Sunday, May 25, 2008

Studying drawing at night school to enhance my New Zealand landscape photography

Last Wed. night I attended my first night school session to study drawing. The idea being to immerse in art to increase my awareness of light and form for my passion: landscape photos.

Here is my second attempt at drawing two apples, done with an emphasis on observation of all details. The two hour session went very fast. Apples I guess did represent a landscape as they sat on a sheet of A4 white paper. I did eat one right after the session though...

My tutor is local artist Robyn, and here we see her colourful work in the background when I attended a party during the week at her place. On the left are Mike and Michelle, then my old and dear friends Diana and Pamela...

At the party there was a request for my camera skills, and I'm essentially a lover of photographing the New Zealand and Wanaka landscapes, but I do quite like dabbling with portraits, and find the key is to develop a strong empathy with the subject so they relax and develop trust. Here we have Sue, who did all the food prep...

As the party photos all turned out so well [yes I admit wine also helped my subjects relax], I was inspired to continue the theme even to today, when I had to take Dougal to soccer in Alexandra...

Many friends tell me Dougal looks a lot like myself, but I'll leave it up to you to ponder this...

On closing life here is now in winter mode: the skies have cleared revealing a good coating of snow down low on the local hills, I've just had a lovely Romanian couple stay over en-route to the Snow Farm where he'll be, among other things, a Biathlon coach, and in a couple of weeks I'll have a Russian - he's the cross country ski coach for the kids for the season and is coming from the US where he's lived for a few years. I've always loved the winter season and they're so enriched these days with the international flavour and ideas these people bring in my office/home.
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Still on the Wanaka landscape photography kick!

Autumn colours in New Zealand landscape photography are an obvious target for cameras, but one colour spectrum I suspect is overlooked is that prevailing in the tussock landscape this time of year. But it takes light, and like tornado hunters you've got to "be there and f8" to get the shots.

Today on a walk to the remote Meg hut it was looking like it'd just be an exercise day, but suddenly on the haul out of the Meg and over to the Cardrona valley on dusk, the last rays of the sun unexpectedly lit up this superb landscape so typical of this area.

We're looking at the southern end of the Pisa range here...

To illustrate my point consider this rather dead shot - lower left is the Meg hut, built in about the 1860s. Lately it's been tastefully tidied up by the Dept. of Conservation, and that certainly makes a tidy proposition, but in some ways I prefer the old character. Anyway the trees nearby have sadly been poisoned by the Dept. A mistake they admit to, in the quest to eradicate anything non native. The anomaly I find curious is that they can't apply the same criteria to grasses, because "introduced" in many tussock areas prevail, and that's a bit sad...

And lastly this shot is one of several that I managed to take in the brief window of time. I did have to run and stumble to get a good foreground, but on arrival I realised I'd forgotten the fence! It was a bit nasty with regard to barb wire so I gave away idea of crossing over, and tried this shot that I quite like...
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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wanaka Landscape Photography and the autumn colours

The autumn colours in the Wanaka landscape don't seem as vivid this year, and I've heard a story the local poplars may have a virus causing them to loose their leaves early. I hope not [does anyone know?], because this time of year is magic, especially if I get up early to be amongst it when the light of dawn touches the earth.

It's also duck shooting season, and this pair of Paradise ducks are wisely keeping well above the Clutha river mist, but none-the-less our presence on a cliff above their "beat" caused them stress, and they kept flying past us crying out, so I kept the photography to a minimum...

The mist slowly gets burnt off by the sun in this photo looking up the Clutha river towards Albert Town [almost now a suburb of what was once a sleepy Wanaka]. This shot illustrates my concern above re. a virus: most years the willows and the poplars are gold together. but not in this area, this year...

Although a bit "chocolate box" this scene appealed to me with the contrast of autumn colours against a landscape that's so unique to our Wanaka area, and New Zealand even...

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Early winter dawn photo shoot in the Wanaka, South Westland trip and a long post on New Zealand landscape photography

Every autumn river mists rule during any still fine weather over the Clutha river that drains Lake Wanaka, and if you can get up early enough and face the frosts there are a number of excellent vantage points for some uniquely New Zealand landscape photography.

Clutha river mist in the foreground and Hawea river mist in the background, and a good frost in between!...

Last week Dougal and I headed up the West Coast to visit cousin Deirdre and Murray, and we stopped off at Fox Glacier to stretch the legs with a walk to the glacier on the last day of perfect weather...

Here we look across a bulge from a heavy snow fall several years ago to the delightful snow grass terraces of the Chancellor Hut (Built 1929-1931). I must go back there's one of the most delightful settings in the Southern Alps...

Nothing thrills me quite as much as a roadie on the West Coast. It's like stepping back in time when you contemplate Sat,. night on the main street of lovely Whataroa...

With not many deciduous trees to delight a landscape photographer on the West Coast, and overnight torrential rain that set in at Reefton [yes, the name probably has it's origins in mining], we headed to dryer climes over Lewis Pass, and found our gold...

Our visit to Deirdre and Murray's Bed and Breakfast Tininn was just a sheer delight, and with some good light to enhance landscape photography I took quite a lot of shots to upgrade their site with.

Since returning I've found myself pondering many aspects of this sort of photography in New Zealand, so under my Southern Light banner I've posted some thoughts on our unique environment blessed with amazing landscapes and seasons ... more>>

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