlight sliders until the right
balance is found. The only issue with this is
that it affects all of the shadows or highlights
in your image, which you might not want. If
you’re only concerned about a small area of
your image, adjusting the shadows/highlights
sliders with the brush tool will allow you to brush
over only the selected area that you want.
Furthermore, I find that using the Tone Curve
Panel to adjust highlights and shadows can be
a lot more dynamic and creative rather than
just the simple sliders.
As seen in the image below, the shadow
clipping (top left arrow in histogram) is colored
in blue, while the highlight clipping (top right
arrow in histogram) is colored in red.
Other than the fact that the affected
areas are shown to us by Lightroom, the
histogram also tells us that there is clipping
in the image because of how the chart
spikes to the top at both the left and right
ends. As we covered before, when the
pixel count is too saturated at a given tone,
it shoots through the top of the histogram
and represents a blocked shadow or blown
Unfortunately, this shadow/highlight
clipping feature does not exist in Lightroom
CC (the cloud version), which is why I felt
it was important to review how histograms
work in general so that you can be
the judge for yourself where clipping is
occurring in your image.
GRADUATED (OR GRADIENT)
Graduated filters can be used in so
many different ways across every type
of photography, which is why whether
the fact that you shoot landscapes,
portraits, wildlife, or events doesn’t limit
their usefulness. Lightroom (both Classic
and CC) offers linear or radial graduated
filters, with the linear filter allowing you to
affect an area horizontally or vertically,
and the radial filter allowing you to affect
an area in a circular or oval shape. While
graduated filters are probably most
commonly used to adjust exposure, the limit
of their capabilities is entirely up to you and
what you wish to accomplish. Before I go
into the best way to use these filters and
how to get the most out of them, here are
a few quick but important things to know:
• Once your filter is selected by clicking on
the blue dot, pressing “O” once, twice, or
three times will toggle showing the areas
that you have masked with the filter in red.
The options are: “Hide Overlay,” “Show
Overlay,” or “Show Overlay and Selected
• Holding “Shift” will make a filter perfectly
straight at 0 or 90 degrees
• You can re-edit these filters by clicking
on the blue dot on your image where you
originally applied the filter
• It is possible to stretch and change the
shape of the radial filter away from a circle
• Once a filter is applied, you can click
“Invert Mask” to reverse the affected area
(think of reversing a radial filter to only affect
everything inside the radius you’ve created
around a subject)
• You can use the Brush Tool to erase areas
that you didn’t want to be affected by
Opposite you will see you will see one of my
own images where I have applied a linear
gradient filter in Lightroom CC (this is shot at
Hamner Springs!). I was looking to fix the sky
and clouds without editing the rest of the
image which I was fairly happy with. I chose
to drag a linear gradient filter from the top
down, which means the mask becomes
less intense as it approaches the part of the
image where the sky meets the mountains.
Editing distinct skylines or foregrounds is one
of the most popular uses of a graduated
filter, most likely due to how significant the
difference in composition and light can be
between these areas. I chose to reduce the
highlights further and increase the clarity and
shadows in order to bring out more of the
clouds and have them stand out among the
bright blue sky.
For the image on the right I used an inverted
radial filter of oval shape in order to only
affect the area that has my subject in
it (thanks Annika!). I decided to reduce
the highlights and whites while increasing
the shadows and contrast. This image is
also probably a candidate to use a linear
graduated filter on the low-hanging clouds
as well, but we’ll save the full image editing
walk-through for another article!
The applications for graduated filters are truly
limitless, which is why I highly recommend that
all photographers make greater use of them
whenever they have the chance.
Now, it’s time for you to open up Lightroom and give some of these techniques a
shot yourself! I have certainly benefited and grown as a photographer by talking to
the best photographers I know about these particular tools, so there’s no reason
you can’t make use of them as well.
HOW TO CAPTURE: WINTER LANDSCAPES
Winter Photography Tips with Richard Young
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Frozen River, Tongariro National Park
PICK YOUR SUBJECT:
While grand snow-covered vistas work well,
sometimes smaller more intimate scenes can make
the best photographs. Pick an interesting subject, so
you don't just have a field of white snow. Small frozen
streams often make great photographs and snow in
the forest is always a magical thing to capture.
WATCH WHERE YOU STEP:
F11, 1.3s, ISO 64, 18mm
When you are walking about on the snow, trying to
find the best angle, be careful that you do not walk
through a scene, thus having footprints all over that
virgin field of snow. Sometimes a well-placed set of
footprints can add to the shot, leading the viewing
into the photograph.
EXPOSING THE SNOW:
A snow-covered landscape will often confuse your
camera’s light meter, snow will come out grey instead
of white in your photographs. You need to increase
your exposure by shooting in manual mode, or using
the exposure compensation (‘+/-’ button) to make
the snow a crisp white.
GET UP EARLY:
As soon as the sun gets up in the sky, snow can start
to melt really quickly. If there has been snow or a hard
frost overnight, head out early before it melts. It pays
to be to staying in a hut or camping so that you are
within walking distance of the location you want to
shoot to get there without a drive in icy conditions.
IMPROVE YOUR WINTER LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY ON A WORKSHOP AT TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK:
17TH-19TH AUGUST OR MT COOK 14TH-17TH SEPTEMBER WITH NEW ZEALAND PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
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JOIN THE VOICE OF NEW
ZEALAND’S OUTDOORS PEOPLE
2017 WINNER OF BELOW BUSHLINE WITH NO HUMAN ELEMENT
F8, 1/4s, ISO100
Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC), founded in 1931, represents over 80 clubs, 20,000 members and
300,000 people that regularly explore New Zealand’s Backcountry by foot, bike, canoe and kayak,
seeking beauty, challenge and friendship. Reaching some of the most incredible corners of Aotearoa,
many members love to capture the landscape, flora, fauna and action of their journeys on camera.
FMC advocates for the interests of outdoor
recreationalists and patrols the blurred line between
conservation and development. They have achieved
increased protection of NZ’s natural landscapes
through National Parks, Conservation Parks and
Wilderness Areas and have celebrated and
enhanced the recreational opportunities in those
They continue to defend the precious legacy of
the Backcountry hut and track network, seeking
further public access to public conservation land
and contributes to farsighted conservation planning
processes and have proven that they’ll fight against
unwise projects, like the Haast Hollyford Highway and
FMC are a democratic organisation, with thinking that
is clear, transparent and open to debate. Freedom
of the hills, stewardship of the land and a belief in
egalitarianism in the mountains are principles that
shape the leadership they provide and the actions
they undertake. Their strength comes from active
participation in outdoor recreation, an enduring
connection with the land, a wide membership and
the commitment of their volunteers.
Each year they run a photo competition with 6
categories: Above Bushline (With and Without a
Human Element), Below Bushline (With and without a
Human Element), Historic, and Native Flora & Fauna
which NZP readers are welcome to submit to. Nonmember
photos are judged separately from members
photos before the top shots are into the main
In 2017, a total of 428 entries were received, you can
see 4 of the winning shots on the following pages.
The stunning images from these special locations are
used by FMC inspiration and evidence; illustrating
the priceless value of these places, for when they are
fighting those who wish to exploit, diminish or over-use
2017 GRAND PRIZE WINNER
COSY MOUNTAIN RESCUE, MT SOMMERS
F2.8, 20s, ISO6400
2017 WINNER OF BELOW BUSHLINE WITH HUMAN ELEMENT
HOPE-KIWI TRACK, LAKE SUMNER, NORTH CANTERBURY
F8, 1/400s, ISO100
2017 WINNER OF ABOVE BUSHLINE WITH NO NUMAN ELEMENT
OLD GHOST ROAD, LYELL
F4, 1/500s, ISO100
With Winter now in full-swing in New Zealand, we want to see your best Winter photos and discover
what winter means to you. Is it all about exploring snowy landscapes? Marvelling at the patterns the
frost makes? Experimenting with reflections in puddles? Capturing the grey skies or curling up indoors
enjoying a good book? Whatever it is, we want to see your best winter photos.
1 - 20 July 2018
1st place will win a timer remote
See full T&Cs on
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
AUTUMN IN MCLAREN FALLS
F3.2, 1s, ISO50
McLaren Falls reserve showing off its spectacular Autumn colours.
F11, 1/80s, ISO800
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, set on the Eastern slopes
of Table Mountain, South Africa is ranked as one of the best
gardens in the world.
LIMITED SHELF LIFE
F18, 1s, ISO200
Here’s a shot I’ve been wanting to get for a while. I’ve had a few attempts but each time there’s
been an obstacle; grey skies, slightly off on the tide or no swell at all for a few waves. When this
happens all you can do is put it on the shelf and wait for the right conditions to try again. It’s pretty
satisfying when you finally get something close to what you had in mind!
I always think of the forces that occurred to
produce these geological scenes.
F16, 25s, ISO100
Mount Ngauruhoe captured from just off the
Desert Road summit.
F11, 1/80s, ISO100
A hastily captured image of Ruapehu as the summit appeared briefly
in the low foggy cloud enveloping the mountain.
LAKE PEARSON MIST
We went up to Lake Pearson hoping to find some hoar frost, but the
temperature was a little too high. The lake was shrouded in mist...
F7.1, 1/200s, ISO100
Close up of a Protea, this flower left me pretty
homesick, Proteas are so common in South Africa.
Marina de Wit
This is Dell, one of the Tui's at Nga
Manu Nature Reserve. Dell was found
injured and raised by hand and is now
a permanent resident of Nga Manu. My
photos try and capture the vivid colours,
and shapes of the residents of Nga Manu.
My images are donated to Nga Manu
Nature reserve for use in advertising and
merchandise so that they do not have
to spend money on photographers to
showcase the reserve.
LADY IN BLACK
F11, 1/125s, ISO400
I saw this image awhile ago, and waited
until I was doing a low key photoshoot to
do this with my own touch, by adding a
mask to the model.
THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING
Probably one of the hardest shots in terms of driving around finding the perfect angle. I
wanted a road leading towards Mount Taranaki to give the mood of 'the mountains are
calling'. It required some planning on Google maps trying to find the best strip of road.
Eventually we came across this spot and and decided to make the most of golden hour by
capturing some unique angles from this location. The planning was worthwhile and this is
hands down one of my favourite roadside captures.
F1.4, 1/640s, ISO1000
SOUTH ISLAND KAKA
Whilst on retreat on Stewart Island, this awesome friendly native NZ South
Island Kaka came to visit us each morning. It was a joy to interact with this
Kaka each time he/she landed on our balcony, and to be able to get up
close for some very special pictures.
F10, 1/125s, ISO400
This image of Butchers Dam is known for the hoar frost. At the end of the
dam I was pleased to see the reflection, and the mist.
Taken at Conroy's dam on a very chilly misty morning. This was shot in Raw
and converted into B/W.
TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK
The mountains of New Zealand on the rare occasion like to spew out the universe. This was my first Astro shot
of the year, and it’s by far one of my favourite shots ever captured. I used @photopills to plan the shot, which I
recommend to anyone who’s into Astrophotography. I was slightly off with the position initially and had to wait
patiently in sub zero conditions, but it worked out perfectly in the end!
AMISH WOMAN AND BABY
F7.1, 1/160s, ISO640
An Amish lady cradles her baby under
cover of a tent on a rainy day at a
central Pennsylvania auction.
FIRST SUNRISE OF WINTER
BUFFALO BEACH, WHITIANGA
F22, 1/500s, ISO200
Gulls playing in the foggy sunrise.
Karen Moffatt McLeod
F16, 1/128s, ISO200
Fog shrouds Whitianga wharf on the 1st day of winter.
Karen Moffatt McLeod
AS COLD AS ICE
F7.1, 1.4s, ISO400
With the first of the good frosts down here in Invercargill for winter, the last of my
flowers were frozen in ice-ial beauty never to recover.
LOST IN THE LIBRARY
A composite of many, many photographs... I started with quite a clear idea of what I wanted the final result to
look like, so started with a portrait series, then many dozens of photographs of old books, individually & in stacks
from different angles; added floor, added table, added window, added ambiance, found & photographed
vines ~ cutting (masking) those out was a lot more work than anticipated! The end result, as always, evolved
during its creation from my original vision into something quite different...
DECAY IN MOTION
F6.3, 1/400s, ISO100
I loved this Japanese Anemone, I was fascinated by
the flowing petals and the early stages of decay.
Marina de Wit
F6.3, 1s, ISO100
This was taken after sunset and before dark, the colours were a rich dark blue with
some streaks of gold. I moved the camera from left to right as the shutter was open.
A LIGHT FIESTA BY THE LAKE
F11, 4s, ISO200
Festival of Lights.
Follow Peter's collections on Excio
July 2018 85
F11, 1/60s, ISO200
The storm was vicious. It pounded the mighty ranges with gusto, scraping muddy debris off the mountains
into the pristine waters of Lake Rotoiti. It signed off its passing with a murky stain still visible on the edge of the
image. The calamity rattled a few feathers, literally, including the ones belonging to a little mysterious visitor
who made Nelson Lakes National Park its home. A rather curious aberration for a country with a stringent biosecurity
system in place. The Mandarin duck, a native of East Asia, has been a resident for a while and turned
into an attraction for tourists and locals alike. They affectionately named him Alphonso, I believe, as the most
common Chinese name they could think of.
Follow Peter's collections on Excio
July 2018 87
SPOILS OF THE HUNTER
F8, 1/160s, ISO160
This is Kaitlin, a local bodybuilder who I did a shoot
with in March. Her husband is a hunter and this
was her her spin on a special photo for himself. I
was recently informed that this image has been
awarded top prize "Photorama Trophy" (Best In Show)
in a photography salon in Sweden (1st Photorama
Digital Sweden 2018 - TRADITIONAL) The theme was
traditional photography, no manipulation or adding
or removal of elements, no special effects etc.
LAKE TE ANAU
F4.5, 1/200s, ISO200
As we were walking along the shore of Lake Te Anau
we spotted this bright red toadstool from quite a
distance. It was a bright flash of red compared to the
hues of blue and green in it's surroundings. No goblins
or fairies were harmed whilst taking this photo!
Pippa de Court
REFLECTIONS ON RIVER CLYDE
F4, 13s, ISO200
The photo was taken during a short two day trip to Glasgow while on
sabbatical at the University of Leicester in England. The image was taken
from the SSE Hydro side of the River Clyde. The entire bank is picturesque
with beautiful reflections of the architecture on both sides.
F5.6, 1/125s, ISO400
The photo of this beautiful wild deer was taken at
Bradgate Park. It was late Autumn / early Winter
last year and the animal looked straight into my
camera as if was posing for me.
F5.6, 1/125s, ISO400
The photo of this beautiful wild deer was taken at Bradgate Park. It was
late Autumn / early Winter last year and the animal looked straight into
my camera as if was posing for me.
F8, 1/160s, ISO200
Early morning light at Glentanner
holiday park near Mt Cook.
SOUTH ISLAND ROBIN
F4, 1/250s, ISO400
The NZ South Island Robin / Toutouwai is endemic to the south island. Length 18cm, weight 35g.
It feeds on insects including stick insects and wetas, grubs, spiders and earth worms. It may live
up to 14 years where no predators exist. Pairs have territories of 1-5ha. They're very friendly and
trusting, when you see them on the track they just stop and stay still. They will then come very
close to you and may even sit on your shoes.
F2.8, 1/6400s, ISO400
It's really hard to catch a Gannet in full flight, so I'm really happy I managed to! I wanted to
capture a Gannet gathering sticks and things to build it's nest. I was very lucky to capture one
with some grass in it's mouth and the black sand rocks as a back ground.
AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HER
F14, 1/250s, ISO100
You would probably know this iconic monument in a second if this shot were stock standard, but
from this angle can you guess her name? It's the Taj Mahal!
MOTHER GANGA (GANGA MATA)
F10, 1/200s, ISO12.800
On a still late afternoon a soft sunset
commences over the River Ganges.
THE EASIEST ART,
MAKES IT THE HARDEST."
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
vignetting on lenses as wide as 16mm.
Includes: FH100M2 holder (incl FR1010, FR1015, 77mm and 82mm adapters)
0.6 Hard Grad
82-72mm Stepdown ring
82-67mm Stepdown ring
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09 529 5055