Tiritiri Trip

29 09 2009


A few shots from our recent day trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island the weather was a little fickle with showers though this did help with managing the contrast somewhat but also made things rather dim though it did clear up by the time we had to go.



The use of flash to balance the light is pretty much essential due to the contrast and low light conditions.The only real negative photographically  is that most of the birds are banded though some of the more numerous species are not.

Tiritiri Matangi translates as ” Looking to the wind”. Located 30km north east of central Auckland and just 4km from the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of New Zealand’s most important and exciting conservation projects.


Unwanted predators have been eradicated, and the once-pastoral island has been replanted with native trees. Rare native birds and animals have been returned to its now-safe and restored habitats. It is an experience to see how our forests should be alive with birdsong and activity but mankinds meddling has destroyed much.

Male Stitchbird

Male Stitchbird

It is possible to book and stay overnight in the bunkhouse this is well worth doing as as the ferry leaves at 3.30 sharp along with the crowds furthermore you can see Kiwi by night and we will be doing it again soon.We have enjoyed several day trips and two overnight stays on the Island and I can thoroughly recommend a visit.


Upgrade the camera or the photographer?

19 09 2009

Every six months or so the camera manufacturers come out with a new bit of gear regular as clock work. There are some who feel obliged to upgrade as to not have the latest would make them second rate. Now on doubt some folks can afford to do this and more power to them cause they keep the industry in business . For most of us this is simply not practical nor affordable but this doesnt stop us from wanting. Somehow the ads seem to convince us if only we had that latest gadget our photography would be all so much better.

Winter Gardens Auckland City

Winter Gardens Auckland City

Well the truth is that unless our current gear is soo lame its unlikely anyone will be able to see a difference. Further more if our photography is bad it will still be bad albeit with more pixels. Much better then to invest in learning and practicing with what we have than getting the latest every time they come along.

Mokoroa Falls Goldies Bush West Auckland

Mokoroa Falls Goldies Bush West Auckland

Another point to remember is that in order to double the resolution in real terms you need 4x the megapixels for example the resolution of the 5D (12mpix) is 2300 LPH vs 5DMk2(21mpix) 2800 LPH (Source DPreview ) that is only a 22% increase in resolution useful but not as much as the numbers would suggest. So if you are like me and sometimes want that new toy but can’t afford it remember it’s not the gear but the photographer holding it that make the biggest difference.

Karearea, the New Zealand falcon

12 08 2009

Over the weekend we had the pleasure to visit Wingspans Birds of Prey Trust in rotorua well worth a visit both on the educational front and as a photography opportunity.NZ Falcon

Fascinating subject with eyesight said to be six times more powerful than humans, flying at speeds up to 230 kmh and uttering a short terrifying scream, the falcon will fall upon some hapless bird in mid flight. The manoeuvre is called a stoop, a trademark of the attacking falcon.  They practice falconry and there are opportuinties for flight photos if you have the skill

Falco Novaselandiae

I need to practice so more before I can hope to get flight shots

The folly of judging

19 07 2009

As a member of a camera club I have had the dubious pleasure of observing first hand how subjective and personal photography is. Witness a recent entry seen in the previous blog looking at the judges own work this rendition would have had more success.Upper Nihitipu Falls

One of the problems  with judging photography is that personal taste must  colour opinion and at club level here in NZ with only one judge on the night the placing you get will vary considerably between judges and even on different occasions and invariably the style or genre the judge prefers will win the day.

Even at national competition level you often see a particular style of work being favoured take a look at the recent AIPP awards to see this graphically demonstrated notice with a few exceptions the particular colouration and pp treatment of the winning entries.

You can see that if you want to do well in such competitions you need to emulate this style.

So far from advancing photography by encouraging the development of the photographers own style and vision such competitions foster a stylistic straitjacket.Infrared Melbourne

To quote from an excellent book I have been enjoying “Like cooking photography is a matter of taste, a matter of relative not absolute value” and equally apt Photographs are never wholly mirrors nor wholly windows: they are more akin to semi-silvered glass upon which a ghostly representation of the photographers intent is mingled with a reflection of our own concerns and through which we see an incomplete image of the world” LANDSCAPE WITHIN by David Ward.

In view of that I believe the idea of judging photography as if were a competitive sport is a mistake after all the success of an image must vary from person to person and indeed only the author can know what the original intent was.


27 06 2009

One of the reasons winter is my favourite season water. The rivers streams and waterfalls come alive with flowing water a great photographic subject. Tastes vary in how people like to see flowing water in a photograph. A faster shutter speed will freeze the motion and show the droplets in the water. A slower shutter speed blurs the motion and shows the flow of the water some like one others don’t. I’m a fan of the blurs. Upper NihitipuThe essential accessory’s for water are a polarizing filter and tripod.
Those pervading overcast skies also help to control contrast and enable longer shutter speeds.

Down The Gurgler

See this article I wrote over at AFN http://www.australasiaforum.net/articles/rod/waterfalls.html


19 06 2009

I think winter is probably the best season photographically everything is much more dramatic.  The weather much more exciting storms frost rain even snow.

The good light lasts longer in the day and you don’t have to rise at 4 am and stay out till 10pm to get sunrise and sunset. Even the overcast skies offer opportunity with forest and water so much better with the softer light.Mahuia Rapids

David Ward a UK based photographer makes the point that there is no such thing as bad light we just need to match our subject matter to the light. I think this is true what we often lack is the ability to see the possibilities .  These shots are from one of my favourite locations Tongariro National Park taken last winter.

Lake Rotokura Walking Track

The light was predominately overcast on this trip but still there were opportunity’s and many more I missed .


17 06 2009

Farley Point # 3

Originally uploaded by Rdugmore2009

My first post to this blog is about the idea of previsualisation. Ansel Adams made much of this idea and I think for myself this works.

Landscape photography is very much about light and as the light is fleeting you need to be in place with a good idea of what you want or you miss the magic.I find it frustrating to be experiencing good light but not be in place to take advantage of it.   It is essential to plan and previsualise .

This is a recent example I had visited this location a few weeks prior and the light wasn’t great but I visualised what it could be if the conditions and light came together so on returning when the light was right here is the result