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ISSUE 20, June 2019
HOW NATURE NURTURED
BY DANIEL WINSTEAD
HIKING THE NINA VALLEY
BY BRENDON GILCHRIST
SUMMER PEOPLE’S CHOICE
HOW TO CAPTURE:
WITH RICHARD YOUNG
WELCOME TO ISSUE 20 OF
NZ PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE
This month, and next month, the
focus is on nature and wildlife
photography – A favourite
subject for many of you,
We have interviewed Grant
Beedie who is a macro
photographer whose work is
sure to get you outside peering
closely at flowers and bugs
through your lens. We learn
more about Marina de Wit's
photography journey and find
out about her upcoming trip
to London to show her rose
images at RHS. Brendon takes us
tramping through the Nina Valley
and Richard has us thinking
ahead to the colder weather
with tips on capturing frozen
We also learn about two
photographers with a
connection to Hawai'i, the first is the winner of the People's Choice Fresh
Shoots Summer competition and the second, a graduate whose passion
for photography flourished at VUW.
Ana writes a thought-provoking piece about the Butterfly Effect and how
our photos impact people and indeed the environment and next month
she'll share how one of her own butterfly photos had a ripple effect.
Until then, enjoy all the beautiful and inspiring nature shots in Reader's
Submissions and if you missed out on showing your shots, get ahead for
the July edition by submitting your wildlife/nature shots now.
Editor NZ Photographer
NZPhotographer Issue 20
Brendon is the man
behind ESB Photography.
He is an avid tramper
who treks from sea to
mountain, and back
again, capturing the
uniqueness of New
Co-founder of Excio, Ana's
started many years ago
with one of the first Kodak
film cameras. She loves
exploring the unseen
macro world and capturing
genuine people's emotions.
Richard is an awardwinning
wildlife photographer who
workshops and runs
photography tours. He
is the founder of New
nzphotographer nzp_magazine firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2019 NZPhotographer Magazine
All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing in this magazine in
any form is forbidden without prior consent of the publisher.
Opinions of contributing authors do not necessarily reflect the
opinion of the magazine.
WITH VICKI FINLAY
INTERVIEW WITH MACRO PHOTOGRAPHER
BEHIND THE SHOT
with Vicki Finlay
HOW NATURE NURTURED MY PHOTOGRAPHY
by Daniel Winstead
SUMMER PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER
INTERVIEW WITH MACRO PHOTOGRAPHER
GETTING TO KNOW MARINA DE WIT
HIKING THE NINA VALLEY
by Brendon Gilchrist
IMPROVING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO REVIEW SESSION
MIND GAMES: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
by Ana Lyubich
HOW TO CAPTURE: FROZEN LANDSCAPES
by Richard Young
WILDLIFE PORTFOLIO - BEST READERS'
SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
HIKING THE NINA VALLEY
BY BRENDON GILCHRIST
HOW NATURE NURTURED MY PHOTOGRAPHY
BY DANIEL WINSTEAD
BEHIND THE SHOT
WITH VICKI FINLAY
IT'S ALL IN THE FRAME
F6.3, 1/640s, ISO800, 400mm
VICKI, TELL US WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU
GOT INTO THE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Where do I start? I am a mum to 2 adult boys and a wife
to a very patient and understanding husband.
5 years ago, I found myself at a loose end. I was seeking work/
life balance and I needed something to literally save my
sanity. I had a Nikon Coolpix P100 that I had no idea how to
use. So, putting myself way out of my comfort zone, I enrolled
in a local community class for photography. I also enrolled
in a meditation and mindfulness class at the same time.
Both decisions changed my life forever. Since then I have
had several passionate and patient key people who have
provided support, encouragement, and mentorship. Under
their guidance, I have discovered the world through the eye
of the lens.
HOW HAVE YOU WORKED ON IMPROVING YOUR
If I don’t like how an image turns out, then I keep going
back to it and try again and again until I get what I
want. This is after getting out with my camera, even
when I feel like it’s the last thing I want to do!
I have watched plenty of YouTube videos about
photography, I also enrolled in an online course which
took me 2 years to complete! I also joined a couple of
photographic communities on Facebook. Looking at
other people’s images, sharing thoughts, and getting
feedback has been simply fabulous. There are so many
talented photographers out there.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU HAVE?
My kit is pretty basic but functional and well used. I
have a very well-worn Nikon D7100, which I have had
for 4 years with a standard kit 18-55mm lens that is so
underrated - I use it a lot! For my bird photos, I have
a Tamron 150-600mm and 2 years ago I purchased a
Tamron 100-400mm. I love flowers and macro so I have a
Tokina 100mm 2.8 macro.
I also have a sturdy Manfrotto tripod that has taught me
more about wrestling than photography; a monopod
for the beast 150 - 600mm (to try and counteract my
dreadful camera shake) and last year, I purchased a
Fuji XT20 to take overseas on another newly discovered
passion - overseas travel! I have the 18-55mm 2.8 and
the 55-200mm 3.5.
I have saved enough for another camera, to replace
the D7100, along with a couple of nice lenses, but I can’t
decide what to get!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR
Hmmmm. Less is more and the keep it simple
methodology seems to work for me. I don’t know that
I have a particular “style”, but I tend to look at parts
rather than a whole. I am continually changing and
playing with different aspects, looking for an image that
“speaks” to me, exploring different genres. My main
focus is about enjoying and developing my photography
and finding a style I am happy with. I still have so much
BEHIND THE SHOT IS PROUDLY
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SILVER EYE SHOT
I took this photo around 4.00pm last September. I was
outside taking photos in the backyard and started to
think about what I could try that was different. Birds at a
feeder or on a branch weren’t quite doing it for me.
I went to the garden shed and grabbed a spade and stuck
it in the ground under the feeder in the hope that I might be
lucky enough to get a bird to perch on it. I checked where I
wanted to take the photo from and then the background to
ensure that there were no major distractions and the depth of
field would be nicely blurred.
It was an incredibly lucky shot, I was still getting myself
sorted when I turned around and the Silver Eye was already
sitting inside the handle. I was preparing for a session of an
hour or so, just to see what happened. So essentially, I was
done and dusted in less than 5 minutes!
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD DO
DIFFERENTLY GIVEN A 2ND CHANCE?
I am my own harshest critic. I wished that I had more of
the shaft of the spade, as there is quite a lot of space
at the top of the image. I also wish it was a lot sharper,
camera shake and all. However, I like the yellow shaft
of the spade and how it complements the colour of the
bird. Overall, I am happy with the image. It makes me
smile and this is what is most important to me.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING BEHIND THE CAMERA
THAT WE CAN’T SEE?
Literally a slightly overweight middle-aged lady with
bad knees rolling around on a bright blue ground sheet
trying to manhandle the camera off that pesky tripod so
I could at least try and get a half decent shot! Luckily the
Silver Eye sat there for a minute, so I did manage several
shots before it flew off.
ANY FINAL TIPS OR THOUGHTS?
Bird photography has definitely taught me resilience and
patience. Good things come to those that wait!
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
have been enthralled with photography ever
since I went bird watching with my dad. Some
of his friends brought along cameras that I
thought were the most complicated looking
things I had ever seen. Learning photography
always seemed like such a daunting task.
However, after using my father’s camera, I used
one of my first paychecks to buy a used Canon
off of eBay. I got hooked on photography and
started going on more adventures. I would
constantly be exploring around my hometown
to try to find the most birds to photograph, but
didn’t quite have an artistic direction.
My love for photography was nurtured at
Victoria University of Wellington, during a
trimester study abroad. I chose to study in
New Zealand because I saw that VUW offered
courses that would allow me to transfer credit
back to my home university, The Pennsylvania
I’d always heard of New Zealand’s beauty so I
figured it would be a good match. Up until that
by Daniel Winstead
point, I didn’t have any training in photography
and was learning on my own.
The photography class at VUW, was exactly
the excuse that I needed to practice more. I
was given so much constructive feedback and
direction from my professor Mizuho Nishioka.
She encouraged me to incorporate my own
interests into my projects instead of just trying to
be “artsy.” So, being a biology major, I chose to
focus on endangered species.
My initial inspiration came from Joel Sartore’s
“The Photo Ark.” though I didn’t have the
money, time, reputation, or equipment to
set up personal encounters with some of the
worlds most protected and exclusive animals. In
response, I decided to find them in either their
natural habitat or a natural enclosure. To do
this, I went to eco-sanctuaries and zoos within
New Zealand to take portraits of threatened
and endangered species with natural
backgrounds and natural lighting. My Excio
account gives a small glimpse into the portraits I
take of animals.
I later extended this project to macro
photography of threatened plants native to
New Zealand. For that project, I was given
access to the nursery at Otari-Wilton’s Bush in
Wellington, home to some of the rarest and
most threatened plants of New Zealand. I used
the same principles of close up portraits with
soft lighting to give the appearance of a “head
shot” for some of the plants.
I learned quickly that seeking to photograph a
specific moment takes hard work and planning.
This is especially true with animals, who rarely
cooperate with you as a photographer. In
this time, I also learned that the way you get
better at being a photographer is by getting
constructive feedback from those who are
After my trimester abroad, I moved back to
Penn State to finish my last year of an honors
baccalaureate degree in biology. Presently, I have
just graduated from Penn State with an honors degree
and minors in marine science, and wildlife & fisheries
I have been using my love for photography to
accompany my studies in any way that I can. For
example, I have just completed a three-year research
project about the symbiosis between jellyfish and a
particular family of algae. Although some of the DNA
analysis was tediously grueling, I most enjoyed the
microscopy part of the project. I always strived to get
the most artistic or interesting shot of the baby jellyfish,
to highlight their form and the algae that live within
them. Although the lens changed from a telephoto
lens to a large microscope, the same principles of
light and artistic composition applied. Using those
same principles from my animal portraits and plant
portraits, it was possible to even get some nice “headshot”
portraits of the microscopic world with the right
I will now begin pursuing a master’s degree in
Biological Oceanography at the University of Hawai’i
starting this August. I will be working on a National
Geographic funded project studying deep-sea fish
ecology. Photography will inevitably be a part of my
project, as I will incorporate it in my studies and free
Wherever I go, or whatever I see, now all I can think is
“how can I photograph that differently than anyone
else?” If the whole science thing doesn’t work out,
wildlife photography has never once bored me!
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SUMMER PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD WI
F7.1, 1/250s, ISO 400
June 2019 13
GETTING TO KNOW JAYDEN TUMBAGA
HI JAYDEN, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF!
I am a native Hawaiian and Filipino originally from
Hawaii living in Denver, Colorado in the US.
I graduated this year from Regis University School of
Pharmacy with a Doctorate of Pharmacy Degree.
I spent the last year performing eight different
pharmacy rotations at multiple sites for my pharmacy
program which gave me the opportunity to visit
New Zealand for a six-week research rotation at the
University of Otago Wellington.
WHEN DID YOUR JOURNEY WITH
I am an amateur photographer just beginning on my
photography journey as a passion and hobby.
I picked up my first DSLR camera (a Nikon D340)
recently in August 2018 knowing that I would be
travelling to New Zealand six months after. I had
always wanted one since becoming a fan of
astrophotography photos (the work of Mark Gee
has played a big role in inspiring me to take up
photography) and eventually developed a passion
strong enough to research and buy a camera that
I could afford while still being able to shoot the stars.
Once I got my camera, I began shooting as much
as I could in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to
practice both nature shots and astrophotography
in order to obtain as much experience as possible
before heading to New Zealand, where I knew the
stars would be waiting.
Taking up a hobby as complicated as photography
proved difficult, especially while in pharmacy school,
but was very rewarding as there is so much to learn
after every single shot.
I am still on my first camera and exploring as many
styles of photography as I can in order to see what
I like the most. So far I am determined to try my hand
at astrophotography and landscape photography
since I love to see mountains across a sky but am
excited to discover more as I continue shooting.
TELL US ABOUT THE DAY YOU TOOK THE
PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNING SHOT…
I had been waiting for a day with decent weather
to visit the Wellington Botanical Gardens. I knew it
would be a great opportunity to get some shots in for
practice with my camera but it had been raining the
days before so the visit was postponed multiple times.
My three classmates and I spent a somewhat-sunny
evening at the gardens… I had been walking ahead
of the group in order to get nature-only shots. I recall
taking this shot and immediately calling my friends
over to look at my photo and being particularly proud
at how attractive it was to me, with all the vibrant
colours that were captured, the soft glow of the sun
on its petals, the rugged contrast of the ground and
rocks, and the overall plant array.
Although I took this shot during the beginning of our
visit, I somehow knew that this would be the photo
that I would be submitting to the competition.
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE
COMPETITION AND WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO
I stumbled upon the competition on the WellingtonNZ
website while researching things to do and found the
Wellington Botanical Gardens. After discovering it
would be free to enter the competition and open to
anyone I was excited to be able to submit something
to my first amateur contest and see how I might
do. Since it was my first, I had no idea at what level
I would be at but was simply happy to be able to
showcase a photo of mine.
HAS WINNING THE COMPETITION INSPIRED
YOU TO TAKE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY FURTHER?
Winning has definitely given me the confidence to go
out and shoot more. I feel like I can trust my eye for
shots a lot more and would love any opportunity to
enter into more competitions.
I have been wanting to take a workshop as there is so
much more to learn still but I am constantly debating
purchases between workshops, more lenses, and a
better post-editing setup!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO
OTHERS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT WITH
So far, the advice that has helped me the most at
these beginner stages is simply to go out and shoot as
much as you can!
The more time you spend with your camera the more
familiar it will be and shooting will come easier.
Don’t spend too much time judging each photo after
you’ve taken it but when you have a photo that you
took and that you really like, try to figure out what it is
exactly that you like about it.
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161 Victoria St Christchurch 03-3661985
GRANT, PLEASE TELL US WHO YOU ARE
AND WHAT YOU DO!
I’m a 39 year old Scottish guy who moved to
Christchurch, New Zealand in 2004. Photography
is mainly a hobby for me (I’m a factory CNC
machinist by day) although I’ve started to run
workshops throughout the warmer months in
Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
I would describe my photography as being Dark,
Moody and Dreamy Macro Photography that is
100% handheld shot in natural light conditions.
I have loved nature from an early age and used
to do a lot of fly fishing back home in Scotland.
Today I enjoy spending time outdoors with my
camera in Christchurch Botanic Gardens. I love
being out in the gardens on an early summers
day as I find it so peaceful so the inspiration for
taking photos is always there.
WHEN DID YOU GET STARTED IN
I bought myself an entry level DSLR with 2 kit
lenses back in 2012. Within a few weeks, I realised
that I loved shooting things up close, especially
insects in my garden. My 18–55mm kit lens just
wouldn’t get me close enough, so that’s when
I realised I needed a macro lens. I experimented
for many months and taught myself the basics.
WHAT CAMERA EQUIPMENT DO YOU HAVE?
Currently, I use a Nikon D7100 with a Nikon
105mm Macro Lens
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR
BRAND NAME MACROPHY?
I thought about calling myself ‘Grant Beedie
Photography’, but I felt that it could be a bit
more interesting, so I spent 1 evening writing
down ideas back in 2016. I wrote down Macro
and Photography and realised it sounded cool
when the two words were joined together!
HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY FROM
Mostly, it’s from my workshops that I run during
the Summer months. Early 2018 was when
I decided to start running my macro workshops.
I had 1 or 2 people ask me if I could take them
out to show them some tips, which I did for free,
then I realised I could maybe start running actual
I think in order to make the jump to teaching you
have to be very confident that your work is of a
standard that people look up to and that you can
really make a difference to their photography. The
last thing one would want is for paying customers
to do a workshop and to leave feeling like they
haven’t learned much so I was extra keen to
share as much of my knowledge as possible so my
customers would leave feeling really happy about
what they had learned. I think having a friendly
approach and have a huge passion for what you
do is extra important as a teacher.
I have never really had the time or money to
push my photography in other areas, but maybe
in the future I will be able to approach galleries,
art shows, etc.
WHAT WERE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES
/ LEARNING CURVES AND HOW HAS YOUR
PHOTOGRAPHY IMPROVED OVER TIME?
I think the biggest challenge was and still is,
getting the subject in focus. All my work is
handheld in natural light so that can always
present challenges such as wind, low light, etc –
I’ve had to learn how to control my camera in
manual mode to suit the conditions.
To begin with I would take several hundred
shots in a couple of hours, and be lucky if I had
2 to keep. My averages are better now through
practise, but a macro photographer who only
shoots handheld like me will always have lots of
shots to delete, that’s just the nature of what we
I think my two main improvements over time have
been, focus – managing to get that precise part of
the subject in focus more often, and also learning
not to over edit photos. I used to think that my
work needed lots of editing, but these days
I keep it simple and effective with Photoshop. My
Photoshop skills are limited so I tend to stick to
what I know, basically using a couple of layers to
highlight or darken specific areas and removing
CAN YOU CHOOSE A FAVOURITE PHOTO?
I think my favourite is probably my most well known
dahlia flower image which was recently published
in a book called ‘I am New Zealand’ by Penguin
Publishing / Nikon New Zealand. It just ticks all the
boxes for me and represents my style.
The book was a collaboration between Nikon NZ,
Penguin publishing and Mental Health NZ with profits
from the book donated to Mental Health NZ.
Penguin publishing emailed me about using one of my
dahlia photographs and I was over the moon to have
a shot of mine featured in a book that’s on the shelves
in The Warehouse, Whitvoulls, Paper Plus etc.
WHAT’S 1 PIECE OF ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE
Work hard to have a few great images, rather than
lots of average ones. Set your bar high, always!
WHAT MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS CAN YOU
GIVE OUR READERS?
Your focus point is critical so take many shots, hold
your breath while you shoot and move forwards
and backwards very slightly to fine tune your focus.
Practice lots and be prepared to delete many
hundreds of images before you get some really good
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE
I’m on Excio, Facebook,
Instagram, and Picfair. There are
so many sites out there, so I like to
stick to the most simple, effective
and well known platforms that
don’t cost too much.
I discovered Excio through
Facebook and decided to sign
up as I liked the idea of my work
appearing on peoples screens.
WHAT ARE YOUR
AMBITIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’d love to be able to have my
work displayed in art galleries for
sale to the public. And I’d also
like to start teaching high school
kids about macro photography as
WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE
KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Throughout 2018 I was a guest
speaker at various Camera
Clubs in Christchurch. I basically
selected around 75 of my best
shots and ran through them on
on a big screen talking about my
camera settings, my techniques
to achieve the shot, including my
post processing on Photoshop.
The audience would ask me
questions throughout the talk
and it was great fun answering
all their queries about my work.
There are quite a few other clubs
in Canterbury so I’d be more
than happy to do more talks this
year! It’s great to meet other
photographers and to talk about
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU
MARINA, YOU’RE A BIT OF A LOCAL
CELEBRITY BUT PLEASE REMIND PEOPLE WHO
YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO.
Goodness not sure what to say, thank you! I am a
Fine Art Flower Photographer from Auckland. We
immigrated to NZ from South Africa in 2005 and
I have been a photographer since 2015.
I work full time as Administration Manager and
travel between the North Shore and Pukekohe most
weekdays. I am a mom and wife and always on the
go, but I believe if something is meant to be you will
find a way and if not you will find an excuse.
My motto in life “Ask and you shall receive, seek
and you shall find”. Therefore, my weekends are
generally spent in and around various Auckland
gardens and I always try to spend at least 1 hour
editing and 1 hour doing “photography admin” in
HOW DID YOU GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY
AND HOW HAVE YOU DEVELOPED YOUR
I firmly believe my photography was meant to
be… I discovered that I loved being outside taking
snapshots with my phone, this led to me purchasing
my first DSLR camera in 2015.
I’ve always had a creative streak but am a self
taught photographer having had no formal art or
photography training. I do use a variety of online
sources to educate myself though – Most of my
training has been done via Youtube, Creative Live,
Udemy and my favourite Photoshop go to guru;
I’m inspired by the artworks of Claude Monet,
Vincent Van Gogh, and artists from the Dutch
golden age. The following photographers also
inspire me – Bas Meeuws, Gemmy Woudbinnendijk
and the floral photographer from Maine US,
Kathleen Clemmons. I recall watching Kathleen’s
Creative Live presentation where she became
pretty emotional describing her work and I knew at
that stage that that was what I was searching for as
an artist, that connection to my work.
The first couple of years I focused on spending as
much time learning and developing my style. Last
year was the first year where I ventured out into
the big wide world of printing my work and selling
at markets. This is the first year I will be officially
exhibiting my work and I am so excited to share my
work and see it hanging on gallery walls in NZ and
potentially all over the world.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR WORK?
I love social media and take every opportunity
to tag my work on Instagram, NZP being a local
favourite! I also upload my work to local and
international sites to ensure I get as much exposure
as possible as no one will make things happen
for you, you have just got to get out there and
promote yourself and your work.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR WORK…
WHAT GOES INTO CREATING A FINISHED
My image of a single white rose (previous
page) was taken at Eden Gardens in 2018 and
was probably the image that made me realize
that I had found my favourite subject, signature
style, and mood.
I love the painterly look and always envision
a painting when I edit so I love when people
comment that my work looks like a painting
instead of a photograph or reminds them of a
I mostly shoot outdoors, preferring early
morning or afternoon light and am at my
happiest on a cloudy day out in a garden, this
is where I can breathe and totally be me, doing
exactly what I love as I am a bit of a loner, an
introvert, a creative at heart! In my camera
bag you will find a Nikon D7200 and a Nikon
105mm micro lens. I shoot handheld, I don’t like
tripods unless I am doing a still shot at home.
Post processing is my yoga! I love nothing more
that coming home to edit after a crazy day in
the office. A lot of what I do at this stage is trial
and error so from capturing my image to a final
print can take me either an hour or days!
So many people have asked for tutorials but
I am a shocking teacher and follow no rules
and seldom have an exact idea of what I want
my final result to look like. I do however love
textures and my go to are Kathleen Clemmons
textures, I hope to create my own someday.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROSE IMAGES
LEADING YOU TO LONDON...
The 6 images that you see here are part
of a portfolio of 6 Roses submitted to RHS
(Royal Horticultural Society) Botanical Art &
Photography show that takes place in London
in July 2019. It’s an open and international
exhibition and is the longest running and top
juried botanical art show in the world plus the
largest juried international art show in London.
I had confirmation in March that I have been
shortlisted to present my work at the
RHS Horticultural Halls in July this year. I honestly
did not think that I would be selected and I am
so grateful for this opportunity to take my work
to London and potentially receive a medal for
my efforts, I can’t think of a higher honour for
someone who started a couple of years ago
with nothing but a dream.
I have started a Give a Little page to support
me with printing and shipping my work to the
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE,
The dream is to be an artist full time. I can’t
think of anything I would rather do than spend
time in gardens! I have so many New Zealand
gardens to explore (and capture) then I hope
to do the same overseas.
WHAT WORDS OF INSPIRATION CAN YOU
GIVE TO OTHERS?
I am so grateful for every single opportunity
that has come my way the last couple of years,
every no, every yes, every single person that
I have met on this journey have made me more
determined to succeed and be the best I can
So often I think back to what if I said no
because I didn’t have the right equipment
or no when I felt scared or overwhelmed or
no when I felt vulnerable or no I wasn’t good
enough to enter the London art show… so
my words of wisdom are ‘just do it’! Find your
unique style and develop that as each one
of us has a different story to tell. I talk to so
many photographers, especially woman, who
compare their work to others so I say trust in
your journey, work hard, and love what you do
and do what you love.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
Hiking The Nina Valley
by Brendon Gilchrist
F9, 1/125s, ISO100, 14mm
F11, 1/3s, ISO100, 14mm
The Nina Valley is one of the most popular walks
in the Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve which has many
different varieties of walks from the valleys below
to the mountain tops with tarns (small mountain
lakes). Whether you’re an advanced hiker or a very
beginner, this is a place where nature rules and
humans come to enjoy, rewind and admire the great
The reason I walked up this valley was to find a
campsite for the night, I was in the area and on the
map, a campsite is listed about half way from the
hut to the road. It didn’t look far on the map and the
track looked mostly flat so I thought let’s go, let’s see
what I can find to photograph whilst having a perfect
Camping in the wild is a little different to an official
campsite as you don’t know what to expect – You’re
not sure if there will be any flat land to pitch a tent
or if the ground will be soft enough to put the pegs
in although generally in NZ mountains it is. Or, most
importantly to me, will the view be any good?!
Leaving the car behind and crossing the road, it is not
long until you get to the first swing bridge that crosses
the Lewis River. It’s a classic old style, a type that
I haven’t crossed in years, mostly because the parks
I usually walk in have had the old bridges wash away
in floods so have stopped rebuilding them in that style.
As the track climbs above the Lewis River you are
soon greeted by a swampy forest with short trees, it
makes you think this might be where the goblins live
and is a place where you can lose the track quite
easily. The Department of Conservation (DOC) have
placed orange triangles on trees to help you navigate
so if you’ve walked a while and haven’t passed an
orange triangle you’re either off the track or didn’t
spot the triangle hiding behind another tree but with
experience you won’t need to follow the triangles so
much as you’ll follow the footprints of others.
From the viewpoint of the Nina River, there are
beautiful deep blue pools of water that look so pure
you just want to jump in and swim. I was looking for
ways down to photograph these parts but I couldn’t
see much that would give me a good composition as
the water was so deep and the river bank steep and
There is one stream you need to cross enroute to
the campsite, you can either get wet boots or take
your time to cross using rocks but be careful you
don’t slip. These small side streams are some of the
best to explore and photograph, some better than
others, so I recommend spending some time here
with your camera, taking the time to come up with
good compositions and having a go at long exposure
photography so that you can blur the water to make
it look like silk.
The stream is not far from the campsite, maybe 10
minutes. I reached it in good time and thought I would
keep going to see if I could find somewhere better to
spend the night. I walked to the next swing bridge but
nothing came up, I walked along the true left on the
Lucretia Route but still nothing. I had that feeling when
I left the campsite that this was the best spot and
I sure wasn’t wrong as that is where I walked back
to – I was fortunate enough to have the campsite to
myself despite 16 people having walked up to the hut
which is only a 10 bunk.
Before sunset (the usual bedtime for trampers unless
they’re doing astrophotography) I had scouted the
area for photo locations in the morning. Sunrises in
valleys are quite difficult as the sun takes a long time
to come over the hills. I was fortunate enough that
there was a perfect pool of water with nice leading
lines heading down the river, I stood there for at least
30 minutes drinking the water and taking a mental
picture of what I wanted to capture the next day.
The morning came and it was a damp start to the
day, the ground had lots of moisture and the tent was
wet, a normal kind of morning for this time of year as
the valleys do get very cold with very little sun the
I knew what I wanted to shoot, the river leading
downstream with the forest on each side, but I had
made a mistake – I’d left my camera on the ground
overnight. I usually have it in my sleeping bag to keep
it warm so it doesn’t get condensation on it so I found
out halfway through my time lapse that the back
element was fogging up which was disappointing
although I did manage to get all the other shots
I wanted. My mistake is a good excuse to go back
and re-shoot though as the place is stunning.
By the time I had photographed everything I wanted,
the sun had come up over the mountains to dry a bit
of the tent off before packing up and taking in the
view one more time. I always find walking out hard,
I love being around nature as it’s so beautiful but I also
know that I need to return to civilization and tell these
stories and share how beautiful and almost unreal
these places are.
3 TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY WHEN TRAMPING
• Allow enough time to get to your destination as it
gets darker in the bush an hour before sunset. This
also allows you enough time to scout around your
hut or tent to find something to photograph the
• It might be awkward to sleep with your camera
but if it is a damp night, it’s a wise move so as to
keep the elements warm.
• When shooting streams, if you have an ultra wide
angle lens, you can make the smaller cascades
look bigger then they are in real life and therefore
more eye-catching in your photos.
F16, 6s, ISO100, 14mm
Improving Your Photography
Photo Review Session
Macro Droplets by Zhenya Philip
REVIEW BY: KORRY BENNETH
What wonderful flowers you’ve got there. Let’s start
with all the good things about this photo...
The colours are absolutely amazing, you managed
to preserve so many shades of nature - green, blue,
purple - well done on that.
The lighting in the photo is also very nice, you did a
great job with exposure, preserving all the shadows
without burning the extremely light parts. The flowers
are perfectly focused and the DOF is really nice too,
revealing just as much as it should while blurring the
background just enough for it to not to stand out.
Another lovely touch is the water drops on the petals,
a great detail and I love how they’re crystal clear (see
image top right) though since you decided to include
the hand in the photo, I would have loved to see
some water drops on the skin too.
The square crop you’ve
chosen is quite interesting,
not many artists go for square
format (unless forced to when
uploading to Instagram), mostly
because square formats are far
With the square format, the
photographer has to think hard
about composition, rule of thirds
can hardly be applied and not
all subjects will look good in the
center. It’s also much harder to
make the photo interesting and
With your subject, you had
basically only two possible
composition - filling the frame
with flowers or centering them.
Since you decided to go for
handheld flowers, centering the
subject was the right decision.
MAKING THIS PHOTO BETTER
While the technical details are
well done, there is one thing that
could be improved in this photo
and that’s the way you’ve
captured your subject.
The fingers holding the flowers
are too zoomed in to have a
story to tell yet not zoomed
in enough to be a part of the
If you (or your model) held the
flowers a bit lower they would
pop out more and the hand
would become part of the
This shot without the fingers in
focus holding the flowers, or
maybe by adding some water
droplets to the hand this photo
would take it to the next level.
Since this is something you can
control, next time try something
more original, like placing the
flowers on top of the hand,
zoom out a bit or even going full
macro while holding the flowers
a bit lower so the fingers don’t
stand out so much.
Mind Games: The Butterfly Effect
With both this issue and the July edition focusing
on wildlife and nature photography I decided
that butterflies are more than an appropriate
subject for my column.
No, I’m not talking about how to photograph
butterflies, nor about “Butterfly lighting” and it’s not
even a name for a new Lightroom preset. I’m sure
you have heard about the butterfly effect before -
a theory where, in simple terms, it’s believed that a
butterfly flapping its wings can cause a typhoon on
the other side of the world. More scientifically, it’s
a series of dependencies where a small unnoticed
action may cause a major change or event in the
How does this apply to photography? The most
popular example that jumps to mind is Instagram.
With it being a popularity-driven platform it creates
something much bigger than a “butterfly”. Say you
have a few hundred followers on Instagram (or any
other social media platform). You take a photo, post
it, and immediately it is out there on the world wide
web, affecting the people who see it.
Someone may try and repeat the same technique
as you – this has resulted in what I call a “massproduction”
of photographs and a generation of
“copycat” photographers. Feet outside the tent, a
head torch pointing at the Milky Way, and people
with vintage cameras, all of these ‘genres’ are familiar
to you I’m sure. There is even an Instagram account
called Insta Repeat and the article Proof That No Idea
Is Original summarizes the point.
Just imagine that your photo is the original that inspires
everyone after you to try and take/recreate the same
shot – You take your camera on a walk during lunch
time, take a photo that you really like and post it
online with hashtags. For whatever reason, it becomes
popular and causes people to feel inspired to create
the same image; effectively it creates a typhoon in
the lives of many people.
You probably don’t think twice about adding
hashtags but consider what happens when you add
the location where you took the shot. It’s becoming
a serious problem with more known cases of damage
to the environment and injuries or even deaths where
people tried to replicate a random popular photo.
by Ana Lyubich
Imagine the same circumstances as described above
– just another day, you take your camera with you
to work and during your lunch break you take a shot
on the street or in the park that appears to be that
“lucky shot” and results in you getting hundreds of likes
on Instagram, this time you add the location when
Someone from your followers loves your shot and
goes to the exact same place the next day, without
you knowing it, to try and get exactly the same light
and… what happens next? Maybe the other person
sees someone doing fundraising and helps with a
small donation that then goes a long way helping
other people? Maybe they fall and break their leg,
ending up hospital which is where they meet their
future spouse? You may not know it but it all started
from you choosing to take your camera out that day
and posting that one picture online. What if you had
changed your plans or got stuck in traffic so were late
and missed the light that made the photo so good?
Just thinking about all possible “what ifs” can drive
This is just a very small and light-hearted example but
we all know the stories of the Wanaka Tree here in
NZ and you may have heard the story of the Broccoli
Tree in Sweden (watch this video if not!). There are
many, many other stories where people have lost lives
or damaged (whether intentionally or unintentionally)
the environment by trying to replicate or create
their own shots at a location they saw online, visited
themselves, and that soon became well known
around the world.
I don’t want to end this article on a negative note,
but do want all of us photographers to keep in mind
that if a flap of a butterfly wing can create a typhoon,
the powerful tool of photography can also make a
difference and affect the lives of thousands if not
millions of people both positively and negatively.
Always remember that no matter your skill level, your
photos have the ability to change someone’s life.
Carefully and cautiously select what you share and
where, and think strategically about your end goal
- do you want your photo to set an example, share
a story, or make a difference? It can all start from a
photo of a butterfly…
It's not about your
honours, it's you and
What do you like most
Karen Mitchell, Excio Member
New generation photography community.
We’re inviting photographers to highlight all the wonderful things that make the Wellington
Botanic Garden much more than a garden, while encouraging photographers to focus on
the garden season by season.
For prizes and full Terms & Conditions see: www.excio.io/freshshoots
The competition is split into quarterly competitions based on each of the seasons:
Summer Autumn Winter
15 December -
22 March 2019
23 March -
21 June 2019
22 June -
20 September 2019
HOW TO CAPTURE: FROZEN LANDSCAPES
As winter arrives, it is time to start thinking about capturing
some stunning frozen landscapes, get ready for a day out
shooting in the snow with these tips by Richard Young.
Tongariro Crossing in Winter
ADD SOME DRAMA:
Often, days with mixed weather and light breaking
through the clouds lead to the best photographs of
snow-covered landscapes, so seek out clouds rather
than postcard clear blue sky days. If you have the sun
in your photo, it can be great to try and capture it as a
starburst for some extra drama. To get the best starburst
effect, select the smallest aperture (f22) and point the
camera directly into the low sun. Be careful looking
through the viewfinder (work in ‘live view’ if you can) as
the sun will be magnified looking through your camera
WATCH THE FORECAST:
While there is often snow on high peaks for most of the
winter, it is not every day that you get snow at lower
altitudes. Watch the weather forecast and lookout for a
southerly front with low temperatures for those perfect
shots of snow covered landscapes. Conditions like this
can create a high alpine feel at much lower altitudes,
reducing the need to get deep into the mountains to
capture frozen landscapes
F11, 250s, ISO100
CAPTURE THE SNOW:
The weather plays an import part in how the snow
looks in any winter landscape. Snow which is in
the shade will often render with a blue cast in your
photographs, this cool blue can add a nice cold
feeling to a winter photograph. While overcast
conditions can work well for photographing the
snow, the sun can add an extra sparkle to a winter
landscape. When shooting snow in strong sun, be
sure to increase your exposure by shooting in manual
mode, or using the exposure compensation (‘+/-’
button) to make the snow a crisp white.
INCLUDE SOME PEOPLE:
Try to include something in your shot to show a sense
of scale, otherwise, the grandeur epic snow-covered
peaks or vast snow-covered landscapes can easily
be lost. This could be a person or any recognizable
object such as a tree or a fence line, this will also add
foreground interest to the photograph and give it
some more depth.
IMPROVE YOUR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY THIS WINTER ON A WORKSHOP IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL
PARK OR AT MT COOK WITH NEW ZEALAND PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
1 May 2019 - 10 July 2019
1 June - 20 June 2019
Learn more at:
THE GALLERY IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
MRS RED LEGS
F13, 1/200s, ISO200, 100mm
MARSDEN VALLEY, NELSON
I found this orbweaver spider in the bush on a recent macrophotography
trip. From a distance they often look drab but lit from above the spiders true
colours - and red legs - really shine through. I used a diffused off camera
flash from above to capture this.
F7.1, 1/50s, ISO400
KAPITI COAST, WELLINGTON
A newly hatched monarch butterfly drying
its wings in the warm summer sun.
DESERT EAGLE OWL
F8, 1/8000s, IS03200
Desert Eagle Owl in Dubai Desert, as part of
a birds of prey experience.
KAKA FLEDGLING IN FLIGHT
F2.8 1/4000s, IS03200
A Kaka Fledgling leaving the feeding station at Zealandia.
POST FIGHT SULK
F5, 1/250s, ISO400, 200mm
ORANA WILDLIFE PARK, CHRISTCHURCH
This young gorilla had a tiff with the alpha male and lost. Hence the
sulky face!! A troop of three, they are New Zealand's only gorillas.
F4, 1/200s, ISO800, 200mm
ORANA WILDLIFE PARK
The majestic tiger at Orana Wildlife Park takes a stroll
around the enclosure after its heavy afternoon meal.
SPOT THE SPOTS
F13, 1/200s, ISO200, 100mm
Watching the feisty and fastest land mammal
the Cheetah at Orana Wildlife Park.
TAYLORS MISTAKE, CHRISTCHURCH
Worth getting up early to capture the beautiful
early morning colour at Taylors Mistake.
F11, 1/160s ISO400, 100mm
A Praying Mantis stalked then caught this
fly and is now devouring it.
F14, 1/125s, ISO640, 100mm
Nymph Katydid browsing on a rose
bush in late afternoon sun
WATCHING THE WATCHERS
F8, 1/250s, ISO200
CUBA MALL, WELLINGTON
An oil soaked Pigeon warily watches the passers-by.
F10, 1/50s, ISO400
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA
A Leopard peeping through the trees, watching us
NEW DAWN, NEW HORIZON
F8, 1/1250s, ISO200,105mm
Fisherman on Pauanui beach. We caught the sunrise
and I caught this image, not a fish in sight.
F5.6, 1/1000s, IS0640
One of many bumble bees enjoying the abundant lavender
flowers during summer.
F16, 1/160s, IS0500
KAPITI COAST, WELLINGTON
Fondly nicknamed 'Fluffy', this orbweb spider
shared our home for a time and started a family.
F10, 1/160s, IS0125
Also known as the 'blue eyed daisy', a simple flower that
reveals its complexity when viewed up close.
KING PENGUIN COLONY
F8, 1/1000s, ISO800, 354mm
VOLUNTEER POINT, FALKLAND ISLANDS
A relatively small colony of king penguins on the
Falkland Islands in January 2019.
F10,1/250s, ISO400, 70mm
ST ANDREW'S BAY, SOUTH GEORGIA ISLAND
A typical morning on South Georgia Island with a mixing
of King Penguins and an Elephant Seal.
RED FOX ON THE PROWL
F5.6, 1/1000s, ISO1000, 400mm
KATMAI PENINSULA, ALASKA
Captured in Alaska in 2018 this red fox was very
playful, trotting round the beach.
CHURTON PARK, WELLINGTON
Summer garden "Macro" session using an old
Takumar-A lens, 28- 80mm, modified with PK-EOS
Adapter, using Viltrox Macro Extension Tube.
MT COOK MOUNTAIN AND LILYS
F8, 1/403s, ISO100, 32mm
When I visited Mt Cook, I pictured one of the photos I
wanted to take and this photo was exactly what I wanted, with the
Mt Cook lilys in the foreground and the Mt Cook mountain in the
background with a shallow depth of field.
F6.3, 1/100s, ISO800,150mm
Photographing Fantails for me is a mixture of frustration and
satisfaction. I was almost going to give up with this Fantail, until it paused for
a brief moment and the sun came out from under the clouds giving me an
opportunity to snap this photo.
YELLOW EYED PENGUIN
F5.6, 1/125s, IS0400, 175mm
I took this photo at Penguin Place on the Otago Peninsula where there is a
maze of trenches to allow the viewing of the penguins as they return to the
land near the end of the day.
"SOMETIMES YOU FIND YOURSELF
IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, AND
SOMETIMES IN THE MIDDLE OF
NOWHERE, YOU FIND YOURSELF"