Sunday, June 29, 2008

A sobering week ending with some great quotes from Ansell Adams, of landscape photography fame

Drawing to Painting classes have ended on the high note of a 3 hr. session. This time we went from drawing to painting. I chose acrylics and apples...

The "sobering" I referred to was that on Thurs. while heading to Queenstown to pick up Riley [old friend and companion of Dougal and I who moved back to Canada a yr. ago, and was in Dougal's class at school, and is back for a holiday] the brakes on my camper truck totally failed at Wanaka's only round-about. Yip, no warning! However as a long time Land Cruiser affectionardo I've always maintained they're a vehicle that is best driven smoothly, and this is what saved-the-day - not driving full-tilt into any situations.

Anyway I switched vehicles and had a lovely drive in sun and snow to pick up Riley.

My New Zealand landscape photography close friend and mentor Roger is in the US at the moment, and he found a DVD all about Ansell Adams (1902 - 1984) the famous US landscape photographer, and he's just emailed me some of Ansell's inspiring quotes...

Love is a seeking for a way of life one that cannot be followed alone, the resonance of spiritual and physical things.

Friendship is another form of love, more passive perhaps, but full of transmission and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.

Art is both love and friendship and understanding, a desire to give, it is not a charity that is the giving of things, it is more than tenderness that it is the giving of beauty, the turning out to the light of the inner fold of the spirit. It is a recreation on another plane of the realities of the realities of the world, the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men and all the interrelations of these.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another landscape photo, twinkly eyes and dancing shoes

The Lindis pass has got to be one of the most photographed landscapes in New Zealand, and if you include snow tussock in the criteria it would be number one. I've certainly fallen prey many times to the stunning sunset photography opportunities and taken a few competent shots, but today returning from a family birthday party in Twizel I've got some shots I hope are a bit less typical - I certainly prefer this one over my past efforts...

The party was to celebrate my cousin Malcolm's 70th birthday. He's very well known and respected in the Twizel community, so it was a big "do", and it was a good opportunity to exercise my portrait skills. He's one I like - Malcolm's sister Deirdre is in the background, and this is her grand daughter in the foreground...

She's quite a dancer and we were captivated by this, her smile and shoes...

The shoes...
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lost souls in the landscape

After a taste of skiing a few weeks back and now none I could be forgiven for behaving like a lost soul, but at the least the weather has been warm, but we're overdue for some inversions and low cloud, and maybe that'll present itself this week as a high pressure system builds and moves onto southern New Zealand.

So lost souls - what do they do to avoid cabin fever? One answer is review older photos for the blog.

This is another in a series of three taken last week [see last week's blog below]. The photographer never gets much time to work with this sort of light in dynamic weather systems - this one was taken only seconds apart from the first one...

To contrast the above, look how few clouds in the sky can change the dynamics in landscape photography. In the distance is Stevenson Island, where Dougal and I spent a week in summer helping look after the buff weka programme...

A per the norm of late the drawing lessons continue. Many people like this pepper drawing I did on Wed. and I'm starting to believe some who say I have a latent talent I can develop, but I think my onions have a ways to go...
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Congratulations to Culverden's Phil Garland

Congratulations to Culverden's Phil Garland for winning The Tui Award for the Best Folk Album 2007 which he was presented with in January this year. Phil often plays each Oct. at the Cardrona Folk Festival ...more>>

(Via Tiinn)

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Around Wanaka: landscapes, fires and drawing

We've had a few interesting weather episodes this week, particularly over this weekend. However while it's nice to hire a few DVDs and keep logs on the fire there can be some interesting light around for some landscape photography.

Lake Wanaka, and Black and Fog Peaks just before a southerly snowstorm beset the scene...

Two nights ago a house at the end of my street burnt down. The papers reported that the baby crying woke the family (two adults and two children age 3 and 1) and they were able to get out. I took this shot just minutes after the above landscape, in the teeth of a snowstorm, but it was fascinating [and scary] to poke my camera about the site. From memory the burnt dwelling [it's all still there barely 2 meters high if that] was about the same size as the "near miss" on the house on right [note the fence did not survive], and that's a burnt out car there as well...

Mid week I again attended my night school drawing class. I'm doing these for a variety of reasons, one being to bring a new perspective to my landscape photos. The aim of this cup and tea pot work is for me to draw exactly what I see so I learn observational skills. I find that putting the first positioning marks on an A3 sheet requires commitment! So I sit and study the composition in detail for ten mins. before beginning. Then I tend to think that after this time I've seen what it is I have to draw, but this I'm finding is not the case: An hour later I find I'm seeing the object[s] in an entirely different way, or rather noting and recording different nuances of tone and shade, perspective and reflections...

To give myself further New Zealand landscape perspective I'm spending a lot of time looking at this wonderful landscape of the Buchanan mountains and Lake Wanaka, painted by my tutor Robyn. It's really captured my fancy, and this winter [as it does depict snow] I'm going to wait for an opportunity to capture "the look" with my camera. Early morning it'll have to be...
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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Cross country skiing in May in New Zealand - landscape photography takes a back seat!

My good friend Dave is wont to say "Snow in May does not stay", and my mantra is "it's too early to know how the winter and ski season will pan out" followed by, "I remember this happened one year in the early seventies and we got a nor wester and it all got washed away on Queens Birthday weekend". However when it does happen these days aging has seen us both become opportunists! When it fined up last week and Narcis did a little grooming, there we were...

The road to nowhere... just past this sign I had to give my self imposed ski tour away as the drifts were too deep for my [really] skinny trail skies...

Dave and Jo and the dogs head to Chamois Loop...

Ha... I can't help myself: this unique [to my life] New Zealand landscape shot, was one I could not resist: Mt Aspiring in the background and The Snow Farm in the foreground. Both have played a huge role in my personal growth. The former in the 80's when over 2-3 year period I did several Search and Rescue pickups from beneath it's icy ramparts. The latter a place that accepted my son Dougal and myself for some serious healing post divorce [thanks John and Mary]. Now it's like a second home as I explore the addictive and fitness enhancing nature of Nordic skiing [many New Zealanders don't realise that overseas it's a sport with a far greater following than downhill skiing]...

John and Mary's dog Speedy passed away recently, and will leave a huge gap not easily filled. For many winters he's welcomed every visitor and even used the work utes/cars to get from his home at the Snow Farm to the nearby Snow Park to carry on the role there, then get in another vehicle for a ride back. Everyone loved him dearly. For myself at all times out of the ski season when I'd want to go for a walk or spring ski tour/walk he'd come - it seemed as long as the snow had tussocks exposed, maybe to aid his low ground clearance, but more likely so he could hunt rabbits. And many times he'd catch one on the way home - almost deliberately it seemed so he could race ahead and carry/drag it back into the Lodge for a feast! The downside was he'd then make himself sick.

Speedy in the spring of 2007 out by Chamois Loop one evening...

On this occasion while doing a sunset photo shoot with Roger he got tired and cold and snuggled down to wait for us. When we finally set off back he trotted along happily in the dark. Before we drove off we made sure he could get in the Lodge by opening the doors and in he trotted into the dark. He was one of us, so we all simply made sure, like you would with a person, that he was "all set"...

Yikes it seems on posting this that I've maintained this blog for a year now. At once per week I've posted 52 times. So.. a big thanks to my regular readers [comments are always welcome - maybe post one requesting a certain theme!]
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