NZPhotographer Issue 26, December 2019

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ISSUE <strong>26</strong>, <strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />







<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 1

WELCOME TO ISSUE <strong>26</strong> OF<br />



I hope you're ready to indulge in<br />

some wanderlust as issue <strong>26</strong> is all<br />

about travel!<br />

We've interviewed travel<br />

photographer Maria Ligaya<br />

whose words and images take us<br />

around the globe to Mongolia,<br />

the Balkans, the Cook Islands,<br />

Chile, and the Philippines which<br />

is where Maria is originally from.<br />

In New Zealand, we head to<br />

Lake Matheson with Brendon,<br />

go to Mokau Beach in Behind<br />

the Shot, and head to a secret<br />

waterfall location with Ken<br />

Wright before returning to the<br />

theme of over-tourism and how<br />

we can protect Aotearoa with<br />

Ann Wheatley.<br />

We also welcome Peter Laurenson back as he reveals more about his style<br />

of shooting in confessions of a not so professional photographer and then<br />

Philip Banks shares his photography journey with us, explaining how joining<br />

photography groups led him to produce his first solo exhibition.<br />

No doubt many of you will be travelling over the holidays too, whether<br />

you're jumping on a flight or hopping in the car, let me take the time to<br />

wish you safe travels and happy holidays wherever you may be.<br />

Emily Goodwin<br />

Editor NZ Photographer<br />

General Info:<br />

<strong>NZPhotographer</strong> <strong>Issue</strong> <strong>26</strong><br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />

Cover Photo<br />

Ashburton Lakes<br />

by Maria Ligaya<br />

Publisher:<br />

Excio Group<br />

Website:<br />

www.excio.io/nzphotographer<br />

Group Director:<br />

Ana Lyubich<br />

Editor:<br />

Emily Goodwin<br />

Graphic Design:<br />

Maksim Topyrkin<br />

Advertising Enquiries:<br />

Email hello@excio.io<br />

2<br />



Brendon Gilchrist<br />

Brendon is the man<br />

behind ESB Photography.<br />

He is an avid tramper<br />

who treks from sea to<br />

mountain, and back<br />

again, capturing the<br />

uniqueness of New<br />

Zealand’s unforgiving<br />

landscape.<br />

Ana Lyubich<br />

Co-founder of Excio, Ana's<br />

photography journey<br />

started many years ago<br />

with one of the first Kodak<br />

film cameras. She loves<br />

exploring the unseen<br />

macro world and capturing<br />

genuine people's emotions.<br />

Richard Young<br />

Richard is an awardwinning<br />

landscape and<br />

wildlife photographer who<br />

teaches photography<br />

workshops and runs<br />

photography tours. He<br />

is the founder of New<br />

Zealand Photography<br />

Workshops.<br />

nzphotographer nzp_magazine nzp@excio.io<br />

© <strong>2019</strong> <strong>NZPhotographer</strong> Magazine<br />

All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing in this magazine in<br />

any form is forbidden without prior consent of the publisher.<br />

Disclaimer:<br />

Opinions of contributing authors do not necessarily reflect the<br />

opinion of the magazine.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong><br />




10<br />


FALLS<br />


6<br />

10<br />

24<br />

30<br />

36<br />

40<br />

44<br />

50<br />

52<br />


with Helen Knight<br />



by Ken Wright<br />



By Peter Laurenson<br />


By Ann Wheatley<br />



By Philip Banks<br />




By Ana Lyubich<br />


by Brendon Gilchrist<br />

24<br />





52<br />




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Behind The Shot<br />

with Helen Knight<br />


I am 52 years old and a mother of two amazing<br />

young women who are living their lives – My<br />

youngest daughter Ceridwyn is 18 and is studying<br />

law and psychology and my oldest, Ashlynbrenna is<br />

studying to be a personal trainer.<br />

I live in a small town called Te Kuiti with my two cats<br />

and two dogs which are Bull Mastiff x Jack Russel,<br />

overlooking the township.<br />

6<br />



F18, 1/2000s, ISO320<br />

What makes me tick is being in such a beautiful<br />

country and seeing the beautiful birds and wild<br />

scenery that we have – Behind my house is bush<br />

and farmland, every morning I wake up to the<br />

chorus of birds as they bring in a new day.<br />


My favourite place to visit on the West Coast is<br />

Mokau which is an hours drive from Te Kuiti. It<br />

is beautifully wild with hardly anyone there. My<br />

other favourite coast to visit is Tirohanga outside<br />

of Opotiki on the East Coast, the campsite there<br />

is a fantastic place to stay. Of course, I prefer to<br />

go off season to these places when there are less<br />

people around!<br />



I got into photography in high school when<br />

I was part of the magazine club back in the 80’s<br />

where I was a student at Ruapehu college. But<br />

it was during my time living in Tauranga that my<br />

passion evolved and grew and where I became<br />

obsessed with sunrises and sunsets – Getting up<br />

in the early hours to rush to the mount to see<br />

the sunrise. I love the colours that nature brings<br />

to you in those early moments, the golden hour<br />

or blue hour as we call it. It’s a time I feel the<br />

power and glory of nature and when you stand<br />

on a beach and see that glorious sun rising and<br />

knowing that New Zealand is the first to see its<br />

rays makes it even more special – It gives you<br />

hope that nothing is all that bad in the world.<br />

It’s been a hard year this year with a marriage<br />

breakup and going through ‘the change’.<br />

It was extremely debilitating and I suffered<br />

tremendously with depression and anxiety. My<br />

health was affected greatly by the sudden<br />

decrease of hormones, they became so low it<br />

affected my ability to even think and I became<br />

extremely emotional with things. My mothers<br />

death three years ago did not help and my<br />

husband’s diagnosis with Huntington’s disease<br />

made things even harder. We are still supporting<br />

each other and I am still supporting him but<br />

I needed to find myself and find who I was to<br />

become a better person so that I could be there<br />

for him. I needed to find myself to come right.<br />

I love my photography, it’s a passion that runs<br />

deep and has saved my life. At one time I nearly<br />

gave it up but I’m glad I haven’t. It takes me<br />

places and I meet amazing people and have a<br />

journey and adventures at the same time.<br />

I love to photograph nature, macro,<br />

astrophotography, city nightscapes, dancers,<br />

and also I love fire photography and have done<br />

quite a bit of work in that area. I would love to<br />

get into photographing ballet dancers and into<br />

extreme sports photography so yes my tastes<br />

vary and I experiment with photography all the<br />

time since technology is forever changing.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 7

I love knowing that I am part of preserving history,<br />

preserving precious moments and creating images<br />

that evoke emotion. It’s about giving others<br />

pleasure and preserving our way of life even if it is<br />

just for a split second.<br />


For my landscapes, I have a Nikon D5500 with an<br />

8–20mm lens.<br />

My Canon 80D which alas has died recently, is<br />

currently getting fixed at Canon. For this camera.<br />

I have a 16–300mm Tamron lens, a 150–600mm<br />

Tamron lens and a Samyang 8mm wide angle<br />

which I use for Astro photography. I also have a<br />

Singh-ray Trio filter, a Pluto trigger, and a tripod.<br />

I don’t have a lot of funds for photography but will<br />

hopefully be able to upgrade soon – I’d love a full<br />

frame camera one day.<br />


MOKAU…<br />

The photo was taken on 8 th November <strong>2019</strong>, a<br />

Friday night.<br />

The day before this shot I had just found out my<br />

husband was diagnosed with cancer, a tumour<br />

in his throat along with liver disease so a lot of<br />

thoughts were going through my mind, a lot of<br />

emotions.<br />

I have known my husband since I was fifteen years<br />

old. When he was 23 years old he was in a serious<br />

car accident and suffered a chronic back injury<br />

and brain injury. We were married in 1997 and<br />

together for 21 years, so the last year was very hard<br />

as I was his support person. Even though we are<br />

apart it is still very raw and emotional but I am there<br />

always whether he wants it or not.<br />

Combining my anxiety and this latest news, it took<br />

a lot for me to get to Mokau that day but I was<br />

determined as I enjoy spending time at the beach –<br />

I love the power of the waves as it cleanses the soul<br />

and recharges your being.<br />

I did some long exposures that day and noticed<br />

that even more driftwood had washed onto the<br />

beach from when I was last there. It looked like<br />

remnants of decayed skeletons scattered over the<br />

sand, the wind blowing sand across the surface like<br />

those old cowboy movies with the tundra blowing<br />

across the scene.<br />

Whilst taking photos and picking up rubbish (every<br />

place I go I make sure I remove rubbish that I see)<br />

I was having conversations with God and asking<br />

him why is he so cruel, berating him. But as I left<br />

I thanked him for the wonders of nature that he<br />

bestows upon us, the beauty and the power of life.<br />


I am half blind from an accident I had as a kid<br />

where a golf ball smashed through my glasses into<br />

my left eye, I’m classed as a monocular driver.<br />

I also have impinged hips and suffer with quite<br />

a bit of pain in my left hip. I’m also half deaf lol<br />

and was born with a rare syndrome along with a<br />

hole in the heart. None of this stops me getting to<br />

places, but what did stop me was the depression<br />

and anxiety – this can be more powerful than any<br />

physical disability you can imagine.<br />



Now my girls have grown up I have more time<br />

to concentrate on my photography. My dream<br />

job would be to work for a magazine. I have a<br />

bachelor’s in graphic design and photography and<br />

want to get into journalism/photography.<br />

I am taking a cruise next year as an internship on<br />

the Holland American Cruise ship that is travelling<br />

up to Cascade Islands, back down to New<br />

Zealand, Bay of Islands, New Plymouth, Mount<br />

Maunganui, Wellington and Akaroa. Where I will be<br />

writing a blog and promoting the cruise.<br />

I am also currently selling my property in Te Kuiti and<br />

hopefully getting a motorhome where I will spend<br />

the next few years touring New Zealand. I have a<br />

dream to create my own publication too, I have a<br />

few ideas in mind!<br />


albums.excio.io/profile/knightfire<br />

www.facebook.com/<br />

www.HelenKnightPhotographer<br />

sites.google.com/view/<br />

hellfire-photography/home<br />



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<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 9

Interview with Maria Ligaya<br />



I was born and raised in the Philippines but am<br />

currently residing in West Auckland with my partner.<br />

I work as an accounts administrator in one of the top<br />

manufacturing companies in the country and am a<br />

part-time photographer.<br />

I graduated from a course in business management<br />

with honours at the University of the East, Philippines.<br />

I previously worked as a customer service officer in<br />

banking, a budget analyst for government agencies,<br />

and as an office administrator in a real-estate<br />

company.<br />

The course of my life changed entirely when a<br />

window of opportunity opened and I was given a job<br />

offer to work in New Zealand – I packed my bags and<br />

left my home town 10 years ago.<br />

Currently, apart from pursuing my love for travel<br />

photography (I often break the routine of everyday<br />

life to pursue my dreams by travelling to the lesserknown<br />

corners of the globe!), I am working as a<br />

sports photographer for the Beach Series, an 18 week<br />

ocean swim, beach run & stand-up paddle fitness<br />

series held at Takapuna Beach throughout summer.<br />

I am also creating content for a camera phone<br />

brand specialising in designing innovative mobile<br />

photography technology.<br />



I knew deep inside me that there was this “hole in<br />

my soul” that would grow deeper and deeper until<br />

I couldn’t fill it in. You see, 3 years ago, life hit me hard,<br />

it hurt me, knocked me down and I suffered from mild<br />

depression. It was so difficult to handle; I had some<br />

suicidal thoughts. I know that the only way to fight<br />

through these thoughts is to not surrender, not allow<br />

myself to be consumed by them.<br />

I looked for something to be busy about – I occupied<br />

myself with work but I knew that was just stressing me<br />

out even more. I looked for something more creative<br />

to do, something where I could express myself.<br />

I started sketching and painting some abstracts.<br />

I travelled too and so as to document my travel<br />

experiences, I bought my first DSLR.<br />

I started taking photos of everything that would<br />

remind me of all the moments I had while travelling,<br />

from landscapes to portraits of locals and even<br />

strangers along the road. With every click of the<br />

shutter, I felt alive! As I saw the images I took,<br />

somehow, I could connect with them. I started to take<br />

photos wherever I went and later on, photography,<br />

helped me to express my feelings that are too difficult<br />

to put into words.<br />

Photography became a way of personal healing and<br />

growth. It started to build my self-esteem. It enabled<br />

me to learn more about myself and to see the world<br />

differently. That “hole in my soul” started to be filled in<br />

with so much hope and faith. Photography became a<br />

passion.<br />

I knew I needed to learn more about composition<br />

and the technicalities of photography so I started<br />

attending workshops and took photography courses<br />

online, this earned me a Diploma in Advanced<br />

Photography.<br />

Using what I learned in the course, I applied for<br />

some photography jobs to have extra income. I was<br />

hired to shoot a wedding and then other events like<br />

birthdays. My first proper work as a photographer<br />

was with Express Magazine, New Zealand’s leading<br />

LGBT+ media, where I took photos for events and<br />

nightclubs, working there for 3 years. I was also hired<br />

10<br />


y a professional photographer to assist her with child<br />

photography in her studio.<br />

I am grateful for all these photography opportunities<br />

and never really expected that what had started as<br />

a personal healing process would lead me to where<br />

I am today! In fact, I never really considered myself as<br />

a professional photographer, not even close to that.<br />

I think of myself as a girl with a camera who enjoys<br />

capturing all moments, regardless of whether those<br />

moments are mine or someone else’s.<br />

For me, photography is not about the end result,<br />

it’s the process. It is something I just love doing, and<br />

sometimes for no reason. It’s not something that I do<br />

to please anybody else, I do it because it makes me<br />

happy. Photography is where I feel most alive.<br />


My camera bodies include a Canon 6D Mark II (fullframe),<br />

a Sony A7 Mark 1 (Mirrorless), and an Olympus<br />

OMD (Micro four-thirds).<br />

For the 6D Mark II I use two Canon lenses, the EF<br />

17–40mm f/4L USM Lens is my walk-around lens and<br />

the EF 70–200mm f/2.8L I use for events and sports<br />

photography, it’s good for portraits too.<br />

For my Sony, I use a FE24–240mm f/3.5–6.3 OSS lens,<br />

this is my most versatile lens that I use for my travel<br />

photography. For my Olympus camera, I use a 45mm<br />

F1.8 lens which I use for street photography and<br />

portraits.<br />

Recently, I found myself going back to the basics<br />

and falling in love with film cameras again – It<br />

reminds me of my childhood and why I fell in love<br />

with photography in the first place. I started using an<br />

Olympus Trip 35 and Praktica MTL 5. I love using film<br />

cameras as it allows me to enjoy my surroundings<br />

whilst focusing on creating compositions, not<br />

distracted by the elaborate settings and complexity of<br />

the digital cameras of today.<br />



This is one of those questions that I find hard to<br />

answer – It’s like having children, you know deep in<br />

your heart that you love and adore all of them!<br />

Personally, my favourite travel destination varies from<br />

the memories that I made, good or bad. Despite<br />

having more than one favourite destination, the place<br />

that has the softest spot in my heart is Mongolia.<br />


F4, 1/160s, ISO500<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 11


F4, 30s, ISO4000<br />

12<br />


On our visit to Mongolia, we stayed in a traditional<br />

ger with a host family and received a warm welcome<br />

from the other nomadic families, experiencing their<br />

hospitality, playing with their children, and eating<br />

delightful homemade dishes including “airag”, the<br />

Mongolian delicacy of fermented mare’s milk. We<br />

joined in with family life; milking the goats, rounding up<br />

and guarding their herds, and driving those herds to<br />

the pastures.<br />

Through living in a ger with the nomadic families, it<br />

gave us genuine insight into a simple and pure way<br />

of living, that despite having no wealth, and not too<br />

many possessions, these people still live a free and<br />

contented life. Life in Mongolia as a nomad can be<br />

harsh sometimes, but we felt that the saying ‘less is<br />

more’ rang true and this is what led me to question<br />

my own way of living and to reflect on how little stuff<br />

I need in life to be happy; that material things don’t<br />

last – I truly believe that the true meaning of happiness<br />

comes from experiences, it comes from the things we<br />

learn, not the things that we own, after all, it was here<br />

in the Gobi Desert that I got engaged!<br />



I was truly humbled and fortunate that, despite my<br />

busy full-time job, this past couple of months I was<br />

able to travel to the Baltic countries: Latvia, Lithuania,<br />

and Estonia, and right after that, I travelled to one of<br />

the Pacific Island Countries, the Cook Islands.<br />

In the Baltic countries, I travelled with my partner<br />

Greg. We were moving all the time, from one region<br />

to another, and rented a car instead of joining a<br />

group tour so that we could include those off-thebeaten-path<br />

places. We love travelling independently<br />

on our own, apart from the fact that it’s cheaper, we<br />

find it challenging and we get to choose our own<br />

route.<br />

Many people underrate the Baltic Countries by<br />

just visiting its capital cities: Riga in Latvia, Vilnius in<br />

Lithuania and Tallinn in Estonia. But the Baltics are<br />

more than just the old towns. We spent a considerable<br />

amount of time exploring the hidden gems that these<br />

countries have to offer, each with its own diverse<br />

landscape, cuisine, and culture.<br />

We ventured to different National Parks of each<br />

country; Gauja National Park, Latvia’s first and most<br />

popular park that was established in 1973. Curonian<br />

Spit National park in Lithuania where one of the<br />

highest dunes is located and last but not least,<br />

Lahemaa National Park where the mysterious “bog” is<br />

located.<br />


F18, 1/200s, ISO250<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 13



F9, 1/250s, ISO320<br />

14<br />



F14, 30s, ISO125<br />



F2.8, 1/40s, ISO2500<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 15


F13, 1/250s, ISO250<br />


F13, 1/250s, ISO250<br />

16<br />



F10, 1320s, ISO200<br />


F5.6, 1/200s, ISO200<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 17

One way to understand a country’s culture is through its<br />

cuisine. Generally, the Baltic’s are all about potatoes and<br />

rye bread but each have their own unique dishes that have<br />

been passed from one generation to another along with<br />

accompanying stories. Some traditional dishes we tried<br />

included Latvia’s National Dish – a stew made from grey peas<br />

mixed with fried bacon and pork. We also sampled black<br />

bread and the classic sauerkraut soup. Lithuania is known<br />

for its potato dumplings – hearty, football-shaped dumplings<br />

made with grated raw potatoes and rice boiled potatoes.<br />

They are made in either a curd cheese variety served with a<br />

sour cream-milk sauce or a meat variety. In Estonia, they love<br />

to pickle things, and of course, there’s the blood sausage.<br />

Religion is another fascinating aspect of the Baltic’s. While<br />

Christianity is the main religion, it was interesting to see the<br />

several denominations and differences between churches,<br />

from Catholic to Lutheran to Orthodox and so on.<br />

The journey through the Baltics, as we tried to encompass as<br />

much as we could, certainly gave us a better understanding<br />

of the region’s past. From the atrocities of the concentration<br />

camps around Riga towards the end of WWII, to life under<br />

the Soviet Union which is still remnant in the buildings and ruins<br />

both the towns and the countryside. More recently, to the<br />

fight for Sovereignty in the early 90s as the people peacefully<br />

demonstrated by forming a human chain from Tallinn to<br />

Riga and on to Vilnius, what famously came to be called the<br />

“Baltic Way”.<br />

With the Cook Islands, everybody knows that this country is<br />

rich in beautiful lagoons, crystal clear beaches, and gorgeous<br />

resorts. Many are mistaken with the idea that once they’ve<br />

seen one country in the Pacific Islands, you’ve seen them all.<br />

While it is true that the seascapes might be no different from<br />

one another, their culture and traditions are very unique.<br />

We immersed ourselves deeply in the culture of the Cook<br />

Islands by attending their church service on Sundays. This is<br />

not hard to do as most resorts offer this kind of experience as<br />

part of their package but we went on our own. It was nice<br />

to observe the locals dressed up in their best brightest white<br />

or colourful outfits as they entered the sacred place. Women<br />

wore a variety of headdresses like a hat and a beautiful<br />

garland of flowers. When mass started, we let ourselves be<br />

carried away with the choir’s angelic voices. After the service,<br />

we were invited for morning tea in which the local people<br />

bring food they prepare at home to be shared with others<br />

after the service.<br />

While on the island of Rarotonga, we were able to witness<br />

a unique celebration called “NUKU” – a celebration of the<br />

arrival of Christianity. Churches compete against each other<br />

to put on the best show. Islanders dress up, sing, dance, play<br />

music, perform some stage dramas and generally have a<br />

great time.<br />

We wouldn’t have been able to experience these<br />

traditions if we had just stayed in the comfortable confines<br />

of the hotel resorts – Yes, it is important to relax and enjoy<br />

yourself while travelling, but it is more meaningful if you<br />

learn a country’s customs and culture as you can then<br />

also learn to appreciate your own.<br />



F5.6, 1/1000s, ISO100<br />

18<br />





F2.8, 1/400s, ISO500<br />



F2.8, 1/250s ISO250<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 19



Cultural landscapes of the Philippine are<br />

very diverse, a treasure trove for nature and<br />

adventure lovers, and the reason why I am proud<br />

of where I came from.<br />

When I last visited home, one of the places<br />

I loved photographing was Boracay Island. This<br />

small island in the central Philippines is known for<br />

its beach resorts and diverse marine life, and of<br />

course, it is a prominent place for sunsets.<br />

For a more distinct landscape, I love the place<br />

called ‘The Chocolate Hills”, a geological<br />

formation in the central Visayas region of the<br />

country that has been dubbed the “8th Wonder<br />

of the World”. During the dry season, the grasscovered<br />

hills dry up and turn chocolate brown.<br />

This transforms the area into seemingly endless<br />

rows of “chocolate kisses”.<br />

For more cultural and artistic photo possibilities,<br />

Ilocos Region is the place to go. It’s known for<br />

its historic sites and the well-preserved Spanish<br />

colonial city. It holds a special place in my own<br />

heart as it’s the birthplace of my late Father.<br />

From time to time, I visit my Mother’s birthplace,<br />

Pangasinan which is located in the Northern<br />

Philippines. This is where the infamous “Hundred<br />

Islands” can be found. The distinct mushroomshaped<br />

islands (caused by years of ocean waves<br />

and eroding action) are believed to be over two<br />

million years old, very interesting to photograph.<br />



I love going to the South Island, specifically<br />

Aoraki National Park which I only discovered<br />

recently. Notable for its mountains, lakes,<br />

and glaciers, there are endless photography<br />

opportunities due to the sheer natural<br />

landscapes with so many trails to explore so<br />

many great things to experience.<br />

On our visit, we took a caravan and drove around<br />

the Aoraki. We hiked the Sealy Tarns track which<br />

is called the “Stairway to Heaven” and traversed<br />

the Tasman lake. I have a very sentimental<br />

connection and memory with Aoraki, it being the<br />

highest mountain in NZ but also the first mountain<br />

in NZ that I hiked during the time I was depressed.<br />



Over-tourism has been an issue for several years<br />

now and while social media does play a role<br />

in contributing to the problem, it cannot be<br />

held solely responsible as humans, by nature,<br />

can become destructive, ignorant, and trash<br />

the environment. Social media and the culture<br />

of taking a selfie at a specific location has just<br />

magnified these consequences to different<br />

levels.<br />

Most people choose their travel destinations<br />

based on what they see on social media and<br />

try to be “cool” by visiting what is trending<br />

now. Once they reach the destination, they<br />

try to recreate the image that they saw, and if<br />

they fail, they feel frustrated. They forget that<br />

the experience of just being there is more than<br />

enough. In this case, I think social media has<br />

become a tool to feed the ego – the inclination<br />

to show the world that they live a perfect life by<br />

collecting photos for their Instagram feed instead<br />

of collecting moments and experiences.<br />

At the end of the day, it is up to each<br />

individual to decide whether they want to be<br />

a responsible traveller or not. We can choose<br />

to have a positive impact on the places we<br />

visit and similarly choose to share enriching and<br />

informative content on social media. This can be<br />

in the form of a story, or a local interaction or a<br />

personal experience. This, in turn, will influence<br />

people to experience rather than search for<br />

“insta-worthy” destinations around the globe.<br />

Social media is just a tool, and like any tool, it<br />

can be misused by people.<br />



TRAVEL…<br />

When I was planning my trip to Chile, I was<br />

looking to have an authentic and communitybased<br />

experience. I stumbled upon Travolution<br />

Travel and read about their mission and goal<br />

which instantly appealed to me – They work to<br />

promote locally-led projects and communities<br />

by giving visitors the chance to meet local<br />

people and experience authentic cultural<br />

exchange. It’s about supporting local products<br />

and homestays that have a direct benefit for the<br />

local community, as well as travellers.<br />

On arriving in the Atacama Region of Chile<br />

through Travolution, we had the opportunity<br />

of staying with a family in the tiny little village<br />

of Coyo. It is here that many of the indigenous<br />

people known as the “Lickan Antay” live. From<br />

experiencing the Ancestral Llama Caravan, to<br />

learning about the crops grown locally and trying<br />

out several local dishes, the activities proved to<br />

be a wholesome experience as we were able<br />

to connect with the local culture on a different<br />

level.<br />

20<br />



F4, 25s, ISO4000<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 21

I share Travolution’s vision of travel where tourism<br />

can be used to create a positive effect on the<br />

community and encourage fellow travellers<br />

to be more conscious of their decisions and<br />

contributions. This was the main reason behind<br />

my desire to publicise the company through my<br />

social media accounts.<br />


Next year, my partner and I are going back to<br />

South America, this time to visit Argentina and<br />

Uruguay, which I am very excited about. We also<br />

have plans to go to Iran, later in the year.<br />


TIP?<br />

Let go of expectations. It’s easy to presume<br />

too much nowadays, with so many amazing<br />

“ïnstagrammable” images posted throughout<br />

social media. We tend to expect a certain<br />

landmark to be the same, only to be<br />

disappointed because it is far too different<br />

from what we saw online. We forget that the<br />

experience to be right there in the moment is far<br />

more important than taking the same image we<br />

saw on social media.<br />


www.instagram.com/mycameraandbackpack<br />

www.facebook.com/marialigayaphotography<br />

www.marialigaya.com<br />

albums.excio.io/profile/Maria Ligaya<br />

Photography<br />



F5.6, 1/100s, ISO200<br />

22<br />




F5.6, 1/100s, ISO200<br />

2020, 1 Day Dates:<br />

Auckland Workshop<br />

NZPW Tutor Ken Wright<br />

29th Feburary, 4th July<br />

& 24th October<br />

Wellington Workshop<br />

NZPW Tutor Richard Young<br />

2nd Feburary, 31st May<br />

& 4th October<br />

Long Exposure Workshop<br />

This is a one day coastal and long exposure photography workshop at<br />

Murrys Bay on Aucklands’s North Shore or Wellington’s South Coast.<br />

On this workshop, you’ll learn how to shoot dramatic and awe-inspiring<br />

coastal landscapes and make long exposure photographs.<br />

This is designed as an intermediate-advanced workshop.<br />

www.photographyworkshops.co.nz<br />

info@photographyworkshops.co.nz<br />

021 0845 7322<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 23

Drifting Leaves at Mamaku Falls<br />

by Ken Wright<br />

24<br />



F14, 0.5s, ISO100<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 25

The first time that I saw this location I was blown away,<br />

we spent an hour walking there and it poured with<br />

rain so I didn’t get a shot. The next day we tried again<br />

and got perfect light.<br />

“Mamaku Falls” is about 1.5m high and about<br />

6m wide. The cool thing about this location is the<br />

foreground, perfect for my style of photography. I<br />

place a lot of emphasis on the foreground as I want<br />

the viewer to feel like they can walk into the shot.<br />

The foreground in this location is made up of a rock<br />

plate/shelf that over the years has split like a crazy<br />

paving effect. The water runs across the surface at a<br />

depth of 100mm, ankle deep but in the cracks it can<br />

be anything from 500mm to 1.5m deep.<br />

I have shot this fall so many times now that it has<br />

become a challenge to find a new angle.<br />

The concept of drifting leaves came from one<br />

particular workshop, we had already captured the<br />

effect with falling leaves so we decided to add more<br />

to enhance the foreground and show the flow of<br />

water. This created a nice dynamic green effect<br />

drifting out of the foreground. The exposure length<br />

was half a second and shot on burst mode to capture<br />

the leaves as they flow out of the scene. The final<br />

image is a blend of 4 images.<br />


F10, 0.8s, ISO50<br />

<strong>26</strong><br />


On a later workshop we tried to replicate the effect<br />

with autumn leaves, to stand out from the chocolate<br />

brown rocks.<br />

If you Google the name in the hope of finding the<br />

location you will end up at my images. “Mamaku<br />

Falls” is the name given to the location by myself and<br />

the ranger that helped me find it, it’s not marked on<br />

the NZ Too Map.<br />

We so called it because each time we have been<br />

there the light falls on the single Mamaku Fern above<br />

the falls. To our knowledge it does not have an official<br />

name.<br />

Each time I go back to this location its a challenge to<br />

get better images than I have gotten before.<br />

For me, this is my favourite location in the Kaimai<br />

Mamaku Forest Conservation Park and it’s one of<br />

several locations that I use for our remote Kaimai<br />

Waterfalls Workshop. Join me in discovering this<br />

magical place, and others, in May or July 2020 -<br />

Workshops are limited to 4 people and you will need<br />

a good level of fitness to manage the several river<br />

crossing required to get there but the struggle is well<br />

worth it!<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 27

Want your photography<br />

to have impact?<br />

Join Excio today for global reach<br />

and showcase your message.<br />

We’re different from magazines and social media.<br />

Take a look<br />

28<br />

www.excio.io<br />


excio.io<br />

#photographyforgood<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 29



By Peter Laurenson<br />

What defines a ‘professional’ photographer; and is computer-based<br />

post-processing cheating?<br />

In this age of digital pixels and instantaneous social<br />

media-based, often free-to-air, self publication it’s<br />

never been harder to make a living from professional<br />

photography. While I did start my own journey into<br />

photography with some manual photography night<br />

classes before I set off on my O.E back in 1988, that<br />

hardly qualified me as a professional. Probably like<br />

most photographers, I’m essentially self taught, both<br />

in terms of taking pictures and, since the advent of<br />

digital, post-processing them.<br />

As the years have passed and my photographic<br />

experience and knowledge have grown, I’ve<br />

sometimes pondered what the gap is between<br />

me and ‘real professionals’. Certainly, my gear has<br />

never been top end. Today I own a Nikon D750.<br />

It’s a beautiful camera, but still there are more<br />

‘professional’ models within the Nikon stable, the<br />

D850 and Z7 to name just two. While I’ve been able<br />

to win photo competition awards, have had quite a<br />

few of my images published in various publications<br />

and sell some of my images in their own right and as<br />

featured in calendars, I certainly don’t earn anywhere<br />

near enough from my photography to make a viable<br />

living. Perhaps that’s the only meaningful measure to<br />

determine whether someone is ‘professional’ or not?<br />

But it’s also worth considering reputable professional<br />

photographic practises. Aside from using top-end<br />

professional gear, other professional practises that come<br />

to my mind include frequent use of a sturdy tripod (and<br />

cable or wireless shutter release), use of fixed focal<br />

length specialist lenses, use of filters, being very selective<br />

about light conditions, shooting in manual mode, usually<br />

using spot metering, rather than leaving some shooting<br />

decisions to in-camera programming; and shooting<br />

in Camera RAW mode, along with having the skills to<br />

effectively process those files. I’m sure there are some<br />

other practises I should list too – and if I was a ‘true<br />

professional’ I’d know what they are!<br />

Part of me would like to be recognised as a<br />

professional photographer. Put that down to artistic<br />

pride and ego mainly. Sure, more money would<br />

be nice, but really it comes down to the extent<br />

that others appreciate my work. Rightly or wrongly,<br />

that does matter to me and being recognised as a<br />

‘professional’ might be a nice manifestation of that<br />

appreciation. But I’m sufficiently honest with myself to<br />

know that I fall short against my list. Another interesting<br />

self observation though, is that my shortfalls are mostly<br />

by choice. I could actually adopt more professional<br />

photographic practises more of the time, but I choose<br />

not to. Why? In my case, because the sheer pleasure<br />

I get from taking and processing photos in the way I<br />

choose to overrides my ego frailties. Let me explain...<br />

The origins of my photography lie in quite fast-paced,<br />

constant backpacker travel through mostly developing<br />

countries. In this mode, carrying a lot of camera gear is<br />

a significant burden in terms of more than just weight.<br />

The risk of theft increases. The degree of spontaneity<br />

reduces. Consequently I mostly shot hand-held, relying<br />

on a wide ranging zoom lens. Lazy I know, but I was able<br />

30<br />


to take a lot of interesting photos, many times where<br />

I couldn’t have if I’d been more technically diligent.<br />

It was an enthralling journey of discovery, where my<br />

photography never became a travel burden.<br />

My photography began before the digital age, but<br />

while I was a manual mode photographer, I only ever<br />

used colour print and slide film and never gained any<br />

darkroom experience. Before pixels, with no back of<br />

camera screens for instant feedback, I had to be on<br />

top of my exposure settings, otherwise costs and/or<br />

disappointments mounted up. But even then, handing<br />

my film over to a lab sometimes ended in frustration.<br />

Use of old chemicals could really mess things up. And<br />

there was a big gap in my ability to enjoy complete<br />

control of the end result. Back then I think professionals<br />

were exerting more overall control on their end results<br />

than me, either by processing their own black and<br />

white film or working much more closely with only<br />

selected top-end processing labs.<br />

But then along came digital. According to Mr Google<br />

the first DSLR was Minolta’s 1.75 megapixel RD-175 in<br />

1995. Nikon’s 2.73 megapixel D1 followed in 1999 – the<br />

first digital to be built from the ground up by a major<br />

player. I bought my first DSLR in 2005 - a 6.1 megapixel<br />

Nikon D70S, replacing my Nikon F801S film camera. I<br />

really loved my F801S, but felt that digital technology<br />

had progressed sufficiently for amateurs like me to get<br />

on the bandwagon. Immediately I enjoyed the ability<br />

to adjust ISO frame by frame if required - two main<br />

exposure tools had just jumped from two to three.<br />

Having instantaneous back-of-camera feedback was<br />

also a big development, initially probably just making<br />

me a bit lazier about exposure setting. Otherwise, I<br />

continued to shoot pretty much as I had done with<br />

my F801S. To begin with, I was oblivious to perhaps<br />

the biggest game changer of all - while the D70S<br />

could shoot in Camera RAW, I had no post-processing<br />

knowledge and just stuck with jpegs.<br />

Post-processing seeped into my photography skill<br />

set over the next five or so years. In about 2010 I got<br />

my first edition of Photoshop and since then, have<br />

never looked back. Even then though, it took until mid<br />

2014 for me to click on to the power and wonderful<br />

freedom of RAW files. Finally I was starting to build<br />

post-processing skills that approached what the<br />

professionals were applying.<br />

25.4x25.4mm MOS sensor<br />

20.1 megapixels<br />

24-360 F8.8 lens<br />

340g<br />

35.9x24mm CMOS sensor<br />

24.3 megapixels<br />

24-120 flat F4 lens<br />

1450g<br />

These days, a lot of my photography occurs on<br />

mountain slopes in places where a big heavy DSLR<br />

tends to stay in my pack. Tramping and climbing have<br />

largely replaced backpacker travel, but my need to<br />

travel light and remain photographically spontaneous<br />

and opportunistic remains the same. While I love using<br />

my Nikon D750, I frequently use a mirrorless compact<br />

camera (currently a Lumix TZ220) in the hills.<br />

'Shadow and Light' is a stitched image, created from<br />

8 hand-heldportrait shots, taken on my Lumix TZ220. It<br />

is a dawn view of the top 600 metres of Mt Taranaki<br />

(New Zealand), taken from the southern rim of<br />

Fantham’s Peak. Syme Hut sits to the left of the summit<br />

cone, which has projected a shadow out to the far<br />

left. Mounts Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are<br />


F8, 1/160s, ISO125, 24mm<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 31

silhouetted on the right skyline. It was my fifth trip up<br />

this route and the best light so far. I’ve printed this<br />

image at 1.2m wide by 40cm high and, in terms of<br />

colour and sharpness, it stands up very well.<br />

Digitally enabled mirrorless technology has really<br />

come of age. The amount of photographic power<br />

that can be packed into a space the size of a<br />

sardine can is quite astounding. While some may<br />

deem my gear ‘amateurish’, when using my TZ220<br />

I still shoot Camera RAW files using spot meter, with<br />

manual settings. The TZ220’s three quarter sensor’s 20<br />

megapixel files aren’t quite as nice as my D750’s full<br />

fame 24 megapixel files, but they’re still pretty good –<br />

easily sufficient for print publication. The TZ220’s built<br />

in Leica optical zoom range is outrageous – 24mm<br />

to 360mm. Of course, there’s no such thing as a free<br />

lunch - the higher end of the zoom is not great, but<br />

image sharpness is, for the most part, not an issue<br />

and it being so tiny, there’s no need for a heavy-duty<br />

tripod.<br />

More generally, whether I’m using my TZ220 or D750,<br />

I use a tripod less than many professionals do. Good<br />

hand-held technique and being able to dial up the<br />

ISO enable this, especially with my D750, which is very<br />

good in low light. As a consequence I am able to<br />

capture a lot more action than some do and, when<br />

with non-photographers, I tend to hold tramping<br />

progress up less.<br />

In my shot 'Autumn Reflection' which shows a small<br />

lake between Cromwell and Clyde in Central<br />

Otago, a tripod would have been impossible as I<br />

was balanced on driftwood right on the shore line.<br />

In post processing I used adjustment layering on<br />

the foreground as a graduated filter to allow the<br />

foreground detail and colour to come up, balancing<br />

the top and bottom halves.<br />

'Singapore Light Show' is another case in which I<br />

didn't use a tripod. It shows (from left to right) the Helix<br />

Bridge, Marina Bay Sands, the Art Science Museum,<br />

and Marina Bay. When I took it, I was on my way back<br />

to the hotel with my family after dinner and had no<br />

time to set up a tripod. But because the D750 is so<br />

good in low light at higher ISO settings, I was able to<br />

take this hand held stitch of 2 landscape shots.<br />

However, when I want to catch water movement<br />

such as in my shot 'Bridal Veil' a tripod is usually<br />

essential. This shot was taken on my Nikon D750 and<br />

shows the view at dawn from Tunnel View (1,400m)<br />

looking east to Bridal Veil Fall.<br />



F22, 5s, ISO100, 174mm<br />

32<br />



F16, 1/60s, ISO100, 24mm<br />


F5, 1/20s, ISO1000, 24mm<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 33

I shoot a lot of panoramic series that I stitch together<br />

in Photoshop later. I often find that a standard<br />

landscape or portrait format is too limiting when trying<br />

to capture the vast magnificence of our natural<br />

world. Stitching also brings the advantage of creating<br />

bigger files that can be printed larger or more freely<br />

cropped. Stitched panoramas don’t have to be<br />

restricted to grand horizontal landscapes either.<br />

Vertical pans enable me to capture wider angled<br />

images than a single wide angle shot can. I’ve got<br />

some really interesting results in human-made and<br />

urban settings too, although subject movement, hard<br />

angles and straight lines can present challenges.<br />

There is certainly an art to getting the most from a<br />

stitched series. It adds another whole dimension to my<br />

photography which I love.<br />

Aside from a ubiquitous UV filter (for lens protection)<br />

I don’t use lens filters. I’ve tried them and hence<br />

understand their capabilities, but I find using<br />

adjustment layering in Photoshop to be more versatile<br />

than any set of filters. Is this cheating? One method<br />

uses glass on the end of the camera while the other<br />

achieves the same or perhaps better results on<br />

screen. Both options are forms of image manipulation.<br />

My view is that it’s the end result that counts and using<br />

either method requires skill and artistic judgement.<br />

When considering the validity of post-processing<br />

techniques, here’s a useful analogy from the alpine<br />

world. Although crampons, as a highly energy efficient<br />

alternative to cutting steps, had been in use in the<br />

European Alps well before the end of the nineteenth<br />

century, it wasn’t until after WWI that they started<br />

to be accepted by most serious climbers in New<br />

Zealand. Until then ‘old-school’ and ‘purist’ climbers<br />

deemed the use of crampons to be unsporting and<br />

cheating. Today, in the photographic world, some<br />

(probably more novices than professionals) still apply<br />

this sentiment to post-processing. I’m the first to<br />

concede that 21 st Century computer-enabled postprocessing<br />

makes it easier to create really stunning<br />

images. But let’s not forget that the professionals were<br />

post-processing long before the digital age – it’s just<br />

that darkrooms have been replaced by computers.<br />

Yes, I think computer-based post-processing is much<br />

more accessible (and versatile) than dark room or lab<br />

post-processing was, but to do computer-based postprocessing<br />

well still demands a very wide range of<br />

technical and artistic skills and judgement.<br />

The photo 'Incoming' is a stitch of 2 landscape shots<br />

taken on my Nikon P7800. It shows me sheltering from<br />

snow squalls at about 2,000m on Mount Taranaki with<br />

two of my sons. Those crampons came in handy that<br />

day! I couldn’t have taken this image in one wide<br />

angle frame as I was too close to my own feet but<br />

stitching 2 made it possible.<br />

Today the preferred base image file format for<br />

professionals is RAW. In its unprocessed state a<br />

RAW file is dull and flat, but once you open it in<br />

Camera RAW, a whole world of artistic potential is<br />

released. Of course, if you want to create images of<br />

a ‘professional’ standard, then once you’ve chosen<br />

your subject, getting things right in camera is still<br />

crucial. But today more than ever, that is just the<br />

first step. Digitisation in photography has introduced<br />

a new and sometimes alternative set of tools and<br />

techniques open to photographers. And because<br />

of that, in my perhaps ‘not so professional’ opinion,<br />

photography today has never been more enriching.<br />


F5, 1/1250, ISO100, 28mm<br />

34<br />


<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 35


F11, 1/800s, ISO200<br />

Taonga First<br />

By Ann Wheatley<br />

Ilive in Nelson, at the top of the South Island, Te<br />

Waipounamu, a region blessed with beautiful places.<br />

To the east, we have the Marlborough Sounds, ancient<br />

sunken river valleys now filled with the waters of the<br />

Pacific Ocean. Golden Bay lies to the north; a paradise<br />

of pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and scenic river<br />

valleys. To the west stretches a wildly beautiful coastline<br />

and the huge Kahurangi wilderness. The snow-capped<br />

spine of the Southern Alps divides Te Waipounamu into<br />

a huge diversity of landscapes, including ten of New<br />

Zealand’s fourteen national parks. There’s a lot of space<br />

and beauty to contemplate.<br />

While I often photograph landscapes, I wouldn’t call<br />

myself a landscape photographer. Masters like Adris<br />

Apse set the bar too high, spending days or even<br />

months waiting for the right moment to realise an idea<br />

imagined in the mind’s eye. I make pictures to honour<br />

visual experiences of personal significance. A particular<br />

angle, play of light or juxtaposition of objects reveals<br />

something previously hidden, or something that feels<br />

mysterious, surreal, whimsical or magical, and I’m<br />

moved to raise the camera to my eye. Other times<br />

I make a photograph because the subject arouses<br />

strong emotion or tickles my curiosity. I may itch to know<br />

its origin or history, and post-processing then includes<br />

research to learn as much as I can. Magic, mystery,<br />

wonder and awe are everywhere, if you slow down,<br />

take the time to be present, and to look deeply.<br />

As someone who started with an Olympus OM1 in<br />

1977 and switched to digital in 2009, I can’t help but<br />

notice huge changes in every aspect of photography.<br />

With affordable, high quality digital cameras now so<br />

widely available, almost everyone makes pictures. This,<br />

more than anything else, has transformed the world of<br />

photography in ways that were once unimaginable.<br />

In the past, professional nature and landscape<br />

photographers were a small tight-knit community.<br />

Novice photographers would typically spend time with<br />

someone they knew to learn the art and the craft.<br />

Mentors would also pass on the ethics of stewardship<br />

and a deep respect for nature, but with the advent<br />

of phone cameras, social media and the sharing of<br />

GPS coordinates, mentoring is becoming much less<br />

common. Nowadays, technology places decent quality<br />

photographs within reach for many more people. We<br />

can look up a location online, find it using GPS, and visit<br />

without learning anything about the fragility of the area,<br />

why it’s special and unique, or how to protect it.<br />

Huge numbers of people now flock to some locations<br />

popularised through social media. Visitor numbers to<br />

Aoraki/Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak, rose 11%<br />

in the past year, reaching one million for the first time.<br />

Visitors to the Blue Pools in Mt. Aspiring National Park<br />

skyrocketed from 3,400 to more than 100,000 in just three<br />

years. In an interview with the BBC, a spokesperson from<br />

the Department of Conservation revealed that visitor<br />

36<br />


numbers to Roy’s Peak had increased by 12% to 73,000<br />

between 2016 and 2018, because the spot had become<br />

a “quintessential icon for the Wanaka region through<br />

social media.” The #royspeak hashtag on Instagram had<br />

just over 56,000 images in August <strong>2019</strong> and just under<br />

58,000 by November.<br />

Around the world, some sensitive locations are suffering<br />

damage from the sheer number of visitors, but also<br />

from the behaviour of people who’ll do anything to<br />

get “the” shot to post on social media. They trespass,<br />

ignore regulations, trample vegetation, create new trails,<br />

compact fragile soils and harass wildlife. In cities and<br />

towns, cultural locations are suffering similar fates.<br />

Many of the pictures and posts on social media are<br />

mindful, but others feel like a visual bomb, all about “me,<br />

me, me.” More than a few people need to show off their<br />

travel images to feel important, to fit in, or as a symbol<br />

of status. This continues unabated, despite ongoing<br />

revelations about depression and anxiety caused by<br />

unhealthy social media use.<br />

Internationally, photography collectives, indigenous<br />

groups, governments and the private sector have<br />

launched campaigns to educate people about the<br />

downside of the photography/social media/tourism<br />

nexus and to recommend appropriate behaviours. In<br />

New Zealand the Tiaki Promise is a wonderful example.<br />

Tiaki is a powerful Māori word, meaning to care and<br />

protect, to look after people and place. The Tiaki Promise<br />

is a commitment to care for New Zealand and is meant<br />

to instill a sense of responsibility and a commitment by<br />

international and domestic tourists to good behaviour.<br />

Another example, initiated by photographers for<br />

photographers, is the Nature First Alliance started by the<br />

Nature Photographer’s Network. The Alliance reminds<br />

us that historically, photography has been a vital tool in<br />

environmental protection across the world – promoting<br />

the conservation of wild places and encouraging<br />

positive stewardship practices – leaving a legacy that<br />

makes it possible for photographers today, and many<br />

others, to enjoy protected wild places.<br />

With the rise of social media making it so easy to<br />

share photos and location information; the increased<br />

popularity of photography; the steep increase in<br />

visits to public lands and wild places; and the lack of<br />

widespread knowledge of basic stewardship practices<br />

and outdoor ethics, the Alliance is concerned that<br />

visitors, including photographers, are causing worsening<br />

negative impacts on nature. While these developments<br />

may seem separate from photography, many pressures<br />

on wild lands stem from people being drawn to them<br />

because of inspiring photographs and cinematography.<br />

While most photographers haven’t intentionally<br />

contributed to negative impacts, they urge each of us to<br />

acknowledge our potential contribution to these issues,<br />

and to take responsibility for solving them in a positive<br />

way.<br />




F2.8, 1/125s, ISO500<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 37



• Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography<br />

• Educate yourself about the places you photograph<br />

• Reflect on the possible impact of your actions<br />

• Use discretion if sharing locations<br />

• Know and follow rules and regulations<br />

• Follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave<br />

places better than you found them<br />

• Actively promote and educate others about these<br />

principles.<br />

The principles are relevant not just for professional<br />

nature and landscape photographers, but for<br />

amateurs and tourists. Replace the word “nature” in<br />

the first one with “cultural treasures,” and they apply<br />

just as well to photography in cities and towns.<br />

Since discovering Nature First I’ve changed my own<br />

practices and adopted some new ones. Rather<br />

than providing geographical information I prefer<br />

non-specific tags like New Zealand, Aotearoa,<br />

South Island (Te Waipounamou), or district names.<br />

I leave comments acknowledging and thanking<br />

photographers who decline requests to provide<br />

geographical information for sensitive locations.<br />

Sometimes I ask people why they’re revealing the<br />

location of “beauty spots” that used to be known<br />

only to locals. I’m finding ways to promote the Nature<br />



F11, 1/150s, ISO200<br />

38<br />


First principles on Instagram through my personal<br />

page and another I curate called @top.of.the.south.<br />

images.<br />

With Portuguese photographer Hugo Pinho, I coauthored<br />

an article on the growing harm to cultural<br />

and natural treasures occurring around the world<br />

and our responsibility as photographers to work for<br />

change. Our story, Imitation and Its Consequences,<br />

appeared in a recent issue of Olympus Passion<br />

Magazine. Hugo proposes a wonderful challenge<br />

for each of us: to draw on our unique creative spirit<br />

rather than just imitating images of iconic places. He<br />

reminds us to nourish that spirit not just by consuming<br />

images made by others, but by allowing our spirit to<br />

drink from other influences: our personality, family,<br />

culture, traditions, and art in all its forms.<br />

Be inspired to practice photography thoughtfully<br />

and mindfully, in a way that does no harm to our<br />

irreplaceable natural and cultural heritage. And<br />

that’s just the minimum. Get inspired and find your<br />

own personal way to help protect and conserve our<br />

taonga.<br />

instagram.com/ann.wheatley.photography<br />

instagram.com/top.of.the.south.images<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 39

A Photo Journey That Leads To<br />

The Celebration of Wellington<br />

By Philip Banks<br />

40<br />



F5.6, 30s, ISO6400, 17mm

My journey with photography began with an<br />

Olympus Superzoom 110, a film point and<br />

shoot camera. Being a student meant that<br />

I couldn’t afford to process much film so it<br />

got used mostly as a holiday snapper. That<br />

was until a friend and I ill-advisedly tried canoeing on the<br />

River Avon and managed to drown ourselves and the<br />

camera. That incident led me to purchase an Olympus<br />

Superzoom 120 which got some use but things went<br />

quiet for some years as studying and then entering the<br />

workforce took priority.<br />

I did get a Canon EOS500 camera but again, the cost of<br />

film meant I dabbled for a long time. It wasn’t until digital<br />

cameras came down in price and the feedback loop for<br />

shooting, evaluating and then adjusting how you shoot<br />

was nice and short that I really made a lot of progress<br />

with my photography.<br />

Film was good for teaching me to take the time to think<br />

about the shot, composing a scene before clicking the<br />

shutter but that is only the start of the process – learning<br />

how to use RAW format shooting and then the right<br />

software to manipulate the image is where things began<br />

to really take off for me.<br />

I wouldn’t say I have a preferred genre, I end up<br />

doing quite a few landscape and architecture shots<br />

interspersed with wildlife – Zealandia with a 150–600mm<br />

lens is a favourite spot. The camera ends up being a<br />

great excuse to travel and see chunks of the countryside<br />

but I am an engineer by trade so I quite enjoy getting<br />

into the technical side where I can so I end up dabbling<br />

in things like astrophotography, shooting fireworks, and<br />

working on various pet projects.<br />

One long term project I’m working on is to recreate<br />

Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album cover as a<br />

practical shot. I have tried various experiments using<br />

prisms and different forms of lighting to try and achieve<br />

that and have come close but not quite got it to where<br />

I want it to be.<br />

I do enjoy setting myself challenges such as trying to<br />

create an album cover for a favourite artist/song or<br />

submitting photos to a competition with a particular<br />

theme to see if I can visually interpret it in a different<br />

way. In fact, one of my most prominent images came<br />

out of an informal competition based on the theme<br />

of contrasts. It can be a bit hit and miss as what you<br />

consider obvious in an image can quite often be subtle<br />

to others, that is where I find being active in various<br />

groups helps.<br />

I used to be a member of the Wellington Photographic<br />

Society but had to stop that when I needed to move to<br />

Auckland for a few years. Once I was back in Wellington I<br />

found that the social landscape had changed a bit<br />

and meetups were more my speed. So I’ve been out<br />

pretty regularly for the photo-walks with the Wellington<br />

Photography Meetup Group which is run by New<br />

Zealand Photography Workshops together with the Excio<br />

Photo Community. I’ve also joined a more casual Coffee<br />

and Photography group known as CAPES and attend<br />

the more focused Coach with the Camera group. It has<br />

been a good boost because each group provides a<br />

different approach to photography as well as getting<br />

that regularity going.<br />

For me, photography is often an intensely singular activity –<br />

a lot of it is about capturing a scene in your own unique<br />

style. But doing that in a group provides a good way to<br />

see how others are interpreting the same thing and also<br />

share techniques and ideas. Often someone will be trying<br />

a camera technique for fun – like rotating and zooming<br />

during the exposure to see what effect they get. It is a<br />

great way to spark creativity and each group usually brings<br />

something different. The Coach with a Camera group, for<br />

instance, is much more focused around doing something<br />

with the images created and less about the taking of them<br />

directly. It has been that group which has given me the<br />

motivation to put on an exhibition.<br />

Titled ‘The Celebration of Wellington’, my exhibition has a<br />

fairly loose theme – mostly an exploration of the Wellington<br />

region to try and give people an appreciation for the<br />

varied and beautiful environment we live in so the focus is<br />

fairly heavily towards landscapes with a few exceptions.<br />

My aim isn’t to sell anything, I want to do this more as a<br />

community activity of sharing some beautiful images<br />

and hopefully making people aware of some things they<br />

may not have seen. It doesn’t hurt that it is on in the rush<br />

up to Christmas to provide a bit of an antidote to all that<br />

busyness that is the norm for the holiday season!<br />




Photography<br />

Unleashed<br />


Submit your long exposure photos by 10 January 2020<br />

to be in to win an Unleashed smart camera control<br />

plus other great prizes.<br />

How much do you dare to expose?<br />

Check Out Now<br />


Wellington Heritage Photo Quest<br />

The architecture of any city is a reflection of its history<br />

and in the case of Wellington we can look back<br />

over the last 150 years. You can find examples<br />

of almost every architectural style – from wooden<br />

structures to ArtDeco with Chicago-influenced industrial<br />

high-rise buildings in the CBD. From modern buildings<br />

to historical remnants of what were once beautiful<br />

facades, Wellington provides a great number of photo<br />

opportunities for those who love to try their hand at<br />

architectural and urban photography.<br />

There are still many places around the city that have<br />

survived from the early days of its settlement by the<br />

Europeans. Many of the building may at first glance<br />

seem ordinary but if you do some research and explore<br />

a bit more you will soon see the layers of history revealing<br />

themselves. In fact, some buildings may only be fully<br />

appreciated when they are considered in the context<br />

of the era they were built in. Think about some of the<br />

buildings that we see every day on our way to/from<br />

work, more than 600 times a year, that we never have<br />

enough time to pay attention to, these very buildings<br />

may have represented a revolutionary shift in design<br />

and architecture 50 or 100 years ago. Changes in<br />

architectural style always reflect the development of the<br />

nation and with the help of photographs we take today,<br />

our descendants 100 years into the future will be able to<br />

see what ‘modern’ Wellington looked like back in the<br />

21st century.<br />

By capturing buildings and architecture we create history<br />

– what stands there right now may not exist tomorrow. As<br />

photographers who care about #PhotographyForGood<br />

we need to make sure that the generations after us can<br />

appreciate and enjoy what we see today even if it is no<br />

longer standing in the future. Cities are always in a state<br />

of continuous transition and transformation. Think of any<br />

place you visited a few years ago, if you go back there<br />

in 10 or 20 years you may not recognise the look of it.<br />

The power of photography is that it not only freezes<br />

the moment but it shows the ‘collective’ view of<br />

photographers. Last month more than 50 photographers<br />

took part in the Heritage Photo Quest organized by<br />

the Excio photo community. Photographers were<br />

encouraged to capture the most interesting buildings<br />

and learn more about the history of Wellington city.<br />

On the following pages, you will see many different<br />

perspectives from some of the photographers who<br />

took part. It is always amazing to be able to see after a<br />

photo walk what other photographers have captured.<br />

Photographers see things differently and that’s great –<br />

see for yourself different reflections, long exposures, and<br />

the perspectives and angles captured by creative and<br />

talented Wellington photographers.<br />

To find out more information or take a walk along our<br />

heritage trail at your own pace visit www.excio.io/<br />

heritagewalk<br />


44 <strong>NZPhotographer</strong>




<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 45



46 <strong>NZPhotographer</strong>




<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 47



48 <strong>NZPhotographer</strong><br />





<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 49

What’s The Most Important Thing<br />

In Photography?<br />

By Ana Lyubich<br />

Lets’ think, what answers jump into your mind?<br />

You might be thinking that the most important thing<br />

in photography is to have a really good camera.<br />

How else do you get that perfect shot if you don’t<br />

have the right gear? But wait, what about those<br />

slightly out of focus shots or the ones with lots of<br />

noise that captured that perfect moment, that<br />

smile? Ok, so it’s not about the gear.<br />

In that case the most important thing in<br />

photography must be composition? The rule of<br />

thirds, having a straight horizon, and the lines,<br />

light, shadows being perfectly presented. If that’s<br />

the answer does it mean we then say that there is<br />

nothing important in creative shots? So no, it can’t<br />

be about the composition.<br />

Third time lucky – the most important thing in<br />

photography must be about planning the shot!<br />

Mastering it in-camera so then you don’t need<br />

to do any post-processing later. No but wait, you<br />

can’t plan street photography, you can’t plan that<br />

split second, the look in someone’s eyes. Planning<br />

your photo session is a sign of good discipline and<br />

will definitely lead to success but photography is<br />

about being in the right place at the right time and<br />

having your finger on the shutter release ready to<br />

capture the moment so that’s not the answer.<br />

What about colour? Black and white? Could that<br />

be the most important thing in photography? There<br />

is definitely a lot to learn about light and shadows<br />

and it takes a lot of time and practice to know<br />

how to shoot in different lighting conditions but<br />

sometimes the images that were shot against the<br />

50<br />


light, that are faded away, are the ones that most<br />

often touch our souls.<br />

Ok, so it absolutely has to be about gaining<br />

experience – the more you practice the more you<br />

know and can master your skills. Right? I would<br />

agree with just one exclusion – why, when out of<br />

millions of people who have dedicated their lives<br />

to photography and have years and years of<br />

practice, do we only know a few names? Is it about<br />

popularity? Talent? Connections? Networks?<br />

Let me stop playing this guessing game with you<br />

and put you out of your misery.<br />

To me, the most important thing in photography is<br />

the magic. It is a combination of some of the things<br />

mentioned above that enables you to capture<br />

moments so that years later (if those moments are<br />

still important to you) you can easily travel back in<br />

time.<br />

Don’t make photography the sole purpose of an<br />

experience. Don’t spend hours overthinking the<br />

composition - it doesn’t matter in the end. What<br />

matters is being able to fast forward a few years,<br />

and have your photos take you back to that<br />

moment in time when you pressed the shutter<br />

button so that you can re-live the experience.<br />

Photography must be something bigger than<br />

having that perfectly exposed shot. It must be able<br />

to bring back the atmosphere of that moment, the<br />

people around you, the smells, your thoughts and<br />

feelings at that exact point in time. Without that<br />

your photographs won’t do their magic and won’t<br />

work as time machines. They will be just ‘prints for<br />

sale’ and silent reminders of you missing being in<br />

that moment.<br />

Every time I look at my photos I instantly find myself<br />

exactly in that moment be it at Washington railway<br />

station or Chengdu panda reserve. Just by looking<br />

at those photos the conversations, laughter,<br />

feelings and everything associated with every trip<br />

and occasion comes back to life. When I look at<br />

the photos from my Denmark trip this time last year,<br />

my fingers start freezing again and I remember<br />

the smell of cinnamon and the sound of Christmas<br />

music in the fairy-tale-like Tivoli gardens. Which of<br />

your images bring back memories and emotions<br />

like that?<br />

Many of you will be travelling over the Christmas<br />

period and while I of course look forward to seeing<br />

what you capture over the holidays, always<br />

remember to bring back experiences, not polished<br />

photography techniques.<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 51

A Mirror View<br />

by Brendon Gilchrist<br />

Lake Matheson is the most photogenic<br />

lake on the West Coast of New Zealand<br />

and draws in thousands of tourists every<br />

year but few think about the 14,000 year<br />

old history as they take their photos and<br />

admire the view. You see, Lake Matheson<br />

started out as a river of ice formed from<br />

a large Glacier called Fox. When glaciers<br />

retreat they change the landscape, moving<br />

huge boulders and creating depressions in<br />

the land which then creates lakes giving us<br />

delights such as this.<br />

There are a few vantage points to view the<br />

mountains over Lake Matheson but only one<br />

place gives that iconic picture postcard view<br />

that you must have in your collection of images.<br />

Thankfully, I arrived at Lake Matheson a day<br />

ahead of schedule so that I could scout out<br />

where I needed to be to get the famous<br />

shot. I was shooting a time-lapse at one of<br />

the viewpoints in what I thought was the right<br />

place but I soon realised Aoraki didn’t seem<br />

to be quite where I thought it should be.<br />

I waited for the time-lapse to finish as it was<br />

still looking really good and then packed up<br />

to see if I could capture Aoraki in the correct<br />

position.<br />

It was getting a little dark but I had my head<br />

torch and the track was easy enough to<br />

follow, so I headed off around the lake.<br />

I found a place called The Views Of Views<br />

which, to be fair, had a nice view but it was<br />

not the view of the view that I wanted to<br />

F10, 1/200s, ISO100<br />

52<br />


F10, 1/200s, ISO100<br />

view!! I carried on and found a signpost that<br />

said Reflection Island.<br />

I walked down some steps to get almost to<br />

lake level and looked towards Aoraki – Yes,<br />

this was the view I came for! Now I knew<br />

exactly where I’d be heading for sunrise<br />

but I still didn’t know where I’d be spending<br />

the night – Grateful for phone signal I gave<br />

Backpackers a call and got myself a bed.<br />

Now safe in the knowledge that I had<br />

somewhere to sleep, I continued shooting<br />

as I still hadn’t captured the shot nor the<br />

time lapses I wanted. I was getting hopeful<br />

for my sunrise shoot though, the weather<br />

was looking really good and there was<br />

snow down quite low on the mountains so<br />

I would be able to get my Winter shot of Lake<br />

Matheson with reflections.<br />

Deciding that the cloud around the<br />

mountains was too much now, I decided to<br />

pack up – I was getting tired and still had a<br />

30 minute walk to the car, then a short 10<br />

minute drive to Fox Glacier township.<br />

Next morning, when it was still dark out and<br />

everyone else in the dorm was still asleep, I was<br />

waking up. Having already pre-packed the night<br />

before I slipped out of the dorm as quietly as<br />

possible and dropped my key off. Walking outside<br />

it was chilly with ice on the parked vehicles so I lost<br />

5 minutes defrosting my car which wasn’t part of<br />

my early morning plan but I was soon off, driving<br />

towards the lake and then parking up, gathering<br />

my camera gear for the 30 minute walk.<br />

There was a slight glow on the hills when<br />

I started walking which made me walk<br />

that bit faster, not wanting to miss out on<br />

my much-hoped-for postcard shot. As I<br />

kept walking around the lake to Reflection<br />

Island I caught a glimpse of the water<br />

showing a crystal clear reflection. That<br />

made me excited as there was lots of<br />

low cloud hanging around the lake and<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 53

the mountains – My postcard shot of Lake<br />

Matheson was in reach!<br />

Reaching the turn off for Reflection Island<br />

and walking down what seemed like a cloud<br />

onto the platform just above the lake, my first<br />

thought was ‘wow, I have this view to myself,<br />

I am beyond blessed’. With clouds in every<br />

layer, the steam rising off the lake due to<br />

the sun hitting it, clouds above Mount Cook,<br />

clouds creating an unreal atmosphere around<br />

the mountains, and snow well below the bushline<br />

I was wondering ‘Is this place even real?’.<br />

It was mid-week, not the weekend so I was<br />

hopeful that not too many other people<br />

would turn up as I needed to use the fence<br />

post to rest my camera on for the time-lapse<br />

as I only had one tripod to use (my second<br />

one broke) and I needed that for the stills.<br />

I put my go-to 14–24mm lens on and took<br />

a few shots at 14mm and then 24mm but<br />

neither composition looked good. I only<br />

had one other lens to turn to, my big 80–<br />

200mm zoom, my 50mm being used for the<br />

time-lapse on my other camera. Turning<br />

the camera back on I knew I’d found the<br />

composition I was looking for, even though<br />

the lake is known for its reflection, the<br />

superimposed mountains at 80mm were<br />

looking insanely beautiful.<br />

As the sun kept rising and the clouds kept<br />

moving, the light hitting the clouds and the<br />

mountains, the trees aglow, the ducks and<br />

other birds waking up for the day, the scene<br />

was blowing my mind – I could not have<br />

asked for anything better.<br />

I took around 1000 images at Lake Matheson<br />

that morning, most of those being time lapses,<br />

but the number doesn’t matter – I got the shots<br />

I wanted and am ecstatic that I captured<br />

something unique to this lake and something<br />

I said a few years ago that I would never do;<br />

shoot what everyone else is shooting.<br />

My postcard images of Matheson are now in<br />

my collection and show not just one average<br />

shot of a perfect reflection but tell a story,<br />

not just my story, but of a morning that was<br />

just meant to be – a perfect morning.<br />

I still look at my reflection image for<br />

inspiration, reminding myself that no<br />

reflection is perfect, that there is always a<br />

ripple somewhere.<br />

54<br />

<strong>NZPhotographer</strong><br />

F11, 1/125s, ISO100




<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 55

56<br />




F11, 1/100s, ISO200, 67mm<br />

On my trip up Stoos with the worlds steepest<br />

funicular railway in Switzerland, I saw the<br />

beautiful mountain panorama, the Mythen.<br />

Anita Ruggle<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 57

58<br />



F3.7, 1/200s, ISO125<br />

The Samoans call the coconut tree, the Tree of<br />

Life. Almost all parts of a coconut tree can be<br />

used. Taken near where a devastating tsunami<br />

washed into Samoa a few years ago on a<br />

Samsung 6 Galaxy phone.<br />

Ann Kilpatrick<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 59

60<br />


WHICH WAY?<br />

F9, 1/320s, 35mm<br />

Seeking directions, or maybe just having a chat,<br />

with the helpful information ladies, near Flinders<br />

Street Station, Melbourne.<br />

Ann Kilpatrick<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 61

62<br />



F5.6, 1/2500s, ISO640, 20mm<br />

Photo taken at Craters of the Moon in Taupo.<br />

It's amazing how plants can survive this kind of<br />

soil temperature. Truly one of New Zealand's<br />

interesting attractions.<br />

Anne Balila<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 63

64<br />



It is sometimes difficult to find a perfect place to<br />

photograph moving traffic. When I saw this area while<br />

visiting Maryland in the USA I knew I could get the shot.<br />

Chick Piper<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 65

66<br />



F3.7, 1/200s, ISO125<br />


Where the glacier meets the sea.<br />

Corinne Moor<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 67


F9, 1/125s, ISO200<br />

This photograph was taken in a small village<br />

near the town of Konya in Turkey. The people in<br />

the area live as best they can from the land with<br />

sheep and other animals.<br />

Don McLeod<br />

68<br />


<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 69

70<br />



Taken on the colourful island of Burano, Venice.<br />

Gail Orgias<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 71


F3.7, 1/200s, ISO125<br />

This musician was one of many performing at a<br />

busy morning market in Paris.<br />

Gail Orgias<br />

72<br />


<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 73

74<br />



F8, .6s, ISO100<br />

Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel is an iconic<br />

destination for overseas visitors to New Zealand.<br />

The perfect scenario for this shot was sunrise to<br />

capture the light reflection on the rocks and the<br />

early morning low tide to wash the multitude of<br />

footprints from the previous day away.<br />

It was a 5am start for the hour walk to get to the<br />

location. My hope was to have the place to<br />

myself as by 7am the water taxi's begin arriving.<br />

Graham Jones<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 75

76<br />



Okere Falls in Rotorua has the most thrilling white<br />

water rafting with the highest 7m Tutea Falls as<br />

the highlight. If you are a thrill seeker this should<br />

be on your bucket list.<br />

Linda Cutche<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 77

78<br />



F8, 1/200s<br />

Walking through the Red Fort in Delhi one is<br />

constantly impressed by the vivid colours. This<br />

image portrays one of the many women who<br />

spend their day at the site in the hope of getting<br />

a few coins from passing travellers who are in<br />

awe of their elegance and charm. I was careful<br />

to select a background that would speak of the<br />

environment and complement the colours.<br />

Paul Rea<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 79

80<br />



F8, 1/125s, ISO12800<br />

The Goa market is a dark congested space, an<br />

amazing sensory experience. The colours and<br />

contrasts make it difficult to capture the characters<br />

who make it so interesting. I was determined to<br />

keep my images sharp so I hiked the ISO up.<br />

Paul Rea<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 81

82<br />



It was supposed to be spring, but on this<br />

particular day a frosty sleet had little respect for<br />

the calendar in Saint Petersburg, Russia.<br />

Peter Kurdulija<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 83

84<br />


1600 METRES UP<br />


F11, ISO200, 18mm<br />

Travel is awesome experiences such as Gunnar<br />

taking us to the summit of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland<br />

in his ‘truck’. It was a beautiful sunny spring day and<br />

even at 1600 metres was quite warm (for Iceland).<br />

The two people in the distance gives some idea as<br />

to the expanse of the summit.<br />

Peter Maiden<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 85

86<br />




F11, 1/1000s, ISO200, 300mm<br />

On safari in Botswana during a dust storm, these<br />

animal silhouettes drew my attention.<br />

Rudolph Kotze<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 87

88<br />



Ski touring in the Two Thumb Range in Southern Alps of New<br />

Zealand is a great way to get away from it all. On this trip we<br />

started the journey actually carrying our skis until we hit the<br />

snow and then it was a steady upward climb.<br />

Sarah K Smith<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 89

90<br />



F3.5, 1/400s, ISO100, 18mm<br />

A cruise ship leaving Tauranga Harbour. It<br />

almost seems impossible that there is enough<br />

water between the Mount and Matakana Island<br />

in the background.<br />

Tanya Rowe<br />

<strong>December</strong> <strong>2019</strong> 91








92<br />


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