Brought to you by
ISSUE 22, August 2019
MIND GAMES: THE ART
OF BLACK AND WHITE
BY RICHARD YOUNG
WELCOME TO ISSUE 22 OF
NZ PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE
I can't resist putting a spin on an
old joke and asking you 'what's
black, white, and read all over?'
Issue 22 of NZ Photographer of
course; our monochrome focused
Start to see our colourful world in
a different way as you peruse the
following pages, and get inspired
to go out and capture your own
black and white masterpieces.
Articles from Ana and, guest
author, Peter Kurdulija serve up
a double dose of thought and
inspiration as to why you should
shoot in monochrome whilst
Richard Young's article shows
us that we don't have to turn to
black and white to make a photo
If the Winter Blues have got you
down and you're in need of
new photo location inspiration, see if our Behind The Shot feature with Jason
Blair tempts you out into the snow. No? How about taking to the railway as
Brendon has been doing? Alternatively, our interview with Richard Brooker
might be the inspiration you need whether you find yourself wanting to go find
and photograph abandoned buildings or realise that a complete change of
genre is what you need to shake up your photography for the better.
As well as announcing the winners of the Imagine Auckland competition,
we're pleased to bring you the first in a new series to promote
#WomenInPhotography – Each month we'll be getting to know one of Lesley
Whyte's female photographers as we discover how her photography journey
started and where she hopes it will lead.
Editor NZ Photographer
NZPhotographer Issue 22
by Richard Brooker
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.
HOW MONOCHROME CAN
CONVEY YOUR DISTINCT
PERCEPTION OF THE WORLD
BY PETER KURDULIJA
BEHIND THE SHOT
WITH JASON BLAIR
BEHIND THE SHOT
with Jason Blair
CHUGGING ALONG THE RAILWAY
by Brendon Gilchrist
INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD BROOKER
HOW MONOCHROME CAN CONVEY YOUR DISTINCT
PERCEPTION OF THE WORLD
By Peter Kurdulija
IMAGINE AUCKLAND COMPETITION
WINNERS AND BEST ENTRIES
GETTING TO KNOW RAEWYN SMITH
IMPROVING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO REVIEW SESSION
by Richard Young
WITH RICHARD BROOKER
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GETTING TO KNOW RAEWYN SMITH
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Behind The Shot
with Jason Blair
HOW DID YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY JOURNEY
I had a keen interest in photography from a young
age. After finding the academic environment of
university wasn’t a good fit for me, I decided to
turn my interest in photography into a possible
career option and enrolled in a Diploma Course in
Photography at UCOL.
Fast forward and I started my company Katabatic
Creative, initially as a way for me to formalise my
side-hustle while I worked a variety of other jobs.
Subsequently the business has grown to incorporate
my commercial and editorial photography business as
well as a graphic design and print studio in Hokitika on
the West Coast.
Creating a company was the easiest way for me to
compartmentalise and separate business activities
and expenses from personal, which suits the way my
brain works. I’m glad I did it early on as it forced me
to be more serious about the endeavour and I think it
would have been challenging to untangle and set up
further down the track.
BEHIND THE SHOT IS PROUDLY
WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST PHOTOGRAPHY
It’s hard to isolate a single achievement, but
awards wise, I’m very proud of taking home a
Gold in the Commercial category at the NZIPP Iris
Awards in 2013, and subsequently becoming a
Fellow of the Institute (now known as a Master with
TELL US ABOUT YOUR POWDER HOUNDS SHOT…
I photographed this during an introduction to ski
touring course run by the West Coast Alpine Club.
I was volunteering to help the instructor, and also
photographing for the club’s usage and my own
interest/portfolio. This combination of being active in
the outdoors, volunteering, and photographing is a
significant thread of my photography outside of my
I enjoy photographing the activities that I love to
participate in, and it’s nice to work without the
pressure and constraint of a commercial brief
(although I do really enjoy that also).
This shot came about while the course participants
were having some “free experimentation” time to get
accustomed to their equipment in a small bowl below
The subject is Troy, who was actually another
volunteer helping out. I spotted him lower down the
hill with Max and Kingston, his dogs, and noticed
that I was close to the edge of the shadow being
cast by the ridge. I moved over to the boundary
of the shadow to place the sun close to the rim of
the ridge and asked Troy to ascend so that he’d
end up between me and the sun. I exposed for
the sky, focused on the ridge top, and captured
a series of frames as he approached and passed
the sun, hoping for a dynamic and strong silhouette
As it happened, the position of the dogs was the
deciding factor in which frame was the most
appealing, so I selected this one rather than one
where he was directly in front of the sun which I’d
imagined would work best.
DID YOU PLAN TO SHOOT THIS IN B&W OR
WAS IT CONVERTED LATER FROM COLOUR?
Silhouettes always lend themselves to B&W
conversion, and I tend to operate with my camera
monitor displaying monochrome all the time as I find it
helps me focus on composition more so this shot was
always likely to end up a black and white image.
That said, it was really when I tried it with a few
different conversions and saw the interesting cloud
really pop with a “red filter” profile that I was really sure
that this was the best way to present the photograph.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS SHOT, IS THERE
ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE?
I really enjoy a simple, graphic photograph and this
one is particularly satisfying because I pre-visualised
something and was able to construct something very
close to, and perhaps even better than, what I had in
As I said above, I think the position of the dogs is a key
element here so if I could improve one thing it would
be having the second dog separated from Troy’s
outline and in a more dynamic pose like the first dog
is, and perhaps both dogs right on the horizon of the
ridge so that their legs are visible.
ANY TIPS FOR OUR READERS ON MAKING
PHOTOGRAPHY A CAREER?
Photography is a wonderful art and can make a very
rewarding career, but it isn’t an easy way to make a
living, especially starting out. I would say value your
work, persevere, and seek mentorship.
Black and white image making is wonderful and
rewarding, but it almost certainly won’t pay the bills!
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Shoot with
your camera displaying black and white previews
and it will improve your overall photography, as well
as your black and white images, of course.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER EXCIO?
I won an Excio subscription through the Federated
Mountain Clubs photography competition, I think it
was actually with this image! To be honest though, I’m
still working out exactly what Excio is and how to drive
the platform but I find the concept quite interesting
and look forward to learning and experimenting
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’m currently developing a new personal project
involving photography and video, outdoor recreation,
and mental health. I’m seeking funding to get it off
the ground at present and assembling a team to help
produce it. So hopefully I’ll be very busy with that in
the near future!
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
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 last season of the competition is now open:
22 June - 20 September 2019
Chugging Along The Railway
by Brendon Gilchrist
F5, 1/500s, ISO160, 80mm
F5.6, 1/1000s ISO64, 24mm
If you are a train fanatic, this journey will be one
you want to put on your list. Through the mountains
from Christchurch to Greymouth, or vice versa, this
is a trip that will take you through so many different
landscapes that you’ll be wondering why you didn’t
do it sooner.
It’s not just for old retired people, all ages should get
onboard – Pack your suitcases, stay a few nights and
then return on the same train you came on. You could
rent a car and explore some of the west coast gems
like Punakaiki, head on down to glacier country, or just
hang around Greymouth where there is plenty to see
Still need enticing? Let me take you on my train
The day starts early as the train leaves at 8.15am from
Christchurch Central Train Station. The carriages are
comfy, warm on this cool winters morning and the
commentary oh so funny making the staff top-notch
and easy to talk to if and when needed.
Upon leaving the station there’s a short section
through the urban jungle along the straight tracks
but the views soon improve as the mountains slowly
get bigger and bigger the further out we go – The
Canterbury plains are one of the biggest plains in
New Zealand and are a magnet as you can see the
Cars stop for us when the bells clang at the railway
crossings as we have the right of way to pass through
on our journey to the other side of the island. There are
a few stops on the way out to the mountains to pick
up more passengers, these being Rolleston, Darfield
and then Springfield but you only have a couple of
minutes at each location with no time to exit the train,
each stop getting you one step closer to the highlight
of the trip, a train ride through the mountainside.
At Springfield, the train leaves the main highway
behind, turning off to follow the Waimakariri River and
travelling along the gorge. Somehow, looking into the
river from a train window makes it look more beautiful
and surreal. The crystal clear water from the glacier’s
that feed the river and the way that water has shaped
this landscape over thousands of years is a sight to
behold. With perfect blue sky and no weather systems
to worry about I thought how can this get better?
It wasn’t long untill we entered an area that is well
known for its very cold temperatures, and there was
no disappointment as there was a hoar frost, or what
I call a white winter landscape. It looked so pure with
many small frozen ponds and as we entered and
exited short tunnels this hoar frost just kept going.
I was outside in the viewing carriage so it was cold
and with the train moving at a good speed I found it
hard to get good photos. I wish the train could have
stopped but it was not to be. I worked with what
I had, one carriage with lots of other people with the
same objective of capturing this Winter wonderland
that just went on and on – I knew this area had hoar
frost but I had no idea the area it covered was so
large so it was the biggest and best surprise of the
day. The best image I got was when we went over
the Broken River bridge, a quick couple of snaps and
I managed to get something stunning.
Once at Arthurs Pass, we got the first opportunity to
exit the train and stretch our legs on the platform
before the darkest part of the trip; the Otira Tunnel.
This tunnel starts at Arthurs Pass and exits the mountain
8.5km later (roughly a 20minute journey) and has a
gradient of 1 in 33 meaning that for every 33 meters
you travel you either gain or lose 1 meter in height.
Construction on the bridge started in 1907 and
finished 11 years later in 1918. At that time it was
the 7th longest tunnel in the world, an incredible
achievement in that day and age.
Upon exiting the tunnel on the West Coast side
we entered into a lush green rainforest beside the
Rolleston River. It left me marveling at how it’s possible
such a stunning location with a scenic railway right
beside it can exist.
Heading towards the old railway town of Otira, the
river changes from the Rolleston to the Otira to the
Taramakau before we take a right-hand turn and
head towards Moana, a small township on the shores
of Lake Brunner where some passengers disembark
and others join us.
Lake Brunner is small, you get a view of it before you
get to Moana and a quick view as you leave, but it
was enough to whet my appetite, a place I would like
to go back to and explore with my sea kayak on a
calm day as the reflections looked like glass from the
By now we’re almost 6 hours into our journey and
approaching our final destination having passed
through many different photo-worthy landscapes.
At Stillwater, a small village on the edge of the Grey
River, the view is spectacular from the railway track;
limestone shaped walls with a deep river running
through it that draws in the white water kayakers and
other visitors who want to see the site of the Brunner
Mine, the place where 65 people were killed in 1896.
Once into Greymouth, our final destination, I had a
1-hour break before I was back on the train for the
reverse journey. To go there and back in 1 day it’s
a 13 hour journey so I do recommend staying a few
nights to split the journey up a bit and give yourself
more time to see what Greymouth and the west coast
has to offer.
3 TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING ON A TRAIN
• Have your shutter set to burst mode so that you
don't miss the shot.
• Have settings as if you were taking sports images
so a very high shutter speed to take into account
that the train is travelling at a speed.
• Since your shutter speed is so high you need to
compensate that with your aperture. F4 to F5 will
be enough to have plenty in focus without it being
F7.1, 1/800s, ISO64
F1.4, 1/100s, ISO800
• Canon 5DMk4
• EF 16–35 f/2.8
• EF 50 f/1.4
• EF 85 f/1.8
• EF 100 f/2.8 Macro
• EF 70–200 f/2.8
• EF 2x Converter
• Nisi Filters
• RRS panorama head
Over and above this, I have 2 Godox AD200 studio
lights (the wee ones) while I learn studio portraiture.
WOULD YOU SAY YOU HAVE A CERTAIN
No, I do not believe I have a certain style. I can
never decide which ‘look’ I prefer and so, from
a single shoot, I often produce images that look
totally different; each edit suiting the photograph
but no two photographs looking the same. I look
at other peoples’ work and can see the similarities,
or their signature, but I am still looking for that
something that is uniquely ‘me’.
RICHARD, TELL US WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT
I work as an Oracle database administrator for
enterpriseIT, a Wellington based IT company with
large ambitions. Outside of work, I am a father
to four boys, ages 9 to 16… who now run for their
lives whenever I bring my camera out. Work keeps
me pretty busy during the week, but when the
weekend rolls around, I like to go and photograph
whatever I can.
SO HOW AND WHEN DID YOUR
PHOTOGRAPHY VENTURE BEGIN?
Photography for me started in 2012 when Instagram
was released on the android platform. My first ever
Instagram photo was of a sock, hanging on the
corner of a washing line. In typical Wellington style,
the sock had blown off by the time I had my phone
ready to take the picture.
Borrowing a DSLR from a friend for a roadie
way back in 2013, I developed a penchant for
photographing abandoned buildings. Purchasing
TELL US ABOUT YOUR GEAR…
I have been quite lucky with the camera gear
that I have had over the years. Moving from a
cellphone, my father bought me my first DSLR, a
Canon 60D in 2014. I had two kit lenses with this
camera, an 18–55 and a 55–250mm. Riiiight up
until water entered the camera body while I was
shooting my son on the high ropes at his school
camp (he did very well by the way!).
Insurance came to the party at this point with
a replacement Canon 70D which I augmented
with an EF-S10–22mm wide angle lens. This combo
lasted three years and thousands of k’s until my
grandfather passed away. My grandfather was
an exceptional man and in his infinite wisdom he
left some money to each of his grandchildren,
enough to begin quite a nice kit so this is what I am
currently shooting with:
PATEA MEAT WORKS
F4.5, 1/20s, ISO640
my own DSLR in 2014 caused my interest in
urban exploration to really take off (I have been
frogmarched off premises more than once for
being where I shouldn’t). There are a surprising
amount of derelict buildings around NZ if you are
prepared to drive a ways.
Since then I have moved through landscape
photography, attempted macro photography, and
am now heading down the road of wanting to be
a people photographer. People express so many
emotions in so many ways; I would like to discover
how to capture that in a way that makes people
wonder what was going on when the photo was
taken. My macro lens makes a very fine portraiture
lens and I’m always looking for people who do not
mind having their photo taken… Hint, hint!
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ABANDONED
BUILDINGS, WHAT FASCINATED YOU?
I liked to walk where others had been but no
longer frequented. I liked the thrill of being caught.
I do not tend to do this often anymore; I am a
little old now to be vaulting over barbed wire
fences without leaving patches of skin behind but
I have dreams of going to places like Chernobyl,
Detroit, Gary Indiana… places where industry has
subsided leaving behind mechanical monstrosities,
monstrosities waiting to be explored.
The great thing about abandoned places is
that they are generally hidden in plain sight. In
Wellington, there are several places which are
quietly rotting, still in the public eye. Head out
into the country and the number of abandoned
buildings goes up dramatically. All up and down
the North Island there are abandoned structures
waiting. I have not made it down to the South
Island yet, but I’m sure there are plenty to find
down there also.
YOU HINTED AT BEING FROGMARCHED
OFF OF CERTAIN PROPERTIES, ANY OTHER
NARROW ESCAPES YOU CAN TELL US
North of Wellington, there is an abandoned
Catholic girl’s school, visible from the state
highway. Exploring those buildings taught me a
valuable lesson: make sure you always have a
way out. I was photographing three side by side
toilet stalls and was moving slowly backwards to
see if I could fit them in frame. The door (sans door
handle) closed and I heard the latch ‘click’. Well…
stuck in a toilet, no door handle, I had to ‘squeeze’
out of a smaller-than-ideal hole in the wall to get
out and managed to almost remove my finger in
the process. A quick trip to the hospital, a stern
telling off by the doctor, and I was back planning
new targets within the week!
F2.8, 1/1000s, ISO50
YOU SAID YOU’VE ‘MOVED THROUGH
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY’ – WHAT MADE
YOU MOVE ON?
I spent the longest time shooting landscape
photography and there have been some good
times. I enjoyed capturing long exposures of
moving water (as you’ll remember from issue 5)
from beaches to rivers and waterfalls, there is plenty
of moving water with interesting rock formations
around New Zealand and I have photos from all
over the North Island, Tongariro National Park being
one of my favourite places to shoot.
However, when I was asked to shoot headshots
for The Fashion Creative, I had my first glimpse of
what it’s like to shoot people, people who WANT
their photo taken. The quality of photo’s produced
by TFC is very high; it’s a great place to learn and
great people to learn from. At that point, I decided
that landscapes look better with people in them
and landscapes with people in them are called…
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING
CURVES IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
Technically there were a couple of eureka
moments for me early on after changing from a
cell phone to a DSLR (realising that the f-stop scale
for aperture went down where the others go up
and learning that the peg at the bottom of the
viewfinder was a light meter)!
Photographically, I haven’t stopped learning
and I doubt I ever will. Each type of photography
I’ve tried has had its challenges; for abandoned
buildings it was finding places, finding entry to those
places, trying to get a usable photo from what was
usually a pretty dark place (no power = no lights)
while trying not to get caught and evicted.
For landscapes my problem was trying to capture
the whole dynamic range, maintaining both the
highlights and the shadows – Especially when the
exposure is measured in minutes. This was probably
the most expensive learning curve for me as it
added several expensive filters and a panorama
head to my kit.
As for portraiture, I now own a couple of small
studio lights and am learning how to use them.
Trying to shape the light to get the look that
I want… let’s say I’ve a ways to go yet!
I spend time trolling the internet learning about
photography; Youtube, Phlearn, anything that
has information about whatever subject I am
researching. I have a sister who has been a
photographer for almost 30 years, she is also
a valuable source of information and critique.
I cannot count the number of occasions when
I have been… reminded… of how little I know
about the subject but still, I keep trying.
F4, 1/40s, ISO320
F3.5, 1/30s, ISO200
F3.2, 1/2500s, ISO100
F5.6, 1/1600s, ISO200
F2.8, 1/6400s, ISO100
F22, 20s, ISO50
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE B&W
I belong to a Lower Hutt group called ‘The
Fashion Creative’ whose members often
collaborate to produce pictures for the
benefit of those involved. There are some
very talented folks in the group. At last years
Christmas dinner, I was shooting Kasey in the
attic of one of the Trentham Racecourse
buildings. One of the photos of Kasey
happened to have the light fall on half her
face (almost like it was intentional) while
she was looking down at the book she was
holding. It did not work so well in colour, but in
black and white it’s magic. This is my favourite
portrait shot from the last few years (it even
hangs on my wall!), everything seemed to just
WHAT TIPS CAN YOU GIVE READERS FOR
SHOOTING IN BLACK AND WHITE?
Watch… learn… read… practice… share…
critique… be critiqued… rinse and repeat…
(Incidentally, this applies to all forms of
• Make sure your photo includes ‘black’ and
‘white’, not just 50 shades of grey.
• Pay attention to shapes, lines, shadows,
patterns and textures.
• Shoot RAW.
• Contrast is your friend.
• Darker blacks make for brighter whites.
• Adjust the ‘colours’ that make up the image
(B&W sliders in LR).
Photography is like anything, without practice,
there is no improvement. With digital cameras,
all it will cost you is time and storage. There is
no right; there is no wrong; there is only what
HOW CAN PEOPLE GET OUT OF A
CREATIVE RUT IN PHOTOGRAPHY WHILST
IMPROVING THEIR SKILLS?
Both the 365 Challenge and the 52 Week
Challenge are excellent ways of getting out of
a creative rut, especially when they are task
related: “this week you shall take a photo of…
Another suggestion is to join a camera club.
I have things that interest me and I tend
to pursue those things. Joining a camera
club has opened me up to a whole host of
different ideas that I had not thought of. As
an example, I attended an Eva Polak macro
impressionism workshop. That opened my eyes
to new ways of seeing the very small and has
given me different techniques to apply to
other forms of photography as well.
But even more than that, carry your camera
around with you. Everywhere. Not your whole
kit, but something small that is inconspicuous
and quick to use. That way, while you go
about your daily life, you have an opportunity
to catch moments that you would otherwise
not be prepared for. Who knows, this may
begin a photographic journey in an entirely
TELL US ABOUT YOUR INTRODUCTION TO
EXCIO AND WHY YOU LIKE OUR APP…
I met Ana through a good friend when she was
developing Excio and agreed to be a guinea
pig for her while the app was being developed
What I enjoy most about the Excio app is
seeing other people’s take on things and
being able to get a little of the backstory
about the photo that I am seeing. There are
as many different ways to take a photograph
as there are photographer’s and Excio is a
platform where not just the photo is being
shared, but often stories about how that photo
came into being and what it represents/
means to the photographer.
There are many talented people on the Excio
platform and with the worldwide coverage
Excio brings, even a small tin pot photographer
has a chance at being appreciated by many.
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
albums.excio.io/profile/The Untrained Eye
F2.8, 1/250s, ISO200
F2.8, 1/1000s, ISO100
How Monochrome Can Convey Your
Distinct Perception Of The World
By Peter Kurdulija
We live in a world surrounded by colour and make
many choices based on it every single day. Colour
helps us see, identify and single out objects and
interests within their cluttered surroundings. It can
trigger and change our emotions. Therefore, I find
it curious that so many of us are attracted to the
genre of photography entirely devoid of it. How can
technological limitation from a time gone by be so
often and purposefully chosen as a valid creative
Is it simple nostalgia, something deeply rooted in our
culture that fills us with spontaneous appreciation
of its aesthetic qualities or the allure of visual
agelessness? Whatever the answer may be, this style
of photography is not going the way of the dodo any
Digital photographs are taken in colour and enter
the monochrome world in a process known as
conversion. The resulting image contains only tones
of a single colour, with grey being the most common
choice. Although we call this variation ‘black & white
photography’, a more accurate term would be
Instead of giving you step by step instructions on how
to achieve this effect and the technical intricacies
(there are already so many tutorials over the Internet)
I want to discuss the motivation behind several of
my images, in an effort to inspire some readers to
craft their future ideas using this freshly discovered
GIVING MUNDANE SCENES AN AIR OF MYSTERY
You can find many interesting photographic subjects
while walking city streets. Night offers a whole new set
of possibilities giving usually ordinary places a range
of different visual qualities, with mystery being one of
In my image ‘Urban Shadows’ I was relying on a slow
shutter speed of 1/5sec. I had to lean against the wall
for extra stability while trying to keep the ISO as low
as possible. This is not always practical, and giving
your ISO a boost is the most common approach when
combating potential blur due to prolonged exposure
times. Another option is using a tripod which would
aid image quality in terms of sharpness, keeping the
camera’s ISO at a low setting.
My image ‘Urban Shadows’ is also a good example
of a high contrast chiaroscuro situation and adds
to the perception of a scene. It is a classic painting
technique that relies on visual dynamics provided by
the tension between strong highlights and shadows, to
further the illusion of three-dimensional depth within a
MAN-MADE OBJECTS IN MONOCHROME
Monochrome photography is well suited for the
depiction of man-made objects, pretty much a tool
of choice when focusing attention on shapes and
textures. It will give you an opportunity to add volume
to the subjects which have a tendency to look flat,
sculptures for example.
By adding a series of dodging and burning strokes in
post-processing, like painting with an imaginary light
brush, it is possible to add lifelike characteristics to
sculptures as you can see in my images ‘The Struggle’
and ‘Golgotha’ when you turn the page.
TURNING NOTHING INTO SOMETHING
It is not always easy to recognise a potentially good
monochrome image, by simply looking at the colour
scene in front of you. There will be many failures as our
ability to visualise this ‘on the fly’ conversion comes
with time and experience. So while working on your
colour photograph, don’t fixate on one outcome in
post processing or give up on an image altogether
before checking out its monochrome alter ego.
The image ‘They Were Here, I Was There’ was rather
uneventful in its original colour form – The large
land area easily consumed the smaller subjects
and diminished its storytelling potential. Striping the
frame of colour, its main distracting feature, left room
for tonal enhancements and focused the viewer’s
interest squarely on the geometry within, resulting in a
dramatic and puzzling image.
When we lose focus of the important and delicate
moments in our daily lives, our photography may
follow us there. It can become cluttered and lose
its ability to engage. As we know that colour and
contrast provide the most important stimuli, eliminating
one of them will significantly promote the other. With
colour gone, the communication will default to its
building blocks – contrasts, lines and textures. The
simplified visual environment offers a much better
chance of focusing the viewer’s attention to emotioninducing
The ‘End of the Pilgrimage’ was conceived during
a trip which had great significance for the person
depicted in it, and for that reason came with a
dose of an emotional charge. It was challenging to
take under the relentless Fiordland rain, making it
technically imperfect but visually gripping. In this allsymbolic
composition, a very small silhouette facing
a grandiose setting is imposing itself without difficulty,
being placed in a lighter part of the frame while at
the same time cutting the perceived horizon. This kind
of narrative is much more difficult to conduct with the
presence of colour.
In my image ‘Another Day in Paradise’ which was
taken on a visit to the local zoo you’ll see a strange
human-like sorrow radiating from the scene. Without
colour around, the entire emotion is focused on
the contemplating soul far away from its natural
habitat. A familiar natural shape set against the sterile
background geometry captures observer’s attention,
doubling as a mood amplifier in the process.
An attempt to depict eternity after a loss was the
main motivator for the image ‘Perpetual Void’. The
little statue is illuminated by a narrow shaft of light
coming down from the heavens, helping it to stay
compositionally clear of its desaturated background.
MONOCHROME & LONG EXPOSURE
The marriage between monochrome and long
exposure is a match made in heaven. The
monochrome part kicks out all trappings of colour with
long exposure dissolving any dynamic distraction into
a featureless, subject enhancing backdrop. When
paired together, they will turn moving grass into a
mysterious haze and the uncooperative waves, like in
the image ‘Existential Singularity’, to an infinite, flat ice
plate. If you are searching for visual representation of
timelessness, look no further.
PUT YOUR CREATIVITY TO THE TEST
My images are only an idea, a creative trigger for
the most important ingredient that no one can give
or sell – your emotions and distinct perception of the
world. It is essential to stay unique and not be caged
by the lemming mentality of current trends, regardless
of how popular they may be. Remember, the camera
is just a tool that together with that precious creative
bit inside of you, will impress and uplift the rest of us
with visions of our surroundings we didn’t expect or
ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE
END OF THE PILGRIMAGE
I WAS HERE, THEY WERE THERE
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Imagine Auckland Competition
Winners and Best Entries
Together with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and other partners
we invited photographers to share their moments captured in the city of Auckland in our
"Imagine Auckland" photo competition. The competition received almost 200 entries - See which
photos took top awards on the following pages.
'Takapuna Beach Hamster Wheel'
Susan Blick with 'City Bokeh'
Marvin Condor with 'Framing Auckland Sky Tower'
Heather Marree Owens with 'Dark Edifice'
Roumen Ivanov with 'Night Sky Tower'
Scott Cushman with 'Dawn Twinkle Over Rangitoto Island'
See all images online and vote for your favourite to decide the People's Choice winner until
20 August 2019 at WWW.EXCIO.IO/AUCKLANDVOTES
A classic Auckland sunrise shot through the
Hamster Wheel at Takapuna Beach Playground.
Sunset over the Gannet Colony, Murawai.
F4.4, 1/1000s, /SO800
Hello Milkyway, old friend. It's been well over a year
since we last met. I know you're busy up there confining to all the
laws of physics etc, and we both know that the Moon tends to steal
your glory. The clouds down here seem to have a mind of their own,
I don't even think they realise the inconvenience they've caused. But
for what feels like a split moment, all the elements have aligned. I
hope that this doesn't revert back to a rare occurrence, because I do
genuinely enjoy your company! You've proved to me how small we
are in the grand scheme of things. You help me treasure moments
rather then objects, experiences more than materialism, souls over
status and I guess if you wanna put it simply... Life.
FRAMING AUCKLAND SKY TOWER
It took about 3 visits for everything to fall into place. This morning the sky
went nuts and I was so stoked that I went out to shoot the sunrise.
August 2019 45
NIGHT SKY TOWER
Monumental night view of the Sky Tower.
DAWN TWINKLE OVER
Taken on the coastal walkway between
Takapuna and Milford.
Shot from Mt Eden using a super shallow depth of field on a Lensbaby composer
pro lens. Finding the sweet spot took a bit of work, leaving only the subject sharp;
the city lights create beautiful bokeh with such a wide aperture.
Auckland's Sky Tower at night,
shot with the Zenit fisheye lens
on my Canon.
Heather Maree Owens
Getting to Know Raewyn Smith
PROUDLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOU…
I’m a born and bred Northlander, currently living in
Auckland. I work full time managing a Resene Colorshop
in Botany Downs, Auckland. I am married, a mother of
two sons, and a grandmother of two granddaughters
and one grandson. I’m a passionate gardener (there
is an abundance of roses growing in my garden) and
an avid reader (there is always a book on my bedside
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN
I have always had an interest in photography, always
had a camera of some sort going back to the good
old Instamatic. Down the line came a Kodak Digital,
then I progressed to a later model digital. By chance,
I noticed an advertisement for a beginner’s photography
class at Uxbridge Creative Centre in Howick and signed
up. I quickly became hooked! A few months later
I completed an intermediate class. The tutor for both of
these courses was Treve Dromgool so I have her to thank
for my enthusiasm.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED GENRE?
Being a gardener and roses my passion, I particularly love
photographing flowers of all types, especially close up/
macro. But I also like photographing animals, (I have a
dog who is a good poser) along with landscapes and
I rather like black and white. I’d love to photograph more
people, I just need willing models!
WHAT ARE YOU SHOOTING WITH?
I recently purchased a Canon 80D. Most of the photos
featured were shot with my previous camera, a Canon
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU COME UP
AGAINST WITH PHOTOGRAPHY?
I really had to think hard about this question. For me
personally, I find the only challenge is finding enough
time to do as much photography as I would like.
Hopefully, in a few years, retirement will make that
HOW DO YOU PUSH YOURSELF TO IMPROVE AND
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET OUT OF A CREATIVE
I follow a lot of photography Facebook groups, watch
YouTube tutorials, and read everything I possibly can
to learn as much as I can. Belonging to Lesley Whyte’s
group is a great way to keep me motivated, especially
by having weekly challenges. Sometimes life gets in the
way but the challenges certainly keep me thinking about
the next subject.
HOW DOES BELONGING TO LESLEY’S
‘#WOMENINPHOTOGRAPHY’ GROUP BENEFIT
Through this group I have met lots of other women
with the same passion for photography and we help
each other as we are all at different levels of learning.
(Shout out to fellow member Leanne Silver of Argent
Photography who took the photo of me above!).
I feel that being in an all female group allows women to
feel comfortable asking questions that they may not ask
in a mixed group for fear of being laughed at for asking
what they may think of as a silly question or something
that they should know.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ADVANTAGES ARE OF
BEING A FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER?
Many people feel more comfortable with a female
photographer. I think we have more empathy which
can be an advantage when photographing families/
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’m most probably leaning towards selling framed
photography – flowers will obviously feature
predominantly. I am also interested in photographing
people – portraits, lifestyle so am thinking along those
WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU ONLINE?
THE TWO OF US
TE REWA REWA BRIDGE
A WALK IN WINTER
ARE WE DONE YET
The Art of Black
by Ana Lyubich
Thinking of the colour wheel, black and white are
lovers rather than neighbours. They are the complete
opposite of each other yet are the only 2 colours on
the wheel that can work together to create a stunning
and memorable masterpiece on their own.
However, how many of us consciously choose our
colour palettes or white balance offset ahead of time
to create a certain mood in our photo? More likely
you turn a photo to black and white when you realise
“Oh, this photo has too much noise, let’s see how it
looks if we convert it into black & white… oh yeah…
STEERING THE CONVERSATION
Some people say that photography is a conversation
between the photographer and the viewer. I’d say it’s
As a photographer, especially in our digital era, you
can’t see viewers’ reaction when they see your photo
and you can’t hear what they say most of the time.
Basic comments on social media don’t make it a
Communication through photography is one-sided
and absolutely based on the visual aspect, this is why
it’s important to structure and create our photographs
in such a way that it generates the “right” response
when we publish our work.
Opting to remove colour from a photograph is a
brave and bold choice.
When we look at colour photos, we subconsciously
make our own judgements based on what we
see and how it makes us feel, what emotions we
experience. We can see whether the photo is a sunset
or sunrise, how it is processed, whether the colours are
oversaturated or faded, whether they make us feel
warm or cold. We can guess which season the photo
was taken in because we can see certain things in the
photo (colours of tree leaves for instance) and make
Black and white images are timeless. Removing
colour makes it much more difficult to put a date on
the photo but at the same time can evoke a much
Don’t forget that black and all shades of grey are
considered to be the colours of depression. There
have been numerous studies showing that people
who post black and white images on social media
(and by the way, according to a different study, black
“All colours are the friends of their
neighbours and the lovers of their opposites.”
Marc Chagall, Artist
and white photos tend to generate less engagement
on Instagram!) are trying to “distance” themselves from
reality due to being “lost” and so are more likely to feel
Because we see the real world in colour, removing
them from a photo makes us pause, look closely at
what is left, and think as we pay more attention to the
light and shadow, highlights and accents.
Black and white photography should be a conscious
choice with the end goal in mind – what message do
you want to get across? How will it make people feel?
The more control you have over the elements and
colours in your photographs, the more say you have in
the interpretation of it.
PHOTO BY LEVENTE KADAS
Improving Your Photography
Photo Review Session
Commercial Photographer and Teacher/Trainer
This is an extraordinary work of art. A nude
photograph of an anonymous lady shot in
monochrome - very expressive, emotional, and
powerful while still appearing simple.
Photographs such as this are used to express
strong emotions and would easily pass as a
form of surrealism photography. Oftentimes, the
picture may not have an underlying meaning
and would have been captured to incite
emotions in viewer’s or it could be that the
photographer just wanted to lay emphasis on
some elements like lines, shapes, texture etc.
THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS PHOTO
Things that stand out in this photograph which
contribute to it being aesthetically beautiful are
The presence of the high contrast easily
demarcates the black and white elements in
the photograph. The body of the model is well
highlighted causing the easy differentiation
between the model and the rest of the frame.
The careful and intentional use of light causes
the picture to have lots of depth which allows
the intricate details of the body; like the high
cheek bones, the flattering bust line, the neck,
LINES AND CURVES
The use of lines and curves to divide space and
to balance elements in certain areas of the
photo is done very well. For instance, the jawline
to the face of the model, the shoulder line on
the left side towards the elbow, down to the arm
leading to the elbow which is also well divided
by the light that comes from the neck.
Interestingly, the photograph contains a lot of
triangular composition. This type of composition
is very different from the popular rule of thirds,
it seeks to balance elements closely related
but that fall in triangular portions of the frame
making the picture more pleasing to the eye.
It often helps to track the relationship between
The first prominent triangle is the one that starts
from the shoulder on the left side of the picture
to the hand that goes to the arm that leads to
the armpit, towards the collar bone and back
to the shoulder. Another is the small triangle
obvious on the face caused by the highlights.
Yet another perfect triangle is created by the
shadows from the lower part of the elbow
towards the armpit back to the right end of the
frame and back to the elbow. Finally, another
obvious triangle goes from the jawline towards
the second arm that goes up and back to the
MAKING THIS PHOTO EVEN BETTER
One thing to point out however, that would
have made this picture better, is the distracting
shadows as a result of the type of lighting used.
While the use of harsh light was necessary
to get a perfect contrast between the body
and the rest of the frame, the shadows cause
distractions due to the sharp and clear-cut
distinctions. This could prevent the viewers eye
from flowing with the model’s body structure.
The use of a soft light with an increased
intensity would have created softer and better
transitioning from highlights to mid-tones and
In the images below, you can see the areas
of sharp transition between lighted areas and
shadows outlined in red. A similar picture, shot
by myself, with the use of soft lights is included
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How to simplify your images t
ARCHWAY ISLANDS, GOLDEN BAY
F11, 8s, ISO100
o create minimal landscapes.
MORNING LIGHT, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
F11, 1/125S, ISO100
When arriving at a stunning landscape location, it is
easy to get a bit overwhelmed and often the result of
this is that you try to photograph the whole expansive
vista in front of you. While there is nothing wrong with
this approach, it can sometimes produce an image
with no defined subject and little artistic vision.
The first thing you should ask yourself is; what are you
photographing? Yes, the beautiful view in front of you,
but what part of this is your subject? And what parts of
this view do not add anything to the image or distract
from your subject? I think this is the most important
question when shooting minimal landscapes, as you
need to try and break down what your subject is and
what elements do not add to the image and can
therefore be removed.
A painter has the luxury of choosing what to include in
their painting, a photographer needs to choose what
to leave out, this is harder than it sounds…
Shooting landscapes with wide-angle lenses can
produce some stunning results, but if not used well,
a wide-angle lens can result in you capturing a very
complex image without any clear subject. For this
reason alone I think it is one of the hardest lenses to
master. I find many photographers will seldom reach
for a longer lens when shooting landscapes and
this can often be a great way to help to simplify a
landscape, by filling the image with your subject so
that the viewer can easily focus on it. By focusing on
a smaller area on a landscape, you can reduce the
number of elements in your photograph, producing
a more minimalist image with a clearer and more
While the use of long lenses can help to simplify a
landscape as discussed above, they can also work
against you when shooting minimal landscapes.
Negative space can be very powerful in an image.
It allows the subject space to breath and can help
SNOWFIELD, FOX GLACIER
F8, 1/1250s, ISO400
MORING LIGHT, MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
to amplify the subject when it is displayed against a
larger canvas. When working with negative space you
need to work with background elements that will not
distract from the main subject. Working in conditions
like heavy mist and fresh snow can work brilliantly
for using negative space, likewise so can coastal
landscapes by filling a large part of the image with
the sea or the expansive horizon.
Long exposure photography can be an excellent
way to help minimalise landscapes, especially when
working around water. By using longer shutter speeds
you can help to render out some distraction within a
landscape like ripples on the water’s surface and turn
these into a blank canvas. If your main subject is then
framed among this simple background, it can help
not only to define in but also create a photograph
without some of the complex elements that can be
hard to remove by composition alone.
USE OF COLOUR
The use of colour can be a very powerful tool in
photography, bold or contrasting clours can easily
hold our attention to a part of an image, but they
can also make a photograph more complex. When
shooting minimal landscapes, it is often better to
work with a more limited and subtle colour pallet, so
that the eye can focus on form and shape without
stong colours competing. Likewise, with lighting, the
softer light that can be found at the beginning and
end of the day is easier to work with than strong
and contrasting direct sunlight. Black and white
can also be a great option when trying to remove
the distractions found in colour images, creating an
image of minimalist quality simply because of its lack
IMPROVE YOUR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY THIS WINTER ON A WORKSHOP IN TONGARIRO NATIONAL
PARK OR AT MT COOK WITH NEW ZEALAND PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
THE GALLERY IS PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
F4, 1/250s, ISO400
August 2019 71
EVEN SHADOWS USE SMART PHONES
F5,6 1/125s, ISO200
Shadows are our constant companions. Our smart phones are now
permanently integrated into our shadows and life.
THE BREATH OF LIFE
F8, 1/200s, ISO400, 32mm
BUFFALO BEACH, WHITIANGA
Mother and Daughter come together to
share the breath of life.
August 2019 75
F3.5, 1/900s, ISO160, 55mm
MINNIESDALE CHAPEL, TAUPAKI
Resting in peace at Minniesdale Chapel
overlooking the beautiful Kaipara harbour.
PASSAGE OF TIME
F8, 1/60s, ISO100, 35mm
Rusting quietly at Smash Palace in
the Central North Island.
F8, 1/2s, IS0100, 90mm
ENDEAN'S SAW MILL, WAIMIHA
After many years of good service it's now somewhat tuned
out with this key being the worst of a bad bunch.
Macarons, a cup of tea and a straw hat on a Summers Day!
F8, 3.2s, IS0100
WAIHI FALLS NEAR DANNEVIRKE
A beautiful waterfall near Dannevirke that worked
perfectly in mono with high contrast lighting conditions.
WRECK OF THE GAIRLOCH
F11, 30s, lSO100
OAKURA NEAR NEW PLYMOUTH
The last remains of the SS Gairloch which ran aground in 1903. The long
exposure here was designed to try and convey time passing while the
wreck is quietly reclaimed.
F16, 25s, ISO64
MATAIKONA NEAR CASTLEPOINT
These fascinating rock formations are usually hidden by the sea, but
at low tide you'll see them all the way along the winding gravel road
from Whakataki to the settlement of Mataikona.
A WINTER FEELING
CENTRAL OTAGO NEAR NASEBY
Central Otago presents many beautiful
options at this time of the year.
My daughter waiting to
participate in soccer
drills in Dubai.
LITTLE WATTLE BIRD
F4.4, 1/1000s, /SO800
POINT ARKWRIGHT, SUNSHINE COAST
This bird was being very protective of a nest in a tree
and so I was able to get quite close.
DREAMS LOST IN WATER
F 5.6, 1/60s, ISO200, 50mm
THE LOST SPRING, WHITIANGA
Dream state, somewhere between sleep & awakening where
one is floating and attempting to hold on to the dream.
THE PIPE CONNOISSEUR
F11, 1/10s ISO200, 55mm
Never judge a book by it's cover nor a man by his.
F5.6, 1/200s, ISO125
Water lilies floating in a pond attached to a overturned leaf.
BLACK BAYOU LAKE TEXAS
Winter cypress trees in Black Bayou Lake, the bark
showing the water levels.
TESSELLATED ROCK PATTERNS
F14, 1/4s, ISO400
PATONGA, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Nature's patterns in sand stone out in the
Australian bush near the Central Coast coastline.
F14, 1/125s, ISO 400
Old gold miners cottage in Fruitlands
district, Central Otago.
August 2019 103
EXOSKELETON OF POMPIDOU
F6.3, 1/100s, ISO100
One side of the Pompidou Modern Art Centre.
August 2019 105
FOR NEXT SEASON
F2.8, 1/15s, IS0100
A dandelion on a summer afternoon.
FORMED BY NATURE
F4.5, 1/4s, IS0100, 90mm
A simple yet stunning form in nature
with repeating elements albeit no 2
elements the same.
August 2019 107
THE SOUND OF SHELLS
F8, 1/500s, IS0100
Sydney Opera House minimalism shot during early twilight.
August 2019 109
F11, 1/500s, ISO360, 55mm
A couple sitting on a bench at the top of the hill looking
out over the Pacific Ocean - in complete solitude.
F7.1, 1/25s, ISO100, 200mm
LOFOTEN ISLANDS, NORWAY
I took this photo of a cluster of Kina, and felt that it was better as a black
and white photo as that highlighted the texture of the shells without the
colour being a distraction. With this photo being taken in Norway, the kina
reminded me of home.
August 2019 113
“ONE DOESN’T STOP
SEEING. ONE DOESN’T
STOP FRAMING. IT
DOESN’T TURN OFF
AND TURN ON. IT’S ON
ALL THE TIME.”